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Child Arrangement Order Advice, please
My wife filed a petition for divorce (unreasonable behaviour). I've sent back the acknowledgement of service.

In the meanwhile, a few days ago, she took the children and moved into a rented place in the next street. The children are both over 12 (and are torn about who they stay with but would choose her over me as she has been full time mum and their primary carer for all their lives)

Can she unilaterally decide to take 100% custody (or "residence")?

What can I do about it? Can I put in an application for a Child Arrangement Order? What are my chances and how best do I go about this? Can I get 50% residence till the divorce is sorted (which could be a long while... but that's a different story)?

Its highly likely mum will get residence and an order will be drawn up lives with mum spends time with father. something along the lines of every other weekend and a day during week plus half of holidays. However where both are over 12 i would of thought without either parent influencing them they would get a say in what happens. Also as they are over 12 it should be easier to sort access arrangements you would like to think . There isnt really any reason to have much contact with ex partner due to their ages etc.

With them being over 12 wouldnt you be able to arrange access without going to court , you could speak to ex or children first then mediation if all fails.
family courts very expensive
(11-17-2018, 10:23 PM)warwickshire1 Wrote: ... something along the lines of every other weekend and a day during week plus half of holidays...

I would settle for that but she is saying she left it up to the kids and they've chosen to stay exclusively with her :Sad

There is no DV, drugs, alcohol, social services involvement or any such complication. I've been a dedicated dad, and primary carer for a few years, and had a fantastic relationship with the kids till the wife demanded a divorce.

If she won't give me even a day a week with them, on average, will I be able to get that if I take it to court and would the court override what she says about them wanting to stay exclusively with her?

I've suggested mediation but she is a very unreasonable woman and has point blank refused - apparently because her solicitor told her that mediation wouldn't help given my behaviour (!) and her fears.  (There is no behaviour issue - the worst that her unreasonable behaviour petition claims is that I sometimes criticise her! Tini Owens had tons more stuff and her petition got rejected!)
I think what you will find is that your ex partner is not telling the truth. Have your own children said they want to stay with her and not see you. i would guess she is speaking on their behalf. a solicitor hasnt advised her not to do mediation, that is her opinion that mediation wouldnt work because of your behaviour that she personally has a problem with.

You cant reason with or trust unreasonable ex partners. I would go and speak to your children on your own. dont ask them about living with you but spending time with you. If they choose that they wish to live with you i am sure they will tell you . Generally children stay with their mum but you should be definitely getting regular contact at the very least . sooner you speak to your kids the better before ex partner starts brainwashing them and being spiteful
You've stated a slightly contradictory position in your posts - firstly you said the mother has always been primary caregiver, but in your second post that you have been primary caregiver for a few years.

I would imagine that the children's opinions will be most important here considering their ages, so you need to find out what they actually want to do.
yetanotherone, my apologies, I see the contradiction, it was my wrong choice of words. She has been full time mum all their lives except for a period when I took over as the primary carer.

warwickshire1, I have spoken with the children and they are choosing to stay with her but say they will visit me and spend time with me. However, they do lead busy lives with lots of clubs and activities and friends. I am concerned that without a formal arrangement they'll gradually end up seeing me less and less and forget about me altogether. With respect the mediation, she says she has a letter from her solicitor advising her against going for mediation (and this solicitor is a member of Resolve!)

So I'm back to my original questions and I'll reword slightly:

If she won't give me even a day a week with them, on average, will I be able to get that if I take it to court and would the court override what she says - and what the brainwashed kids say - about wanting to stay exclusively with her?
Because of their ages I would just speak to your children and arrange access and that you are happy with them to remain with mum. You are right though they are of age now where some but not all children starting doing their own thing, clubs , activities ..seeing friends etc. It could end up costing you a lot of money. Maybe when their mum realises that all you want to do is spend time with them she might co-parent and encourage contact and make arrangements with you or allow childen to do so.

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