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Young children and access issues
#1
Recently separated from wife, and we have 13 months old twins, boy and girl. 

As it seems like normal as I'm seeing on this forum - my ex teamed with my mother in law, trying everything possible to keep me away from my children. Recently we both took mediation. I asked for a) week day visit after work b) weekend (sunday) access to children c) have children every alternate weekend. My ex thinks that is too much, and she could only allow me to visit once in a fortnight ! Her justification (which is bunch of lies) is that I do not have patience and I say things to children ( which I never did). I can see clearly she is on a mission using children as leverage as I continue to pay for all living expenses (rent, utility, grocery, food.clothes) of not just children but wife as well, just trying to do the right thing as I love my children next to nothing. She is even refusing for me to go to children's immunisation. Last night was horrifying as she asked me to leave the house just as both children sprint crawling towards me to pick them up (hazy eyes for me then). She physically separated the children from me and shut the door on me. 

The reason for this post as, as I have tried all options of a) talking to her politely into having an access and contact arrangement b) mediation c) talking thru 'parenting plan' on cafcaas website, it seems all options are failed, And ex wants me to go to court. I'm in total disbelief she can't understand the role of the father in children's life. Does anyone here been in this situation and able to share their experience with the court arranged order, how long the process take, and also what are the potential pitfalls ? 

Thanks
Sean
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#2
(08-04-2018, 12:02 PM)SeanS Wrote: Recently separated from wife, and we have 13 months old twins, boy and girl. 

As it seems like normal as I'm seeing on this forum - my ex teamed with my mother in law, trying everything possible to keep me away from my children. Recently we both took mediation. I asked for a) week day visit after work b) weekend (sunday) access to children c) have children every alternate weekend. My ex thinks that is too much, and she could only allow me to visit once in a fortnight ! Her justification (which is bunch of lies) is that I do not have patience and I say things to children ( which I never did). I can see clearly she is on a mission using children as leverage as I continue to pay for all living expenses (rent, utility, grocery, food.clothes) of not just children but wife as well, just trying to do the right thing as I love my children next to nothing. She is even refusing for me to go to children's immunisation. Last night was horrifying as she asked me to leave the house just as both children sprint crawling towards me to pick them up (hazy eyes for me then). She physically separated the children from me and shut the door on me. 

The reason for this post as, as I have tried all options of a) talking to her politely into having an access and contact arrangement b) mediation c) talking thru 'parenting plan' on cafcaas website, it seems all options are failed, And ex wants me to go to court. I'm in total disbelief she can't understand the role of the father in children's life. Does anyone here been in this situation and able to share their experience with the court arranged order, how long the process take, and also what are the potential pitfalls ? 

Thanks
Sean


hi Sean
my kids are a lot older (9 and 10) but a forced and emotionally knackering separation was inflicted on me and them, by a vindictive and vexatious mother in November 2016, who made a number of allegations about my behaviour.

I was forced to submit to seeing them at a contact centre, for 2 then 4 hours, once a fortnight for 6 months, until the Child Arrangements Order court process played out, when no findings were made against me, and we resumed our lives as best we could.

it took 6 months to get to that position and it has taken another year from them, to get to a point where I can attempt a renegotiation of the Child Arrangements order through the Courts to see the kids more than I currently do.

the best advice I would give you now is not be surprised at how devious or vindictive your ex may become.
Mine has become totally unrecognisable to the person I fell in love with 20+ years ago.

start by taking any emotions out of your dealings with the mom. Focus solely on the kids and think how you can make the best of any time you get with them at all, however short.

if you can afford legal help, get it now, however, I spent a fortune fighting the ex thro solicitors before I left the family home and have since mostly represented myself in court - you CAN do it. You don't need a legal rep, they cost a lot and I found that tbh they provided very little in terms of actual concrete assistance. I did more on my own and have made good if slow progress.
 
It is daunting etc but it is possible provided that you stay calm and cool and focus on the children, not your ex.

However, a direct access barrister is worth considering if you do go to court for the final hearing. Mine was really helpful and helped at the time because I was still shell shocked by the exs allegations.

Now nearly two years on I represent myself and I am slowly dismissing the phantom allegations my ex is still throwing my way but it does take a long time so maintain some stamina and don't expect a quick fix.

good luck.

spigot-58
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#3
Yes, this sounds very similar to my ex, and no you will NEVER get her to accept you as an equal parent so give up caring or wanting her to be reasonable, its not going to happen, you'll see many here that were completely shocked at how quickly, totally ferociously a woman can turn against you to keep your kids from you..
I went through the whole process and heres my advice.
1. Dont get a solicitor, they wont/cant tell you anything that the amazing guys here cant help you with, much quicker responses too.
If you have nothing to hide and have done right by your wife and kids then definitely represent yourself so that you can show the court who you are and your principles.
2. Start as you mean to finish, on the C100 form make sure you go for the maximum time you can handle, make it clear you've always been an equal carer. By the time you've gone through the whole process you might be negotiated down to something that wasnt worth all the fuss in the first place. Show the ex you've come to play ball. Business all the way. She's made her choice, but she cant make that choice for your children.
3. Ive spoken to many single dads now and Ive noticed a pattern, with the odd exception for difficult circumstances, it seems to be that most men are handed every other weekend and one midweek, half holidays but residence and everything else to the mum. Your kids are very young so you want to have a clear plan of increasing time to overnights and on wards.
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#4
Naive and spigot-58 - first of all thanks a million, you can't imagine my feelings right now just to realise there is someone out there who understand what I'm going thru. Made me emotional reading thru your situation comparing that with mine. Have to admit it sent a bit of chill thru my spine how strikingly similar behaviour pattern of my wife to what you explained, vindictive and devious. You said it right, she made her choice, I will not let her to make the choice for my children. I have plethora of evidence as to how abusive she has been and making personal comments about me after we separated. I'm worried for children's phycological development when she treats me like that in front of children. You are right I'm in for a long battle here. Children are my world and I will do everything legally possible to protect them and give them a decent parenthood. 

I will be in touch..hats off to all the fathers, we do so much for the family and children and in return all we get is a crap from ex'es. Thank you so much.

Sean. 
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#5
Hi Sean.

There is some very good advice here from both Naive and Spigot. I would completely second (third!) the advice to not use a solicitor. I coughed up a lot of money early on for a solicitor (I've been at this a while) and my advice is that at most you need occasional input from a barrister at trial or whatever. You don't need endless charges for work you can do yourself. And I'll second what Naive says. If you represent yourself, you're showing who you are both to the 'Court' and more importantly to the judge. Mine seems impressed thst I have been at every Hearing.

Be strong and use this site. There is lots of very good advice on here.
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#6
I am about to go through all this again I think - wont be going anywhere near a solicitor
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#7
It really isn't worth it invisibleintellectual.
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#8
Due to the ages of your children you wont get much more than 4 hours a week. It does seem though you can sort something out without going to court as your ex partner did say what you was asking for was too much. she didn't say you couldn't see them. if you did manage to sort something out you could then build up contact slowly . from the age of 2 courts normally grant overnight contacts, anything from 1 night a week to alternate weekends
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#9
Chi21965 - many thanks for the response, that gives me lot of confidence about myself and the system (court and judge) as a whole .

and Warwickshire1 - Many thanks - It is an interesting point to ponder over the age of the children, although it breaks my heart to think I would miss out on lot of their early development :Sad'm torn between do I just suck it up until they are grown a little OR fight for my true emotions. Time will tell but thanks for all your feedback.
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#10
Wish we could say your situation sounds unusual but...

Anyway I chime in to say the advice here is sound.

However about solicitors, I personally found a good one, and was able to hold down my contracting job only because having him made it much easier to do stuff and not get bogged down with the emotional cost of dealing with the case. I think I’d either have lost my job or got a bad deal or both. I ended up with the kids 5 days out of 14 after going for 50/50 plus I have half holidays (and I kept my house after buying her out)

Good luck. Stay in touch.
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