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What is a 'normal' contact arrangement?
#1
Hi everyone, I have a read a lot of other people's posts and I realise my situation is not as bad as many of you guys have to endure, but here goes..

I've been separated for 3.5 years and my son is now eight. The informal agreement I have with my ex-wife is as follows:

- Pick up one day a week from school, overnight stay, and then drop to school the following day.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 4pm Sunday.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 5pm Saturday.

I would like to change the weekend arrangement so that every other weekend it's Friday 4pm until Sunday at 4pm, which at the moment only happens once every four weeks but I would like to change that to every other week. 

School holidays I am lucky to have him more than a couple of days a week. 

I have politely asked, many times now, to extend the 'short' weekend to include the Sunday and it has always been a point-blank refusal. Relations are fairly icy but cordial enough when it comes to most things, apart from this one. My ex and I do not speak, it's all done by email. 

I have hit a brick wall and am wondering if there is such a thing as a standard or normal arrangement that the courts would seek to enforce? My son has his own room in a comfortable house, and my working patters are such that I could have him with ease a great deal of the time if I was able. There have been no 'domestic' issues such as abuse or violence or anything like that. The current arrangement is heavily skewed in my ex's favour and at the end of the day all I'm asking for is 12 extra Sundays a year. 

Thoughts welcome.
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#2
Hi superhans

Unfortunately it looks like some of the text in your post has an issue, it is unreadable. Maybe check it and repost the section that is messed up.

As far as the contact goes, apparently if it goes to court, the norm would be for the dad to get Friday evening until Sunday evening every second week. Might also get a midweek visit if possible.

In my opinion, this is not fair because the mum is already getting at least a few hours of "quality time" with the kid every day (morning routine, after school, evenings, bedtime routine etc) but apparently that is not enough, they need every other weekend too and the majority of school holidays. It is a disgrace.

I can't read the details on your own arrangements so can't comment, but in my own case we have an agreement with no court involvement as of yet but the sh!t has hit the fan recently because I dare to ask for 2 night sleepovers every week and half the school holidays! What a terrible father I must be, wanting to see my kid every week and get to be part of the bedtime and morning routines.
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#3
I sympathise, the whole thing is a bit of a nightmare.

I have edited the original post, I had used bullet points which was perhaps why you had an issue seeing it.
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#4
(01-16-2017, 12:38 PM)Superhans Wrote: Hi everyone, I have a read a lot of other people's posts and I realise my situation is not as bad as many of you guys have to endure, but here goes..

I've been separated for 3.5 years and my son is now eight. The informal agreement I have with my ex-wife is as follows:

- Pick up one day a week from school, overnight stay, and then drop to school the following day.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 4pm Sunday.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 5pm Saturday.

I would like to change the weekend arrangement so that every other weekend it's Friday 4pm until Sunday at 4pm, which at the moment only happens once every four weeks but I would like to change that to every other week. 

School holidays I am lucky to have him more than a couple of days a week. 

I have politely asked, many times now, to extend the 'short' weekend to include the Sunday and it has always been a point-blank refusal. Relations are fairly icy but cordial enough when it comes to most things, apart from this one. My ex and I do not speak, it's all done by email. 

I have hit a brick wall and am wondering if there is such a thing as a standard or normal arrangement that the courts would seek to enforce? My son has his own room in a comfortable house, and my working patters are such that I could have him with ease a great deal of the time if I was able. There have been no 'domestic' issues such as abuse or violence or anything like that. The current arrangement is heavily skewed in my ex's favour and at the end of the day all I'm asking for is 12 extra Sundays a year. 

Thoughts welcome.

First of all, to clear up what someone posted, Courts do not consider Monday to Friday in School Term, to be Quality Time. This is why the normal where the none resident parent is available, is Friday till Sunday every 2 weeks, and up to half school  holidays is awarded when asked. Therefore the court is more or less doing 50/50 on the quality time when a typical order is made, and the only thing what would stop that is if there was Child Welfare/Protection Issues, or the none resident parents availability.

In terms of your way forward, its Mediation, but if she does not show or you get Deadlock, then you can go to Court. There is a cost to Mediation, but you might be able to get Legal Aid, depending on your income etc.

Try try to avoid this cost, my suggestion at this stage it writing to her, including the following points.

a,That you both have Parental Responsibility and that as no Child Arrangements Order (or other Court Order regarding Child Arrangements) exists, you are both on the same legal standing.

b, Under the law, the Child has a right to "Quality Time" with both parents.

c, That why the current arrangements have existed for a long time, the boy is now at an age where he will start to take more interested in more typical male things, for example sport and gaming. Therefore you feel that increasing time with him would be best for the child.

Then set out what you want. My suggestion is

Week 1, Friday till Sunday 4pm (with provision to extend with notice if there is a sporting event , but return no later than 630pm).
Week 2, 1 mid week from school stay over. 1 phone call or other indirect contact (social media).

Half of the school holidays would be 6.5 weeks, so if you can not get that amount of time off work, I also have a 4 week plan.

1 week school holidays.
Half plan, normal weekend, but contact to start or end on the Wednesday.
4 week plan, normal weekend, perhaps extending by a day if Bank Holiday Monday.

Easter.
Half plan, 1 week block, then Lunchtime Easter Sunday for 24 hours) or 8 day block, but alternate years each over Easter Sunday.
4 week plan, 1 week block ending Lunchtime Easter Sunday or alternate years each.

Christmas,
Half plan, 48 hour stay, then Lunchtime Christmas day till Lunchtime New Years Day, or an 8 day block, alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.
4 week plan, a 1 week block to either start or end on Christmas day, or alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.

Summer,
Half plan, a 2 week block (so a holiday can be booked without a set start date), and either an 8 day block, or 2 x 4 day blocks, once your ex's plans are known.
4 week plan, a 2 week window and normal weekend.
Dates to be suggested by her 3 months in advance, confirmed by you 2 months in advance.

You also want it agreed that the Child can be taken outside the UK for a holiday, by either parent subject to the other parent being informed of
Flight Details, Who is going, Where staying and an emergency phone number being provided.

Your ex has the resident parent would keep the passport, but hand it over 21 days before travel, unless in use, when it would be handed over as soon as practical, once the child is back in the UK.

Inform her that unless she responds to this, you will instruct a Mediation Company in 14 days time, and then apply to Court should Mediation fail.

Send in a way you can prove, for example Recorded Delivery.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#5
Thanks for all this info MarkR, I am much obliged.
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#6
(01-16-2017, 07:01 PM)MarkR Wrote:
(01-16-2017, 12:38 PM)Superhans Wrote: Hi everyone, I have a read a lot of other people's posts and I realise my situation is not as bad as many of you guys have to endure, but here goes..

I've been separated for 3.5 years and my son is now eight. The informal agreement I have with my ex-wife is as follows:

- Pick up one day a week from school, overnight stay, and then drop to school the following day.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 4pm Sunday.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 5pm Saturday.

I would like to change the weekend arrangement so that every other weekend it's Friday 4pm until Sunday at 4pm, which at the moment only happens once every four weeks but I would like to change that to every other week. 

School holidays I am lucky to have him more than a couple of days a week. 

I have politely asked, many times now, to extend the 'short' weekend to include the Sunday and it has always been a point-blank refusal. Relations are fairly icy but cordial enough when it comes to most things, apart from this one. My ex and I do not speak, it's all done by email. 

I have hit a brick wall and am wondering if there is such a thing as a standard or normal arrangement that the courts would seek to enforce? My son has his own room in a comfortable house, and my working patters are such that I could have him with ease a great deal of the time if I was able. There have been no 'domestic' issues such as abuse or violence or anything like that. The current arrangement is heavily skewed in my ex's favour and at the end of the day all I'm asking for is 12 extra Sundays a year. 

Thoughts welcome.

First of all, to clear up what someone posted, Courts do not consider Monday to Friday in School Term, to be Quality Time. This is why the normal where the none resident parent is available, is Friday till Sunday every 2 weeks, and up to half school  holidays is awarded when asked. Therefore the court is more or less doing 50/50 on the quality time when a typical order is made, and the only thing what would stop that is if there was Child Welfare/Protection Issues, or the none resident parents availability.

In terms of your way forward, its Mediation, but if she does not show or you get Deadlock, then you can go to Court. There is a cost to Mediation, but you might be able to get Legal Aid, depending on your income etc.

Try try to avoid this cost, my suggestion at this stage it writing to her, including the following points.

a,That you both have Parental Responsibility and that as no Child Arrangements Order (or other Court Order regarding Child Arrangements) exists, you are both on the same legal standing.

b, Under the law, the Child has a right to "Quality Time" with both parents.

c, That why the current arrangements have existed for a long time, the boy is now at an age where he will start to take more interested in more typical male things, for example sport and gaming. Therefore you feel that increasing time with him would be best for the child.

Then set out what you want. My suggestion is

Week 1, Friday till Sunday 4pm (with provision to extend with notice if there is a sporting event , but return no later than 630pm).
Week 2, 1 mid week from school stay over. 1 phone call or other indirect contact (social media).

Half of the school holidays would be 6.5 weeks, so if you can not get that amount of time off work, I also have a 4 week plan.

1 week school holidays.
Half plan, normal weekend, but contact to start or end on the Wednesday.
4 week plan, normal weekend, perhaps extending by a day if Bank Holiday Monday.

Easter.
Half plan, 1 week block, then Lunchtime Easter Sunday for 24 hours) or 8 day block, but alternate years each over Easter Sunday.
4 week plan, 1 week block ending Lunchtime Easter Sunday or alternate years each.

Christmas,
Half plan, 48 hour stay, then Lunchtime Christmas day till Lunchtime New Years Day, or an 8 day block, alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.
4 week plan, a 1 week block to either start or end on Christmas day, or alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.

Summer,
Half plan, a 2 week block (so a holiday can be booked without a set start date), and either an 8 day block, or 2 x 4 day blocks, once your ex's plans are known.
4 week plan, a 2 week window and normal weekend.
Dates to be suggested by her 3 months in advance, confirmed by you 2 months in advance.

You also want it agreed that the Child can be taken outside the UK for a holiday, by either parent subject to the other parent being informed of
Flight Details, Who is going, Where staying and an emergency phone number being provided.

Your ex has the resident parent would keep the passport, but hand it over 21 days before travel, unless in use, when it would be handed over as soon as practical, once the child is back in the UK.

Inform her that unless she responds to this, you will instruct a Mediation Company in 14 days time, and then apply to Court should Mediation fail.

Send in a way you can prove, for example Recorded Delivery.

Good advice this but my understanding is that he Resident Parent doesn't have any entitlement to 'hold' the passport and neither does the other parent.

The passport is the property of the child.
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#7
(01-18-2017, 11:56 PM)markthomas Wrote:
(01-16-2017, 07:01 PM)MarkR Wrote:
(01-16-2017, 12:38 PM)Superhans Wrote: Hi everyone, I have a read a lot of other people's posts and I realise my situation is not as bad as many of you guys have to endure, but here goes..

I've been separated for 3.5 years and my son is now eight. The informal agreement I have with my ex-wife is as follows:

- Pick up one day a week from school, overnight stay, and then drop to school the following day.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 4pm Sunday.
- One weekend in four, collect 4pm Friday and drop off 5pm Saturday.

I would like to change the weekend arrangement so that every other weekend it's Friday 4pm until Sunday at 4pm, which at the moment only happens once every four weeks but I would like to change that to every other week. 

School holidays I am lucky to have him more than a couple of days a week. 

I have politely asked, many times now, to extend the 'short' weekend to include the Sunday and it has always been a point-blank refusal. Relations are fairly icy but cordial enough when it comes to most things, apart from this one. My ex and I do not speak, it's all done by email. 

I have hit a brick wall and am wondering if there is such a thing as a standard or normal arrangement that the courts would seek to enforce? My son has his own room in a comfortable house, and my working patters are such that I could have him with ease a great deal of the time if I was able. There have been no 'domestic' issues such as abuse or violence or anything like that. The current arrangement is heavily skewed in my ex's favour and at the end of the day all I'm asking for is 12 extra Sundays a year. 

Thoughts welcome.

First of all, to clear up what someone posted, Courts do not consider Monday to Friday in School Term, to be Quality Time. This is why the normal where the none resident parent is available, is Friday till Sunday every 2 weeks, and up to half school  holidays is awarded when asked. Therefore the court is more or less doing 50/50 on the quality time when a typical order is made, and the only thing what would stop that is if there was Child Welfare/Protection Issues, or the none resident parents availability.

In terms of your way forward, its Mediation, but if she does not show or you get Deadlock, then you can go to Court. There is a cost to Mediation, but you might be able to get Legal Aid, depending on your income etc.

Try try to avoid this cost, my suggestion at this stage it writing to her, including the following points.

a,That you both have Parental Responsibility and that as no Child Arrangements Order (or other Court Order regarding Child Arrangements) exists, you are both on the same legal standing.

b, Under the law, the Child has a right to "Quality Time" with both parents.

c, That why the current arrangements have existed for a long time, the boy is now at an age where he will start to take more interested in more typical male things, for example sport and gaming. Therefore you feel that increasing time with him would be best for the child.

Then set out what you want. My suggestion is

Week 1, Friday till Sunday 4pm (with provision to extend with notice if there is a sporting event , but return no later than 630pm).
Week 2, 1 mid week from school stay over. 1 phone call or other indirect contact (social media).

Half of the school holidays would be 6.5 weeks, so if you can not get that amount of time off work, I also have a 4 week plan.

1 week school holidays.
Half plan, normal weekend, but contact to start or end on the Wednesday.
4 week plan, normal weekend, perhaps extending by a day if Bank Holiday Monday.

Easter.
Half plan, 1 week block, then Lunchtime Easter Sunday for 24 hours) or 8 day block, but alternate years each over Easter Sunday.
4 week plan, 1 week block ending Lunchtime Easter Sunday or alternate years each.

Christmas,
Half plan, 48 hour stay, then Lunchtime Christmas day till Lunchtime New Years Day, or an 8 day block, alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.
4 week plan, a 1 week block to either start or end on Christmas day, or alternate years covering Christmas and New Years Day.

Summer,
Half plan, a 2 week block (so a holiday can be booked without a set start date), and either an 8 day block, or 2 x 4 day blocks, once your ex's plans are known.
4 week plan, a 2 week window and normal weekend.
Dates to be suggested by her 3 months in advance, confirmed by you 2 months in advance.

You also want it agreed that the Child can be taken outside the UK for a holiday, by either parent subject to the other parent being informed of
Flight Details, Who is going, Where staying and an emergency phone number being provided.

Your ex has the resident parent would keep the passport, but hand it over 21 days before travel, unless in use, when it would be handed over as soon as practical, once the child is back in the UK.

Inform her that unless she responds to this, you will instruct a Mediation Company in 14 days time, and then apply to Court should Mediation fail.

Send in a way you can prove, for example Recorded Delivery.

Good advice this but my understanding is that he Resident Parent doesn't have any entitlement to 'hold' the passport and neither does the other parent.

The passport is the property of the child.

In law its property of The Crown to be exact!!

Courts normaly say the Resident Parnet holds it, as they have the right to take the Child out of the UK without consent, and there is less chance of them taking the Child, and not returning.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#8
Just to update you guys on this one, I have now been to one mediation session and having weighed it up I don't think it's going to work. She seems absolutely fixated on keeping the lion's share of time with my son. She spent most of it trying to crowbar in 'examples' of why I'm not as good a parent as her. I don't trust her to stick to any mediated agreement anyway, especially as I am about to apply to the CMS to reduce my monthly maintenance due to a drop in income (which will go down with her like a **** sandwich).

Looks like it's going to be court.
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#9
(05-18-2017, 09:41 AM)Superhans Wrote: Just to update you guys on this one, I have now been to one mediation session and having weighed it up I don't think it's going to work. She seems absolutely fixated on keeping the lion's share of time with my son. She spent most of it trying to crowbar in 'examples' of why I'm not as good a parent as her. I don't trust her to stick to any mediated agreement anyway, especially as I am about to apply to the CMS to reduce my monthly maintenance due to a drop in income (which will go down with her like a **** sandwich).

Looks like it's going to be court.

Stick to your guns. What your asking for is reasnable. It could well be the effect on CMS payments is behind this, as you get a reduction on Child Support at 53 nights a year, it then goes down more at 105, 157 and 176 nights.

If your wage has dropped by 25% in you case year, then they will based payments now on what your getting. She is getting what the law of the country says she needs, your child support payment is not considered to be income as far as her benefits are concerned.

Your payments are based on your ablity to pay, taking into account you pay for everything in your time.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
Reply
#10
Thanks Mark. Ideally I would like every other Fri school pickup to Monday school drop-off (something I can easily do) plus the Wednesday night and the usuals with school holidays etc. I don't think it's unreasonable at all.

Let's hope the judge feels the same.
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