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Contact suggestions please
#1
Hi i have been ordered to do a statement for the court for our next hearing but im unsure about what contact i should be asking for. I will be asking for 50/50 shared care although i understand that the ex will get more nights due to benefits etc. Im not really bothered about them, she can have all of it as far as im concerned. Im more concerned about the contact time with my daughter and i dont want to be asking for too little knowing that it might get reduced anyway. 

What i want to know is how do i go about asking for this. I understand and i have explained to cafcass this as well, that i do not expect to get shared care straight away due to the fact i have not seen my daughter for 7 months and also she is still young (she was one on Friday). I need to put it in a way where i come up with a recommendation of contact increasing over set times because obviously in 3-6 months when i try and get more contact from the mother she will just turn around and say that the court order says not and i will end up back in court to vary.  

This is what im thinking so any advice would be great. Is 6 months a long enough period to build up to overnights? To begin, although this might have to start off as a little less to begin with. 

Week 1 - Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4.30 to 7pm. Saturday 10am to 2pm
Week 2 - Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4.30 to 7pm. Sunday 10am to 2pm

After 1-2 months I would like to move forward with contact where by ***** has contact for the whole day at                            weekends. Saturday/Sunday 10am – 6pm

After another 2-3 months I would wish to move forward again with contact where by ***** has overnight contact                      where my daughter would stay overnight once a week at the weekend. And then move onto shared care after 1-2 months, my daughter will be about 18 months old by then. 

Once shared care starts

Week 1 – 2 midweek nights (times to pick up and drop off will need to be agreed)
Week 2 – Wednesday 4.30 – 7pm and Friday afternoon to Monday morning (times will need to be agreed)

I then would also like contact on special days shared for birthdays and maybe turns take for Christmas etc

Now because my daughter will still be young and not at school do i still use the term holidays as a basis for quality contact time? i.e half the school holidays, or will this not be taken into account until she goes to school? although she could well be going to nursery by then. This part is confusing me. I know this is a lot for the courts to try and order in one go but the ex has shown her unwillingness to engage or acknowledge the court, i was given the impression they wanted a progressive contact recommendation. 

Im also thinking about asking for relatives to do the handovers or at least help and my parents will help if i get delayed at work etc. If my parents were to pick our daughter up and then i was delayed getting back from work would she need to know or would it have no bearing once our daughter was deemed to be in my care?
 
Thanks for any help.
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#2
(12-09-2017, 11:56 PM)Charlielovesyou Wrote: Hi i have been ordered to do a statement for the court for our next hearing but im unsure about what contact i should be asking for. I will be asking for 50/50 shared care although i understand that the ex will get more nights due to benefits etc. Im not really bothered about them, she can have all of it as far as im concerned. Im more concerned about the contact time with my daughter and i dont want to be asking for too little knowing that it might get reduced anyway. 

What i want to know is how do i go about asking for this. I understand and i have explained to cafcass this as well, that i do not expect to get shared care straight away due to the fact i have not seen my daughter for 7 months and also she is still young (she was one on Friday). I need to put it in a way where i come up with a recommendation of contact increasing over set times because obviously in 3-6 months when i try and get more contact from the mother she will just turn around and say that the court order says not and i will end up back in court to vary.  

This is what im thinking so any advice would be great. Is 6 months a long enough period to build up to overnights? To begin, although this might have to start off as a little less to begin with. 

Week 1 - Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4.30 to 7pm. Saturday 10am to 2pm
Week 2 - Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4.30 to 7pm. Sunday 10am to 2pm

After 1-2 months I would like to move forward with contact where by ***** has contact for the whole day at                            weekends. Saturday/Sunday 10am – 6pm

After another 2-3 months I would wish to move forward again with contact where by ***** has overnight contact                      where my daughter would stay overnight once a week at the weekend. And then move onto shared care after 1-2 months, my daughter will be about 18 months old by then. 

Once shared care starts

Week 1 – 2 midweek nights (times to pick up and drop off will need to be agreed)
Week 2 – Wednesday 4.30 – 7pm and Friday afternoon to Monday morning (times will need to be agreed)

I then would also like contact on special days shared for birthdays and maybe turns take for Christmas etc

Now because my daughter will still be young and not at school do i still use the term holidays as a basis for quality contact time? i.e half the school holidays, or will this not be taken into account until she goes to school? although she could well be going to nursery by then. This part is confusing me. I know this is a lot for the courts to try and order in one go but the ex has shown her unwillingness to engage or acknowledge the court, i was given the impression they wanted a progressive contact recommendation. 

Im also thinking about asking for relatives to do the handovers or at least help and my parents will help if i get delayed at work etc. If my parents were to pick our daughter up and then i was delayed getting back from work would she need to know or would it have no bearing once our daughter was deemed to be in my care?
 
Thanks for any help.

I would suggest that you only need 3 or 4 daytime contacts, before overnight should start, assuming the child is over 2.
Your ex will want longer, as overnight will reduce Child Support.

You would not get your first timetable at court, unless by agreement, as it prevents your ex from ever having a weekend away.  While you will normally get half the quality time, the normal starting point is every other weekend.

I would suggest that you ask for
w1, Monday, Wednesday for a few hours
w2, Monday, Thursday for a few hours, then Lunchtime Saturday, till Lunchtime Sunday.

After that, an ongoing rota, where you have the child for a few hours 2 nights in week 1. Say you can be flexable on this, as Pre Schooling times are not yet known.
Then you want Friday PM till Sunday PM, I would suggest 4 pm at first due to young age, moving more towards 6pm as the child gets older.

In terms of school holdiays, you would get half, but it would be 6.5 weeks. A 4 week plan is a week at Easter and Christmas, and 2 weeks (plus a weekend) in the summer.

You can ask for birthdays, easter, Christmas ect to be shared days, or turns each.

In my own case, I informed the Court that I was a Courier Driver, and while I only took on work on contact days when it was expected I would be back well in time, as a back up I wanted the Order to say my mum could collect the children, if i got delayed.
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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#3
Thanks for the reply MarkR,

My daughter is 1 years old as of Friday. She will be around 18 months to 2 years old by the time i want to move onto the half of holidays schedule. I am being told by some that she will be too young to have overnight stays for more than one night at a time and so the half holidays scenario will be no good at the moment?
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#4
I would try and cluster the contact so 2 - 4 consecutive nights (when you get there)

Constant changing is a bit unsettling ( i talk from experience of doing both alternate days and alternate weeks) so maybe go for 3 nights one week and 4 the next
Week1 T,W,Th
Week 2 F,S,Su,M
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
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#5
Thanks for the replay LTCDAD.

Just a question. If or when i move towards the 2-4 consecutive nights. If i have my daughter as you suggest, T,W,Th and then Friday to monday would still ask for contact in the week? i.e say Weds from 4.30-6.30pm say? Or would i just also ask for telephone contact as it would mean 7-8 days gap in contact from week 1 to 2, but it would also mean that i would have my daughter for 7 nights so would amount to one week each really anyway? I would not really be handing her back to my ex?

I understand about unsettling for my daughter and that is obviously not in her best interests. I think im more likely to get something like 6/14 days. But as i say how do they look at the big gaps in between each others contact?
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#6
Loads of options... gotta find one that fits you ...
One such option is like this over 2 weeks

2/3/2 system

Parent A - M, T... Fr, Sat, Sun... W, Th
Parent B - W, Th, ... M, T .. Fr, Sat, Sun

Alternate weeks would be an (better) option if you can both do it as system above means lots of swaps for the kid

You can agree anything you like... one observation is that while having one night over in the week is Ok when they are young its a pain in the **** when they get older ... and i recommend you do a couple of nights as easier for planning, food, clothes, the kids routine, doing stuff..
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
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#7
When son was a baby I had him one afternoon a week until he was about 3 months old, then one night a week (every Saturday - her choice she like to go out on Saturday nights and have a lie in on Sundays). By the time he was at nursery at 6 months I had him two nights a week - the Saturday and a midweek night. Then sometimes two midweek nights. By the time he started pre-school age 4 I had him every other week-end and one midweek night and more than half the holidays (she was dating and busy). It seemed a good progression. If that helps.
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#8
(12-12-2017, 08:56 AM)Charlie7000 Wrote: When son was a baby I had him one afternoon a week until he was about 3 months old, then one night a week (every Saturday - her choice she like to go out on Saturday nights and have a lie in on Sundays). By the time he was at nursery at 6 months I had him two nights a week - the Saturday and a midweek night.  Then sometimes two midweek nights.  By the time he started pre-school age 4 I had him every other week-end and one midweek night and more than half the holidays (she was dating and busy).  It seemed a good progression.  If that helps.

Thanks Charlie, 

Thats the sort of thing i was thinking but obviously it seems that your ex agreed to it because it suited her, Unfortunately my ex is not going to agree to anything and at the moment is just refusing contact full stop, which is why she isnt bothering to acknowledge court and even turn up. Its going to be down to the courts to make arrangements which they are going to be loathed to do without her input. By all accounts the courts usually go with the child is too young for that until she is about 2 years old?

Also do you still get contact in between contact nights etc? I.e. for a couple of hours one afternoon or purely telephone/facetime contact or the like? Im not sure about this part as some patterns for over nights will mean 6-7 days at a time apart. 

Thanks for the advice.
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#9
I think your proposed schedule sounds good, and Mark's suggestions make sense. By starting with afternoon visits she will get to know you better ad better quite quickly. I would ask for overnights after 3 months (ask for more in case you get less).

Yes my ex really wasn't interested in looking after a baby so was happy to use me as a babysitter. She hardly saw him as he was in nursery a lot too. So it was kind of helpful at first, but she stopped contact umpteen times over the years and the downside now is she has so little feeling for him she just uses him to get to me.
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