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TOPIC: Increased contact

Increased contact 1 year 5 months ago #92353

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Hi, I have a four year old daughter who I see 1 afternoon every week and have for an overnight every other weekend. Things were very difficult between my ex and I when we first split, 3 years ago, but have improved over time. Initially she stopped me from having contact for 9 months. I took her to court and was given contact through a contact centre initially and things have progressed from there to where we are today. Our current arrangement has been in place for over a year now but promises of further progress have not materialised.

I have a great relationship with my daughter and would like to be seeing her more but when I broach the subject by e-mail my ex ignores it and carries on as normal. This has gone on for some time now and I don’t feel I can discuss it with her face to face as she shuts down and refuse to talk to me. I am getting more and more frustrated and have reached the point that I need to do something about it. I have ask her to explain her reasons for not letting me have more time with my daughter but she again ignores me.

Is my only option to apply to the courts for a contact order? If so, are they likely to grant me more access, or should I just be grateful for what I have and get back in my box? Personally I don’t see any reason why we should not share contact with our daughter or is that just a ridiculous thought?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Increased contact 1 year 5 months ago #92359

Hi there,

First of all I can relate to your situation as I've been there a few time over the past couple of years. You definitely should get more time than you are getting.

I see my son one weekday evening and for a weekend morning then he stays over once a fortnight also. I have been trying for a while to get more time but his Mum does the same, either ignores it or makes some excuse about her not seeing him enough! I know it will change eventually (like it did a year and a half ago - same thing at the time too). I have even emphasised that the little man wants to spend more time in daddy's house - he gets upset when he has to go. No surprise that when I mentioned this when asking for more time I am somehow using him as a weapon against her! This was after 3 attempts at having a conversation with her requesting more time.

From my experience it's a process and takes time. Be strong and stick to the point, don't let her distract from the topic which is more time with your daughter. I would emphasise that it is in your daughters best interests to see more of her daddy. Unfortunately if she continues to ignore your requests you may well have to go to court. Keep all records or any conversations/texts etc. to show how you have attempted to reason with her.

Last thing I will say is it is so frustrating how Mum's seem to have all the power in these situations and some are all to willing to wield that power.

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Increased contact 1 year 5 months ago #92360

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Hi Sam, thanks for your reply. In so many ways my ex is a lovely woman and a good mother so I do feel bad for others who’s situations are far worse, everything is relative I guess, but I do find my situation very frustrating.

I have sent her research carried out that discribes the positive nature of a child having a full and rewarding relationship with their father. After we split trust between us fell to nil but has improved. I do think this is still the stumbling block and the fact that she has a strong family unit so she doesn’t NEED my help.

There really does need to be a change in the law on this and fathers who are fully committed to their kids should be treated evenly with the mothers. Will be a long time waiting for this I fear.

Again thanks for your reply and I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

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Increased contact 1 year 5 months ago #92388

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Your first step (which will be required by the court before you can proceed with an application) is to attempt mediation - it's always possible that doing so might persuade your ex to cooperate more anyway.

Take a look at this www.nfm.org.uk

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Increased contact 1 year 5 months ago #92415

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Hi there

Its great that your relationship with your ex has improved, but i wouldnt let that prevent you from pursuing extra time with your daughter.

As your little one will be starting school soon, i think,its reasonable to ask for the current weekend contact to be extended to a full weekend, suggesting picking her up on the friday and dropping her back off to school on the monday. Its only natural you would want to develop a good relationship with the school and teachers and it would be good for your daughter to see that youre both actively involved in this most important time in her life.

Hopefully mediation will be enough to get some progress, it might be helpful to suggest that you both work on a Parenting Plan, theres a link to the CAFCASS plan in the stickys at the top of the legal eagle section, with a template.

If she’s a reasonable person, she will want to avoid further court action and working together is what is best for your child.

All the best

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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.

Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92515

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Thanks both for your replies.

I contacted my ex suggesting mediation if she wasn’t happy to meet and discuss in person. I am yet to get a response.

We did attend mediation when this all began and she refused to budge, it was the weirdest situation I can remember being involved in with us sat in different rooms and a mediator running between us. I would hope if we did mediation now we would at least be sat in the same room.

At our last handover I mentioned I had sent a message and told her I would really like to be able to sort something between us and she said she had some ideas about me have an overnight during the week in place of my current afternoon. As I said I have not had anything else from her and if it is just an overnight midweek this is not enough.

I also bought up an issue which has repeated itself a few times now and that is her family members being negative about me to my daughter. She refuses to accept this despite the details I have given her. Although she is usually a reasonable woman when it comes to me she is just so stubborn and won’t be reasonable at all.

She has since changed some plans for me to have my daughter for a midweek over night as we did a swap of weekends so I could have my daughter in Father’s Day. It seems because I have asked for increased contact and mentioned the issue with negative comments I am now being punished. It’s so frustrating!!!

I feel resigned to having to go to court but will try again maybe suggesting a parenting plan and offering her some options that will suit. If this fails it will have to be court. I own my own business and can be flexible during the week with no real restrictions, would someone be happy to give me some suggested plans that a court would likely look favourably on please?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your responses.

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Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92524

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If you can come to an agreement without going to court, that is always the best option, but sometimes you just have to accept that this isn't feasible and court is the only option, depends on where you get to with mediation.

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Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92539

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I have suggested we do a parenting plan, again I am waiting a response.

It would be helpful to know what kind of contact I could reasonably expect. I don’t want to be pushing for something that is unreasonable and would like to pitch my first suggestion in a sensible place.

I realise it’s difficult to say as everyone’s case is different but any ideas would be appreciated.

Cheers

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Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92542

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If you need help creating a parenting plan use the DAD.Info site here

dadinfo.splittingup-putkidsfirst.org.uk/home

The focus is on reaching agreements outside of the courtroom, using tools such as mediation and parenting plans... and it's a great way to show that you are fully engaged with the process.

Here are some links to the parenting plan put together by CAFCASS, even if you are unable to agree the plan together, at least it will give you a better idea of what to negotiate when using mediation.

www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parenting-plan.aspx

The following link isn't by CAFCASS but I think it's a particularly good guide with lots of tips!

www.robertscentre.org.uk/wp-content/uplo...arentsguide-2009.pdf

As far as amount of contact, itsoften a good idea to ask for slightly more thanyouwould be ok with as it gives you room to compromise without giving too much up.

Perhaps ask for staying weekends to be extended from Friday pick up from school to Monday morning dropping back at school. This allows you to develop a relationship with teachers and be more involved with her school week.

As the staying weekends are alternated, you could ask for weekly mid week contact which could be Wednesday/Thursday, or perhaps the week that you don't have weekend contact , Tuesday from school, overnight Tuesday and Wednesday night dropping back at school on Thursday morning. The week that you have the weekend staying contact the mid week contact could be dropped to 1 night picking up on Wednesday after school and dropping back to school on Thursday morning.

As you have working flexibility you should let the court know that you are able t be flexible.

Try and get as much definition into the order as possible, such as extra time during school holidays, perhaps suggesting a 50/50 split. Shared Christmas and birthdays, that kind of thing.

All the best

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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.

Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92543

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Thank you so much. That will all be an amazing help.

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Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92545

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She probably hasn't started school full time yet, but it won't be long and you could argue that it would be good to get the longer weekends up and running so that she is settled into that routine before she starts fulltime. It's a big change for her and the court might feel that starting extended weekends at the same time might be too much.

If this isn't accepted, have a plan B ready, suggesting a schedule of increasing contact. So adding an extra overnight one at a time, giving it a couple of months before making another increase, if that makes sense.

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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.

Last Edit: by Mojo.

Increased contact 1 year 4 months ago #92554

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That does make perfect sense and I am keen to put something together along those lines. She starts school in September so hence why I’m trying to start the ball rolling.

As a side, my ex has just told me that she is not happy where she lives so will be moving but not before my daughter starts at school. There will be more change for her in the not to distant future. Pretty annoyed about this just for the upheaval to my daughter. We lived together in Bristol but she moved to Chepstow when we split. She is moving back to Bristol, which is where I still live.

I like the ideas suggested earlier for the weekends and keeping the midweek contact. Moving to that gradually will deffinately be beneficial for my daughter. I really want to be as accommodating as I can but just can’t continue to accept the current lack of contact.

I have read some material posted on here which has been helpful. As long as the final solution is agreeable I would be happy to be patient in getting there. I must admit I have been like a bull in a china shop in the past which hasn’t helped me at all. So calm and patient is my new M.O.

Thanks again.

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