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TOPIC: What to aim/hope for in terms of access

What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97227

  • Jandle
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To summarise, if you can't be bothered reading the text below, I'd love any indication of what a father can hope to get in terms of access to their kids when going through the courts.


I separated from my ex-wife around 7 years ago.

Initially I moved some distance away to be closer to my work, which meant 6 hours of driving to collect the children and return them home (my ex has not done a single drop off or collection). For the first 3 years I had the children stay every second Saturday night, but wasn't able to see them between my alternate weekends due to the commute.

Around 4 years ago I moved closer to the children in order to see them more often. The commute is still 45 mins each way, meaning 3 hours of driving on the weekends they stay, but I am happy with this. In addition, I would take the children for a couple of hours at lunch or dinner time on either day of the other weekend, at the convenience of my ex.

This informal arrangement has recently broken down, and I am no longer able to see them for that short period on the alternate weekends. I appreciate that my ex may be entitled to that time with them, however it leaves me not being able to see them at all between the 1 night in 14 that they spend with me. I might add that when they stay, the entire period is just over 24 hours due to working around their sport commitments.

My wife has refused to participate in the mediation process, so I am in the process of submitting a court application.

I do feel a little unsure as to what I can hope for, but I'd like a solution where I can have some access between the night that they stay so that I don't have 12 consecutive days with no access. I am prepared to be very flexible, and had proposed a solution that I take the alternate Friday afternoons off work and collect the children from school, have them stay that night, and then return them home early on the Saturday morning before sport. This was rejected. It seemed very reasonable to me as each parent has either the Friday or Saturday night of any given weekend.

I will add that the children are 13, 12 and 10, and want to spend this time with me.

Please, any advice or similar situations would be highly appreciated.

Chris

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97243

  • Mojo
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Hi there

Unfortunately it's impossible to predict outcomes, but the fact that the children want to spend the extra time with you is favourable, at their ages their wishes and feelings should be taken on board.

You could think about asking for more time during school holidays to make up for the shortfall at term time.

Do you feel the mother has enrolled them in these acrivities to prevent you spending more time with them? How committed are the children to their activities? Perhaps you could suggest enrolling them in activities close to you so that they could spend full weekends with you... just a thought.

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97249

  • Yoda
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As you're going down the court route, I would suggest coming up with a few different options to put forward as proposals.

Do you ever get a full weekend or is it just alternate Saturday nights stays? If it's just that, then asking for alternate Friday stays seems a sensible suggestion.

The court will try and get you both to reach an agreement that can be made into an order. If you can't agree and ask the court to make the decision for you, then it's quite difficult to predict outcomes. Courts generally like children to spend alternating weekends with each parent and often order some form of midweek contact. They won't order anything you can't commit to though.

Best of luck

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97251

  • Jandle
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It's only ever the Saturday nights that I get. I collect the boys after their sports which is around midday, and then drop them home Sunday eve around 5.

I figured the Friday option is very reasonable, as then on weekends we both get pretty much the exact same deal and it's less disruptive to the boys than a midweek stay.

At this stage though, not seeing my boys for 12 days straight just doesn't feel like an option (I'm hating it!), so I'll take pretty much anything the judge offers, even if it impacts my work commitments.

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97252

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The boys have definitely said that they'd like the extra time with me, and they have always wanted to come when I took them for a few hours on the alternate weekends in the past..... That said, kids can be pretty fickle, and I know they've got a much better setup to play fortnite (argghh!) at home, so I doubt their resolve is as strong as mine.

That said, I'm pretty sure if they're asked they will say that they would prefer more time.

My ex did offer a bigger split of the holidays, but that doesn't really solve my underlying problem of not seeing them for almost two weeks at a time. This is the element that I'm really struggling to deal with. I think she only offered as she knows that I'm a contractor, and taking a lot of time off work quickly becomes expensive. She doesn't work, so the reality is that holiday time is a lot easier for her. I always make the effort to take them somewhere for a week in the summer though, and a few shorter trips either side.

As for the sports, they're definitely done because the boys enjoy them, and I'd never want to take them away from something that they enjoy. Frankly I'd rather see less of them than have them resent me for the time we do spend.

I'm hoping (and I think there's a good chance) that a judge will award me the alternate Saturdays and ideally the other Friday night, although I'll take any other week night instead to break up the extend time between my Saturdays.

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97254

  • Mojo
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I think the proposal youd like to make for alternate Friday to Saturday morning is reasonable. If you're happy with the existing holiday arrangements, it might be as well to get them written into the order. She may not take kindly to you applying to court, as it can put extra strain on the relationship between separated parents.

Absolutely agree that you wouldn't want to disrupt their activities if they're enjoying them, just thought I'd mention it... you'd be surprised how many ex's will enrol their kids in weekend activities purely to disrupt the time spent with the other parent.

All the best

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97256

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Yes, I think you're right that once the need arises for these to become formalised, it's best to include even the elements that were taken for granted in the past, such as holidays.

It's incredible how bitter and unreasonable some people become after divorce!

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What to aim/hope for in terms of access 2 months 2 weeks ago #97259

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It’s a pity that some parents cant separate the children’s best interests, from their feelings of anger at the other parent and realise that children aren’t a weapon to punish the other parent with.

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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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