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Help please- access agreement under Scottish law?

(2 Posts)
Fezziwig Sat 07-Sep-13 00:40:43

Hi, I'm a semi-regular but have changed not just my name but a few details as well, because I'm not keen for this one to be traced back to me...

DP's best friend, let's call him Peter, split from his wife, let's call her Helen, a year ago. They have 2 DCs, now 8 and 5. Things hadn't been going too well for a while. Peter's self-employed and his work often takes him overseas for extended periods, 2-3 months is not unusual. Helen found this difficult, as you would, really. While he was away on one particular occasion, Helen embarked on an emotional affair. She and Peter split upon his return and Helen got together with the new bloke soon afterwards.

So far, so fair enough. However, she is now trying to cut him off from the DCs. She has told mutual friends that she wants to make it as hard as possible for Peter to see the DCs so that he will eventually give up altogether. Whenever he's around and asks to see the kids, she basically stalls him for as long as possible in the hope that a contract comes up away before he sees them. He's only seen them 4 or 5 times this year, despite having been around quite a lot. He has set days and times when he is permitted to ring the DCs and if he misses a window by a couple of minutes (e.g. due to having to work late), she won't answer the phone to him.

Anyway, Peter's lawyer reckons he's pretty much screwed because all he can do is take her to court to get a proper access agreement, which would work against him because it would lay down specific times, e.g. every Thursday after school and two weekends a month, which would be no good for Peter as he can't reconcile that with his work.

He won't threaten to withhold her maintenance unless she lets him see them, because he would never actually do it- Helen relies quite heavily on his money (new DP doesn't contribute much), and he wouldn't want his DCs to suffer.

He doesn't see why he can't persuade a judge that his professional circumstances should be taken into account, but his lawyer just doesn't seem hopeful.

Does anyone have experience of this kind of situation under Scottish law? Is it really as hopeless as his lawyer suggests? Is there any other course of action he should investigate?

STIDW Sat 07-Sep-13 12:33:25

Good contact for children relies on parents working together, or at least not against each other. Going to court tends to lead to resentment and resistance making it difficult or impossible for parents to work together so it is usually worth attempting mediation before starting court proceedings.

A good mediator can often defuse the situation and assist parents resolve disputes constructively so that arrangements can work for everyone concerned. Relationships Scotland (formerly Relate and Family Mediation Scotland) and the solicitors' group CALM provide mediation services.

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