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Court for 50/50
Any tips or advice for what Cafcass / court judges look for when requesting 50/50 contact? Both my children are asking to see me and my family more as the current 3 nights per 2 weeks and half holidays is not enough (youngest, 11 is asking to live w me full time ...!)

I am inviting EW in first instance to mediation to discuss but know it is pointless and the kids have already said they aren’t allowed to live w me until they turn 18 so I’m sure it will turn into a long protracted court battle but this time want to be as emotionally prepared as I can be to see this through til the end
I think it depends a lot on the history - ie how long there has been an established pattern. I had to settle for four nights a fortnight and half the holidays, even though it's on a shared care basis. Three nights a fortnight isn't a lot though. 4 or 5 is fairly standard. Five nights a fortnight would be every other week-end from Friday through to Monday am school drop off, and a midweek overnight. Even then you end up with about a 6 day gap one week. For that reason my midweek overnights are alternate Mons and Thurs so I see son every 3 or 4 days. He would prefer consecutive overnights though.

You could try at mediation suggesting 50/50 on a 2-2-5-5 basis - so two midweek nights each and every other week-end each. Eg she has mon tues night each week, you have wed thurs night each week. When it's your week-end you have wed, thurs, fri, sat sun. When it's her week-end she has Fri,Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues. And say you think it would benefit the kids to see both parents regularly. If she's not likely to agree then see if she will meet you partway (ie 5 nights a fortnight) by asking her what extra time she would agree to. If she says none, then you could apply at court.

The difficulty is the ex will see it as "losing" time, so she's not likely to agree. At court you could ask for 50/50 and say you feel it would benefit the children to have 3 night week-ends to and from school and two consecutive nights midweek each week as well. Then at pre hearing negotiations (which can lead to a consent order) you can negotiate down to 5 nights a fortnight if it is on a "lives with both parents" basis or something. If not agreement then it goes before a Judge.

Cafcass recommendations are unknown - every situation is slightly different - but you'll know what they're recommending before a final hearing.
Ive always been told to go for the full amount and dont budge, when you get to the final hearing there will be lots of pressure to come to an agreement. Dont start reducing from 50/50 at the start.
Thanks Charlie, the solicitor suggested a 5-5-2-2 pattern and I spent some time in the small hours this morning trying to figure out how that would look and couldn't get my head round it ... that makes perfect sense!

TBH I was hoping to ask for a week block at a time, use school on Fridays as a collection point and drop off the following Friday morning for EW to do her week as this would ensure the kids had a weekend with me before their week at school rather than me picking up the pieces from her weekends as they already have holidays with me in blocks... it will also make it much easier for me to sort out any work trips outside the UK (as far as SA of UAE so a day travelling each side of any meetings) round the children but I shall ask for her guidance as to what is "liked" by say Cafcass and what is seen as fair too. Maybe I should ask for the block in the first instance

Naive, I've been stupid and always agreed at the first hearing - lost an overnight midweek 2 years ago even though Cafcass advised they would have preferred this to remain bu EW refused. Currently although I do get half of school holidays (rather than the 1 week xmas, easter and 2 weeks summer) I am only seeing the children Fri - Mon alternate weekends and it has come to light both are now suffering with anxiety issues, my eldest especially I blame the change on and my youngest is always crying Monday am when it is time for school saying she hasn't seen me enough.

I'm not sure where I will find the monies yet to see this through but we will!
represent yourself mate, you already have a record of overnight so the onus is on the ex to prove why it shouldn't be 50/50.
Im making my application to vary this week and intend to represent myself. If we're going to be doing this for the next 10 years I might as well get used to representing myself

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