Contact advice please

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nana&granda
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:22 am

Contact advice please

Post by nana&granda » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:55 am

Hi, I am in need of some advice please. My husband and I have an SGO for our grandchild who lives with us, there was also a child arrangement order in place for supervised contact with parents to be 6 times per year at 3 hours per session. The child's mother applied to court for more contact and at the recent hearing, the contact is still supervised sessions 6 times per year but with extra time for birthdays, mothers day and Christmas. We keep in touch with each other via email and she was told in court that this is to arrange contact only as she has been bombarding us with emails when she does not agree with something. Also in court, the judge stated that contact should be in the child's locality but as this is not written in the order, she is refusing to come to the child for contact and wants us to travel to her, we do not drive and would have to use public transport which would take around 2 and a half hours each way and the child is 4 years old with little patience. My concern is that if we insist that she comes to the child for contact, are we doing anything wrong? Her constant threat of going back to court because we are not complying with the court order has got my nerves on edge as well as being told contact is hers to do as she pleases, it is not for us to control!

nana&granda
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:22 am

Re: Contact advice please

Post by nana&granda » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:33 pm

Can anyone offer any advice on this please?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Contact advice please

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:50 pm

Dear nana&granda

Welcome to the family and friends’ discussion board. Thank you for posting.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am sorry that you did not receive a response to your post sooner due to volume of work.

Sorry to see the difficulties you are having regarding contact.

You say there is a court order in place for contact and that the mother is to email only to arrange contact but she is abusing this facility. As far as your position as a special guardian is concerned, you are able to make decisions about what you consider to be in the child’s best interests. The parental responsibility you have can be exercised over and above the mother’s.

I suggest you write to the judge quoting the case reference number and explain the difficulties that you are having with the mother. Unfortunately, the mother does not appear to be thinking about the child’s needs. Contact is for his benefit not the mother’s and the court should be made aware of her behaviour. Since the court order does not specify where contact should take and the mother is being difficult I think you should ask the court to amend the order to specify where contact should take place. This will protect you from allegations that you are breaching the court order. You could suggest a midway point for contact to take place which will mean less travel for the child.
The mother should consider what is best for her son but clearly she is unable or unwilling to do this.

The judge may set the a hearing date or ask that you make a formal application to amend the child arrangement order.

Read our advice sheet Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents? from which you will see exactly what the mother’s position is where there is an order.

As you have a special guardianship order, you could ask your local authority to offer support for contact as they should have support services for special guardians. Please see our advice sheet Support for relatives and friends who are looking after someone else’s child.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

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