Very common I’m afraid
You can go it alone incourt . If you’re being represented don’t use a solicitor use a direct access barrister . Mine cost £500 for the 1st hearing. Solicitor would charge you that alone to get to the court and wait aboht for an hour . Mostly I’m using one as pre hearing you get time to try to make an agreement with the other side . My ex won’t tslk to me but might do to a female barrister and save going to another hearing ..
Just to clarify, It didnt take 5 weeks to have the mediation agreement written up because the mediator was slow, it was the ex was thinking about whether to get it written up, the mediator told me it wasnt worth me getting it written up unless the ex also wanted it.
Anyway things have moved on, she is now changing some of the days I was supposed to have my boys on her summer holiday timetable saying I had agreed to it (I hadnt) and to make up for the extra days I have had them- I think she is worried I will move from the 2-3 to 3-4 days a week bracket with the CMS consequences of maintenance she will recieve. This has happened a couple of times and I have started to doubt myself, you know 'did I agree to that, must have if she said so'. I know I didnt.
So I ended up talking to her on the phone suggesting a compromise of as we agreed in mediation plus half the holidays. I got a bit of abuse which I said to her wasnt neccessary etc. She went off on tangents and about other stuff and I kept moving it back to coming to an agreement. Eventually she got it around to what it is about- MONEY.
I got stuff like 'what you pay isnt nearly half the childcare' and 'you dont pay anything else'. I do I pay half school trips and anything else I think is fair. I got 'their school uniform costs XXXX' and a load of other stuff. She got my stock answer of 'I pay what the CMS say I should pay'. She didnt like that and I got stuff like 'a dad should be paying for stuff like that'.
At the end of the conversation she had the hunp and said 'just go away' so I said 'ok, bye' and put the phone down
So it looks like I will end up going to court. I called familes need fathers a few days ago and they were very good in explaining what I can expect. That was an eye opener, I cant believe how common it is that the exs use all the tricks in the book to get their own way, After the end to the phone call earlier, I am going to keep my conversations on the phone to her to a minimum possible and try to keep all correspondance to email or texts and only to do with stuff to do with my boys.
I have decided that if it goes to court which I think may be likely, I will self represent as it seems common that a lot of solicitors arent necessary working in the dads best interest, a lot of stuff I have read is they just got with the flow. Having said that I think a Mckenzie friend would be a good choice to guide me through the procedure, anyone know a good mckenzie friend who covers the hertfordshire/bedfordshire area.
Things have moved on. I put in the C100 and around the same time so did the wicked with but she also put in a c1a, I received this about 2 and a half weeks ago.
So apparently I am an alcoholic, heavy drinker who gets too dunk to drive when they are with me and an abduction risk (i didnt return the boys to her when she said-even though they I was supposed to return them to her mum for overnights there) and I asked for a copy of their birth certificate. Also all the boxes ticked on the C1a, domestic violence, domestic abuse, phsycoligical abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse and rape (actually she said I have had sex with her after she said no over a 2 year period). There is some DV, she has a temper and bit my face once and left a bite mark on my cheek and I once slapped her after she lost it again, both of these were over a year ago. She also said she wants contact between ourselves to be kept to a minimum unless in the best interest of our boys. This I agree with, I am getting CCTV installed at my front door and entrance hallway and I have ordered a body camera (recording on my phone is a pain as you only have one hand spare), I cant risk her making up more lies, I need proof of all interactions with her.
After her allegations I couldnt sleep for 2 days until I spoke to my mckenzie friend and then it was better. The Mckenzie friend came over to mine about 8 days later and put my mind to rest and then I slept for 8 hours for the first time in 8 days- I was a mess up until them.
The funny thing is her reason for going to court is that we agreed stuff in mediation but she didnt want a consent order as things may change as the boys grow older but now she wants current arrangements made into a court order- I dont get that either!!!!
I am still seeing the boys as before!!!! So obviously, by her actions, she doesnt see me a risk to my boys.
2 weeks ago one boys was ill and went to the doctors so I said I would pick the other up from after school club as normal but no she took him with her so I had to pick him up from hers. I was recording the whole time. The boy that came with me noticed that the wicked witch was recording and ask her about it, she denied it and he said but why can i see you making a video and then said, dads also making a video. So much for minimising contact. The next day I sent the wicked witch a message asking how the sick boy was and asked her to to tell him i love him. She said I could call him and tell him myself. I said great 'what is the number of the contact phone you have given him' She said she didnt know it and couldnt find out' Yeah right- i found it real easy once they were with me. She wanted me to call on her phone (I have made it clear to her that I now longer want to have any telephone conversations with her)
The Mckenzie friend reckons she is looking for a chance to get a non mol on me so she can get legal aid.
I cant believe all the stuff she has made up about me. It has floored me. I have deliberately avoided looking for a girlfriend since we split as I needed some time to myself and was just getting around to thinking about it but this has set me back, I am currently thinking that im not sure I could ever trust a woman again.
The first court hearing is in a month and I can apparently expect a section 7 to be carried out.
Sounds like the best thing for your kids and your sanity is to get this court order in place so everyone knows where they stand and can plan life accordingly. Having set, established times that your kids spend with each parent will give them a sense of routine, which is important to kids. Since the court order, I no longer have to deal with my son's mother changing on a whim the single day per week she was at that time allowing him to see me because 'something more important' had come up, and I don't have to go cap in hand to beg for some 'extra time' (which was often refused). The days he's with me have been significantly increased and are set, and if she wants to change them she has to ask me, not tell me.
I will say I think the fact your kids are aware both their parents are videoing the handovers is worrying, as it emphasizes for them the animosity between their parents. I was subject to all kind of insinuations, which meant I sometimes had panic attacks when I went to pick my son up from her home. On some occasions when I felt particularly vulnerable, I would arrive with my mobile's voice recorder on for protection, but neither she nor more importantly my son were ever aware of this. Since the court order, our handovers happen exclusively in a public space - the library, and are kept short, civil and functional.
In terms of the negative messages your ex is giving the kids, I would say resist returning the 'favour', and resist calling telling them she's a liar. I've managed to teach my son either through stuff we've seen on TV or through some relevant events he's been involved in (such as arguments he's had with friends, where everyone at the start of the explanation afterwards feels they were totally in the right) that most things have more than one perspective even the 'truth', so he is learning to ask more questions to get a fuller picture, rather than just accepting whatever he's heard, particularly if all the evidence he can see is contrary to what he's hearing.
I hope things go well for the kids in court, as having secure time with both parents is necessary for them.