Early Application

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Frustrated Parent
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:21 pm

Early Application

Post by Frustrated Parent » Tue May 08, 2018 10:27 pm

I was a Litigant in Person for a rather protracted and expensive family court hearing for discharge of care order (s31) from May 2017 to March 2018 only for me to concede due to last minute children guardian meeting LO not wanting reunification. LO has since had multiple placement changes and even returning back for a couple of days to previous carer that couldn't keep him so changed. LO is now in children's home and is 14 yo. This is temporary as no suitable placement can be found. There has never actually been any stability and unlikely to be due to multiple breakdowns, changes in schools, carers etc.

Can I apply earlier than 26 weeks as corporate parent is unable to find suitable placement and has never done so since the final hearing ended initially in march 2016 nor after March 2018 either? What is the process for leave to apply early etc.?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2632
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Early Application

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri May 18, 2018 11:52 am

Dear Frustrated Parent

Thank you for posting again. I see that your application to discharge the care order in respect of your son was unsuccessful after protracted and expensive court hearings. Did you have to pay for assessments to be done as a litigant in person to cause your case to be expensive?

You say in your post that the guardian did not support the discharge of the care order and neither did children’s services. What were the reasons given to the court that it was not in your son’s best interests for reunification to take place? You had to concede your position because of the guardian, however, if you felt that you had a strong case to put forward for reunification it might have been better for you to put this forward so the judge could make a decision based on all the evidence.

To make a further application to discharge the care order before 6 months has elapsed, you would need to show how things have changed for you. Would the guardian consider that you have made significant changes to alleviate any concerns he or she had for not supporting you in the earlier case? The fact that there has been changes of placement is not likely to be a basis upon which the court will decide that there should be reunification.

Please read our advice sheet Reuniting children in the care system with their families for more information.

Regarding your specific question about leave to apply early, it would require you to make an application to the court requesting permission to make an application to discharge the care order. You would have to give the court reasons why you think an early application is necessary. It would require you to pay the appropriate fees to make this application and you can find out the amount from the court office. If you are on a low income or state benefits, it may be possible for you to apply to be exempt from paying the court fees. You can also get information about this from the court office.

I suggest that before making any application that you make sure that you can provide evidence to the court of significant changes in relation to the issues which were of concern regarding your ability to provide good enough parenting to your child. If you have not addressed these concerns and have no evidence of changes for the court you are unlikely to be successful in having the care order discharged.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, do telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope this is helpful

Best wishes


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