- Contact Order – court hearing
I don’t really agree with the above comments on solicitors unless there’s some messy history/reason behind things.
In a simple case of “at the moment I see them X amount, but now they’re growing older I’d like to see them a little more” then I think there’s no point in pissing money up the wall, unless you think the ex is likely to be really difficult over things (any skeletons/allegations in the closet? have you been 100% reliable in being there on time for contact so far?)
Most important thing is to make sure you come across as Mr 100% Reasonable in your communications – you want to put forward some suggestions to her in writing first and ask for feedback, saying you’re happy to be flexible – you need to make really reasonable plans and flesh them out (do you get weekend overnight stays at the moment? if not thats a first step, leading on to long weekends and half the holidays. why not put a letter in at work asking for flexible working to match in with your proposed access plan, would show you’re serious about things and are planning ahead.
I got unsupervised weekends and half the holidays (inc. three weeks in school summer hols) off the bat at 200 mile distance with a 6 and 4 year old, from a starting point of complete denial of access along with all sorts of false allegations – thats a reasonable request and a reasonable starting point – if you live nearby then picking up from school and taking for tea one evening a week, and then Friday from school to Sunday teatime every other week is a reasonable goal, maybe staged increase to this over a period of 6 months.
Make plans, see what’s normal, and play Mr Reasonable, and the CAFCASS report should go fine. back that up with the letters putting forward realistic suggestions to her, before trying to get yourself a contact order, and court should be fine unless she’s a complete headcase.Posted 8 years ago
Right first up it’s my brief’s idea I go myself otherwise it will add a king’s ransom onto the thousands I have alreadt racked up.
I see kids every other weekend, pick up from home (or some beer garden) Friday afternoon take back Sunday 7:30pm. Never late always go where she wants to have them picked up from. I have tried several proposals for midweek access, all rejected. Mainly on the grounds they’re too tired when they’ve been with you or it’s not worth you having them for a few hours of an evening. Ideally I would like to have them over Mon & Thurs nights on the week I don’t see them and take back at 7am in morning. My job starts at 7:30am can’t change it.
I think she can’t be arsed to get up early and am sure she knows it will affect the maintainance.
I’m in court next month, just wanted a few experiences that’s all.
When I get into court will I have chance to put m proposals across or will the beak just say this is how it works Blah Blah?Posted 8 years agogonefishinMember
deally I would like to have them over Mon & Thurs nights on the week I don’t see them and take back at 7am in morning
Don’t take this the wrong way but that seems like an awful lot of tooing and froing for a 4 & 2 year old. I appreciate that you want to spend time with your kids but this does seem like a lot for kids who are that young.Posted 8 years agoZulu-ElevenMember
If she doesn’t agree, then I’d wager the judge will defer for CAFCASS reports – and when it goes back they will most likely just rubber stamp that report.
Honest, constructive statement – the comment about too tired is a strong one to combat – especially if you’re talking about having them back by 7am! She’ll say its too early for kids of that age and disruptive to their normal pattern – what time do they normally get up when at hers? what time do you intend putting them to bed and getting them up so they can be dressed and back at hers by seven? routine is important to kids and you need to plan everything carefully before you put forward any proposals in an interview
if you turn round to CAFCASS and say
My job starts at 7:30am can’t change it.
Then you’re on a complete hiding to nothing, they will judge that mum is being reasonable over her concern over the kids being tired during the day and disrupting their routine! – you have a legal right to request flexible working, and your employer has a duty to consider it, have you formally asked if you can start late one or two days a fortnight? or how about changing your hours to take them one whole afternoon & night on the week you don’t get them for the weekend?
What’s more important, your job or your kids?
These are the exact questions you’ll get off CAFCASS and if you have not covered these bases then you’re leaving yourself wide open to getting torn apart in the report.
edited PS – you need to change your thinking now – so far you’ve only mentioned what you want/when you’d like to see the kids, thats totally irrelevant, you need to talk only about why increased access would be good for THEM, not what you want!Posted 8 years agoti_pin_manMember
I did it earlier this year myself. I was bricking it too. However I did it myself and got what I went for. My ex emplyed a legal team, had her partner, and parents with her and I went on my own. Only you and yer ex and the lawyers are allowed in the court.
The judge in my case basically read the submission papers and responses, then sent us out with CAFCASS to discuss. They then acted as mediation and got a deal together. In the mediation room, it was CAFCASS, me and my ex. No legals allowed in. This is about the child not the parents.
My ex tried to cause trouble from all angles but CAFCASS cottoned on quick that she was talking pants. CAFCASS were very good at cutting through the crap and getting to a deal. They are not stupid, if the timings you suggest are unreasonable they will say so, they should only be interested in the kids welfare and wont support a deal that is simply convenient for parents.
In my case a deal was struck same day, if it gets messy they do other sessions and reports and then reconvene in court.
I would do it the same way every time again. The best bit for me was that as I had no lawyer my ex’s lawyer was told to write the court order for me!Posted 8 years agoportercloughMember
Be aware that her solicitor will advise her to resist any attempt by you to have more than 2 nights per week, as more than 110 nights per year will mean less money for her; 3 nights a week will be seen as ‘shared care’.
Presumably she is resisting any further increase hence going to court for an order, or are you mostly wanting to get the current situation formalised? It seems that courts (and the CAFCASS officer) like to keep things as they are “when working well”, in general.
To be honest if it’s contested I would be surprised if you got more than one midweek night – sat and tue or wed, or alternate weekends and every tue/wed seems more likely to be what they’ll go for, unless things have changed in the last few years (which I doubt).
Hope it goes well. If you really can’t afford a solicitor (can you afford not to is what my dad annoyingly said to me) then remember you are allowed a ‘McKenzie friend’ to assist you in court, if you can find someone you trust who’s been through it all.
Finally, remember what others have said, you have to go out of your way not only to be reasonable but also to be seen to be reasonable, or it will be used against you. Also put everything you say in terms of how it will benefit your kids – and as others say, if mediation is offered, try that.Posted 8 years agoMr AgreeableSubscriber
Zulu-Eleven is absolutely spot on, not much more to add there. Except to say that I worked in the family department at a firm of solicitors for three years, and not once did I see a case where the client was advised to resist an increase in contact because it would cut her benefits. That argument would be a complete non-starter in the eyes of the court and CAFCASS.Posted 8 years agoMr AgreeableSubscriber
Also as a “litigant in person” the judge (and her solicitor) should take the time to explain things clearly to you and make sure you understand what is going on. They’re not going to bend over backwards for you but you should be treated a bit more gently then someone who has turned up with legal representation.Posted 8 years ago
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