Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Spikecast
    • By Spikecast 12th Nov 18, 12:35 AM
    • 62Posts
    • 19Thanks
    Spikecast
    Please help me regarding access to my son.
    • #1
    • 12th Nov 18, 12:35 AM
    Please help me regarding access to my son. 12th Nov 18 at 12:35 AM
    Hi all,

    I’m going through a situation I never thought I would find myself in and just when I think things can’t get any worse my ex puts the boot in.

    I have a 6 year old son with my ex of 7 years. We are both joint owners (mortgaged) on a property. I have had my suspicions for some months she had been seeing someone behind my back for some months but I cannot prove this other than colleagues and friends having seen them together unbeknown to me . Due to the distress it was causing in front of my son (and step daughter) due to my ex’s behaviour I agreed to vacate the property in the interest of the children.

    I moved out a week ago as she was making my life a misery. I work a 3 week shift pattern whereby I get two days off evey 3-4 days which includes weekdays and weekends. She is not willing to negotiate access beyond 4 days with my son (3 days and two hours to be exact) and in light of my counter offer of 8 days access over 3 weeks she has now informed me she is withdrawing her original “offer” and has dropped it down to 3 days (14% access across my shift pattern) This would result in me not seeing my son for 13 days at one point during the 3 week period. In essence this gives her 62% access and myself 38% with a view to me increasing this access once he has adjusted to the new circumstances.

    Obviously this is really distressing for me as I wish to continue to have a good relationship with my son and wish to see him as much as possible ie on all my 8 days off out of 21. She has told me she will continue to pay all bills and the full mortgage in the house until we sort out selling it or her buying me out. Within days of me moving out her new “friend” has been at the property, around my children which I feel is causing them confusion and uncessary emotional distress as I have been gone a matter of days.

    I now have my own outgoings as I am renting a property around 20 minutes away from my previously family home. She has now today informed me that she has changed the locks on the property as she wasn’t happy I had entered the property by “exploiting” my son and removing items from the house which were joint assets. She is advising me she has changed the locks because she is worried how I will react to her demands for 3 days access, which she states she sees as “in place” from now. Can she legally change the locks? Where do I stand?

    I am now in the process of seeking third party mediation which she is claiming she will accept however knowing how derisory her “offer” of childcare is for me I don’t see this achieving much although from the legal advice I got last week I’ve been informed we must attempt this first which I’m happy to do.

    I cannot work out maintenance for my son because we haven’t agreed on any set dates and times as she assumes her proposal is set in stone to which I have rejected. Ideally I want 50/50 custody of my son but I’m not sure how realistic that is?

    I’m also very concerned that she has changed the locks as I had advised her I have three estate agents attending the property this week to value it and clearly she won’t allow me access.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Spikecast; 12-11-2018 at 7:12 AM.
Page 2
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 20th Nov 18, 9:09 AM
    • 10,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    Comms69
    I would suggest that before you attend mediation you write down a clear, detailed proposal for child arrangements covering all aspects of your son's life - ie:
    Slightly different perspective from myself - as you know I'm in a similar boat - I would write down my absolute minimum and my desired outcome.
    How often the children will be with each parent during the school week
    How the weekends are shared
    Arrangements for Christmas, Motherís Day, Fatherís Day, birthdays etc
    Arrangements for school holidays, bank holidays and inset days
    Arrangements for school events and parents' evenings
    How you will communicate with each other and the children when they are with the other parent
    Arrangements for medical and dental appointments
    Who has responsibility for specific decision making, including clarity over which decisions require joint approval
    The process for dispute resolution
    Arrangements regarding religious and faith based activities
    Arrangements for special family events
    Arrangements relating to contact time with grandparents and other family members
    I would add anything about new partners and what they should be called etc. (ie aunt/uncle; not specific names! )
    This will show you have put a great deal of thought into the best arrangements for your child, with your child's welfare at the very heart of your proposal. It will also give you and your ex a base from which to start discussions.
    Originally posted by Rubik


    I do think having a blank template with all those is a good idea, I'd be weary about putting my cards on the table though.


    Certainly I'm going to start high with an expectation to drop down
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 20th Nov 18, 9:17 AM
    • 298 Posts
    • 630 Thanks
    Rubik
    I do think having a blank template with all those is a good idea, I'd be weary about putting my cards on the table though.


    Certainly I'm going to start high with an expectation to drop down
    Originally posted by Comms69
    I've written a number of parenting plan templates over the years, and have found that parents who have taken the time to set out their preferred arrangements fare better in discussions than those that don't. I see your point about "putting all your cards on the table" - but if you don't enter into discussions with full disclosure, then those discussions may well be hindered.
    Another aspect is that should mediation not be successful, then a ready-prepared parenting plan is available to be submitted along with the C100 (the form asks the applicant to include a parenting plan).
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 20th Nov 18, 9:34 AM
    • 10,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    Comms69
    I've written a number of parenting plan templates over the years, and have found that parents who have taken the time to set out their preferred arrangements fare better in discussions than those that don't. I see your point about "putting all your cards on the table" - but if you don't enter into discussions with full disclosure, then those discussions may well be hindered.
    Another aspect is that should mediation not be successful, then a ready-prepared parenting plan is available to be submitted along with the C100 (the form asks the applicant to include a parenting plan).
    Originally posted by Rubik


    That is a good point.


    Having a realistic plan is a good idea. I would just feel that there may be significant pressure to 'compromise' in order to speed up contact.


    If both parties want to make mediation work then great.
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 20th Nov 18, 9:39 AM
    • 298 Posts
    • 630 Thanks
    Rubik
    Some degree of compromise will always be required in negotiations. No reason why an interim arrangement can't be reached - even if it does mean more compromising by one party, and then the arrangements reviewed after a period of time, (weeks rather than months).
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 20th Nov 18, 9:43 AM
    • 10,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    Comms69
    Some degree of compromise will always be required in negotiations. No reason why an interim arrangement can't be reached - even if it does mean more compromising by one party, and then the arrangements reviewed after a period of time, (weeks rather than months).
    Originally posted by Rubik


    Agreed, I think maybe we're on the same page.


    Have a minimum which you wont go below. Have a desired outcome and work between those two.


    And absolutely agree review after 2-4 weeks is an excellent idea.
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 20th Nov 18, 9:46 AM
    • 298 Posts
    • 630 Thanks
    Rubik
    Absolutely - always start with your maximum preferences, as that gives you wriggle room to negotiate "down" to your preferred arrangements.
    • Spikecast
    • By Spikecast 20th Nov 18, 11:08 AM
    • 62 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Spikecast
    Thanks guys I appreciate the input. Realistically do you think I've got any chance of 50% custody? I do have a clear "plan" in place which she reject which I dropped from 50% access to 38%. She started at 19% and dropped to 14% over my three week shift rota.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 20th Nov 18, 11:22 AM
    • 10,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    Comms69
    Thanks guys I appreciate the input. Realistically do you think I've got any chance of 50% custody? I do have a clear "plan" in place which she reject which I dropped from 50% access to 38%. She started at 19% and dropped to 14% over my three week shift rota.
    Originally posted by Spikecast
    It's unlikely. And to be honest it's noble but going to make work very difficult I suspect - im speaking as a generalisation; but you can judge that yourself.


    percentages don't help anyone really; and it's unfortunate your rota is 3 weekly, rather than 2 (much easier to sort out)


    As a guide a typical order (if there was such a thing) would likely include 1 weekend in 2 and 1-2 weekdays a week.


    So you're looking at 4-5 days out of 14. (approx. 35% if you prefer)


    Now each circumstance is different. And your best bet may be to start lower, but with a clear plan to increase contact.


    As an example - my current circumstances prevent overnight contact (will be changing in next month or two) so I will be starting with regular contact 3-4 times a week, with a scope to review down the line.
    • Spikecast
    • By Spikecast 20th Nov 18, 11:26 AM
    • 62 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Spikecast
    Excellent thank you. I can live with 35% contact. Ideally as a minimum I would like him one day out of the two midweek out of the 4 days, so half. Fingers crossed.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 1st Dec 18, 11:18 AM
    • 6,464 Posts
    • 9,176 Thanks
    deannatrois
    I know it is very hard but try to take your feelings about her already having a 'friend' out of the equation. Its not your children's fault this has happened, you have enough sad feelings to cope with. At the moment you need to put your feelings away, hard though that is, and concentrate on making things as good as they can be for your children. Put them first. Just refuse to get involved in arguements. Put yourself in your children's shoes, listening to it.

    I'm a bit bothered by the 'aim high' concept, it could make you seem unreasonable.

    Yep if the agreement was to have you buy presents for your son, and she bought presents for your daughters, and then you removed your son's presents from the house.., only your son will suffer. He just needs to have presents to open at the same time as your daughters, so neither feels unloved on top of the emotions and confusion they have about you two splitting up. He will know its from his Dad. That's the important thing. It was a tit for tat move. They weren't your presents, they were your sons. I know it is hard to adjust to the changes but tit for tat just tends to lead to bigger and worse repercussions. One person does something, the other person does something else worse, the first person does more etc etc. Its never going to be other than a downhill path that will exacerbate bad feelings going on between two people.

    Although you feel wronged by the split, she has feelings as to why it happened too. Even if you don't agree with them.

    Doing a full plan as suggested above makes you look organised which puts you in a stronger position. It also, if the two of you concentrate on how to solve this situation for the sake of your children, removes the feelings about the past, which you will both have.

    Whatever the situation between you and your ex personally, however she behaves, your children need you to be the hero in this. They will see this.

    And yes, I have done this myself, although I was the 'she' in the arrangement.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 01-12-2018 at 11:30 AM.
    • SingleSue
    • By SingleSue 2nd Dec 18, 9:37 AM
    • 10,642 Posts
    • 60,441 Thanks
    SingleSue
    When me and ex split, we kept that first Christmas exactly the same to how it had always been to save upset for the children.

    Ok, feelings were a bit raw (we had separated just over 4 weeks earlier) but we put on a united family front for Christmas and Boxing day and followed our normal routine. This meant that any presents already purchased were still joint presents and given at the normal time, we spent the entire 2 days together as a family as per normal and so on.

    Subsequent Christmas days were different, he moved 400 miles away and had no interest in seeing them regularly (or even semi regularly), so we never had the 'Who is having them Christmas day this year?' conundrum to sort out.
    We made it! Two graduated, 1 currently at university, been hard work but it shows there is a possibility of a chance of normal (ish) life after a diagnosis (or two) of ASD. It's not been the easiest route but I am so glad I ignored everything and everyone and did my own therapies with them.
    Eldests' EDS diagnosis 4.5.10, mine 13.1.11 eekk!
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 4th Dec 18, 9:43 AM
    • 7,695 Posts
    • 9,996 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    With regard to the Christmas gifts, having Christmas at both homes should not be an issue, but if the gifts you have collected are the ones from "Mummy and Daddy" I would suggest returning some of them, so that he gets gifts from Mum and Dad on Christmas Day, and then more at your home. Presumably he will also have gifts from both sides of the family so it isn't all or nothing, but not having anything from Mummy and Daddy would be upsetting for him.

    In relation to the longer term arrangements for Residence and Contact, ifwhat you are proposing is an arrangement where he spends one week i3 with youm and 2 with her, with some contact to you in the 2 weeks he is wiotrh mum, you need to be able to put forward specifc proposals about how this will work.

    Things like:

    - where you each live, and how close both homes are to his school
    - arrangements for communication, to make sure that you can keep each other up to date with anything like Reading or homework.
    - consideration of the relationship with his half sister
    - Whether it will work in practice for your son - how does he do with changes in routine? Of ourse you would be looking to introduce a new routine, but this is easier for some children than others
    - continuity of other parts of his routine. For instance, if he goes to nursery / child minder some days when he is with mum, would you be willing for him to still go (and for you to pay for) that during the week he is with you, so he has continuity (and bear in mind that most chid minders etc won't be able to accommodate 2 weeks out of 3, so will ned to be paid even if he doesn't go the week he is with you.

    -What if a 1 week in 3 pattern won't work? What is your alternative? 1 three week cycle rather than a fortnightly one isn't unreasonable, so he spend longer periods with you in the week you shifts mean you are not working than in those where you are, but try to come up with some specifc suggestions - e.g. Thurs-Monday (or Sunday night) rather than just "I want him to be with me more)

    Try to listen to what your ex says - just because you and she are not in a good place at present doesn't mean that her views or concerns aren't valid. Don't dismiss them out of hand, but consider what she is saying and how you can address any concerns she has.

    Don't focus on %s. It doesn't present well, it's not child-focused.

    remember that if you go to court, the issue the court has to look at is what is best for your son. It is not about being 'fair' to you and his mum, but about giving him the bests arrangements possible taking into account issues kike his need for routine and stability, his relationships with siblings etc.
    • Spikecast
    • By Spikecast 7th Dec 18, 12:44 AM
    • 62 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Spikecast
    Thanks for the further replies. I instigated mediation on 29th November as she is pretty much refusing me any reasonable access, refuses to let me see him even for a few hours on my days off mid-week so I'm missing out on his activities such as swimming on an evening etc, there's just no reasoning with her to the point where I'm being accused of being intimidating for simply asking to spend some time with him, it's her way or no way now. She's constantly playing games saying she's had no contact with the mediator despite them writing out to her, emailing and contacting her via phone, stalling on what she would like to do about the house etc. I'm going to let mediation run its course if she ever engages regarding child access and hope she will see sense and produce a sensible proposal regarding access. I'm seeing a solicitor regarding the property to see what options are available to me moving forward.
    Last edited by Spikecast; 07-12-2018 at 11:36 AM.
    • Spikecast
    • By Spikecast 14th Aug 19, 5:33 PM
    • 62 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Spikecast
    Hi all - Just an update with how things panned out.

    I applied for a Child Arrangements Order in January 2019 due to ex being completely unreasonable not allowing me to see my son during the week or half of school holidays. I was only allowed to see him 4 nights over my 3 week shift rota. As soon as I applied ex decided to file a C1A against me making numerous malicious and unfounded allegations of abuse against me (physical/emotional/financial etc). I then felt my hands were tied and filed a separate schedule of allegations mainly around coercive control from my ex partner.

    We had 3 hearings in total, first hearing was back in Feb and was directed to a further hearing in April whereby a district judge was allocated due to the allegations raised.

    Second hearing was in April, allegations were dismissed and no fact find hearing was ordered as judge said that ex had been promoting contact with my son with me and stated no safeguarding concerns yet she filed a ridiculous amount of allegations which totally counteracted the fact I'm fine around my son.

    Just to also add that cafcass were involved in my case. They were absolutely hopeless, always taking mothers word as gospel and made numerous errors in various reports again in mothers favour.

    Ended up at a dispute resolution hearing in July whereby we used the hearing as a final hearing. I ended up getting a "lives with" shared care order for my son, 9 overnight stays in 21, half school holidays which I'm over the moon with. EX tried to constantly cause issues even when trying to get the order sealed but we finally got there in the end.

    Just wanted to say to fellow fathers to keep persisting with fair access to your children, it took me 8 months of constant battles with my EX but I got a fair result for my son in the end and ex lost all control.
    • BAFE
    • By BAFE 22nd Aug 19, 1:25 PM
    • 195 Posts
    • 185 Thanks
    BAFE
    Congratulations on your result Spikecast.

    For what its worth, I think shared care arrangements are becoming more common these days, in line with other European countries.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,068Posts Today

6,742Users online

Martin's Twitter