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Is there a minimum for child access

  • pgh
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17 Jul 12 #343698 by pgh
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Hi
Is there a minimum period of access you can have with your children. I''ve heard anecdotally that as the NRP (father) that I should be able to expect to have the chidren every toher weekend and 1 overnight stay during the week (plus a week at xmas,easter and 2 weeks in the summer) is this the case?
My work are being very flexible about what pattern I do so there is no issue there. I have ftted my pattern so that for 8 out of the 12 days a month my stbx works I am off to look after the kids - so i feel I have demonstrated my commitment to being there as a caring father.
We had originally agreed what I have described above through our collaborative lawyers but now my wife wants to change the goal posts and deny me access during the week. She has alluded that it would disrupt the kids routine - like the divorce won''t? But if it becomes a regular pattern surely a new routine can be established?

  • Chained
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17 Jul 12 #343727 by Chained
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May I ask how old the children are?

Do you share PR?

How far from school and her house to do live?

My son is 6 and we have alternate weeks with him. There is no sign of disruption, on the contrary the school reports are more than positive. He has adopted to the new schedule and knows what to expect and what is expected of him. This has been going on for two years now.

I can see by what you are saying that you are a committed father that wants to spend time with his children and be a part of their lives. Have you considered the 50-50 option?
Maybe instead of the minimum you start considering the maximum.;-)

Best of luck. C

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17 Jul 12 #343874 by pgh
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Thanks C we are still in the same house but are splitting as soon as the legals are done with. The children are 6 and 9 and we both intend to stay in the vacinity so both of us will be no further than 2-3 miles from the school. I do have PR as both children were born during our marriage.
When I talked to my solicitor about joint custody he said it wasn''t straight forward as the children''s wishes had to be considered - but by a 6 year old?
Am I being given duff gen on this point?

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17 Jul 12 #343878 by sexysadie
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I don''t think that a six year old''s wishes will be taken much into consideration, but the 9 year old''s will certainly have weight and the court (if you get that far) will want to have the same arrangement for both. However, what will be taken very seriously is what is in their best interests. Shared care can work very well if parents are able to co-operate long-term and children don''t mind moving about - as Chained says, alternate weeks is a good model so they get some consistency about where they are. What you don''t want is children moving from house to house several times a week.

But to answer your initial question, no, there is no legal minimum.

One way of taking your wife''s concerns seriously but having longer contact periods would be to stick with alternate weekends but make them a bit longer - say Thursday evening to Tuesday morning, with school pickup and dropoff.

What you describe in your post is a very common arrangment, but really you have to work out what is best for your family.

Best wishes,
Sadie

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17 Jul 12 #343917 by zonked
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pgh - It''s quite common place for children to have midweek overnight contact. Arguably, such arrangements support the child by narrowing the period of no contact, allowing the child a sense of continuity. It also means that you would be involved in collecting/dropping to school and with that would come a raft of benefits for the child - eg having two parents involved in their wider school life, feeling they have a proper dad, being able to share school experiences with you.

I think you face two hurdles. Putting together child centred arguements, and, minimising the resistance from the ex.

In respect to building your case, I suggest contacting families need fathers who will provide excellent advice and support. Dealing with the ex is more tricky. Perhaps you could offer to pilot the arrangment to see how he get''s on? Offer to give feedback? Commit to duplicating routines he might have?

Good luck

  • Fiona
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18 Jul 12 #343926 by Fiona
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There is no one arrangement that suits all families. If you go to court some judges will award midweek contact and others think it''s disruptive during the school week. Children''s views are considered in light of their age and maturity. Even very young children''s perceptions can be established through drawings etc and may be taken into account. For example, a 4 year old''s perception that he lived in two homes was a factor in a well documented shared residence case.

However, good contact for children relies on parents working together, or at least not against one another, and going to court tends to make that difficult. Therefore it can be worth being flexible and compromising to reach agreement, using a mediator if necessary. Also Parenting Information Programmes encourage parents to put the needs of children first and adopt strategies to resolve difficulties constructively.

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19 Jul 12 #344263 by pgh
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Thanks all for the advice we had a collaborative meeting today. In it I was accused of keeping the kids out until 7.45 on Father''s Day. That one incident is the basis for my ex denying me midweek contact as she insists that our 6 year old should be in bed by 7 p.m. The overnight I suggested contact is the night my wife doesn''t usually get home until 7 so in future she will have to pick our son up from a child minder and so he can''t get to bed at that time. Or someone who is not the parent will be putting him to bed - would a judge accept that as an argument? Its not like she can spend quality time with him as he is usually in bed and all he gets is a quick cuddle from her.
Surely being able to stay with your dad on a night like I have described is more beneficial for my children?

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