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Back here again for Final hearing
Thanks Charlie, I have been following your threads for long with regards to constructing the care/holiday plan. Lot of the items that I have put in there is borrowed from your suggestion Smile

i did have a quick question though, how do you verbiage special days falling in on regular contact period...I knew you had addressed this in another post, was trying to dig that up.

Astroman - you are right that CAFCASS would invariably lean on 'spends time with' for father. I believe this is their natural response as they did in my case too. When questioned she did say that I can bring that up to the judge and get it changed IF i wanted. So that makes me think that they tend to leave something for dad to fight for ! I HAVE asked for shared care and I know I'm not backing away from that an inch and willing to take it to the final minute of the final hearing.
The courts and Cafcass steer towards a spends time with order for the Father due to how the benefits system works (incorrectly of course); how they see it is that the next conflict that happens would be over who is due the benefits for the children.

SeanS - the fact that the Cafcass officer has suggested to you that she is open to discussing a shared lives with order indicates that she can be persuaded. It very much depends on the bench and legal advisor on the day as well as the argument you put across. I take your point regarding the default position for Cafcass is to recommend the children live with the Mother - I have an order for 12 nights a month and half the holidays and yet, despite how hard I tried to suggest it is a shared lives with order, the courts went with the Cafcass recommendation.

Special days - For Father's day, if it falls on the ex's day then I would suggest that the children spend the day with you from say, 10am to 5pm. For birthdays, I would suggest that they spend at least 3 hours in the care of the parent who is not due to have them on their birthday. (the special day arrangements quoted are what Cafcass recommended in my S7 report, obviously they are only recommendations at this stage until agreed)
For special days something like:

"Special days will be as follows: Father's Day, Mother's Day, Father's birthday, Mother's birthday and child's birthday.

For Special days there will be an adjustment of one full day from 5pm the day before until 9am the following day if the child is scheduled to be with the other parent at that time.

Child's birthday will be spent with Father in 2020 and even years, and with Mother in 2021 and odd years."

The bit you were asking about is "if the child is scheduled to be with the other parent at that time". So for example if your birthday falls on a Sunday and child is with you that week-end anyway then the special days clause doesn't apply - they've got the whole week-end with you. But if it's ex's week-end then child comes to you 5pm on the Saturday until 9am on the Monday morning. So they have a full day from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night.

There has to be some reasonable flexibility/negotiation when it falls midweek etc. eg if you normally pick up from school then it seems silly for child to go to ex's for a couple of hours and you pick up at 5pm instead - but my ex follows that to the letter - except when it's her year and then she wants flexibility!

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