This week and with record speed, the Weatherfield CAFCASS office had sent an officer to Coronation Street to complete the report which was ordered by the court only a fortnight ago.
The report was to investigate the situation between step-father David and biological father Callum, and to make recommendations about the living and contact arrangements between them and son/step-son Max.
And the Platt household were ready for her visit.
Mouthy niece told to keep her mouth shut about drug addict missing mother being back on the scene – check!
Extended family warned to be on their best behaviour – check!
Gail has cleaned the toilet just in case the CAFCASS lady wants to use it – check!
Step-father discovers that who he thought is his son Gavin is in fact his son’s friend Andy, that the real Gavin is dead, and that Gail knew about it and lied to him, as did David. The mother of all arguments erupts just seconds before the lady from CAFCASS steps through the door – check!
Our resident family law solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Panel, Rebecca Finnigan comments.
To quote arguably one of the greatest slap-stick duos of all time – “oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”
Remarkably, David was very calm about the fact this argument was witnessed by the CAFCASS lady, and she was unfazed by the fracas which she had witnessed. They decided to rearrange for another day.
What all this means for the outcome of the CAFCASS report, only time will tell. However now the cat is out of the bag, and given the CAFCASS report is to make recommendations as to what is in the best interests of Max’s welfare, it would seem unlikely that a professional will turn a blind eye to such events in a family, particularly in the context of the family circumstances which will already be known to the authorities.
In other news, Kylie has been spotted on the street, skulking in the shadows and peering from round corners. Gobby niece Beth spotted her and reported back to David, who has sworn Beth to secrecy. But what does Kylie’s return mean for the court proceedings?
Kylie has parental responsibility for Max, which means she should be notified of any application to the court involving him. The reality is that even if she had vanished, the court would likely insist that she receives notification of the court proceedings. I often find my clients are surprised when I advise them that a person whose whereabouts is unknown can be traced by the court, and usually fairly quickly.
The court has the power to make a direction that the Department for Work and Pensions disclose (confidentially from the other parties to the court proceedings) to the court the address they have on record for that person. The court will then serve the papers on that person through the post. This is usually successful as the DWP is likely to have an up to date address if that person is claiming state benefits.
There is no obligation on Kylie to be actively involved in the court proceedings, but given she clearly loves her children it is quite likely she will want to play a part. Perhaps she will support David, or maybe she will want to benefit from a Child Arrangements Order herself.
One thing we are sure of, this storyline is right up Sud’s Law’s street and is gathering pace nicely!
If you need advice about obtaining a Child Arrangements Order or any other family law issue, details of specialist solicitors can be found through Resolution or The Law Society. Our expert team at Canter Levin and Berg are as ever happy to oblige.