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Contact Order and issue with hand-overs.

  • Chained
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15 Aug 12 #349695 by Chained
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Hi all.

Most know the case so I will not get into detail.

Contact Order arrived from court yesterday.
Although it is defined in some aspects it leaves open the hand overs from October onwards.

The Judges suggested that the hand overs should be convenient for the mother and the children, so she suggested that the mother takes the TGV to Paris. This is not in the Order, though.

The mother now says that partner picks up the children from her doorstep in France and that the only thing she HAS to do is to make children available. Nothing more.

This means a total of 10 hours traveling, half of that with the children, plus a 5 hours flight to where their father lives. I will not mention the cost as it just depresses me thinking of it.

Partner thinks that the only way is to go back to court and get a Specific Issue Order where ALL details are specified, as he sees no reason for more discussions and arguments and no way of compromising.

Also, the mother formally informed him that she has closed her e-mail and disconnected her phone so the only way for him to reach her is via Skype. Partner does not want to use Skype calls in this matter.

Do you think that going back to court to get a SIO is worth it?

Since the closer we get to the October contact the more expensive the flights become, can partner book flights on the dates assigned or wait until she agrees? The Order says: the first week of the October midterm school holiday (in France).

What is your experience from similar situations?

Thank you for your time and help in advance.

I was hoping I would not post here after the Order was issued but reality is unfortunately a different thing... :-(

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15 Aug 12 #349699 by halfadad
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Wow his ex is a gift that just keeps on giving isnt she?

I really think given the hassle you have already had with her, its worth going back to get everything tightened up as tight as possible, because otherwise I think she will cause hassle at every little opportunity!

If the order says "make available" then that is all she has to do legally, although morally and bearing in mind the judges intentions its very poor.

I dont think she can insist on him skyping her, but if shes disconnected everything else what can he do? Is snail mail an option for him?

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15 Aug 12 #349704 by Chained
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We are scared that if we take her back to court she will make it too difficult for him to see the children in the end and create obstacles upon obstacles.

On the other hand I agree with you. In such cases you need to do whatever it takes to minimize the opportunities for more arguments. Do you think he gets a chance if he goes back to court? Right now I am just scared and totally worn out and so is he, so we are in a constant state of worry. Not good for thinking positively.

She hasn''t provided her address to him, no, so Skype is the only option? He doesn''t want Skype as he does not like "the chatting" and the bitterness that comes forth.

All this is so so sad... especially for the children.

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15 Aug 12 #349715 by halfadad
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Hmmm,

Well you could record the skype calls. Inform her that you are doing so, and then hopefully she would be less bitter as she would know they could jump back up and bite her in the bum.

I think this is one of those difficult situations, where you can make arguements for either going back to court or letting it lie.

Shes already annoyed with you over not agreeing to her riduculous demands for swapping contact. Shes retaliated by being difficult about handovers.

If you take it further, what games will she play? If an actual watertight order is drawn up will she obey it? She appears to be obeying this one to the letter.

If you dont take it further, do you run the risk of booking flights and have big costs that she then messes with?

Perhaps you could write to the court and get the notes on the file from your hearing. If there is something in there about the judge expecting her to travel, you could perhaps look at the situation then.

If in the meantime you feel you need to play nice, then skype her ask about her confirming the dates for pick up, record the call, book your flights, and at least when/if she messes you around you have some back up?

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15 Aug 12 #349724 by Chained
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Excellent ideas!

We didn''t know that hearings like this keep records that can be made available! Since it was in the Judge''s chambers and there was no secretary, it didn''t even occur to my partner (who thanks you very much!).

Can partner request it himself or does he need a solicitor for this? Should he go there or call?

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15 Aug 12 #349728 by halfadad
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Well the judge himself should have made "comments" about what went on. Did you see him scribbling as he talked and asked questions.

Now what comments and notes that are written down will depend totally on the judge. S/he might have been detailed in that s/hes written what was suggested to the parties, what questions he asked, and what responses, or brief in this was issue, this was order, Id hope the former.

Your partner is entitled to view his court file, and thus see what notes & documents have been added to it, either by himself, the ex or her sol, or 3rd parties like the judge etc.

To see the file, your partner would need to call the court and probably ask to make an appointment to come in and view it. Ask specifically to have the judges comments made available, as that is where you hope he might have made note of the expectation of the ex to do the travel (im always a glass half ful kinda guy). If there is anything useful in there you can ask to have a copy of it.

If they are difficult, state you are applying under

Family Proceedings Rules (FPR) 1991 Rule 10.20(1):
10.20—(1) Subject to rule 10.21, a party to any family proceedings or his solicitor or the Queen‘s Proctor or a person
appointed under rule 2.57 or 9.5 to be the guardian ad item of a child in any family proceedings may have a search made for, and
may inspect and bespeak a copy of, any document filed or lodged in the court office in those proceedings.

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15 Aug 12 #349731 by zonked
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I think if your looking to change the contact order to specify a handover point, then what your seeking is a variation of the contact order rather than a SIO.

The arguements underpinning the application would need to be child focussed, what benefit would they get? You could plausibly argue that if mum shares some of the travel the children experience two parents working together and a feeling that mum supports their relationship with dad - giving them an emotional benefit. You could also argue that by making such a long journey father''s parenting is inevitably strained as he''s going to be tired - the children would get better quality contact if father didn''t start from a point of exhaustion. You might be able to throw into the mix that it was the court''s clear wish that such journeys be shared and that in order to minimise parental conflict or misunderstanding both parties would benefit from a more defined contact order.

I think communication by letter would be sensible. Your ptr might wish to suggest that on contact days both parents exchange emergency contact numbers?

Is it worth taking back to court? Tricky to answer. Even if your ptr got the changes he seeks the ex might then decide to sabotage contact by falling ''sick'' or having transport problems. That said, he does seem to me to have plausible arguments to make.

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