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Ambushed with court proceedings while on holiday.

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Advice on next step please

My partner is currently staying with me while her child is with the father for school holidays. The father was due to return the child in time for school, this was a verbal agreement. (Mediation was attempted in November to make the agreement 'official', but the father was uncooperative.) My partner was advised by her solicitor that she didn't need to attend the hearing as he was confident that the judge (magistrate) would go with the 'status-quo' and rule the child be returned to the mother until a hearing date could be set. (The child has been with the mother for the last year, every second weekend with the father.
Her solicitor's agent was late to court and the case was heard in his absence and in favour of the father. The solicitor is extremely apologetic and we are obviously devastated. He is filing for an urgent review(?) and a re-hearing to amend the interim orders in favour of my partner. What are your thoughts on this and what does this process involve? Time frames? This has given us serious doubts about the solicitor's abilities, are these founded or is this something that 'just happens'?
Also, my partner is planning to relocate to live with me and bring the child. The father is aware of this and it has been noted in her response affidavit to his claim. Now that interim orders are in place and the child is with the father, what are the pros/cons of my partner moving to live with me now, before the final hearing?

Ambushed

Hi Astroboy

What were the reasons the father gave for withholding the child? Experienced Solicitors generally know what Hearings you need to attend and which ones you don't. What was the reason he gave for the agent being late? Ill health? car broke down? As it was the Solicitors agent that was late and not your Solicitor it doesn't quite reflect as badly on him as it does on the agent. The father must have had something in his favour for the Judge to award Interim care to him.

It depends on what court you are attending, how busy the courts are and how urgent your case is to know how long it will take for your Solicitor to obtain a review / re-hearing. He would need to present a convincing case to have the Interim Orders overturned.

You mentioned that your partner and her child were proposing to relocate to your residence. Would this interfere with the child's access to their father i.e. reduce his access time? Could this be a reason why he is being unco-operative?
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