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Advice needed please!
#1
I'm hoping to get some advice as my battle so far has cost me 20,000 and I'm now without legal advice.

My ex and I got a court order last year from magistrates. The original s7 recommended 5 nights a fortnight and 50% holidays. However, at the contested hearing, the cafcass officer changed her mind and recommended 4 nights a fortnight, 50% of 6 week hols and no extra time in other holidays.

My barrister didn't contest this and the Magistrates agreed with the cafcass officer's new recommendations. After the Magistrates left, we realised there was an error with the 6 week holidays arrangements and revised it there and then between ourselves so that the 6 weeks had a 3/4 and 4/3 pattern. Since then, my ex has booked 3 holidays that have meant I've lost time.

I complained to cafcass who admitted fault, to a certain extent, but ultimately said it was up to the Magistrates not them.

I then did a C100 to try and change the arrangements. We went in July and we have another hearing in November to conclude.

I am asking for every other weekend, currently have Fri - Sun 3pm every other week.

Every Tuesday, which is what I have now.

I'm also asking for an extra night per 14 days when it's not my weekend so my kids don't go 7 days without contact.

I also want 50% of all school holidays as I work in education so no alternative childcare arrangements need to be made {they currently spend time with 3rd parties}

In the 6 weeks, I'm thinking a pattern of 3/4 and 4/3 for the first fortnight, then 7 with me and 7 with her for the second, then back to 4/3 and 3/4 for the last fortnight, so we both have chance to take them away.

She disagrees saying it's too much time away from their sibling, even though she technically has a 50/50 agreement with her ex and my kids have said multiple times that their sibling often isn't there when they are.

I have been told to write a position statement that my ex will respond to but I want the original justice's reasons for their decision to see if they admit basing the agreement on cafcass recommendations so I can contest it based on my complaint and cafcass's response.

I have been waiting 6 weeks to get the justice's reasons and have not had them despite the legal advisor telling me she would send them out. I've contacted court but had no response. My position statement is due in 2 weeks and I don't want to send a statement without having all of the information.

What do you think my chances are? Any advice for the position statement? Should I submit my statement without the justice's reasons? Am I allowed to use evidence to support my position statement as it is not technically a position statement?

Thanks in advance.
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#2
If you have not received a summary of there decision then the correct procedure has not been followed.

The information in the below link will be useful as an initial check:

https://www.childreninlaw.co.uk/project/...reasons-2/

Got to rush off for now but I'll be back later to finish off this post....
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#3
sorry this is not a response to the post...but my own question looking at your post...

what does this mean ? ----- "6 weeks had a 3/4 and 4/3 pattern"
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#4
Basically one person has 3 days other has 4 days.
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#5
thanks Astroman..understand now...

now going back to the original post -

"In the 6 weeks, I'm thinking a pattern of 3/4 and 4/3 for the first fortnight, then 7 with me and 7 with her for the second, then back to 4/3 and 3/4 for the last fortnight, so we both have chance to take them away".

Whilst the frequent changes might sound like advantageous to dad...the only issue I would have with that is, neither of the parent will be able to take children for holidays for more than 7 days at once, which sometimes narrows your holiday ideas as well as holiday offers on the market...unless one is doing their own thing.

I have the below in my proposal for holidays

A. There be 50-50 Share of nursery/school/half term holidays between parents
i. 1 week – Easter break (week 2 of Easter break with Father)
ii. 3 week – Summer Holiday (week 3,4, 6 of summer holidays with Father)
iii. 1 week - Christmas / New Year (week 2 of Christmas holiday with Father)
iv. Definition of holiday week will be ‘Sunday 5 PM – Sunday 5 PM week after’

Also I can't understand why dad can't share other school holidays such as easter break and xmas holidays. I think you should fight for that as I believe this is standard stuff. Charlie and other knows this better.
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#6
Sean - Regarding point (iv) above, I would suggest the following in terms of holidays:

1 - For avoidance of doubt, school holiday schedule starts from the last day of term. So for example, in terms of say a February half term. It would be 10 nights, Friday pm when school finishes to a week on Monday am when school starts. This would be split 5 nights each and it would keep your weekend schedule aligned to what it currently is. Usually, the handover can take place on Wed pm.

2 - Get the holidays defined (specific dates children stay with you, handover points/times) in the court order that you eventually get; otherwise like many of us here, on-going disputes may mean it ends up back in court as the ex will mess around to what suits her.

Regarding half the school holidays, this is considered as quality time with the children and is usually automatically awarded along with every other weekend if the father says that he can do it. I would push for holidays to be shared equally.
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#7
Cannot understand why a Cafcass officer was at a final hearing when you had already had a section 7 and a recommendation of time from Cafcass. Assume the other side had a legal team who called her? This is a Mum strategy to have Dad only have 2 or 3 weeks holiday a year and minimise midweek nights. Partly so they can categorically be the "parent with care" and partly to get more child maintenance (sometimes). Is Child Maintenance an issue with her? What I did, many years ago, was agree a level of child maintenance that was over my assessed rate and so it made no difference how many nights a week I had - she was then quite amenable to me having son about half the time! But that all went pear shaped some years later! I now have a court order.

I would suggest asking for every other week-end from school on Friday to return to school Monday morning, plus alternate monday and thursday nights. So the thursday night is after your week-end, then it is her week-end, then your monday night, then Friday back with you for the week-end. It is 5 nights a fortnight and means you only ever go 3 or 4 days in between seeing them. The standard is to have the same midweek night each week. I have alternate Mons and Thurs - although that was originally by agreement. It's worth asking.

Or if you prefer to keep the week-ends as they are you could keep your tuesday nights but also have a wednesday night one week. So you'd have.

Week 1 Tues from school to Wed return to school and Friday from School to Sunday 6pm (3pm is too early).
Week 2 Tues from school to Thurs return to school

For holidays, argue for defined holidays on the basis that ex booked holidays so children didn't have the holiday time with you (with details). Summer holidays are 6 weeks and a few days either end. So if the defined weeks start on the Monday, one of you gets the 2 or 3 days at the start and the other one gets the 2 or 3 days at the end. Christmas holidays are usually 8 days/nights each, Easter 9 days/nights each. Yor regular week-end schedule dictates which half of the half term you would have (if worded as below). Where Easter Bank holiday week-end falls determines which half of the Easter holidays you have if worded as below. The point in saying "first or second half" is to ensure the days are consecutive. There are various options for Christmas but the one below works if you live nearby. You get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on alternate years and a good stretch at the end of the holidays. And the years you don't have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day you get Boxing Day and a good few days together.

By having summer holiday weeks run monday to monday, then you get chance for a 10 day holiday in the middle of a 2 week period or are able to have a saturday to saturday week during the 2 week period with a few days either side at home for normality. Also means that there isn't a full 7th week at the end, which some years there would be otherwise, depending on term dates.

You want special days in there. So if the child is scheduled to be with the other parent on the week-end of Father's day each other, her week-end would be cut short and they would come to you 5pm on the Saturday through to 9am on the Monday (even if you normally take them back Sunday night). The premise for that is so they have the full day, waking up in the home of the parent and going to bed that same night in the home of that parent. So they override the regular schedule and make sure the children get to spend appropriate parental special days with both parents.

So at the end of your position statement you'd have "I therefore respectfully request the court to make an order as follows".

The Children live with their Mother.
The Children spend time with their Father:

Week 1 Tues from school to Wed return to school and Friday from School to Sunday 6pm.
Week 2 Tues from school to Thurs return to school

And half the school holidays as follows:

Half of each half term holiday, with consecutive days, keeping to usual week-end schedule and with changoever 12 midday on the Wednesday.

The first or second half of the Easter holidays, with Easter bank holiday week-end on alternate years.

The first week-end of the summer holidays with Father from school until 9am Monday, then weeks 3, 4 and 6 with Father. All holiday weeks to run 9am Monday to 9am Monday. Remaining days at the end of the holidays with Mother.

Christmas holidays:
2019 and odd years: 1pm 24th December to 11am 26th December and the last six days of the Christmas holidays. Remaining Christmas holiday days with Mother.
2020 and odd years: 1pm 24th December to 11am 26th December and the last six days of the Christmas holidays with Mother. Remaining Christmas holiday days with Father.

All holidays to commence at the time school ends on the last day of term and to finish at the time school recommences on the first day of term.

Special Days:

Special Days will be Mother's Day, Father's Day, Childrens birthdays, Mother's birthday, Father's birthday.
Childrens birthdays will be spent with Mother in 2019 and odd years and with Father in 2020 and even years.
Special Days will be from 5pm the night before through to 9am the day after

Mother will hold Childrens passports but will release them to Father 21 days before any overseas holiday, or upon request for any other purpose. Such request not being unreasonable and with return of the passports to Mother.

Such further and other times as agreed between the parties and writing".

The last bit means you can change anything you want between you, in writing - eg agree to change a holiday week. But if it's not agreed by both you don't have to change. It is expected that both will be flexible within reason.

What you could do is - at the end of the position statement, put "I therefore respectfully request the court make an order as per the attached draft order". And set out the above on a separate sheet headed "Draft order" and attach it to the back. Then the wording is all there if approved by the court and no arguments as to wording. It could be worth paying a solicitor a one off fee to actually draw it up as a draft order with the correct numbering/headings etc.

That is heartbreaking that you have spent £20,000 and got shafted at final hearing. My tips for this next one are - especially in your position statement. Make a very strong focus on the best interests of the children and don't use langage like "my time". Say things like - so my son can enjoy regular time in his home with me and see his friends and family without long gaps.
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#8
I'm so grateful to you all fir sharing your advice, I'm overwelhelmed. I feel much more confident now, hopefully this final hearing will be my final one.
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#9
Thanks for the advice, what action should I take? I'm starting to suspect they've lost it.
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