Overnight access(7 Posts)
Please can you help. What on earth can you do if your ex refuses overnight access for children aged 5 and 8 and insists that you see the children at the old marital home? This is the situation my brother is in. They separated recently, he doesn't have much money and, I think, is scared that she will totally refuse all access. Many thanks.
How long have they been separated (I'm asking to see whether he has already set a long precedent of not having then) and what access does he want?
And most importantly - what access is in the best interests of the children?
In the interests of fairness - objectively, does she have a good reason? Don't be offended, but I would resist anything but supervised access if my ex was abusive or a drunk, for example.
Assuming he's just a regular good involved parent, then he should request 50/50 access and propose how he thinks that would work (alternate weeks, for example)
If she refuses, he needs to tell her that he is willing to go to mediation, if she is not, then he must go to court.
He should see a solicitor ASAP. I know that costs money, but his children are worth him beg borrowing and stealing for.
CAB may advise for free, and there are various fathers groups I think, with forums, for advice.
Why has he moved out? How long separated? Where is he living?
He needs legal advice. I get the no money thing but unfortunately if she's not co-operative it really is the only option. Sucks.
Keep track of who looks after the kids when she works/goes out- technically he should be offered first refusal over grandparents etc.
Who owns the house? If he jointly owns he shouldn't move out until all the legal and financial stuff is dealt with.
Well quite, about the house. Why has he moved out and left her in the position of her dictating access?
If he's not an abusive arsehole and it's a property where they both own it or are named on the tenancy, I'd be moving straight back in and seeing my kids every day until contact arrangements were sorted out.
Absolutely do not need legal advice. We have had God knows how many child custody hearings over the last decade and never once paid a lawyer. We have 'won' (if you can call putting children through this and 'allowing them ' to have an effective relationship with their father - winning). Tell him to call Coram children's legal centre who will explain what form he needs to fill in. If he is on a low income, he needs to fill in a fee remission/exemption form. Whereby he will have to pay the full fee, £212, part of the fee or no fee. This is dependent on household income, so you don't have to be on benefits. The cut off before you have to pay court fees is actually quite high.
When the form is filled in, you will have to attend mediation. (Unless there has been DV on either side)
This can also be 'fee exempted' or reduced as above. The non reduced rate is about £150 per session payable by both parties. You both sit in a room (or if that won't work) you sit in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles between you. You try and reach an agreement about contact, with mediators help. If that turns out to be impossible, then you both get signed off and sent to the court where the judge will decide what is fair.
It is very very unusual that a father would be awarded no contact. Even if there has been violence. The court is coming from the point of view that the child/rent needs to have an effective relationship with both parents if at all possible and not detrimental to the child's welfare. If there is no issue with threats of violence or neglect to the child then the court will award unsupervised contact. The starting point is 50/50. If the parent making the application cannot or does not want 50/50, the standard arrangement is Friday night to Sunday night every other weekend. One evening in the week of non resident weekend after school for supper.
No contact is not the 'choice' of the mother. If named on the birth cert or previously married, they are equal parents. Going for a child arrangement order as detailed above, sets out in law exactly when the children must be made available for the other parent to have contact. It must be adhered to. It's not optional .
There are a few hoops to jump through admittedly, but if you really want to see your children it is nothing at all. If you can't be arsed to go through the process, you probably aren't a very committed father. Either way, the process does NOT require a lawyer. Monkeys could do it !
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