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access arrangements

(17 Posts)
Jumpingovaries1 Wed 01-May-13 19:37:04

Hi I will try to cut a long story short. I split my my dd'd dad last year due to him having an affair. Dd is now nearly 5 since we split up her dad has not been able to stick to any arrangements we have came to. I have tried very hard to encourage him to be a big part of her life but weeks can go by without so much as a phone call came to a peak over xmas he appeared for 30 mins on xmas morning then no contact for 3 weeks. This really upset me as I really feel that my dd deserves regular contact with her dad. So we had a sit down and he agreed he would try to have regular access but could only commit to 4 hours each Sunday.

He has almost managed to keep this up but has cancelled or cut short their time several times since January.

Now that I have spoke to him about introducing very gradually my partner of 6 months to my dd. He is saying he wants to go through court have dd every second weekend and half the hols. I appreciate this is pretty standard for fathers but Im not confident he is capable of keeping this up.

I guess what u really want to know is how long does it take to sort out an access agreement if it goes to court and would the judge take into account

I

Jumpingovaries1 Wed 01-May-13 19:42:28

Sorry posted it too soon. Would the judge take into account he isn't always keeping to current arrangement?

MooseBeTimeForSpring Wed 01-May-13 19:46:42

If you're not keeping a diary of the contact he is having, I would do so. What he's proposing is pretty much par for the course. The Judge will take notice of his previous lack of interest and might suggest that an interim (temporary) order is made and that you go back to court after a reasonable length of time, such as 3 or 6 months, so you can see whether or not he sticks to it.

Jumpingovaries1 Wed 01-May-13 21:27:47

Thank you moose. Do you know how long court proceedings typically take?

KippersAndMackerel Wed 01-May-13 21:54:50

It is more likely to be months than weeks, and you nay have to go through mediation first, which will take more time. Its 200 pounds just to apply to court, so if he's shown that little interest he may not follow through when he realises the costs.

KippersAndMackerel Wed 01-May-13 21:57:19

It sounds more jealousy about your DP, and an instant 'threat' to feel he isn't loosing his role, without thinking through the practicalities. I wouldn't bet on him following through.

Jumpingovaries1 Thu 02-May-13 06:56:50

Thank you kippers I think you are right unfortunately.

HebeJeeby Thu 02-May-13 09:32:46

Hi, you should really think about family mediation to sort this one out as it will be much quicker and cheaper than court, plus the courts now insist that couples try/consider mediation first before making an application to the courts. Bear in mind that legal aid was withdrawn for family law matters on 1 April; however, legal aid is still available for mediation. If you're in S.York/Lincolnshire/Notts area I can recommend a mediator. If you're elsewhere just google family mediation in your area. Hope you get it sorted.

ZillionChocolate Thu 02-May-13 09:41:24

I would make an offer to him (in a recordable way, so ideally email, but if not by letter) saying "have been thinking about contact since we talked about it last week. As I explained, my concern is that you won't keep to the arrangements as you haven't in the past. On X.X.XX we agreed that you would have contact for 4 hours every Sunday, this was your request. In the X Sundays since then, you have cancelled X and shortened X. I don't think this is good for our daughter. I understand that you want to spend more time with her. My suggestion is that if you see her every Sunday for the next 4 weeks, then we increase the time for the full day. If you stick to that for another 4 weeks, then we look at increasing it again".

In my experience, the precise arrangements don't matter so much, as long as a child sees their parent regularly and isn't let down ie returned at short notice or last minute cancellations. Bear in mind that you have the summer half term coming up and then the summer holidays. If you haven't made plans, this is an ideal time for him to spend extra time with dd without her expecting it to happen every week.

Court process will take months. The letter I've suggested can be produced by you if required to show that you are behaving reasonably. A court is unlikely to jump from 4 hours to half the holidays in one step. I'd expect there to be stages in between.

Jumpingovaries1 Thu 02-May-13 23:00:34

Thank you so much everyone.

MammaTJ Fri 03-May-13 00:24:51

Sat 28th July last year, you were asking about access arrangements here

Have you really not bothered sorting it yet?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 03-May-13 01:03:05

Mamma that's really bad form.

And why is it down to her to sort it?

She cannot force him to turn up
She cannot force him to commit to regular times
She cannot force him to do anything other than pay csa

He has no legally enforceable obligations regarding his relationship with his dd.

Even with a contact order the only obligation is to make the child available he has no obligation to show up.

Its his responsibility to manage his own life. She is dealing with more than enough by being the pwc without the support of the nrp.

Jumpingovaries1 Fri 03-May-13 20:59:39

Sock thank you couldn't have said it better myself.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 03-May-13 21:19:06

No problem.

As a poster up thread said the legal aid rules have changed so if he's on benefits or a low income he probably won't be able to take you to court but if he can,if I were in your shoes I would do the following.

From today make notes and document every communication and contact regarding your dc. If possible only communicate in ways that you can evidence like email if you have to verbally converse about anything all ways follow up with a email, if possible keep it nice and chatty like " just to make sure I'm clear about our convo earlier your happy for xyz a d would like me to arrange xyz that sort of thing.

But do not tell him why your doing it,if he asks its because your wanting to make sure he knows your taking his commitment to dd seriously and to avoid any misunderstandings.

Keep a diary list every single contact in it just basic info like on time or not turned up or not brought back on time or not.

If he's a good dad when he has her and you have no concerns or only minor ones ( the different style parenting type) let him know this and tell him you have no problems with building up to this level of contact but in order to make it achievable for him and dd and for her to cope with the changes he will need to increase his availability and stick to what ever arrangements you now have slowly building up to more because if you do t then You are setting it up to fail.

That puts the ball in his court makes it his responsibility and if it works does you a favour because you get respite knowing she's wi a dad who loves her.

It also covers your back if he does throw his teddy out the pram shows you to be being reasonable and having dd's interest at heart as opposed to him who will come across as selfish.

Jumpingovaries1 Fri 03-May-13 22:59:42

Sock this is excellent advice. Thank you again hopefully this can be resolved soon.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 03-May-13 23:21:17

It won't be resolved soon.

The only real resolution will be seen when your dd reaches 18 and knows she has 2 parents who love her and have done their best.

Then its a win all round.

ZillionChocolate Sat 04-May-13 08:53:44

What sockreturningpixie just said.

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