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Hi everyone,advice over shared custody please

(72 Posts)
Alanefc Tue 24-May-11 18:03:22

I'm wondering if anyone can give me some advice please,I split with my ex 3 months ago,her choice,definetely not mine.She has been suffering from severe PND since last year,i took as much time off work as humanly possible to help her thru it and as i work nights i was only sleeping for 4 hours after work the next day to help her thru it.

It didnt work and she ended up on Prozac,a terrible drug.She told me she no longer loved me and we ended on good terms and she said there was nobody else involved,not long after she told me there was,a 54 year old man she worked with who she had previously informed used to be a male escort! We had an informal arrangement over the children,and believe me when we were together we were 50/50 on the childcare,i used to bath the boys and put them to bed every night,since her meeting this new man she has changed dramaticaly and we are now at the stage where i am no longer allowed to see the children after i raised objections to her taking my 5 year old son to a pub on a Sat night to an adults party,the pub has a terrible reputation so i asked my dad to mind my little boy whilst i had to go to work,which my DS was delighted with.

I have now applied to the court,or my solicitor has for me to have Joint Custody on a 3/4 split one week,and a 4/3 split the next week - He thinks I have a great chance as he says the courts are looking towards shared residence/custody a lot more.I adore my sons and not seeing them for 6 weeks now has left me on the brink,i see my 5 year old at the school gates every day for 5 mins and he adores me,but i cant take him out anywhere.Sorry it's long but i'd love some advice/feedback thanks

PinkCarBlueCar Tue 24-May-11 19:46:25

Ok. So what's the question, or what is it you want advice regarding?

Alanefc Tue 24-May-11 20:08:41

Does anyone think I have a chance of Joint Custody,she has offered me 1 overnight a fortnight and a day or 2 here and there,which is not wnough,i was a 50/50 carer for the kids and i want to stay involved,she has texted me telling i'm the perfect partner and things like that,think she is trying to mess with my head to be honest

My brief says Joint Custody and shred care is how its all going at the moment and i just hope he's telling me the truth

belleshell Tue 24-May-11 20:17:47

Hi Alan, i think there is every chance going from what u have said..not only is it good for both parents but good for the kids too. i hope it all works out for you all

VioletV Tue 24-May-11 20:19:17

Hmm difficult one. I would have though the mother would be granted custody and you would get access pretty much like you do now. Unless there is a good enough reason to give you the 50/50 I can't see how you would be granted it unless it can be proved you're a more suitable adult or she's done something that the courts will say makes her an unfit mother.

WishIWasRimaHorton Tue 24-May-11 20:38:14

what arrangement did you have immediately after separation?

PinkCarBlueCar Tue 24-May-11 20:53:22

How much contact did you have after splitting, and how long ago did your ex stop contact?

Has she stopped all contact, or do you get to send cards, phone the kids, etc?

cestlavielife Wed 25-May-11 00:13:30

your solicitor should be talking residency not custody - it's shared residency and contact arrangements

did you move out leaving the children in her care ?
was there any agreement then?

Alanefc Wed 25-May-11 06:00:51

I moved out about a week after we split,i saw the kids every day as i took my little boy to school and i saw the baby while i was there,my ex couldn't dress my 5 year old as he is very stubborn sometimes and i was the only one who could get round him.I used to have Monday,Wednesday,Friday,SAturday thru the week on my week in work,with a Friday overnight into saturday on my week in added as i work a week on week of on nights.All contact with the baby has now stopped and I only get to see my 5 year old at the school gates as his grandad takes him now.She is currently under investigation for benefit fraud and has told me i'm never seeing them ever again.I am very confident in my solicitor and he says that the last few cases he has been thru court with have resulted in a lot of time with kids for the dads.I just want what is fair and to go from 180 nights a year with them down to 24 under the arrangement she offered is really bad

Gster Wed 25-May-11 08:13:51

Christ. You have my sympathies.

I would agree about going for the shared residency.

I would document everything also. Keep every text, email and note down anything that happens.

also check these guys out...

I think you stand every chance of regaining far far more access than you're getting now. But again from what you've said I would be very wary of your ex making outlandish accusations about you, so be careful.

Keep your cool, be patient ( difficult I know ) , you'll get there.

cestlavielife Wed 25-May-11 12:25:50

have you a record of her saying you will never see them again.?
eg text message?
get it transcribed witnessed by solicitor. she is very stupid to say that.

however she could argue pnd is temprary illness etc. was she like this before or without pnd has she been completely "normal"?

taking prozac, pnd etc - you have to be careful how it is put when putting concerns about MH issues - but keep all ehr texts emails - in fact dont communicate other than by text and email so you have record.

you ened to act completely rational, calm and above board in everything you say to her and everythihg you do - but id ont see why you should not ahve shared residency

also speak to school about your son - does he show behaviour issues there? or only to your ex?

PinkCarBlueCar Wed 25-May-11 12:48:56

That is a big drop from the previous level of contact.

What would your ex say is the reason why she has cut it back so dramatically?

whiteandnerdy Wed 25-May-11 13:09:44

I had the kids every weekend for 8 years, still when contact went to court and the ExP wanted that reduced my contact to every other weekend, first magistrate was hey that sounds like a reasonable split ... how about you give it a try. I'm convinced it was only a report from child mental health service that suggested that one of the children would have/was having severe problems with this change that we've returned to something along the lines of me having them every weekend.

The problem is that every other weekend is still seen as the defacto contact for NRP by some working in the legal profession. The fact is that being a parent with access to your children every other weekend means that your no longer bringing up your children ... your basically can no longer forfill your role as a parent. Your restricted into being a relative such as grandparent or uncle. Now that maybe ok for some farthers/mothers, but if your wanting to RAISE your children, for such parents, the every other weekend contact is just awful.

Alanefc Thu 26-May-11 05:55:19

I have a record of her saying i'll never see them again,i've kept over 500 messages off her,I think she wil use the standard lines of being scared by me and things ike, that,but I have never hit her,and never would have no matter what,I have a clean record as i'm a prison officer and the police have asked me for the address i used to live at with her and they say there is no recorded domestic violence from there,because nothing ever happened,we were very happy,this is the 3rd time she has had PND,and by far the worst this time

She has been sending me texts about how i'm the most perfect partner ever and that she knows she was out of order with her new boyfriend,i'm not bothered about them 2 now,all i want is to be a major part of my boys lives like i used to be,thanks for all the advice,it's really helping

whiteandnerdy Thu 26-May-11 10:37:18

It's my experience that, the court doesn't have the time to read and analyse any evidence and relies on CAFCAS to perform the requred processing of evidence and analysis. It's also my experience that CAFCAS doesn't have the time or resources to perform any real analysis of any information you give them and in cases where there is no risk to the child just generally make up wishy washy recomendations. CAFCAS have the time to make any proper analysis of any information you give them so basically it's a free for all where anyone just says anything. I found the whole process incredibly amateurish.

Gster Thu 26-May-11 12:29:51

Good for you Alan. You'll get there I'm sure. I realized my phone had an option to reload a years worth of text messages from my XP. Was quite satisfying to have over 100 texts relating to my looking after DD solo after my XP insisted I had looked after her alone a few times .

WishIWasRimaHorton Thu 26-May-11 15:51:12

that's if you can get CAFCASS involved. unless there are welfare issues, they may not be interested

Alanefc Thu 26-May-11 17:25:37

I'm not worried either way over CAFCASS,if they do a report I'll just put myself across as best as i can and i'll just have to hope for the best,but if i get a rubbish amount of access i'll just keep fighting on through the courts until I get my fair share,i've already told her my custody fight will never end until i'm a major part of the boys lives.I don't need to be wealthy,or have a nice car,or a gorgeous girlfriend - As long as I have my gorgeous little men my life will be perfect

Truckrelented Thu 26-May-11 17:45:17

Why did you move out?
I think that was a mistake. (often made though)

Alanefc Thu 26-May-11 17:54:11

When we split,she said to live in the same house as a seperate couple.I tried it for a week but I still loved her so much I couldn't be around her without getting upset,so for my sanity I moved out.Her's was the only name on the mortgage,even tho i have since found out i have a legal claim on it.It also got to the point where she was basically taking the piss out of me as regards the kids,she was always hoing out for hours on end,even her mum had a go at ther in the end,screaming down the phone at her that she wasn't being fair

mrscolour Sat 28-May-11 16:19:48

It sounds like you have been a fully involved father and have had a really hard time and you have my sympathy.

However, do you really think 50/50 shared residence would be the right thing for your baby? You don't say exactly how old he is but my feelings would be that a very young child would need to be mainly with one parent or the other. Have you really thought through the logistics of such an arrangement. It's my understanding that shared care doesn't have to mean 50/50 so you could be granted shared residency but she could be allocated more days but the shared residency order would take you role as father into account more.

Whatever happens, I would think you would get regular access if nothing else.

Alanefc Sun 29-May-11 13:51:25

The thing about the baby staying out is not a problem for me,he stays out at her mums through the week and at her sisters every Saturday,so thats 2 nights a week when i could be having him,I am going for joint custody but i'd be happy with 2 nights a week overnight with the baby and more time with him as he gets older,just absolutely killing me at the moment not seeing them,i'm in bits because I just love them so much

gillybean2 Sun 29-May-11 14:36:03

Shared residency is not the same as sharing the contact time.

Be very sure you AND your sol knows the differences and argue hard for shared residency and then get your contact agreed on top of that. The two things are separate.

Just because it is becoming more common doesn't make it easy to get shared residency. You will need to have all your arguments in place and if the judge isn't convinced either way you should then be trying to get no order re residency rather than it being awarded to your ex which basically makes her the more important parent. SHared residency means you are both seen as equal parents even if you don't have equal contact time.

Be very sure you want to rock the boat on this. However by going to court at all you ex may well bring up residency so be ready to fight for shared residency.

See here for what exactly shared residency means and why it is important for you and your dc that you have it. Shared residency is often vital in cases of extreme hostility from the ex to enable you to continue to fulfill your responsibiities as a parent.

Even if you don't get shared residency you still have access to information (school/medical etc) if you have PR. You can still get good amounts of contact agreed/ordered too. So please don't focus too much on that issue, because the contact is really what matter here.

Alanefc Sun 29-May-11 17:24:59

My solicitor is spot on to be fair,one of the top Family Law specialists in the North West apparently,I just wanted a couple of nights a week on my week off and some days,that wasn't too much to ask but she decided to play Judge and Jury and decide on my level of contact in my sons lives,i'm also going to court to get Birthdays,Easter and Xmas day with them,as my ex has said I will not be seeing them on any of these days.My solicitor just laughed when I told him,and he has GUARANTEED me all of the special days every other year,apparently this is now the norm,but i'm not building my hopes up until the day I get them back

cestlavielife Mon 30-May-11 23:55:51

your solicitor cannot guarantee you anything - it is up to a judge/court.

solicitor can say "you have a good chance" or "in every likelihood you should get" but to guarantee it? sorri but fact that solicitor ahs you talking about "custody" when it is residence and guaranteeing you things - well top or not - speak to someone who is talking the right language....residence, shared residence, contact arrangements..... and who expreses things in terms of "we can hope the judge will decide in your favour because of this evidence or that evidence" .

any solicitor guaranteeing -well dyu have that in writing? he is having you on - a solicitor has no power to guarantee you anything......

having said that - the fact the baby/Ds apparently stay with relatives rather than with mother anyway may count in your favour - if you have proof and evidence of that - unless of course it is for her to work in case it would be reasonable for her to arrange childcare in order to go out to work.

you need hard facts here - is she dumping kids on relatives to go out on the town - living the high life etc or is she arranging childcare with relatives in order to go out and earn a living? what if the grandmother/sister argue they can provide a better home than you? (not saying they can - from what you say no, but you need to be prepared.... if you prove she is unfit - her relatives may step in....

i suspect there is a lot more detail to your story here and you need to make sure solcitor has absolutely everything . with hard evidence and facts. and that when she has ranted "you will never see them" etc that you have not ranted back but remained calm...

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