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Residency & Contact

  • sexysadie
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17 Jul 12 #343812 by sexysadie
Reply from sexysadie
In family courts there is just a judge, no jury, and most judges have seen all this before.

The children''s right to see both parents is what is in the law. Parents don''t have rights in this regard, just children.

From what you were saying your ex doesn''t want 50:50 in any case; he wants 100%. He''s never going to get that given your long history as main carer.

50:50 only really works where there is good co-operation (which there clearly isn''t in your case) so I would hope that the judge wouldn''t give it to him. I get the impression that courts are moving away from it in any case as the contested cases are the ones in which it is least likely to work.

Being a great dad is more than giving the children a lot of treats, and courts understand that. So do the children, I expect, really, even though they might not admit it.

Best wishes,

  • Fiona
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17 Jul 12 #343823 by Fiona
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When determining contact and residence the courts will take into account the welfare checklist in s1 Children Act 1989. This includes the views of children according to their age and understanding, background and how each parents is placed for caring for the children. It is an uphill struggle justifying disrupting children''s sense of security by changing the established arrangement for childcare unless there is independent professional evidence that children aren''t surviving satisfactorily.

Allegations and counter allegations of DV, parental alienation, child neglect or abuse are quite common. A judge will have difficulty choosing between two versions of the same story without evidence. Independent evidence from professionals such as teachers, social workers, police and GPs carries considerable weight. Evidence families and friends etc doesn''t carry a great deal of weight although it may be used as a basis for further investigation.

When there is evidence of DV the courts consider the effects of DV on the children and the other parent. There is a presumption that children have the right to a relationship with both parents in all but the most exceptional of cases. The court makes no order for contact in less then 1% of cases. Children who are insecure about their natural parents tend to grow up with self esteem leading to emotional and behavioural problems in later life such as dysfunctional adulthood relationships.

Even though a parent''s behaviour leaves much to be desired by most peoples standards the court will weigh up any harm caused by DV against the harm children suffer when they loose the relationship with one of their natural parents. Parenting doesn''t need to be great, just good enough. With low levels of abuse it is a case of balancing the harm of DV against the strenghts of the attachment with a parent, including any measures that might be put in place . Measures might be third party handovers or attendance of programmes for DV perpetrators or anger management.

There is a no order principle and sole residence is usually only granted when it is deemed inappropriate for a child to "live" with the other parent, there is no other way of resolving the dispute and it is better for the child than no order. The outcome of a significant proportion of residence applications is shared residence, although shared residence doesn''t have to be 50:50, it can be in different proportions. Orders for 50:50 shared residence aren''t that common but sometimes they have been awarded to underline the importance of both parents and equalise the power between them.

  • Chained
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17 Jul 12 #343840 by Chained
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It is not easy to answer any of your questions, as I have not been present throughout your relationship with your ex husband.

Your posts though made me reflect once more on my situation and my feelings during and before the break-up maybe if I share some of these you might find it useful, maybe not.

I will begin by saying that I am not trying to imply anything, if you at any point think this. This is trictly a personal account of events and feelings.

A separation does not happen overnight, it is a gradual alienation that causes a lot of different feelings a reactions to both partners. I remember that before our separation things used to get heated very quickly and simple discussions turn into arguments and yes, all this in front of our back then 3 year old son. Stupid and irresponsible but human. I used to be really terrified of my ex. If you read Katie Holmes''s breakup, this is how I did it exactly. The disposable cell phones, lawyer in another city, the full package.

My ex, in my eyes at the time, had turned into a full time tyrant. Controlling, obsessive and aggressive. We had also some physical exchange of power... nothing more than grabbing and pushing, but physical non the less. He even stated that if I leave him he will kill me... Scared yet? I was mortified. Then, and after I calmly announced my leaving the house, having found an apartment and have managed being on welfare until I stand on my feet, I started realizing how painful this is for him and how painful it had been for some time. And then I understood that in the same manner that he scared me, I scared him, too. He went through all this emotional torment of watching me fade away right in front of his eyes. That made me question as to weather or not he might be reacting to these feelings and I started changing my way of handling situation.

I stopped defending myself when confronted with his anger and disappointment. he was still cruel and verbally abusive but all I see was a man that was in pain. I, too had a lot of reservations about how he would handle our son if left alone with him. Would he be abusive to him too if he lost his temper? Would he be able to care for him and provide him with the practical and emotional things he might need? Then I started going back to when we met and when we had our son together and instead of seeing the man of NOW I started remembering the man of THEN and slowly recognizing the father in all this mess. SO I reluctantly gave him a chance. Of course it was difficult. I HAD to make sure that our son was being taken care of and it took me some time to realize that he was, even if he got chocolate before dinner, did it really matter? He got dinner anyway! ;-)

Today and after a lot of work between us, me and my ex enjoy a very good friendship and a bond that is created by our son but transects it considerably. We share 50-50 and we do a lot of things together, together with his new wife and my partner. We go tot he cabin, fishing, shopping, have nights at eachother''s houses. This way I have gained a best friend and my son enjoys both his parents in a number of occasions.

My point with all this blah blah blah is that sometimes situations bring the worst out of people, especially break ups. The way we see eachother when going through this difficult process can easily project our fears or even misconceptions. I hope this is the case in most break ups, anyway.

Having said that, if there was a chance in Hell that my ex would abuse in any way my son, I would not let him go near him, ever. But then I would handle things quite differently.

On another note, nothing is being given to us, we have to work for whatever we receive.The same with your ex. If he was absent for a considerable time from your child''s life, he has to work his way to the 50, 60 or 70%... and you need to be assured that he can be a not perfect but OK father.

As for "he has the money so it is better for the kids" this is BS. Mine tried the same trick, he was scared and desperate. FAIL. Trust me he is going nowhere with this and if this is his only argument he will raise a lot of eyebrows in court or CAFCASS.

I wish you luck and I will be looking for your posts so that I get updated.

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