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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33547
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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family law. I am not denying my ex access to the kids but

Resolved Question:

family law. I am not denying my ex access to the kids but he wants them to travel over 4 hours in a car to go to his house. Kids are refusing to go. Last December they were in the car ready to go with him when they got upset. He called me to collect them as could not cope. My daughter (then 5) was very upset saying she didn't know how to choose. My son (then 7) was also crying and wanted to come home.
Since then we have had many conversations where I have said I AM NOT REFUSING ACCESS and he has had the kids a couple of times when he has travelled down south (he lives Liverpool and I am Amesbury) as the children were happy to do that. I have stated over and over again that if he is to be local, the children will be happy to see him again. This is not my wishes but theirs. I have told the children and my ex several times that he can have them whenever he wishes as long as it doesn't affect their schooling. His view is that I should be telling and making the children go back to Liverpool with him. My view is that as access is available and possible without upsetting the children, the local access should suffice until the kids change their minds about the journey. They get travel sick with me too but the journey from home to their Dad's is over 4 and quarter hours. Can I insist that he comes to see them down here if this is their wish or do I have to force them to go that far?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is wrong with the half way meeting?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

For me, nothing! The ex is insistent that the children spend time with him and his new wife (whom they like, so no problem there) in their house. It's an ultimatum it seems. Think this problem stems from the last time he took them to his house. My son was upset that he didn't want to go when I got to the meeting point (45 mins nearer to the ex). He was forcibly removed by the ex from my car to his and driven off, very upset. Maybe half hour later, I received a call from the ex asking me to talk to my son who was still crying. When they Skype'd on arrival in Liverpool several hours later, he was STILL crying. Try as I might over a comms link, my son was unconsolable at that time. I think it calmed overnight as I didn't hear from them until they were dropped off again.

The next planned visit was in December when both kids then got upset when we got to the meeting point. They were both forced to get in the car but this time the ex didn't get far before he called me asking me to collect them from him. They were in a real emotional state and took some time for me to calm the situation.

The ex is saying I shouldn't be giving the kids a choice but they have been made to go against their will twice and it doesn't go well.

I really want them to see him and have relationship with him but am at a loss if he can't understand they don't want to make the journey. When he has them local to their home, they go very happily and stay overnight with no problems.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How travel sick are they and what preventative methods do you use?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I stop on a VERY regular basis and get them out to walk around. My ex tries to do the whole journey in one go. If I'm honest I think even if he was to try that, there is something more to this than just the journey as I've asked my son whether he would travel up with me. He is happy to do that as long as he doesn't have to stay overnight at his Dad's house. Confusing and worrying as he's happy to stay with his Dad in a hotel down south.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Are you still willing to do the drive to Liverpool?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I will do whatever it takes but only if I see something in return from the ex! I think it's only fair he gives a little as he chose to move away from the area in the first place, thus creating the distance issue.

He was living 10 minutes away in the family home when we agreed the Arrangements for the Children and it was agreed then that he'd have them every other weekend.

I would be happy to do the journey on one of the holidays if he came to see them and had them locally on the next, for example. I don't really see why I should foot the bill for petrol and accommodation and have my free time taken up staying somewhere I wouldn't choose to stay as I don't really get a break that way, but I would do it for the kids if they were happy their Dad was making an effort too.

I don't think he'd find this acceptable either though as he will expect the children to stay at his house, particularly if they are near him and like I said, this is causing the problem for some reason.

As he works down south on a fairly regular basis, I have offered to bring the children to him in London, for example, or Swindon but his view is that a few hours with them is not good enough "quality time" whereas putting them in a car for 9 hour round trip does count as "quality time" in his opinion.

I am sorry if it sounds like I'm moaning but this is a stressful situation for me as I'm effectively sat in the middle between him and the kids and to me, any time he can have with them should be taken. Hours of contact must be better than none which is the result of his ultimatum.

Frustrating...

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am afraid that the first thing I have to say is bad news - the children are too young for their wishes to have any weight.
They should also have no concept of whether or not Dad is "making an effort"
Having said that it is indeed a very long journey and he needs to make allowance for their travel sickness and make travel plans accordingly
He does need to make concessions and make efforts to see them whenever he can - and agree a way forward to move back to overnights at his house.
You and he need to agree a plan using Family mediation so that the overnight contact can be introduced again - with you making the trip to Liverpool at least the first time.
I know that this is hard to hear - and frankly the fact is that it is highly unlikely that your ex will co-operate enough to make it feasible, but you do need to discuss this with your ex using family mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33547
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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