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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34236
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Hi, My ex wife (we are divorced) is demanding I now share

Customer Question

My ex wife (we are divorced) is demanding I now share custody for our 5 year old son. Whilst I am happy to discuss as I work nights I can't action anything immediately. She has said she will enforce within 1 week and will drop our son at my work if I fail to accept her demand. Can she do this legally? Within the divorce papers it states agreed access of every other weekend (Friday-Sunday) and alternate overnights Sunday. I am happy to share custody but can't organize within a week. Is there a defined notice period that is required? We do not have a contact order in place, only what is in the divorce papers.
Many thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. M
y name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Why does she wish to change the care arrangements?
What is she actually asking for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi,it originated from a request for increased maintenance. We have a private arrangement as she refuses to go through the CSA, but I have contacted the CSA in regards XXXXX XXXXX I should be paying. My ex disputes the value. I have one child with her who is 5 in June.My ex has had the same job, on roughly the same hours since before we were married (she has a daughter from a previous relationship who is 9), however she is now saying that by not sharing custody 50/50 I am preventing her from working full time. I therefore either need to increase maintenance, and pay a lump sum for what she believes she has been underpaid (I have already sought legal advice on this and a claim cannot be made), or agree to 50/50 access (2,2,3 day plan).She has demanded the 2,2,3 approach be started on the 1st May. As I work nights I can't physically change access this quickly. When I have tried to discuss this, it's led to insults about my parenting, threats about access and accusations around the financial burden on her. We have previously discussed mediation but these conversations have stalled.Please let me know if you need further details.Many thanks
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
have you considered taking the child on full time - since it appears that your ex does not wish to be responsible for the child?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I cant as explained I work nights currently . She does want him still but

50/50 access .

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Neither of you can be forced to care for the child if you do not wish to do so
As Parents you are expected to agree between you where the child will live and when - or to apply to the court and ask the court to decide
If she does drop your son at your work then this can be classed as neglect and there is the risk of Social Services involvement - indeed on many levels her approach leads to questions about her mental health and care for the child in any event - especially as the new pattern of residence would mean that you no longer had to pay as much child maintenance
However since you seem in fact to be willing to try and adapt to the new pattern (given time) I suggest that you arrange an appointment using Family mediation to reach a new agreement
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thanks for coming back.

If mediation isnt possible (cost or willingness) can 50/50 access be enforced legally by her? Is there a legal / recommended notice period that I can reference (whilst also raising mediation) or is this not governed by law and courts but more a private agreement.

There is a unwillingness to discuss so I wanted to understand what rights I have to say 50/50 access cant start immediately and define a start date.


Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
You cannot be forced to care for your child if you do not wish to/cannot do so - she cannot make you have the child 50% of the time
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry to be a pain. But can you be more specific e.g legal rights etc and suggested notice periods?
I don't want to risk contact being withdrawn so want to be 100% sure of the facts / legal position on this
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
There are no notice periods involved
It is assumed that as parents you will be able to agree how the child's time will be shared between you.
If you do not agree then you can apply to the court for a new Child Arrangement Order and the court will make a decision on the matter.
Although they have not been amended to show the new wording (Child arrangements replace Residence and Contact)
You can read more here