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TOPIC: Access/Contact rights

Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85210

Hi all,
Ive been trying to work out a better child contact/access arrangement with my ex wife and im wondering if anyone can tell me whare I stand with a few things.
Ill start with a brief history. For the last 2 years the routine contact agreement has been one overnight every weekend. A friday 5pm to Saturday 6pm one week and a Saturday 5pm to Sunday 6pm the next with a few hours every Wednesday evening with additional nights as and when.
About a month ago I asked the ex if we could speak about changing the overnight arrangement and come to an agreement about CSA (separate issue). She refused to speak to me straight away and told me to speak to her lawyer. I contacted her lawyer but they wouldn't speak with me. Just over 2 weeks ago I got a letter from her lawyer asking me to agree to a change in the contact arrangement. The change was that I should now collect the children at 12 noon on Saturday's rather than 5pm. This isn't suitable for me so I replied saying that I didnt agree and countered with my proposal of 2 nights every second week and one overnight every Wednesday with additional as and when... I also stated in my reply if she didnt agree id stick with the original agreement. Now I've received a reply stating the change to the Saturday collection time is all the ex is willing to support and that contact will not be offered at any other times.

So my questions are.

1. What rights a do I have, Am I within my right to stick with the original agreement? (this was agreed in writing via lawyers in 2015 but was never signed)

2. Does the ex have the right to refuse me access if I don't collect them at 12 noon?

3. Would it be worth aplying to the family court for a more Suitable arrangement or do I have to accept that I will forever only get access based on what suits the ex?

4. If it is worth applying to the family court would the recent letters back and forward from her lawyer and myself count as mediation or would I still have to contact a mediator before aplying to the family court?

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Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85211

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Hi there

Unfortunately, without a court order she can do pretty much as she chooses, a solicitors letter isn't legally binding.

She can refuse you access and if you turn up she could get an injunction out on you for harassment, it's more common that you would think.

If you want defined and regular contact then your best option is to apply to court for a Child Arrangements Order, otherwise she can continue to dictate as it suits.

The correspondence between you and her solicitor will not count as mediation, you will still need to attempt mediation prior to making an application.

The letter agreeing to the original schedule can be used to show that you have had regular weekly contact and the letters between you and her solicitor more recently can be used to show her inflexibility and refusal to negotiate with you.

If you get to court, as long as there are no safeguarding issues, it should be a fairly straightforward case. Most courts favour a full weekend every fortnight and a weekly midweek visit, so you are only asking for what is a perfectly acceptable schedule. You can also ask for extra time during school holidays and shared Christmas and birthdays.

All the best

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85212

Thanks a million Mojo... your advice is very much appreciated once again. At least now I know where I stand and what I have to do now.

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Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85220

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You're welcome, we are here to advise and support as much as we can.
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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85245

Update.... located local family mediation. Going to call tomorrow and arrange an appointment. Also been looking through the C100 form and the forum help guide too, but I have the following question..... first of many no doubt.

Can I put the respondents married and maiden name on the form? Reason being, I don't know if she's changed her name or not. She was still using her married name after we divorced, but recently I've noticed her name has changed on the csa paperwork, and as per the C100 help guide on the forum I don't want to contact her to ask.

Thanks.

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Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85282

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I would say to use her single name if that's what she's using - as long as the decree absolute has been issued, as far as I am aware, that is all she needs to revert if she wishes, and if the CSA are using it, you have good reason to assume that's the case.
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Access/Contact rights 3 years 4 months ago #85292

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...sorry just seen this, you could put a brief note in with the form to explain that she had still been using her married name of xxxxx but that you have used her maiden name in the form as this is what she uses for the CSA.

If you've already sent it in, you could always give them a quick phone call to explain.

All the best

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Access/Contact rights 3 years 3 months ago #85561

Great advice I'm going through a similar case I've just posted a question could you help me please

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