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What can I do
#1
My children ( 3 year old twins) don't want to go back to their mum after my time. Handover are getting really difficult like today my little girl crying inconsolably saying 'more daddy'...'go home daddy now'. Getting them ready at home to wear clothes to putting them in the car takes literally one hour and I make all excuses why we are leaving daddy's home. Telling them we have to go and see mummy seems the horrible thing I tell them as they immediately start to get cranky and they go 'no mummy' 

I love my children no doubt and If I had my way I would have them all the time, but I know they need their mum too, and of course I work full time. Their mum has seen this few times how difficult the handovers been and getting somewhat uncomfortable that children don't want to come back ( as a parent I would too) . They are too small to understand the whole situation but toddler enough to understand perhaps where they having most fun and possibly getting most love. I used to take some handy toys as a bribe for a smooth handover, but as they grow that isn't working either. 

I don't know what I'm asking for but I would hear anyone got any advice what I can say to the children, I don't want them to be affected like this as my heart breaks everytime they cry or whinge. I have children 2 nights a week.

Thanks
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#2
It sounds like 2 nights a week isn’t enough. Is it two single nights or two consecutive nights? Would your ex agree to more time do you think? When my son was 3 or 4 he was very vocal about not wanting to be away for more than 3 or 4 nights. I’d he wanted to see me every 3 or 4 days. As a result I managed to negotiate with ex that the midweek night was alternate Mondays and Thursdays. So although he was only here 2 nights a week (4 nights a fortnight) he was here every 3 or 4 days. How that works is - week end here, then Thursday night here, then weekend with ex then Monday night here then back here in the Friday for the week end again.

The other thing he was very vocal about was he didn’t want just one single night he wanted at least two nights each time. I didn’t manage to get that changed and over time he got used to the one night as he got a bit older.

That was before I ended up having to go to court! Ex wouldn’t negotiate anything now but I still have the same schedule.

So if yours is eow and one midweek night then you could try asking ask to just change which midweek nights it is. Eg to my schedule. That isn’t asking for any more time, It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. When he goes back after the week end he knows he’s back again on the Thursday. When he goes to school next morning he knows he’s back on the Monday after the week end.

Ideally it would be 50/50 though. Five nights in each home followed by two nights in each home.
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#3
(10-02-2020, 06:46 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: It sounds like 2 nights a week isn’t enough.  Is it two single nights or two consecutive nights?  Would your ex agree to more time do you think?  When my son was 3 or 4 he was very vocal about not wanting to be away for more than 3 or 4 nights.  I’d he wanted to see me every 3 or 4 days.  As a result I managed to negotiate with ex that the midweek night was alternate Mondays and Thursdays.  So although he was only here 2 nights a week (4 nights a fortnight) he was here every 3 or 4 days.  How that works is - week end here, then Thursday night here, then weekend with ex then Monday night here then back here in the Friday for the week end again.
This is good Charlie, this is exactly my situation and a possible solution of seeing children every 3-4 days than having to wait for whole week. I don't know why I didn't think about alternate Monday and Thursday earlier. While this approach would (subject to agreement from Ex) mitigate the long waiting, I believe children would still like to spend more time with me, so I still need to negotiate going from 2 nights to 3 nights a week. I take it this would be an application for 'vary' and I probably still have to go thru mediation is that right ? I only got thee final arrangements in january but know how slow the courts are operating I might as well start the proceedings now to be able to get hearings start of the next year.
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#4
Yes you’d need to have mediation first. Ideally they want parents, after the first order, to sort out any changes between them but of course it’s not always that simple. Ok the other hand there is a kind of leverage in that it is hassle and money for her to go to court (possibly) but can’t see her agreeing to an extra night every week. That would virtually be 50/50.

Do have then eow and a midweek night at the moment? If you had Sunday nights at the end of the weekend that makes 5 nights a fortnight. If she would agree to that plus the alternate mon thurs, that could be better than going back to court so soon. If not then absolutely go for 6 nights a fortnight. I’d suggest that being

Fri from school to Monday drop off at school
Then Thursday overnight from and to school
Then Monday from school through to wed drop off at school.

So 3 nights eow. One midweek night one week and two midweek nights the following week.

What you could do is ask her to agree to 50/50 at mediation (if she‘ll go). And negotiate down to 6 nights a fortnight. With 5 nights a fortnight alternate mon and Thursday as a bottom line.

Are you on reasonable terms or not? Because I think the courts also like to see an attempt at co parenting in the kids interests rather than just the time.
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#5
All great points Charlie thanks for that. Yes I have every wednesday noon - Thursday morning, and alternate Friday 5 PM-Sunday 5 Pm. Although children go to nursery, the mother has not divulged any details of their nursery schedule as she likes to feel that she is in power ! They will be in school in Sep 2021. But I can still with the help of court order can drop off the children at nursery instead of school.

We ended very bitterly and 2 years in court, so while there is still lot of hangover of that (mainly from me !) we still manage to write things in the handover book about the children, and also exchange few emails about children's hospital appointment and school application etc. It has been a bit of hot and cold, but we still don't talk to each other at the handover..I only wonder what the 3 year old can make out of that. So in summary you are right she won't accept extra night :-)

I do think what you have proposed above is a sound plan starting from 50-50 and leave a bit of wiggle room but to have a bottom line. I will start the process with a simple cordial email to the mother and see what she says Smile

Thank you for very helpful pointers as always.
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#6
Good luck. Keep us posted. My only tip
there would be to be careful how you word it re the kids. Whenever I have told ex my son has said xyz or wants xyz he gets it in the neck for saying it and she will be getting them to say no they don’t want xyz.

Phrasing it as - you feel the kids find the changeovers harder with short visits and would benefit from two consecutive nights midweek for more stability in each home or something might help and to stay over Sunday night at the week end and you hope she agrees.
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#7
So i sent a polite email asking the mother her position to my proposal of going from 4 nights a fortnight to 50-50 and shared holidays. After a week of no reply and another polite follow up, I got a reply saying that she is not ready for any change of arrangements, the reasons given are we have not spent enough time in the current arrangements ! But saying she is happy to revisit in 2022 when children will be in school.

Interesting to note from her response, she is not providing any children centric reasons why she is not willing to alter the arrangements, that is surely because she has sussed out from the handovers and otherwise children love to spend more time with their daddy so she has no grounds to stand on as for children are concerned.

question is

1) where do I go from here in terms of the process (mediation, court application etc)
2) What is the max time I can realistically ask from court given their age 3 years 4 months (twins)
3) Can I still aim for shared holidays based on school term holidays although children aren't in school just yet ?

thank you.
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#8
1). You could try writing back and saying - in that case could we change the midweek overnight to alternate Mondays and Thursdays so the children don’t have such a long absence from you. If she says no to that then yes start mediation and invite her.
2) Maximum time - I would ask for 50/50 on a 2-2-5-5 basis - you may not get it but you might get 6 nights a fortnight.
3). Holidays - you can ask for a progressing order. Eg an order that says - six weeks holidays with you a year until they start school
and then half of all school holidays.
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#9
Thanks Charlie, sounds like a good plan there.
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