My ex and I have an 11 month old daughter. He has already taken me to Court over contact to her, he is very bullying and only happy when he gets his own way. Court finished on 9 February 2015 with contact being agreed at 5 hours on a weekday (due to my work) and 3 hours on a weekend. It was also agreed that when Bella reaches a year old (8 June) contact will progress to the father having her for a whole day and 3 hours on the weekend. It was not specified in the Court Order but I intended the whole day to be on a week day as I would be working and it would be better for Bella to spend time with her father rather than being in childcare. The agreement was mutual between myself and the father and the Court did not involve itself in our decision but created the Order. However her father as of this month is pushing and bullying me for the Order to be changed. He wants to be able to take Bella to his parents' to see her extended family. They live an hour and a half away. To take this into account he wants the full day to be held on alternate weekends.
The father works shifts and his contact days change every 6 weeks. He will have her either Sunday/Monday or Friday/Saturday. I work 2.5 days a week in an office and my days are set. I work Monday morning, all day Wednesday and all day Friday. It should be noted that at this current time I do not get 2 days together with my daughter.
To allow for this I suggested the following proposal:
Sunday/Saturday - 6 hours
Monday/Friday - 8.30am to 5.45pm
Week 2 Monday/Friday 8.30am to 5.45pm.
This gave him one full day a week, which helped me with childcare, and the two 3 hour sessions were consolidated into one 6 hour session to be held every other weekend. He refused this and suggested the following:-
Sunday/Saturday - 3 hours
Monday/Friday - all day
Sunday/Saturday - all day
Monday/Friday - 5 hours.
This was his comment in reply to my proposal -
"As for your 2 week router suggestion I can not and will not agree to it as you are reducing my visitations from 2 visits each week to 2 visits every second week."
Whereas his suggestion in principle would work, it would create problems for me because I do not have childcare in place to cover the remainder of Friday. For the previous Friday sessions I took half days off work, knowing it was only a short-term arrangement, but this cannot continue and I will have to work a full day on Friday. By having her for 5 hours on a Friday (presumably the morning) it will leave her with nobody to look after her for the afternoon. I would suggest going ahead with the Sunday/Monday changes now, but the Friday/Saturday changes would have to wait until October, when my nanny for Bella goes on maternity leave and Bella will be moved to a nursery. As his time with Bella increased, he would actually have 2 days in a row with Bella, and an overnight as well, and I would only have one full day on a weekend. He also intends to have Bella for overnight contact at 18 months old and wants her to stay with him 3 nights a week by the time she is 4. He brought this up in Court but the Court refused to plan this far ahead however he is pushing now for a date for overnights:-
"I would also like a date from you in which Isabella will be able to start staying the night with myself. This will give me something to look forward to and start preparing for. I will not accept your “wait and see” suggestion as that day will never come.
Isabella's happiness, as I have previously mentioned, is my number one priority and should I feel that things are not going well with her staying over then I would be the first to say so and an alternative plan would have to be made."
Bella currently co-sleeps with me and he is aware of this. She also suffered a stroke prior to birth and this caused extensive damage to the right side of her brain. She is therefore behind in her development from normal babies. She can only just sit up and cannot roll over or crawl yet. She sleeps on her belly and will not sleep on her back, when she wakes as I co sleep I am able to quickly turn her over and put her on her back to save her struggling to lift her head up. Her left arm and hand do not work very well.
My ex currently lives over an hour's drive from me and I do not agree to him having her for 3 nights a week every week as this would severely limit my quality of time with Bella, however that is not being enforced at this current time although it is what he wants. I should also point out that Bella will be attending a preschool next year due to the fact that I am a single parent on a low income.
What sort of contact should be allowed right now? What can I do about overnights? When does a Court consider it acceptable to allow overnight contact in young children? I read on the Family Link website that this was possible at one night a month initially.
Apologies for the lengthy message x