Finally… but can I win?
I am a week away from what will hopefully be the conclusion of a 5 year process for shared care of my children. Due to the time it has taken to get this far two of my four children are now over 16 and have lost the extra time they could have spent with me if the Family Court had been more attentive to me case. I am representing myself and have made numerous complaints about the time it has taken from two bouts of counselling to two bouts of mediation to two psychologists reports to the delay of the final hearing due to the unavailability of the lawyer for child and the psychologist. Apparently according to various people the delays are unavoidable and due in part to my refusals to certain requests i.e. psychologist reports. I have tried every avenue to try and amicably come to an agreement but have been knocked back at every stage. I currently have the two children under 16, 5 days a fortnight and I was willing prior to a full hearing to accept one extra day but in her wisdom my ex decided she wants what she has and is not willing to accept anything less. So my original application at the full hearing will be for 50/50 shared care. I have had a protection order against me strongly dismissed for wasting the courts time and there are no reasons as to why I should be denied 50/50 except that my ex maintains that this is what my children want. However they are telling me something completely different and have told the psychologist and their lawyer the same thing. Why then do a have this knot in my stomach like I know the result will not go my way. From what I have read on this site and others the Family Court remains heavily in favour of the mother and I am afraid the same will apply to me despite the fact that I offer my children so much more than their mother can. I do not wish to have more time than 50/50 nor discourage the children’s relationship with their mother but I am fully aware that I will somehow be portrayed in a bad light by my ex’s lawyer who by the way is being paid for by legal aid. I am trying to put everything together to make my case as strong as I can. I do feel a little underprepared in relation to precedents for shared care and non-removal (ex has discussed with the children about moving) as well as not knowing how to make submissions at the end of the hearing. Any advice, contributions, references to material I can use would be very helpful at this stage. Also does anyone know what my chances of having my current wife approved as a Lay Assistant. Up until now I have felt reasonably confident of success but as I get closer nervousness prevails. What are my chances of actually getting a judgement at the hearing or will my case drag on for longer and put in jeopardy the extra time I could be spending with my youngest children? I am disgusted about how long it has taken to get this far and just want it to end.