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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33283
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My colleague is a 32 year old non working mum of 5 children

Customer Question

My colleague is a 32 year old non working mum of 5 children whom she had custody of and the father had visiting privileges. In 2014 Her mother passed away and she ask the father to look after the children whilst she dealt with the funeral and time to recover. He refused to give them back. It went to court and for the children benefit they stayed with the father and she had visiting rights. He has now stop her from seeing them altogether. He has made out that she is an unfit mother and the children are better off with him and his current partner.
It has been a non stop battle for her with several court appearances even some against the father for abuse which he was found guilty. The worse thing now is that he has turned the children against her and he made them send messages to her saying they don't want to see her again. She says she has been refused legal aid.
Understandedly she is distraught and does not know what to do.
Can you please advise in anyway possible!
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion firstHow old are the children?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Oldest is 9 youngest is 5.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
When in 2014 did they move to their father's home?What contact should she be having?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Exact children ages are 10, 9, 8, 6 and 4 She has 2 girls and 3 boys.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Are you aware that the site charges extra for a phone call?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
was unaware of extra phone cost but happy to continue on line. I have my colleague on the other end of my mobile so happy to give any further information.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
When in 2014 did they move to their father's home?What contact should she be having?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Sorry for the delay in my responses but just getting answers from her now. The children were given temporary to their father on 25th June 2014 the day after her mum died. She went to court in February 2016 and was given 12-2pm every Sunday and 4.30-5.50pm every Wednesday.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
When did she last see them?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Sorry, I think her phone died and I'm just waiting for a response I will confirm but I think she last saw them in around March this year. I do know that on previous visits before then, her ex gave specific rules that she had to follow like, you can only see them in a specific room for a specific time, you cannot talk about the family, you cannot show any sad emotions, you have to come on your own even though she doesn't drive and would normally get a lift if you do, then you have to leave.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Their relationship was totally fine and they were all very happy seeing each other. It has only been during the time the visits stopped that the children have become very bitter towards her. She has gone to the house only to be turned away, had unanswered phones calls. The only corespondance that she gets now is a voice messages every weekend with all the children in turn saying, I don't want to talk to you or see you. I hate you and you are not my mum anymore.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Sorry - given that the Order was only made in February this year way did contact stop in March?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
There were several occurrences that happened in that time. She had to travel by bus and was sometimes late. Another time she was unwell hospitalised and unable to travel. There was a major incident when she went to visit and ask the children if they would go back with her. They got their coats and was ready to go but only her ex's mother was at the house at the time and as he returned he saw her at the front door with the children and accused her of trying to abduct them. Things turned a bit unpleasant and she had to called the police. She is only 5ft 4 and under 8 stone to his 6ft 4 frame but he accuse her of being violent and disruptive to the children. He also wrote a letter to their school saying she is dangerous and should not be allowed anywhere near them. The school now escorts the children to and from school premises.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He has accused her of many things and got social services involved. They gave her the all clear and she has proof of innocence via letters, text messages etc
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She has been chasing the court order but has been told details have been transferred to another court. Nothing has got back to her in that time hence my request for help as the longer she waits the more difficult and unpleasant her relationship with her children becomes.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
May I ask - have you seen any of the paperwork - any of it at all?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have. I have seen all her relevant paperwork including that specific order which is all filed at home.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have not got access at this time but can get it this evening and obviously case numbers, judges names etc.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
It would be very useful to know exactly what the last Order that she has says -
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Would you need a copy? As I said I wont get to see it until this evening so what is the best way to give you that information?
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
I can wait - then just tell me what it basically says!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok, I am just leaving my office to retrieve it and will log on again within a couple of hours.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
I will be here so do not worry
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi Clare thank you for hanging on. I have the paperwork in front of me now but with some additional information. There were actually two court appearance. The 1st hearing was actually on Thursday 29th October 2015 at the family count in Edmonton case ED15F00881. Its a two page document, the first list the children's names the parents names, CAFCASS records. the 2nd page states the court orders. saying that the children shall live with the father and the days and time when they shold be with their mother.
There was a 2nd court appearance on 12th Feb 2016. She has not got a copy of this order! All she has is a letter from her support worker stating that the court order was transferred from Edmonton court to Barnet court on 1st April 2016. This is the paperwork she has been waiting for to presue her battle.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
RightSo the actual Contact Order was made in October.What was the hearing in February about?Was there a Section 7 report?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'll just phone and ask her to confirm.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I cannot get any response at the moment. I will try and see her tomorrow to obtain this information if that is ok!
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
That is fine
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hello again, Just to confirm that the second court hearing in February was just to review how the visitations were going. A supervisor was appointed back in October who had to be there and no change to the visitation was made. The new judge on this occasion just said he was passing this case over to Barnet court. Nothing else was done or said and as I mentioned before no paperwork was given.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She cannot understand why she cannot get help and it is causing extreme sadness like any mother would be not seeing her children. She has even tried asking the police if they could go with her just to see them but they said they cannot. She continually sends text messages to the father pleading to let her see them but he just ignores her. The children must believe that she doesn't care for them hence the voice messages that the ex sends her, so she is desperate to save their relationship!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She has asked me to give you some additional information regarding her ex husband just to let you know what sort of person she is dealing with. Since having the children, all child benefits were passed to him. His current partner works part time but is also claiming benefits. They do what they can to ensure a comfortable living.
He has told the 5 children that his current partner is their mum this is confirmed in the voice messages that he sends to my colleague. He has also made claims that my colleague is working, preventing her from receiving any benefits possible, then uses the fact that she could never cope with the children because she has no money or made any attempt to find work. The delay in the whereabouts of the paperwork for this second court hearing just works in his favour. To him and the children, my colleague is seen to have done nothing. Despite this, she still sends text and voice messages to him to play to the children but he still refuse to show them.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Was all her contact supervised?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
A personal friend was appointed and present on all visits.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
How and why did the Contact actually break down?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Several occurrences happened as I mentioned on 09/05/2016 01.22. He basically has a strong resentment towards her. He has asked for a divorce so that he can marry his current partner and apply for full legal custody of the children. So stopping her seeing them and making them believe she wants nothing to do with them, works in his favour.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
As it isn't always easy to get hold of my colleague when you have ask a question, would it help if you let me know what evening you'll be on line and I can arrange to have her present? That way all questions can be answered straight away.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
The children are too young for their wishes to be relevant so far as contact is concerned.There is no longer any concept of "legal Custody" in the UK - and her ex already has the chidlren living with him so there is nothing else he can achieve so far as that is concernedI am still unclear about what actually happened with regard to the ocntact breaking down.You have said that sometimes she was late, and once she could not attend; and that on another occasion she asked of the children wanted to go home with her.I am not certain that is in fact is correct - so a schedule of the contact that she had after the Court Order was made in November would help.It would also be of assistance to have the exact wording of the Order made in November plus some indication f what your friend thinks happened at the last hearing - the one in respect of which there is no Order
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
When she was late or unwell to visit he used it against her claiming that she was not making enough effort for the children. Basically saying if you are late you don't see them. On that specific occasion when she did get there she said she was annoyed with his orders and asked the children if they wanted to go back with her. Assuming she was reffering to going back to her house where should spend quality time with them. Not sure if she meant for good. She said the children were happy to do so and went to gather their belongings. Only his mother was there at the time. He returned from the shop only to see her with the youngest on her back and the others at the door with there belongings. He accused her of trying to abduct them and physically force them away from her. She was injured and ended up calling the police. He has not trusted her ever since and planly refusing her any visitation.
I will scan the 1st court order and send it to you later. I will have to talk to her again about the 2nd court order but she has so far said the same thing. As it was only a review, nothing was given or said apart from it was being passed to Barnet court.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Can you let me have a schedule
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please find attached the 2 sheets regarding the court order.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
As far as the second court appearance is concerned, there was one change made to the arrangements and that was that she was to pick the children up from her ex husbands house and not from his mothers as previous.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
Only one sheet arrived I am afraidAlso a quick list of what contacts happened and what did not would help There are things we can do to help her!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She is complying a list of dates today. I will try sending the court order again this evening. Can you confirm which sheet you did receive sht1 or sht2 so I know which one to send. Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Looking back at the time I sent them I can see both documents?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Court Hearing*****order 2.
They are one in the same, just named differently.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think I maybe caused the confusion by calling them different names when I scanned them but the 2 sheet are both for the court order.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
I only got page 1 of the Court Order!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I hope you managed to received it this time.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Apologies for the delay in getting information from my colleague at this precise time.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
No problem - this is a difficult time for her - but sadly I still have not got a copy of the order - the file was not readable
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
You are correct in saying it is a very difficult time for her. I have scanned and renamed the court order documents Court order*****order 2. Hopefully you will be able to open both pages.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Unfortunately, I still have not heard anything back regarding the visiting schedule that you requested. Is there any advice that you can provide with the information that you already have or would you require more information?
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
No we can manageThe hearing in February should in fact have had a great deal more substanceDid she get any legal advice at all?What does the brief CAFCASS report say?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No she did not get any legal advice. I do not know the exact details but to my knowledge she wasn't entitled due to previous encounters and benefits being passed over to her ex. I also do not have any information on the CAFCASS report. in fact there is no other paperwork about her case. I have pretty much given you all the information that I am aware of.
I must apologies again but my colleague is in a very uncomfortable position and getting additional information has become very difficult indeed.
Expert:  Clare replied 6 months ago.
The way forward for your colleague is in fact simple.She can and should apply to enforce the existing Order.This is done using a Form C79 available herehttp://simon-walland-family-law.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/C79.pdfShe must attend for contact on every occasion - and must ensure that the supervisor is with her at all timeOnce the Contact is back in place she will need to contact the CAFCASS officer who has been ordered to prepare the Report about what should actually happen in the long termYou can find out more about these cases herehttp://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-apply-court-order-about-arrangements-your-children-without-help-lawyerPlease ask if there is any more information that you need

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