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Cafcass and grandparents rights


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We are being taken to court for a contact order on our son by paternal grandmother. We have not spoken to her in 13 years and was a terrible mother to my partner as a child.

cafcass have filed a section 7 report for court next week and its all in her favour! We are totally devestated and dont know what to do!*

We have no legal representation

any advice would be grateful!

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Hi staci,

 

I'll see if I can find anyone who might be able to advise you here.

 

Have you actually spoken to any local solicitors and tried to get one to represent you?

 

As parents you can obviously oppose this especially in light of her bad parenting and the fact that she hasn't been in touch for 13 years.

 

How old is your son? If he is old enough, and I'm not certain of the relevant age, his opinions should be taken into consideration too.

 

When did you first hear of this? Didn't Cafcass write to you before issuing the proceedings? What contact is she asking for?

 

DD

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Our son is almost two and we havent had any legal advice as we cant afford a solicitor.

The trouble started as soon as i had our son as she demanded she saw him. She sent letters which we ignore. Then the court process started! She wants direct contact once a week and from what i gather maybe weekends etc.

My own mum and dad rarely see him because of my work commitmnets!

Cafcass conducted safeguard checks which obviously came back fine and then the court requested a full section 7 report.

We are back in court nexr week.

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I think in a case like this you would almost certainly be able to get legal aid. Have you spoken to any local solicitors about this? Or have you not approached them because of the cost?

 

Cafcass should have written to you before starting the court process.

 

I'm still trying to see who is around to help you. There are a couple of people who have advised on Cafcass issues. I'll see if they are on today or send a pm.

 

DD

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As I understand it, Legal Aid is still available for certain situations. I have attached a document that you might wish to read.

 

Alternatively visit

 

https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice

 

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Ok, i've been through this recently AND off and on over the last 20 years! In the last case, I simply represented myself and had my ex-partner's application rejected.

 

Fist of all, legal funding has now ceased for straight forward family matters so unless there are real compelling reasons (such as neglect or abuse etc), you won't get it. By the sounds of it, CAFCASS have done their stuff which would of entailed interviewing both parties and the child concerned. Sec 7 report will also involve welfare checks. They would also check with the child's school or nursery when applicable.

 

If the report is in the applicant's favour, then it is highly likely that the application will be granted and the subsequent order(s) will be made. Emphasis will always be in what is in the child's best interests above and beyond the feelings/wishes of the parents. However, consideration will be taken of the child's age and the relationship he/she has had with the absent parent. If the applicant hasn't had much contact with the child, you could argue that you consider that it would be inappropriate for the court to make an un-restricted contact order so perhaps a supervised order would be more suitable. Obviously there is most likely animosity between the parties so contact could be arranged through Spurgeons who host supervised contact sessions.

 

Realistically from the information given, it would be my advice to consider an offer of contact which you can propose to the other party, starting with some form of supervision given the child's age. As for the duration, I would suggest a frequency of 2 hours a week in total for a interim period of 3 months to get the child acquainted with the applicant. This would no doubt in the court making an interim order which would be reviewed after the agreeable period has elapsed. I would almost certainly suggest that with a positive CAFCASS report (for the applicant) that there is no point being difficult as the court will almost definitely follow the recommendations in the report. However, I would not necessarily agree to all the applicants demands in the frequency and duration of the contact. Simply make the court consider that too much, too soon would not be in the child's best interest given his/her age.

 

My last point (but quite happy to advise further on this) is do not, under any circumstances, use the child as a 'pawn' to wage a dispute with the applicant (they would be best advised not to do the same). Courts will not be impressed by any unreasonableness from either side.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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She had been a terrible mother to my partner and he suffered as a child. He doesnt acknowledge her as his mum,he is emotionally suffering because of this. She has caused nothing but trouble and did everything she could to split us up. She has pestered my friends and harrased my parents.

We both do not want her to have any form of contact at all.

We may have to move away

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Sam will advise further on this I'm sure, but do you have anything you could use as proof to support your case? Did your husband get and keep any abusive letters for example?

 

From what you have said, and maybe I've misunderstood, you haven't even been interviewed by anyone from Cafcass?

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Yes and we told them everything but they have said he has a human right seeing her and conflict between us shouldnt stop him

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Nothing! Its totally her word against ours. She denied the things we told cafcass as it says in the report but she failed to give them any other reasons for us not talking and having to contact.

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No doubt your partner had his opportunity to put his 'argument' forward when he was interviewed by CAFCASS and his feelings are reflected in the report. BUT you must understand that the court will only be interested in what is best for the child concerned. Your only hope of getting the application refused is to bring up a valid reason (such as you have reason to be concerned about the care during contact the applicant will offer the child or the child is at risk either physically or emotionally) that the court will consider. They will expect you to back up any such claim though.

 

The court will certainly not consider what either you, your partner OR the applicant wants... they will focus on what is in the best interests of the child. By the sound of it, your partner hasn't convinced CAFCASS that there are any issues with the application so my advice would be as above as I would say the court will order some form of contact. It would be better if your partner took some control over it by suggesting supervised and less frequent contact than what the applicant is asking for. At least you will keep the court on your side by being reasonable.

 

As for moving away, that wouldn't stop the consequences of breaching a contact/court order which, in extreme cases, can result ultimately in imprisonment. Has your partner considered seeing a family solicitor who offer a initial free consultation? Obviously I don't know the full history of your partner's history involving the paternal family side but I doubt it was more 'hostile' to the one I went through. I felt the same way, trust me but in the end they were totally unreasonable and I got custody (now referred to residence) of BOTH my sons and i'm their Father!

 

I am more than happy to advise you accurately of the process involved and what to expect. BUT it may not necessarily be what you want to hear.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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FURTHER:

 

Is there any police record or criminal conviction of any violence, physical abuse or similar of the applicant?

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Thanks for that. If we move away then we wouldnt be able to take him and she wouldnt travel,so im hoping that would do the trick. Im going to try everything.

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I am painfully aware how long this process takes and obviously this has progressed significantly from when the problems started so it's a pity you didn't come here sooner for advice.

 

As I said, moving away will not stop or prevent the court order being enforced (just like any other). You and your partner need to distance yourselves from the issues between the applicant and the best interests of the child which will be reflected in the CAFCASS report. Your partner should of made a written formal statement in response of the section 7 report and filed it at court by the times given in the directions hearing. Any concerns in relation to the sec 7 report should of been raised in the statement. They can also be raised at the full hearing where the CAFCASS reporter will normally attend. Unless you are related to the child, you probably will not be allowed to attend the actual hearing.

 

But the bottom line is that you MUST try and resist using the child as a weapon. The courts deal with these matters on a daily basis (unfortunately) and will spot the unreasonable party easily. You need the court on your side and the only option you have with the absence of any proof of any emotional or physical related convictions which the court may consider to be a risk to the child, is to agree some form of contact which dosn't necessarily have to be what the applicant is demanding.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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I have to say I'm really shocked by this.

 

I had always thought that grandparents' rights regarding contact were used in situations where there has been great animosity after a divorce and the grandparents love their grandchildren, want to stay in touch, and the parent who has custody is refusing to allow it.

 

In this situation this grandparent has never even met the little boy, and has had no contact with her son and staci whatsoever since the baby was born, and for a very long time prior to that.

 

I would be absolutely furious just as staci is.

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What has happened to a parents right to chose who sees and interacts with their child?

 

Nothing. But the grand parent's have rights also which can be enforced by a court. Like it or not, that's the way it works.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Just a rhetorical question:

 

What would in fact happen if staci and her partner moved away? Surely if they move a considerable distance away then the Courts would not inflict, for example, a four hour round trip every weekend on a two year old child so he could spend two hours with his grandparent?

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I have to say I'm really shocked by this.

 

I had always thought that grandparents' rights regarding contact were used in situations where there has been great animosity after a divorce and the grandparents love their grandchildren, want to stay in touch, and the parent who has custody is refusing to allow it.

 

In this situation this grandparent has never even met the little boy, and has had no contact with her son and staci whatsoever since the baby was born, and for a very long time prior to that.

 

I would be absolutely furious just as staci is.

 

The problem is that it matters not to the court about anything else but the child in the application. The applicant's lack of contact with the the child's Father and their respective relationship has little to do with this application. No doubt the court will express some sympathy but that's' as far as it will go. Only will they consider refusing the application if there is any evidence of any potential risk (either emotionally or physically) to the child put forward.

 

If it is any consolation, I certainly don't think that the applicant will get the level of contact which is being demanded.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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