Emotions are like being on a rollercoaster all the time. Most days DH is very nice on the phone now and again he mentions he has told the solicitors to file for mediation apparently, so i mentioned that i have made some appointments to meet some solicitors too to which he said he is not sure he can go through this and asked me if i am truly sorry for ignoring him for almost 2 months! i said i wish i had not ignored him and put up with his insult of calling me a sponger, saying i should contribute to the household bills and go to work like all the other mothers. Since he lives in a work accomodation to be closer to work place he does not have to pay for any bills at home and top up petrol in the car. In fact he does not have to pay for anything and i should go to work leaving my DC at the breakfast club and let the after school club look after the DC after school. They are 5 and 7! i did not become a mother to leave my parenting job for others to do! BTW, my DH earns £45000 ayear! and i go to work on weekends every friday and saturdays and i pay the phone bills, all the DC's extra lessons and mothers union club membership and take my Dc out on days DH not home for the weekends due to work commitments. He calls me a sponger!
As far as making arrangements for children is concerned their isn't a great deal of law involved, the issues are more common parenting ones.
The terms "custody" and "access" were replaced in the UK at least 15 years ago with "residence" and "contact." "Visitation" is an American term.
There are two kinds of custody - legal custody referring to the authority to make important decisions and physical custody involving the the practical day-to-day care of children. The Children Act 1989 introduced Parental Responsibility which means both parents have equal responsibility and rights to carry out those responsibilities to make important decisions such as the living and contact arrangements, changing a child's name, important medical and educational decisions. When no agreement can be reached it is open to either parent to apply to court for a judicial decision.
When determining living/contact arrangements the focus is the need of the individual child and their parents responsibility to meet those needs. There is nothing wrong per se with sharing residence 50:50, there is no conclusive evidence that it any better or worse for children than any other arrangement. Above all the arrangements need to be practical and there is no point in a parent demanding the children 50% of the time if they work late and/or are away regularly. Children need to be settled, know where their possessions are and where they will be sleeping at night.
However children also need to maintain a sense of security and established bonds with both parents. Children who are insecure about their natural parentage tend to grow up with low self esteem leading to emotional and behavioural problems in later life. The most successful arrangement for children tends to be when separated parents co-operate and establish a degree of autonomy, and allow each other to parent to the best of their ability in "their" time. I think you will find you have to compromise your ideas so that the children spend some overnights, special occasions and holidays alone with your husband and his new family when he acquires one.
Will speak to my solicitors before we go then again last night H said he's not sure that we are doing the right thing here because everything was lovely since the solicitors letter arrived and christmas and new year and childrens birthdays are all the things he might have to miss or spend separately from me. Meaning he will have them for half of those days and i will have them for half of those days. I was going to offer him to stay with us on all these important meaningful days (overnight) with us in our new place and house so that the DC's will not feel they have to share us but my H thought he will not be welcomed again and made up his own assumptions.
I left him to think about it rather than offering my solution to his dilemma.
It feels like just "hiding in the grass" at the moment as i am not sure where i stand? [ sad]
Who advised you to see a mediator? If it was your solicitor, fine. If not I would strongly recommend you get legal advice before you see a mediator. Have a look at the information and links here, it contains info about mediation and contains a link to the Resolution website - see how they describe it.
As long as you have had legal advice, and go in well informed and prepared, that's fine.
I would only add that "unlimited access" sounds generous but you need to think about how that would actually work on a practical level. It's better all round if you can organise a routine with some flexibility. Also, it's now called residence and contact rather than custody and access. In the near future it is to be called "child arrangements".
The first session I went to by myself (well, my friend came with me because I was scared). Your H also needs to have the first one by himself. Then you go together (and you can't take a friend). They tell you at the end of the first one roughly how many sessions they think it will take.
There is a sliding scale for payment. If you are on benefits you get it free. If you are working you have to pay and the full price is about £100 per hour.
I didn't know what to expect. He asked me about my marriage (that took about half the time), then I think we talk about what options were available regarding the house, pension, savings, bank accounts, maintenance, wife maintenance etc. They will help you but think about what you might like to ask.
Hope that helps.
They were really nice too, very re-assuring. When you attend with your H they can arrange for you to leave before/after him. This was a huge relief for me as I thought you would have a go about things I'd said if we were alone together.
We are going to see a mediator soon, what should i ask specifically about? i am determined not to have joint custody with my H but allow him to have unlimitted visitation rights and contacts, how shall i approach this subject.
My STBXH works some weekends and does work late nights on some weekdays and he also need to attend courses and conferences every3-4months in other european countries.
What should i be prepared for?
Please shed some thoughts and your personal experiences and how much would it cost!