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It's stated, changing to suit
#1
The divorce is near, consent and pension orders signed and all the financials sorted.
access to the children has been good right up to now, with no obstruction from her over the last 9 months. I moved 2 and half hours away and the children now live with her. Although it's far from amicable she has been accommodating enough to drop the children off half way so that I've been getting them every other weekend and half the school holidays. I know she is under no obligation to do this and I was always expecting that to change over time and prepared to do the full journey eventually.
dates had been set in place via email months in advance, and agreed in principle right up until Easter, Everything has ran smoothly with regards to access up until now but I've always felt vulnerable that nothing was legally set in stone.
She had made mild threats in the past to make things difficult and although I stressed my concerns to my solicitor, he advised me not to react and courts should be the last resort. He had suggested that he could draw up an agreement, but as it wouldn't be legally binding and saw no point in pursuing it.
Now she's started to become difficult, as I always suspected. Taking into consideration the distance she'll always have the upper hand.
I dropped them off as usual last weekend, only to receive a text the next day saying that I can't have them the following weekend as usual as they have parties to attend but I can have them in three weeks time instead, her argument would be that she isn't really stopping my access, as I could just come down to see them but she knows fine well that I have nowhere to stay and the cost involved at short notice. Frankly she's attempting to dictate when and what weeks I can have them to suit herself. I'm sure plenty of you have experienced this sort of behaviour evolving, and although it's far from dramatic at the moment. I'm cautious of a pattern arising and how I can gain some control of the situation, my financial resources are stretched at the moment with regards to going straight down the legal route
So as it stands I won't be able to see them for a whole month and she's stopped any FaceTime contact with them, obviously to spin her web and keep them away from me.
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#2
Court mate (via mediation)... represent yourself 215GBP

You can do a family agreement but she wont stick to it

Parties is a common one but difficult without a court order... if you had that she would not be allowed to decide if they attend on your time... you would

Don't agree to a month without seeing them... she will use that against you

Give her one last chance to work as a co-parent but after that... your kids deserve the relationship with their dad more than an hour at soft play and some fizzy pop
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
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#3
Thanks for the quick reply. Although nothing has happened yet as it's still a week away until I'm supposed to get them I'm already at my wits end at the what might happen.
I'm not agreeing to waiting a month to see them but there's little i can do other than dragging them away from her, which of course I'm not going to do.
what is 215GBP? should I contact my solicitor or make other arrangements, how? I'm a bit lost, skint and still drained from the fighting over finances etc
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#4
Your case is fairly straightforward, for now anyway. You just want a schedule set in stone with some legal weight behind it.

It helps to get yourself familiar with the family court process. A lot of people do it all themselves with minimal costs, especially if it is a straightforward contact issue. Very simply, you fill in a form, give it to the court with the £215 application fee and just turn up at the court and tell the nice judges you want a child arrangement order and tell it how it is. They are used to lay people going there and putting their case across. Family courts are lot less formal than criminal or civil courts.

Ok that was an over simplification. But really if you don't have tons of money stashed away, that is the only way to keep the difficult Ex in check. If she knows you won't hesitate to take legal action, she will think twice.

First you will need to go to a local mediation provider and make an appointment for a MIAM meeting. They charge £50 or so initially for this and as I understand it they will invite your wife to mediation. Mediation itself costs a bit if she does turn up. Not sure exactly how much. If that fails, then you can apply to court directly for a child arrangement order which costs £215.

You will learn the whole thing as you go. People on this forum are a god send.
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#5
Thanks for the advice, she's backed down for now after my threat of legal action, but I'm sure it will rear it's ugly head again.
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#6
I would get that consent order done quickly then! You can get it drawn up at mediation, with legal advice between mediation sessions - and if she won't agree to something there, then you get signed off mediation and apply straight to court.

I would suggest that, even though she has backed down, you go for a MIAM (first mediation appointment - on your own - Mediation, Information and Assessment meeting). The mediator will then invite your ex to attend. You could also contact your ex and say you'd like to draw up an agreement at mediation and have it "formalised" (let the mediator explain about consent orders). If she won't go or doesn't turn up then you ask the mediator to sign you off (Print out form C100 and take it wiht you so the mediator can sign the relevant page). Then apply to court to have the agreed schedule in a court order.
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