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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34897
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-wife and I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter. I am not on

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My ex-wife and I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter. I am not on the birth certificate however have had a DNA test as part of the CSA process. I did not have any access to my daughter until she was 1, access (under mother's supervision) continued for 6 months, then was stopped by my ex. In March this year she gave me access again, again under supervision. Between then and now I have seen my daughter roughly 20 times. My ex is now "being silly" and says I am no longer welcome in her home (where I have been seeing my daughter) and that I should apply for access via a solicitor, which needs to be in an access centre.
My questions:
1. I am not happy at all about seeing my daughter in an access centre. She is used to me by now, I would rather collect her from my ex in the morning, drop her off in the evening. Can my ex insist on an access centre ?
2. Moving on, once my daughter is say 4, I would like once monthly overnight stays - she lives 125 miles away from me.
3. Given my ex's now frequent changes of arrangements, withholding access and so on, should I just go for a Child Arrangement Order - what "powers" would a solicitor's letter alone give me ?
My ex is very controlling of my access, and I think it might be better to establish a legally binding access agreement now to maintain continuity of access. Her only "card" is that I was given a caution (now expired) for assault against her when we were married, this pre-dated her pregnancy, however she then obtained a non-molestation order against me when she was pregnant. I have two other children (both now adults) and can get statements from them and previous and current partners that I am not a violent individual. My ex has had documented mental health issues in the past, and although I do not consider her a risk to my daughter, she is not a stable individual. I am concerned at how long the process will take and the damage the sudden removal of my relationship with her will cause my daughter. Thank you.
Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
The law says that a child is entitled to contact with both parents and the courts will enforce this if necessary
As I understand it all contact to date has been in the presence of your ex (or someone nominated by her) and this is clearly not appropriate.
It is not unreasonable for the next step to be for contact to take place at a Contact Centre where you will no longer be with your ex - and then after a few months for contact to move on from there - and eventually move on to include Overnight contact
Your starting point is to try and discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation
YOU must attend an initial meeting - this is compulsory - but if she does not or mediation fails then you can apply to the court for a Child arrangement Order setting out the time that the child should spend with you
You will have more chance of success if you offer a graduated extension of contact as set out above
There is no need to involve a solicitor unless you wish to do so
You can read more about the process here
There will be no need for statements form your children or partners
Please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you