UK Family Law
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I have two children by my ex-wife. She left within a week and moved over two hundred miles away with no discussion with the children. My son who is 15 came back to live with me in the original family home, and my daughter who is 8 had to stay with her mum. My son has only visited her for a couple of days in the last 18 months due to how she went about things. It turns out that a lot planning occurred and he overheard it all at the top of the stairs. My family and I have been trying hard to resolve this but progress is slow.
I have had to fight, to my surprise to have involvement with my daughters schooling and medical reports. Both are now happening, but I had to write to the school governors, doctors and hospital.
I have four questions: 1) Is it reasonable to ask to have my daughter for 2 weeks at the start of the summer holiday and 2 weeks at the end? My ex-wife will not allow any visits during school terms.
2) Is it reasonable to ask her to share the cost of travel and meet half way?
3) Is it reasonable to ask the my daughter be exchanged at tea time when she finishes term and is returned mid day the day before term starts?
4) Whats the best thing to do if you offer to have a private arrangement for child maintenance, but they refuse? We had a private arrangement at the start, but I was being told a lot of lies, so asked the CSA to help. They assessed us both at the time and I was advised that I should pay Nill as I was on ESA and she had to pay me £14/week. I am now returning to work and am starting a Ltd company. I think I should be paying something, but she refuses to tell me what she needs for my child each week and wants to stay with the CSA, even though I have said it may take a couple of years before I do earn anything. I do want to pay to help.
So far my daughter has visited me for all the holidays, but only after a huge amount of letters. At the start when the divorce was going through I used to get 5-6 page letters from the solicitor (which had be written by her mother) justifying why it was not fair for my child to visit me more than half of any of the holidays.
At the time we were both on legal aid. Everything did get sorted money / house wise, but she is still very angry and blames me for her loosing her son. It does seem that she uses contact with my daughter to manipulate me. Which is a real shame.
I have from the very start tried to resolve things, with mediation and parental agreements, but it all keeps getting thrown back at me each time I try.
I have offered that my daughter can spend all the key celebration dates through the year, birthdays, Easter, Christmas etc. Every year.
Over the past 12 months:
Last summer holiday = 22 days.
October half term = 7 days.
Christmas = 9 days.
Feb half term = 7 days.
Easter = 12 days.
May half term = 7 days.
Otherwise I have been able to secure telephone contact on Tues, Thurs and Sun at 7.15pm, which is sometimes on Skype.
Its been a huge fight so far to be able to do this, and I don't know if she will stick to it for future holidays.
Yes I am asking for a four weeks in total for the summer. Two at the start and two at the end.
She has today indicated that I can see her for 3 1/2 weeks, but seems to be making it a condition that her son visits her. She will only allow 3 weeks at the start and 1/2 week at the end of the summer.
Its only a few days difference now. But I guess she would argue the same.
What about travel / costs sharing?
My ex will also not allow long weekends as she feels its unreasonable for my daughter to travel after school on a friday and return sunday evenings. I have never had any access during weeks or weekends during term time.
At the start of things when she left I arranged for family mediation, she did go but she pulled out and refused to go back. I think it was so she could obtain legal aid, but I am no expert.
She also refused to marriage counseling or any help via RELATE to help deal with ending the relationship / marriage. Either on her own or as a couple deciding to splitting. I was told they could help people who go separate ways.
I have tried on numerous times over the last 12 months to get her to go again, but she refused to communicate, answer calls, letters, email etc.
Three weeks ago I sent a letter saying I could see no way forward to resolve things unless I asked a court to decide. She then agreed she might to speak to a mediator over the telephone. So I am hoping this may be the case in June / July.
I am wanting to find out if an expert thinks the four things I have questions about are reasonable or usual in cases like mine, as I haven't been able to find anyone in a similar situation.
There seems to be alot of advice around for fathers who are local with evening / weekend access to see a child, and then half the holidays. But not for a father who has to wait 6-8 weeks to see his child for a holiday. If he is actually allowed to have the holiday.
If mediation doesn't work (I really hope it does as I do believe this is the correct way to do things), how would the family court likely decide on the each of the items I have asked you about.
Is there any previous examples or guidance that they would follow.
Would it require CAFCAS to be involved?
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