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How Stephen Won His Access Battle: A Case Study

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 23 Jun 2015 | comments*Discuss
Access Divorce Children Solicitor Court

Stephen Green thought he’d always been a good husband and father. He and his wife had two children, a boy called Sean, who was 11, and Lisa, who was a year younger. When his marriage to Andrea broke down, all he wanted was to be able to see them regularly.

“I love my kids,” Stephen said. “If it had been up to me, my ex and I would have stayed together. Things weren’t that bad. But she’d become more and more unhappy. We went to see a counsellor for a little while, and that helped, but soon she was saying she needed a divorce. Finally I agreed.”

Stephen wanted to be fair to his partner. So the kids could have continuity, he let Andrea keep the house. Between the two of them, they agreed that the children could spend every other weekend with him, and he rented a flat in Apsley, close to the family home in Hemel Hempstead.

Stephen assumed everything would go smoothly in the divorce, and that they’d be able to arrange everything without a court battle. Good relations between the two of them would make the divorce much easier for the kids.

How it all Changed

“Suddenly, Andrea was different. I still don’t really know why. She started laying down these conditions. I had to pick the kids up at a certain time and they had to be back by five on Sunday – on the dot. If I was even five minutes late, she’d throw a fit and say I was abusing my access, then threatening not to let me see them next time. She wasn’t the same person I’d known at all.”

He realised it was time to have a good solicitor to make sure his access rights were confirmed, even though he didn’t really have the money after paying rent and Child Support.

Meanwhile, Andrea was threatening to move away – she claimed she’d been offered a job in Newcastle. That meant he’d hardly ever see his children, and Stephen was beginning to become frantic.

His solicitor suggested They Use Mediation to reach an agreement. Stephen wanted to see the children more than every other weekend – he really wanted to have them every weekend and even one night or more during the week as he lived close enough to take them to school.

But Andrea wouldn’t budge. Every other weekend was all she’d allow, so the mediation ultimately came to nothing. There was no alternative, they were going to end up in Family Court. Stephen’s solicitor explained that disputes about access meant there’d be a report from Cafcass, and that he – along with Andrea, the children, and others – would be interviewed.

“He told me just how important the report was, and that made me really nervous. This was my future, me seeing my kids, and it was all down to what a social worker thought.”

The interview was long, and he didn’t feel good about it afterwards. “I thought I’d said all the wrong things, how I was worried about her, how she’d become strange, and that I wanted to see my kids a lot,” Stephen explained.

In Court

When the day of the case arrived, Stephen was on tenterhooks. His solicitor had read the report carefully and said there was nothing to worry about – the recommendation was for regular access, especially because the children wanted that, too.

In the end, he was right. Stephen was granted access every weekend, with one other night during the week.

“Andrea was furious at first, but slowly she got over it. This was over a year ago and things have settled down a lot. I still don’t know what happened to her, but things are calm now, no little niggling. The most important thing is that the kids are happy with the way things have worked out.”

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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@woody - please see our partner article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here. He should go through the process laid out in the article and take it through the courts, if she has refused mediation. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jun-15 @ 12:34 PM
I am a Grandmother. I have no contact with my grandson due to his mothers total refusal . I have never done anything but help his mother out financially, emotionally , babysitting, cleaning the list could go on. My son and his ex split up when the child was about 18 months old. She immediately put strict restrictions on contact for the father. He has never physically hurt either the mother or his son. He has was hit and miss with support payments initially but recently has been on board with this. When his son was 2ys old the mother just stopped any contact for either myself or my son. I have tried to call and write stating the positive relationships my son and myself have to offer but she will not even go to mediation or relate(this was previously suggested). Do we have "any" rights
woody - 23-Jun-15 @ 11:53 AM
Is there evry possibilty dat d court will definetly grant access to one patner seeing her children?
makas - 14-May-14 @ 2:52 PM
I hope my story's ending is a happy one like this one. So many parallels so far, ex said she'd never stop me seeing my children, then she did, then she started doing everything she could to block my access. This last weekend my daughter's told me "Mummy's moving away and you're not to know where to".Finger crossed, we're back in court this week.
Fishsta - 24-Jun-13 @ 11:27 AM
This story is virtually the exact same scenario I am going through now, the only differences are that my ex said she would never stop me seeing my little girl and hated women who used children to get at their ex plus my daughter was only 3 months old when she left and as my ex had a cesarean. I looked after my baby virtually single handed for the first 6 weeks and had built up a very strong bond over the next 9 months until my ex decided I could only see my daughter one night a week, from 4pm ( knowing I didnt finish work until 5pm ) until 4pm the next day!!to me it all appears to be a control thing, I could be wrong but it would seem dads are seen as less important parents in society and this shows in the ways your children grow up especially when they are with you and say " im going home now, bye dad, love you ", the I love you part is wonderful but the im going home part is not so wonderful to hear!Anyway I've rambled a little but I would just like to say a big congratulations on your 'victory' for want of a much better word.be the dad you are allowed to be!!!!
DRB - 3-Apr-13 @ 9:28 PM
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