How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33326
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
13262538
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

My partner is in the middle of a difficult divorce and legal

Customer Question

My partner is in the middle of a difficult divorce and legal battle regarding his daughter. He took his wife to court last week over access to their daughter because she has regularly changed the arrangements, including withdrawing contact altogether. Unfortunately during the court process last week Cafcass failed to take his concerns into consideration, and turned the table on him, making him out to be the one in the wrong, not his ex wife. He felt backed into a corner and felt forced to agree to an order detailing the very arrangements he had taken his wife to court over. He feels completely let down by the system. Any advice on how he can progress now that a court order, which he does not agree with, is being drawn up would be most appreciated.
In addition, his ex has contacted him this weekend (the first contact since the court order) to say she is taking their daughter on holiday at the end of the month (which he is assuming to be November rather than October) to Cape Verde. He does not want his daughter to be taken to this region given the current concerns in West Africa. What can he do to prevent his ex travelling overseas without his consent?
Thank you
Maggie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What order has been made - and how many hearings had there been?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare thank you for your quick reply. It was the first court hearing last week, and it was a contact order which was made, despite the fact that he applied for a shared parenting order. His application and the contents of the narrative within it were not taken into consideration, neither were the concerns he has expressed both to Cafcass and to his solicitor, neither was the issue that his ex has 'withdrawn contact' (her choice of phrase) several times when He has not agreed to her changing the terms of him seeing their daughter. He feels backed into a corner by his ex and the court last week appeared to support her in this, rather than listen to his concerns and then take a considered view. The Cafcass officer last week acknowledged that 12 nights away for. The father was too long, but also said three nights a fortnight away from the mother was also too long. There seems to be no consideration of ht epfather as an equal parent. The other concern he has is that his ex has become the primary carer by default (he continued working to support her while she stopped work when the baby was born, he continued to support her financially when they separated) and now the fact that he is provider not primary carer (which she assumed by default rather than mutual agreement) is being held against him. The law does not appear to protect the father as an equal parent, and we both struggle to see how this can be perceived as fair or more importantly how it is in his daughter's best interests to be not allowed to spend time with her father.
Maggie
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
How old is the child and what is the pattern of contact set out in the order?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She is 2 1/2. The order States he sees her alternate weekends Friday and Saturday nights. He is to collect her at 1330 from nursery (which is not an appropriate time for her as it is in the middle of nap time - he has been collecting her between 1230-1300 since she started nursery in May, thereby enabling her to fall asleep ever in the car or when she gets home - crucially not disturbing her sleep lattern) and is to return her to her maternal grandparents home at 1809 on the Sunday. He asked that the previous arrangement of returning her to nursery on Monday mornings be reinstated as this routine worked for the little girl, enabled her to spend an additional evening a fortnight with her father and importantly was a neutral location. In Seltember the maternal grandparents verbally abused him on returning his daughter to the extent that he felt threatened enough to file a complaint with the police. Unfortunately the police advised since it wa how word against there's they would be no point in proceeding with prosecution, something we both feel was inappropriate advice given the nature of the verbal abuse he was subjected to, the court ruled last week that he should return her pro the maternal gp grandparents home despite this being the site at which the verbal abuse occurred. He is not one to exaggerate or be easily uoset, and having seen just how upsetting this experience as for him I agree with him that it is inappropriate for the court to have forced him into returning to the site he was abused at when there is a neutral location a five minute drive away which he was using until the Summer. The change in arrangement coincided with the sale of the former marital home when his ex moved in with her parents.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - this was in fact an Order that your partner agreed to?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He felt railroaded into agreeing it. There wasn't an option, the Cafcass officer stated it is not in his daughters best interest and there was no opportunity to challenge it. His solicitor did not do a particularly good job in either explaining the procedure to him in advance (he had no idea what the format would be and nothing was explained to him on the day either) or in defending him. She was not particularly professional, having mixed up the courts so she was late arriving, the paperwork had been sent to the wrong court and during the court process she did not defend him or put across his concerns. She also did not explain whether it was for him to do that or whether that was her role as his solicitor.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Had he tried mediation?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes he has. His ex refused to cooperate, she attended the first mediation session but refused to go for further mediation.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
His initial problem is that he agreed to this and the Order was made by Consent
The Court made no rulings at all - they did not even hear evidence - this was simply a first hearing to see if agreement could be reached
I appreciate that he felt backed into a corner - but in fact all he had to say was no I do not agree and the Order could not have been made.
He should make a formal complaint about his solicitor who should have explained all of this before the hearing
he also needs to understand that CAFCASS did not in fact find for or against him.
The report contains what both parties told them and an initial assessment of whether or not there are any Safeguarding issues involved - which clearly there are not.
Whilst it is usually difficult to upset a consent order so quickly her wish to take the child abroad and to a place where there is a possible risk does allow him to go back.
He needs to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order and whilst doing so can reopen the issues of collection and return
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. That is very helpful.
On a different note, in the divorce process she is also being difficult in that she has so far not provided documentation which has been requested several times. She has requested that my finances are brought into their divorce settlement, and has asked, through solicitors, to know what equity there is in my house. My partner is currently living with me and my children, but is due to relocate (through work) early next year. His solicitor has advised that my financial position is not relevant to his divorce but given what happened last week then we are both concerned this may not be the right advice. Please can you confirm whether my finances have any relevance on their divorce?
Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is sensible to give the most basic information - as in your income and capital situation - no details just the figures
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Why is it sensible? I don't see how my financial situation is of any relevance to their divorce.
And if it is sensible for my finances to be discord, then didn't she ought to be disclosing her parents' financial situation since she is living with them?
And reverting back to your response above, to whom does he submit a formal complaint about his solicitor?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is sensible as that way it shows that you are supporting him and not vice versa.
If he were supporting you then his ex could argue that you should pay your own way
The firm should have a clear complaints process set out in the initial Client Care letter
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I a, not supporting him, nor he me. We both work full time. His ex also works full time (and earns the same as I do). Does that have any impact on it being sensible for my financial position to become part of their divorce?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Your finances will not become part of the divorce.
You are simply giving the overview so that it can be confirmed that your finances are not relevant - rather than time and money being spent on arguing the issue
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry, I don't quite follow. I really don't understand why I am being asked to provide my financial information. I don't see how it is relevant.
What can be done to ensure that she provides the paperwork? It has been 18 months now and she has yet to provide a full set of bank statements despite being asked for it several times. He has provided everything upfront and has not held anything back. But it seems she is playing some game in selecting what information she is providing,and is delaying the proceedings considerably. What can be done about that?
Maggie
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You and your partner are cohabiting - the court needs to be certain that you are maintaining yourself (and indeed quite possibly your partner)
An overview will give this information - no paperwork no evidence just the basic facts.
Not giving those facts could cause the court to assume that your partner is diverting money to you and your assets.
To force the issue on disclosure your partner needs to make a financial application within the divorce proceedings which will lock them into the court timetable and will enable him to ask the court to threaten her with prison if she does not produce the paperwork
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My oartner is only living at my house temporarily, his job means he is relocating early next year. Does this change the advice above? I just don't understand why my situation should be factored into his divorce.
at the court hearing last week the court stated there should be a contact book so that both parents can record any information important to their daughters welfare. This is particularly important for him as she refuses to communicate with him and ignores all messages he sends asking how their daughter is. He has collected his daughter today but no contact book was provided. Given her lack of communication and cooperation I am not at all surprised that she has not followed the courts directive. Does this count as a breach of the court order and what should he do about it?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
No It doe snot change my advice.
All you are giving are overall figures to exclude the issue - his ex has no claim on anything of yours
Your partner should buy a note book and send it back with the child
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am a very private person and do not particularly want others to know how much I earn. What would happen if I decline to diaclose this information to my partner?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Then there is a risk that the Court will assume that he is supporting you and his financial settlement may reflect this assumption
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If he were to be supporting me, what impact would that have?
They have a joint car loan for her car. She is refusing to sign the loan over into her sole name. He has continued to pay it since they separated, but feels that now she is working full time she should take on th loan. She has refused to do so. What options does he have?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
His settlement could be less.
The loan will have to be dealt with within the financial settlement
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So with her refusing to prioress anything, refusing to communicate with him and so far not having responded to his solicitors letters and the two reminders, what are his options? Surely he shouldn't have to pursue this through the courts, at further cost to shim self, in order to resolve this? CN she be made to pay for the court orocedeedings given she is not responding?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
No I am afraid not.
If he wishes to lock into a timetable then he needs to issue the court application
However of she does not follow the Court process correctly then costs can be awarded against her
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please can you advise what my partner's ex wife is entitled to claim of his pension. His lawyer has previously advised him that as they were married for six years she is entitled to claim half of six years' value of his oension. His solicitor was very clear about this and he found this reassuring as his ex seemed to be under the press ion she is entitled to claim half of the full pension for ever. He has today read that in UK legislation his ex wife is entitled to claim half of his whole pension and not just the value of six years. Please can you clarify what the law states?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Her claim is for half of the pension that has accrued during the time they were married/cohabiting
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does the fact that he has an armed forces pension make any difference?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
No it is the same.
The pension share that she is entitled to can either be settled by way of an extra capital payment or a pension sharing order transferring her share to a pension in her name
Clare

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Kasare

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TG/TGraham12/2012-7-17_81212_bigstockBusinessHandshake508163.64x64.jpg Thomas's Avatar

    Thomas

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    133
    UK solicitor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    340
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/GL/Glossolicitor/2013-5-14_214834_TWMParkinsonWright.64x64.jpg Glos solicitor's Avatar

    Glos solicitor

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2
    10 years experience in all areas of family law, now specialising in cases involving social services and children
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UK/UKfamsol/My face July 2011.64x64.jpg UKfamsol's Avatar

    UKfamsol

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    240
    Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CH/chathamchamber/2011-4-24_191833_1.64x64.jpg chatham-chamber's Avatar

    chatham-chamber

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    182
    LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
 
 
 

Related Family Law Questions