I have my first hearing in court on Monday, I'm representing myself.
Long and short of it is I'm going to request :
Alternate weekends(which i get already for 2 nights) but i want Fri/Sat/Sun night dropping my daughter off monday morning.
One overnight stay in the week every week (i dont get this)
Half of all school holidays in the future (starting September 2020)
One weeks holiday this year as my daughter hasnt been away.
My ex is opposing everything other than the Alternate weekends(Fri/Sat night). She has absolutely nothing bad to say about me or my parenting, we live 30 mins drive away from each other & my work have agreed to condense my hours to make all of the above possible.
My daughter was 3 in June.
I just wanted to know what the courts are going to want to hear from me on Monday, do i go into why me & my ex seperated at all(it was due to her being a major narcissist), or do i literally just have to focus on my daughter and how difficult my ex has made access to my daughter since we seperated a year ago and then obviously how it will benefit my daughter going forward to have more access with her father?
Any advice on how to conduct myself in there would be greatly appreciated as i'm going in completely blind, in my head my ex doesnt have a leg to stand on opposing this, or am i being naive?
I spoke to CAFCASS initially and she was really understanding..... showed concern that i was going 9 days (with our current "arrangement" ) and only seeing my daughter for6 hours during that time. I showed her my proposal which was that i had my weekends Friday-Monday morning...and she started saying that "she's concerned that 'mum would go 3 days without seeing her daughter.....anyway she then spoke to my ex & her solicitor and came back to me and said that "she thinks what my ex is offering me is reasonable & she said....its just what happens" (my ex wants me to accept 6pm friday - sunday 7pm every other weekend and a weekly day visit from 11-530 on a wednesday.
I dont really know why she thought i was acceptable for me to only see my daughter for 6 hours over a 9 day spell...but was concerned that 'mum' wouldnt see her for 3 days!!! still can't get my head around that one.
So we went before a legal advisor and her solicitor tore into me, saying that my 3 year old is a happy child and any change to the current routine could negatively impact her.... also mum does activities (ie swimming) and my requests would limit that.... also banged on about the 30mile distance between us.... i gave my case then but just felt like i was a bit lost and not getting everything across that i needed too.
The legal advisor couldnt really do anything other than set a date for a final contested hearing...which i have in january and i'm now enquiring about a Direct Access Barrister which i feel i need now... Dont want to go through that again for sure. Expensive but worth it in the long run i think!!
thanks for the update. i went a good 7 months only seeing kids on saturday, 11-7pm. ex was happy to keep that as a perm arrangement lol. so i got out of court with alternate weekends, pick up from school on friday - sun 5pm. mid-week alternate, pick up from school - 7pm and the usual stuff about swimming lessons, disrupting child routine nonsense. so i just went along to taking them swimming/martial arts, whatever the mom set up for them.
your 30 mile distance can be translated to an hours drive if roads are clear. you can use the distance as a good excuse to get more time with your child. would not make sense to travel that far, only to spend few hours with child.
thats typical cafcass, being biased/swayed by mothers sillyness. in their report they even recommended a fixed time for me to return kids to mum at 2pm on a special occassion! yes i would recommend you take a barrister with you. someone on here was able to hire one for £500 which is a good deal.