Restricted from seeing my kids – the route to court
So to put it into context I just wanted to give a little back story to the months leading up to the breakdown in this relationship with my kids.
So after I relapsed in December, a lot of people (including my Mum) said “that’s it”, ” a leopard never changes it spots” and all that other nonsense. I was now in a position were I had to work twice as hard to rebuild what I had spent the last two years building. So from January to March I was a model father and a model citizen, getting back on track and being responsible. I would sleep on the floor so the kids could have the bed in my tiny flat lol, and make Sunday dinners and also wash the girls hairs and everything.Homework was always completed nothing was ever missed.
In February I met Vick (as seen in my other post) and life was really going great. In March out of the blue really my ex-partner decided that I wasn’t a fit father and I shouldn’t see my kids. So I tried to fight this with a conversation and some reasoning and I was basically told that I had no chance of getting to see the kids without going through the court process. Now I thought on the outset this would be a quick process as there was no reason I shouldn’t see my kids but little did I know what was to come. To this day I believe that she couldn’t handle the fact I had bounced back from life twice, that I refused to give up and I actually met a lovely respectable girl.
Anyway first of all you have to reach out to a solicitor (at a cost of around £200 GBP) and arrange mediation in a bid to fix this broken communications and get contact quickly re-established. The British courts will not entertain you unless you have attempted mediation. So I arranged it and paid the bill for it but the ex-partner never turned up. So now I had a route to court but never did I realise how long this was going to take to fix. I went to the court and applied for a hearing to get contact back on track (at a cost of around £250 GBP) and they give me a date that was 8 weeks away!! I was also told that I couldn’t make any contact while we were going through this process. I felt heartbroken and devastated. I did try to text my eldest daughter but I never got any reply. I actually couldn’t believe that I was so helpless to this and someone could just stop my contact with the word NO! These were my children too, parenting should be a 50/50 responsibility, I had never felt more embarrassed or actually degraded in my life.
Anyway I had the upmost faith in the court system and thought in 8 weeks time this will all be a bad memory. Little did I know what was too come.
I turned up at the courts ready to fight to see my kids and we were led into a small room with a magistrate who didn’t even acknowledge me. The first and last question that was asked was directed to my ex-partner ” So Mum whats the problem and what do you want to do?”. I was absolutely flabbergasted. She responded that she didn’t think the kids were safe with me as she believed I was using drugs and my mental health wasn’t stable. She told the Magistrate that she didn’t want me to have any contact with the kids. These were serious allegations!
Now if I had been given a chance to speak I would have asked, why were they allowed to come and stay with me for the past three months if she was so worried! I wasn’t given that opportunity and I was told that the courts needed to investigate further and a hearing would take place at a later date. The date was set………………….for 4 months time!!!
Now for me I quickly realised it was going to be about 6 months of not seeing my kids and I had absolutely no faith that at the next hearing if I would have been given an opportunity to have my say. I needed advice so I sought it from the one person who has never let me down……..my Dad.
He gave me the best advice to this day, “you need a solicitor to support you or this will never end”. I wen’t straight to a solicitor and was quoted nearly £1,500 for the end to end process and that was pretty much all I had saved up. It was money well spent. I left myself broke and paid the bill straight away.
They arranged for all the allegations to be squashed with evidence. I still had too wait for 6 months but even to this day I believe it was a slight blessing, let me explain why. So when I met my Vick she was worried about being with someone who had three kids (which is understandable). Over the next 6 months we grew together and just fell in love. She helped me so much through this time. I would write letters to my kids every two week in the hope they got them (I never received a reply) but I would include photos and what I had been up to. The time we spend together we got to see who we were in ourselves and what type of people we were. Now don’t get wrong we were both really happy with our single lives, so it was amazing that we got together.
Six months felt like 5 minutes and it was time to go back to court, I turned up with my barrister (£500 a hour) and she turned up with free legal advice. We went into court and I was shocked, my barrister stood up and basically said this whole thing was a joke and that this was all uncalled for. No response came from the otherside she was just silent!
The judge put a contact plan in place and i’ve never looked back since. I now have a fixed court order saying I can have the kids every other week Sat 10am to Sun 6pm. I will admit that over time and since my daughter was diagnosed with her brain tumour communication with my ex-partner is a lot better. Things are very settled and I don’t intend in making any mistakes moving forward from this point on wards. If you are going through this battle, keep your faith and seek good advice. If you are a good father and make the right decisions no one should be able to close that door on you.