[Solved] Control Issues
I had not posted anything for a while - mainly because things were going pretty well, so there was no need.
My son is the subject of a SRO and spends about half his time with me, and with his mother. We alternate weeks changing over on a Tuesday/Wednesday with the holidays split in the same way. this has more of less worked for the past 3 years. I have always constructed the residency schedule (looking forward 6 months) and sent it to my ex-wife for comment several months (as we are required by the SRO) in advance. She has rarely commented, and sometimes says she has not agreed the published schedule when it does not suit her, but generally (with one exception last Boxing Day) has gone along with it. Overall it has been a success story.
We met today to discuss the schedule I'd proposed from July (the end of year 6 for my son), covering the summer hols, his first term at secondary school and the xmas/New Year hols. As usual it just alternated weeks and with a few days adjustment for public holidays was pretty straightforward. By chance this year my son is due to be with his mother for the last week of term (ending on a Wednesday) and I'd proposed with me for the first week of the holidays and so on... We met in a public place this eve and she said she didn't like the proposal, instead she would be keeping my son for the first week of the summer hols (so for two contiguous weeks) and then it would alternate again, then when he starts secondary school in September she would be changing the handover day to Thursday/Friday - because it suits her better (and no other reason being given). If I didn't like her version of the residency schedule I could take her to court, she was sure the court would see it her way and rule against me.
I know this is nothing to do with the practicality of arranging a residency schedule for my son, and everything to do with control, but what do I do? It would seem that I have the choice of either just accepting a worse deal, or pursuing a court action over what I suspect a court will consider a trivial matter. I know that if I do nothing my son's mother will just play these tricks again and again, but it is difficult to imagine that a court will see that changing the holidays and the handover days will as an important enough issue to make a fuss over. I don't want to embroil my son in this argument, I bend over backwards to make sure life is as good as I can make it for him.
Having been quite content with things, and my son being happy as well, I'm now feeling very down in the dumps. I really don't know what to do.
it's a tricky one to advise on as you are the best one to know whether to push back at all oe to see how it goes. Althoiugh it's annoying, is it better to let her have her little wins in favour of keeping the overall situation more or less as it is, and at least being able to plan ahead still.
Whilst I understand this is a difficult situation and it would seem she is being awkward, I think you have hit the nail on the head - it really is a trivial matter. Perhaps you could suggest that your son also has two consecutive weeks with you duing the holidays as well so that it balances out. You've said yourself that the arrangements generally run smoothly and work well, your son gets half his time with you. I would be inclined to let this go or try to re negotiate. I couldn't see a court accepting this as a breach of the current order as it would appear to be rather trivial and doesn't seem that she is breaching the order on a regular basis.
I agree with the above, although annoying, by the sounds of it she has gone along with the schedule you have put forward up to this point without too much issue, I would maybe document this and keep a record of it, but try and work things out with her, it doesn't sound like a major change, though you wouldn't see your son for 2 weeks, maybe you could try and see if she would allow the weekend in the middle of those 2 weeks to allow you time with him.
I think we say this a lot here, but you have to chose your battles wisely, this one doesn't seem to me to be a huge issue, and more just what you have suggested this time doesn't suit her, I think as has been said if you went to court, they wouldn't look at this as a breach, as she has proposed an alternative, if the alternative, is suitable for you then try and sort something in between.
Well, thank you for those comments chaps.
The business of the two weeks at the start of the hols was I suppose just to irritate me, it will mean that my son will miss his cousin's wedding, which was I suppose his mother's point. Although disappointing for my family it will not be the end of the world.
The real issue is that my son's mother is spoiling for a fight and trying to adjust the handovers at the other end of the holiday so it will not work out that I will have my son for two weeks then. She can only do this by changing the handover day from Tue/Wed to Thu/Fri and says she can just do this, that I have no voice in the matter and that if I want to stop it I would have to take her to court - and that would (in her words) 'open a can of worms' (I don't know what she means, the shared arrangement has gone pretty well for my son, he is a Level 6 boy at school, happy and well adjusted, but she does not like the arrangement). The handover days and times are very clearly specified in the SRO, so my response has been to tell her she would need to change the SRO, which I would oppose as a midweek handover has worked well.
This issue is wearing me down, it should be such a simple thing to construct a schedule at least 2 months in advance, but it is always such a drama. School finishes in only a month and still my son's mother will not agree anything and just says she will decide and I'll have to do as she says. I really don't want to go through the cost and mental anguish of court again, but I'm not sure what I do to have the SRO enforced if she continues to ignore it.
I really would be inclined to record this incident but let it slide. If you can't let this go, point out that she is in breach of the order and as such, if this situation repeats itself, she will leave you no choice but to apply for enforcement of the order. An application for enforcement, does not require attendance at mediation but I really would advise letting this one go, make a note of it and see what happens next.