My rights at court

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Meandkids
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:29 am

My rights at court

Post by Meandkids » Tue Feb 22, 2022 5:25 pm

My ex sister in law has my children and has an sgo 2.5 years ago she became there main carer. At court I was given 6x years visit supervised until I could prove I was drugs and alcohol free for 9 mth I have been clean for 15 months now but instead of my visit increasing they have lessened due to the volatile relationship between me and my ex sister in law. I have filled a c100 in and took this bk to court to have unsupervised and more frequent visits. Social services have done a section 7 report, they have recommended unsupervised 6x a year but because I haven't seen my kids because of covid and the break down in relationship with my sister in law they are asking for me to pay for 3 supervised visit before I can have unsupervised visits. Can I dispute this in court because I have never missed a visit with my children and the unsupervised still at 6x year don't really let me build a relationship with my children

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3532
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: My rights at court

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 28, 2022 12:32 pm

Dear Meandkids,

Welcome to the parents’ board and thank you for your post.

You say in your post that your ex sister-in-law is special guardian to your children. At the time of the SGO being made, you were given supervised contact 6 times a year, until you were able to evidence you were no longer using alcohol and drugs for 9 months. You have now been clean for 15 months, but your contact has decreased due to your relationship with your ex sister-in-law. You have applied for a child arrangements order and a section 7 report has been completed, which recommends unsupervised contact 6 times a year – however, due to the fact you have not seen your children in a while, they have recommended that there be supervised visits before unsupervised contact commences. You would like to dispute this as you do not think contact 6 times a year is enough for you to build a relationship with your children.

It is possible to challenge the recommendations made in a section 7 report through the court process. Firstly, it is important that you read through the section 7 reports and are clear on what you agree and disagree with. If the next hearing in your case is a dispute resolution hearing, you can provide a position statement to the court and the other party prior to the hearing. You can use this to explain what you agree and disagree with and should relate this back to what you think is in the child’s best interests. You should outline what contact arrangements you think would be in your children’s best interests. The judge will try and resolve any disagreements at this stage; if this is not possible, a final contested hearing with be scheduled. You should ask the judge to order the writer of the section 7 report to attend so that you can cross-examine them on their recommendations, and you should also ask the judge to direct you to provide a witness statement.

If the next hearing is a final hearing, you should check whether the writer of the section 7 has been asked to attend the hearing. If this is not the case, you should write to the judge and ask them to order them to attend. You may have been asked to write a witness statement and you should use this to outline in detail what you disagree with and what contact you would like to have. If you haven’t been ordered to provide a witness statement, you can explain your concerns more briefly in a position statement that you can send to the court and the other party before the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will want to hear evidence from you and the other parties; you will all have an opportunity to cross examine each other, including the writer of the section 7.

If you would like some more advice on this process, you may find it helpful to contact Child Law Advice on 0300 330 5480 or Rights of Women on 020 7251 6577.

Best wishes,

Suzie.

Meandkids
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:29 am

Re: My rights at court

Post by Meandkids » Sun May 29, 2022 11:16 pm

When at the final hearing I was given monthly visit unsupervised which I'm very happy with but I want my children bk in my care is there any help I can get from a solicitor to revoke the sgo. I'm still clean from drugs and alcohol I have totally turned my life around I have all the right support network in place but my only concern is I live in XX and my children are in XX my concern is that a court won't want my children to move school my second eldest has fasd (featal alcohol syndrome) and is struggling with school the sgo holder plays on this so much I can't tell my children I'm seeing them when I video call because the sgo holder says it makes her nervous and she wets the bed and plays up but I sure she doesn't I just think it's the sgo holder still having control over my input with my kids. I just want my children home with me also the sgo get money for being as sgo plus benefit for all the 4 children and claims pip for 3 of the children so I know it's not about looking after the kids it's the money she's getting.
Any help would be grateful

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 3532
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: My rights at court

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jun 10, 2022 8:57 am

Dear Meandkids

Welcome back to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post.

Congratulations on addressing your drug and alcohol issues and on turning your life around. It is great that you have a good support network around you now as this can make all the difference in overcoming difficulties. It is also good to hear that you see your children every month without supervision; it shows that you were right to ask the court to review the arrangements that were in place and to move them forward.

I understand that you would like to have the children returned to your care and are seeking advice about applying to end the Special Guardianship Order (SGO) .

As you have only recently taken the matter back to court in relation to the time you spend with the children and this is only just being re-established it may be very soon to consider applying to end the order. The changes that you have made would be relevant to your application however the court would also consider if it were in the children’s best interests. You would first need the court’s permission to make an application.

You are right that stability, including in education, is important for children and if a court agrees to the children coming home to you, then any plan would need to include proposals for how to manage a transition to different schools if this were needed.

Applying to end a SGO is a private law matter which is outside our remit. You may wish to seek advice from Child Law Advice or Rights of Women or a solicitor who provides private law advice. However, you may also find it helpful to look at the information on page 11 of our advice sheet 2 b) Special Guardianship: information for parents about applying to end a SGO.

It sounds as if your relationship with the children’s Special Guardian is still very strained and you are concerned that she has financial motives for caring for your children. However, she and the children are entitled to be properly supported and to have the right funding in place to meet the children’s needs especially as some of your children have additional needs. The Special Guardianship allowance that the children’s aunt receives is means-tested and reviewed regularly; it does not duplicate any benefits she/the children are eligible for and is paid to support the children’s placement with her which keep them safe in their family.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Suzie

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