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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33276
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My fiancé was at court this week. He was granted access to

Customer Question

My fiancé was at court this week. He was granted access to his youngest daughter and access was granted for his older daughter (20) to be able to see her sister over Christmas. Everything was agreed in court and our barrister informed us that all was agreed. And he was immediately sending the order to court to be sealed.
Three days later we got a copy of an amended order from the court stating that my fiancé and his eldest daughter could not spend time together with the youngest daughter.
This was a material change to what had been agreed in court and we do not understand the reasons only that it will devastate both girls and also their dad. It goes against the rest of the order which states she can see her father whenever she wishes
When we have repeatedly asked our barrister to explain and share any application for an amendment from the other side ( we are told one was made) he refuses to share any information and says there is no mechanism for redress
An you please explain why an order would be changed without us. Ring made aware of the reasons why and why our barrister would refuse to find out for us?
Submitted: 4 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

What exactly does the Order say?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The original order allowed for scheduled contact with his youngest daughter with a clause that they could also see each other whenever requested by the daughterIt also provided the eldest daughter who lives on the other side of the world to be able to see her sister for the seven days she was in the uk for.The amended order came back saying that the contact between the girls could not involve either parent.This means that over Christmas that the father and two girls are not permitted to spend time altogether and that the clause about the youngest daughters requests to see her father and superceeded over Christmas.As this is the precise time they would all like to be together and as the rest of the schedule is down to the youngest daughters wishes it makes absolutely no logical senseWe do t understand why the judge altered this part and the barrister refuses to share any details or communications about it
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Does that make sense?
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

Are you aware that the site charges more for a phone call?

How old is the younger girl, and will the older girl be staying with her father?

Does the elder child have the same mother?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
14 and the older daughter is 20. Yes the older daughter is staying with the father. The father only gets to see his oldest daughter for four weeks a year so now they are all forced to be separated. We don't understand why. We only know the other side asked for an amendment to the order
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
We have not seen this communication to the judge nor will our barrister provide it to us
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Both have the same mother. The eldest daughter is estranged from her mother however - not that that should impact the decision
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I'm aware it costs more to chat but happy to pay of it is easier to advise me
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

I would be happy to call you in the morning if you would like.

Which court was involved?

Did your fiance use a solicitor?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I'd really prefer an answer tonight if that's ok as I can't sleep I am so wound up! Liverpool family court and my fiancé used a solicitor and a barrister. However we feel we cannot get impartial advice from the solicitor now as ultimately he contracted the barrister and has a large contract with the chambers
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
happy to have a written answer
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

Have you actually spoken to the solicitor?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
On top of that the eldest daughter has a serious anxiety issue as she was abused my the mother. The judge is aware of this. The mother is using the terms of the amended order to insist the oldest daughter meets her for handover of the youngest daughter. Under this stipulation no contact will occur as the oldest daughter will get too anxious
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hence our distress. The mother has frustrated contact of the youngest daughter with the father and oldest daughter for the past two years.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
this will be the first time they will have all been able to be together for some considerable time
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

The father has a set pattern of contact with the younger child - is that correct?

It is agreed that the children should spend time together WITHOUT the involvement of the parents - is that also correct?

When did the father last see the younger daughter?

When did the sisters last see each other?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Set pattern of contact yes with clause that this can varies at any point to meet the wishes of the child. It wasn't agreed at court. Everything was agreed that the sisters could spend time together as they wished ( and therefore also with the clause allowing the father to join if the younger child so wished)It is two years since either of them saw the younger daughter. The younger daughter has expressed a desperate desire to see her father and sister in the CAFCASS report - hence there is no concern about the younger daughter's welfare. The only concern was an obstructive mother
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I meant the clause about contact without either parent wasn't agreed at court.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The youngest child is confused why she can't see them both together and the mother is enjoying the fact that this is the case
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

So for clarity - no agreement was actually made about a joint meeting at all?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

I asked if you had spoken to the solicitor rather than the barrister

I also asked you to confirm that the Order as originally agreed did NOT make a specific provision for a joint meeting with the father and both girls?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
No it was agreed that that provision was there for both the father and the oldest daughter and the youngest daughter had full decision making on when to see the father outside of the schedule
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The solicitor was supportive of our concerns but has not had complaint answers from the barrister
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Sorry your questions didn't appear
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I don't understand however on what grounds a judge would not want both sisters to spend time with their father together when they both want to
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The father had first contact with the youngest daughter yesterday. The daughters boarding school said since she had known four days ago about the court allowing her to see her dad and sister she had been a different child. Happy and smiling constantly.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Are you there? I think there must be a lag on the system
Expert:  Clare replied 4 days ago.

OK

so three different issues .

The great news is that your fiance has finally seen his daughter after two years and now has a regular pattern of contact

Equally good news - the siblings can spend time together - there is no reason why and hand over has to involve the mother - a meeting in a coffee shop can be organised - after all she is 14 not 4.

Since there was no specific order made for the father and both girls to have contact together it cannot be argued that the Order has been completely change don the face of it - which is why the barrister says that there is no instant way of resolving it.

It is for your solicitor to ask the court what happened to cause the change - not the Barrister as his involvement in the case has ended.

Please do not be concerned about the relationship between the solicitor and the barrister - it is a professional relationship in which the solicitor does the leg work and the Barrister does the dramatic and intense part - so the solicitor should be doing this - or asking the barrister what he knows.

If your fiance feels very strongly on this point then he will have to make an urgent fresh applictaion to the court.

Alternatively they can all enjoy what has been won and plan an awesome Christmas next year

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

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