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familylawexpert
familylawexpert, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  Substantial experience (14yrs +) in divorce, financial cases, cohabitation, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships.
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My childrens father and I separated nine years ago. The children

Customer Question

My children's father and I separated nine years ago. The children have lived with me for that time and seen their Father on a fortnightly basis. This was his choosing as it was to not be involved with their schooling or any other part of their life outside his fortnightly, weekend visit.
He is now demanding to see the children on the Friday night between his fortnightly visit. The children have told me they do not wish to go but will go on the Friday of the weekend they see him usually. He is being abusive and has threatened to arrive to collect the children this Friday as per his demand.
My question is, can he do this?
Thank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  familylawexpert replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

My name is Mac. I can help you with your question.

Is there a court order regulating contact arrangements, or is it just an informal agreement?

.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Mac,

The fortnightly arrangement was set down my my children's Father nine years ago. It has been an ongoing dispute between us ever since. We have never formally agreed this arrangement. It was Mr. Simper's only commitment to see his children. I have persistently asked for there be weekly contact so that there was continuity for our children. He has always refused to do this until now. Our children have found it difficult to visit him every fortnight. They have almost been forced to go by me, against their wishes, every fortnight.

Regards
Annette Duncan
Expert:  familylawexpert replied 3 years ago.

So the voluntary pattern up till now has been Saturday nights only. And he's now asking for alternating weeks of either Friday or Saturday night?

The children are saying they'd rather do Friday and Saturday one week, and then nothing the other week? How old are the children?

And what do you think would be best?

.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The children are 12 and 15. They are used to seeing their Father every fortnight and have no wish to see him in between for a sleepover.
They would be happy for their Dad to pick them up and go for dinner one day during the 'in between' week but not to stay with him.

We have suggested this to their Father and offered that the children stay on the Friday night of the weekend he normally has them. He is adamant that he will collect them this Friday, take them to the gym and then take them to his house for the night. He will return them at some point on the Saturday.

The children definitely do not want this to happen
Expert:  familylawexpert replied 3 years ago.

The father is being far too pushy with your children - they're far too old for him to try to force them to do this kind of thing. Even if they were younger, he's not entitled to insist on anything immediately changing anyway.

I appreciate that this may cause conflict, but you should email him and say that it is not agreed that he can collect the children this Friday and he should not come round to try to do that. If he does come round, he will not be able to pick them up anyway. You could also add that, he would be welcome to suggest a regular mid-week evening on the 'other' week, and the children would happily go out to dinner with him then, and that he could also extend 'his' weekend to include the Friday if he wishes.

He can try and insist all he likes, but the court would be highly unlikely to give him a weekend night on both weekends, and that possibility reduces effectively to nil in the face of the fact that children of this age don't want to go anyway.

For what it's worth, I consider that the offer of a midweek dinner, and a longer 'his' weekend is a very reasonable suggested extension of the current arrangements - and that any new plan has to have the agreement of the children anyway (particularly your fifteen year old), otherwise it just won't work.

I hope that is helpful. If you would like me to clarify anything, please ask. If not, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Regards,
Mac.

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