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Yes, I would like the change to be an annual event ongoing that would allow me to take my children to see close family in Canada, for at least two weeks, possibly every other year (depending on finances) but also for family visiting from Canada to spend time with the children whilst I am at work. My brother and his partner and my mother have expressed their wish to do this.
The terms of the summer school holiday residence was decided at the time as the two weeks for each parent due to perceived constraints of annual leave from work and finances of childcare. I must stress that CAFCASS recommended half of all the school holidays. At the time I did not know what my finances would be as we had not sorted this out and I did not have enough holiday to cover all the holiday so I reluctantly agreed to these terms. Upon reflection this was a mistake on my part and possibly my solicitor should have pointed out to me at the time the potential for future conflict particularly as my ex-wife is very entrenched in her position. Looking at it now I should have held out for the equal splitting of the summer holiday and paid for childcare for the week I did not have holiday for, but I did not foresee the disagreement that has now arisen.
My strong preference would be for 3 weeks every year for simplicity for the children to visit relatives in Canada or for relatives to spend time with them here in the UK (and not be in other childcare arrangements).
Also I would state that the 3 weeks would preferably only be consequetive if we were going to travel to Canada as i respect that 3 weeks is a long time from either parent. On other years I would suggest alternate weeks or 2 weeks and 1 week.
The normal pattern of contact for myself is alternate weekends (Fri, Sat and Sun nights) and a day in the week (this alternates between Tues or Wed depending on whether on not I have the kids for the weekend). Obviously my ex wife has the remaining time.
For further clarity sake, I am wanting to make the proposed application for variation to the residence order such that I do not have to make an application to the court every year to extend the current 2 week arrangement for travel to Canada or to spend additional time with visiting relatives here in the UK.
Thank you for your reply.
Your opinion gives me some hope. However, my experience of the court process does not give me great confidence in its judgement, particularly judgements made by magistrates as will be the case for me. Can you tell me where you practice and if you have had similar outcomes in front of magistrates in your experience.
Also I have tried to persuade my ex to use mediation for us to negotiate this matter but she was not willing to participate as she said there was nothing in it for her. How will the court view her stance not using mediation?