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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34888
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 have a dispute resolution appointment this Friday a

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I have a dispute resolution appointment this Friday a wishes and feelings report has been completed and I have today received a statement of issues resolution appointment from my ex husbands solicitors and I would like some help in preparing myself court date this Friday.
Many thanks

Thank you question.

I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Could you explain the background to your question and what it is that you would like to know
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have a dispute resolution hearing on Friday and I am unsure how to put my views across to the court effectively, or even if I will need to say anything at all. We have a Cafcass report which I completely agree with all within the report however my ex husband would like considerably more access than Cafcass are recommending, I'll give you a bit of background information:

We have 2 sons aged 9 and 12. We separated in July 2011 when my husband violently assaulted me social services put the children on a child protection order and ceased all dealings with me 6 months later when they felt satisfied that divorce proceedings were happening and that I would not be returning to my husband.

We divorced in June 2012.

In the contact order my husband had every other weekend overnight with the 2 children. However he continued to be abusive I reported him once to the police with no further action being taken.

In January 2014 I moved 100 miles away with the 2 children.

My ex husband continued to have the boys every other weekend until Aril 2014. I stopped the contact as he would be aggressive towards me and say inappropriate things in front of the children during pick up and drop off.

Due to the conflict the court ruled at the first hearing there was to be no contact from my ex partner until the Cafcass report had been completed.

There is a police report from May 2014 of an alcohol fuelled domestic incident between my ex husband and his new partner where he allegedly hit her over the head with a Pimms bottle however she would not press charges and social services (she has a child living with them) agreed not to be involved as they both agreed that they would not drink alcohol anymore.

Cafcass have recommended that all communication regarding the children be done through the paternal grandmother and face-to-face contact be limited to in or around our area with the grandmother present to minimise the risk of the children witnessing domestic abuse between my ex and his new partner.

They also recommend the children spend time with other paternal family members on the condition that my ex does not consume alcohol and that any overnight stay be at the paternal grandmothers house.

The children have both expressed they wish to spend time with their dad and the wider family but do not want a routine of contact which overrides all other interest and activities they have committed to (they play football in a team on Saturday and Sunday mornings)

Cafcass asses that contact with their dad is beneficial and the risks of the children being further exposed to aggressive behaviour and or domestic abuse can be managed by contact being overseen by the paternal grandmother. It is not appropriate that contact is overseen by my ex husband or any future partner or current partner.

Cafcass report that children to spend time with the wider paternal family they advise any overnight stays be at grandmothers or overseen by her presence.

Cafcass propose the children have face to face contact with their father at least once each month, preferably on two occasions each month . It is not essential that this always consists of overnight contact.

That is the recommendations of Cafcass, however my ex husband would like contact as follows:

"1. The applicant is seeking a children arrangement order to spend time with his two children.

The applicant has alleviated the concerns of the Respondent by virtue of the alcohol testing, GP report and Police Report. The applicant has read the Cafcass report and agrees that he should see the children on not less than one occasion per month along with weekly telephone calls. The Applicant suggests two weekends per month as per the previous arrangements.

2. The applicant believes that there is no reason paternal grandmother to oversee contact and the applicant is seeking a return to the arrangements of overnight alternative weekend visits, whereby the applicant meets the respondent at a mutually convenient half way point. The applicant is happy paternal grandmother to be involved in collection and drop off and it is anticipated she will be present during some contact occasions. The applicant believes there is no need paternal grandmother to be present during all occasions.

3. The applicant is happy to agree not to consume alcohol within 12 hours before and during time with the children.

4. The applicant also seeks holiday contact during the school holidays and Christmas.

5. The applicant requests notification when the respondent takes the children out of the country."

I strongly agree with the cafcass recommendations and would feel terribly scared in light of the recent allegation of domestic abuse between my ex and his new partner children to be staying overnight with them, however I would feel happy to agree to an overnight stay with the paternal family near to where their father lives.

Can you please help me in how I can get this across in court on Friday and advise how much relevance the cafcass recommendations will have in court please.

Thank you help.

Many thanks


Is the paternal grandmother willing to be involved and have the children overnight?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes she is.

Just to check - has the CAFCASS officer said that this pattern reflects the wishes of the children?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They have said the children wish to see their father however they do not want contact to override their interests and activities.

Are you willing to offer alternate weekends - one with an overnight with grandma and the next say just a Sunday visit in your area?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes I would be happy with that. However one of my sons plays football Saturday morning and the other Sunday morning so it would mean that one of them will have to miss playing football that week.

Have you considered if there any realistic way that the football can be accommodated?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Absolutely, the football on that weekend can be missed.

I would suggest that you make the offer I have outlined above to the Court - with the offer of extra overnight contact (at grandma's) during the holidays.
I would suggest that the day contact is alternated between the Saturdays and the Sundays so that one boy doesn't always lose out!
You should also agree to notify him when you are taking the children abroad - it is simple good manners!
With regard to 2 and 3 the first key is to stay calm - hard I know but it is of great importance that you present with a clam and matter of fact voice.
There is a proven record of extreme domestic violence which led to your children being placed on the at risk register, and there is now evidence of domestic violence within the latest relationship. Whatever the position with the new partner's child your child have already experienced more than they should and there can be no risk of them being exposed to any further domestic violence. Until your ex has done a Domestic Violence offenders course then you believe it is better that the children stay the night with their grandmother - there is no reason why their father could not stay as well.
You obviously appreciate the alcohol undertaking, but that is in fact only a relatively minor risk.
You also require a handover that does NOT involve you and your ex meeting as the risks are too high since it is clear that your ex still does not accept that he has been abusive towards you nor recognise the harm he has done to the children.
Above all stay calm - take someone you trust with you to keep you company - and ask if they can come into the hearing with you so that you are not sat with your ex and his solicitor on the other side of the table
Also if the set up is face to face alter the angle of your chair so that you face the judge and not your ex.
Please ask if you need anything further
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


That is great thank you, ***** ***** thing if I could please you recommend a domestic violence offenders course, in the Cafcass report they state:

"As Mr ****** does not associate himself as having perpetrated domestic abuse he is not likely to be motivated to change. In addition, in interview he was able to identify alternative problems solving mechanism which would have avoided conflict with his current partner and previous partner. This informs me that Mr **** has the knowledge of how to problem solve without resorting to aggression but cannot apply this in practice. Thus, whilst he wishes to portray himself as remorseful remarks made to Ms ***** by text and such as "if you was a bloke I'd punch you", I do not regard that he is likely to benefit from attending a domestic abuse programme which might otherwise if successful, reduce risk in the longer term."

Do you suggest I still ask to take part on such a course?

Many thanks

No instead you use that as a reason why the overnight must remain with the grandmother and the handovers cannot involve you and he meeting.
So the wording should be along the lines of
"since there is little chance of a Domestic Abuse Programme being of any use given the attitude of xxx"
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you