a day in court
11 December 2021 at 2:16 pm #63794
Hello everyone. I just wanted to share my experience about my recent court hearing and how things will progress from here, since I found that a topic which drew much attention recently. And anyway, this site needs some positive news from time to time.
Child 11.8 years. Parents separated five and a half years. The child spends most of the time with father and sees mother every Wednesday night and every other weekend. Mother wants 50% plus all Christmas days. According to court filings, father is coercive controlling, constantly undermining the mother’s parenting style and basically brainwashing the child. A social worker from cafcass had interviewed both parents and a first report was sent to court.
You then get an email from court with the paperwork in PDF and you have to turn up in person, either with legal representation or on your own. I chose the on your own variant. Was there an hour early, under the impression I could talk to a clerk to be made familiar with the proceedings and how things will run its course. After getting through the airport like security check, so leave your belt at home and wear tight trousers, they even checked the content of my purse, I approached the desk and asked for a clerk to speak to. No luck there. But they told me, the other party’s solicitor was waiting and wanted to speak to me. So I sat down and waited. When the solicitor approached, she wanted to talk me into some prehearing fixes, like agreeing to the Christmas days and which kind of cafcass reports we would be OK with. I declined friendly, only agreed to not needing the fact finding report, which was obviously not necessary because I know I am not coercive controlling, and so does the mother, but it was interesting to know. The thing is, if you agree to anything outside, you require not be made aware of the consequences, as if in the courtroom, the judge will explain every step. So do not engage in any discussion outside if you are not sure what you are doing. The judge has to be addressed as sir by the way, and you raise your hand and wait, if you want to speak. But will generally be addressed and asked anyway. So do not just talk. Wait. It is like school in the olden days.
Twenty minutes late, we were asked into the courtroom. The complainant sits to the right, the defendant to the left. The cafcass officer was via video link. The judge shortly summarizes the case and outlines the steps for the first hearing. The complainant then has the first words. No matter what they say, you shut up and wait. Don’t say a word. You will have your turn. I had the words, this is an exercise in anger management written in BOLD on every page of my script, and the name of our child written all over a full line, that is what it is about. Not the parents. Or, as the judge told the mother later, I can’t sort out your mess in one hour. The first hearing will just try to find any step necessary to improve the current situation for the child. Is there anything that can be done for the child. In our case, that was Christmas and that was what the judge focused on. For everything else, it seems to be the normative power of reality, meaning everything else stays as it is at the moment if there is nothing immediately, like restoring contact, red flags like abuse or violence, to address. When it became apparent, she couldn’t get what she wanted, the mother lost it, started to accuse the court of being part of my abusive, controlling behaviour, after agreeing fife minutes earlier it wasn’t relevant, saying, what they offered her was nothing for her, talked over the judge and her solicitor had all hands full in calming her down. She not once used the name of our child. It was her, her and her again. So don’t do that. It was when the cafcass officer started rolling her eyes and muted her microphone. It was then ruled, Christmas is split between the parents, everything else stays as it is and cafcass will write a section 7 report, including statements from school and previous school. All our son wanted and all I was prepared to settle for. Next hearing in three months via video link. So a good day in court for the child.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a horrible situation and as parents we are an utter failure. We are letting our child down, and he is missing out on so much positive experience he could have with both of his parents. I would bend over backwards, if I could change that. But I can’t. So that was the best I could do.
I hope this gives you an inside how things work and what to expect in a first hearing.11 December 2021 at 4:33 pm #63797
it’s good there was some positive outcome for you and child. hopefully you get a good s7 report and then the whole ordeal can be over asap. if report is overall in your favour, then your ex will have a hard time getting it overturned.12 December 2021 at 2:57 pm #63824
Well done for going through all that. Court is a pretty scary place. I’m pleased there is progress.13 December 2021 at 11:49 am #63843
Thank you for your emotional support. I was addressed as the mother, when the judge released the ruling in my favour. So take that, all of you who still think men can’t multitask.