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  1. #1
    MabelQ's Avatar

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    Default Indirect Contact - court order

    Hi

    My ex-husband is only permitted indirect contact once a month with our children. He writes a letter to each of them. I am court ordered to write him an update once a month on what the children are doing, etc.

    There is no end date on the order so can I stop sending these updates when the children reach 16?

    The children are teenagers and do not want to see him and never respond to his letters. They don't want him to know anything about their lives but he still has parental rights and I have to keep to the order.

  2. #2
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Indirect Contact - court order

    Hi MabelQ,

    The Court Order if not limited in time, will continue until the children are 18 or another order is made. Bit of an awkward one, as if he was having direct contact and the children were refusing to see him at 16. Yes he could apply for the order to be enforced but the Court would be hard pushed to force an older teenager to see a parent they don't want to. They do tend to vote with their feet. However where you are expected to provide a monthly up-date the onus is really on you to comply with the order.

    How long has the order been in place and what age were the children when it was made? I understand monthly up-dates are important for younger children as things change so quickly, but maybe as they get older surely for major decisions that someone with PR should be aware of, such as subject choices, change in schools or the like but minutiae, really? The Court no doubt had it's reasons for making the order it did at the time but if it was years ago now then they may not have had teenage years in mind?

    Depending when the order was made and provided you have been complying until now, maybe you give him the bare minimum, still at school, thinking of an apprenticeship/Uni etc, no change. It would be for him to apply to the Court for a breach of the Order if he doesn't like the info he is getting and what is the Court going to do? You've complied but you're also honouring your older teenagers wishes, not to discuss with their father personal things.

    Do your children know that this order is in place? Do they understand what happens if you don't comply and the risk that their father could take you back to Court with all the stress and possible costs that entails? Would they be willing to write him a one liner each month (herding cats comes to mind if they're anything like my teenager!) Again, if they don't then he could apply to the Court but you can explain then.

    Come back if there are other issues I've raised, but hopefully this helps a bit.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

  3. #3
    MabelQ's Avatar

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    Default Re: Indirect Contact - court order

    Thank you for your reply. The order has been in place about a year and the children are early teens.

    My ex has seen them 16 times in the last 8 years so there has been no involvement in selecting schools etc as he doesn't "know" the children well enough to assist in making an informed choice.

    I have always complied with the order but it's now being complicated by the fact one of the children is so unhappy that dad gets to know information they don't wish to give that they have started self harming (I am seeking appropriate help for this and luckily I spotted the signs quickly).

    They are aware of the order and absolutely not happy about it. I am in a very difficult position each time I have to provide an update, balancing the wishes of our children against the demands from my ex for specific information and complying with the order. And now one of the children is self harming because they want it to all just go away. It's so very sad.

    They understand I have to comply but absolutely will not write even one line to him themselves. Two S7 reports documented their wishes and feelings and recommended no direct contact. In fact the first S7 report mentioned a reluctance to even recommend indirect contact.

    Once again, thank you. I will continue with the updates but brevity may be the answer in years to come then take my risks in court. He said he's taking me back to court again this year anyway to try for direct access again so I've got that to face too.

  4. #4
    Peridot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Indirect Contact - court order

    I'm so sorry to hear about the self harming. It is a really quandary. It sounds like it has been a struggle just to get to this point for you all.
    Maybe as you say brevity is key at this point and if he applies again, let the Court order another report. Then they will know what the children's views are.
    Or maybe think of taking some advice yourself in a free half hour and see if they recommend you making an application to have the order amended. Unfortunately the cost is generally an issue in any of these cases, not to mention the stress and anxiety for all of you, particularly when you are already having to deal with issues of self harming. It is weighing up the likelihood of your ex making the application his year, you applying and risking a more onerous order or just going with the current order at this stage, all be it the bare minimum of information that is given.
    I hope your child gets the right help soon, it sounds like you are doing the right things so far. The counsellor or GP may also be able to assist if any application to Court is required.
    Last edited by Peridot; 30th March 2017 at 19:20:PM.
    I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

    Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

    If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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