Thank you for your question.
I am a family solicitor and am able to help.
From what I have read - you hold very serious concerns about you ex. You have detailed drug abuse and how this has affected your ex's ability to care for your son. You have also detailed that he can be violent. I also note that your son is not able to communicate with you - which is also a worry for you as he is not able to tell you anything concerning that may happen. I note that as a result of your concerns you have witheld contact.
I also note that your ex has already taken the step of making a referral to mediation. A referral has to be made to mediation before you ex can make an application to the court.
It is your duty to protect your son. If you consider that your son is at risk then you have to take steps to minimise any risks.
I note that you intend to attend at mediation. It is important that you are clear with the mediator about what your concerns are. If you feel uncomfortable attending at mediation with your ex being present then please do ask the mediation service for a seperate appointment.
Prior to attending at mediation - you should give consideration as to whether there are any options for safe contact that can be considered at mediation - could there be a 3rd party who could supervise - could you trust them to stop the contact if your ex had been using/ was falling asleep or being aggressive?
If at mediation no agreement can be reached that you are satisfied will safeguard your son - then your ex will have to make an application to the courts.
Even if an application to the court is made - this does not mean that your concerns are not genuine and will not be listened too. Prior to the first court hearing - a children and families officer (known as Cafcass) will contact you. You need to detail to this person all the concerns that you have. The Cafcass officer will also complete police and social services checks on both of you. The incident with your ex's new partner will come up. The Cafcass Officer will make reccomendations to the Judge as to how the case should progress. They may suggest that your ex undertake drug testing. They may also suggest a fuller report take place so your concerns can be investigated further. Contact may take place in the future but only when it is sfae for your son. Your ex would have to convince you and the court that this would be the case.
If your partner has been violent to you in the last 2 years - then you might be able to qualify for legal aid to help you. Please see the link below for further information on this.
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