Helpful Hints


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 of peace.

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 on

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 court.

Tape Transcripts

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 unbearable.

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 to face.

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.


Tel: 01202 987662

Callers to CNF are reminded that all calls to CNF and made by CNF may be recorded for accuracy and transparency and for the safety of our staff.
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