Court Hearing – What to do
17 December 2018 at 4:27 pm #18718
I am new to this forum and was looking for a little advice about going to court to arrange a child arrangement order.
My partner and I seperated last July, our son was just over 2. When we broke up we arranged a routine that worked for all of us, and we were both happy with. He agreed to pay whatever he needed for Harry, which included half the child care and maintenance as per the CSA. Everything was fine, and the routing was working, however he met someone new and she was pregnant within a matter of weeks. Everything started changing from then, he refused to pay any child care, and as he is self employed he said CSA said he only needs to pay £41 pw. His mum started dropping off Harry a lot, I then had an abusive phone call from his new partner. I got a solicitor involved who wrote a letter to lay everything out and then all was fine for awhile. Since then, the baby has arrived and he has been paying me less, I have had more abusive messages and phone calls from his partner, when my son has been there with them and he has heard (I have never contacted her). We have now not spoken, he has our son on the same routine, but this is no longer working and I want to move away to be closer to work.
I have gone to mediation, and he has not responded, so they have signed the consent for court. But I am scared, and wondering if this is the best route to go down. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and lose more time with my son, but their personal attacks on me are just too much and when Harry is there is stressful for him. I don’t want to reduce the time he has with my son, just elongate it which my solicitor has said is normal.
Does anyone have any advice on how court works, what happens and what is likely to go wrong? I am just so scared that its going make things tougher for us to arrange anything and it might not work out how I want?
Thank you!19 December 2018 at 9:59 pm #18808
Hi, I feel for you, having been in a similar situation I know how scary and stressful it can be. In my case my ex took me to court to stop me relocating even though we had already made our own informal arrangements. The experience was awful and I think he regretted ever letting it get that far.
In addition to what Anonymous said I would say get a good solicitor, money is very tight for me (as it is probably for most of us single parents) but this is one thing I did not scrimp on, and he did, which he definitely paid for in the long-term. Make sure you record everything, threats, arrangements, requests etc and do everything in writing. Child maintenance unfortunately is no longer dealt with by the courts so put that issue aside for your own sanity. Similar to you the CMS calculated a pittance for me (due to his self-employed status and declaring much less than he actually earns, he has no other children) so although it is extremely unfair it is not worth your energy.
Also, think through clearly how your relocation will not have an adverse affect on contact, and how you propose to ensure that it does not affect the relationship. Its is irrelevant whether you think he is a committed parent or not. The courts have no time for your opinion on your ex’s parenting skills UNLESS there is potential of physical harm so make sure that you do not come across bitter in anyway – tough I know! Be the voice of reason, and always think and speak of what is in the best interest of your son e.g. they don’t care if you need to be closer to work
Court is a very tough and expensive path to go down, which he may also realise when it starts (my ex certainly did, especially when CAFCASS got involved) and after 8 months of legal wranglings we actually ended up doing a consent order rather than leaving it in the hands of judges who do not know you or your child. You can do this via your solicitors. Always keep this idea open with your ex, again even if you’re furious with him, as ideally it should be the two of you deciding what happens for the next 16 years or so
A good network of friends and family helped me massively, as well as seeking counselling afterwards to deal with the trauma of it all. I was actually trying to leave an abusive situation and my experience of the court system as well as the judges was horrendous. I hope yours isn’t and feel free to ask me anything else as seeking advice from everywhere I could helped equip me at the time. I hope some of this has helped. Best of luck