TOPIC: Varying a Court Order regarding contact?

Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11618

  • DAG
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Evening Dads
i need to pick some brains. Has anyone here been back to court to get a contact order varied?
I currently have a defined contact order in place it was finalised back in 2007 in court with cafcas and due to problems still arising and request being denied regarding aspects of my daughters contact then i am considering taking it back to court to ask for it to be varied.
I have tried to communicate directly with my ex and her solictor but just come up against a brick wall.
I contacted cafcas last year to see if they could suggest anything and they suggested trying mediation first (this was tried back in the very begining in 2006 and the ex only went to the initial appointment which you attend on your own then she rang them back and refused to go again).
I wrote to my ex to see if she would be willing to attend mediation regarding our daughters contact, i received no reply.
I made an appointment anyway with the local mediation service which i had attended before (back in 2006 at the request of the solicitors before it all ended in going to court).
Whilst waiting for the appointment i received a letter from her solicitor (regarding another matter to do with my request for going abroad and for my daughters passport to be made available during the summer holidays, which was and still is another nightmare senario) the closing points of her solicitors letter sated that my ex was "happy and content with the contact order and saw no need for further communication on the matter" end of as it were.
I still went to the mediation appointment with an open mind but after telling them of the situation and showing them the letter the only advice they could offer was to take it back to court to have the order varied.
Over the following months (March 2011 to date) still any request i have made regarding contact fall on deaf ears/ignored etc.
So after much deliberation and having filled out the C100 form 6 weeks ago i still have not filed it in to court.
I will be representing myself as I cant afford to use a solicitor. I have represented myself in the past with regard to other issues relating to Divorce proceedings but not regarding contact order.

Some of the reasons why i feel the need to do this;
Firstly my daughter at the time was 6yrs old she is now almost 12yrs old and her needs have changed, and she has said she would like to see more of me. We have a fantastic relationship, we are able to openly talk about things, when i have suggested for her to talk to her mum about having more contact she says we both know the reply she would receive (Stick to the Court Order).
Even after this length of time there is no flexibilty. The following is just ONE OF MANY examples:( we wanted to book a concert that would mean picking up my daughter 2 hours earlier than the order states, her mums reply was No!) hence we didnt book it and all of us missed out on a family outing.
When the Judge finalised the original order he stated to my ex "this order won't last forever it will change". As a father i can see the needs of my daughter have changed and continue to do so.
Because of how the order is worded it has always been able to be interpreted by my ex and her solicitor to her benefit. for example
Easter Holiday Contact : "At Easter each year from Friday after Easter at 5.30pm until the following Saturday at 6pm" this wouldnt be a problem but easter falls differently each year. Last year if i had had my contact as the order stated it would mean my daughter would be back at school and i would have missed the half term holidays, so what i did was i contacted my ex and her solicitor by letter making them aware of the situation and suggested having my daughter the first week of the easter half term, the reason being my ex made a big issue in court and to Cafcas about having our daughter over the Easter Sunday/Monday Holiday and that she wouldnt move on the subject, i thought by suggesting me taking the first week it would appease her, bearing in mind i have to give my employer advance notification of any holiday request which she knows full well,this was back in October of 2010. I didnt receive any reply until 2011 0ne week before the Easter holidays even though i had written, text, her and her solicitor. In her reply which was by text all that was stated was" those dates are fine". I had to make my employer aware of the situation because the easter holidays have to be booked before the end of December and they said if the holiday dates were not available by the time i received a reply then i would have to take unpaid leave. Because i wasnt sure whether my suggestion for contact at easter would be acknowledged as a precautionary measure i had to go and see my daughters Headmaster to ask if he would allow me to take my daughter out of school if i had to stick to the dates specified in the court order as these dates would have meant my daughter would have returned to school. He was sympathetic to our dilema thankfully, as he has been aware of the situation since our seperation, because my ex had accused me in court off trying to abduct our daughter from school in December 2006 this being a complete lie as on the date in question I was 20 miles away with work with over 150 witness and 4 other work colleauges, plus the headmaster later wrote a letter that i had never tried to take our daughter out of school and he had never had such a conversation with my ex. But at the time I still had to give an Undertaking to the Court to state I had never done so and would never do so!!!!!
And this year I'm in the same situationt the Easter half term falls the same AAARGGGHHHHH!
Again i contacted my ex in October 2011 with the same suggestion and all i got in return was "I havent even thought about Xmas Yet!"
I then tried in December the reply "You Are Harrasing Me" no i replied I'm merely trying to sort out holidays as the order doesnt follow the school holiday pattern. My daughter has now moved up to High school and i have visited the Head of her year and explained the situation she to was sympathetic but said this time i couldnt remove my daughter as school policy would mean a fine would be issued for non attendance. This was quite funny because when i first rang to make an appointment with the new school to discuss this they had no record of my daughter having a father as my ex had omitted all my details from the records that the school had asked her to verify in the summer before her starting date and she had also asked for a note to be attached Stating" NO Correspondance to be sent to anyone other than the mother or her parents (Grandparents)"
So as you see just this one holiday is a nightmare to try to sort out and thats with a court order. I cant even think about booking anything to do as it may not come off.
The order also includes "Every weekend from friday at 6.45pm until saturday at 6pm save for the last weekend of the month when it shall be extended to sunday at 6pm". Thats great but again it all depends on what my ex determines as the last week of the month, then if it falls in the school holidays she doesnt allow it at all, sometimes my daughter and i dont know where we are at all.

So as you can see these are just a couple of issue with the order ther are other mind benders but now i have been sat here so long writing this and reading it back to myself i have lost my train of thought :oops: so if you can make sense of what im saying so far please drop me a reply because my head hurts.
thankyou.

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11622

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Hi

I would say you have every reason to go back and have the order varied. It would be worth ringing the CCLC for some free advice since you are representing yourself. One thing is do before you file the forms is to write to you ex's solicitor to inform them of you intention to do so in the light of her failure to consider meditation - the reason I suggest this is that it might just persuade her that you are serious about taking her to court, and if she is using a solicitor, that's going to cost in time and effort so she may just reconsider meditation.
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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11623

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Hi DAG,

In order to vary the Contact Order, you will need to complete a new C100 and attach the "existing" order so to speak.

There is a guide as a sticky and also a guide to self representation here.

The important thing i would take away from this is that at 12years of age, a Court will definately take into consideration of your daughter. It seems such a shame that so many mothers always put their own agenda's ahead of their children.

I will just say one thing, that at the age your daughter is, if she wishes to see you, she is now old enough to do so. Indeed you could raise instances of the Court Order being abused from its original purpose at the hearing and the examples you have given clearly highlight this.

When at Court, the first thing that they will do is to isolate what you are wanting and focus their attentions on this. Given the age of your daughter, her wishes should/will actually be considered foremost. It is important as well that you specifically request regarding CAFCASS (possibly contact them a few days before) and ask that any interview with your daughter be done in private without the mother present. Historically, from speaking to people regarding these visits most mothers put undue pressure on the child during these meetings. In effect they are scared to say what they really want for fear of upset or even repercussions.

You sound like a really fantastic Dad and keep up the good work. Your daughter will appreciate it and you more with every passing year.
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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11629

Hi Dag,

I will ask the Corams Childrens Legal Centre to pop by and respond to your questions. Keep popping back for their response and sage words.


Gooner
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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11639

Dear Dag,

Thank you for your query.

In regard to varying a contact order, we would advise that you attempt mediation first. This is due to the no order principle under the law, which states that the court will not put an order in place unless they felt that it were to be completely necessary. Therefore, we would advise that you attempt mediation with the mother. You may wish to contact National Family Mediation regarding mediation. Their telephone number is 0300 4000 636.

If mediation is not successful then we would advise that you apply to vary the contact order through the court via a C100 form. As you have obtained the form, we would advise that you state your reasoning for applying for variation. Once you have completed the form, you must lodge the form at the court closest to where your daughter resides. If you wish to represent yourself and would like guidance on the application process, then we would advise that you obtain a CB1 form, and additionally, a CB3 form. The application cost is £200, however if you are eligible for legal aid then you may wish to complete the fee exemption form EX160A. You can obtain this form either at your local court, or online, via www.justice.gov.uk .

Once you receive a court date the matter will go before the family proceedings court, and the judge will make a decision based on the child welfare principle and the child welfare checklist which is contained under s1(3) of the Children Act 1989.

Furthermore, as your daughter is now 12, she may be considered to be Gillick Competent. This means that she may be considered competent to make her own decisions, and these decisions may be given legal weighting.

If you have any specific requests regarding contact then we would advise that you present these to the judge. It would be the judge’s discretion whether to take your requests into consideration, but as previously mentioned, they will make a decision regarding this based on the welfare checklist.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us again. Our telephone number is 0808 802 0008.

Yours sincerely,

The Coram Children’s Legal Centre

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 5 months ago #11645

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Thankyou CCLC
for getting back to me and also to Goonerplum for putting them on to my predicament.
I have already tried to establish mediation through Family Matters Mediation Services and I attended. I sent my ex an invitation to consider attending to discuss the contact of our daughter but her reply through her solicitor was a resounding NO!
I have had the C100 form filled in and ready to process with all necessary docs and monies since the begining of November hoping not to have to go down this route as I dont feel i can go on with yet another battle.
All i want is some regular day to day normality with regard to my daughter. Even my partner who has three children have all been affected by what has been happening over the past four years we have been together. All our kids love each other and get on fantastic (we are lucky in that respect) and share the experience when we try to arrange activities/holiday time etc and have to organise them around somone who wants to be unreasonable. My partners kids are taken care of by both their mum and dad on a 50/50 basis in every respect, their separation/divorce was was hard emotionally but they remaind ammicable in the sense their contact is as natural as you can get in a separation, neither parent takes priority over the other and the kids come first. My daughter often says she wished her mum would just let her have the same relationship with both of us as she knows there is no reason at all why it shouldnt be that way other than her mum trying to cause distruption and those are my daughters words(out of the mouths of babes). I to wish it could be natural but i know it won't be as long as my ex can control everthing.

iv got to go but i will be back later just to post a little more info thanks

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #11961

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Evening all,
iv got a little time to spare so i thought i'd put a bit more info your way just to get a bit of feed back to see if you think what i'm going to ask for in varing the contact order i have for my daughter seems reasonable.

First thanks again to all who replied to my last post.

Here goes the following is the contact i have had in place since the final hearing of November 2007

Current contact order 2007 to Date

Every Wednesday from 5.30pm to 8pm

Every weekend from Friday at 6.45pm until Saturday at 6pm save for the last weekend of the month when it shall be extended to Sunday at 6pm.

During School Half Term Holidays from Wednesday 5.30pm until Saturday 6pm.

At Easter each year from Friday after Easter at 5.30pm until the following Saturday at 6pm.

In the School Summer Holidays for the Second and Fith Weeks from Sunday at 5.30pm until Sunday at 6pm.

At Christmas each alternate year from 27th December 2007 at 5.30pm until 3rd January 2008 at 5.30pm.

Every alternate Christmas Commencing 2008 from 27th December until 31st Decmber 12 noon and 1st January at 5pm until 3rd January at 5.30pm.

Ok thats the final contact order i have at present.
Since separation in 2006 i have always picked my daughter up and took her back to her mums, as her mum refused to share this responsibilty.
At first i moved back to my parents then i rented a house which i have lived in for the past 5 years which is closer to my daughter approx 10mins drive away.
Since my daughter got a mobile phone in October last year, for the first time we can now keep in touch daily by txt as before this her mum would not allow any contact inbetween the stated contact order times, now she doesnt have that same control.
In the past 6 years i have only missed 3 days of contact as the order states due to my circumstances. Once due to surgery, another to an accident and finaly to me being out of the country. Even though i made a request to my ex to either fetch my daughter to me as i couldnt drive or change the day i could see my daughter before i was away, my ex just refused. ( This doesnt include the times my ex has stopped contact and either i have had to wait for the court to reinstate contact. Or for contact to cotinue when she has interpreted the order as she see's fit)
In the past the ex has written via her solicitor stating she has booked a holiday abroad and wants me to change my summer holiday dates threatening if i dont it will reflect badly on me to my daughter. I have never wanted to stop my daughter doing anything with her mum so changing would never be an issue with me as flexiblity is about what is good for my daughter.
But alas not when it is me who request flexibilty of contact, then it is just disregarded!!!
So just a little more info as to what point im at.

All i am going to ask for in varing the order is as follows;

The mid-week wednesday night contact to be extended to an overnight stay and my daughter goes to school from my house.

The Friday night pick up time to be changed to 5.30pm (this will then allow us time to arrange activities on friday evenings. As the original 6.45pm pickup time was only stated by my ex because she enrolled my daughter in to a dance class which my daughter only attended for a matter of months 2007-08 before she told her mum she didnt want to go anymore. )

The last weekend of the month to be made clearer so it cant be changed to suit the ex's interpretation (is the last weekend of the month inclusive if friday is the last day of the month and saturday is the first day of the new month!! Belive me thats how bad it is the weather is more predictable)

Half term to be extended from the return on saturday at 6pm to the sunday at 6 pm (this then makes it nearly half of the half term weeks holiday and we can arrange more activties)

To make Easter more simple i will suggest i take the First week of the holidays and the ex has the second week. (This will then avoid the easter holidays changing each year as easter never falls the same so it some times means i would miss my daughters holdays)

I would like to have some extra days during the summer holidays as i only get to see my daughter for the 2 weeks stated my ex gets our daughter for 4 weeks as with all School holidays my ex suspends all contact midweek and weekend stating the holidays are different and her time to be with our daughter and will not agree on letting me see her extra during these times.

At Chrismas i would like my daughter from Boxing Day morning till the 3rd January. As every year i miss out on Christmas Eve ,Christmas Day and Boxig Day and alternately i have to take her back on New Years Eve And it messes with our week together as i then have to pick her back up on New Years day to bring her back to our home till the 3rd January. Originally i only agreed to this because my ex wouldnt move on the christmas holidays at all and i thought something was better than nothing.

As i mentioned earlier the ex will not discuss or be flexible with regard to contact between my daughter and myself and i believe varing the contact order in court is the only option i have left, im not asking for much more contact time really (really i would have my daughter 50/50 if i though the ex would agree, and my daughter said she would jump at the chance to be with me that much as its only the fair way to be) mainly getting the clarifacation on the times stated. My daughter just wants to see more of me as i do her, as i said she was 6/7 when the order was made she is now reaching 12.

Lastly can anyone confirm this for me , , , , in the past my ex and her solicitor say that when it comes to half term holidays any mid week and weekend contact stated in the order is cancelled out by the School holidays.!!!????????????? So for instance i see my daughter this wednesday for the 2 and half hour contact we have then because she breaks up on thursday i wont see her until the following wednesday (5.30pm) when my half term contact starts. This is because my ex says the half term holiday cancels out my contact on the friday over saturday and if it is the longer school holidays eg summer etc this means the midweek and long weekend (end of month) contact so i end up losing alot of contact!!??

Any thoughts on this?
Thanks

Ps if your confused now theres no helping you :woohoo:

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #11973

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Morning Dads

Has anyone any thoughts on what I'm thinking of asking as regards varying my contact order in my last post ?

Really reluctant to have to take this route but feel I have been left with no choice given I have tried all other options. :(

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #11976

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Hi DAG

I think the CCLC and yoji have covered quite a lot of ground, so it's tricky to add much more, as you seem to have exhausted the possibility of mediation, court seems to be your only remaining option, and you seem to have the forms etc. is there anything specific that you need extra information regarding?

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #11980

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Thanks actd for your reply

Sorry I didn't intend saturation on this post and appreciate all replies ive had. I just have no real confidence in the court system as it is so daunting and draining and I thought six years down the line it would have got a little easier.
I was just looking for a human perspective on the subject as I thought some Dads may have had experience in getting this sort of contact issue ironed out in court with a variation order.
I have come to the conclusion there probably is no other alternative.
Again sorry if it seemed I was looking for more legal avenues to explore.

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #11981

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Hi DAG,

Not a problem, and you're right to keep asking for advice until you have it clear in your own mind :)

I think there is a variety of experience on the forum so hopefully other dads well give you their take on you situation. I've been back to court for a variation to reduce my ex's contact as she was messing my daughter about (I'm probably in the minority on the forum in that I have residence of my children) and I think if you can reasonably justify what you are asking for, then you have a good chance in getting at least some of what you are seeking, bit of course there are never any guarantees.

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Re: Varying a Court Order regarding contact? 7 years 4 months ago #12004

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Hi DAG,

Erm, i actually think that the specifics you are mentioning, might not go down too well in Court. Something i've personally heard before, and from speaking to a fair few people in your position. A Court could very well turn around and say you are being overbearing and have over expectations, there's too many .30's and a .45. You could change your mind on these. Below is a summary of your expectations, i'll elaborate afterwards;;;

As it stands (Youyr request):
- Every Wednesday from 5.30pm to 8pm
- Every weekend from Friday at 6.45pm until Saturday at 6pm save for the last weekend of the month when it shall be extended to Sunday at 6pm.
- During School Half Term Holidays from Wednesday 5.30pm until Saturday 6pm
- At Easter each year from Friday after Easter at 5.30pm until the following Saturday at 6pm.
- In the School Summer Holidays for the Second and Fith Weeks from Sunday at 5.30pm until Sunday at 6pm.
- At Christmas each alternate year from 27th December 2007 at 5.30pm until 3rd January 2008 at 5.30pm.
- Every alternate Christmas Commencing 2008 from 27th December until 31st Decmber 12 noon and 1st January at 5pm until 3rd January at 5.30pm.

You've gone overly specific, a Court will huff about this. I would suggest your variation read as follows:

Wednesdays 6pm-8pm
Weekends Friday-Saturday at 6pm
1wk of Easter Half Term
2nd and 5th Weeks of Summer Holidays
Alternate Christmas and New Year

In my opinion you're expecting too much regarding the specifics at the application phase. These will be included in the Order following your hearing.

I'd just put my Summary as above, its simple for the Court to follow and the specifics can be added into the Order if you so wish... me personally, i would avoid having some of the .30's and .45.

Don't do information overload you could trip yourself up. Hope this makes a bit more sense :)

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Last Edit: by Yoji. Reason: Re-Clarification
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