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Advice on contact once school starts
#1
Hi!  I hope you won't mind a mum writing?  But maybe a dads perspective can help.

My ex and I have a fairly volatile relationship (history has included some DV at the end) but we've managed, more or less, to stay on an even keel for the sake of our 4 year old daughter.  She currently attends nursery Tues - Weds every week. 

He hasn't worked since she was born and I work 5 days a week (hours squashed into 4 days) so his past contact has been - Friday night to Monday night one week and Sunday night to Monday night the week after (I pick her up after work on way home). 

He now has a job, so we're a bit stuck with contact - one week is Friday night to Sunday night as usual and the other weekend ('my' weekend) is a bit hit and miss, but I've rearranged work to work from home Monday to cover the day he can't have her but I'm going to have to put her in nursery as its impossible to do both.  I said he should have her one night every week (stayover) to make up for the Sunday night - Monday afternoon but he says he won't have her in week as he's now working.  PLus obviously split of holidays (again, he won't do as working).   

She starts school in September anyway, so this is just pre-empting the problems we will have then. 

He has said that he wants one full weekend and the next weekend Friday to Saturday night/Sun Morn.  He says that should be enough as I see her weeknights.  But that leaves me one Sunday to actually do anything with her - weeknights after nursery and work, we're pretty tired and after school I am presuming she will be exhausted.

I think one weekend and a night a week is fair.  But he is SO ANGRY about this, that I can't talk to him. He says I am an abuser, depriving our daughter of a father and contact with him.  I'm being inundated with angry texts about what a terrible, horrible, child abusing mum I am.  I'm dreading the phone going off. 

Last night was the last straw.  He blocked me all weekend and wouldn't tell me when (if) he was bringing her back, finally turning up last night and stopping her by the front door to say to her 'Ask your mummy why she's child abusing you and making me only see you once a fortnight'.  I fully admit, I'm a pushover, he's a bully, I quite often choose my battles to keep the peace, as long as she's happy, so am I.  But enough is enough.  Its completely unacceptable to speak to her like that and bring her into our arguments and I'm a bit heartbroken that she's being dragged into this.  So we need to act now, nip it in bud, get something written down.

I think we need to get some kind of access set at court, along with drop off times and picks up.  I'm not sure how to go about it.  A few sites I've read say mediation.  I'm a bit scared of him when he's like this but I think I could hold my own in mediation.  But then what?  Where do I even start with all this?  I don't have much spare money but I think figuring this out will be worth being skint for a while. 

Can anyone help?  am I even being unreasonable? (I should add that much as he is an arsehole to me, he loves her and she him and I want their relationship to continue and flourish).
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#2
Sorry but I see the dads side, because I have to put up with this weeknights isn't quality time stuff.

Id like someone to tell me how anytime with your children isn't quality time.

Only think I don't like is making children choose.
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#3
Hi Jode

You would need to undertake (and invite him) to Mediation - though since there has been DV in the relationship you could circumvent this, you also may be eligible for Legal Aid should you mention this.

His contact would likely be Every Other Weekend Friday after School to Sunday (or sometimes Monday Drop Off at School) and one evening during the week - half of all school holidays and special days (eg Fathers Day, Christmas, etc). Thats what he would be able to get if there was nothing wrong with your application.

You need to file a C100 - the Mediator will sign off one of the pages if you are both unable to reach an agreement, in there you should put what you are offering, with times, days etc. Courts generally dont like putting firm dates and times in, preferring that the parents actually work it out for themselves.

As you have indicated that there is previous DV, then there is more than likely a Section 7 report going to be requested by the courts, this is to ensure that there are no safeguarding issues at the moment, if there are not then he may be asked to go to a Contact Center for a short period, but if you are happy with this not happening, please feel free to tell the judge/magistrate.

You DONT need expensive lawyers to do this, just keep coming back here and talking to us, a lot of us have Self Represented through this.
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.
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#4
(06-18-2018, 10:22 AM)jodenice Wrote: Hi!  I hope you won't mind a mum writing?  But maybe a dads perspective can help.

My ex and I have a fairly volatile relationship (history has included some DV at the end) but we've managed, more or less, to stay on an even keel for the sake of our 4 year old daughter.  She currently attends nursery Tues - Weds every week. 

He hasn't worked since she was born and I work 5 days a week (hours squashed into 4 days) so his past contact has been - Friday night to Monday night one week and Sunday night to Monday night the week after (I pick her up after work on way home). 

He now has a job, so we're a bit stuck with contact - one week is Friday night to Sunday night as usual and the other weekend ('my' weekend) is a bit hit and miss, but I've rearranged work to work from home Monday to cover the day he can't have her but I'm going to have to put her in nursery as its impossible to do both.  I said he should have her one night every week (stayover) to make up for the Sunday night - Monday afternoon but he says he won't have her in week as he's now working.  PLus obviously split of holidays (again, he won't do as working).   

She starts school in September anyway, so this is just pre-empting the problems we will have then. 

He has said that he wants one full weekend and the next weekend Friday to Saturday night/Sun Morn.  He says that should be enough as I see her weeknights.  But that leaves me one Sunday to actually do anything with her - weeknights after nursery and work, we're pretty tired and after school I am presuming she will be exhausted.

I think one weekend and a night a week is fair.  But he is SO ANGRY about this, that I can't talk to him. He says I am an abuser, depriving our daughter of a father and contact with him.  I'm being inundated with angry texts about what a terrible, horrible, child abusing mum I am.  I'm dreading the phone going off. 

Last night was the last straw.  He blocked me all weekend and wouldn't tell me when (if) he was bringing her back, finally turning up last night and stopping her by the front door to say to her 'Ask your mummy why she's child abusing you and making me only see you once a fortnight'.  I fully admit, I'm a pushover, he's a bully, I quite often choose my battles to keep the peace, as long as she's happy, so am I.  But enough is enough.  Its completely unacceptable to speak to her like that and bring her into our arguments and I'm a bit heartbroken that she's being dragged into this.  So we need to act now, nip it in bud, get something written down.

I think we need to get some kind of access set at court, along with drop off times and picks up.  I'm not sure how to go about it.  A few sites I've read say mediation.  I'm a bit scared of him when he's like this but I think I could hold my own in mediation.  But then what?  Where do I even start with all this?  I don't have much spare money but I think figuring this out will be worth being skint for a while. 

Can anyone help?  am I even being unreasonable? (I should add that much as he is an arsehole to me, he loves her and she him and I want their relationship to continue and flourish).

It would need mediation before a court can sort this, but in general terms contact is based on the avalialbity of the non resident parent at weekends and school holidays. The normal starting point is every other weekend and up to half school holidays, but a court will do a rota to match a work timetable so that the non resident parent gets weekend contact when they are off work.

Shared care only happens where the Court considers it to be workable. It might just be from school, dinner, play and back or it might be overnight. It just depends on if it can be done without disrupting school or either parent gettting to work.
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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#5
(06-18-2018, 11:45 AM)GC1974 Wrote: Sorry but I see the dads side, because I have to put up with this weeknights isn't quality time stuff.

Id like someone to tell me how anytime with your children isn't quality time.

Only think I don't like is making children choose.

But if that were the case, surely a weeknight should be OK for him too, right?  Its not like he works and I don't or that I'm not offering this time.   I'm not saying I don't appreciate the time to see her, but her half knackered, scoffing dinner, having a bath and heading to bed is not the same as being able to take her away for a weekend, seeing friends or family, waking up with her and being able to plan our day.  So we'll have to disagree.  But I take the point.

 So Mark, are you saying that if we go to court, they will likely grant him this anyway, as he says he can't have weeknights? 

I guess mediation is the way forward first then.

ps, sorry, how rude, thank you all for replying.
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#6
Oh my god, I just looked at cost of mediation. They quoted 235 per person. NO WAY will her dad pay that. He hasn't contributed a penny towards her in 5 years, I can't see him forking that out.
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#7
You can get it for £60 if you shop around
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.
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#8
£235 sounds a lot. Mine was £100 for the first session and £125 for subsequent sessions (and the same for the Mum). I agree that you both need a full week-end at times. On the other hand it might be easier to agree to him having every week-end during term time, because you will get week-ends during school holiday weeks. Has he said how many school holiday weeks he wants and when?

Mediation is unlikely to work by the sound of it. If it did work, and you could reach an agreement, it could be put into a consent order and stamped by the court with no need for the whole business of court hearings etc.

I think it's good you want your daughter to keep up her relationship with her Dad but to be honest he should not be saying negative things about you to your daughter as that could be classed as parental alienation. One good thing about the court process is both parents are usually ordered to go on a SPIPP course (separated parents information programme) which I think should be a required thing for any separated parents as it covers so many things that people don't realise (like not using children as messengers, not having joint birthday parties, but separate ones as it's uncomfortable for the child). Also at the first hearing they usually try and broker an agreement and it's only if no agreement can be reached that it goes to a final contested hearing with decisions being made by a Judge or magistrates.

It is better if you can agree something. You could just agree to him having every week-end during term time as you would have week-ends during school holidays - unless he is expecting every week-end to continue during school holidays as well!

Maybe draw up something and send it to him as a proposal with a short polite email. Then if you can't get things agreed and have to go to court it shows you've tried to be reasonable.

How about:
Every week-end with Dad during term-time.
Half of Easter holidays with each parent.
Christmas Eve and Christmas day plus the last 5 days of Christmas holidays on alternate years with remainder of holidays with the other parent.
Split half term weeks Friday to Wednesday and Wednesday to Monday (you both get a week-end).
Two weeks holiday in the school summer holidays plus a couple of week-ends.

If that would work for you and he doesn't agree to that then you'd need to apply for a court order. The standard is every other week-end and a midweek night - I don't see why he can't do one midweek night a week. Some people do 50/50 which is every other week-end and two consecutive midweek nights each. That works out as a 2-2-5-5 pattern over a fortnight. So for example he'd have every Mon and Tues night, you'd have every Wed and Thurs night and you'd both have a week-end on alternate weeks from Friday night to Monday morning. So one week you'd have two consecutive nights - the following week 5 consecutive nights. Neither of you goes more than 5 nights without seeing your daughter.

Basically though if you applied to court and he said he can't do midweek nights he would probably just get every other week-end and half the school holidays but he wouldn't be happy with that.

Being a parent is about responsibility as well as quality time - you could put it to him that it would be nice to be involved with his daughter's school life when she starts school and collect her and take her to school one night a week.
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#9
Hi, courts generally give you a share of quality time, so every other weekend each, plus half holidays, but only if you ask and are available. I very much doubt courts would give him every weekend leaving you with only one day. They will want the resident parent to have the chance to take holidays/breaks or days out at weekends too. As you say you have to do it so why is not good enough for him? Why should you have to only have that time and little other?

The courts will make contact arrangements based on his availability though, if he isnt available they can not force him to have contact. You being the resident parent, it is upto you to arrange child care when she is in your care however unfair that is. You cant make him have her. Although i see his point that midweek evenings are not so much quality time, that shouldnt stop him having her still. Depends on his working hours though obviously, courts dont like too much disruption. But once she starts school he could pick her up and drop her off there, but again only if his work allows and he is available. If not, he wont get it. I would have my daughter for 1-2 hours on the evening if it meant i spent time with her regardless of if it considered quality time. Being a parent is about doing all the normal/hard stuff as well.

In my eyes although you have your daughter all the time, it is not fair on you or her to not have quality time and personally i would not agree to what he was asking. Would he agree if it was the other way around? No i dont think so. 50/50 quality time is fair, it is his choice if he does not want to have contact on weekdays. Seems hes quite happy being a part time dad and then blaming you for it. I got it the other way around where, i was denied contact unless it suited her and then told i did nothing and that i was a part time dad.

He should not be telling your daughter anything to do with adult conversation, she should be kept out of it, he is using her as a weapon and that is unfair on her. All she should know is that she has 2 parents that love and care for her. He needs to make more of an effort to see her around work if he is that bothered. He is emotionally abusing your daughter.

You can go to mediation and if you agree you can then get it signed off by court. If you decide to go to mediation, its irrelevant if he wants to pay that or not, he has a choice either go to sort everything out or dont and go to court. That is not your problem to be honest. You can get mediation a lot cheaper though so shop around. I paid £99 for the initial MIAM but if my ex decided she wanted to try (which there was never a chance that would happen) it would have cost £175 each per hour. I just got my MIAM letter signed off and applied to court with a C100 form. Court is the last option, nobody wants to go there and the courts dont really want you there. Id be inclined to tell him to apply for child arrangements through court himself if he isnt happy with what you offer him. Problem is this may cause more trouble with him so you need to be aware, if he is angry and abusive about it all and DV has happened in the past then Cafcass will look into it all and do a section 7 report.

One more thing if he is not paying towards her keep then tell him now hes working he needs to, he has a legal responsibility to. If not apply to the CMS to sort it out. Cant believe im actually telling you to do that as i dont agree with the system at all but i also dont agree with absent parents not paying for their children. He basically wants all the good stuff with none of the bad.
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#10
(06-18-2018, 01:33 PM)jodenice Wrote:
(06-18-2018, 11:45 AM)GC1974 Wrote: Sorry but I see the dads side, because I have to put up with this weeknights isn't quality time stuff.

Id like someone to tell me how anytime with your children isn't quality time.

Only think I don't like is making children choose.

But if that were the case, surely a weeknight should be OK for him too, right?  Its not like he works and I don't or that I'm not offering this time.   I'm not saying I don't appreciate the time to see her, but her half knackered, scoffing dinner, having a bath and heading to bed is not the same as being able to take her away for a weekend, seeing friends or family, waking up with her and being able to plan our day.  So we'll have to disagree.  But I take the point.

 So Mark, are you saying that if we go to court, they will likely grant him this anyway, as he says he can't have weeknights? 

I guess mediation is the way forward first then.

ps, sorry, how rude, thank you all for replying.

The normal is Courts deal with Care and Quality Time seperate.

However, where a Non Resident Parent can not have weekend contact due to good reason, for example their employment, then they stand more of a chance on getting some mid week contact, but this might not be overnights.

School holidays are also 50/50 where a non resident parnet has avalialbity, but as this is 6.5 weeks a year, the normal is 1 week at Easter and Christmas, with 2 weeks and another week or weekend in the summer.

Also note that signicicant dates should be shared, or turns each. If the non resident parent has contact, then this  will also happen. Who the child lives with does not come into it.
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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