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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34895
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I am a father of two young children aged 2 and 3 who reside

Customer Question

I am a father of two young children aged 2 and 3 for whom I have full parental responsibility who have resided with their mother since our separation - since that time there have been serious ongoing concerns for the safety of my children whilst in the care of their mother - I have been to Court twice to apply for a residency order for my children in the light of incidences that have occurred and with Section 7 Reports from Childrens Services recommending the children reside with me, the last time there was also a Police Officer in Court who gave evidence as to him attending at the property where she was deemed drunk and incapable of looking after the children and I had to go and get them. Twice the same Judge has deemed to ignore Childrens Services Report and the Police Officer's testimony, consistently believing her Barrister that she is a changed woman and that the allegations are false - she is not and they most certainly were not as was evidenced - there are absolutely no concerns  at all with regard to me or my children residing with me at my parents home.  We are now in the position of Childrens' Services escalating the matter to a Child Protection Plan given the serious historical concerns which include her being drunk in charge of my children, and most recently the police confirming that males are attending the property who are known to them for violence and drug offences whilst the children are there, that one of these males apparently took my children out on his own, that her 11 year old daughter takes my children out whilst these men are around, amongst other things. I am attending the Child Protection Conference this morning where all of these concerns are being raised by Childrens Services - my question is if I apply to the Court again (this will be the 3rd time!) for a residency order - 1. Can I insist that it is not heard by the same Judge as I have absolutely no confidence in him given his historical judgments and the evidence presented, 2. Will the historical evidence of the previous Court hearings be taken into account? and 3. I have had legal representations on the past two occasions which my parents have funded, they are unable to do this now - so any advice you would give on preparing my statement to file i.e. some brief pointers of what I should include (I am quite capable of doing my statement but just need to know how to refer to previous hearings etc etc)  - I am beside myself with worry - I see my children regularly but it appears the Judicial System is letting them down in keeping them with their mother against Childrens Services advice and all the evidence both current and historical gleaned to date - it is a tragedy waiting to happen -  I would welcome an opinion and advice n how to move forward. I will know more with regard to the Child Protection Plan after the meeting today. Thank you. Scott

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is the current pattern of contact - and when was the last hearing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

The last hearing was in October of last year - the children stay with me every other weekend and two days in the week every other week but more often than not they are with me more.

The Child Protection Conference this morning resulted in a Child Protection Plan being put in place for my two children which their mother has to comply with.

She also has an 11 year old daughter who is currently residing with her father, since the last serious incident in September of last year when the Police were called as she was drunk in charge of the children - he was also in attendance. Her daughter is currently the subject of a Child in Need plan and has practically stopped seeing her only having seen her once in the last 5 weeks - the Chair said this morning that the 11 year old will remain the subject of a Child in Need plan for as long as she remains with her father but if she is returned to her mother this will escalate to Child Protection also as she would be deemed as being "at risk" as are my two children who under the age of 3 and are being left with her - it seems nonsensical to me. We have another meeting in 10 days time - I just need some direction as to whether it is now worth me going back to Court for the 3rd time given the complete failure of my last two attempts and the escalation that has now occurred as a result of the Judge leaving my children with their mother, given that I am having to represent myself the best way of doing this as I would certainly want the historical evidence that has been presented at the first two hearings taken into account by any Judge presiding over a further hearing.

Thank you,

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
What are the terms of the Plan?
Did you consider appealing the last order?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The terms of the plan include:-
Attending Parenting Course
No alcohol to be consumed when chikdren are in the house or before they are due home
No male visitors to the property at all whilst the chikdren are there
Has to take them to Nursery regularly
That is some of it I am being sent the full Minutes and Plan via email
Yes I did consider appealing but my Solicitor did not think it was worth it as if I were unsuccessful I would have been responsible for her costs and I was self funding and as I had lost all faith in the judicial system when you have a social worker giving evidence and confirming their recommendation and a police officer who gave full evidence and the judge dismissed it by saying that he had mistaken her emotional state for one of drunkeness notwithstanding the beer cans and bottles over the table, the fact I and her elder daughter's father had to attend the property to collect our children and also witnessed her inebriated state - he didn't even bother to read my statement as he said it was submitted too late - it was an absolute and utter farce - I did write to my MP who referred the matter but it came back that as a judgment had been made they could not get involved - it appears no-one is accountable - my father wanted to go to the papers as it beggered belief!
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
My all time favourite was a CAFCASS officer who said "the little girl looks so like her mother" - apparently more important that the fact that mum was falling over drunk.
Third time was indeed lucky in that case - but we planned it well, and I suggest that this is also your game plan.
We both know that she will breach the plan and that there WILL be another incident where you have to collect the children
Have a C100 ready to go that day - and put it in as soon as the court opens the next day, By pass mediation by seeking an emergency Prohibited Steps Order to prevent her removing the children from your care.
I understand how you feel about the judge - but then again rubbing noses in it can sometimes feel good
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes of course she will but do I wait until then and leave my children at risk? Is it not enough that it has been deemed necessary to escalate it to a Child Protection Plan? thank you for the heads up on the C100 - could you please advise whether I can insist that any future hearing is not held before the same judge? And whether all the information from the previous two hearings will be taken into account at any future hearing and whether I need to refer to the case numbers in my application/statement and/or exhibit previous statements - thank you
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
If this was the first or second application then yes it would be enough to go now - but it isn't and that means you have to maximise your chances - and make sure that there has been a further incident that triggers the application
You cannot chose the Judge I am afraid - but frankly it will not be a major problem
The papers from the other hearings will be released into the case - you do not have to exhibit them
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Can I be of any further assistance?