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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70283
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Children due back in a few hrs

Resolved Question:

Hello, my children's father is due back with the children today at 5pm.
I'm not sure what to do, pls advise.
He has previously admitted to smoking weed while he's had children, an open agreement through solicitors was written up about him not going this and also contact times etc.
That was 2 yrs ago. The last couple of weeks his van has been smelling of weed, which he blames on an 'imaginary friend' that just got out the van just before.
This Friday was the same (he collects boys on a Friday) except he was wearing sun glasses and avoiding looking me in the face (I had emailed my solicitor during last week to ask advice about this) not heard back yet was waiting to see what she suggests.
Then on Internet later that night there were photos of him and his girlfriend smoking weed (looks like Amsterdam, the day before) and this confirmed my thought on them smoking it and why his van smells of it and looking back he was probably under the influence on Friday when he collected the boys. I phoned for advice and they said to phone 101. The police did a welfare check yesterday but he wasn't at his address. They did it again this morning just before midday and they said the boys are fine, and everything looks alright, although it seems he stayed away with the kids Saturday night (as both I and police tried the house)
He must have returned to his flat this morning which would be why there's no sign or smell.
He wouldn't answer the phone to let me speak to boys to check they were ok from Friday night and I only found out they are ok today by police. What advice do you give, concerned about the safety and seeing he is smoking weed again and his van smelling of it when he collects boys and admitted to doing it previously and breaking agreement and me having no way to contact I think contact should be stopped.
Please help. Yes he has parental responsibility but it states on agreement that the boys reside with me. ***@******.***
Also if contact is stopped would he just somehow get it back and the kids routine be messed up for no reason?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I am really sorry but there is absolutely no realistic prospect of preventing contact. At least, you can stop it. He will then go to court and he will win. The fact that you go the police involved in this and they found nothing will not help.
If he went to court then CAFCASS would assess him but the fact that he has smoked cannabis in Amsterdam is not realistically an issue unless he is an addict and there are well grounded reasons to believe he will expose the children to it.
If he does seek a court order he will almost certainly get more contact and you will lose control over the arrangements.
The days when fathers were denied contact without the authority of the court have gone I'm afraid.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
its not just Amsterdam he is smoking cannabis. His van is stinking of it when he collects the kids.
So really he can smoke cannabis when having the children then?
If that's the case when he has the children 24/48 hrs per week can I make sure that he allows me to contact to them (not him)on the phone once a day? As he doesn't answer the phone and I have to wait 24/48hrs to make the boys are safe (I normally don't contact them but as he's smoking cannabis again concern about safety.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, but there is no evidence that he did that. The welfare check was absolutely fine and he will say that you did that to disrupt his contact with them.
No, you cannot contact them. The children have a right to unfettered access to their father. Answering your calls is not unfettered access.
I am sorry but you cannot control contact. You can make your concerns known to the court and if they are found to be without merit then that is probably something he will use against you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
so how can I make sure my children are safe on weekends with their dad?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Given that the welfare check was positive that tends to suggest they are.
Ultimately you can refuse access. He will then go to court and the court will order contact.
The children have a right to access to him unless there is a well founded welfare issue and even then it will just order supervised contact for a short time. That wouldn't be appropriate here since he has been having them unsupervised anyway.
If you interrupt their weekends though and he has an order then there is action that he can take over that. That is the problem with court orders. Control is lost.
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