First of all I don't want to bore you to tears but i will provide some background as briefly as possible.
I have been separated from my Ex for approx 4 years.
I was the main parent doing most of the childcare but when we split I moved out. I was traumatised and utterly heartbroken. The kids really were my life.
This grieving and terror of being separated from my children compelled me to pay approx 3-4 times the legal requirement.
Things were mostly amicable for approx 3 years including access to the kids anytime, going into the family home cooking meals etc...
Until my Ex moved a guy into my house. At that point I did not think it was fair I continued to pay so much including a big mortgage. This inevitable brought an abrupt end to the peace times.
They were going on expensive holidays, buying cars whilst i worked 2 jobs paying mortgage on my house where she lived, bills and my rent. I'm sure you've heard this sob story many times but i was being stretched to the limit.
We eventually agreed a deal where by they bought me out of my house. Terrible as the deal was for me as i got significantly less then half the equity but for peace of mind i accepted it.
Since then she has for the first time gone to the CSA and much to her disappointment or should i say blind rage she has ended up with a lot less then what i offered. However, despite the CSA awarding her less I have continued to pay a lot more directly to my now 18 year olds which she dismisses as just discretionary.Things like their mobiles, my sons football, his gym membership, my sons £45 a week lunch and petrol costs, daughters trampolining and other items. Comes to a lot but for some crazy reason she does not acknowledge it despite these being important items.
Apologies for rabbiting on and on I am now getting to the crux of my message.
During the first 3 years I never had a problem seeing my now 9 year old daughter. In the last year she has had some angry moments and prevented however briefly access to her. The most recent is now and it has dawned on me that anytime she is annoyed with me for whatever imagined injustice she will do this.
I realise now i have to try and get some court order for access because apart from my rights as a dad my 9 year old daughter really does need me in her life.
My Ex has also been very abusive to me via messages, using words like scumbag, stating that i would never see my daughter again, that she doesn't love me, i'm like a stranger to her. Nasty, vicious and i have say hurtful comments. I am pleased to report I have not responded angrily and resisted any vitriol.
I want these damaging abusive comments to stop, nobody has a right to say this to anyone. I am not a softy and i have always thought i would brush off these statements but i/m afraid they do hurt and it's really not fair.
Any help would be appreciated
to get a court order you are looking at £300 inc fee for mediation. a mediator will need to give you permission to apply to court. this is all too common, where ex is unhappy with you so they block you from seeing kids. i was in court the other week for similar issue. they are good at tit for tat. so be careful how you communicate.
Thanks for your replies.
So the process is
1. find a mediator
2. acquire permission from mediator to apply for a court order
3. Apply for a court order
Is this the best step forward considering my circumstances?
What if my partner is unwilling to mediate?
How long is this process?
Do I have to pay the full amount even though as a parent I am being unfairly denied access to my daughter?
Are the payments applicable if you are currently unemployed?
you know your position better than us. in my case i made court application 2 months after break-up. things became hostile very quick. ex refused to let me have kids overnights. from week-week the hours i was seeing my kids kept on reducing, so i had enough.
if your partner refuses mediation, mediator will just give you permission to apply to court. in straightforward cases, court process is about 4-6 months. mine was 4 months. can drag on if crazy allegations are made or if social workers think theres serious issues.
the child maintenance laws state that you have to pay maintenance even if your not seeing your children. if your unemployed CMS will not make you pay. have not been in this situation yet but they will probably ask for proof that you are out of work.
My whole Child Arrangements process took just over a year. Starting around December 2018.
My ex and I went to mediation. We did shuttle mediation so my ex couldn't waste time acting up like she did in finance mediation for our divorce. We did 4 sessions which took about 6 weeks to come up with a Parenting Plan. I was advised by other parents not to allow my ex to have a long time between sessions - so get them all over in an 8-10 week period - and if a session wasn't productive to call a halt to mediation immediately. I attended each session with a C100 form for the mediator to sign.
The Parenting Plan was all my work ex was only interested in money. I didn't agree to pay anymore than CMS. I took 2 weeks between working and dealing with children to write a up of what I wanted that was reasonable and to come up with an agenda for negotiation.
The Parenting Plan can be used by either solicitor, barrister and judge to write the Order so you want it detailed but not too restrictive. I spoke to a few separated parents of both sexes who has been through the process on what type of things to put in. So for example we have a restriction on where either of my children can go to in the UK without the other parent being informed in advance. This helps to prevent my ex from upping and moving with no notice. My mediator was a family solicitor who was helpful in giving timescales.
The Parenting Plan had failed completely by May 2019 so I submitted a C100. Directions hearing in July with a second hearing in October. We didn't attend the second hearing as my solicitor was trying to negotiate an arrangement directly with my ex.
That failed so at the Final Hearing I was advised to use a direct access barrister due to evidence of ex harassing directly and indirectly all my children, her claiming harassment including going to the police, her poor behaviour, her harassing third parties including my solicitor's staff. This behaviour happened between directions and the Final Hearing date so my solicitor prepared instructions for the barrister and a bundle free.
My solicitor warned my ex if she involved the police she would make Child Arrangements difficult as the police advice is to no direct contact and have no direct communication with someone making allegations against you. My ex didn't agree and was still begging me to come to her home, to meet up and finally to do handovers directly. She actually tried the latter 3 times after running to the police in-between directions and Final Hearing. She involved the police as she had ran out of money to try and make allegations stick against me in the Family Court to get a Non-Molestation Order. She also wanted to meet my youngest who isn't hers and my older two dote on.
My solicitor and barrister made it clear the Court want you both to agree an arrangement and are only interested in the behaviour between directions and Final Hearing. My ex agreed when confronted with a draft Order late at night before the
final hearing but stupidly added in an extra clause that I can enforce against her. The Order is extensive so unless it is an emergency she cannot contact me except in writing and vice versa. Handovers are done by a third party in a neutral place were we can't use school, and she cannot come to anywhere I live. Parts of the Parenting Plan are included in the Order and Recials.
You need to be aware Recials are what both party are expected to do and are not enforceable. Some can later be enforced while others can never be. For example both of us must give each other up to date address information. I use a family member's address so my ex doesn't actually know exactly where I live due to her behaviour towards my youngest. I also have evidence from the proceedings that letters from the Court have not arrived.
Unlike most posters here my issue was my ex was expecting me to drop everything and have my elder two when it suited her. As I have another younger child with someone else, this didn't work so ex started being nasty to all children including trying to harass the younger child. She has abused third parties on the phone and in writing including my solicitor's staff. There is evidence of her behaviour which is why I could get certain things in the Order and not the Recials, and other things in the Recials not the Order.