Is it true that contact always ends up unsupervised ..

(37 Posts)
motheroflight Fri 13-Sep-13 22:31:40

apart from in the worst cases of violence and drug abuse.
Cafcass have supervised for a while but it has come down to the fact that they can't afford to do it anymore and are happier with exH's parenting more than ever before. He was violent to both DCs and myself at different times and had a caution wrt myself but no proper evidence wrt DC. At first they identified exH parenting as crap and sent him off to courses etc but a year on, they don't really want to be involved anymore. I trialled an unsupervised where I remained within the same large venue - Dcs were reluctant but well-mannered so ultimately complied and made the best of it. Now I am terrified that I have paved the way for real unsupervised contact despite his previous violence (which I don't believe has changed and can't be assessed by obs when exH was on best behaviour). Are there any intermediate options that I can propose or have I paved the way for a typical contact schedule now that I foolishly agreed to supervise myself?

Onebuddhaisnotenough Fri 13-Sep-13 23:06:42

In my experience, and in the words of the childrens court officer hmm the courts won't keep testing these men forever. Once they successfully 'pass' one stage of the process, they quickly move on to the next. Ex was violent to my children, we now have a final contact order in place and he does have unsupervised overnights.

motheroflight Sat 14-Sep-13 00:02:43

Oh dear - how has it been?

lostdad Sat 14-Sep-13 11:10:25

Not completely true.

The court works on the principle that ultimately parents will work together without the need for orders telling them what to do - i.e. what people do when there isn't acrimony following a split. It also works on the principle that people do make mistakes, but can learn - thinking about it...the alternative is to assume that people never change and can never learn. Even people who go to prison come out eventually!

Unless the court believes that it is not in the best interests of your children to have direct contact they will do at some point. As it stands courts do err on the side of caution - my personal experience includes my son being forced to see me in a contact centre for a period as a result of false allegations made by his mother - because they don't want to be responsible for a decision that leads to harm for a child.

If it is a case that your ex is a bit rubbish in the parenting department, that isn't enough to stop unsupervised contact.

motheroflight Sat 14-Sep-13 16:52:16

Well, my case is that the allegations are true but difficult to fact find 2 yrs on as most of the incidents happened abroad. And yes, he never was a great parent. We have had supervised contact for a year. I have agreed to 'unsupervise' the last time it happened. Special needs child issues seem to have been overlooked too.

Onebuddhaisnotenough Sat 14-Sep-13 19:17:49

Mother It's taken over 2 years to get to this point. He has police cautions for assault and a fact finding hearing about his violence went in my favour. He has been made to undertake therapeutic work for abusive fathers. Since unsupervised overnights began the children have not received any bruises. His financial, emotional and psychological abuse is harder to monitor. I tend not to breath properly until they are home safe again. Do I believe that he will never abuse them again ? No. I am taking a massive leap of faith. My solicitor has been fantastic. The family court judge who resided over most of the hearings is totally pro women and children . She managed him very well (he self reps) and ultimately I now have a residency order in place and he has significantly less contact than what he demanded all along. 'If ' anything was to happen in future I am confident that his contact would be stopped.

motheroflight Sat 14-Sep-13 22:09:11

Well, including the year of indirect contact, I suppose it has been two years for us too. I have RO too and since he lives abroad and 'visits' I am told that DC won't be forced abroad. Due to SNs, I'm not sure about overnights in the UK either. It would be catastrophic and I could not relax until they were back, as you say. We had a good allocated judge but he left so now it is floating around (and you know how some of them are).

kittycat68 Sun 15-Sep-13 11:03:15

do not supervise the contact yourself! because if anything happens it would be your word against his! he will deny it and you claim you are deliberately trying to stop contact maliously.
Courts always move to unsupervised contact, unless your child suffers broken bones!! or so a recent Cafcass guardian told me!!!!
Courts dont wonat to deal will seperated parents aruging and the NRP is always given the benefit of the doubt! not to mention chance after chance to change thier behaviour. Each case is different because it depends on which judge you have confused unless you can evidence physical abuse it will move to unsupervised, sorry. A mothers view of her childs emotional and physical well being is overlooked.

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 15:24:39

I have the caution for Dv against me (the only time I reported him) but it is a few years old now and my solicitor says that it proves nothing about his treatment of Dcs. The embassy in the country where we were living said they would provide reports about what I reported at the time but they have since backtracked and gone silent - it is also my own allegation rather than independent evidence. DC were interviewed by SW straight after coming back to UK and told them in very vague terms about exH hitting them but all of this has been minimised as not enough, historic, need to look forward blah blah and in all honesty, it is so old now that a fact finding wont really yield much apparently.

kittycat68 Sun 15-Sep-13 17:31:40

can i ask Op how old is the child in question?

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 17:50:26

Hi SN child is 8

kittycat68 Sun 15-Sep-13 18:16:48

ok in which case the childs views will have little bearing. obviously we dont know all the ins and outs of the case here but from what you have put OP i think it very likely he will get unsupervised access. A word to the wise courts dont like women that allege DV without PROOF, you may be seen as malious and trying to stop contact. Do you have a solicitor OP?

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 18:47:27

Yes, it has not been robust representation and the proof is the caution except that I withdrew it later because I wanted to patch things up. He did admit to the offence though which is why they have (I am told) proceeded cautiously and unsupervised is only being considered two years later. Are there different degrees of un-supervision? Could I specify that I wish to remain in the background (though obv not hovering over them) or specify enclosed or familiar venues. I hope SN, gaps between contact due to international element, past history and DCs general mistrust will be recognised.

cestlavielife Sun 15-Sep-13 20:59:45

Intermediate could be an adult friend or relative you both agree to.
Supervising yourself is pontless really.

But yes ultimately unless huffed to pay contact centee yourself cafcass will move it on. You could also see if there are voluntary run centre near you which would be cheaper ?

How old are the dc non sn ie are they old enough for their word t be taken into account ?

cestlavielife Sun 15-Sep-13 21:02:01

Or if you keep contact to public places like a soft play or library where other people around. Depends if he asking to take them off to his place?

motheroflight Sun 15-Sep-13 21:47:42

Others are younger unfortunately. Family wont go anywhere near him after his vendetta which affected them all on so many levels. Nor will friends with children (I don't blame them).

Or if you keep contact to public places like a soft play or library where other people around. This is what I want and what I proposed last time, except that he took them just outside the venue (to txt me though, of course, he could have sent a text from inside) - sllabout pushing those boundries it seems.

He does not have a UK base but ideally, he would like a bog standard contact schedule and I think the real probs would arise once DC are away from the public gaze and he is able to show his true colours without fear of repercussions

Onebuddhaisnotenough Sun 15-Sep-13 22:05:52

I was in a similar situation OP - when the move was made from no contact to supervised, for lots of reasons I ended up doing the supervison but it had to be in public. I hated it, but I did it because the children wanted to see him. the contact period fell over a mealtime, so we would go to the food court of a shopping centre. He exerted the little control he had at the time by telling the children that 'mummy was going to go stand in the queue' while he found a table with them. He managed to 'lose' them from my line of vision. He then threw money on the floor so that I had to lean down to pick it up. Refusing to do so would have seemed odd to the kids. So I did it. It's not something I would recommend though. When our social worker changed later in the process, he was aghast that I had been put in that position.

lostdad Mon 16-Sep-13 10:05:59

It is worth thinking about what the long term plan is now. If you're only happy for contact to take place if you/someone else supervises it - what is the plan in 2, 5, 10 years time?

Supervised contact is generally in place as a temporary thing until more `normal' contact takes place. In court the hope and expectation is that things and people move on.

The problem comes when one party and/or the other steadfastly refuses to change their behaviour and/or attitude meaning that something that should be dead and buried is kept alive and kicking by endless rounds of court hearings, support meetings and encouragement by `friends'.

Eventually separated parents should be able to be civil to each other - treating each other as allies and with a respect for each other. It does no one any good if ten years down the line they are still treating the other one like their Hannibal Lector's more dangerous big brother/sister.

motheroflight Mon 16-Sep-13 10:40:19

Agree that working together is the ideal but it is very difficult to trust someone who was abusive in different ways over many years; A Jekyll and Hyde figure who can seem ever so ingratiating and pleasant to authority but is a neurotic, aggressive bastard behind closed doors. These personalities go beyond anything a Cafcass officer would have witnessed. Everyone who was within the old family unit knows the real score.

PleaseLetsGoToSleep Mon 16-Sep-13 11:44:14

That's a great sentiment Lostdad, but have you been able to apply this to your own case? Nearly every post you write is aimed at demonising your ex wife.

I'm with you Mother, I'm not convinced most abusive exps will ever change.

lostdad Mon 16-Sep-13 12:39:46

I'm sorry your prejudices have lead you to make assumptions about my post PleaseLetsGoToSleep.

I spend a lot of time as a McKenzie Friend trying to help separated parents rebuild trust - it's only natural that people attribute malign motives to things that have been said in all innocence.

What's your situation PleaseLetsGoToSleep? I'd be interested to hear.

DollyTwat Mon 16-Sep-13 19:35:50

I'm in a very similar situation

The courts agree that supervised is necessary, but over time it slowly goes to unsupervised and then over night. The dc build their trust again (as do I) then he does something vile and nasty to them and the process starts again

The courts only want to reinstate contact, ignoring the history repeating itself whereas social services state clearly that if you don't protect your dc you are at fault

You can't win. Ever

Onebuddhaisnotenough Mon 16-Sep-13 21:25:48

Exactly dolly. It's a no win situation. You'll have the abusive parent bleating on about their rights and wanting to leave the past in the past. While you literally hold your breath until contact is over and the kids are home safe again.

DollyTwat Mon 16-Sep-13 22:59:55

It's cost me thousands in legal fees and about to again. I have NO CHOICE but to take it back to court, who see me as a mum who stops contact, whereas social services see it I'm not protecting them.

I'm hoping this time the pattern of abuse will be seen
I cannot bear to see the heartbreak on my dc's faces when 'daddy' decides he's had enough for a while

kittycat68 Tue 17-Sep-13 17:10:29

having been involved in a fair few court cases, i have NEVER met a mckenzie friend from FNF who HELPS seperated PARENTS regain trust!
its usually about we represent FNF and this parent is delibarately stopping?refusing our client contact by claiming abuse!

I also disagree, a Mckenzie friend is usually a seperated parent with thier own issues/agenda, and not about the childrens rights /wishes of the case.

I have lost count of how many domestic abuse cases end up with the father having a mckenzie friend from FNF.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now