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Hi, I'm Lea and I have reviewed your query.
How far are you into proceedings? Have you made your application to court yet?
Please read the following:
Have you tried mediation at all?
The first thing you have to do is attend a MIAM - mediation information assessment meeting. The mediator will explain what mediation is, assess whether it can assist you and will contact the mother to see if she will engage. If she does, mediation sessions can be set up. If mediation doesn't work, or the mother refuses to engage, the mediator will sign your C100 form (this is a requirement unless you meet one of the exemptions to attending a MIAM - see the form for more details).
Once the mediator has signed, you can complete the C100 form and send it to the family court local to where your child lives. The court will list the matter for a hearing and ask CAFCASS, social workers, to do safeguarding checks, which involves speaking to you and the mother and doing background checks with social services and police. CAFCASS will write a safeguarding letter to the court recommending what to do next.
A hearing will be set at which both you and the mother will have the opportunity to put your views across - the court will decide what to do next in the best interests of the child. There may be further hearings depending on what information the court wants.
YOu can find a mediator here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/
No, you do not have to use a solicitor at this point.
Please do ask...
The court will try to accommodate your working pattern - so long as it is static and not prone to change so frequently as to make it difficult for the mother to plan anything else.
The court's paramount consideration is the child's best interests, so the court would rather see you have the child in a pattern that you can manage than try to impose a more usual pattern (alternate weekends) on you if it means that visits will be missed.
School holidays will typically be shared 50/50 as the child has the right to spend leisure time with both parents. So a 'usual pattern' (bear in mind these things are always individual to the children, so the term 'usual' is being used liberally here) - would be half terms would be alternated (or split in half, 2.5 days each - alternate is better), Easter/Christmas holidays 1 week each (special days alternated) and summer holidays 3 weeks each, often in a pattern of 2 weeks each then 1 week each.
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Thank you kindly for the positive rating - much appreciated.