I divorced a year ago. Have three children, 13, 10, 8 who live with me. Ex husband stayed in house, we moved nearby. He has two youngest children from Sunday 10am until drops them at school tuesday one week, wednesday the next. During the holidays he has the children Mondays and Tuesdays during the day on his contact days.He works full time, I work three days. he has now told me he no longer can have the children during the week as he can''t pick them from school so will be having them from Saturday after tea until monday when he drops them at school every week. On holidays he will have them until 3.30pm on Mondays. He has the oldest one night a week as she doesn''t want to go any more often.
Can he do this? he has given me four weeks notice. We agreed the arrangements after much dispute through mediation. He knows that I am unable to pick the children up from school every day, and am unable to have them every day during the holidays. In mediation he was adamant he wanted to share care, I didn''t think it would last, and am surprised it has lasted this long.
It doesn''t seem to be in the childrens interests,the middle one wants to see his dad more often but this will be less. He goes to big school in September and they are settled after a big transition, it would be disruptive for them, and impossible for me.The divorce was because of his abusive behaviour and I find it hard to stand up to him.
I work lots of hours during the week, and often have to work weekends and evenings to keep up with workload. My job is not secure and I am really worried.
The simple answer is, yes he can. It''s not in children''s welfare to be looked after by someone who isn''t prepared to care for them. When neither parent wants the children they go into care.
The statement of arrangements just outlined the arrangements at the time of divorce so that the court could ensure something was in place. It isn''t legally binding and arrangements often change when children reach different stages or as parent''s circumstances change.
Having said that arrangements for contact should be agreed and just because you look after the children during the week your ex shouldn''t assume that he can have most of the quality time at weekends unless it suits you.
The capital settlement can''t be varied, but if a child maintenance agreement was included in the Consent Order either of you can apply the CSA for an assessment one year after the date of the order.
Thank you Fiona.
I appreciate your reply. I had thought the statement of arrangements was binding. Feels like a fait accompli. Have arranged my teaching etc around these plans. Am going to see my solicitor to see if I have to do what he wants. As you say I also want quality time with the children.am thinking alternate weekends may be better. Hard to think what best for children, as get angry when he just hands me letter and presumes we will do what he wants . I said I dont want to change but he said he will inform school so they know it''s me who should pick children up. Feel more prepared. Need to keep them uppermost.
I discussed the idea of having my son every weekend with my solicitor. His exact response was "You won''t get it."
The advice I was given was that the only occasions where a non-resident parent would get every weekend was by consent of the parent with care.
I was told that getting part of every weekend was a possibility, for example alternating Friday night-Saturday night and Sunday morning to Monday morning. Although this option wasn''t what I ended up with (I got a little bit better than this in the interim until a final order is made), it seemed to me that 2 weeks is too long a period between contact (as with alternate full weekends) for a meaningful relationship.
In my completely non-legal expert mind, if he wants less contact that''s his choice and you can''t force him, but if he wants more (including more weekends than he previously had) then you are able to contest it. Whether you do or not is your choice, depending on how the proposed arrangements work around your life and work.
From a practical point of view, how responsible is your eldest child? My sister used to pick me up from school from around age 13 (I was about 10), but she was exceptionally responsible at that age. Also we benefited from the fact that her secondary school and my primary school were in close proximity. I don''t know if this is an option for you or not.
Thanks for your reply-helps to get a dads perspective-I really think he is trying to reduce actual time he spends with children whilst keeping nights to reduce CSA payments-maybe am just too cynical?
My solicitor has advised me to write to him and say I will keep the arrangments as they are for saturdays and he can have them sundays-waiting for reply.
good luck with your case-can take ages I know.