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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
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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My ex-partner is wanting to draw up a 'rota contract' with

Customer Question

Hello. My ex-partner is wanting to draw up a 'rota contract' with regards ***** ***** and days he has my son. He wants me to sign it. Should I? Having a child we can't have times set in stone - there needs to be flexibility. I'm scared if circumstances change in the future and the child care needs to change, he will use this 'contract' against me.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

It would be more appropriate to agree a Parenting Plan such as this one

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/190788/parenting_plan_final_web.pdf

which is more reflective of the actual needs of a child.

However whatever it is called it is still not enforceable - only a court order is enforceable - and your ex will only be able to use this as a reflection of what you have agreed - not what the future must be

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
many a times I have suggested the parenting plan with him unwilling to do it. What stipulations does he have on where I move to with my child in the future? I due course I plan to move 45 minutes away from his father. Would only a court order be able to stop that? And what am I to expect from him with regards ***** ***** my son?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

What are the current contact arrangements

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
3 nights a week. He drops off and I pick up from Dads. So I would be suggesting the same when we move or suggest meeting point half way. The problem being that he already battles with me about having to pick him up and he currently only lives 10 minutes away. So I know what his reaction will be to a longer drive. Can I reasonably say it stays as it is when I move - he collects and I pick up? Then if he refuses what do I do?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

Why do you intend to move?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
To move in with my new partner and his children.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

How old is the child - and what is the actual pattern of contact?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
2 yrs old.Week 1 - Wednesday 4pm until Friday 4pm
Sunday 1pm until Monday 12pmWeek 2 - Friday 4pm until Monday 12pmThis starts next week. It was originally only 2 nights per week with Daddy.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

What will happen when the child goes to school

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
This is my fear. I would want him to go to the local school when I move. Therefore the current care plan wouldn't work. Nor would joint custody. It would have to change.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

When did you separate - and what has happened until now?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Separated in Feb 2015. Up until now it has been 2 nights per week. We don't have a great relationship. My son is regularly in the care of my ex's parents when his Dad is meant to have him. He met his now fiancé last October. He introduced my son very early to her and she moved in quickly. There are long standing issues because I've wanted to meet her but he won't allow it. He's quite controlling and constantly wants his own way with Leo. Refuses to take him to parties due to him feeling uncomfortable. Constantly tells me how lucky I am that he's a great father but there's are lots of instances that don't suggest that. He has rung to police on me and told numerous lies about me. So it's very fractious to say the least.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

May I ask why you have agreed this new pattern - what is the benefit for the child?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Purely because his dad wanted him more. I'm now not sure it will be beneficial because I've also just realised that due to my work and study commitments, my son will now only see me 2.5 days per week for quality time. Other times an hour before bedtime if he doesn't fall asleep in the car. Where do I stand in saying 'no' to the new arrangement legally? Can I do that?! My ex is against court I gather down to grief/cost.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

When he has him for the whole weekend is Dad actually there then?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I hope so. But believe that he spends a good amount of time at grand parents. But that's my belief. I could be wrong.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

How did the new proposal come about?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The father suggested it to me.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

And do you think this will suit your child?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I cannot say! What concerns me is that he's used to Mummy being there most of the time, then it's suddenly changes.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

What has been the actual pattern up until now?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Week 1. Thurs overnight. Sunday overnight.
Week 2. Sat/Sun over night at Dads.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

SO quite a big jump - and one which means he only has a minimal liability for child maintenance.

It is also one which could indeed make it difficult for you to move in the future since such a shared care arrangement will make it easier for him to apply for an order

preventing any move - and of course for insisting that Nursery and primary schools should be in your current area.

I would think hard before agreeing to this as it does seem very disruptive for a very young child.

At this stage stability and security are key and to be honest it is not clear that this has been the focus of the negotiations (or demands!)

I suggest that you make it clear that he can certainly have Friday to Monday overnight on alternate weekends, and every wednesday night - but even that ha sto be agreed as part of a Parenting plan which includes discussions about school and moving.

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for the above Clare. Am I able to ask a further question? Dad is now saying he will reduce hours at work and if they won't, even resign(!) and have 50/50 custody. He's said himself he doesn't want to go through mediation/court. My stance is simply no. I presume I am in my rights to say no and simply tell him to take me to mediation/court? Should I just wait for him to come to me?
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Yes - that is exactly what you should do

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Clare. My ex is now saying I have no right to take my new partner and son (and my partners children) to a mutual friends christening. He is saying he will take my son from me for the duration of the christening and then return him. Surely he isn't able to do this?
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

Nonsense - you can take the child to a christening if you wish to do so

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks so much Clare. I have a further question. Whenever my ex partner and I have a disagreement, he constantly threatens me with speaking to a solicitor. Would you suggest I do this myself and ask that the solicitor draws up an agreement regarding contact with myself? As in he only contacts me through a solicitor unless it's an emergency? I truly feel he is constantly threatening me with the law to scare me. But never acts on it. However I'd rather not have the threats and ask that he contacts me through a solicitor (given he won't agree to the parental plan/mediation)
Expert:  Clare replied 10 months ago.

No - just laugh the next time he says he will see a solicitor and say he is welcome to do so but he will be told he has to attend mediation to discuss a parenting plan - which you are happy to do

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