Writing a statement and questions for hearing
This may be a bit of a rant, but here goes. I had a remote hearing this month to arrange extended contact been having my 2 girls over night since May last year for one night a fortnight and this increased to 2 nights a fortnight from October last year. No issues with them and they want to see me more and asked ex and it was refused. I was only asking for one more night Friday to Monday and to discuss holidays. During the hearing, it was agreed I will start having them both stay every Wednesday night as of next week.
Another hearing has being scheduled, apparently this will be August. The judge said she would like us both to submit a statement and also a list of questions you would like asked to "cross examine" the other party. How do I go about writing this up, and shall I just go to town on the questions that have never been asked/answered or keep them to a minimum.
My ex has had 3 solicitors since this all kicked off, and she was self repping this time around. She seemed to sack them when she didnt get her own way.
Cafcass were on the hearing, they flat out said to the judge they will not get involved any longer they have said since the start there are no safe guarding concerns at all. They also joked they do not think this will be the last the court see of us.
It was a video hearing, and you should have seen their faces when my ex read out an email I sent her asking for more contact (before this, she was crying crocodile tears saying he keeps bringing me back to court which she does not want or need, I have taken her to court once to start this off and a second time when she breached the order which was confirmed she had) she read the email where I say "the children are asking for more time and I think their wishes should be met, I really hope this can be arranged amicably for their sake as I do not like the court process and I would much rather we deal with this ourselves rather than involve solicitors and the courts" they both looked at her as if to say, what is wrong with that?? She then went on to say that the first time my girls stayed over on a Friday, I did not wash the youngest childs lunch box. This is a reason she is holding back contact. It is a joke. She is claiming I keep bringing it back to court as i am "controlling" but she leaves me no other choice.
After the first hearing in 2019, she appealed it, she then breached it and has refused additional contact despite the kids requesting it. I can see they know it is her being unreasonable, and I hope that this can finally be put to bed. The real frustration is that by August, the summer holidays are pretty much over so it will be another year gone where I will not have a holiday with them.
Whilst I have been typing this, she has messaged me asking if i can have the girls tomorrow from 9am to Thursday morning. Thankfully i can do this as my work is very flexible, but she refuses extended contact and is now asking me to have them for two extra nights this week? You can't make this stuff up!!!!
let me give you a bit of advice, as you say there are no safe guarding concerns. Get yourself a barrister for the hearing if you can afford to, borrow some money to do so if you have to. Why you ask? Because a good barrister will eat her up if she is self repping and there are no safe guarding concerns. They should help you get more access to your children and even shared residency if you live within 30 mins drive of them?
Otherwise questions to her should be focussed on why you cant have more access, kids want it and you feel they should have both parents in their lives equally. You need to focus questions to her on cross examination as to why the kids cant be with you more. So look at what shes blocking your access to and focus on all the things positve you can do for the kids with more access. Like i said a good barrister will get you a easy win as theres no safe guarding concerns. Good luck.
it's great Cafcass are not involved. I think it should go well for if you be reasonable and logical, explaining how the arrangements would benefit the children. For next hearing I suggest you write up a position statement. Have a think of what kind of arrangements you want the kids to have with you. And in your position statement you could lay it out like a list, e.g.
- children to spend 2-3 weeks in summer holidays with father (7 consecutive nights).
- 1 week in xmas, easter.
- Alternate Xmas or shared half days? holidays abroad with kids? having kids fri-mon seems reasonable. I asked court for same and they gave it. I find it strange that your ex is now offering you to have kids extra nights this week, but she does not want to give additional time at other times?! I would suggest in the meantime you try and reason and negotiate with her. could ask her for extra time with kids during the easter/summer holidays.
keep a record of those communications, and you could present to court and show what the outstanding disagreements are or if you have made any progress since the last hearing. there is good template for a position statement here https://childlawadvice.org.uk/information-pages/writing-a-position-statement/
She only seems to let me have the kids when it suits her, which is why it is frustrating. I can never get more contact if I ask for it, only when I am offered it.
I have always suggested a phased approach, and it is what I asked for in the recent hearing. She refused me having them Friday to Monday but instead agreed to me having them on a Wednesday night instead? It makes no sense, it's still an extra day, just a different day to what I asked for. I live 5 minutes from my ex and the kids school too so it is no issue.
alot of ex's furtstrate contact for the father for their financial gains, and as a form of punishment as they always see us being the party in the wrong.
tell the courts how close you are for the kids to take them to school and be involved. Key thing here that you live close so its minimal disruption for the kids, ie they dont need to travel far to see you.
also have at least 2 different arrangment plans of how sharing can work between both parents. incase they dont like one you can suggest the other plan.
@fer17 it's a different day to what you asked for - so she has an element of control over you. You could give it a while and then suggest a different day in the hope that she then suggests the day you wanted in the first place.