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Final Hearing opinions and advice!
#1
Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get other people's either experience or opinions on this matter.
I am due to attend court for my final hearing on Friday the 19th July to settle the Child Arrangements order, and my Ex-Wife is still trying to block any fair access to my children.

Basically to put things into a couple of summaries to get everyone up to speed with the case:
• Children taken by Mother when she moved to Stoke on Trent in February 2018.
• Contact was stopped by Ex-Wife on false accusations.
• False accusations disproved and contact reinstated in a contact centre.
• January saw contact progress to the community. Family allowed to be reintroduced.
• April, court ordered overnight weekends back in Portsmouth and for my partner to be introduced to children.

In the last hearing in April Cafcass agreed to supporting a fair split of the holidays, exactly half. They also supported regular overnights in accordance to my work rota.

Now my work rota is that I work 6 shifts on (3 days, 3 nights) and then 3 days off. I originally pressed the court to allow me to have the children on every alternate set of my shift pattern that I was rostered off to have the children overnight in Portsmouth, which they did order as my children are only in nursery, and is not compulsory education.
However, my Ex-Wife pleaded for me to change my stance as she would lose public funding and my children's places in nursery. I changed my stance and worked to find a pattern that would allow the children to stay in nursery for their educational needs.
So now I see the children 3 weekends in a 9 week cycle. Specifically weekends 4, 5 and 9 in that pattern before it repeats again. I also had to have my employer sacrifice two of my working shifts to accommodate this pattern otherwise I would only see my children once every 9 weeks.

Now that everyone is up to speed with the current standing on everything my Ex-Wife is still presenting the following problems.
She is refusing to support me having a fair split of the school holiday periods with the children, something Cafcass supports me having based on the fact that she believes and is adamant that I should be the sole carer of my children.
I only have 20 days holiday a year and that is nowhere near enough to allow me to book time off, in order to have them for every holiday as she demands. I have proposed that the children should be allowed to be cared for by my family and partner also during some of these periods, as they are able and willing to take annual leave to do so in order to help while I work so I can provide.
My children have strong relationships with my partner and my family and my ex wife is trying to state that they should not be allowed to see the children unless they are in my care. Hilariously enough however, my partner and mother are caring for the children alone while we attend court on the 19th. No different to as they would during half the holidays.

So surely if Cafcass have recommended this then she should be supportive especially as I have been flexible enough to arrange my rota to allow my children access to their nurseries before primary education! It seems that I am the only one who is being child focused between the two of us and I am trying to be an advocate for my children by encouraging that they should have bonds and time with all of their family, not just myself.

Bearing in mind that there is 220 miles between us and a round trip of 8 hours driving, surely it should be endorsed that the children do have the fair split of the holidays, despite what my ex wife wants. Otherwise I am only seeing the children for a total of 16 weekends a year with up to a month between some visits. So surely half the holidays are required to maintain good relationships?

What is everyone else's opinions?

TL;DR

• Ex Wife is being obstructive.
• Cafcass recommends half holidays and overnights on weekends along with splits of birthdays and Christmas.
• Ex wife wants me to be sole carer
• Ex wife doesn't want my family or partner to be allowed to care for children while I work.
• Ex wife is denying half holidays based on her own opinion and wants.
• I have a work rota of 3 days 3 nights 3 off and see the children 3 weekends in a 9 week cycle without half the holidays.
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#2
I dont believe she will lose funding for her children whatever arrangement you have so that could be not factual.
You should get what cafcass recommend also . It does appear your ex is ostructive. Keep doing what u are doing calm and child focused and you will be fine. It is also not up to her who u have help look after children either
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#3
Thank you Warwickshire. As always your input is highly valued.
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#4
Are you preparing your statement and wondering what to put in it?
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#5
Hi Charlie,I have written my Position Statement and made it extremely child focused. I can send you a copy directly if you would like to see what was written?
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#6
It's ok, I was just wondering if you were seeking feedback on what to put in statement? :-) I'm not sure I have time this week either! My view of all the above is - it's none of her business who the children are with when they're with you and I would avoid that becoming an issue and sidetracking the arguments.

Cafcass recommended half the school holidays and you ask for that - no mention of how many holidays a year you have or who else will be involved with the children. If she brings it up in her statement then you dismiss it as not relevant to the children spending half the holidays with you (you aren't at work 24/7!). When they are in your care they are free to interact with you whenever they want (when with your partner and family etc) by phone/facetime etc, which they are not free to do when they're in her care.

Where you are and what you do is not relevant to an order that the children spend half the school holidays with you, in your home, when you have PR and can decide who is trustworthy for them to be with.

On a child focused level you could describe the childrens positive and happy relationships with their extended family on your side, their grandparents and other family members and you feel it is good for them to enjoy being involved with extended family with both parents.

I am not sure I would actually say that she is being obstructive, but describe things she wishes as not in the interests of the children but more her own wishes. Let the court draw the conclusion/use the word obstructive. So describing behaviour and not directly criticizing her is better - backed up with evidence. eg ExW is not supportive of the children spending regular time with me, and I believe this is due to her disapproval of them enjoying good relationships with my extended family.
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