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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34897
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I am the applicant in a contact case seeking additional contact

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I am the applicant in a contact case seeking additional contact with my 4year old son.

I have a final hearing booked for the 25th Feb 2014

The respondents main line of defence is now all centred around the possibility of my son having Autistic Spectrum Disorder (As she does) and the Final hearing has been requested to be conducted via submission with no cross examination.

Within the second statement of the respondent essentially has obtained a letter from a doctor who after assessing my child 5 times and concluding he is unlikely to have ASD (Albiet until without my knowledge or consent) has now referred him for a further assessment based on a telephone conversation with the mother and has advised the court not to change his routine "in case this creates distress or anxiety"

This seems to be expert testimony via the back door also without medical basis as it is based solely on the word of the mother. I have complained to the Health authority however the doctor has also gone on holiday for two weeks.

I require a procedure to either request removal of this "evidence" or alternatively the opportunity to question the doctor in the courtroom?
Thank you for your question.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Do you have evidence of the previous conclusion made by the Doctor?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It clearly states this in the letter from the doctor being used as evidence.

Attachment: 2014-02-08_094833_exhibits.pdf


letter is on image above

The letter showsthat the concerns are entirely those of the mother not based on previous actual assessments however the advice she has given is evidently precautionary based on the alarm created by Nathan's mother.


He shows no such traits with me. I suspect his behaviour reflects his mother.



What contact changes are you requesting?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Please seek to answer the question above

I have full weekends every other week and 2 hours midweek.

Some holidays arranged although short of what I have requested


The final hearing is seeking to agree further

Short of explaining the entire case I am needing help on a specific issue which is outlined above.


I am considering writing to the court and requesting a further directions hearing to discuss the evidence and also the fact that my ex partners own condition is by her own admission potentially damaging my son.


Please attempt to advise on the question of the "witness" statement provided by the doctor which only outlines a referral based on the mothers "diagnosis" running against the findings of 5 previous assessments.


My question is relating to procedure and the best way to deal with the "hearsay" that is being presented as evidence.



This is neither hearsay nor a witness statement.
It is a letter from the doctor that is actually very carefully worded to reflect the fact that the doctor still has doubts about the issues that the mother is describing.
In fact the letter does not say "don't change anything" it says - "there needs to be a fixed patter" - something which is in fact important for every young child.
Unless you are asking for ad-hoc contact which happens at short notice then this letter need give you no concern - you simply use it to back up to your version of what you want
however if you are determined that you do not wish to risk this then your only option is to ask the court for an adjournment in order to delay the matter until a full assessment has been completed.
The court will neither ignore the letter - it is after all a letter from a Doctor who has seen the child, nor summon the Doctor to give evidence - there is very little that he or she could add after all - the Doctor makes it clear s/he is not convinced - but has acted appropriately in referring the child to a specialist
In fact you can use the letter as much to your advantage as she can to hers - but if you are concerned then the only option is delay
I am sorry I know that this is not what you wish to hear - but I can only tell you how to deal with the position that you are in
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for this analysis;


It would be my preference not to delay the hearing.


I have applied for a specific issues order pretty much around the fact I have been wilfully excluded from matters pertaining to important decisions such as Nathan's medical and educational requirements.


It is my strong belief that my sons Mothers mental health issues and Aspergers syndrome effect his behaviour around her.


Coould you make any suggestions as how to present the view that my exclusion from this process is also hindering the view point of the doctor.


Also although I am sure the court will realise the probability of the reasoning behind the timing of the phone call my sons mother has made to the doctor (13th Jan 2014- 5 days after the directions hearing in which things were not going her way) is there much license in pressing that point?




Alex Wright



No delaying the hearing would be the last resort.
Could you just outline the changes you are seeking to the contact - not details just the headlines
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Clare


I will outline where we are as upto now on the attached PDF

It started with 24 hours a week but to date court has done the trick wth me successfully getting a better arrangement but I strongly believe Nathan requires more time with me not least of which because of his mothers mental health issues effecting him (although this s not currently an argument I wish to use)


Attachment: 2014-02-08_213920_contact_outlines.pdf


To date the Court Legal advisor's have both been very much onside and given me some advantages such as the staggered production of statements (with me seeing the respondents first then replying) as well as commenting on my ability to convey my statements and case well in the court room.





You are doing well and taking a wise approach.
The only concern I have is that you mention the possibility of needing flexibility - and flexibility does not work with the concerns raised in the letter.
However your suggestion that you need to ensure there are no large gaps in contact IS in accordance with his needs
Your point about his mothers issues are reflected in the letter - so use it subtly - but use it.
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you