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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33324
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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please help! my son was primary career of 3 children before

Customer Question

please help! my son was primary career of 3 children before becoming estranged from his wife 2011. The eldest is her's by a previous relationship. 2 are his children whilst he was married. his estranged wife has never taken on his surname, this is also causing difficulties.

He left her because of her alcholol and drug abuse. He moved back to Wales Feb 2012, the family live in Cornwall. She has stopped him having the children, this resulted in all sorts of accusations; which have been thrown out at court and unfounded.

In October he had a supervised visit with a Cafcass representative who reported back that there were no problems and it was clear that the bond between his 6 and 2 yr old was strong, and the older child.

In December he had a call (out of the blue) asking that the children be collected on Boxing day which he duly did. On collecting the children they were blue with the cold and poorly. On the 27th December he took both children to sort out the health issues to our local GP who immediatly called in social services for neglect. The 6 year old had a servearly infected rash and head lice, whilst the 2 year old had a chronic ear infection, and headlice.

Medication was given and administered, social services in Wales were contacted b the Doctor and turned up within 2 hours and arranged for a further examination of the children at the hospital the following day: this took over four hours! it was expressed that there was a case for neglect. There was scaring to the 2 year olds leg, bruising which could not be explained but was not consistant with a fall.

There has been another court hearing since then when it was supposedly a 'court order' that my son was allowed to telephone contact the children every Wednesday at 6pm, the 'ex' has now said that this was a verbal agreement as it is not written in the court order. So she does not need to comply.

The court assigned the Cafcass representative as their guardian. She is having difficulty in contacting the 'mother', so to are social services in Cornwall who maintain that there is not an issue (the 'ex's aunt and uncle are head of social services in Cornwall).

My son is worried sick and does not know where to turn, his solicitor is not getting much sense from Cornwall either. The 'ex' has been ordered by the court to have drug test (2 occassions) - to date she is refusing (or making excuses) as to why these have not been done (my son is fully aware who her dealer is and she is still taking).

Social services make a timed appointment to visit the family and have stated that they cannot find any evidence - as though she is going to pull out a CD case and straw and take a line in front of them! Although they have several referrals from individuals and schools about the children. They have also stated that the 'neglect' issue is not the case. There is also a family support worker from the school involved with the children for the 2nd time.

My son would like full residential custody of the children and has to write a 'statement' as to why they would be better off living in Wales. As I do all of this sort of 'stuff' i do not know where to begin.

With legal aid now being restricted this is also causing problems. My son is unable to work due to a back injury nor is he in receipt of any income support. I am financially maintaining him and his elder son who lives with us (by a previous relationship) and the £150 round trips to Cornwall (that is another issue) I am fast running out of money and cannot continue.
So in short:
what happens if the latest drugs test has not been carried out?
How strong in court is it deemed the 'verbal contact' with his children when it has been broken by the mother.
what do i need to put in this statement.

apologies for this being long winded but as a grandmother i have no rights either!
Thank you. June
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
Is your son currently in receipt of Legal Funding?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes he has limited legal aid, and appears to have to re-apply every time something needs to be done.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Are you sure he has not now got a full certificate for the lifetime of the case?
Why is his solicitor not drafting the statement?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good question! I do not know, he is neither able to earn money because of a back injury due to a car crash - lost his successful business also. Nor is he getting any benefits there is a tribunal date for this on the 15th April. Bank of mum is supporting both him and his 14year old son. I am living off savings because they will not give me any benefits either!


I do not know why his solicitor is not drafting the statement she has requested that he does it. That equals Mum! He works on cars not computers and is useless at putting paperwork together.


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Has he shown you any Legal Funding paperwork at all?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


yes i deal with all of his paper work. He only has limited legal aid. Maximum of 2.5K which he has had to re-apply for each occassion. the Ex has run out of legal aid funding... ?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Then he has a full funding certificate (the financial limit can be raised as the case progresses and his solicitor simply has to make the correct application at the correct time)
On that basis it is for the solicitor to draft the statement - it is what they are paid to do.
However there is no reason why you should not write out all the issues that matter to your son.
Start with a chronological account dealing with their relationship and the reason for the separation.
He will need to explain why he felt that it was safe to leave the children in her care.
He can then move on to the events post separation and his current concerns.
He should emphasise the problems he is having with regard to Social Services and also deal with how he would care for the children given his illness an dhow he will facilitate contact.
The court will certainly have concerns that the contact arrangements have not been abided by
In addition the court is likely to take a negative view of her failure to take the ordered tests.
With regard to Social Services given the family involvement a complaint to the relevant Chair on the local Council would be appropriate
You may also find this website useful
http://www.thecustodyminefield.com/CourtForms.html
Claire
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33324
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your prompt and excellent feedback. I have just managed to sit my son down (in a frame of mind to deal with it) and he was impressed in the way that you have succinctly listed points and reassured him that a dim view will be taken of her actions in relation to contact.


 


He has however learnt this week from the court guardian that social services are having a "child in need meeting" to which he has not been kept in the loop or informed. The court guardian has expressed her concerns to this and is 'attempting' to also get information from them.


 


It appears that they would rather keep the children in Cornwall under duress and with the in put of social services than let them live with their Dad in Wales where they would be happy, cared for and without the input of social services.


 


My son has already made one complaint to social services and was basically told to mind his own business. He is the father of the children of the marriage and took on the responsibility of an elder child.


 


If you have any advice in relation to the above I would be very grateful, I am all for also writing to his MP.


 


Again thank you so much,


Regards June

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Legally he HAS to be kept informed - suggest an immediate formal complaint to the Local Authority and the possibility of a Judicial Review of their actions
You should also contact the Family Rights Group (www.frg.org,uk)
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Claire,


That is another letter of complaint that will be steaming its way off the keyboard. The other one being in relation to the family support worker electronically divulging personal information breaking the data protection act in relation to my son's gender dysphoria. She circulated the information without his knowledge in minutes of a meeting to 11 people he had no knowledge of nor was he impressed that it was discussed without him present in the first instance. His wife was fully aware of his gender dysphoria even before they started a relationship, they also lived together for some years before getting married. My son's view is that he is aware that it can be difficult to cope with. She has also tried using this in court as a reason for him not to have the children until it suits her social life or that the children have no presents for Christmas. This thankfully has been thrown out of court already. It has gone some way in that his eldest son lives with him from a previous relationship and there is a good working relationship between him and the mother.


Again thank you, June

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
That may explain the bias he is facing - which may help in challenging it
Claire

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