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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
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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At the moment I have access to my son weekly with a pick up

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At the moment I have access to my son weekly with a pick up from school and return home at 6pm. Fortnightly from Saturday at 10am till Sunday at 5pm. Then adhoc bank holidays, long weekends and school holidays as and when his mothers decides it's ok.
I have continually requested for more time with my son, namely an addition to the fortnightly contact so that he is collected at 5pm on a friday to enable more time not just with me but with his wider paternal family, but his mother refuses this as an ongoing arrangement despite Charlie having spent a handful of friday nights with me in the past which is only agreed when she sees fit.
I have tried to reason with her one on one but more often than not any requests or proposals are refused, therefore I tried to go through mediation in order to come to an agreement however she refused that on the grounds that she can't afford it.
Therefore now I have had no alternative but to approach a solicitor to request more time with my son and it has in fact led to a reduction in time with my son, with his mother refusing weekend contact directly after the first solicitors letter was sent and it has spiralled downward from there.
More contact with my son is purely for his benefit so that he is able to see his father more, his grandparents more, his aunts, uncles, cousins etc more, but constantly his mother acts in her best interest and not his. Her main aim is to cause issues for me but ultimately the one who suffers is my son as his access to his paternal family is restricted more and more.
I am going to apply for a child contact order in order to gain more contact with my son, also we have a summer holiday booked in 4 weeks which had been agreed with his mother back in September however she now believes that 10 days away is too long and this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible as time is running away from us.
I need help and advice on how to get through this and whether I am taking the correct steps...please help.
James Weller
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Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is your son and please confirm that you have recently attended a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting with a family Mediator.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My son is 5 years old, my ex wife and I have attended separate initial MIAM sessions but then she refused to go further as she couldn't afford it, due to there not being access to legal aid anymore. However she has now got a solicitor, which I am presuming is covered by legal aid now as she fabricated a harassment story to the police in order to make it a domestic abuse case and therefore gain access to legal aid.
I submitted the court order yesterday but just need advice on how to proceed and hopefully make the authorities see that my ex wife isn't putting my son first, all she wants to do is get back at me and if that means my son not seeing his father then that's what she does. None of the decisions she makes benefits my son, the last solicitors letter even stated that her thoughts and feelings weren't being taken into consideration which I believe to be ridiculous.
If she was financially eligible for Legal Aid then she would have received it for mediation - however that is now irrelevant since matters have moved on!
The law says that children are entitled to contact with both parents and the courts will enforce this if necessary
What your are asking for is perfectly reasonable and there is no obvious reason why it will not be granted.
With regard to the holiday I fear that that may be compromised since there is a fair chance that the first hearing will fall at that time.
You can ask for an early hearing bit only do that if you have had the child for more than seven days in a row in the past.
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Clare.
Yes I had Charlie for 8 days last summer and have noted this in the court order application as well as request an urgent hearing considering the timescales we are dealing with.
I know that no one will ever be able to predict the decisions made by a court but in your experience is there anyway that a court could deny me 11 days with my son? Could they ask me to shorten it just to appease the mother? I know she is probably going to try and throw as much mud as possible, claim me to be aggressive and confrontational, say that my partner sleeps naked around my son (this is one she brings up every few months even though I addressed this initially - over a year ago - and informed her that this was not the case, she still uses it as a weapon against us at every opportunity), is there anything else I can do in preparation for what is to come?
I know that your ex is unreasonable - but do NOT make any criticism of her in your case.
Instead talk abut your relationship with your son and the benefit to him of spending a full weekend with you.
Emphasise that this is his annual holiday with you - that he knows has been planned for (however long it has been).
Say you understand her concerns (even though you don't) and that you do try and address issues she raises as swiftly as possible
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks again Clare. Your advice is being very helpful, but it is at the same time frustrating.

I just don't understand how she can throw all sorts of accusations and criticisms at me, my partner and my family and then we aren't able to give the same back.

She has lied at so many opportunities, some of which we have proof, which totally discredits her and the person she is therefore highlighting how unreasonable and selfish she is, but we cannot say this at all even though her lies and actions are bringing possible harm to a child?

She's told Charlie not to listen to my partner if she 'tells him off', even though he is often solely in my partners care, be it in our garden, in the park or wherever but yet rather than think of Charlie's safety if he needs to listen to a responsible adults instructions she is telling him to ignore it and not listen. A prime example of wanting to cause harm to us over thinking of my son. She has prevented him from being taken away abroad on holiday, which further limits his life experiences and doesn't broaden his horizons at all. She even told me that Charlie told her he "doesn't want to go abroad", he doesn't even know what the word abroad means!!!!!

I'm very sorry to go on but I'm just at my wits end that this woman can treat my son in this way and get away with it.

We have received a letter from her solicitor today still stating that the holiday period is too long. And also now saying that we have lied about words her father has said to James in the past.

When it comes to the court process itself, do you know if it will be in an actual massive court room or just a kind of side room with people talking across a table? Or does it depend on what's going on on the day?

I appreciate the way you feel - but this is a matter of letting her bad behaviour speak for itself and not letting the court simple see it as a two sided squabble
The first hearing is likely to be a small room with either a District Judge or a Clerk to the Magistrates
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
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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