Help pls

Gemgem1010
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:02 am

Help pls

Postby Gemgem1010 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:14 pm

To keep a long story short my hubby and I made a leave application of a placment order ( for my nephew by marriage) we couldn't come forward within care proceedings but did as soon as we heard the final verdict.

We went to court this week and we are now getting an ISW to come and complete a SGO assessment before the next hearing. She has asked that I contact my ex from 12 years ago, I have tried but I have had no response from him. What can I do if he won't speak with her. His daughter who use to stay with us at weekends (she has grown up now) she says she is happy to speak with them.

Obviously worried about this, the other concern I have is legal fees.We are paying for solicitor, plus barrister and the ISW assessment. I am going to have to take a loan out now to cover my barrister for the next hearing which if successful will not be the last hearing. Is there anyway if we succeed that the LA would cover any of this??

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Help pls

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:03 pm

Dear Gemgem1010

Welcome to the family and friends carers discussion forum.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you are having financial difficulties trying to obtain a special guardianship order for your nephew.

I think the reason the ISW has asked for details of your former partner is probably to see what he would have to say about you taking on care of a child especially as you were involved with his daughter. Did you have children together? Were there any issues about contact when you separated? These are the sort of things that might be of interest to the ISW. If your grown-up stepdaughter would be willing to speak positively on your behalf that is likely to be helpful. It will be up to your ex-partner whether to engage with the ISW there is not really very much you can do about that, give his details if you have them and leave it at that. Alternatively, tell the ISW that you have tried but failed to make contact.

You have obtained leave from the court for a SGO assessment to be carried out but am not entirely certain why you are required to pay for this assessment yourself. Did you refuse the local authority social worker doing the assessment? Normally, if the social worker is able to do the assessment you would not be required to pay but if it your choice then this may be the reason you are being required to pay for the assessment. Please see our advice sheet relating to special guardianship application.

The case has progressed to placement so children services (new name for social services) will already have a plan in place for permanency for your nephew but since adoption is the very last resort where nothing else would do, it is not clear why they are not taking account of a family member being assessed.

It is possible to ask children services to offer financial assistance for legal advice where an SGO assessment is being undertaken as this should not be a barrier to a child being placed with a family member. Have you asked the local authority for help with legal fees in respect of the SGO application?

If you have a positive assessment, you may not need to have a barrister at the next hearing unless there is opposition from the parents, guardian and local authority which may then require legal arguments before the judge. The courts are quite used to litigants in person representing themselves due to the lack of public funding (legal aid). Have you been assessed as ineligible for legal aid in these proceedings? If not, you may want contact the service community legal advice to check your eligibility or identify a solicitor who undertakes legal aid. You may be required to pay a contribution in you are able to get legal aid but this might be less than taking out a loan.

I think it unlikely you will be able to recover legal costs from the local authority at the conclusion of the case unless this is agreed in advance or the court make an award of costs in your favour because the local authority has acted in an inappropriate way.

You may wish to speak to an adviser on our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Gemgem1010
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:02 am

Re: Help pls

Postby Gemgem1010 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:34 pm

Hi Suze many thanks for your reply

We still don't have leave of the court after the placement order has been made. The hearing was adorned as the CG was not in attendance the last hearing. Given the time it will take for them to come on board it has been ruled we get an SGO assessment in the mean time ( 4 weeks) the LA are still oppressing us even after in the judges rule a positive viability assessment. We are lucky the Judge ruled they share the cost (£1500 each) the next hearing means I need a barrister £1200 an hour.

My ex an I have no children together and his daughter who use to spend weekends together is happy to be interviewed she is grown up now 21. He has not responded. My husband and I are putting everything into this financial and emotionally. Given that the placement order us still in place we are worried about how nany hearings are likely with the barrister costs even after we are successful in the sgo assessment.

We own our own home with no mortgage, but after all the legal fees will be in debt, we have tried to get on training courses as the LO needs reparative parenting but the LA won't help us.

We are ever hopeful it works out, but it's very hard when the ppl in power are unsupportive.

Gemgem1010
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:02 am

Re: Help pls

Postby Gemgem1010 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:36 pm

I didn't realise how many errors I made in the last post and I am unable to edit.. sorry.


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