The Judge granted everything everything he wanted. I always have Christmas eve and Christmas Day but then they are away for a week until the evening of New Years Day. He has the next two Easters as they fall at the beginning of the holiday and has the rest of that week. If there are extra days at Easter including Inset days these are to be divided and the extra days added to his week.
My birthday falls at the beginning of the Summer Holidays, he has the children every year for that weekend and a day. Even naming my birthday as one of the days he has for this year (Judge was unaware of this, my solicitor said nothing). He has two full weeks on the 2nd and 5th weeks of the holidays which include the Saturdays before and at the end of the week. In effect I have one weekend with the children that he does not have half of. In reality I cannot take the children away for seven days at any point in the year (where accomodation is booked most places are Saturday to Saturday).- I will always be paying for holiday when I must bring the children home earlier. ( I will probably be fined by the local authority if I take holiday in term time) My solicitor said v.little and when he did he was shot down in flames by the Judge with nasty looks and any comment was instantly disregarded. My need to have a week where I could take the children away was discussed in court and the Judge agreed to me having week 3 and 4 in Summer . However by giving the ex the Saturdays at either end of this time I cannot in reality enjoy a full holiday experience with my children. My solicitor was pretty useless in fact and represented me, I believe very poorly. My ex had a barrister with 33 years experience who got without exception absolutely everything he demanded.
I was given little time with my solicitor to discuss this before the Judge railroaded it through.(The Offer was made at 10.30 the exact time we were to go before the Judge for a residency hearing which the ex would have probably lost.) In fairness my solicitor shouted at me alot in the brief time when he was in the room with me. I think he felt under pressure and conveyed that to me.
The Judge took no notice of the fact that my ex has placed the children in Pembs ( with grandparents) for the majority of every half term contact and Easter declaring that the Easter event was 'new evidence' and she would not hear it. However she then heard the other side declare that I was being investigated for harassment and never said that this was new evidence. I believe the placing of children elsewhere shows the contact demands are about taking the children away from their mother and their home with her, and certainly not about time with the children. He engages in motorway handovers with the grandparents but spend the first night and last night at his home.
The Judge also refused to hear me on the subject of the change in weekend contact arrangements where the children are to stay an extra night with dad every other weekend. He now collects from school on a Friday and takes to school on Monday. My 4 year old starts full-time education in September and I was not allowed to speak about my concerns about the timings of all this. 36 hours away from home a week instead of the 15 he is used to in Education and then an additional 56 hours away from home on his father's weekends. The Judge said I had to dismiss my solicitor if I wished to be heard. She was a very intimidating Judge!
The Judge also stated the children are only to speak to me once during stays of seven days of more. She was told they never ask to speak to me when in fact they are always distracted or told it is not possible when they do ask. They are 5 and 4 years. My solicitor said nothing on this subject.