Court action threatened

Auntiev
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:58 am

Court action threatened

Postby Auntiev » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:52 am

Hi, as you may no we were awarded an SGO in October 2015 for my 5yr old nephew. He lived with us since April 2015 under an ICO due to severe neglect amongst various other things. He sees his parents for one hour every 6 weeks (court ordered) he also sees his half siblings every 2 weeks & maternal uncle every 2 weeks plus maternal gran once a month just by a personal agreement as my nephew had a fairly close relationship previously. The issue is maternal grandfather. He has never been allowed unsupervised access to our kids as he's a mean bully. He has a history of DV resulting in his own kids growing up in a refuge & he had no relationship with them in childhood. Hes volitile, aggressive & very angry. He had a very erratic relationship with my nephew prior to our involvement & would see him 2 or 3 Sunday's in a row for anything between 10 mins - 2 hours dependant on his mood & ability to cope & then no contact for months. He had no unsupervised contact for 6 months prior to ICO when he moved in with us. For the first 4 months of the ICO he wanted no contact & then suddenly decided he would like contact & had 3 half hour sessions over 3 weeks then no more contact until he requested contact in December (again 4 months later) we offered a supervised contact once a month & he turned up once. In March he again requested contact but then failed to make any arrangements. We contacted him & he warned us he would take nephew when he wanted not when we said & would return him only when he felt like it!! We broke all communication at this point. He then contacted a third party & asked them to arrange a visit at their home with child & he would secretly come & take him. They refused & informed us. His relationship with child is none existent, erratic & he's a nasty man. My nephew is now in a routine & thriving & this man won't be good at all for him. He refuses to accept or support our role as guardians, he has been reported to social services as apparently he had made a pact with his daughter that if he gets access she can see her son (this is not in his best interests). Anyway, he has sent a solicitor letter demanding to have child every weekend for a sleepover (child has never been to his home) & every wed after school. We refused & it went to a miam but the mediator deemed it not suitable for mediation after we explained on phone the situation. He has now applied to court for permission to take this matter to court. What happens now? Will the court ask for our reasons b4 agreeing to a court date? Will he always be granted permission? How can we stop this. We can't protect our nephew emotionally if this man is involved in his life. I don't no what to do

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Court action threatened

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:01 pm

Dear Auntiev

My name is Suzie, one of FRG’s online advisers. I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time at the moment in respect of your 5 year old nephew’s and concerns you have about the proposed contact arrangements with his grandfather.

Congratulations on the SGO being granted to you. Assuming that Childrens’ Services no longer have an active role with your nephew, there will be a number of issues to be considered in the first instance, at this time.

If the grandfather’s past behaviour resulted in him only being granted supervised contact, it is clear that he would need to be risk assessed to ensure that it would be safe prior to any further contact taking place. In addition, if a significant period of time has elapsed since their last meeting, it will take time for the attachment relationship to be re-established once more. You would also wish to be satisfied the grandfather can make a regular commitment to attending contact with his grandchild before you can consider the possibility of any unsupervised access.

Furthermore, it is entirely appropriate for you in your role as special guardian to assess what if any contact would be in your nephew’s best interest even make a decision not to go ahead with this, if it does not feel safe enough to do so.

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes

Suzie

Auntiev
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:58 am

Re: Court action threatened

Postby Auntiev » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:54 am

Hi, I'm confident we are doing the right thing but my question is when grandfather applies to court for permission to bring a case will we be consulted prior to the judge deciding & is permission always granted. In addition to this if permission is granted would a grandparent be granted access simply because they have that title. My partner & myself will NOT allow this man to destroy my nephew any further regardless of any court order. I realise that sounds terrible but we simply can't allow anymore pain in his life. Grandfathers solicitor has advised him that he will definitely be given access as most grandparents are. I just can't understand how this can be allowed to happen. If we can't keep him safe & on the right track we can't fulfil our role as guardians. I am hopeful that the court process allows us to explain why we refuse contact and permission to apply is denied but it's sounds like his solicitor is saying this never happens

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ied53
Posts: 2102
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Court action threatened

Postby ied53 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:56 am

Solicitors work for their clients they are paid to act according to their needs. Grandparents essentially have no rights. Your input will be invaluable. Gets as much supporting evidence together as you can. Texts, emails, write down any phone calls etc.
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Court action threatened

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jun 20, 2016 3:19 pm

Dear Auntiev

Thank you for your further post. I can see that you are very concerned about the prospect of your nephew’s grandfather seeking a child arrangement order for contact.

You have asked if you will be consulted by the judge before a decision is made on an application by the grandfather for leave. As special guardians you will be named as respondents on any application made by the grandfather so you will get an opportunity to oppose the application for leave.

If the grandfather is granted leave to apply it does not follow that he will necessarily get an order for contact. The court considers the welfare of the child and it will depend on whether the court takes the view that in will be good for your nephew to have contact. As he lives with you and there have been difficulties in the past all of this will be taken into account. The court will also want a section 7 report from children services or Cafcass which will consider the child’s wishes and feelings, whether it will be in his interests to have contact and your views will also be sought.

Contact is for the benefit of the child and the court will often consider the importance of maintaining family ties but this is not the only deciding factor. It is more important for the court to look at whether it is best for the child to have contact or not. The case will be decided on its own particular circumstances and it is not about what the grandfather wants but what will be best for your nephew and you as special guardians. Even with parents, the court can say no contact if that is thought to be most appropriate for the child.

Should the court make an order for contact, I suggest that you adhere to the court order or you will be in breach and could be held in contempt of court. Also, an application could be made to enforce the order.

You could speak with children services about the issue of contact if you wish to go down that route. Your views will be important to the court in reaching a decision. Was the grandfather assessed as a carer for your nephew in the care proceedings? Ied 53 is right in her post that you should ensure you have as much evidence as you can for the court.

As this will be a private law application I suggest that you contact Coram Children’s Legal Centre as their child law service on 0300 330 5480, will be able to advise in respect of the application.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Auntiev
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:58 am

Re: Court action threatened

Postby Auntiev » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:07 am

Grandfather did ask to be considered as a carer for nephew, however when he found out an SGO was wanted & not long term foster care he withdrew his application before any viability assessment could be carried out as he wanted to be paid to look after child & not do it "for free". He did not ask to be part of any legal proceedings at all. We allow nephew to see half siblings, maternal gran, great gran & uncle so we do appreciate the need to keep family ties. It's just grandfather is a horrible nasty man. Your right, I'm very concerned as we can not ensure our nephew is a happy well rounded child with this man in his life. I'm happy for a section 7 to go ahead as we have nothing to hide, it's all just very stressful. Nephew has been through so much already.


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