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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33813
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My daughter is 22 months old now and I have enjoyed regular

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My daughter is 22 months old now and I have enjoyed regular weekly access, every sunday, from 9am till 4pm. At the beginning of December I moved home to be closer to work and this has meant that I have moved 20 minutes further away from my daughter, travelling time of apron 1hr 10mins, from where her mother lives and for a few weeks I have continued to enjoy my sundays at my new home with my little girl.
I asked if I could have her stay longer with me for Sunday 27th December, which was the only time I have seen my daughter over Christmas and my family had travelled over to visit us, including my mum who hasn't seen my daughter since she was 1 week old. Her mum allowed us to collect her an hour earlier than normal but refused to allow her to stay any later, she did however decide that she would collect her and save me the journey to bring her back on the premise that she would also like to see where i am living, which I had no problem with and she duly arrived at 3PM to collect.
I then that same evening received an email from her to say that the distance is to far and that she would not allow my daughter to travel in my car to my house in future and that I can now only visit at her house on the sunday.
I had prior to moving asked about having her overnight every other weekend once i had got settled in, this was shouted down and I was told that it was not open for discussion and that my daughter was too young ! My daughter is a happy well balanced little girl and I have a great relationship with her, I have been an ever present in her life having been there for the first 4 weeks with her 24/7 then on a weekly basis when her mother moved away, I did in fact have to relocate to be close enough to be in her life.
What are my rights as to level of access to my little girl, i am fed up of being dictated to and made to feel that I should be grateful, I am the parent that has to put up with the minority share and yet its always me who has to compromise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks for your question.
Your daughter has a right to have a relationship with you, and save for any concerns regarding risk and the level of care you provide her, the mother should promote her relationship with you. The mother's reasons to deny contact are unreasonable and not in your daughter's interests.
The level of contact depends on the needs of each child, but it is usual for contact to gradually increase as a child gets older - once a week for a 22 month old is reasonable.
As the mother's position is clear that she does not wish to allow contact I would suggest that you immediately make a referral to an independent mediator (you can find local ones here: familymediationcouncil.org.uk). If mediation is unsuccessful, or unsuitable you can then pursue an application to court for a child arrangement order under form C100 to your local family court, together with a £215 court fee.
Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thank you for the reply.
As I said in the original question, she is now saying that I can see my daughter only by visitation to her house, can I clarify your reply; "As the mothers position is clear that she does not wish to allow contact.....". Is this correct ? Or is it deemed to be that she is denying contact by not making my daughter available for me to collect ?
I accept as you have stated that contact should normally increase gradually and not decrease as she is trying to orchestrate, but can I ask also, further to my original question, I mentioned that I had been requesting for me to have an overnight stay on every alternate week, is this an unreasonable request ? I am currently in the process of decorating and furnishing her bedroom for her to facilitate this. Her mother has point blank refused to discus this to date and whenever I bring it up has only cut me off to say she is too young and her decision is final. I don't believe that she is too young, she will be 2 years old on 8th March. What would be a normal age given my previous contact, for this to start ?
Thanks, Mike.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With regards ***** ***** for mediation, I live in Sheffield now and my daughter is living with her mother in Grantham. Am I right in assuming that any family mediation would have to take place local to where the child resides ?
Thanks, Mike.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HIThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** i have been a family lawyer for more than 30 yearsYour ex is under a misapprehension if she believes that it is up to her to dictate the terms of contact between you and your daughter - it is not.It is something that has to be agreed between you - and if it cannot be agreed then it is for a court to decide the issue.You clearly have a close and loving relationship with your daughter and your ex has clearly believed that you are fully capable of caring for her as otherwise you would not have been having her every sunday for the day.If your ex feels that the two car journeys in one day are too much for the child then the answer is simple - you collect her on the Saturday and take her back on the sunday and contract drops to alternate weeks (but ask for two out of three to start with)There is no "set age" for overnight contact as it depends on the child itself and the relationship with the parent - but in your case is would be a reasonable progression. At the same time you need to ask for longer periods in the holidaysThe starting point is family mediation and if that fails you need to apply for a Child Arrangement OrderYou will find this website helpfulhttp://theparentconnection.org.uk/Clare
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
To further clarify, yes mediation should take place near where the child resides - this will also prevent the mother refusing mediation due to the distance to travel.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare, When you say ask for two out of three to start with ? what exactly do you mean ? Sorry if I'm missing something completely obvious.
Thanks, Mike.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harris,
Thank you again for your reply. Also thank you for your offer for further Q&A time, however, whilst I paid you initially for this question, I have joined the website as a plus member and therefore have unlimited questions. I do not see why I should now pay you an additional £50 for more questions ? I do not know what extra you can offer that I am not already entitled to through membership.
Thanks, Mike.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again Clare,
Another side issue has come to my mind since reading your last reply, you say that at the same time that I need to ask for longer periods in the holidays, are you referring to all school holidays ? As obviously my little girl is not yet of school age, does this matter ? By longer periods, could this be an extra day or two tagged onto a weekend when she were to stay with me, say like a Friday through to Monday ? I would like to able to take her on holiday as well in the summer, this has never been a subject that I have ever been able to bring up before, because I have really just tried to cross one bridge at a time.
Lastly on Sunday10th of January, my sistesr two boys are being christened near there home in Lancashire, I am attending and of course I would like to take my daughter with me to this family event and to be with her only two cousins. I have not even spoken about this to my daughters mum as I was resigned to the fact that she would not allow it.thanks, Mike.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi MikeIt actually doesn't matter where the mediation takes place - but choosing somewhere close to mum will again show the court that your priority is the child and not your needs.By two out of three I meant two weekends out of three - you can only ask and it gives you something to concede as part of the negotiations!I do indeed mean each school holiday - time flies fast as I suspect you are beginning to be aware!At this stage extra days as you suggest and a week in the Uk in summer (building up to two or three weeks anywhere) is a reasonable request 9although you will need to build up to the seven nights)Technically when the child is with you it is for you to decide where you go - but obviously it is a matter for you to assess whether it is the right time to take a stand!
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33813
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Thank you again for your reply. I appreciate the information, especially with regards ***** ***** being down to me to decide where we go and what we do, when she is with me, as her mum is trying to dictate this also as well as full de-brief when i have taken her back. The real issue I feel is that it is her mum that cannot let go rather than what is best for my little girl. With regard to my nephews christening, the issue is more to do with in order to attend i would not be able to return her until around 7:30/8pm and this is where I know she will have the problem ! Overall would this be pushing to much at this juncture to request this ? Although I do feel it is my daughters right and her best interest to be able to attend.
Thanks again, Mike.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
You can certainly ask - it is a reasonable request.However when she refuses I would not make an issue of it - just mention it as one of the triggers for the court application

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