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SASH_Law, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2549
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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I need some advice. My daughter (age 9) has a contact

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Hi, I need some advice. My daughter (age 9) has a contact arrangements order with her father, she resides with me. During lockdown we’ve had a few problems, daughter didn’t want to go to her dads because of anxiety/worries around coronavirus being the main point of where everything has stemmed from. Our daughter didn’t go to her dads for 3 months, during this time I have offered phone contact which was ended abruptly by our daughter because she felt “daddy wasn’t listening to her concerns about coronavirus” - dad was saying that it was cold/flu and nothing more. We’ve also done letters, but he still kept asking her to go to his, despite her telling him every week that she didn’t want too. Last week she decided she was going to daddy’s to “stop him nagging”. She went from Friday-Monday.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Over the weekend, he had taken her to visit her grandma who is 90 and shielding, they also went into her home. I feel this has potentially put his grandmothers life at risk, taken her to town and encouraged her to take her face mask off because “she doesn’t need it on” and has taken her to his sister in laws home and went inside the house. He has also told his own mother who is shielding (has a letter from government) that “she’s being too safe and too afraid” - his mother and sister share their concerns with me regarding this. I’ve been in touch weekly with my daughters school who don’t know what else to suggest. What can I do? I feel my daughter isn’t being kept safe.
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: No Court papers submitted yet
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Exeter crown and family law court
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I’d also like to add that on top of this, our daughter disclosed Thursday at tea time that she “doesn’t get much food at daddy’s”. She was so hungry when she came home yesterday, I did before and after pics of the amount she had eaten from 3.25pm-4.38pm

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Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Where do I stand legally on my concerns regarding contact?

Your first port of call is obviously to discuss this with the father and raise your concerns so that he has an opportunity to change. If this fails, you are obliged to try mediation before making an application to the court.

If after disussing with father and trying mediation, you still have safeguarding concerns about your child whilst in the care of the father then you are within your parental responsibility to stop contact whilst investigations are made into what the father is doing.

As there is a child arrangements order already in place, if you stop contact you MUST also apply to the court for an immediate variation of that order, explaining in your application why you are stopping contact.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I forgot to also say, school tried to do a referral for Happy Families, Happy Futures (a new course based on personal circumstances around children) and course instructor refused my application because they felt there was “coercive behaviour on dads side”. Unfortunately I’ve tried to raise concerns with dad, he’s instantly dismissive to these. One example over lockdown; daughter was refusing to go to his, I asked him via text about a socially distanced picnic with his sister for just his sister, him and our daughter - his sister to reassure our daughter. He didn’t respond to my text and wrote to our daughter about coming for tea at his instead, which she refused. We have also tried mediation in the past, numerous times, all of which he failed to turn up after the first initial joint meeting.

If you meet one of the exemptions for mediation on the C100 form, you can tick that box and avoid mediation, so would be able to apply to court now.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Brilliant thank you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Is there a way I can send you the form that school are applying for? Obviously it does have all of our names on it so would need to be done privately - would just like your advice on it

It's not really necessary for me to see the form - your query is about what you can do now as all else has failed - and I've provided that answer - you can apply to court.

SASH_Law and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Okay. Thank you

You're very welcome.

All the best.