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My Christmas
I have to admit - that my Christmas has gone far better than I could have expected.

I had started to broach the subject of access (though we have a Court Order a good run up at things helps in this case!) about three months ago with an email to Ex and her Solicitor - it took almost 1.5 months for it to come back positive, I could have my kid for two extra days during the entire holidays.  

Cue early December - I choose Christmas Eve and the 28th, with 30th being a regular contact day - all this is agreed in writing, and we are all happy - until the ex asks if I would be willing to do the 29th as well - and if I could see it - to help her out - also the 2nd and 3rd January.  Due to the logistics involved (I wont go into it here, its well documented elsewhere), I check with my other half, her daughter and both cats just to be on the safe side - and though its a bit of a liberty from my ex - its all agreed and I get the 24th, 28th, 29th, 30th December and 2nd and 3rd January - I also manage to wangle additional hours over the course of this as I am taking little one here there and everywhere (hey, if you get the chance you take it and make the kids life fantastic - you make the memories with them).  

Its been fun, and I am writing this relaxing in bed and about to watch Designated Survivor (with some Monster Munch!) on Netflix as I am completely cream cracked and know I am about to flake.

All in all - this has taken a complete year to get to this stage for me, I have gone from just having 15 minutes of facetime when my ex could be bothered to being able to take my kid out where she wants to go (though so far I am not too sure about Build a Bear - it feels like a kiddies version of a taxidermist).

For those dads out there despairing that they wont see their kids - stop - I have been where you are (most, if not all of the dads on here have) - I have been at my lowest ebb, reach out to people on the forums, reach out to friends and family - for gods sake don't wallow at the end of the bottle and don't pick a fight each time you see your ex (I gave her that job - she was far better at it than me, its allowed me to really relax and chill out)

Tips & Hints (I am sure some of the others will help on this list which isn't definitive)
Always remember - "I am not here for a fight, I am just here to be able to see my son/daughter"
The answer isn't at the end of a bottle (I made that mistake as well and stopped it damn quickly)
Let your ex do the fighting, it gives them something to do
Don't "knee jerk" on Texts or Emails - unless your kid has been in an accident or anything like that - it can wait until you have had time to think it through BEFORE you answer it (I usually leave 24 hours before I respond to an email and I have a separate account just for her)
Take time out for YOU (if you fancy going for a facial or having your nails done - go for it!)
The allegations you have or have had leveled at you - are just that - allegations - they have to be proven (and the Family Court isn't really interested in most of them) so stop worrying about them (some of the allegations I have had were stunning)

Other than that - please spend time over New Year with your loved ones - and if you can - send a message to your kids somehow

All the best for 2018 to Dads Everywhere Smile

Invis Smile
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.
Nice one sir....that's good you had a good Christmas with the kids....and great advice for others on the same boat.
That sounds great and some fantastic tips for everyone else. Happy New Year :-)

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