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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33276
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have a court order for my exhusbands access to my son that

Customer Question

I have a court order for my exhusband's access to my son that was issued 10 years ago when he was 2. It is now irrelevant as my son pretty much chooses as and when he wants to see his Dad. How easy is it to get out of this agreement? Would I have to go back to court?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
My name is Claire and I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Bearing in mind that it is no longer being abided by why do you wish to change it?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I now have another child aged 3 next month, and the part that is being abided by is impacting on my time with him. My ex is entitled to 2 hours on a Tuesday that he hasn't used in years, plus 9 to 5 Saturday one week and sunday the next. My son now stays overnight on the Friday before the Saturday access. We have a caravan 45 miles away that we go to every weekend between April and October, however, my exhusband insists on only travelling halfway to collect my son, meaning that I have to be tied to dropping my son off and collecting him for these access visits. My younger son has had to miss out on activities because of this.


 


I just wanted to know if it was simple to change it/get out of it, or whether I'm tied to something that we're not even sticking to 100% until my son is 16.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My apologies for the delay.
Have you considered offering him the Saturday night that week as well?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Why would I do that? I don't want even less time with my son than I do now. I just want to know if I can appeal to the court to have it removed and let my son make up his mind when he wants to see him rather than having to stick to something vaguely until he's 16. Also do I have the right to say to my ex that he'd have to travel all the 45 miles to pick him up rather than having to travel halfway as that is what is causing most of our issues. I'm not denying him access, just changing the pick up point. Thanks
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry but the simple answer to both questions is no.
You can indeed apply to the Court to vary the order so that it reflects what is actually happening - but f you do that then your ex can take advantage of the fact that the matter is in court and ask for longer contact - may be Friday to Sunday on alternate weekends.
In addition since it is your choice to go away at the weekends then the court is unlikely to insist that your ex does the travelling.
Unfortunately the Court will not see the needs of your younger child as relevant to the matter - unfair but sadly true
Having said that alternate weekends could in fact work better for all of you and you may wish to discuss this with your ex using Family mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk)
I realise that this is bad news but please ask if you need more details
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My son doesn't want to stay with him for a whole weekend which is why we don't do what you suggested. Would the court not take my son's wishes into account at all bearing in mind he is nearly 13? It seems crazy to think we're stuck trying to work with something that was put in place for a 2 year old with no get out clause until he's 16.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi Helen
The problem is that the only point you wish to change is the Travel Arrangements - which is the part the Court is least likely to change within any application that is made.
At 13 your sons wishes are indeed important - but from what you have said your son and his father have indeed reached an arrangement about what contact suits them.
If this is not the case and it is time to change then you will need to start by trying to discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation and a Mediator trained to work with young people so that your sons views can be heard.
If this does not work then you can apply to the court to vary the existing order - but this is more likely to mean that the order will be changed - not dismissed
You can read more about such applications here
http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/168195/cb7-eng.pdf
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But the travel arrangements weren't agreed in the first order so I don't see how that's relevant. If we moved house to 45 miles away he'd have to travel to see him anyway. I'm not stopping his access in any way shape or form, just saying that I don't want to travel as it impacts on other areas of our lives. I really don't want to have to drag my son into court about this, but I would never have agreed to a court order when he was 2 if I'd known it was this difficult to change the arrangements when he was older. Thank you for your advice - no matter how annoying/depressing the response was.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi Helen
It is indeed the inflexibility of court orders which is a problem.
Try the mediation - it may improve things!
Claire

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