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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35076
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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What access rights do I have before filing for divorce?

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My wife and I are going to file for divorce. We are temporarily separated and awaiting appointments with familly mediators and soclitors. In the mean time I am staying with family, whilst my wife looks after the children at home. An arrangement she sought and I complied with to provide some space. My wife has used the space to start dating. I was asked this morning to look after the Children for a few hours so she could see Simon an old friend that she would like to take further. In the interest of trying to remain amicable I agreed, despite it all not being pre-arranged. When I arrived at the home today to collect the children, it was a complete mess. The dishwasher was running, but the rest house looked terrible. I arrived early, to lend a hand getting the kids ready, but they were not even dressed, nor was there lunch on the go, despite me requesting they be fed before we left. I subsiquently took my children out for lunch where I was informed by them that she had told them about her new relationship, something I was not aware we had even agreed to talk to them about. They were very distressed and my son was close to tears. I rang my wife to find out when she would be home and was told 6 pm. A time neither of us had agreed or discussed.

I am at the end of my teather, having tried to be amicable I seem to have placed my children in a situation of neglect where my wife is not thinking of their welfare first. I do not know what I should or can do other than I am reluctant to take them home. What should I do. I have been trying to engage my wife all week in planning by email, but have recieved nothing by way of a responce. Help !

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 are the children and who has had their day to day care in the past?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

9 and 13, day to day care over the last 4 years has been shared as we both work from home. We take turns doing the school run, etc. In terms of who is the primary carer, we pretty much share everything, although some days I do have meetings away from home. As her job is always based at home the default assumption is that she is the primary backstop.

In terms of earnings we also sit on a pretty level playing field. I earn a retained sum per month from marketing contracts. Where as her businesses - online trading and cat breeding - net lump sums of cash or require support from me for stock purchases, etc.

What is the current pattern of contact?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am visiting every day and am trying to take the children out as it is the end of summer holidays. I have done some trips away for work and my son has come with me.

I have only been out of the familly home a week. I left as my wife was revieling what she was upto bit by bit each day to the point I couldnt sleep and I was starting to suffer from anxiety attacks. We tried Relate Councilling, but this seemed to egg her onto start to make unrelenting personal attacks so I figured I should leave temprarily to try and cool things down and get my health and sleep paterns back. My son inititalliy came with me but I wanted him to return home so he was settled for a return to school.

My doctor signed me of for the last 4 days and I have used them to regroup. Hence making atempts to seek a plan for what is going on. I have discussed moving back into the house but have been told now she would leave to stay with friends and take my daughter with her.

I have discussed things today with my wife and we have agreed some simple principles to move forward with...But things remain strained and she seems intent on pursuing an afair away from the household, which means she is often away.

I am not seeking sole custody here...I dont feel that would be good...I just want to understand what can and can't be done prior to mediation, when things are not on a great footing.

For the avoidance of any doubt I dont think my children are at risk. I simply feel there is a confused set of priorities that are going to lead to issues later. My wife today seemed to agree this but is still pretty angry and so reluctant to plan. I feel better for the discussion but still am unsure of what may happen.

It would be unusual but have you considered a position temporarily where the children stay in the house but you and your ex take turns to live there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, but she has been threatening to take my daughter with her, which I feel could be disruptive. She would be staying with joint freinds in the same road.

I am trying to hold out till mediation and keep my fears under control. But due to the breakdown in relations, it is difficult to feel confident.

Since lodging this question she has tidied the house a bit and has discussed some principles with me. However, I am not sure if anything we have agreed will be abided by.

Relations today are OK. I have arranged to visit this afternnon. Take my daughter to the dentist, provide some extra cash ready for school start, etc.

My basic worry here is that this is meant to be a temporary situation. Me moving out to create some peace...However, it seems to be being positioned as permanant until we split...Which is fianancially impractical.

Hi John
You are doing fine in what is an incredibly stressful situation
When is mediation scheduled?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

Thanks I am doing my best. Mediation is scheduled for 08/09. Solicitor Meeting for 11/09.

I considered filing the divorce online, but the introduction of "Third Parties" in our situation makes that risky.


If you can both agree that there will be a divorce based on your ex's Unreasonable behaviour - and can agree the wording - there is no reason not to start the process.
There is also no need to use an online service - you can read more here
As parents you and your ex are expected to agree how the children spend their time between you - using Family Mediation to agree a Parenting Plan.
You can read more here
If you cannot agree then the court will have to be asked to intervene.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you