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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35043
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 ex-husband wants to take me back to mediation even though

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My ex-husband wants to take me back to mediation even though we went through mediation in January when the divorce was going through. He wants to change the current childcare arrangements. I have two girls aged 8 and 10. They are happy with the arrangements and don't want to change things. Do I have to agree to anything in mediation? He has threatened me with court as well. We have a two week rota in place and he sees the girls every Tuesday evening until 7.30pm, every other Thursday overnight and every other weekend Friday and Saturday nights. Last time he was pushing for Friday to Monday every other weekend and one overnight stay each week. The school holidays currently follow the same sleep time arrangements but he has them 50:50 during the day. I think he wants to change this to have them a week at a time during the longer holidays and one of us have them in October half term and one in February half term. The girls don't want to change anything as they are happy with the current routine. They have just come back from a week with him and my youngest has said she doesn't want to go on holiday with him ever again and my eldest said she spent most of the holiday in kids club or with her friends and she didn't see Daddy at all. He claims he wants quality time with them but in the same breath is working out if he can pay me less child support. He only pays the minimum 20% now. How should I approach the mediation? He has currently sent me an email requesting dates in the next 6-8 weeks I have yet to respond.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Have you considered overing more overnight contact during the holidays?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello! He had them for a weeks holiday during this summer holiday and he has them overnight one night a week one week and two nights during week two. The girls don't want to stay with him any more than that. I have asked them if they want to and they are quite adamant that they are happy to have him for the day but want to stay the night with me. My ex doesn't let them communicate with me that much when he has them which I don't think helps them when they are missing me.
In that case agree to mediation - and a mediator trained to work with young people as well so that the children's wishes can be brought to the discussions
It is fair to say that school holidays are usually shared rather more than the current pattern - and if they are spending the day with him it is hard to see why they should not also spend the night - but it is about what the children are content with and frankly limiting their contact with you is clearly self defeating from his point of view!
Whilst you are in Mediation do try and agree a parenting plan to be clear about what is essential in terms of their care - and what is advisory if he doesn't want grouchy children
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. The problem is that he doesn't see they are grouchy. He thinks it's me saying things that aren't true - which I'm not. He has threatened me with court so what is the minimum he would get at court regardless of the children's wishes?
That is why you need to ensure that the mediator is trained to work with children
I think the current pattern plus half of the school holidays is your worst case scenario - but friday to monday is also a possibility
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


You are most welcome
You may find this website useful
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I had my mediation session yesterday and essentially my ex-husband wants to change the following:

> Sunday drop off back to me from 3pm to 6pm or 7pm.

His reason : so that he can do things with his new girlfriend that might not finish until 4-5pm or he can go away for the weekend

My reason not to : the girls need to calm down, have some Mummy time, finish any homework, get ready for school, pack their school bags, get ready for the week, music practice, bath, hair wash, nails, ears. About once every 3 or 4 of his weekends they also have choir that starts at 4.30pm until 7.30pm. If they don't have choir I like to get them in bed for 7pm on a Sunday as Sunday and Monday are the only nights they can go to bed early.

> He wants the half terms to be different. He wants them in Feb so he can take them skiing (he has never been in his life so I suspect he wants to go skiing for the week and because he has the kids for 2.5 days he will have to take them with him. My response is that the girls like having us equally across the holidays - 2.5 days each. Plus now the girls are older they are going to want to do different things in the holidays with their friends.

> currently the holidays are 50:50 but he couldn't manage all the holidays in the summer so several of the days that he was due to have them other people looked after them - including my parents. If he isn't going to have the girls to them look after them himself - why can't I have them?

> Communication with the girls when he has them

He wants to limit me to have one phone call on a Saturday at 6pm only. I drop the girls Friday morning at school and then get them back on Sunday. The girls have their I-touches so can easily message as long as there is wi-fi. I like to speak to them morning and night but he says that's too much. I suggested : Friday - I-touch messages, Sat am - I- touch messages or text via his phone if there isn't any wi-fi, Sat pm facetime (he won't commit to this only a phone call); Sun am I-touch or text if there isn't any wi-fi.

Any advice would be great. In the end he started quoting texts and phone conversations that I had had with the girls and it all got emotional so I walked out after 2 hours.

My view is that the girls have had enough of all the upheaval at the moment and changing all the routines again will be detrimental to their welfare. I have said that I would not like to change anything until July next year when things will have to change anyway as my eldest will start secondary school in September so we lose a lot of the after school and holiday care for her as she will be too old.

where do I go from here?

What is the actual dispute between you over the holidays as the only clear dispute is over the half terms?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He would like them for feb half term and has said I can then have them for May half term. Currently we have 2.5 days each.
Equally the over night stays in holidays are the same as term time but he would like them for more nights during the holiday. Currently it works as week 1: Wednesday am then Thursday and Friday with overnight Thursday; week 2; Tuesday all day; Wednesday pm and then Friday and overnight for the weekend.
The children don't want to stay with him any more than they are and also that is sometimes a struggle.
I appreciate that you get the brunt of the displeasure from the children - but they need t understand that if they are not happy then they need to let dad know and not you.
You can hold out on the half terms but realistically you will need to concede extra nights in the holidays
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. What about the other points? The communications and the Sunday drop off times? Where do I stand with those legally??
i am afraid that the court is not likely to be sympathetic to you on the communications issue.
In fact a telephone call on the Saturday night would be unusual - unless he is able to contact the children daily whilst they are with you
With regard to return time I agree that 7pm is too late given their ages - but 5.30 could be a reasonable compromise
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. I don't place any rules on when he can communicate with the girls when they are with me. He can phone/facetime/message whenever he wants to. He chooses not too and the girls don't always want to talk to him. I can't see that what I am asking for : Friday evening - quick text, Sat am - quick text, Sat pm facetime and sun am quick text is too much??

As a mother I agree.
As a lawyer I am afraid that I know that the Courts will not accept it.