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TOPIC: Access Issues

Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99427

Hi all

Just after a little advice or stories from dads who've experienced difficulties in spending as much time as they would want to with their children.

Basically I left my partner in September, I have a 3 year old daughter with her. In January I managed to get her to agree to allow me to have her from 4pm on Fridays until 7pm on Saturdays every weekend. There is a 30 mile distance between us. I have my own house & separate room for my daughter.

I have asked my ex to allow me another night potentially in the week which she simply won't agree to or too have a few longer weekend stays to enable me to do more with my daughter. Long story short she won't agree to anything, I have been to mediation for 2 hours and got absolutely nowhere & the solicitor told me that if need be she will sign It off for a court hearing.

I really don't want to go down this route but feel I have no choice in the matter now, the company I work for are happy to condense my hours so I can have a day off midweek to enable me to see my child, so everything is in place for this, but my ex just says she feels it will be confusing for my daughter to see more of me, she has no valid reason whatsoever to stop this. I have an amazing relationship with my daughter but I just don't feel I'm seeing her enough. My ex feels I should be grateful that I have her of one night & if we go to court I'll get every other weekend & thats it.

Has anyone experienced anything similar?? I am weighing up my options & considering appointing a solicitor or potentially representing myself. I am very reluctant to pay the sort of prices that I'm finding online if the likelihood is that I'm up against it & have little chance of getting any more than every other weekend.

My ex partner has absolutely nothing negative to say about my lifestyle or my ability to raise my daughter.

Ideally I would like shared custody but I'm realistic enough to know that this is possibly too much to ask for, I would be happy with two nights a week, one at weekends & one in the week. Or maybe a long weekend every other still with a night in the week to break up the long gaps I have to go without seeing her.

Any help or legal advice would be much appreciated or just to hear about anyone who has experienced something similar & managed to get a favourable result in a family court.

I've been told a few different stories that maybe its a benefit to represent yourself as you can have a more personal hearing rather than going through a solicitor where most of the talking goes through them.

Just very much in the dark about what to do, there is no way my ex will budge on this unfortunatley

Thank you for reading this long winded post.

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99430

Hi mate . Whether you represent yourself is one thing but your ex sounds a lot like mine . Access is the one thing they retain control of without an order and boy they try to use it ! Get an application into court ASAP as it’s a slow process and likely your 1st court date will be 2 months away if mine was anything to go by . You can fill in and send the form c100 yourself . There are guidance notes online or anyone on here will be happy to help .

When you send the form to the courts they reply back and tell you what happens next and when .
Re self repping I was going to do that but I fond a barrister via the direct access portal that would cost me £400+vat for the 1st hearing . If you can afford it I’d use one . Pre the hearing both sides get time to negotiate etc . Your barrister would so that on your behalf .inlnow my ex would have no interest in talking direct to me so I hope that paying for the barrister once will allow us to reach an agreement 1st time and hence save money and time being wasted on subsequent hearings ...

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99431

If you search online for child arrangement orders without a solicitor there are lots of sites that will talk you through the process . I read this site and paid £16 for the guide it was really good
HMCTS have some videos on YouTube aboht the family courts too

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99433

Thanks very much mate.

You're right, she is 100% using my daughter as a tool to get to me. Her dad see's my child more than I do.

I've looked into and been to see a solicitor (a nice 185 quid an hour), also been told about a cheaper way...mckenzies friend.

Guess you only really get one shot at this so just want to make sure I have the best shot at getting what I think is right.

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99440

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Be careful when choosing a McKenzie Friend, it’s an unregulated body and as such, there are some bad apples. Look for recommendations from real people and do your research... you can always send us a PM to ask about particular MFs and we would do our best to help.

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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 Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99445

Hi if your case is straight forward and you won’t be accused of being abusive , a bad parent and so on I’d self rep . If you will be , rightly or wrongly , I wouldn’t bother with s solcitor as for not much more money you can get a barrister to be at the hearing and will do some of the work leading up to that . Don’t waste money on solicitors letters to your ex . They carry no more weight than you asking to see your kids . Keep a diary of current contact , keep texts or emails from your ex that prooves it’s all just a power trip . Anything you think a court will find useful . As angry as she may make you don’t flare up or give her any excuse to accuse you of being unreasonable or anything like that . I have enough texts that prove my denial of contact is about money . So you need evidence of your situation rather than one word against another

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99446

What I did was see a solicitor for an hour and get an idea of the process etc and the order of things . I was going to self rep but it became clear this was aboht my ex stopping me from being in my kids’ lives so I will use a barrister . Buy that guide . Best £16 you’ll spend . I have no affiliation to that site but I found it really handy .

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99451

Hi rilewis,

yes i think you need to take the legal route. before i took it, i was seeing kids every saturday 11-8pm by mutual agreement. that was only after the access times kept changing on weekly basis. when it got to 3pm-8pm, i had enough and took legal route. citydad got a bargain, £400 for barrister. i was paying £900 per hearing inc vat. he did all the drafting of position statements/witness and draf/final orders which was good.

before i took legal route, i thought its nice to see kids every saturday, as opposed to every other weekend. but what happens when you want to take them on big days out, lego land, seaside etc? you need more time, and you deserve more time with your kids. so i went to court and got every other weekend, plus mid-week hours every other weekend. i wanted midweek overnights every week, but ex being too stubborn about it and using kids ages as excuse e.g disruption to routine. that will be a fight for another time.

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99462

Yeah £400+vat I was surprised . If only I knew all this when doing the divorce !
What I did was find someone that was quite newly qualified , I think 3 years but I expect perfectly good enough to deal with my case .. obv the more qualified the more you’ll pay . If your stuff is straight forward I guess you don’t need the best in the biz .. you need to nip these things in the bud from the off . You’ll find contact can just get more and more difficult as time passes , and then they meet a new partner and set up shop and want to spend more time with your kids etc and you find your days get moved about more and more to suit them . If you’re on good enough terms to get the schedule agreed amongst yourselves ,a consent order , do that and get a solcitor to write it up and then you can send that off to court yourself . Don’t pay them for the privileged ! Never know might catch the ex on a good day and save all the time and hassle

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99482

thanks guys for all the comments.

I think i will try to do this myself until i get a hearing and then look into a barrister for that. My ex is a complete narcissist and will no doubt make up all the things she can to make my life difficult. If she does start making up lies & saying i'm not fit to bring up my daughter then surely any judge would see through that given the fact that she hands my girl over to me every friday night. If i was that guy why would she let her stay with me at all.

I will buy that book and see how far i can get on my own. Thanks again all.

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99484

This is almost exactly how my situation arose. I was not happy with only seeing my boys every Saturday (most of the time this was cut short because of family arrangements, parties, etc) and wanted to discuss overnight stays, seeing as we had been separated almost 2 years and I had hoped she would be starting to deal with it. The thought of them staying with me overnight turned her completely and after applying for a court order, she made up allegations that I was a bully and that the kids were scared of me, probably to buy her some time. Whilst this has all been going on, she has successfully alienated me from the children who have since told CAFCASS they do not want to see me. Almost a year on and without any contact, CAFCASS said there was some evidence of alienation and now I am waiting to see my kids in a supervised environment. The funny thing is now, I would do anything just to get my one day a week back again! I have so far spent almost £5000 but recently let go of my solicitor after the section 7 which thankfully highlighted some of her wrongdoing. Just hoping now that I can reestablish the relationship with the boys in the limited time I have with them during supervised contact, before the final hearing in August.

In summary, my advice? Avoid solicitors - they are simply out to make money for every letter they forward, every email they read and anything else that comes with it all

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Access Issues 1 year 8 months ago #99485

Avoid solicitors .they can’t do anything You can’t do . Get a direct access barrister and fixed fee work .
All you can do now is be a good parent , keep plugging on through the court process and don’t react to your ex trying to provoke a reaction so she can say look this is what he’s like .whichj is exactly what mine is trying . If you can communicate with them on text , email etc so much the better as you can prove what has actually been said and agreed rather than them making stuff up

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