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ukfamilysolicitor, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor Currently specialising in Family. Also experienced in Corporate, Employment, Civil Litigation, Debt Recovery
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My sons dad and I split up 2 years ago, my son is almost 5

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My sons dad and I split up 2 years ago, my son is almost 5 and is non verbal autistic.
When his dad and I first split I did everything I could to facilitate contact, I would pick his dad up and then drop him back off, even paid for taxis so he could spend time with his son.
His dad has been using cocaine regularly for many years but as long as he wasn't 'on it' when he saw our son I allowed contact. However it soon became clear that he was on a 'come down' when he saw our son and fell asleep whilst he was supposed to be looking after him, he also took him into pubs and was dealing in cocaine whilst looking after our son. Things came to a head 9 months ago after I found him asleep whilst he came to mine to see our son, he had only been here 10 minutes. I don't want him to have access to our son as his safety cannot be guaranteed and as he is non verbal he can't tell me any problems, he has no understanding of danger and needs to be watched at all times.
His dad was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with psychotic tendencies about 13 years ago and up until last year was claiming sickness benefit for this, I don't know if he still is as I have heard that he is working.
Since we split he has another girlfriend who he was in court for beating up, they are still together and she had his baby a few months ago.
What are the chances that the court will force access with his dad's mental health history and drug and alcohol dependency, when we were together the police were called on a few occasions due to his aggressive behaviour. I received a letter today from the mediation service saying that his solicitor had contacted them regarding arranging mediation. I intend to go to the meeting but I know this will end up in court as I won't agree to him having access to my son. Any help you can give will be much appreciated.


Thank you for your question.

I am a family solicitor and am able to help.

From what I have read - you hold very serious concerns about you ex. You have detailed drug abuse and how this has affected your ex's ability to care for your son. You have also detailed that he can be violent. I also note that your son is not able to communicate with you - which is also a worry for you as he is not able to tell you anything concerning that may happen. I note that as a result of your concerns you have witheld contact.

I also note that your ex has already taken the step of making a referral to mediation. A referral has to be made to mediation before you ex can make an application to the court.

It is your duty to protect your son. If you consider that your son is at risk then you have to take steps to minimise any risks.

I note that you intend to attend at mediation. It is important that you are clear with the mediator about what your concerns are. If you feel uncomfortable attending at mediation with your ex being present then please do ask the mediation service for a seperate appointment.

Prior to attending at mediation - you should give consideration as to whether there are any options for safe contact that can be considered at mediation - could there be a 3rd party who could supervise - could you trust them to stop the contact if your ex had been using/ was falling asleep or being aggressive?

If at mediation no agreement can be reached that you are satisfied will safeguard your son - then your ex will have to make an application to the courts.

Even if an application to the court is made - this does not mean that your concerns are not genuine and will not be listened too. Prior to the first court hearing - a children and families officer (known as Cafcass) will contact you. You need to detail to this person all the concerns that you have. The Cafcass officer will also complete police and social services checks on both of you. The incident with your ex's new partner will come up. The Cafcass Officer will make reccomendations to the Judge as to how the case should progress. They may suggest that your ex undertake drug testing. They may also suggest a fuller report take place so your concerns can be investigated further. Contact may take place in the future but only when it is sfae for your son. Your ex would have to convince you and the court that this would be the case.

If your partner has been violent to you in the last 2 years - then you might be able to qualify for legal aid to help you. Please see the link below for further information on this.

Kind Regards


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