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Ross Miller
Ross Miller,
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1003
Experience:  Director (Litigation and Mediation) at Hilltop Solutions
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I have a DRA coming up next week. At the first Child Access

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Hi
I have a DRA coming up next week. At the first Child Access hearing in October, Court ordered a Section 7 report from CAFCASS (because of a couple of safeguarding concerns raised), and the CAFCASS report was due in Dec. However, at the FHDRA hearing in November, Court granted father access from alternate Thu school pick to Monday school drop, with every Wednesday school pick for tea.
The section 7 report is now ready and doesn't raise any safeguarding concerns with the current arrangement and has asked the Court order Final access as per current status ie alternate Thu to Mon with Wednesday tea.
How likely is it that court would deviate from this recommendation? I asked my ex to withdraw from court proceedings and finalise on the current arrangement via a consent order but he insists he wants to take it to court for the Wednesdays to be turned into overnights, and then at the final hearing, to request 50% ie one week with me and one week with him. I am worried that the instability will really throw my 6-year old child, especially as until now, he has been an absent father.
How likely is it for Court to settle with CAFCASS recommendations?

Hello my name is Ross and I can help with this matter. Please allow me a few minutes to type up my answer.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks... and my second question is:
For both the first directions hearing and the second FHDRA hearing, I had presented position statements explaining why I was suggesting Fri to Sun on alternate weekends. Do I need to do a new position statement for the next DRA?

Firstly, I wouldn't advise withdrawing from court. The answer to your first question is that the court are quite likely to follow the Cafcass recommendation or at least loosely give an order based on the report. Secondly, I would just resubmit the same documents and evidence and suggestions for the FHDRA hearing as they will most likely look at the previous recommendations made so there isn't much point in deviating from this. If there are no safeguarding issues raised in the Section 7 then the court shouldn't have any issue providing an order which gives the full contact requested as long as this doesn't have any negative effect on the child's day to day life.

 

I would be obliged if you could Click to “accept” the answer and leave me a 5 star rating (this will not cost any extra). This will tell the website that I have responded to your question, you can, of course, continue to ask any follow up questions free of charge.

 

Kind regards

 

Ross

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Customer: replied 13 days ago.
If there are no safeguarding issues raised in the Section 7 then the court shouldn't have any issue providing an order which gives the full contact requested as long as this doesn't have any negative effect on the child's day to day life.

Do you mean that Court could consider his request for access to be increased to 50% ie one week with him and one week with me?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I can't see the accept button to rate your response!
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok, I've managed to provide rating...

The court are not likely to give one week each to parent unless it is a viable option. Obviously, I cannot comment on what the judge will do or say, but the standard is every second weekend and time during the week. But, if you live next to each other for example and the child can attend the same school etc. then the courts will consider this. But ultiemdtly it is the judges decision I would be wrong to comment on what they will order. They may order some contact provisionally then re-address the situation a few months down the line.

Thank you for the rating.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok, that's been helpful to know. My ex husband is strategically renting a property next door to me, and I know this is precisely the reason why he is renting next door - so that court can rule 50% access. I am just worried that it won't allow my child any stability moving from one home to another. The Court has ordered that he is not to enter my apartment, and consequently, I have not seen his either - so just because we live next door to each ie within 3 mins walkingdistance from each other doesn't mean that she can hop from one home to another when she pleases.

Because CAFCASS accepted Court recommendations and made the same recommendations as Court, I thought it would be better to draw up a final order between us and with these arrangements to save costs of next hearing. But he seems to think that he will get 50% or near enough if he takes it to court. I just wanted to check whether Court can deviate from CAFCASS.

Another issue is one of VIDEOCALLS... we have had a lot of issues around this since the last hearing because the Court accepted his request for alternate day videocalls which on several occasions didn't happen for one reason or another - predominantly when my daughter didn't want to call him or was sitting on the toilet and didn't want to be on a video call. Can Court reprimand me for these failed phone/video contacts?