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I need help please (child arrangement)
#1
Hi,
My wife has left me now for about 2 weeks, we have a 3.5 yrs old child and no formal arrangement is in place; however, she controls my visits with our child, and she does not let me have her overnight. 
We both employed at the same company with similar income and we each have our own place very close to each other. She left me after her mum arrived in the UK. 
I want to have 50-50 child arrangement but she does not agree with it. I have contacted several solicitors for advice, the few that answered (free initial advice) all implied that if the case goes to court it is very rare that the court grants 50-50 arrangement (almost impossible without the agreement between the two parents), and it will most probably be 1 main carer (for child's stability) and the other parent gets some contact time during the week and overnight stay every other weekend. This is my worst nightmare, not being able to be with my child for long intervals and the stress on me during the past couple of weeks was terrible. 
I am/was really determined to apply for whatever it takes for a reasonable (40%-50%) custody but I am totally hopeless. My experience with solicitors has not been great, I think they are just after the money, is there a helpline of some sort for advice to dads in this situation? What is the best course of action I must take? Please note discussing with her to reach to an agreement is almost not a choice because of her attitude.
I need help, please help me.
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#2
Hello, anyone out here who can give me some advise please? I have been looking into different pages of the forum but with the condition I am in it is really difficult for me to absorb information in useful way..
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#3
Contact a mediator immediately . If she refuses he will sign a form and u can take ex partner to court
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#4
Not sure what level of info you're after but rather than going through page after page on this forum, go to the main Separated Dads website as it'll be easier to navigate/is more structured and will give you an idea of the process/steps plus further relevant info (if that's actually what you are looking for).

If you need to speak to someone, try calling 0300 0300 363 - it's the Families Need Fathers helpline. You can also check through their website for information too - https://fnf.org.uk - and again, it will give you an idea of the process/steps, answer faq's etc.

If you're worried about solicitors fees, google 'fixed fee family law solicitor' or if you'd rather avoid a solicitor altogether, google 'McKenzie Friend'.

Mediation will be a necessary step at some stage too (perhaps after the above). Whether or not it will work is another matter but look into where your local mediators are.

Hard though it is, try and take your emotions out of it as you need to try and focus on the information that's available and understand it (as much as possible anyway). Make some notes, get a to do list going. There are lots of resources available to help you through this but don't constantly trawl through this or any forum - it'll blow you mind and won't assist. Try and stay focussed on your issues, not those of others. 

Hope that helps. Good luck.
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#5
She will continue to control when you see your kid unless you initiate the court process and get a formal order that needs to be followed. At this stage, I would not get hung up over 50:50 and whether that will be possible, act upon the current situation where your time with your kid is being dictated to you and currently you have no overnight stays.

Look for a mediator and if you ex does attend, that will be your chance to put your proposals across however, if she refuses to attend or plays up at mediation then get a deadlock letter which will need to be included with your C100 application.

Time is key in these circumstances so better to action quickly
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#6
If she won't agree to overnight stays then court is your only option. Before you can apply to court you are expected to have tried mediation - in fact your application won't be accepted unless you have been signed off from mediation as it's a legal requirement to have attended a MIAM (that is the first appointment you go to on your own). So that is the first step. Google mediators in the area, ring round them and take either the earliest appointment (tell them it's urgent) or go with the one you like the sound of most.

Go along to the first mediation appointment on your own (the MIAM). The cost is about £100. You can explain everything to the mediator. She will then invite your ex (probably write to her) to attend the next session with you. What usually happens is either ex's refuse to go (so you get signed off and apply to court) or they do go but it's shambolic and no agreements are reached, or they demand you pay for them if you want them to go (say sorry, no, can't afford it and if they don't go you get signed off again).

There is a slim chance that a good mediator might be able to get a reasonable agreement between you and your ex agree to what you want. But it is not legally binding and your ex can agree to something, even in writing, and then not stick to it. So unless she is prepared to have the agreement put into a consent order, it is not likely to work.

Assuming you are signed off mediation you then complete a C100 form (you can get help on here with the kind of wording that is good and what is to be avoided) and submit it. Your ex then gets a copy of this and is able to respond. You also get a copy sent out which gives a date for a first hearing (usually 4 to 6 weeks after you receive the papers with the hearing date).

What a court will order depends on a number of things. But you should go for 50/50 whether you get it or not - because it gives room to negotiate down to a bit less. There are often negotiations - even in the hour before a hearing - to try and reach agreement for a consent order.

Other things can affect how it goes. Is your ex accusing you of anything like dv? If so and she decides to use that as a reason not to allow time with your child then it can slow the court process up a bit while Cafcass look into any possible criminal records etc, but if it is false and no evidence she shouldn't get anywhere with that.

People who are sucessful with getting 50/50 shared care have often jumped through hoops, gone along with the process, been polite and respectful throughout the process and not said anything negative about the ex at all. Any negative comments about her count against you (it's the way it works as she can get away with saying all sorts about you!).

There are a number of people on here who have 50/50 lives with both parents, ordered by the court and not via consent. I have "lives with both parents" but not 50/50. I see my son every 3 or 4 days and half the school holidays.

Write a good application and be specific about what you want in an order and how you can care for the children within the time you're asking for (eg working flexible hours, having a day off every Friday or whatever).

A number of things can happen along the way if mediation doesn't work (which it is not likely to). The ex may panic when you apply to court and decide to be reasonable. It will cost her money as well. Or she may suddenly get difficult and make allegations. Providing you continue to come across as the normal reasonable one, she won't get far with that but it could mean a case taking 3 months longer before you get a final order. However the first hearing you can ask for an interim order to ensure you're getting regular time until a final hearing.

The most important thing right now is keeping careful records as you may need these as evidence later. So keep a calendar or diary of all the times your child is with you and make notes on it if you have done anything in particular - eg visited Grandma, went to the park or cinema etc.

Keep a copy of every single text message and email you send to the ex or receive from her. These can be printed out and used as evidence. That can work for or against you so be careful what you put in writing. Don't get into any arguments by text or email and keep things fairly brief, formal and polite and only about child arrangements.

Get focused on dealing with this and it helps with the stress of not seeing your kids as much.

Solicitors can vary a lot. Some are very pro Mothers, some are lazy and negative. There are good ones. You can do most of this yourself with help on here. If you can afford a barrister for a final hearing it can help but isn't essential.

(04-26-2019, 09:20 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: If she won't agree to overnight stays then court is your only option.  Before you can apply to court you are expected to have tried mediation - in fact your application won't be accepted unless you have been signed off from mediation as it's a legal requirement to have attended a MIAM (that is the first appointment you go to on your own).   So that is the first step.  Google mediators in the area, ring round them and take either the earliest appointment (tell them it's urgent) or go with the one you like the sound of most.

Go along to the first mediation appointment on your own (the MIAM).  The cost is about £100. You can explain everything to the mediator.  She will then invite your ex (probably write to her) to attend the next session with you.  What usually happens is either ex's refuse to go (so you get signed off and apply to court) or they do go but it's shambolic and no agreements are reached, or they demand you pay for them if you want them to go (say sorry, no, can't afford it and if they don't go you get signed off again).

There is a slim chance that a good mediator might be able to get a reasonable agreement between you and your ex agree to what you want.  But it is not legally binding and your ex can agree to something, even in writing, and then not stick to it.  So unless she is prepared to have the agreement put into a consent order, it is not likely to work.

Assuming you are signed off mediation you then complete a C100 form (you can get help on here with the kind of wording that is good and what is to be avoided) and submit it.  Your ex then gets a copy of this and is able to respond.  You also get a copy sent out which gives a date for a first hearing (usually 4 to 6 weeks after you receive the papers with the hearing date).

What a court will order depends on a number of things.  But you should go for 50/50 whether you get it or not - because it gives room to negotiate down to a bit less.  There are often negotiations - even in the hour before a hearing - to try and reach agreement for a consent order.

Other things can affect how it goes.  Is your ex accusing you of anything like dv?  If so and she decides to use that as a reason not to allow time with your child then it can slow the court process up a bit while Cafcass look into any possible criminal records etc, but if it is false and no evidence she shouldn't get anywhere with that.

People who are sucessful with getting 50/50 shared care have often jumped through hoops, gone along with the process, been polite and respectful throughout the process and not said anything negative about the ex at all.  Any negative comments about her count against you (it's the way it works as she can get away with saying all sorts about you!).

There are a number of people on here who have 50/50 lives with both parents, ordered by the court and not via consent.  I have "lives with both parents" but not 50/50.  I see my son every 3 or 4 days and half the school holidays.

Write a good application and be specific about what you want in an order and how you can care for the children within the time you're asking for (eg working flexible hours, having a day off every Friday or whatever).

A number of things can happen along the way if mediation doesn't work (which it is not likely to).  The ex may panic when you apply to court and decide to be reasonable.  It will cost her money as well.   Or she may suddenly get difficult and make allegations.  Providing you continue to come across as the normal reasonable one, she won't get far with that but it could mean a case taking 3 months longer before you get a final order.  However the first hearing you can ask for an interim order to ensure you're getting regular time until a final hearing.

The most important thing right now is keeping careful records as you may need these as evidence later.  So keep a calendar or diary of all the times your child is with you and make notes on it if you have done anything in particular - eg visited Grandma, went to the park or cinema etc.

Keep a copy of every single text message and email you send to the ex or receive from her.  These can be printed out and used as evidence.  That can work for or against you so be careful what you put in writing.  Don't get into any arguments by text or email and keep things fairly brief, formal and polite and only about child arrangements.

Get focused on dealing with this and it helps with the stress of not seeing your kids as much.

Solicitors can vary a lot.  Some are very pro Mothers, some are lazy and negative.  There are good ones.  You can do most of this yourself with help on here.  If you can afford a barrister for a final hearing it can help but isn't essential.
Also, if you can, try not to fall out with her.  Try and keep on reasonable terms, accept what she is offering but occasionally try and discuss the childrens future with both parents.  Just try not to make her really angry if possible.   If she is out to have things all on her own terms and that isn't a good set up for you then court is probably the only option.
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#7
Many thanks for your replies, thank you Charlie7000 for the advices, thanks analoguehead too, I admit going through stories in the forum after a while have not been particularly helpful.
To be honest I am unsure about what I really should do. I try to structure my thoughts but cannot particularly manifest them in actions. I don't understand why in our case she thinks/believes she can keep the baby and control the time that we have together. I don't want to do something that worsen the situation and I know my wife can click suddenly. She messaged me to tell her what times I want to keep our child and when I return our child to her (before the bed time that is) so that she arranges her time accordingly. I wrote her a very polite and to the point email and asked her to discuss and try to get to a mutual agreement. My own mum is very ill back home and my heart is just torn in between, as I have to be there now but I must deal with this situation as well.
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