Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: Cafcass recommends indirect contact - how do I overturn that?

The first thing to say here is that persuading a court not to follow the recommendation of a Cafcass officer is not a trivial matter, and you should really seek specific advice from a specialist family lawyer.

Having said that, there are a couple of points that I would make here.

Firstly, the Cafcass officer should have explained in their report the reasons why they are recommending indirect contact (i.e. no direct contact between the parent and the child, e.g. telephone contact, contact via letter or email, etc.). You will need to show to the court that the Cafcass officer was wrong. Exactly how you do this depends upon the reasons given, but will almost certainly involve cross-examining the Cafcass officer at court, which is obviously something that should ideally be done by a lawyer.

The other point to make is that the indirect contact may only be temporary. For example, in a case where there has been no contact at all for a while indirect contact may be seen as a way to reintroduce the parent to the child(ren). If the indirect contact goes well, it may then be varied to include direct contact. Obviously, in this case it may be better to be patient, rather than to try to challenge the welfare officer, which would involve everyone having to go through a contested court hearing.

As I said at the beginning though, this is really a matter upon which you should seek specific advice.

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