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First Hearing results..
#1
Hi guys,

Just wanted to post an update following my hearing last week (maybe i should post this as a new thread?)

The process went on for 5hrs [Image: sad.png]

It consisted of meeting the cafcass officer and then exchanging with my ex's solicitor over trying to create a parenting plan that could be signed off on that day whilst being called in to the court was delayed until they could wait no more.

My story was for the last 6 years - 6/14 night my son would be with me during school term with holidays even split.

My ex had reduced the school term contact to 5/14 and was also dictating the same contact throughout holidays.
Her reasoning was that it was too much for our son to be passed "pillar to post" during school term although no valid reasoning for why that contact went into holidays when he should have been seeing his parents for equal time 

My application was to have an order to formalise half of all holidays and re-instate the 6/14 school term contact
My parenting plan i presented was very comprehensive (overly - but i needed to show the involvement and level of detail i was involved in my sons life - so i am glad i did go in overly prepped)
It tackled the concern of "pillar to post" by suggesting a new rota where our son would spend more blocked periods of time with each parent and again restoring the original contact of 6/14 with dad that he was used to.

The ex dragged her heels for 4 hrs on contact within the school holidays - the only reason given was that week blocks of time with parents made challenges with work commitments (for her not me). My response was continuously well can we agree on a 50/50 split first and then start talking about how we split that time.. To which her solicitor became vague and did not commit.

This lasted as i say for around 4hrs
The only plus that i managed to get was an agreement towards me seeing my son on the day that had been reduced by picking him up from school and then dropping him back to mum by 7 as our son apparently has his bath at mums every day at 7 followed sharply by bed (unnecessary noise i am not going to bite on). Its a complete contradiction of her original reasoning of pillar to post as the rota has effectively stayed the same with the exception of a drop off to mum for 1 bedtime.
She would not budge on holidays even with the cafcass officer telling her solicitor that following my screening and given my past contact with our son it would be in my sons best interest and no doubt agreed to by the court if i continue to press that dad gets 50% of holidays.

The court then gave us the final window to go in and so i explained my story as the solicitor did hers. 

The court said my parenting plan was far too comprehensive / micro managing but acknowledged my commitment as a father.
In my situation it seems that there are only 2 real issues that they will pay attention to when making an order 
1 contact in school term
2 contact in holidays

The outcome was that we should attend a Separated Parents (SPIP) class and the next court date is set to 9th March.

I hope that we can indeed arrange a set up ahead of this although my trust is completely lost and i feel at this point it needs to go to the final hurdle in order for those two points of contact in school term and holidays to be legally instructed.

I came away feeling a little deflated although i have gained a few extra hours in my two week school rota with the day when i can pick up my son from school and spend a few hours with him. 
I have since though become upset at the fact that my ex will simply not agree that our sons time should be equally shared with both of his parents during holidays. 

She also is very insistent on him not spending time with my parents or at least her having to cover me if i need to travel. I have to travel around 3/4 times a year (for a few days at a time) with work whereby i will arrange cover for my folks to have him on the days i am away. She is insisting on that she is asked first ahead of my parents and every time i do ask she says no your parents will not have him i will have him instead and does not agree to offering any time back. 
Also she has advised that she does not want our son spending time with my girlfriend (who in the interest of not having our son caught up in unnecessary open fire has acted amazingly in support and suggested that whilst this is on going she would not see my son - she has never stayed over night when my son is at home and my son has more than anything acknowledged her as his own friend as the reality is she is amazing with him).

Whilst my hearing is not until March i feel that my case is strong for 50/50 during school holidays and also for the time i have asked during school term.

My biggest issue i guess now is being subject to her dictation until March.
Also is seems i have been singing to her song when she says about who my son can and cant see or where i can take my son or when my parents can look after my son. 

My observations from Cafcass and courts reaction to this and what she had stated in her caffcass report was that they have no interest in it what so ever and that it really is left for us both to sort out as parents.

To me it seems like i just need to pull up my socks a little with those minor items and stop being a walk over.
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#2
It takes a bit of getting over - try and relax and do good stuff for 2 or 3 weeks. I also had 5 hours with Cafcass and felt totally wrecked afterwards. You just need to mosey along until March now and make sure you're prepared. I did the SPIP course last week-end. All common sense stuff which was no news to me and which will be totally ignored by son's Mother who seems to think nothing applies to her.

I've had some difficulties and so on since the hearing in the the limbo bit before the next one but have resorted to sending Solicitors letters on every issue to try and keep things going as normally as possible until next hearing. I've also been ordered to do mediation before next hearing. You could do that as an option maybe if you want to try and get it agreed before next hearing - and if something is agreed then it can be put into a consetnt order.

My feeling in my situation is - even if a mediator is skilled enough to get my ex to agree to normal schedule - I want more than that - I need other matters stipulated in a defined order - to the nth degree - because if there is a loophole, she will find it.

So that may be the issue. The contact could end up being agreed at mediation but that may be all you get - an order for contact, rather than shared care. And none of the day to day stuff specified.

I don't know how detailed your parenting plan is, but some stuff is important - and avoids arguments later such as who can take kiids to Docs appointments etc.
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#3
(11-28-2017, 05:15 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: It takes a bit of getting over - try and relax and do good stuff for 2 or 3 weeks. I also had 5 hours with Cafcass and felt totally wrecked afterwards.  You just need to mosey along until March now and make sure you're prepared.  I did the SPIP course last week-end.  All common sense stuff which was no news to me and which will be totally ignored by son's Mother who seems to think nothing applies to her.

I've had some difficulties and so on since the hearing in the the limbo bit before the next one but have resorted to sending Solicitors letters on every issue to try and keep things going as normally as possible until next hearing.  I've also been ordered to do mediation before next hearing.  You could do that as an option maybe if you want to try and get it agreed before next hearing - and if something is agreed then it can be put into a consetnt order.

My feeling in my situation is - even if a mediator is skilled enough to get my ex to agree to normal schedule - I want more than that - I need other matters stipulated in a defined order - to the nth degree - because if there is a loophole, she will find it.

So that may be the issue.  The contact could end up being agreed at mediation but that may be all you get - an order for contact, rather than shared care.  And none of the day to day stuff specified.

I don't know how detailed your parenting plan is, but some stuff is important - and avoids arguments later  such as who can take kiids to Docs appointments etc.

sounds like we are in similar situ

my parenting plan was deemed as overkill - as you say though its to avoid not arguing at a later stage
I went in on school kit, doctors/dentist, contact with parents when not with them. pick up and drop offs, extra curricular activities, school trips/ lunch money.

I will be pushing for the main two items - the order for shared care with a defined rota as a standard for school term and holidays AND that each parent is responsible to make our son available for any pick ups (to avoid any mind games being played). I think the rest in reality we have pretty much managed to agree on so I will focus on whats most important.

i am also going to start with letters to her solicitors 

the first one going this week to advise that our son will start to spend time with my partner again and that i welcome my ex to meet my partner should she have any concerns. My ex kicked off in september and told me i was not allowed to have our son spend time with my partner due to her knowing people that knew my partner in her 20s (almost 20 years ago) and had advised my ex that my partner has a violent history (complete BS)  

Was going to try and remedy this with the ex directly but having talked to my solicitor for advice today they felt it would be better practice to keep it all formal and that way i can demonstrate in writing that i am rolling this out with my sons best interests in play. Should my ex raise any concerns for safety reasons for our son then a background check on my partner by cafcass or whom ever would do that I'm sure would put this all to rest ahead of our hearing in March. 

I may even give caffcass a call to see what they suggest ahead of contacting the ex's solicitor.

I just dont want to continue putting life on hold for the sole fact that it keeps the ex from blowing up and using our son and his time with me as bait. The reality is when he spent time with my partner he has had a lot of fun which is why i personally believe the ex has raised any flag she could.
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#4
It sounds very unfair that your parenting plan was considered too detailed. Mine was too - because that's what the Cafcass official parenting plan asks you to address! All those minor details. I was also accused by Cafcass, at my hearing, of wanting things "too rigid" so I said no I was happy to be flexible providing I had the option to be flexible by agreement, and it wasn't all one way with my ex cancelling things at short notice. They said you're a committed Father and that's all that matters. I agree keep it formal - although obviously don't know your situation. I wouldn't dare have any communication whatsoever with my ex before final hearing.

Try and keep confident - it's all twaddle. Your ex has maternal jealousy of your partner. My partner was accused of abuse too. Just get your court order. She has no evidence.
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