my wife and i are seperated and have relatively amicable week-to-week arrangements for contact for our children, aged 9 and 3.
My problem is holiday contact, she is refusing to let me have more than five consecutive days and in the six week holidays ( I am a teacher), she is refusing to guarantee any more than 2x 5 day spells. I find this outrageous and having interim financial arrangements that are leaving me broke, am at a bit of a loss. She has been negotiating with me thro solicitors but it is going nowhere.
I am very reluctant to meet fire with fire for fear of making things much worse but feel the children are losing contact with me.
I don't think there is any right or wrong about this, just two parents wanting to do different things. There is no set regime that suits all families and for contact to work, even when courts make an order, there is a degree of co-operarion required. In fact courts have a no order principle and will only make an order when all else fails. It seems as though contact per se isn't an issue because there are relatively amicable week-to-week arrangements.
Your wife may have a point. In the Cafcass (the organisation that advises courts about children) notes on contact it says children under three may find staying contact more difficult and young children may need much reassurance to be away from the place
they see as home and usually manage frequent, short periods of contact best.
Would a compromise work? Say you agree to her suggestion this year in return for written agreement to increase the contact to half the holidays in future years. Court is never a good place to resolve child related problems because there is a tendency for one party or the other to be left feeling resentful and resistant then problems can become self perpetuating. mediation is a much better way of dealing with child related arrangements.
Thank you for taking the time to reply - I really don't have a clue about any of this or how to go about it.
I cannot face the prospect of summer with so little contact with the children having shared the care with my wife who also worked full time - it seems like I may have to get used to it. She has refused mediation and insists if I dont accept the proposed contact all negotiations will cease - whatever that means
Keep thinking I couldn't be any worse off. Thanks again
Sounds as though you're between a rock and a hard place. It's really about what is best for the children and minimising the deep hurt they feel when their parents engage in conflict. Hopefully things will settle in time and your wife will mellow. If not, I know lots of techniques for dealing with difficult exs.
In case you do get the opportunity to discuss matters Attilla has posted a useful list of contact dos and don'ts and there is another (it might even be the same one) at www.nncc.org/Parent/visitdo.html
I have to say she is lucky, my husband offers nothing during holidays, when I ask I get the same answer, "I have to work" it has been over two years now, I am trying to re-build my life, I have gone back into education and I am presently at university, outside that I have the children, which some may see as being lucky, they are getting older and have their own lives, what about mine? its put on hold. I think you need to try and reason with her on this subject, difficult I know but put the emphasis on her needing a break. maybe
I obviusly agree ....I only live round the corner and am available almost every hour i don't work! she doesn't really talk to me so its hard to sell the benefits to her. I had naively thought that she would see it was in their best interests as well as hers but it seems not. I will keep bashing away and think you should do the same. I imagine you see the other side of things - a restricted life with no dad to take things on too