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Advice Sought - proposed change to contact
#1
Hi Guys,

Few months from my last post, and I am looking for some further advice / opinion on some changes which have taken place since.
I will try & outline the main points, rather than go through the entire story again:-

Separated from ex 3.5 years ago, amicable in most part through that time for the sake of son who is now 5.
Contact is currently Fri / Sat Overnight alternate, Fri Overnight other weekends with a Tuesday / Thursday Evening between 6pm – 8.30pm every week.

The midweek contact has varied on two periods (Nov 2017 – Jan 2018 & March 2018 – May 2018) where I was having increased access (although not overnight) to facilitate ex taking part in theatre production, rehearsals etc. This generally saw me having son varying evenings, then taking him back to her house, showering him and watching him until 10.30/11.00pm until she got home.

The last theatre production ended 8th May 2018, and low & behold a few weeks later she has established a new relationship (which I have no problem with)
.
The flexibility, co-operation & co-parenting at this point went out the window, and in the early stages there were attempts at intimidation from the new partner, all of which were met with pleasantries in response from me (treat nastiness with niceness!)

Took some time to think about my position, and how I’d essentially had the door slammed shut in my face with regards to co-operating with each other amicably for the sake of our son, and approached her on 3rd July with a 50/50 request, I did stipulate however that it was merely a suggestion and was open to some form of negotiation / compromise, asked her on 9th July if she had received it and it was acknowledged – said she was reviewing it and would let me know soon, asked again on the 20th July as I really wanted something to be agreed prior to him starting school in the august and she said ‘there’s plenty time’ I’ll let you know soon.
About one week later, out of the blue – solicitor’s letter, stating that they noted my letter, had sight of it and requested that I accept the current ‘status quo’ as they felt it would be disruptive to his current routine.

Mediation attempted – never responded

A number of interesting developments since however:-

They have announced their ‘engagement’ mid August
They have moved new partners kids in to ex’s house 3 days later (he has 50/50 of kids) and allegedly their school is around 25-30 miles from the new home. It is a 3 bed property, with 4 kids now, 3 Male (5,7,14) and one female (9) so son has essentially lost his own space.
She requested a letter of authority to take son to Florida 3 weeks prior to leaving, the holiday was booked in Feb this year and never discussed beforehand, I was aware of it after her advising me in March however no knowledge of dates, I tried to use this as a means to encourage mediation once again, this was met with a further threat of solicitors, before advising that she would respond to mediation request, I issued the letter as didn’t want to spoil the holiday, nor come across as being obstructive – needless to say no response to suggestion of mediation!

So the holiday concludes tomorrow after 2 weeks & 4 days, son has missed 3 very important weeks at his first year at school, along with P1 photographs – had parents night last night and school aren’t all that impressed at the time he has lost, and the level of work required to bring him up to speed on return.
All that being said, I had assumed that after this period of time away, and the fact that she maintained very little contact with me & son, I would have the full weekend on his return – unfortunately she advise me that they have planned a ‘family time’ weekend, so I can only have him the one evening! She claims that the kids have all missed each other, and it is important for them to have some time together on his return.
I don’t begrudge my son time with anyone, however I find it incredible that 4 months into a relationship where the kids haven’t known each other all that long, that as his father I have fallen down the priority list somewhat.
I sent her another message to encourage her to think about how we could look at working closer together, to ensure we both have meaningful time with our son that we both deserve, that I am prepared to do whatever required to stem the conflict & continuing issues – the response was that she is not prepared to discuss anything with me, end of.
I am beginning to question the validity of her solicitors letter in response to my request, surely all of this is more of a disruption to his ‘routine’ than what I was proposing, and for it all to happen the week that he started primary school?
So, after all that – I am going to try & see if we can negotiate through the solicitors first of all rather than court, I have an idea of what I would like to go for, but would be interested to see what you guys think in terms of whether achievable or not:-
  • First proposal would be to turn Tue/Thurs contact into overnight, solicitor felt previously that 8.30pm drop-off for son is perhaps a bit late, and further restricts my time. This would essentially move me to 7 days out of 14, and would be my ideal scenario
  • Secondly, would be to turn alternate long weekends from Friday through to Monday drop-off school, with a Wednesday midweek overnight, moving me to 6 days out of 14, again workable and would be happy with that
[*]

Few points:
School is 0.6 miles from my home / 1.9 miles from Mum
I have 3 bed house – son has own room / space
I have flexibility from work – work at home, make up hours etc.
My immediate family live within 3 miles, and have support from my mother if required for Childcare / illness etc.
Ex has no immediate family in the country, and is reliant heavily on friends for support.
Ex has placed him into after school club for the entire week, despite her only working Part-Time, would therefore offer flexibility to us both for collection from School.
 
Would appreciate any views / opinions, and thanks in advance.

Regards, David
 
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#2
First proposal you wouldnt get. Second proposal would actually be 5 out of 14 and that one looks good. You could highlight that you are asking for this arrangement due to hostility and it would be better if you went to school to collect during school term.
That would just leave holiday time to do drop offs direct. I wouldnt bother with solicitor i would arrange mediation and try and get things resolved as soon as possible. if she refuses mediation straight to court ..hopefully she will give you contact back as shes being unreasonable
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#3
Cheers Warwickshire for response

She will not agree to mediation under any circumstances, i also think the prospect of court is one that she will try to avoid due to the hassle so it may be the best option after all, she continually uses the threat of her solicitor as a way to try & get me to 'back off' and im not having it every time i try to be reasonable and have an adult discussion about things. She is also insistent in our communication being WhatsApp only which i dont think is sustainable or helpful in the longer term.
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#4
Stop messing about - go to court - this is only going to continue onwards or your going to have this until your son is of legal age.

1) Issue an invite to Mediation
2) She doesnt show (they rarely do) - get the Mediator to sign off a C100
3) Lodge c100 with the court citing the access you currently have and the issues that you currently experience
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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#5
Thanks for your advice, again appreciated.
Im in Scotland so not entirely sure how the system works in comparison to England & Wales, but ive been to mediation and have an e-mail advising that there was no response, so they could not proceed any further. I dont know if this is evidence enough to lodge a court application. Im not sure if we use the C100, so will contact sheriff clerk to clarify.
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#6
Clarify that - I dont know if you guys do use the C100 - your Sheriff Clerk shold be able to assist (though Growing up there I always expected the Sheriff to have a cowboy hat and one of them star badges - needless to say I was disappointed)
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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#7
Lol, not so sure the accent would suit the attire!

Transpires that the process is different and that the sheriff clerk cannot advise directly although have pointed me in the right direction.

In Scotland we need to submit a G1 which is essentially a 'writ', known as an ordinary cause procedure.

Some study required i think!
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#8
As others have said, get the court order otherwise you'll be dancing to her tune for ever more.

Going to court and representing yourself will be cheaper than fighting a battle between your respective solicitors, letter by letter.
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