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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I went to court on the advice of a legal aid solicitor to get

Customer Question

I went to court on the advice of a legal aid solicitor to get a residency order as originally advised by children's services. My ex partner was asked to leave the home by police and social services after we went to relate because he would not accept that I wanted the relationship to end. Relate asked me why and I said that I couldn't accept his treatment of our four children. Relate asked if there was any other violence in the home and I told her that my ex had also been violent to me including nearly strangling me. He has an older child who he doesn't see because she was extremely reluctant to be left alone with him. He had been violent and abusive to her mother. This went to court.
Our children were placed on a child protection plan because he was threatening suicide. He used the CP process to make allegations about me and my care of the children. All of this was eventually blown out of the water.
He had given an undertaking to court a few weeks sfter the CP plan was lifted because he drove at myself and then four year old daughter (witnessed by my mother and the other children). He broke the undertaking in various ways including coming to the house. I had a legal aid solicitor at the time and I asked that she take the matter back to court... she responded saying 'I dodn't think in your heart of hearts, you really want him to go to prison'. At this point I understood that she wouldn't be the best person to take it back to court and I didn't know to pursue it in spite of her 'advice'/refusal to act.
Application for residence has taken ages and cafcass safeguarding check was wrong, suggesting amoung other errors that I was a 'hazard' to workers whereas it was only ever him who was deemed a hazard. I had a letter from Hampshire children's services stating this and correcting other errors but it still took over a year for cafcass to correct this and still they don't have it right. Even the category of abuse the children were under for the CP process remains incorrect.
The cafcass officer said I was emotionally abusing the children into not going with their father... much later a global family assessment was done which strongly indicates the contrary. The judge too had told me in court that if the children didn't go with their dad 'the suspicion would be on you' (me).
The judge has retracted nothing and wouldn't let me speak to defend myself or bring up concerns in court (am litigant in person). The report says the children should reside with me for the rest of their childhood. The residence order was given to me on 18th april '12 but that order was suspended on 23rd july 12. I was told this was because the children wouldn't go with their father. I asked the cafcass guy on the 20th of this month outside the court room what was to happen about residency and he said it hadn't been suspended. I asked him about this in an email on tuesday of this week and as yet there's no answer. Looking at the court orders it clearly was suspended. Given that I was advised to go for residency as he would not return the children without me having to negotiate their return each time this does not seem to be in the children's interests. Plus the psychologist (we all paid for the report ordered by the court, 3,200 each) said that two of my children should not have to see him but it's not working out like that.
Any advice?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first
How old are the children and who do they currently live with?
What wording makes you think that the order was suspended?