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Can you please help? Self-representing and Trial in November.

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Hi, this is my first time posting here.
My case is is rather complex and is listed for final hearing / trial in November.

 Brief history My daughter passed away 8 years ago, she was a single mum to a 3 year old at the time of her passing and had moved interstate with us. The biological father had no relationship with the child.  My husband and I have raised our grand-daughter since losing our daughter. We never heard from the biological father which was no surprise to us as he was a drug addict with a long criminal history and in and out of jail.
In 2010, out of the blue he decided he wanted to see his daughter, have visitation and for her to stay with him during school holidays etc, even though he lives in another state.
The first FM we had ordered him to have random drug testing which resulted in either late testing or unclean results.
He also ordered him to attend in person to a Family Report writer, which he didnt do as he said he didnt receive from his solicitor the date to attend. This resulted in a phone interview with the Family report writer.
In 2011 the FM dismissed his application.
The father appealed and won.
We were appointed a new FM. No drug testing has been ordered. The fathers affidavits have been full of lies and when I have proved them to be lies he does new affidavits which totally contradict the previous ones and of course are just more lies.
His criminal and drug history is of no consequence and there isnt any interest to find out if the has been any recent charges or if he is still using drugs, methadone and other pills.
An ICL was appointed. She recommended a child psychologist.
Our grand-daughter has had to attend a child psychologist and he observed us as well (not the father, he didnt have to attend). The child psychologist said we had done a fantastic job in raising our grand-daughter and believed she would have no difficulty to change.
In March this year orders were made that the father write one letter ( which were to strictly comply with conditions of what he could not write or say) a week for 4 weeks, then phone contact would begin. The child was to be reviewed by child psychologist after 3 months. Then another hearing one month later to determine how to proceed.
My grand-daughter refused to take the first two letters. She became distressed and withdrawn and made it clear she want it all to go away.
ICL was goig to re-list the matter and no further letter would be passed on. I had heard no more from her.
At the next hearing the FM went off. He had no idea what had happened. The ICL was away and her stand in ICL didnt know much. The FM told both parties we had to submit affidavits as to why we didnt comply.
The day after that hearing the ICL calls me to say the other side wants a time set up for phone contact with his daughter. I questioned the ICL as to why when she had halted all communication.
The phone call was a complete disaster with my grand-daughter refusing to speak and the father saying things he should not have said upsetting  her so much she dropped to the floor.
So, now we are going to trial in November. I am self-representing. The father has had legal aid from the start.  Also, the father has not had any face to face interviews with a family report writer, psychologist etc.
 I have absolutely NO idea what to expect, or how a trial in this matter works. I have read that I can cross-examine, but what questions do I ask? The point here is that the child refuses any form of contact from him. The FM has said the child cant be forced and this is why its going to trialit needs an ending.
Is the trial with the questioning and cross- examining, the witnesses..etc, about character assassination or is it about the best interest of the child? I have no idea where to start.
Another question, if I am self-representing, will the father still get legal aid?
Any guidance would be so greatly appreciated.

Pebbs xx
Yes the father still gets legal aid if you are self representing.
Which court or area are you as some courts have community legal services which may be able to assist up until final hearing.
Usually there are papers to be lodged in lead up to this hearing.
Others on the site may be able to help more.
Ask questions and I will answer what I can, although I am not a legal person, but a self representing person like you.
Thank you kalimnadancer.
I am in Queensland and the father is in Victoria and I was told that if I self represented that legal aid (VIC) wouldn't fund the trial.
The next time I step into a court room will be for the trial and it is a very daunting thought.
We live 4 hours from Brisbane so it makes it hard to go and sit in on other cases to watch how it all works.
I have to lodge an affidavit and also lodge an affidavit from my witness. I don't even know who would be the best witness for us as I don't know what is expected from the witness.
The best witness is someone who knows you and the father. This person should be able to state the negative behaviours of the father through personal knowledge and not through being told by others. They will be asked questions to try to discredit their testimony.
Concentrate on the best interest of the child. Read the other parties affidavit and be prepared to ask questions about any wrong statements in the affidavit. Be prepared with your questions for all witnesses including your own.
Remain calm, quiet and speak when spoken to. Make your questions clear and always allow others to speak.
To my knowledge legal aid in Victoria does not fund outside the state, but you can live in Victoria and apply for legal aid in another state when the case is not in your state. Be prepared for anything.
When is your case and good luck.
Having a witness who knows both him and us is limited to 2 people. One who lives interstate and is scared of what might happen if she becomes involved. Threats have been made to her previously and I don't want to put her or her family in danger. I am now mindful that I can't go into too much detail here other than to say her (and my) fear is justified. The second witness would be my youngest daughter. She also witnessed the father assaulting her sister which resulted in a DVO. I worry though that her evidence may not have as much impact because she is related.

My case is in 3 months but unfortunately I have 3 weeks in Oct when I won't be able to work on this so I really need to have the majority prepared before then.
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