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Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31300
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Dear Jo Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because

Customer Question

Dear Jo
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: How can I really know what my seven year-old (eight in August) really wants in respect to which parent she lives with. I was sole parent for seven and a half years. She currently lives with the father (emergency protection order) and his partner, and because I refused to hand over her passport as directed by the Judge (I did NOT know about the particular hearing which took place), the Judge "suspended" my by then Joint Parental Responsibility Order. I only see her for two hour-long supervised sessions a week and Social services have said I am not to speak in a derogatory way about either the father or his partner (which I don't) but the father is bringing a private residency order which S/services in Gloucestershire have already told me they will support. My daughter only saw her father for the first time in February 2017. I have signed letter (2012 -2016) stating he did not want any responsibility and "reminded" me that "our arrangement was that I was only ever to be a sperm donor"). He was married, we had a 10 year affair before he left his wife and also myself and my daughter (all 3 of us on Christmas Day morning 2011) for his Secretary with whom he is currently living. I go to a hearing - not necessarily a final hearing
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Not finished! Basically the court case is Wed 12th of July. I have been in hospital four times since Christmas. I am now trying to restore my Joint PR status, get her back/explain my viewpoint on Wed with a Barrister appointed by my solicitor who I haven't met yet. Basically apart from Social services who apparently should have delivered a "section 7" statement as to their standpoint (which they haven't) which should also take note of the child's wishes. 1. How do I know she is not just trying to say the right thing to the Social Worker? 2. How do I know whether she is even aware of the case on Wednesday 3. How do I know that the father but espec the partner haven't talked about this with her 4. Can she speak for herself in court 5. Is it right when I asked the Social worker on Friday 5th of June if I could get an adjournment to prepare she told me "The Judge will not defer" for a second time (the first was granted because the Social Services dept in Glos are clearly in trouble and a new Social Worker was appointed and that they "needed more time" to gather their reports) 6. I was told also on the 5th of June by the same individual that it could be "years before you get her back" and 7. That despite the father and judge and school etc knowing that I changed her name by Deed Poll from G to A that I found out from reading her Reading book - where the partner left comments going back to May 2017 - that they only call her G. She has been called A since 2012. When I was shocked at this, my daughter was obviously worried about discussing it (the Supervisor was typing in the background) and said "That is what they call me". To me this is emotional abuse. It's confusing and upsetting to a child who is suddenly adjusting to living with a father/his partner who she didn't know, a house she didn't know and three half brothers she didn't know but was introduced to cruelly in my opinion as G. I kept my emotions as calm as possible and even asked her "what would you like to be called poppet"? to which she replied again "they call me "G" but I want you to call me me "A" mummy". This is a horrible thing to do to her, when she is already traumatised, clearly to get at me and NOT "in the best interests of the child" re any residency application hearing? My daughter was visibly upset and clinging to me by the end of Friday's supervised session and could not even speak apart from to whisper "I want to come home mummy" whilst clinging to me curled up like a foetus into my chest. It was painfully horrible for me and clearly devastating to her for but I need the Judge to be aware of this, I have not been approached by SServices about anything until I rang asking that my access should be increased as ordered by the Judge. How is refusing to call her "A" - all she has known since she turned two "in the best interest of the child". The Judge I am very sure is not aware of this. How do I say it, does the Barrister (I've been told by my solicitor not to be emotional - but how can I not? This is morally wrong. It is moral and emotional abuse of my daughter who is clearly upset and confused and not "in the best interests" of her??
Assistant: It's hard to know for sure. The Solicitor will figure it out. Soon. I'm trying to find the right Solicitor for you right now. As soon as they are ready, I will let you know.
Customer: Thank-you. This recent revelation about the name has shocked me, upset my daughter, and I think is not appropriate or kind given the upheaval she has gone through suddenly. She wants to come home.
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: Heln
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

May i ask why you have had to be in hospital this year?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I had a seizure due to alcohol withdrawal in Finland in December. I subsequently tried to stop myself and had a brief but similar (no seizure) admission to my local hospital in Feb. Followed by two lengthier admissions in March and lastly in April (18th - May 2nd) where I was provided with much more support both during and after discharge. I have not drunk anything since April 18th and my bloods have almost normalised. I keep every weekly/fortnightly OPC appts and have stated CBT therapy. Social Services have no idea what progress I have made because they do not keep in touch now.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 month ago.

Has a final care order actually been made?