Children's arrangements

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  • #9023 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Hello.

    I have 2 children age 6 and 11. I am divorced with kids dad over 3 years now, but I can’t agree with him on proper time and regular visits for children to see him.

    He want to control my life and only want to see kids on his term that I will be not able to have plans on my own. I was trying to comunicate with him and find compromise but it is not possible. I suggested mediation but he is not interested.

    Can you please help me what I can do because children do want to see him but on regular basis and proper weekends.

    I just don’t know what to do.

    Thank you.

    #9052 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    A few links which might help. I also advise you work on a Parenting Plan together and both sign it. If it then drifts, you can take it further through mediation – if he won’t mediate, you could take him to court to formalise what you initially agreed upon. I have a template with helpful notes on – if you’d like me to email it, PM me:

    Support with any parenting problem: Family Lives 24 hour FREE helpline 0808 800 2222 http://familylives.org.uk

    Can you get legal aid? https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

    Publicly funded legal advice and/or representation: http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid-for-private-family-matters

    Advice re: arrangements for children, mediation, going to court http://www.advicenow.org.uk

    Separation disputes: http://www.sortingoutseparation.org.uk

    Arrangements for children: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/

    Going to court without a lawyer: Personal Support Unit http://thepsu.org/

    Representing yourself in court: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/instructing-a-barrister/representing-yourself-in-court

    Publicly funded mediation: http://find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk

    Children should be at the centre of all decision-making: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/179714/fjypb_national_charter_1013.pdf

    <span style=”mso-fareast-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin; color: black; mso-themecolor: text1; mso-font-kerning: 18.0pt; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;”>Practice Direction 12b – Child Arrangements Programme: </span>https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_12b

     

    <span style=”mso-fareast-font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin; color: black; mso-themecolor: text1; mso-font-kerning: 18.0pt; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB;”>McKenzie Friends (can supply moral support at court; take notes; help with case papers; quietly give advice on the conduct of the case): </span>http://mckenzie-friend.org.uk/services.html

     

    #9059 Report

    flyingsolo
    Participant

    Hi Emma,

     

    I am so sorry to hear about the problems that you are experiencing with your children’s father.

    There are a lot of useful links in the last post, however as a quick suggestion, if you want to formalise and structure the children’s contact with their father, and if he is unwilling to attend mediation, you might have to consider applying for a Child Arrangements Order from the courts. These orders are used to formally arrange WHO your children can spend time with and WHEN they spend time with them. As it is an order of the court, it is backed by the court.

    You can get more information on the Citizens Advice website or the gov.uk website.

    I hope that helps…

    All the best…

    #9091 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Thank you all very much for your help. I am trying to read all the links but it is still very confusing:(

    I was trying so many times to find good compromise but it is really not working. Only so feel sorry for children not seeing their dad almost 3 months.

    He saying that he is trying to sort it out this officially but don’t telling me how.

    Should I just wait untill he will apply for children contact order in court? Do you know if it will cost him or me or both money? Is it not like court will send us yo mediation anyway?Because if he will apply for how he want yo see children then will I still can say it is not good for me? Who will tell us how this suposted to be?

    Sorry I hope it all make sence.

    Thank you:))

    #9103 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    I can answer specific questions – there is a lot to learn and read, but I’ve been preparing my court case since January so I’m a bit ahead of the game so you might as well use me!

    1. He can’t go to court without a MIAM (a special signed document from a Mediator), which he can only get through mediation. He might be able to get a one-to-one mediation with a MIAM specialist but they won’t sign off the MIAM without attempting to engage you also. So if he’s saying definitely no and you’re saying yes, he can’t take you to court.

    2. If he gets it because the Mediator feels court is the only way forward to resolve this (doesn’t sound like they will) then he will pay the court cost (£215). I strongly advise you not to get a solicitor, for reasons I’ll go into if you need to know more. I would strongly recommend getting a McKenzie Friend (see last link above) for the court appearance. They can’t speak on your behalf, but they know everything a Solicitor knows and can make sure you don’t step into bear traps. Their costs vary, but you could be looking at between £150-£300 for the day (maybe less) and they are well worth it. You might want to book an hour with them before the court appearance so they have time to review the court paperwork and prepare themselves. That will be around £50 I imagine, though some do that for free. There’s more info if you need it, just PM me. One of the links above shows how you could get financial help with getting a MF on board anyway. See the third link above – you might be eligible for free legal help also. So it may cost you nothing at all, except a maximum of three hours out of your day.

    3. The first court appearance is actually more like Mediation anyway with a CAFCASS representative. It won’t go before a judge/magistrate until they are satisfied that you have tried to mediate a solution. If there are real concerns, they may put the second appearance back by months to make a more detailed report.

    4. The first you will hear if it goes to court is you’ll receive copies of his forms and parenting plan and possibly position statement (why he felt it necessary to come to court because mediation broke down – but of course there hasn’t even been any mediation!) You then get chance to fill out your parts of the form and start deciding what in his Parenting Plan you do or do not agree with and why. CAFCASS will arrange to call you for about 45 mins to hear your side of the story and put a report together for the court. I can send you an example Parenting Plan if you PM me your email address to give you an idea of things you might want in it. This would be a good exercise for when you do get to mediation. As I was advised, ask for absolutely everything because it all gets negotiated down anyway, but if you don’t ask, you can’t start adding things later.

    From what you’ve said there’s no way he can take you to court anyway, so don’t worry. I suspect he will eventually get back in touch and suggest mediation! People like the drama of saying “take you to court!”  but it’s not a straightforward process and is not automatic. The courts only care about the welfare of the children, not the parents. Clearly, that is an area that needs negotiation between you two. If by some quirk it does go to court then the fact you’ve been pushing for mediation and he’s blocked it all the way (which CAFCASS will report on from your first court date), then that’s going to put him in a bad place with the court and he’ll come out with less than he’s got now, AND it will be binding. You are being reasonable and he isn’t.

    All the best.

    #9293 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Wow! Thank you so very much for so great answers 🙂

    You all are absolutely brilliant. I am very grateful for such a big help:)

    I really hope I don’t need to go court…but I think it may be only one way:(

    In the mean time of waiting for my ex move.He email me that I will get letter about access and children. Letter I am quessing will be from his solicitor. So as I read before it can happen through solicitors…like exchange letters…

    We will see and I will let you all know as soon as I will receive letter.

    Have a lovely Easter and again thank you and all the best :))

    #9561 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Hello All,

    I hope you all had nice Easter.

    I just wanted to update you what happened. Like you predicted he come back to me with letter from mediation company sugesting mediator proces!

    Few years ago we had 2 mediation meeting about financial subject but it didn’t end up very well as he said that lady missed informed us and she was only on my side and he wanted money back!

    Anyway I said to mediator that I can go but he will have to pay because I don’t want to use my money for children.Mediator said that he can ask my ex if he will pay but if he will say no(which he will say no for sure ) then our case is closed and I can’t later say I found money!

    I just don’t know what to do especially that he is very good manipulator and controlling …etc.To be honest I am a bit afraid to sit with him in one room if I need to negotiate:( I know we can be in separate rooms but it will take longer and will cost more money.First assessent over phone is £99 and mediation one sesion 1,5 hours is £150!! And it is not quatantie that we will agree on anything.

    But even we will than it will be not legally binding and he can change his mind.

    Another thing they said they will help us with parenting plan but it will cost again £60 per person.

    Does anyone had any experience already?

    I will really appreciate your help and thank you so much

    Emma

    #9562 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    You don’t have to go to the mediator he suggests. I refer you again to this link I posted: <span style=”color: #1a1919; font-family: Lato, sans-serif;”>Publicly funded mediation: </span>http://find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk

    If you PM me your email address I can send you across a Parent Plan template and help you fill it in. If you can both agree on it outside of mediation, you won’t need to pay for it! If you can’t then mediation isn’t going to work anyway. If he wants to go to mediation he can pay for it. Don’t worry about going to court if it comes to that as saying you couldn’t afford his mediator’s fees and instead put the money towards the children, that’s not going to go against you.

    Let me know if I can help further.

    #9563 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    By the way, a mediator of his choosing may not have the right to sign off a MIAM anyway, so it won’t help him get to court!

    #9680 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Hello,

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    I am struggling with my decision what to do.I called few mediation firms and they said I can use MIAM but they agree with me that mediation will be not good idea. Over last 3 months we are trying to agree about times and days he will have children…but we couldn’t agree even a little…so mediation will be the same…I also had history with him due to herrasement by him and domestic abuse.I was afraid from the start but I over year later I reported to the police.

    I found parenting plan through cafcass and invited him to work using parenting plan…..but I am sure he will not response as he just probably waiting for my response about mediation.

    What I am thinking now is to just leave that all and no response OR call his mediation firm and say I will try to do mediation when he will pay or I will say that this is not good idea🤔

    I am afraid that if I will not try mediation it will go against me in court.

    Do I even have limit time to respond about mediation?

    Thank you again so much!

     

    #11513 Report

    emma
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I eventually not go mediation even he suggested this and I received letter from mediation…. so my ex husband said he will apply for court.

    I think my ex husband is angry because I ask child support agency that they can check how much money he has to pay me for 2 children. Now he thinks he need official documents to show them how many night kids staying with him that they can reduce his maintenance. I called them and they said that it will be enough if I will tell them…but he said he still want to go court. ( just so you know in January he had kids one night and in May for 2 nights only)

    Do you know what will happen now? Will I receive letter from solicitor or court? Will I need to find solicitor myself?

    What I should expect?

    Thank you

    #11521 Report

    Snowflakes
    Participant

    If there is a history of domestic abuse then mediation is not appropriate and things go straight to court.

    Try and find out if you are eligible for legal aid – some people are although they change the rules pretty frequently –  at present I think  it’s low income, and domestic abuse reported to the police in the past 12 months.  But legal aid is more widely available for those having suffered domestic abuse than it is otherwise.

    #11522 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    Reported domestic abuse does not require a MIAM. If he won’t negotiate at all, mediation probably is pointless. It won’t go against you in the least if he takes you to court. You have a lot on your side, if nothing else, then purely by the domestic violence. All the best.

    Some of these may help:

    Support with any parenting problem: Family Lives 9am-9pm weekdays, 10am-3pm weekends FREE helpline 0808 800 2222 http://familylives.org.uk

    Can you get legal aid? https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

    Publicly funded legal advice and/or representation: http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid-for-private-family-matters

    Advice re: arrangements for children, mediation, going to court http://www.advicenow.org.uk

     

    Separation disputes: http://www.sortingoutseparation.org.uk

    Going to court without a lawyer: Personal Support Unit http://thepsu.org/

    Representing yourself in court: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/instructing-a-barrister/representing-yourself-in-court

     

    Publicly funded mediation: http://find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk

     

     

    #11545 Report

    Tinky
    Participant

    Hi ,

     

    I am new to gingerbread and am in awe of the information available in this thread. I have a very different, but nontheless very complicated and challenging situation and need lots of advice to support my next move. ‘Empty’ you mentioned a parent plan that you’d be happy to share…..could I please ask for this and if you’re willing how do I pm you from this page?

    Huge thanks.

     

    #11546 Report

    Empty
    Participant

    Hi Tinky – I’ve PM’d you – top of the screen right, Your Account, Messages (1).

    Chat soon.

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