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Child arrangements following seperation

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  • Child arrangements following seperation

    Good evening

    My partner is having difficulty agreeing on arrangements for her 2 children to see their father, her ex-husband. I wonder if anyone can help us understand what may occur as understandably its causing some distress. I will try to give a brief factual account of what has happened over the past 3 years:

    - The father has always had access, having the children every other weekend post seperation and one week during the Summer holidays.
    - He asked for additional access one fixed night a week, which my partner agreed to, around two years ago.
    - Last year, he asked for an additional evening each week. One of the children has private tuition on this night to support her learning difficulties, which is only available on the night requested. The father stated other evenings were not convenient, and now collects the children immediately after this tuition.
    - The father regularly seeks to change the arrangements to suit. This causes my partner some distress - their relationship was controlling, and my partner panics whenever she is contacted by him, feeling she has to say yes.
    - To try and formalise the arrangements, my partner prepared a Parenting Plan. This differed to the above arrangements by not including the evening that one child has private tution.
    - The father has replied with his own Parenting Plan. This proposed plan outlines a number of changes, among them that the children are with him on both weeknights (meaning the tuition cannot take place), states that all school holidays are shared equally, that we drop and collect the children, and that both parents and respective partners have regular discussions on an ongoing basis to agree on how the children are raised
    - As both parents are ao far apart, my partner proposed mediation at a local centre convenient for both.
    - The father has replied to say he is unwilling to compromise, that the arrangements are what the children want, that he will not attend mediation as the costs are exorbitant and he will now take the matter to court

    We are very much in the dark about what might happen and concerned about the future. The father already has regular access to the children - access that has incrementally increased each passing year. We dont believe these arrangements are in the children's best interests, we know that the children do not want to upset either parent, but the father has discussed this with them and now wants to proceed to court.

    We have a few questions

    1. We are a working family with no savings. I do not see anyway we could afford legal advice or court costs. What happens seeing as we cant afford to see this through?
    2. What can the father ask for in court - full custody? Even more access? He already has the children overnight on 6 days of every 14, it feels like when will this end?
    3. What evidence would a court take into account? Abusive messages? Voicemails? The childrens opinions? That of relatives, teachers?
    4. Can my partner be forced to maintain regular contact with someone she is frankly still intimidated by?
    Thank you for reading and we appreciate any constructive feedback
    Tags: None

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