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Seeking advice for making an arrangement order
#1
Hi, I have been here before for advice and would like to again thank those who have already taken the time to read and offer advice and for those in the future.

I'll keep this as brief as possible.

My ex and I had a baby in 2016 and split during the pregnancy. She then proceeded to cut me out of everything and I missed the birth. I made several attempts at contact but ended up applying to mediation then court. At court I found out the gender, name and birth date. I was then given a date by the judge when I could see the baby for the first time. After that, my ex started contacting me about seeing the baby more then we ended up getting back together. Very soft on my part as after I moved in with her things went back to normal. She ended up pregnant again, which was something she stated she wanted and we tried for. Two weeks after she got pregnant we rowed about money and I was told to leave and move out. I carried on seeing my child when she would let me but there was no particular times agreed. It was due to whether she was in or not.

Now, we have two children together. One 2 years old and the youngest is now 7 months. I can't complain about the decisions that were made at the time of the 2nd child being conceived as I now I have 3 lovely children but what is happening now I can't handle. Since the birth of the youngest I have barely been able to see them both. She had only allowed me to see them for three hours a fortnight. When I pressed this further she reluctantly agreed to an evening visit for 1 and a half hours. I have to go to her house to see them and it's very awkward during my time there. I love seeing them and want to see them more but I want it to be on my own away from her 'supervision'. She has also stopped my oldest daughter from a previous relationship having any contact with them. She's not seen the 2 year old for well over a year and she's never met the youngest.

The reason I'm writing this today is because I have been to her house today for my 10am-1pm fortnightly visit. Only she was not in. She did not answer my phone call either. She has done this before in April, only at that time she had stated her phone was broken and I could not make contact with her. I witnessed her using it though around that time so I tried emailing her. She responded once to a letter I gave her personally with a bit of a tirade about how I should just speak to her. She may have a point but I felt discussing things with someone who barely looks at me, and in front of the kids would not work.

Anyhow, I am trying to decide what to do next. My head is quite all over the place. She is currently breastfeeding the youngest so I fear that may cause some problems with access and me wanting to take them on my own. Is there an age limit for this? Also, I tried mediation the first time we went to court but she never turned up or responded to them. Do I need to apply for this again or use my old letter stating she never showed up?

Is there anyway my daughter can meet them? Or, Will this have to be hashed out in court as well?

I may not be the best father in town but I certainly try my best. I pay her almost double the amount of child maintenance that's needed each week. I turn up on time and never stay past her time frame for my contact. I just want to be able to see my children on a regular basis without the awkwardness of being supervised by her looming over me.

Apologies for rambling on and many thanks in advance for any advice you may have for me.

Good luck to everyone in their pursuit for their right to see their children and what other problems you may be facing.

Thank you for reading. :-)

Apologies for not stating either, I currently see the two children for 3 hours fortnightly, then the 1 and a half hours is fortnightly on a Monday. So basically I see them for 4.5 hours in one week then none the next.
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#2
(06-10-2018, 11:10 AM)pm180107 Wrote: Hi, I have been here before for advice and would like to again thank those who have already taken the time to read and offer advice and for those in the future.

I'll keep this as brief as possible.

My ex and I had a baby in 2016 and split during the pregnancy. She then proceeded to cut me out of everything and I missed the birth. I made several attempts at contact but ended up applying to mediation then court. At court I found out the gender, name and birth date. I was then given a date by the judge when I could see the baby for the first time. After that, my ex started contacting me about seeing the baby more then we ended up getting back together. Very soft on my part as after I moved in with her things went back to normal. She ended up pregnant again, which was something she stated she wanted and we tried for. Two weeks after she got pregnant we rowed about money and I was told to leave and move out. I carried on seeing my child when she would let me but there was no particular times agreed. It was due to whether she was in or not.

Now, we have two children together. One 2 years old and the youngest is now 7 months. I can't complain about the decisions that were made at the time of the 2nd child being conceived as I now I have 3 lovely children but what is happening now I can't handle. Since the birth of the youngest I have barely been able to see them both. She had only allowed me to see them for three hours a fortnight. When I pressed this further she reluctantly agreed to an evening visit for 1 and a half hours. I have to go to her house to see them and it's very awkward during my time there. I love seeing them and want to see them more but I want it to be on my own away from her 'supervision'. She has also stopped my oldest daughter from a previous relationship having any contact with them. She's not seen the 2 year old for well over a year and she's never met the youngest.

The reason I'm writing this today is because I have been to her house today for my 10am-1pm fortnightly visit. Only she was not in. She did not answer my phone call either. She has done this before in April, only at that time she had stated her phone was broken and I could not make contact with her. I witnessed her using it though around that time so I tried emailing her. She responded once to a letter I gave her personally with a bit of a tirade about how I should just speak to her. She may have a point but I felt discussing things with someone who barely looks at me, and in front of the kids would not work.

Anyhow, I am trying to decide what to do next. My head is quite all over the place. She is currently breastfeeding the youngest so I fear that may cause some problems with access and me wanting to take them on my own. Is there an age limit for this? Also, I tried mediation the first time we went to court but she never turned up or responded to them. Do I need to apply for this again or use my old letter stating she never showed up?

Is there anyway my daughter can meet them? Or, Will this have to be hashed out in court as well?

I may not be the best father in town but I certainly try my best. I pay her almost double the amount of child maintenance that's needed each week. I turn up on time and never stay past her time frame for my contact. I just want to be able to see my children on a regular basis without the awkwardness of being supervised by her looming over me.

Apologies for rambling on and many thanks in advance for any advice you may have for me.

Good luck to everyone in their pursuit for their right to see their children and what other problems you may be facing.

Thank you for reading. :-)

Apologies for not stating either, I currently see the two children for 3 hours fortnightly, then the 1 and a half hours is fortnightly on a Monday. So basically I see them for 4.5 hours in one week then none the next.

You have a choice to make her.

Either C100, to vary the existing order, to also inlcude the child not on it.

Or C79, to enforce the old order, but they you need to start to process again for the other child.
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
Could he apply to vary and enforce at the same time Mark? It sounds like the order definitely needs varying. At 2 your eldest could have overnight contact with you. But enforcing a breach is also important.

To answer your other questions - if you have a court order for your children to spend say 4 nights a fornight with you and half the school holidays (which is the standard) - then it is up to you who spends time with your children when they're with you. If it wasn't for the enforcement I'd suggest applying for 50/50 shared care. You may not get it but you may. It would mean the children legally live with both parents (as opposed to living with the Mother and "spending time with" you). It doesn't make a lot of difference but it's a psychological thing, especially with a difficult ex. It also means there is no child maintenance to pay - so you'd be more likely to get 60/40 shared care - still lives with both parents but you pay child support.

The standard if applying to court would be lives with mother, spends time with you every other week-end, a midweek night and half the school holidays - for the 2 year old. I believe overnight contact wouldn't normally happen for the baby unless agreed between you. So you could either go in high and have room to negotiate down. Or just ask for what you want in an application. The fact that you've applied before means there's a bit of a history and I would think the previous application would be looked at.

If this is a first breach then it may be better just to formally write her an email (politely as if to a business colleague) confirming you arrived at 10am on x day for the regular agreed time with your daughters and no-one was home and you received no messages, and requesting that she make your daughters available on the next occasion and agree to give notice via text message in the event of a short notice problem. And in which case the time should be rearranged for another day and time. This would be helpful evidence (as would her reply if any) if and when you apply to court - and it records the missed contact time and records any chances she has had to sort things out.

From now on you need to be whiter than white (which it sounds like you are) - keep things polite and in writing - don't get into an argument with her or agree things on the phone - always by text or email - and keep things brief and slightly impersonal/formal.

You will probably need to go to mediation for a MIAM again if it is more than 3 or 4 months since your last application (I can't remember if it's 3 or 4 months). I would just book and go for a MIAM asap.

However, this is the second time she has breached by the sound of it and I believe if there are three breaches and you let it go then it stops being enforceable or seen as an accepted change.

So I think you need to apply to court regardless - whether it's for variation or enforcement. Will wait and see if Mark knows whether you could do both on the same form.
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#4
Thanks for the responses guys,

So basically, I sent her a text message on Monday morning followed by an e-mail later on. I have so far heard nothing back from her at all. She stated about three months ago, after I handed her a letter, via e-mail that her phone was unable to receive calls or texts and that is why she did not respond to any of my messages. This was despite me witnessing her using said phone and the phone actually ringing when I called her. I have also witnessed her using the phone on a recent visit, where she was able to answer a call that time. I do not believe the phone was broken but that is just a presumption on my part. The phone rang again on Monday so I know the number is still in use.

Anyhow, I have just messaged her informing her I would be attempting to go back to court via mediation first. Not sure this was the right thing to do but I feel I need to get the ball rolling asap before I lose anymore time with the children.

It is not the first time there has been a breach. Since the birth of the youngest last October she has made it very difficult for me to see the kids, up until I passed her the letter stating I wanted more time with them. She complained that I didn't speak about it face to face with her but normally on a visit her two older children are there and obviously our two children so I never deem it the right time or place to have such conversations, especially given how volatile it can get verbally. Just shows the state of our current relationship really.

I'd like to know, if you can help, What I should do regarding money? I have for nearly 12 months been paying £100 a week to her for child maintenance as per her demands. It doesn't exactly leave me with much in the week but according to the child maintenance calculator I am only due to pay her £56. I'm feeling like I want to pay her exactly what I should be rather than nearly double each week as some week it really stretches me too much. I know from past experience that she will deem this as me not caring about our children but I'm sick of bending over backwards to pay her more than I should be and her messing me around as she has been. She expects me to do my fathering duties and pay up but expects me to barely see the kids and barely be a father to them.

All in all I'm dreading not being able to see the kids at all, as I'm sure she will try and stop completely. I turn up now on our arranged visits not knowing whether she will be in or not.

Thanks again for replying and offering advice :-)
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#5
(06-10-2018, 07:22 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: Could he apply to vary and enforce at the same time Mark?  It sounds like the order definitely needs varying.  At 2 your eldest could have overnight contact with you.  But enforcing a breach is also important.

To answer your other questions - if you have a court order for your children to spend say 4 nights a fornight with you and half the school holidays (which is the standard) - then it is up to you who spends time with your children when they're with you.  If it wasn't for the enforcement I'd suggest applying for 50/50 shared care.  You may not get it but you may.  It would mean the children legally live with both parents (as opposed to living with the Mother and "spending time with" you).  It doesn't make a lot of difference but it's a psychological thing, especially with a difficult ex. It also means there is no child maintenance to pay - so you'd be more likely to get 60/40 shared care - still lives with both parents but you pay child support.

The standard if applying to court would be lives with mother, spends time with you every other week-end, a midweek night and half the school holidays - for the 2 year old.  I believe overnight contact wouldn't normally happen for the baby unless agreed between you.  So you could either go in high and have room to negotiate down. Or just ask for what you want in an application.  The fact that you've applied before means there's a bit of a history and I would think the previous application would be looked at.

If this is a first breach then it may be better just to formally write her an email (politely as if to a business colleague) confirming you arrived at 10am on x day for the regular agreed time with your daughters and no-one was home and you received no messages, and requesting that she make your daughters available on the next occasion and agree to give notice via text message in the event of a short notice problem.  And in which case the time should be rearranged for another day and time.  This would be helpful evidence (as would her reply if any) if and when you apply to court - and it records the missed contact time and records any chances she has had to sort things out.

From now on you need to be whiter than white (which it sounds like you are) - keep things polite and in writing - don't get into an argument with her or agree things on the phone - always by text or email - and keep things brief and slightly impersonal/formal.

You will probably need to go to mediation for a MIAM again if it is more than 3 or 4 months since your last application (I can't remember if it's 3 or 4 months).  I would just book and go for a MIAM asap.

However, this is the second time she has breached by the sound of it and I believe if there are three breaches and you let it go then it stops being enforceable or seen as an accepted change.

So I think you need to apply to court regardless - whether it's for variation or enforcement.  Will wait and see if Mark knows whether you could do both on the same form.

He could, but it would be 2 x £215 court fees, unless he can get an income based reduction
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.
Reply
#6
I just wanted to clarify that during the original court procedure, after the second hearing when I finally got to meet my 2 year old was the time we got back together. We did not return to court for the final hearing and informed them we were going to sort out the arrangements ourselves. The court, during the second hearing, recommended that I was allowed to visit our child and meet them for the first time for one hour a fortnight up until we returned to court to discuss moving things forward. I do not believe that any order was made at this time but my ex has responded to me this week stating that if I want to go to court again that she thinks that we are best sticking with the original 'order' of the court - which was the one hour a week. I am a bit confused but sure that this isn't the case and that there was no order arranged at this time, only a recommendation.

The ex has also claimed that she was away on holiday at the time of my last visit when she was not in. She states that due to my maintenance money not clearing on the Thursday that she was left stranded and could not make it back on time for the Sunday visit. This puzzles me to be honest. She is claiming if I go back to court it will involve barristers and solicitors at a costly price to try and change the original order - which I deem wasn't made due to there being no final hearing. Any advice on what has been said here?

There are a few other things that have been thrown into the ex's response but I do not deem them relevant to my child arrangements case - only puzzling Undecided

Thanks again for your helpful responses

Paul
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