Court without a solicitor for CAO/PSO
17 October 2020 at 8:20 am #44870
Hello, I just wondered if anybody was willing to say how their experience of family courts to get a CAO/PSO but without a solicitor? I have an ex-parte hearing next week. My solicitor suggested that it was better to not be represented by them, but my DV support worker said I should have a solicitor. So for now I’m going it alone. Am I mad? I don’t qualify for legal aid. It would cost me so much. I feel very clear about what and why I’m applying for, but am terrified about how my ex will present me. My ex will no doubt make allegations that I am an unfit parent. Which is not true. But how can I prove I did not do the things my ex accuses me of? My ex is full of accusations, lies, threats and is unreliable. The kids live with me. CAFCASS will be involved. I feel like our situation is so tangled, I am scared when I explain it it will all sound trivial but it really is not. All I want is a CAO so I don’t have to keep Chasing my ex relentlessly for any commitment regarding contact. The kids never know if they are coming or going. My ex behaves in an unacceptable manner towards me in front of the kids. It is unbearable. Anyway basically have any of you done it with no solicitor? I can’t see my ex will get legal aid?? although he has accused me of emotional DV which I honestly deny. Me ex is the abusive party. Not me. Any info would be so appreciated. Thanks!17 October 2020 at 10:15 am #44874
Hello, I’m sorry you are going through this. I’ve self represented and used a McKenzie friend for support. It’s really tough when your ex makes false allegations and it happened to me. The first time I became hysterical and it went against me. This time I learnt how to work with CAFCASS. The trick is to not get emotional. Your ex may try to make out you are too emotional, mentally unstable knowing you will get upset, and confirm what they are saying. I just say to CAFCASS ‘I’m aware of the allegations. They are upsetting, however I’m keen to cooperate with you to prove these are lies, then hopefully we can get back to the subject, our child arrangements’.
As a litigant in person you are allowed to make mistakes which can sometimes work in your favour.
im surprised your solicitor wants you to represent yourself, what are their reasons?
Ive done so because I can’t afford a solicitor but a McKenzie friend has been affordable17 October 2020 at 12:35 pm #44875
I can’t remember the exact reasons my solicitor said to go it alone, my solicitor is a family lawyer and has dealt with DV before. They were just quite adamant. Perhaps my solicitor prefers to fry bigger fish. Who knows. I guess going it alone makes it more ‘real‘/even? assuming my ex won’t have one. If my ex does have a solicitor then I will have to. I guess I am not trying to ‘win’ a case or anything, I just want to have little to zero communication with my ex. I don’t want to have to change him for dates and get accused of harassment. I don’t want out kids to have to ever be put in the situations my ex creates in front of them.
My ex often uses the term ‘hysterical’ to describe me. So thanks for that advice about remaining calm. Good call. I guess the fact that I can admit I have struggled in the past, but have sought help and am now so much better and stable. My ex knows I have a history of mental health issues. Nothing dramatic or anything but my ex will bring them up.
I have an ex parte hearing first which I am pretty sure is without my ex. (Breathes a sigh of relief)
I just have no idea what to expect. I fee like when I try to explain to people how my ex treats me and acts, it never seems as bad as when it happened. You just can’t explain a feeling in words. That feeling of anxiety and worry when you are even near them. It really is horrible.
I hope the judge will realise what an idiot my ex is!
Thanks for replying17 October 2020 at 12:51 pm #44876
I am new to this and both of your ex’s sound like mine. I am probably going to have to go down the route of going to Court without a Solicitor and like you I get emotional and frustrated and cry. The whole process is terrifying me. Good Luck with it all, I shall keep following this thread and if I find anything useful I will let you know.17 October 2020 at 1:30 pm #44882
Hi, I am much the same as you I can’t afford a solicitor and don’t qaulity for legal aid. I have 2 court cases going, 1 is for an occupation order and for ex to contest my ex parte non molstation order. He has filled for a child arrangement order, which he is represented, I’ve had first hearing got another date so cafcass can do there bit. It’s quite scary knowing he has all the advice, but the judge was super nice. I’m hoping the others will be too xx17 October 2020 at 3:56 pm #44884
I took my ex to court for a cao without any help from a solicitor. There is a history of dv and he lied about me but he had no proof and the cafcass officer had already spoke to the police and the children’s schools to confirm what i had written in the original court forms.
The cafcass officer was quite abrupt and told him she wasn’t interested in hearing about unsubstantiated claims and just wanted an agreement in place that is in the best interests of the children.
I did cry a few times but i think mostly that was because i had stressed myself out about it so much. We settled on a 45/55 split with the children legally residing with me. He was also told pick ups/drop off were to be in a local supermarket carpark and he was not to go to my house or contact me by phone unless it was an emergency, all communication was to be by email. I have been in and out of court for 5 years with trying to get a divorce, financial agreement, forcing a house sale and the cao.17 October 2020 at 4:48 pm #44886
Wow. Sounds like this could actually be me. I hope you don’t mind me asking a few questions….
Was the 45/55 split what you wanted?
Did you know CAFCASS were contacting the police and school?
I have clearly stated the DV issues and how they have impacted on the kids. I wonder whether the same will happen in my case.
Oh it’s all so upsetting isn’t it xx17 October 2020 at 9:37 pm #44889
I had a safeguarding interview with Cafcass before i went to court, as did he, they went through everything i had put in my statement and contacted the police so had a list of when i had reported him to the police even if no action was taken. This helped prove he was harassing me and my older kids, I don’t know if they contacted the schools. I assumed they would to confirm what i had written in my statement.
He has always set the terms of when he would/wouldn’t have the kids often bring them back when he was supposed to have them overnight or at the last minute refusing to have them because he was too ill. At the same time as this he was also threatening to take the kids off me because he and I quote ‘knew things about me i didn’t know he knew’ i got fed up and although i was dreading it applied for the cao. He got them an extra night in the week so he has them 4 nights one week and two the next, but this is the first time in five years i have had a whole weekend with all of my kids, before i got one Saturday a fortnight. He wanted to have them for a whole week each but they were only 8 and 6 and i said that would be too unsettling, then he wanted to have them every other day, i also refused that and cafcass also said that both of those options were unrealistic. We settled on him having them every tuesday and wednesday night, although i still pick them up from school everyday because he finishes work at five and i finish at 3 and i refuse to let them sit in an after school club for two and a half hours when i’m literally a two minute walk from the school. I should also add he works from home so could easily pick them up but refuses. He also has them every other weekend. On the plus side in school terms i see them ever day during the week.
I was pretty upset in court because lies were just spilling out of his mouth but his personal attacks on me just proved my point. The judge, s there were three, decided i would be the resident parent so i am able to claim tax credits and child benefit and cafcass suggested the pickup and contact arrangements. If he had disagreed he would have just looked like a bigger idiot than he had already shown he was. He also phoned the cms as soon as the case was done because he thought he would no longer have to pay maintenance and to be fair neither did i but he only got an £80 a month reduction, he was livid and that cheered me up. As soon as it was all over i cried in my car for about an hour but i think it was just the relief of getting it over with. So far he has stuck mostly to the court order and the relief of not having him harassing me night and day after 9 years of abuse is massive, i have no doubt it won’t last but i’m enjoying it while i can.