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FHDRA Done, Loved the barrister
Well that was fun

Got there and met my barrister, loved her to bits. She was calm, sensible, tough and clearly knew what she was doing.

CAFCASS want nothing more to do with the case so thats great.

We sat and discussed what Im asking for and she took it to the ex and her solicitor. I waited, almost wondering whether there would be any reasonable reply.
What came back was truly horrifying, made the hairs on my neck stand up. I could go through the list but I think you all know exactly what it said.
Ex says no to everything. She also wants to substantially cut time down even more to one night every other weekend, thats it! they even tried to get an interim order to that effect and got pasted by the judge.
She doubled down on the alcohol thing, God knows why, not only is it a complete fabrication, she cant prove anything and they didnt ask for a drug or liver test. But they want to put in the order that Im not to drink around my daughter, they even pushed it in the court. I told the judge I wouldn't agree to anything like that because it infers there was a problem in the first place without evidence, he completely agreed.
There was plenty more petty crap, Im sure you can guess.
The judge said we need to improve communication if he is to make an order.
A date has been set to go straight to the final hearing so at least the end is in sight without too much delay.

Outside the court I approached the ex, I said if she would stop provoking me and deliberately building a case against me Id be willing to start talking at handovers [paraphrasing]
She wanted to talk with solicitors present so we did. A little off piste I know and I dont think my barrister wasnt keen at all but if there was a chance we could find a middle ground. 
What a shit show, it was just like mediation, petty shit. Said I return daughter in dirty clothes with wet hair, I actually wash her clothes every time and put them on daughter after bath when she goes to her. Yada yada yada.......... we got no where and the solicitors saw how controlling and petty she is.

My barrister just stood up and said lets go, as we left the courts she said, and I quote: "that discussion didnt help in the slightest but it was great for me to see how defensive, controlling and interfering she is, Im going to destroy her on the stand" lol, shocking coming from someone I considered so calm and professional.
Feeling a bit more confident, but imminently aware that her solicitor was watching me like a hawk. One thinks our learned friend will be pasting me up and down the court room at cross examination.
Well, he will make an order if you don't improve communication but it wont be one either of you will like.. so do it for the kid.

Great he suggested straight to final hearing as it means nothing to look at and if CAFCASS not interested ... he's likely to award a fair outcome.

Irrelevant if you return your daughter wearing a space suit... had this one... kids get dirty, parents dont put dirt on them or keep them in a bubble to keep them clean...Ufff ... classic ... ignore it... if she is worried about wet hair, offer to shave it off!

Nice choice of solicitor... .Mine met my ex for the first time at 1st hearing .. .witnesses her start a verbal fight with a court official... and said to me " we are not going to lose this... your kids cannot be allowed only to be with her... it will destroy them... they need you"

As for her solicitor or my ex's who literally looked like a clown... no emotion, just look at them with a look of you know what is going to be said and your are prepared ... with a slight smile.. DO NOT LET THEM THINK THEY HIT A BUTTON.
My ex's was so crap that the ex was passing her post it notes of questions to ask ... most of which i answered with " i'm here to talk about my children"

Well done
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
It's great when you find a good advocate who is prepared to really fight your corner. It makes such a difference!
Sounds good. Did you get an interim order before final hearing?
No, they went for the no order thing, but there is an agreement drawn up stating what it is now and what needs to happen before final hearing. The only thing that changed is who picks up from childminder.
That sounds good - sounds like the contact was recorded in court. Sometimes it's a test to see how the other person behaves in the interrim period (ie if she keeps to it or not).

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