All, we are in the process of splitting up. Living already in separate houses.
Am trying gauge what are my chances of getting 50:50 which we had agreed verbally and told the kids together that they will spend equal time with each parent. She has now decided its not in the kids best interests(though the kids say otherwise).
Am a caring doting father who will go part time or get help from grand parents/child care help to make this happen. Also earn more than her. Am happy for her to have 50, would rather have the lions share if I can.
What is the criteria used by family courts to determine this. She is now keeping the kids longer with her and denigrating me in front of them. This doesn't help and the longer it goes the worse it is for kids and my chances of having kids with a reasonable arrangement.
My counsellor says 2 men she has worked with got 50:50 recently. Am seeing more and more cases on here and mumsnet.
Sorry to hear about your situation. I managed to get 50/50 but it was hard work. Unless you go to court it is upto you both to decide, possibly with the help of a mediator. This would be the best route I would say as it will give you both some flexibility rather than sticking to a court order.
There is no automatic right for the mother to have the children when you split up, which is what I found out and you already agreed with one another on this. It would all depend on the practicalities such as how close you are to school, whether you both have enough bedrooms to do joint care, which sounds like you have?
This was nearly three years ago for me and only just getting settled, so I would say you sound like a great caring dad and to keep trying to negotiate with their mum and if not get some legal advice, but making sure for time being you get at least some regular time with them whilst doing that.
What do you think made her change her mind? Could it have something to do with the financial split or maintenance etc. How old are the children and are the practicalities of 50:50 workable and realistic?
Would hate to think it's a tactical move on her part, but strange that she agreed and then changed her mind for no good reason.
The criteria used by the Courts when considering what arrangements are in the best interests of the child is found under section 1 of the CHildren Act 1989 and is often referred to as the welfare CHecklist:
Welfare of the child.
(1)When a court determines any question with respect to—
(a)the upbringing of a child; or
(b)the administration of a child’s property or the application of any income arising from it,
the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration.
(2)In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child.
(3)In the circumstances mentioned in subsection (4), a court shall have regard in particular to—
(a)the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
(b)his physical, emotional and educational needs;
(c)the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
(d)his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
(e)any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
(f)how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
(g)the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
(4)The circumstances are that—
(a)the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge a section 8 order, and the making, variation or discharge of the order is opposed by any party to the proceedings; or
(b)the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge [F1a special guardianship order or] an order under Part IV.
(5)Where a court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under this Act with respect to a child, it shall not make the order or any of the orders unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.
It's often not helpful to think of dividing up a child's time in terms of percentages, think more about the practical arrangements for your children in terms of living with both you and thier mum, how will they get to/from school & activities, how will the arrangements fit in with your work and mum's work etc. It may be useful for you to write out a parenting plan covering all the aspects of the children's lives so you can start to put together some proper proposals that are beneficial to the children, rather than just talking about 50/50.
I agree with Rubytuesday that thinking in terms of 50/50 isn't really helpful and won't go down well with the court. Try to think - as the courts are supposed to - in terms of what is best for the children. It is important that they have good, flexible access to both of you when they need it, that they can feel at home in both of your houses and that they feel you are making arrangements for their benefit and not for the convenience of either of you. Contact between children and their parents shouldn't be driven by financial considerations or be a reward for good parenting before separation; it should only be driven by the children's welfare.
I feel it is done for financial reasons. We had worked out a 50:50 plan as we live very near each other and the school they go to. Only reasons now being given are its not best interests for the children. She knows I can provide for them better than she can.