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Court procedures for access?

(21 Posts)
NameChanger26 Tue 27-Aug-13 17:27:47

Name changed for this just in case I'm recognised. Access arrangements between dp an his access have fallen apart. Since DSD has started school dps ex has decided that she gets no time with her dd because she's at dps Friday until Sunday lunchtime. She thinks its ok to cut his access in half, by changing it from every weekend to every other weekend.

Oh has countered this by saying that he'll have her Thursday to Sunday every second week, including school pick ups an drop offs, an then every other week having her Thursday till Saturday morning. This way he still gets the same time with her, takes some of the burden of early starts for school Etc (despite living at the other side of the city) and every second weekend, the ex has full Saturday and Sunday. This was all done through lawyers, but she's still said no, ad completely made up stuff like saying he's been at least half an hour late the last 5 weeks. Complete bull.

So looks like its going to court. What can we expect in terms of how to counter her lies? Because it will end up his word against hers? Would people such as myself, his sister etc be able to vouch for the fact he's not been late or would we be seen as biased? His lawyer says he has a good chance in court and has a very strong case, is what he's suggesting a reasonable agreement?

clam Tue 27-Aug-13 17:34:17

How come he gets every weekend? I though it was standard practice to alternate anyway? So children get the opportunity for weekends with both parents?
Might be wrong though...

NameChanger26 Tue 27-Aug-13 17:36:50

For the last 4 years he's got every weekend because she likes to go out at the weekends... hmm

But now she's got a boyfriend, she wants to play happy families and everyone else just has to suck it up.

Will it work in our favour that its been like this for so long? Surely it wouldn't be in DSD's best interest to cut her time with her dad in half?

clam Tue 27-Aug-13 17:38:01

I'm sorry, I don't know. But I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along in a moment.

STIDW Tue 27-Aug-13 20:10:29

There is a cliche that everyone lies in family cases. That may be an exaggeration, but with emotions running high there are often two versions of the same truth. It's rather like two people going to see a film or reading a book and interpreting the storyline differently.

Mediation to find a way forward that can work for everyone is worth a shot. Good contact for children relies on parents working together or at least not against one another. Going to court tends to leave parents feeling resentful and resistant making working together in the future more difficult or impossible.

With many parenting issues there is no absolute right or wrong just parents with different attitudes doing different things. It isn't at all uncommon or unreasonable to review arrangements for children when they start school. A reasonable starting point for school aged children is sharing the quality time at weekends and during the school holidays. Like parents different judges and court child welfare officers have different attitudes and some believe it is better for children to live in two homes whilst others think living in one home and not having the school week disrupted is in the interests of children. If your partner goes to court there are no guarantees and very often when no agreement can be reached the court make a ruling so that neither party gets exactly what they want.

Evidence from family and friends doesn't carry a great deal of weight in children cases. The courts aren't interested in the issues between parents just the welfare of children. Family and friends aren't impartial and it is the evidence from independent professionals (school, social services, GP) that carries weight.

NameChanger26 Tue 27-Aug-13 23:32:31

DP tried mediation, went to his session and then she refused to attend. Court would be a last resort.

mumblechum1 Wed 28-Aug-13 00:16:36

OP please listen to STIDW who has summed it up perfectly.

Your DSD's circumstances have changed now she is at school and it extremely likely in my view that the court (if it comes to it which it really shouldn't), will order alternate weekends and shared holidays.

Your DP needs to accept that the current arrangements will not work now that his daughter is at school.

NameChanger26 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:09:47

But would it really be in DSD's best interest to cut her time with her dad like that? It would upset her if she was suddenly seeing a lot less of her dad? I understand why her mum wants some weekends, but surely a compromise could be made? Is the time he's asking for really that unreasonable?

Collaborate Wed 28-Aug-13 13:29:01

The compromise is usually that weekend time be shared equally.

ThatsNontents Wed 28-Aug-13 13:34:16

He could ask to for 50-50 shared care?

Ime people who think every other weekend is ok, are people who see their children more than twice a fortnight.

balia Wed 28-Aug-13 16:08:49

I think yout point that DSD is used to seeing her Dad every week is pretty strong, but you have to acknowledge that ex is not asking for anything wildly unreasonable either (although unilaterally changing and refusing mediation isn't fair at all.) - quality time with her DD at weekends.

Great idea to offer alternatives, but the proposal at the moment doesn't really give ex a full weekend, and I think you will (and should) concede that. My DH and his ex share weekends on a 4 weekly pattern - one full weekend each (Fri - Sun, we can't do school run but you could propose Fri-Mon) and 2 half weekends with a single overnight, one Fri and one Sat. Have you asked if holiday time could be increased to offset the reduced term-time contact? If I were you, I'd look at offering a couple of reasonable alternatives, and make sure these are practical - is a school run right across the city really going to be the best thing for a 5 year old? If you do this in a polite letter, you have a paper trail to work from if you can't work out a solution and have to go to court.

And don't attempt to 'counter her lies' or start going on about the new b/f. Keep it simple. DSD is used to lots of regular, quality, weekly contact, you accept that starting school means some changes to the status quo but not to the detriment of her relationship with Dad. And think very carefully before asking for 50/50 - that's a pretty big change for a small child.

NameChanger26 Wed 28-Aug-13 17:52:11

All discussion up to now have been going through lawyers, so got a paper trail for it all.

In our suggestion, she would have DSD dropped of at home at 9am Saturday morning, so has the whole of Saturday with her, all dressed and ready to go at 9am, surely that's quite a good deal? Can be hectic trying to get kids ready in the morning lol. So every second weekend she would have full Saturday and Sunday anyway?

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 18:46:27

Maybe she doesn't ant her all dressed and ready to go first thing on a Saturday morning? Maybe she'd like a slow start, after a Friday evening relaxing together with the whole weekend ahead?

NameChanger26 Wed 28-Aug-13 19:06:00

Well she can have a relaxing morning in Sunday? Why is it just the dad that has to compromise on time when sorting or arrangements now DSD is in school? He's more than willing to take time during the week, he just wants time with his daughter. He suggested a school in the middle but she was against this. I have a car so travel to school is t that much earlier than walking from the mums.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 19:56:21

I'm not sure I understand why he's compromising on time, when he currently has all the weekends, pretty much? Why should the mum not have at least alternates? I'm not sure that the fact she didn't want this previously makes much of a difference, to be honest.

NameChanger26 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:57:46

He's compromising on the time he's been used to for the last few years. Whether what he had before was more than the usual amount, for him to now accep less Is a compromise.

mumblechum1 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:11:25

As always with Children Act cases, both parents need to try really really hard to put their own feelings of "entitlement" to one side and focus on what is best for the child

NameChanger26 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:29:33

It's hard to make sure that happens from both sides though. My DP finds it hard to think of less time as good for am dad when she already gets upset when leaving ours and spends a lot of time telling us how much she misses is when she's at her mums.

I do speak rationally to my DP about his wants though, as, as much as I love my DSD, it's a lot more personal for DP, and easier for me to think and advice rationally

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 23:01:26

I understand what you're saying, and it must be very annoying (especially as you know there's a back-story re: the ex that the courts might not 'get'), but I think they will look at it purely as whether it is in your dsd's interests to spend weekends with each parent equally. The compromise or reduction on your dh's part won't really affect that, will it?
I think going for 50:50 is a separate issue, but it still wouldn't end up with him having the weekend split he prefers would it?

STIDW Thu 29-Aug-13 00:08:34

From a school aged child's perspective extended contact build around every other weekend with fewer handovers is a more settled arrangement.

NameChanger26 Thu 29-Aug-13 08:29:27

If he thought he could get a 50:50 split he would be exstatic, but he is of the impression that it probably wouldn't happen?

He's not too fussed about getting the time he wants, he jut doesn't want to have to take such a reduction in time, he happy to have alternate weekends if he can make up the time at another time during the week. He's aware that Monday-Friday early mornings/school runs/tired afternoons/homework etc isn't 'fun' quality time, but it's part of parenting and he wants to be part of all aspects of it.

Ex doesn't want to offer anything more than one evening after school till 6.30, so not even an overnight.

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