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TOPIC: Playing the long game

Playing the long game 2 years 3 months ago #78205

Hello, and welcome.

I wanted to share some of my past experiences as a father, as well as the present situation, how I got here and where it goes from now, which is just over 4 weeks away from my first hearing (this time around).

My daughter was born 27/9/11, she's just tuned 5. Some 4 years ago, I got a contact order granting me weekend access every Saturday (this was a reduction as I was having two days per week, but at the last minute, mum decided this was too much). Very frustrating I know, but playing the long game was never going to be easy. I knew I had to bide my time and build on what we had, as there's a little clause in the order that states "as well as any other time agreed" and my solicitors exact words where "you've got no chance" when inquiring about shared residence, they referred to my daughter like a tree putting down her roots with mum, the courts would need a very good reason to uproot her. I would need to come back when she was older. Anyway, she's not tree, and the reduction in contact has resulted in my daughter being upset. Thankfully, or so I've heard,/ read the laws and courts position has changed. We'll see in about a months time I guess.

Shortly after the original order was made, our daughter was put in my surname and I was added to the birth certificate (yes aren't I lucky, sarcasm), and within a year my contact was back up to 2 overnight stays per week (yes I am lucky, seriously this time). This wasn't easy, I had to have my daughter at the drop of a hat,work around mum all of the time, sometimes id lose a day here and there due to arguments / disagreements, but contact was consistently around 2 days per week for about 2-3 years. I won't lie, I've endured incredible stress and metal torture at times, I'm sure I'm not alone in this, I've been assaulted 3 times which have been reported to the police ... I never had her charged with assault though, regrettably now. None the less, I made sure there was a police record of these incidents and she has had two harassment orders against her.

I imagine some of my story will be familiar to some. For years I've been chipping away making sure levels of contact remained as high as possible, all the while enduring psychological and physical abuse without retaliation. The time has come allow my plans to come to fruition. I always knew the day would come when mum would permanently reduce my contact back to the original agreement, I'd been threatened with it enough! So now she's stated school full time, mum says she doesn't see her enough. This is her only reason for reducing contact.

So here I am now, poised to go to court and represent myself in a shared residency case, with a mountain of evidence spanning years of emotional abuse, name calling, assaults, all without retaliation, and we have been living in a situation that is akin to shared residence for 2-3 years anyway (2 nights per week, taking her to and from nursery, opticians, doctors, hospital, more than mum because I have a car and she's lazy) which has now been scaled back to one night per week. Oh, until she gets a job she said, then I can have her more again. I am having too much input apparently, and she assumes that the court will be fully on her side. Wish me luck. :woohoo:

My main line of argumentation is that contact has been regularly 2 nights per week, regardless of the original order, and that I am already a shared resident parent as I've been deeply involved with my daughters life since she was born, taking her too and from nursery, multiple overnight stays through the week, taking her or medical appointments more so than mum. Mums lifestyle and commitments have always been a barrier to access, relationships with men and her family as well as her work commitments all seem to influence mine and my daughters contact.

I will be going for every Wednesday night, and every other Friday to Monday. This allows all hand overs to be at school as to reduce conflict between parents, and allows ample down time every other weekend to plan and do fun stuff ... All the while the weekly Wednesday allows me to be a part of the daily routine stuff, as well as her education.

PS. I'll post any relevant documents, such as my position statement so anyone wishing to get any ideas can have a gander, once this is all out of the way. Any questions or words of wisdom, please do get in touch.

Mark

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Playing the long game 2 years 3 months ago #78211

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You have done well to get to where you are, and in my opinion, have played it well with your daughter's wellbeing as the most important factor. No words of wisdom, but wishing you a lot of good luck at next hearing.
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Playing the long game 2 years 3 months ago #78225

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Hi there

As actd has said, you've done well, bidding your time and playing the long game. You've built up a regular and consistent schedule for your daughter and one that she is used to, hopefully this will be enough t's way the court to grant your application.

Weekly Wednesday's and alternate full weekends are more or less the norm and so I think your ask will be looked at favourably. It might also benefit your daughter to get clarification on school holidays and shared alternate Christmas and birthdays, also Father's Day if it doesn't fall on your weekend.

As long as you keep your daughters best interests central in all your dealings this should be reflected in their response to you.

As hard as it might be try and steer clear of bad mouthing the mother, although you can of course raise concerns. CAFCASS will be tasked with preparing a schedule 2 letter for the first hearing and will be contacting you and the other party at some point before the first hearing. This report whilst fairly basic is to address any safeguarding concerns and to make recommendations to the court. They will make enquiries with the police and local authority childrens department to find out about any past involvement either of you may have had, at this point your exs history of violence and harrassment will become apparent and should be mentioned in the initial S2 report.

A word of caution about posting relevant documents, these are confidential as far as the court is concerned and it's not advisable to reveal them on open forum, if you would like someone to read them through I would suggest posting a request and one of the Moderators will, I'm sure, be happy to help.

Best of luck
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DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

Playing the long game 2 years 3 months ago #78477

Thank you Mojo, I knew that's what I had to do given the state of the system ... It's not been easy, I can tell you that! I'll only be focusing on what we have already, about how I can support her psychological and educational needs and that keeping contact at the level it has been is in her best interests ... Steering well clear of even bringing the ex into discussions. The only reason I brought the violence up was to get past the mediation stage as this makes me exempt from having to do it. Mediation wouldn't work, it didn't before. She says she is the main parent and I have no say on anything.

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Playing the long game 2 years 3 months ago #78485

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Good luck with it and if you need anything further please don't hesitate to ask.

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DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

Playing the long game 2 years 2 months ago #79010

Well ... What can I say? Better to be over prepared though I guess? I'm hardly surprised, but ex has denied everything and gone into the dispute resolution all nice as a pie, completely denied everything and has made me out to be the one who's causing all of the trouble! Sat there telling me it's not fair on our daughter ect and we need to get along, all the while abusing me over electronic communication. They didn't want evidence in the initial dispute, the woman said provide it in court.

We did however manage to agree on every other weekend contact for the time being, but she doesn't want me to have Wednesday over nights and instead wants her back at 7pm!! When asked why, all she could muster was because I don't want her to say over night ... That went down like a lead balloon, she's not your property was one of the responses. Great time to be shipping a 5 year old about after tea and bath times, which will be one of my lines of argumentation at the next hearing ... Next hearing is on the 24th November, for which I've submitted evidence from the police as well as reams of text and Facebook messages ... Basically, she's lied in court already and this will be proven at the next hearing, hopefully discrediting her.

I've also been advised to take all of my evidence to the police and get a none molestation order, for which I should get legal aid. If i do, I could also get legal aid for the current familial court proceedings too according to a wonderful solicitor I spoke to today.

What kind of judge is going to allow ex to get away with this? The answer is surely, none.

Thanks for the positive words from you guys ... To anyone else reading try to stay strong! Play the long game ... It works. By long I mean make a 5 year plan :)

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Playing the long game 2 years 2 months ago #79038

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Well done and thanks for the update.
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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Playing the long game 8 months 1 week ago #91715

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What happened with the final hearing? I thought the courts had changed their stance on always falling in the mothers favour but I have since learned that nothing has changed and fathers still have a massive battle on their hands where vindictive mothers are concerned

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Playing the long game 8 months 1 week ago #91718

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This is an old post and you may not get a response from the OP. Our members have many successes that we have assisted in.

Courts are changing, but its a slow process, if theres anything we can help you with, just postma new topic in the appropriate section and we will do our best to advise and support you.

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DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

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