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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33284
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My son completed a contact order C100 to get visit rights to

Customer Question

My son completed a contact order C100 to get visit rights to see his children, 2 and 6. When he got to the court, his estranged wife changed the order with the court and now my son only sees them for 4 hours on a Sunday. However, his estranged wife frequently alters these times and often my son doesnt get to see them at all. He is very disturbed at how his children are behaving, very solemn and almost frightened to be with him. This is also grave of concern as the contact order states that the maternal grandmother looks after the children when she is known to be an alchoholic. My son's family is also not being able to see the children as she has recently moved and not giving her new address. She has also recently committed fraud which is being investigated with the police, having gained access to my son's account and withdrawn money. What can my son or us as his family do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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.
Why did the court order such limited contact - or did your son accept what was offered?
has he spoken to the school about his eldest?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is something we have spoken to my son about. The court apparently told him that if he hadnt have signed the court order he would have even less contact than what his estranged wife wanted, Are you saying that he neednt have signed the order?


If so, can he now contest it as he feels as though he is unable to do anything.


 


Regarding his son's school, that is also something we have been speaking to him about and suggested he writes letters (so he has written evidence of his attempts) and also notes in a diary the times he is meant to see the children and unable to- to everyone who is in an official capacity, school, social services - any others you can think of?


 


What do you suggest we do?


 


Also, one of the reason's my son had left his wife was due her unacceptable controlling behaviour. This resulted in me being banned from seeing the children for no reason at all, I never seen them. the court order states that the children are not to have any contact with me - can this be contested? Is this ban legal? I own a reputable business and well regarded locally.


 


 


 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Have you received my response to this?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
For clarity - was your son represented at the hearing?
Was there a short report from CAFCASS produced - if so did it identify any serious concerns?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No concerns were raised by CAFCASS. My son was told by the court that because he and his estranged wife had different ideas of visits if neither f them agree then the court's decision would have been less favourable for them both, so he signed it.


No my son was not represented at the court.


My son signed the Order thinking that visits would increase as per the Order but the Order also stated that the mother could change this at any time. My son is extremely concerned over the emotional effects this is now having on his children as vsiits are very sporadic, i.e when he arrives to pick the children up, they are either not there or his says he doesnt want to go, he is 6 which is VERY unusual.


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What does the order say exactly?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

That Matthew can see the children for 3 hours on a Sunday and one hour on a Wednesday evening, and that the mother will consider increasing these hours regularly to build them up but it also says she has the right to alter if she wants to. Furthermore, it states that the paternal grandmother is to have no contact with the children. There is no reason for this.


Concern has to be for the children here in the first instance and get the situation changed so that Matthew can have the children every other weekend and see them every Wednesday. Can this happen?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
When did he last have them overnight?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He has never had them overnight, he has never been allowed to. The 3hours he sees them, when allowed on a Sunday means he is unable to take them to see any of his own family.Matthew lives in Plymouth, I live in Swindon and his fathers family live in Poole, Dorset

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
When was this order made?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

18th October 2012 at Plymouth Courts

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thats the first but of good news!
Since his ex is not willing to extend the existing contact your son needs to make a further application for contact to include Overnight contact so that he can take the children to see his wider family.
This is not an unreasonable request
It would help if your son has support at all the hearings so that he is not pressured into agreeing an arrangement that is not in his interest as he did last time.
The first hearing is just that - a preliminary hearing to see if the parties can be persuaded to agree - as they did last time - if not matter will continue and statements will be prepared and then the court will decide
before starting this your son should try using Family Mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk)
I hope that this helps - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you I will speak to my son.


 


What he is fearful of is that the courts will take the ex wife's statement request as they did before. The last Order cost him £215 and another would cost this again without knowing if he would be successful or railroaded again. What he had in his last Order request was completely reasonable but he lost.


Do you know what the court meant by ' if neither of you agree then the court decision would be even less favourable to you both?'


I am also assuming that Mediation success requires both Matthew and his ex wife to take part?


lastly, the last Court Order included a sentence barring the paternal grandmother from having any contact with the children. Is this acceptable to the court? or can it be disagreed with and overturned if no reasonable explaination can be given why?


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
He did not lose - he never got to a full hearing.
He was pressured by the Judge to reach an agreement so that Court time could be saved - it is true that an Order imposed by the Court is never as good as an agreement that both parents reach
The Last sentence got in because his ex wanted it - it is a matter that can be argued in court.
However there is no point in your son starting if he is not going to be able to stand up to the pressure
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, I understand now that the Court appearance they both went to was just a start and if further appearance is required then a full hearing is needed. I am now assuming this is a costly situation?


 


In your opinion, how likely is matthew going to get agreement with the Court to have sensible visits and overnight stays to see his family?


 


Also, is it legally enforceable to barr the grandmother from contact with the children if she is a good person and no valid reason not to?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Unless he instructs a solicitor there is no extra financials cost involved - just time and emotion.a
The bar on you came about it because the mum asked and your son consented
If he tries again then he can insist that the court makes a decision on this issue.
There is a good chance of this being lifted and your son getting extra contact
Clare

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