Think Carefully before leaving home
Once you have left home it is very difficult to return without causing
some problems. It is likely if you return, that you may be asked
to leave the premises by the Police in order to prevent a breach
Maintain contact with your Children
Once you have left the matrimonial home or separated from your partner,
ensure that you establish regular and continued contact if you can.
Make sure that you establish indirect contact by sending age appropriate
cards and letters.
Do not ask the children questions, make statements such as I'm feeling
good today, I have mowed the lawn today and washed the car etc.
Do not believe that you are making things better for your children
by leaving matters until you get to court. You must convince the
court that you have maintained a form of contact with your children.
Do not agree to a period of no contact with your partner or wife.
It is difficult to re-establish contact after a break.
Make good use of Family Mediation
If you are unable to communicate with your partner or family, arrange
a mediation appointment as soon as you can. The court will recognise
that you have tried to resolve the problem externally of the court.
You can contact a local mediation service, their number can be found
in the directory or you can contact The Mediation Service on 0117
904 2825 and ask them for one near you.
Beware of undefended Divorce proceedings
All allegations made in the divorce petition should be responded
to in writing without delay. Simply reject that which is not factually
correct, indicating that the individual has not produced any tangible
evidence to support such allegations. It is the responsibility of
the individual making such allegations to provide to the court, tangible
evidence of said allegations.
Ideas about contact
Both parents will have different ideas about what reasonable parenting
time means. Insist upon defined parenting time, setting out your
proposals in writing and sending them by recorded delivery or obtain
proof of posting.
Parenting time should reflect the needs of the children and take
in to account the working patterns of both adults. Any plans should
account for travelling time and an equal split of the costs.
Your Solicitor is not doing enough to make matters move
Put all your instructions and views in writing to your Solicitor,
this is an accurate record of your position. Make sure that you are
able to prove you sent the instructions.
All letters should either be sent by recorded or special delivery
or proof of posting should be obtained from the Post Office. When
sending faxes, make sure the fax has a cover sheet and that you get
confirmation from your machine to say that it went successfully.
Press your Solicitor for information, you are the client and it
is you who are paying his or her fees. The same applies if you have
a funding certificate.
CAFCASS - Children and Family Court Advisory Support service
When parents can not agree a way forward, CAFCASS will normally
be appointed by the curt to look at the dynamics of your family and
the situation neither of you can agree to resolve.
Other organisations do the same work such as The National Youth
Advisory Service (NAYS). If you have no confidence in CAFCASS do
not be afraid to ask the court to appoint NYASS to look at the matters
concerning your family situation.
When a report is made on your situation and you do not agree with
the content of the report, request that it be amended at once to
reflect the facts. Notify the Court at once of your concerns, asking
for your letter to be placed on your file.
Complain to the manger of the local CAFCASS office, setting out
your concerns about the report and if required the conduct of the
officer who made the report. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself.
If the report prepared by the CAFCASS officer is favourable and
the Judge ignores the report, raise your concerns verbally at once,
thereafter in writing. Be prepared to appeal the decision in a higher
In each and every hearing you go to, the proceedings are recorded
for clarity and accuracy. You can obtain a copy of the transcript
of the hearing.
In some instances it has been the case that Solicitors are telling
clients that they cannot have a transcript of the hearing. This I
simply not true.
You can fill out a form EX107 and make an application for the transcript.
If you cannot afford to pay for the transcript, you can fill out
an EX160 and ask the court for exemption from fees. If you do not
qualify for exemption, you can ask the court to pay for the transcript
at public expense.
Sitting in Silence
It is true that often court proceedings are difficult and at times
Share your feelings with a friend or someone you trust.
You must not talk about the case to reporters or discuss the case
revealing the identity of the children or third parties. You can
talk about the case in private to someone who is trustworthy and
can help you through the minefield of problems that you will have
The court expects you to keep all information regarding the case
secure and private. If you pass your court papers around or make
them available generally, you can be found in contempt of court.
There are many organisations out there ready and willing to help
you. Most will help you in a legitimate fashion, exercising care
and concern about your position. Be very careful whom you share information
with as many groups will exploit you for your case information and
encourage you to get involved in demonstrations and activities that
are criminal. Don't.
Your credibility is the only currency the court recognises. Stay
on the right side of the law, no matter how ineffective it seems
or how bad things get.