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TOPIC: What to expect in terms of access

What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 2 days ago #95977

  • Jandle
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Hi

I separated from my ex-wife around 7 years ago, and until recently we've managed to work pretty well on an informal access arrangement.

I work in London, which is pretty essential in order for me to earn well. This is significant as I pay £1800 per month in maintenance for the 3 kids, even though my ex has since remarried. She lives in the FMH with the kids, which is about 25 miles from where I live. I also work as a contractor, so if I do not attend work I do not get paid. There's no realistic option that I can see where I can have my kids overnight during the week, or even see them (I couldn't get to them before their bedtime).

Since separation, they have stayed with me every second Saturday night. I collect them from their house (or their sports) on a Saturday morning, and return them home on Sunday in time for dinner. My ex has refused to help with collection and drop off, so I have done every trip since we split. This means me driving for 3 hours over the weekend to do the two round trips.

I wasn't happy not seeing them for 2 weeks in between my weekends, so for the past few years I have been asking to take them just for a couple of hours for lunch or dinner on the other weekends. I appreciate that this is the weekend for my ex to enjoy them, so I have been very flexible offering to take them at lunch time or in the evening, and typically either day of the weekend.

This had worked well, but has recently become very difficult with a refusal from her to commit to a day or time, and often not allowing me to take them at all.

The boys are now 13, 12 and 10. I personally feel that they should be able to choose (to some extent) whether or not they come. She is not happy for them to have a say in this. I am also fine to not see them for a weekend if my ex is taking them away or has family visitors (etc).

Because we've not had to deal with this formally before, I have no idea what my legal standing is, and what sort of outcome I might hope for should this go through mediation or court. Is anyone able to offer some advice, or even point me in the direction of where I might find out what is typical.

I really appreciate any advice that could be offered here..
Chris

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What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95978

Hi There,

There is no set amount that is standard where contact is concerned and each case is handled separately, that said there would be an expectation that every other weekend would be acceptable with a mid week if possible, if you wanted to gain a formal agreement then you would need to attempt mediation and if that failed then progress through court.

There would be no guarantee that a judge would order that you could see them every weekend it would be down to the judge and how they feel/think

The judge would listen to both you and your ex and make a decision

GTTS

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What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95983

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At the age your boys are, I'm sure they have a lot of their own plans at weekends and are more than capable of knowing their minds.

It sounds like you are being extremely reasonable in terms of understanding they will have commitments with their mother, and under the circumstances with your work, I think what you are asking for is perfectly reasonable.

As a compromise, what about suggesting they see you every other weekend for lunch etc out of the ones they spend with their mother, so they see you 3 weekends out of 4? Just a thought......Maybe also ask for a bit of extra time on inset days or school holidays if you can take the time off work ?

If you were to take this down the legal route you would have to try mediation before making an application to court anyway.

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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95990

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Hi

Thanks for your advice. I definitely appreciate what you say about 3 out of 4 weekends, and in fairness their mother offered that today.

The problem for me is that for the past three years, it's been every weekend. If I don't see them at any point over the weekend, then I don't see them at all for 2 weeks, which is very hard and I don't think a positive thing for them either.

I appreciate that this may come down to me having to take a regular day off work to have them on a weeknight each other week, although this doesn't seem practical given that it would be an hour (at least) drive to do the school drop off.

If they were actually doing things on the weekend I would perhaps come closer to understanding, but in reality they tend to just sit around the house doing nothing.

The truth is, if I have to start taking days off work at high cost to myself, I will also have to apply to the court to terminate the global maintenance order as I'm currently paying spousal maintenance to my now married ex, largely in order to keep the peace. The also adds an ugliness to the situation that I had hoped to avoid.

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What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95993

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Could you take one day off per month in the week you don't see them?

You're unlikely to get more than 3 weekends out of 4 if you take it to court.

Perhaps you need to have a chat with a solicitor about the financials though. It does sound like you're paying a lot if she's re married!

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DAD.info Moderator

I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95994

If you go down the legal route, you’re unlikely to get 3 out of 4 weekends unless your ex wife agrees to it.

Your best bet if you want to spend more time with them is to prioritise them over work. It’s worth it.

Best of luck.

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What to expect in terms of access 2 weeks 1 day ago #95996

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It seems your ex is prepared to negotiate, as she has offered 3 weekends just today.

Could you look at extending the weekend they are with you? Picking them up after work on Friday, or even from school, and returning them later on Sunday, or even to school on Monday morning? That would mean rather than taking a full day off midweek, you could just finish early on the Friday.

As far as spousal maintenance, I’m shocked that you’re still paying it to be honest! Contact and maintenance are entirely separate issues, you shouldn’t feel held to ransom in this way. That said, it’s entirely your call.

All the best

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What to expect in terms of access 1 week 6 days ago #96045

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What did your divorce say about spousal maintenance and your ex remarrying - I agree with mojo, I'm surprised that you are still paying that.

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What to expect in terms of access 1 week 6 days ago #96056

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I represented myself in court, and while it went very well for the most part, I think the reason remarriage isn't mentioned as a trigger to end the current order is due to my lack of experience.

It is possible however to apply to vary the order, and from what I understand spousal maintenance is almost certainly not justified at this point, meaning that my case should be very strong to end the global order.

It's obviously a lot of hassle though, and with it a good deal of stress.

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What to expect in terms of access 1 week 5 days ago #96077

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Hassle and stress maybe, but it’s highly likely you would be successful... making it worth the trouble.

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