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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1390
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have a daughter who is 5 years old, i split up with

Customer Question

I have a daughter who is 5 years old, i split up with her father over 3 years ago, we split because he was controlling and aggressive. Since we split up we have been in and out of court regarding contact issues,breach of orders, prohibited steps orders and cafcass are now involved. Father is aggressive at handovers and has assaulted my partner on a number of occasions my daughter has never enjoyed going for contact, she would have nightmares when coming back from contact her behaviour would change and she would cry and have stomach ache before contact. Things started getting worse, my daughter started refusing to go for contact, we felt the need to record the handovers as my ex partner would lie about what had happened, saying i was stopping my daughter from going and not encouraging her. This was simply and is not the case. This went back to court and my Ex parnter wanted to enforce the order on me. I raised the concerns about my daughter not wanted to go. My barrister asked the judge for a section 7 as i felt my daughters wishes and feelings should be considered. I have always promoted contact i do not and have not ever suggested no contact. A section 7 report was carried out, my daughter had explained to the cafcass officer that she did want to see Dad and sometimes had a nice time with him however got bored at his house and wasn't sure if she liked her bedroom and she only wanted to see her daddy in the sunshine. This is what my daughter keeps saying, she does not wish to stay at Fathers over night. i explained the aggression from My ex-partner at handovers and what Esmai would say before contact about not wanting to sleep, begging me not to go, but this was not recorded and was said to be my fault.
Cafcass made there recommendations which were the same as before, overnight contact for 2 nights every other fortnight and half the half terms and holidays.
My daughters wishes were not listened too.
I filed a complaint against cafcass and my concerns but nothing came of this.
To start contact again cafcass suggested one evening Dad collect from school and he take her for dinner and bring back to a mutual handover.
My daughter was very positive and enjoyed this.
Then contact stated again for overnight contact and she became distressed again.
Everytime my daughter is told it is the weekend for her Dad to have her she becomes very distressed, tearful and says she won't go. She has started to refuse to go to school on that day, i have to leave her crying. At the last handover she ran out of the school to find me, very distressed i picked my daughter up and comforted her. I wrote to the judge about my concerns regarding Esmai as we were due for a final hearing.
At the hearing my daughter was appointed a guardian to which was the same cafcass officer that hadn't listened to Esmai and that i had made a complaint about, The Cafcass officer and the jude have formed a view of me and they believe i am stopping contact and not encouraging esmai to go, this is simply not the case at all.
The judge has never heard evidence regarding handover issues, my ex partners aggression or the reasons why he has obstructed contacts and not taken my daughter.
Yesterday the judge made an order that my daughter on the recommendations of cafcass was still to have over night contact, Grandmother would now collect from school, and Father was not aloud at or near handovers, i tried to object this as he is supposed to be the primary career when he has her , and i know this is not and will not be the case. the judge did not care about my concerns, he did not hear any of my objections to the order. my main objection is that a penal notice is attached to the order just for myself and not for Father, i feel this is unfair as it should be for both as Father has refused contact and been aggressive at handovers but the huge again would not change this. He also added costs on to the order which i have been told is against the law to file on the same matters to welfare and child proceedings and this should be dealt with differently.
I would like some advice on what grounds to appeal this judge as he has been very unfair and formed an opinion on myself without hearing evidence form either side.
I am writing to my MP with a compliant about Cafcass so they can forward this to the alimentary ombudsman.
I have always promoted contact, i have already suggested day contact and to build on this. however iam made to look like the bad one, threatened with a section 37 and a psychiatric assessment .
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is your objection to the grandmother dealing with handovers?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My objection is that father cannot make handover as he works, so he should either collect when he's available, and grandmother will be primary career, not him as this is what happens now. I don't think grandma should take priority over me.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Why do you think the Penal Notice only effects you?