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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4480
Experience:  Barrister at law
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My children are due to travel to the US for

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Hello
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: My children are due to travel to the US for contact/visitation with their mother (I have full-time residential custody), but she refuses to take her Court mandated 1 July drug test. The children were removed from her by US child services. My fear is that this is the first time she has ever refused to take her drug test meaning she likely is taking drugs again increasing the risks she presents to the children (she is currently mandated to have supervised contact).
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: We have a current case in Family Court related to my ability to afford visitation (am required to pay for 2 visitations a year)
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: Central
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am planning on going to Central Family Court (Holborn) first thing in the morning. I would like to know who the procedure is I need to follow as my goal is to have the Court approve my ability to cancel the visitation unless she takes the drug test without penalty to me. My interests are in not placing the children at a higher degree of risk than they already are as feel it to be irresponsible to send them to visit their mother when she is demonstrating concerning/heightened risk levels.A weakness is that the US Consent Order (we have a UK Family Court Case Number ***** the UK Court formally assuming jurisdiction) does not specify the penalty for her testing Positive for a drug test (she has 3 documented Positive Test though more than 18 months ago).

Hello, my name is*****'m a barrister and will do my best to assist you today.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

Can you clarify who supervises her contact in the US and how this is managed?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hello Peter and thank you for responding.There are Approved Supervisors in this case being her sister and mother with supervision required 24/7 within ear- and eye-shot.

Do you trust the judgement of the grandmother and sister, and feel that if the mother was under the influence then they would act protectively?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The Aunt most definitely. The grandmother not as much though believe in the end she would step in.Note that the mother has filed recently for an hearing seeking to be removed from Supervision so my hope is that here actions support my view Supervision needs to be maintained as well as at that hearing we can add formal language establishing the penalty for failed/missed drug tests. Assume this is a reasonable expectation?

To clarify - your order is a UK court order?

A missed drug test and refusal to comply with the terms of the order is enough to postpone/ withhold contact.

You would have what is described as a "reasonable excuse" to breach the order.

Longer term, penalties for non-compliance are possible and these can be written into the order. In fact they usually are, in UK court orders for contact.

Also I agree that the application for supervision to be removed is completely undermined by the refusal to comply with the court ordered drug testing.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It is a US Consent Order that fails to specify the penalties for non-compliance. Regularly scheduled Hair/Nail drug tests are required.We have since shifted jurisdiction to the UK so her pending hearing for the removal of Supervision is to be heard in Central Family Court (no date assigned).If I go to Court tomorrow morning how would I proceed to seek to postpone/withhold contact, please? I would like to be as prepared ahead of time ensuring I have whatever materials/forms are required.

If you have proceedings that are running currently, you would complete a C2 application to suspend contact on the basis of a missed drugs test and a wilful assertion that the mother will not comply. If drugs have been a live issue the court should be sympathetic to safeguarding against the obvious risks. The obvious mitigating factor which may not lead to suspension is the supervision element, as discussed previously.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
OK, last questions, please.1- Would I likely be able to obtain an immediate decision on the C2 given they are due to depart Friday morning?2- If I obtain suspension and still decide to allow contact based on discussions with the Supervisors that extra stringent supervision is required would this place me in a poor position before the Court in terms of my judgement?Thank you for you time and assistance.

You may not get a hearing and a decision, even on an urgent basis, as the timescales are tight.

But as far as the UK courts are concerned, you would have a reasonable excuse to breach the order so you should be fine.

As to the US side of things, I cannot comment.

The supervisor point works if they are being vigilant - if not it undermines your judgment to an extent.

I hope that has assisted?

If you have further questions, you can always come back to me.

In the meantime, if you could take a second to provide a 5 star rating I'll be credited for my time spent responding to your question.

Kind regards,

Peter

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