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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33305
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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I have had several email conversations with my ex-husband about

Customer Question

I have had several email conversations with my ex-husband about the summer holidays. We have an agreement that each of us can take the girls abroad for one week over the summer holidays. My understanding is that he needs my consent to take the girls abroad. I received this email last night:
"Lucy,
After various conversations and e-mails, this e-mail is to clarify the times that I am taking the girls away during the school summer holidays 2015. I have cc’d both Nicky and Steve on this as I believe that they are directly affected.
I will be going on holiday with the girls on Monday 17th August for a week. It is at the following location.
http://france.huttopia.com/en/destination/camp/huttopia-dieulefit/site
We are staying in a wood cabin.
http://france.huttopia.com/en/wood-cabins-rental-in-france
Nicky myself and Joe will be sleeping downstairs and the girls will be sleeping upstairs.
We will be flying out on Monday 17th August and arriving back on Monday 24th August before 8pm.
As per last year then we are going to the The Big Feastival on Friday 28th August. We will be leaving at 9amish to make the drive to the Cotswold and get a camping pitch with the other 3 families that we are going with. The girls went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. We will be back late-ish around 7pm. It is on my weekend so this won’t be a problem apart from a later than usual drop off however this shouldn’t be too much of an issue because it is the school holidays and a bank holiday the following day. I know you have expressed the unfairness of this as you say that you have lost your weekend (21-23 August). I tried to minimise this by suggesting alternatives for my week long holiday. I suggested we pick the girls up on Saturday 15th August from where you were staying in France (or close by) or leaving the UK on Sunday 16th August. You rejected both options. There are times when we need to have flexibility in the routine to allow for everything to happen.
Thanks and if you have any questions then just shout."
The conversations to date have been that he wanted to pick the girls up from the Villa that I am taking them to which is just outside Nice. He was flying into Lyon (4 hours drive from Nice) and then driving to a hotel in Geneva (about another*****from Nice). I didn't feel this was appropriate for the girls nor did I want to spend the last day of my holiday waiting for him to arrive at some point. I have also booked and paid for the girls return flights. With regard to my holiday, I emailed him on 27th Oct last year to say that I was going to stay in the south of france for this week of the holiday (its my birthday that week and I have gone away every year at that time for the last few years). At no point did he mention that he would like to tap onto the holiday - which could have worked well for the children. He suggested that the girls fly out on the Sunday after my holiday having just flown in on the Saturday night. He is flying to the south of France as well. I said that I didn't think this was fair on the girls to be back and forwards so much and that maybe Monday would be a better day to go if he couldn't go on the following Saturday which would be my preferred option. Previously we have gone on holiday Saturday to Saturday to make it easier to fit into the current routine. He could take the girls away 22nd to 29th but he also wants to take them camping as he referred to in his email.
All the holidays to date have been a pain like this and usually its the week before so it makes planning hard. Last October I suggested that him and I sit down together and work out the holiday plans together. He said he would rather go through mediation so I agreed and to date he still hasn't set up a meeting. Therefore I took the initiative and put together a document that makes it easier to have everything in one place. This document contains a summarisation of all agreements to date through the legal documentation or through the routine that has been in place for the last 12 months. I can email you this document if it would help. He has specified that he doesn't agree to this document in places and has asked for mediation (this was last May). We have had one mediation session (Sept) and he has been trying to arrange another one but unsuccessfully.
My question is how do I respond to his email? He is taking the girls abroad (I thought I had to provide consent?) for the week and also across my weekend and not giving me the time back. For my week holiday we are going on my weekend and coming back on the Saturday and the girls will be dropped with him on the way back Saturday evening. Also, the drop back time for a Sunday is 3pm. I have offered to move this to 5pm to make things easier for the campaign weekend but he is insisting on 7pm. Neither of the girls want it to be this late on the Sunday. He is not offering to give me the time back that I am missing. Any advice would be great.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year 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.
is there an alternative weekend that you would like to spend with the children?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Clare

I had emailed him to say that if he went Monday-Monday then as I would lose my entire weekend and he is only losing 1\2 of his weekend when I am on holiday then he could still have the girls for his weekend but pick them up from me at 3pm on the Friday (really I would prefer Saturday morning but I thought it was unfair for them to miss out on the first night of the festival) so he could still go camping on the bank holiday weekend rather than 9am as he wants. I also said they should be back by 5pm rather than 7pm on the Sunday. The girls are always exhausted when they come back from him and although it is a bank holiday the next day they are going back to school that week and need to make sure they start getting back into their routine. Equally, my eldest is starting secondary school that week and will be worried about it. A later night on the Sunday isn't really what is best for her.

Its not easy to swap weekends as it means one of us then loses out with the girls for 2 weekends in a row which is why in the past the holidays have been Saturday to Saturday and going on that persons weekend so it only impacts the other parent for half their weekend not losing out on their entire weekend. However I guess this year it might have to be different.

The only other weekend that fits would be the 31st July to 2nd August that is his weekend but then I could have the girls for that weekend instead of the weekend that he is taking them on holiday. The following weekend (7hy Aug) we go on holiday and then they come back half way through his weekend the following weekend (15th) I am trying to be fair to him but equally I don't want to lose my weekend with the girls:) Maybe that is an option to say that I will then have his weekend 31st July-2nd Aug and he can have what he has stated in his email? The problem I also have is that it always seems to be compromising and he never does:(

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
What is the problem with organising a Mediation session?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't know:) He has tried to contact the mediator we were using and she isn't returning his calls. He has said he will find a new one but hasn't. This has been going on since September last year.

I did suggest last year that we didn't use a mediator and that we sat down together and planned the holidays for the entire year together but he said he wanted to go through mediation. He has said he will organise it and pay for it so I am not getting involved.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
I have to say that a 7pm return after a weekend away when the next day is a Bank Holiday is not going to be seen as Unreasonable
Equally the alternating weekend system is often placed on hold during holidays to ensure that the holidays can be shared without this kind of problem arising.
You are fully entitled to ask for the earlier weekend - or just to "bank" the missed time for the future.
However you are correct - this is a matter which would be better dealt with in advance using Family mediation
On that basis I would suggest that you take the step of finding a mediator and arranging an appointment so that these ongoing problems can be resolved.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

But can he just tell me he is going to take them away abroad without my consent? He is saying that he can take them out of the country 28 days a year without my consent but I thought he had to have my consent?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Remind me - are there any Residence Orders in place?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no but I have the children 11 out of 14 nights. There is a childcare arrangement document but no residence order.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Then technically neither of you are entitled to take the children out of the country without the agreement of the other party or an order from the court
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That's what I thought. When I asked for my holiday back in October he gave his consent for me to take the girls abroad. I haven't given my consent for this holiday as yet therefore technically as we stand at the moment he can't take them - can he?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
This is a technicality - unless you apply to the court for an Order preventing him form leaving the country then he can go
Applying for such an order in these circumstances would be most unwise
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK - thanks. I don't want to stop him taking the girls abroad for their holiday nor stop his fun with them. I just want to ensure everything is fair and that the compromising is not always on my side:)

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Yes I understand your feelings on that
Clare

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