It was barely 9am on Monday morning when the phone rang on David Charles' desk. He took a deep breath when he was told that Brian Jones wanted to speak to him.
The contact had not gone well that weekend. Sophie had wanted to go horse riding (as she usually did on Saturdays), and begrudged having to go to the contact centre instead. Her brother Liam, perhaps picking up on her mood, had constantly complained of being bored. Eventually, Brian had acceded to the supervisor's suggestion that the visit be cut short.
"It's Liz - she's turning them against me." Said Brian.
"We don't know that." Replied David. "You have to give it a chance."
"What's the point? They don't want to spend time with me."
It was the first time that David had heard Brian sound defeatist. "No," he said, "you mustn't believe that. You've got to stick with it. As I've said before, the contact should become less restrictive - when it does, you'll be able to do more interesting things with the children."
"By then it'll be too late. We have to do something now."
"What do you want to do?"
"Go back to the court - get better contact."
"But you heard what the district judge said. This is the best you're going to get, for a while at least."
Brian's despair quickly turned to anger, and there was only one target. "I don't believe that. You're not doing enough for me. I want to go back to court, and if you won't do it, I'll get another solicitor who will."
"Mr Jones," David replied calmly, "you are of course entitled to instruct another solicitor, but I'm sure they will give you the same advice as I have given you. Going back to the court now will achieve nothing, apart from increasing your costs."
"So you're saying there's nothing I can do? What am I paying you for?"
"I've given you my advice. I know it's not what you want to hear, but I'm afraid I can't always tell clients what they want to hear. If you're not satisfied with my advice then perhaps it would be best if you did speak to another solicitor."
"Are you trying to get rid of me?"
"No, certainly not." Replied David, trying to hide his exasperation. "But I don't want to keep acting for you if you're not happy with the job I'm doing."
Brian hesitated. "I... don't know." He said. "It all just seems so unfair. No wonder so many fathers think the law is biased against them."
David ignored that.