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Can't agree on access - off the deep end

New member here & I'd be interested in your thoughts.

My situation: We've been separated nearly 4 years, and me and my new partner have the kids 3 nights per week. Without going into a detailed rant, I have my concerns that not all of the kids' needs are being met by my ex. Reading not being done, homework not being done, lateness to school, late bedtimes, scruffy clothes, the house is a tip, etc. Both kids are experiencing behavioural issues in school.

Therefore, I want the kids for an extra night so me & my partner can take care of all those things plus do all the things my ex doesn't, like sports clubs, baking and so on. We provide calm, stable routines that my ex doesn't.

We've had mediation but it's got us nowhere. My ex doesn't see the problem and thinks I have a financial agenda. Every time I raise a concern about the kids, or disagree with her on anything, she accuses me of bullying her.

Anyway, the upshot is that if I want the kids for 4 nights I'm going to have to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. I'm just completing a C100 now. I feel full of doubt. I'm taking an extreme step, I'll probably lose, my concerns are going to seem petty to a judge, etc.

Any advice or words of wisdom?

Thanks all
If your ex is like mine - expect a fight.

If you get a 4th night then you may well end up stop paying maintenance and could even get the child benefit as you'll be having the majority of the residence. That's quite a lot of cash to lose every month. Even if she's not bothered about the kids, that may well touch a nerve.

If you're not fussed about the money or suspect that she is, you could use it as a negotiating tool though.
Take the kids 4th night and offer to keep paying the same money.... that sir, will be cheaper in the long run on the wallet and the heart!
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"

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