How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33514
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
13262538
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

My ex and I separated 3 years ago and have a separation agreement

Resolved Question:

My ex and I separated 3 years ago and have a separation agreement with arrangements for our two children which were further stated in our divorce papers. As part of this agreement it is stated that the children live with me. We have joint custody and both have parental responsbility. Up until now the children have stayed with my ex for 2 nights a week on average. He has now requested additional nights which I have agreed to meaning that he now has them 3 nights for 3 weeks and 4 nights for 2 weeks. This is virtually a 50:50 arrangement. However I am not convinced that the new arrangements are in the children's best interests - they always return from their father's very tired which is affecting their schooling and my son is displaying behavioural issues at home which, I believe, are caused by the fact that there is little discipline in their father's house. In additon he is not always there when they are and they are frequently looked after by his parents or new partner. Whilst it is good that they have a relationship with these people I do not believe they are benefitting from additional time at their father's house as they are not getting additional time with him. What rights do I have to restrict his access to them to below 50% and how would I go about acheiving this as I know he will be very resistant to reducing the time they spend there.
Thank you!
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.
How old are the children and which part of the Uk are you in?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

My children are 5 (6 next month) and 4 and we are in Suffolk

Thanks

Sarah

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Have school raised any concerns
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No although I spoke to them myself about the tiredness and they said they had noticed how tired they were some days. I'm also working with the school on my son's behavioural issues but this also started with me not the school

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
How often is the father not there when the children are?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It varies because he works on a rotating shift pattern but to the best of my knowledge there are 3 occasions out of 17 where he is not there when they arrive from school and does not return until late at night once they are in bed. There are a further 3 occasions in 17 when he works a night shift and is asleep for part or all of the time they are there.

Under the previous arrangement when he had them 10 nights out of 35 (rather than the current 17 out of 35) he was absent on 1 occasion and there were 2 occasions when he was asleep for all or part of their time there. Therefore although we have recently added an additional 7 nights out of 35 of them being with him 2 of those occasions he is not there at all and 1 he is asleep.

On those occasions he is not there when they return from school he does see them the following morning before they leave for school for about an hour or so but I am unconvinced that gaining an hour with him which is full of morning routine (i.e. is not free time) is sufficient benefit to them to justify the additional nights with him.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
May I ask what the behavioural issues are?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Further edit to the previous answer:

It varies because he works on a rotating shift pattern but to the best of my knowledge there are 3 occasions out of 17 where he is not there when they arrive from school and does not return until late at night once they are in bed. There are a further 3 occasions in 17 when he works a night shift and is asleep for part or all of the time they are there. There are also 3 occasions out of 17 when he is there by the time they return from school or shortly after but is not able to pick them up himself. On those occasions he leaves for work very early the next morning so does not see them in the morning or if he does it is only very brief.

Under the previous arrangement when he had them 10 nights out of 35 (rather than the current 17 out of 35) he was only absent on 1 occasion, there were 2 occasions when he was asleep for all or part of their time there and there was only 1 occasion where he was there but leaving early the next morning. Therefore although we have recently added an additional 7 nights out of 35 of them being with him 2 of those occasions he is not there at all, 1 he is asleep for part or all of the time and 2 he is there but leaving early in the morning.

Excluding the time for which they are at school and assuming they sleep from 6.30pm to 7.00am (as they do when with me) using his preferred times for seeing them he has the potential to see them for 103.5 hours in 5 weeks but only actually sees them for 85 hours. In the same time period I have the potential to see them for 127.5 hours and see them for all 127.5 of those hours except in exceptional circumstances. By my calculations in agreeing the additonal 7 nights in 35 I am giving up 31.5 hours with my children but they are actually only gaining 20.5 hours of time with their father out of it, the remaining 11 hours are spent with other family members.

Re behavioural issues: anger, violent outbursts, agression, acting out. He misbehaves almost exclusively at home with me, behaviour is largely good at school and at his father's.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Are the children happy with the arrangements?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Okay - last point - how far from the school does he live?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

3/4 of a mile or so

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Neither of you has more right to dictate how the children share their time between you - this is something you must either agree or ask the courts to decide.
Your starting point is to try and discuss matters with your ex using family mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
You must attend mediation even if he refuses.
If mediation is not successful then you will need to apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order.
Please do not use your breakdown of hours spent as part of your arguments - it will not impress and it will backfire.
The court is never impressed by any attempt to divide hours between parents - that is not about looking at what is best for the children
You need to look at how tired the children are - approach the matter by talking about the need for consistent bedtimes given that the children are so young
Whilst it is normal for there to be different parenting styles the age of the children means there needs to be some basic ground rules to avoid confusion
A parenting plan would be an excellent idea
I woudl also suggest that you drop the two four night weeks down to three and see if that causes less confusion for the children.
http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/content_topic/breaking-up/shared-care-disputes-in-mediation/
https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/schoolofhumanitiesandsocialsciences/law/research/familyregulationandsociety/Trinder_CFLQ_Article.pdf
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33514
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Kasare

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TG/TGraham12/2012-7-17_81212_bigstockBusinessHandshake508163.64x64.jpg Thomas's Avatar

    Thomas

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    160
    UK solicitor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    340
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/GL/Glossolicitor/2013-5-14_214834_TWMParkinsonWright.64x64.jpg Glos solicitor's Avatar

    Glos solicitor

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2
    10 years experience in all areas of family law, now specialising in cases involving social services and children
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CL/clairep80/2013-8-25_191218_dreamstimexs267279822nd.64x64.jpg Clare's Avatar

    Clare

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    4598
    I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HH/hhlaw/2015-12-8_22495_unnamedlanczosbicubic.64x64.jpg Harris's Avatar

    Harris

    Family Law Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    1064
    Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters