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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35046
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 will be representing myself at a First Directions Appointment on Wednesday. My ex husban

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I will be representing myself at a First Directions Appointment on Wednesday. My ex husband who has quite a lot of means is trying to take my daughter out of the country but I am concerned that he won't bring her back.I have submitted my response to the court (and his solicitor) with a completed C1A form with attachments. His solicitor who is a partner has written to me to tell me that they will be instructing a barrister from the Exchange Counsel to represent him. Why would they do that at the last minute-- after they received my responses? Also, I attended a Cafcass appointment. My ex-husband did not attend his appointment. The report said they were unable to interview him. The Cafcass report fairly communicates my points. Will failure to attend this appointment reflect badly on my ex-husband?Also, is there any way that I will be able to get legal assistance paid for by the applicant-- considering he wants to take this to court? Could I bring this up and in what way? Thank you.
Hi, thanks for your question. I am a qualified family law solicitor.
The CAFCASS report should state that the father did not engage in enquiries and this would not be helpful for him.
Unfortunately in the majority of family law cases each party will have to fund their own representation. However, the court may have a duty solicitor to represent free of charge, therefore it would be helpful for you to attend an hour before and check with the court staff if there is one.
Some solicitors may be able to represent on a fixed-fee basis for future hearings and work, as it will be more clear after Monday what further work needs to be done as directions will likely be made for further evidence to be filed. If there are no solicitors in your area that can do it on a fixed-fee basis you can search for "direct access barristers". This allows you to instruct them without having to go through solicitors and they may be able to offer fixed-fee prices.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** I have been a solicitor for 30 years.How old is the child and which country does he wish to take her to - and for how long?
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35046
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare, Thanks for your responses, which are very helpful. My daughter is 11 years old and is a dual South African and British citizen as am I. She lives with me in Chester, Cheshire. My ex-husband is a South African citizen with a UK Tier 2 visa due to expire. He also owes the HMRC a significant amount of tax debt (incentive to disappear). He claims to live in France and commute to London for work (although he travels to many countries in Africa for work too). In writing, his solicitor has said he only has a South African passport but in his court application he claims to also have British citizenship. He says he wants to take her to France to his home even though he only has a short stay Shengen visa as evidence of his claimed permanent residence there. He has not specified in his application how long he wants to take her to France or how regularly or when. He says he wants 'proper unrestricted access' and his solicitor has not defined this when asked. He has not wanted to agree to ensure my daughter can call me once per day or to provide me with her address details when in his care. Last year on a holiday in the UK, he misled me as to her whereabouts and tried to block phone contact which is cause for concern.
How long have you been separated and what is the current pattern of contact?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Separated since June 2011. Final divorce decree issued in March/April 2013. I agreed to give him lots of contact but he changed his job and his interest and only asks to see our daughter for a weekend or a long weekend every 4 to 6 weeks ("due to work"). He does take her on a holiday in the summer although only in the UK due to my concerns. I have encouraged him in writing in the past to see Mia more regularly because she sometimes doesn't know when she will see him again after he leaves. Currently, he asks for a weekend/date and I try to accommodated him. If that weekend is inconvenient, I offer him alternative dates.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The initial statement of arrangements that we agreed during our divorce only discussed contact in the UK. At the time (and until last year), he had a base in the UK so he was not asking about foreign holidays at that time. When he works in London, he stays with his son from his first marriage. His son is 31. His only tie to the UK is his job and it involves lots of travel and he could really be relocated quite easily.
I rather suspect the barrister is being brought in to try and make a pigs ear look like a silk purse.It will not work.You simply need to stay calm and be clear that you worries have a sound base and are not a matter of vague concern.You do not know where he lives permanently and the tax bill could render him less inclined to return to the UK.Whilst it might be easy to recover your daughter from France or South Africa there are other African countries where things are less certain.You are very willing to offer regular contact - you are simply waiting for him to set the pattern When you speak to the barrister remember that he or she is not your ex (although some representatives do forget this)Do not let the discussions move away from the problems - if they do smile and say - "but going back to what pattern of contact your client wants and what safety measures you can offer' You may also wish to have a chat with the charity Reunite - hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare,
Thanks very much for your responses, which are extremely helpful. Yes, remaining calm and focusing on the issues/points in a clear way will be critical. I've been trying to psychologically prepare myself for this :) but it's a challenge.
This is the first time I have used and I'm very pleased with this service. I wish that I had known about it before. I will spend Tuesday going over key points I want to communicate in order to ensure I communicate them on Wednesday. After Wednesday, I will know more and have more legal questions and will sign up for this regular service. I will get in touch with you again. Thanks very much for your assistance.
You are most welcome - I hope all goes well