fathers chances of contact

worriedmum81
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:13 pm

Im looking for some advice for my partner, he has 2 young children with his soon to be ex-wife and has been unable to see them for 2 and a half years. It was a long and complicated situation, she had older children from different relationships prior to their marriage, and from accounts i have heard, including a social workers report from when they were together, she isnt the best of mums and he was referred to as the better parent, including of his step children, who also dont see their own fathers.
In march 2014, after they had lived in seperate homes on the same street, she unexpectedly moved away, taking all of the children with her. He wasnt given an address. When he told a mutual friend that he was going to speak to a lawyer about contact, she went to the police and made disgusting allegations about him, which took 2 years to finally clear his name. The cps said there was no basis and were shocked that it even went to court. She has moved on and has a new partner and is pregnant again.
Anyway thats just the background. He wants a divorce but more than that he desperately wants to see his boys, but he knows that she will fight him to prevent him seeing them, using the allegations she made against him as a way to stop him, even though he was proven not guilty. She can get legal aid to fight her corner but as he works he cannot get legal aid, but doesnt earn enough to pay for a solicitor. Even getting a solicitor to write a letter to her solicitor would cost over £200 and he knows her well enough to know that she will refuse mediation.
Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.

Ignatious
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Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby Ignatious » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:00 am

Hi Worriedmum,

I'm probably not qualified to provide advice, but just personal notes / observations as to what you've put :-

(1) Regardless of past he is still biological father and as such has rights to see his children.
(2) The allegations that took 2 years to clear you've said the CPS have said there is no basis,... if that is in writing, if 'she' uses those allegations he has those 'no basis' as a defence. You stated it went to court, but he is cleared,... I'm presuming the court cleared him.
(3) She can get legal aid?, This is where I may be wrong, Legal aid stopped back in 2013ish. If he's seeking a civil action against her to see his kids, I don't think she would automatically get it and would need to seek (payable) legal council.
(4) Mediation,... her refusal to go to mediation would potentially go against her and edge more in favour of him.

You did say he was going to speak to a lawyer, as he works he can not get legal aid,... he was prepared to go to a lawyer in the first place, I would still go ahead with that. from what I'm aware, most will have a discussion with no fee prior to taking action policy which he could possibly take advantage on.

I hope these points help.
I am a parent. My responses are not from any formal training background but from my own experiences, my own research and my own point of view.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:27 am

Dear worriedmum81

Thank you for your further post.

I see from your post that you want to support your partner in securing contact with his sons.

Firstly, your partner shares parental responsibility with the mother for his children so he has a right to know about their education, health among other things. Please see our advice sheet about parental responsibility .

If your partner decides to start divorce proceedings the court would want to know within those proceedings the arrangements for the children. To pursue contact, your partner would have to make an application to the court which he can do himself as a litigant if person. If he is on benefits or a low income then he can apply for a fee exemption to make the application.

Whether or not his wife will get legal aid will depend on whether there were issues of domestic violence which was reported to the police or children services involvement in relation to child protection issues.

Your partner would have to try mediation to try to agree contact before making an application to the court unless he falls within one of the exemptions from mediation. He can identify a family mediator by going to his local family court or an internet search. If the mother refuses, as she might, he will still be able to make the application. He just has to show that he tried.

I have included for your information details for Coram Children’s Legal Centre . They will be able to advise your partner about making the application. They provide advice in England only and where the person does not have a solicitor.

I hope this helps

Best wishes,

Suzie

worriedmum81
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:16 pm

We have recently got the results back from a dbs check for my partner, by the social services. It was done so my son can start spending time with us at home. The problem is on the report it says he was cautioned for child neglect nearly 2 years ago. He has been living with me for 2 and a half years now and not seen his children since well before that.
The social services said they will do some more checks because they need to understand what has happened. Hopefully it will all clear and we will be able to move forward as normal. But it made us worry that there could be something thats happened to his children, while he hasnt seen them, where the mum and new partner have beeen cautioned and as my partner has p.r its automatically flagged on his dbs.
It was around the time that my partner had phoned nspcc because he was worried about his children so maybe it had caused an investigation, or maybe its just human error. Either way I am hoping it doesnt have a negative impact on him getting to see his boys again soon.

worriedmum81
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:58 pm

We have finally had some news through about my partners children and unfortunately it is worse than we had origonally feared.
As she moved without a forwarding address, my partner had no way of contacting her or seeing his children. It has been 3 years since he saw them. But we got a letter advising us to contact a solicitor. We have done and have found out that all of the children are being looked after by the local authority after the older children admitted she had been physically and emotionally mistreating them. They were took into care in october, and the ss plan is for the youngest 3 (my partners youngest and the 2 she has had since they split up) to be adopted.
My partner wants to get custody of his own 2 boys (4 and 9 year old) and his step son who he raised as his own, who has no contact with his own father.
Because of my own circumstances, I can not put myself forward as a joint carer, becaise it would have a negative effect on his chances, but I support him 100 percent in him getting his children back. His ex has painted a picture of him as physically and sexually abusive to her, which is not what he is like at all. He really wants the chance to rebuild his relationship with his children. The solicitor said she will start making applications for his assessments after easter.
Any advice would be appreciated. We would also love to have an idea how long it could take for him to get contact with his boys.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:13 pm

Dear worriedmum81,

Welcome back to the parents forum.

It must have been a shock to your partner that there care proceedings in respect of his children. I am so sorry to hear that. Here are some FAQ’s about care proceedings.

During the care proceedings, the court will decide two things.

First, whether or not his children have suffered significant harm or are at risk of suffering harm, (the threshold criteria).
Second, the court will decide where his children will live at the ned of the court proceedings. In order of priority this could be:
• Parents;
• A relative or friend or connected person;
• Long term foster care;
• Adoption –will be considered, only, if nothing else will do.

As the solicitor says, the priority for your partner, is to be assessed to see whether he can provide safe and “good enough parenting”.
Here is some information about assessments . If you are living with your partner, then it will be expected that you are also assessed. This will include police checks of you as well as requesting information about your own children.

You ask about your partner's contact with his children. His contact with his children will be looked at as part of the parenting assessment. He needs to be prepared to discuss why he has not had contact for so long and what efforts he made to pursue contact.

Here is some information about contact.

At the moment, the law says that if an adoption order was made, then usually, contact would only happen, if the adopters agree.
Here is an advice sheet about adoption and contact

I hope this outline is helpful. If you have any questions, please post again. You might want to call our advice line on 0808 801 0366 for further advice as well.

Best wishes,

Suzie

worriedmum81
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:35 pm

Thank you suzie, there is definitely threshold for the children to be taken away from their mum as it has been proven there has been physical and emotional abuse as well as neglect within the last 2 years.
My partner and myself have agreed that instead of finding a bigger house together, he will find a place for himself and his boys, which is within a short distance from my home where my son will be living with me. This is to reduce the chances of my situatuon having a negative impact on his chances of getting the boys back, as well as his situation having a negative situation on my son coming home. I'm happy for any checks and risk assessment to be done on me as I will be his main source of support to help look after the boys. Even though my children are in care, I am classed as. Not being a danger to them or any children, and work with vulnerable adults. I would expect the courts to be question me about my own situation but I hope that we can prove that the boys living with their dad is the best option for them.
I worry that the tough part is why he hasn't seen them. Originally it was because she removed the children and he didn't (and still doessnt) know where they live. Then for 2 years he was fighting in court to prove her allegations of domestic violence and rape were untrue. In the past year, since it was thrown out of court, he has been to speak to solicitors to try to get access but, due to the previous allegations was told he could still be prevented from seeing the boys.

worriedmum81
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Sun May 07, 2017 12:14 pm

A few days ago my partner went to court for his boys. The lac have said his older son speaks very highly of him and wants to be with him. At the moment his 11 year old step son doesn't want to see him and has closed down emotionally. The lac have mentioned that if my partner gets custody of his son, and his step son changes his mind, he will have a chance of getting custody of him as well, even though he doesn't have p.r and is not on his birth cerificate. This is good news, but, his ex partner has claimed he might not be the father of his youngest son. He has to do a dna, but has been told if it comes back negative, despite having pr and being on his birth certificate, he will be not be allowed to have custody or even any contact before he is adopted. We are living in hope that he is the biological father, but if it comes back negative, will he have any rights to appeal against adoption? We really want the boys to stay together and they would have a stable, loving home with a fantastic dad.

worriedmum81
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:37 am

Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby worriedmum81 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:28 pm

hi, this is just an update from the original post. My partner won his case, he now has his 2 boys at home with him full time. unfortunately part of what he had to do to het them home was to move out of our home and get his own place with them. The fight is not yet finished though. my son who now lives with me full time is not yet allowed to see my partner as the local authority decided to stop their assessment of him when they where told he was moving out. the social worker has stated on many occasions that having got to know him and the situation really well there is no reason not to let them see each other, but her manager has said that due to a ridiculous mix up that even the social worker doesn't understand, they have still vetoed them seeing each other. my son will be 18 in a few months and despite them saying he is on an order until he is 21 I don't really think they can stop him spending time with someone he considers a good mate, and has even started referring to as his dad.
the other issue is his wife, at court, despite not knowing me, said I'm weak and vulnerable, that my partner must have preyed on me etc, and she doesn't want me around her children. The boys social worker and guardian have got to know me and said I'm nothing like how she said I am and are going to do an assessment on me before I'm allowed to meet the children. it seems to be taking ages to do, as they have already been home 3 weeks and not even started yet, and unfortunately myself and my family and a few of my close friends are my partners only support network, so until they start assessments not just for me, but dbs for anyone else, he is quite isolated and having to find his feet as full time parent of 2 children, and try to juggle work and still trying to get the boys into a school as they have had to move to be with him. we are trying to help remotely as much as we can but it is hard to help when we aren't able to see each other.
I cant wait until they sort everything out and we can start being a proper family again. the boys have asked repeatedly when they are going to meet me and I am looking forward to getting to know them. I would also like to help them to rebuild their relationship with their mum as the eldest in particular has refused to see her now for nearly 2 years (even before my partner was back in his life) and the younger one only sees her once per month in a supervised environment. she is making it difficult though as she has been heard whispering to the younger one, and when asked about it later he said his mum was asking him, questions but was told they are a secret.
as a mum who has lost her own children and knowing how hard it must be for her, I would love to help her but she has to make them her priority and not try to undermine as it appears she is trying to do so. sorry for ranting on

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: fathers chances of contact

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:47 pm

Dear worriedmum81

Thank you for your updating post. It is really great that your partner now has his children living with him.

You say that your partner is still not able to see your own son, because of some mix-up. He will be 18 very shortly but you have been told that the court order remains in force until he is 21. Is there any particular reason why the court stated that it should last until your son is 21? Care orders usually end when a child reaches 18. Even if the order remains until he is 21 children’s services are supposed to take account of your son’s wishes when making decisions about him taking account of his age. You could, if you wished, apply to the court to discharge the order as your son is now home with you. This will depend on what the agreement or plan was when it was agreed he could be home with you. You might find it helpful to read our advice sheets Support for young people leaving the care system and Reuniting children in the care system with their families for more information.

I see from your post that you hope to help the children rebuild their relationship with their mother but wonder why you think this is a responsibility you should take on. Their mother is, I think, the person who needs to try and rebuild her relationship with her children. It is not for you to do this as it may be counterproductive as she may feel that you are getting too involved in her relationship with her children.

Concentrate on your son and the relationship you have with your partner and his children as much they might want to be involved with you but it has to be at the children’s pace and taking account of their wishes and feelings. You can of course continue to support your partner as much as you can.

I suggest that you put in writing to children’s services a request asking them to put in writing their plan of action for the assessment to be carried out, when it will start and how long it will take. Your partner can also ask children’s services to speed up the assessment and background checks if, as you say, this is his support network.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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