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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33664
Experience:  Over twenty-five years experience
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My safeguarding concerns were not heard at a recent Child

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My safeguarding concerns were not heard at a recent Child Arrangement Order hearing and an order was made. The CAFCASS officer who conducted the section 7 report missed out lots of information and based her recommendations on a 'plausible' half an hour with my ex. However, I'm still being abused by my ex husband during child handovers and they are affected by the stress. Am I better off restarting child arrangement hearings, requesting to vary or appeal? There has been police involvement with my ex and father to our 3 children, he is harassing me and making financial decisions that are affecting me and will impact my ability to get finances in the future. I have applied for a non-mol order but the 1 day hearing isn't until April.

What happened at the final hearing

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
At the child arrangements hearing, he wasted 4+ hours of negotiations which I agreed to elements of and we went into the court room when staff wanted to lock up. His barrister managed to change details last minute and the court finalised the order. I tried to explain there were safeguarding issues but everyone wanted to go home.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Order specified the children were to live with me. He has them every other weekend for 2 nights increasing to 3 from March. School holidays longer than 2 weeks he has them for 5 nights. Every week on a Tues he has them after school until 6pm and every Wed term time he collects our eldest from Beavers and drops home. Most handovers are face to face in a public place with CCTV but this hasn't deterred intimidation.
Thank you for your question
My name is Clare
I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first
How old are the children and on what basis do you beleive that they are not safe with him.
Is there anyone else who could deal with the handovers for you
When was the order actually made?

And what order did you want?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The children are 7, 4 and 2. He loses his temper really easily and is so angry at me for leaving I worry what he will do or say with the children. He is a very anxious stressed out person on anti-anxiety medication. We have no suitable 3rd party handover locally. The order was made on 15 December 2017. Our 4 year old picks holes in her skin like a reaction to stress when in his care or when she has contact with him. She has become really withdrawn when she comes back to me and is refusing to eat. Each face to face handover is full of tension and he has an intimidating manner towards me.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I would prefer no face to face contact with me which would mean losing the midweek contact and then he has them every other weekend friday to Monday via a childminder. Face to face contact midweek can be replaced with a phone call.
I'm incredibly upset that he asked for alternating Xmas days as he had no interest in Christmas and he only asked for that to hurt me. I offered all Xmas eve and all Boxing Day plus Xmas day from 4pm which he agreed to until he realised the order was going to say the children live with me. Then he made a fuss about Xmas morning and I lost every other Xmas to him.

From what you have written it may well be that you would wish to appeal this order. Appeals are however not straight forward and it would be sensible to take a copy of the magistrates facts and reasons (their judgment) to either a barrister (on direct access) or solicitor to determine whether there are grounds to appeal (the magistrates got it wrong). It would appear that you concern is that they either did not consider the safeguarding concerns or scrutinise the order under PD 12J (there is a very useful and helpful book on this topic which might also assist you - I think its a tenner on Amazon - I have attached the link - https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/How-Represent-Yourself-Family-Court-understanding-resolving/147211910X). Happy to discuss and please rate positive.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Could the same be achieved via a Varying of the order or restart the whole process? The section 7 didn't include all of the concerns, references to letters provided by preschool, school, childminder, that I was referred and have attended a domestic abuse programme (freedom). My childminder was also misquoted.

It can but the court are often reluctant to change or vary an order so recently made.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
There has been police involvement since the order was made. He was actually arrested yesterday on the grounds of harassment. Unfortunately was released after it being presented to the crown prosecution service. Apparently as there are no independent witnesses it couldn't continue to court.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
All I was given was a copy of the order made on the day which was meant to reflect negotiations by consent. I have the section 7 report.

There should still be facts and reasons and these are key. If you have not received them then you must chase the court. Please also rate positive

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This is likely a silly question, but do I have any grounds to request Christmas mornings to be with me based on the behaviour? He has only done it to make sure I am hurt. He was never there. I felt I had offered a more than reasonable split of the Xmas period.I'll chase the court today.
How do I go about appealing and is there a deadline?

His behaviour is not a factor when the court consider Xmas mornings but you are perfectly entitled to ask. You need to appeal with 21 days of the order although you can ask for an extension. I would get a lawyer to look at the facts and reasons before appealing. Please rate as it appears I have answered the original questions.

Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33664
Experience: Over twenty-five years experience
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My pleasure