Child arrangements order
Hi wonder if anyone can help with past experiences maybe?
Had a pretty stable routine for 5 years, contact with son every weekend no problem sometimes even longer. Mum started to kick off when I suggested she split travel since she was never actually at home at agreed times and made me drive all over town looking for her. She stopped all contact unless I agree with solicitor letter stating I must do everything she says and do alt weekends instead now. I refused so contact was stopped for well over a month.
Submitted c100, mediation didn’t work as mother was verbally abusive. She submitted C1A back after I had raised all my concerns as I had done with school, stating I’m aggressive which I’m genuinely really not, very laid back and have always tried to do whatever to see my son.
Cafcass and LA sided with me in response showing mother unreasonable, however decided no s7 as issue is between me and mum. Exes solicitor also tried to dissuade a s7.
First hearing went ok, I had asked for every weekend interim as son is sometimes upset coming due to recent changes but mum refused so I’ve got alt weekends for now. I also put forward compromise for alt weekends and day in wk but mum refused unless I change my working hours to collect from school which I can’t and that she won’t drop him off at my home if not (remote working).
Set for a dispute resolution hearing next.
Any tips on what to put in the statement? I’m pretty sure I won’t get every weekend again but I am ok to settle on every week and alt weekends if mum splits travel.
what is travel distance like to pick up and drop kids, and how old are the kids?
if your work allows flexibility, you could see your kids after school for few hours, or if you can have them overnight mid-week and drop them to school next morning?
I would also cover school holiday periods, like 1 or 2 weeks with kids in summer? permission to take them on holiday abroad.
Thanks so much for your reply!
Distance is nothing really, about 10 miles or so. Ex doesn’t drive (at the minute) but has a car and intends to drive, also proved to court that public transport is available roughly every hour and takes approx 25 mins.
No flexibility work wise to collect from school, I can drop off at school which I suggested and agreed to do all weekend travel, just need some compromise on mid week contact after school but she refuses to drop son off at all and says it’s my responsibility because I’m his dad.
He’s only 7 and has a 4 YO brother here too who I have to collect from nursery every evening at 6:00pm.
Great advice about summer hols etc, tried to reason with ex for every weekend during lockdown just gone when schools shut as she doesn’t work but she just refused.
I don't think it's worth the hassle arguing about the travel. I do 7 mile journeys and that can take an hour in bad rush hours. ex doesn't drive. even if she did she would not help out. Initially I collected kids from school on a wednesday and spent few hours with them. now do overnights and drop them to school next day. if your able can you do friday- mon and drop them to school?
Unless you can pick your son up from school midweek you are unlikely to get any midweek contact. Your work should compromise a little when it comes to child arrangements. You could ask for friday pick up from school and drop off to school monday as well. Its highly likely you will have to do all the travelling as well , so its down to what you can fit around your work i am afraid
You could also put in alternate Christmas/Boxing Day, school holidays, contact on Father's Day and your birthday. Ask for more, its not easy to go back to court soon after arrangements have been agreed.
Thanks for all the advice.
Unfortunately work changes just aren’t an option since I would have to leave work approx 3 and half hours earlier than usual to collect from school. I’m already pushing it being able to drop at school.
I’m hoping the judge will see how reasonable I’ve been, only asking for one short journey a week.
Also been thinking of a Sunday overnight instead of mid week, so every Sunday (plus the fri&sat alt wknds) would keep weekly contact and I can do all transport for this.
Seems to be common for dads to get very little help with things! Hopefully one day this will change.
Anyone any idea how a dispute hearing usually goes?
My company offer something called "Dependent Days" I pick my kids up from school every Wednesday so I finish a little earlier although i do work through my lunch break these days. Maybe you can speak to your employer about this and what they can offer. Maybe you may have to take a small salary sacrifice (if you can afford to) or offer to surrender some holiday days to cover the early finishes?
hi, Dispute hearing will be to sort out the remaining things you can't agree on. so usually you and ex lawyer going back and forth, negotiating. then go in front of judge and tell them whether you agree or not, or outstanding issues. they may decide to make that hearing a final one. or they schedule another date for final hearing.
I am a partner of a separated dad. To be honest courts seem to believe that it's the father's responsibility to collect and drop off their children as the mother does travel throughout the week i.e to school/appointments etc.
However, it is difficult as we are in the exact same situation and to be honest the child shouldn't miss out on quality bonding time with the non resident parent due to the resident parents unwillingness to encourage contact by doing travel.
Sorry, have the courts decided on S7 report to be completed?
Our S7 report recommended that travel was 50/50 and child was always dropped to the other parent to show encouragement that the mother promotes contact with father and visa versa. However the judge didn't agree and said it is the father's responsibility to collect and drop the child.
It was clear in our hearing that the dad, my partner, has to use my vehicle to collect his daughter and my vehicle wouldn't always be available as I need it to get to and from work and he lacked the flexibility from work like yourself. Our distance is 30+ miles, so public transport would take 2 hours..The judge put in place that the father is to do the travel when my vehicle is available and when it is not available the mother or her partner should drop the child to our home on Friday at 5pm. So that may be an option, initially I would ask for 50/50 and hope you can get it but your first compromise could be just when you are unable to do it that the mother steps up, and then you can comprise again to just the midweek you are asking for the mother to do. It will show the courts you are providing a bit of flexibility to get a plan in that reflects the child's best interest.
Is this your first court order? I am unsure of how your relationship is with your ex but there's many things to consider if it your first court order.
Travel is such a grey area in family court. You're unlikely to get what you're asking for unless you can prove it's in the best interest of the child and not what's convenient for you.
As a guide when thinking of arrangements going forward, it's always a good idea to ask for a little more than you would like so you can be seen to compromise. A suggestion could look like the following;
Alt weekends Fri-Mon
One weekly midweek contact
Alt or shared child's birthday
Alt or shared Christmas
Inset days / Bank holidays - alt or shared?
Split of school holidays
Permission to travel abroad
Some jobs are really inflexible but it's really worth talking to your employer to see if there is any flexibility at all. It will make court easier if you can be a little flexible.