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Full Hearing

  • Plumka
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10 Aug 12 #348553 by Plumka
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Hi,

My husband has two daughters (5 and almost 3 years old), who live with their mother, who is the primary carer. At the moment we can see them every other weekend from Friday evening until Sunday evening and once during the week for an hour and a half (including the pick up and drop off). Both families live c3 miles from each other. We had a review hearing last week, where we asked for a continuation of the alternating weekends, but also asked for an overnight contact during the week - to continue the pattern we had, but make it over night instead of an hour and a half. We have also asked The Judge for a full CAFCASS report, because the mother doesn''t want the children to stay with us and even put in her Position Statement that that would mean that her CSA would be reduced if the children stayed with us more (we are asking for 4 nights in 14). Their other reason is that the Father cannot guarantee 100% that he will be able to drop the children off to school/nursery on every single of these mornings due to his full time work, and they don''t want me, his wife and the childrens ''stepmother'' to do it. The Judge said the CAFCASS report is not necessary and as the parties didn''t agree on anything, the full hearing is in two months. The mother is publicly funded, so has a solicitor and a barrister representing her, we will be representing ourself, as we cannot afford it. We counted on the CAFCASS report, as we know how much the children want to stay with us and hoped that a third party will be able to see it. What are our chances now, when there is no CAFCASS involved? Is there anything we can do in the preparation for a full hearing?

I forgot to add that the children have a half-brother here, too. He is 2 months old and the children adore him and love to be around him and help. So we think that the 4 nights in 14 we are asking for is not unreasonable for the children to spend with their Dad and their half-brother and also that we can be a part of their school day routine, as well as the weekend one. Both girls are very close to me and are confiding in me a lot. We want to do our best to be able to win this and have them stay with us just that little bit more. Is there anything in particular we should get ready for for this hearing?

  • u6c00
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10 Aug 12 #348571 by u6c00
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I think it''s impossible to say how likely things are. A CAFCASS report would have been a big tick in your favour.

Is it possible that you might be able to agree not to reduce the CSA money? The ex may have just seen a reduction due to your new child (congratulations by the way) so may mistakenly believe that he is trying to minimise payments.

Be prepared for this argument: There is a new baby at the house who won''t be sleeping through the night yet. Therefore overnight contact on a school night is not appropriate.

I don''t think you are being unreasonable in what you want but just be prepared for that argument!

  • Forseti
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10 Aug 12 #348600 by Forseti
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This is a simple and entirely reasonable request for a small increase in contact. There is no need for CAFCASS to get involved unless there are welfare concerns. I can''t see any reason why a court should not grant the order. If the CSA argument is the best the mother can come up with there shouldn''t be any problem. Generally an increase in contact makes a father''s costs rise more than any reduction in the CS he has to pay. It simply isn''t a valid argument.

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