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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1200
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor Currently specialising in Family. Also experienced in Corporate, Employment, Civil Litigation, Debt Recovery
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Good morning.Here's my situation: I'm the father and guardia

Resolved Question:

Good morning.
Here's my situation: I'm the father and guardian of a 4 year old child.
Almost a year ago I moved with my child from Norwhich to Huntingdon (about***** good public transport links).
The mother of the child lives in Norwich and goes months not visiting the child, when she does is always last minute and just for a few hours or overnight, during the week.
Child has started school and this inconsistent visitation pattern is having a negative effect in her emotions and behaviour.
Mother refuses to agree on an alternative weekend schedule to see her, claims she hasn't got money and is depressed and that I should be the one paying for transport or taking the child to her, given that it was I who moved away.
I would like to know whether the law is on my side in this situation.
Best regards,
A.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 years ago.
Good morning
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist you.
It is the courts view that children have a right to a relationship with both parents unless there are child protection concerns.
You have a duty to promote contact - which I note that you have been doing as you have offered alternate weekend contact which seems sensible given the travel involved. Unfortunately if the mother is not committed then there is very little a court can do to make her engage.
In relation to travel costs - it is considered fair for these costs to be split between you.
You should consider referring the matter to mediation. They can help you try and agree a schedule. There are lots of mediation services and there will be one local to you. One such national service is www.nfm.org
If the mother wasn't content with your proposals then she could make an application to the court for a child arrangement order. The mother would need to refer to mediation first or her application would be rejected.
Kind Regards
Caroline
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Caroline,Thank you for your response.In this case, the mother thinks it is right to just call last minute saying she will pop in the next day to take the child for a few hours or overnight, which I think is unreasonable as I would like for us to have set days and times for visitations.Also, the mother has never contributed financially or otherwise for the upbringing of the child, in which case I find it unreasonable to have to split the costs of transportation for visitation.I am in the process of sorting out mediation, but I want to be as well prepared as possible and also knowing what is realistic to expect.Another couple of points that might or might not be relevant:- the mother insists on taking her own mother to assist her during mediation, which I oppose to (unless she can present a medical statement indicating that she's unable to make decisions on her own)
- both the mother and grandmother of the child address me disrespectfully ***** ***** a bullying manner, which is what's prompting me to take the mediation routeI understand that this is a most unusual situation and that is why I am finding it hard to find relevant information online.In the end of the day I just want my child to visit her mother regularly.Best regards,A.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 years ago.
Hello A
Thank you for your response. My apologies for my delay in responding to you.
I agree that a 4 year old needs a set routine of when they are going to see their mother rather than it being adhoc. Children benefit from a routine and this helps to create stability.
Unfortunately - the court gives very little weight to whether or not any financial contribution is being made by the absent parent. That being said - you should still consider making a claim to the Child Maintenance Service.
In relation to mediation - whilst I wouldnt object to the grandmother accompanying to support the mother - but during the actual sessions - the grandmother should not be in attendance if she is going to act in an aggressive or bullying manner - as this will simply not assist. You should explain your objection to the mediator.
Kind Regards
Caroline
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Good evening Caroline,I have to admit, things are less straightforward as I thought they would be.I would like to ask you a few more questions if that's alright?1- I've never taken action to get child maintenance from the mother because she doesn't work, but would it be reasonable to use that to negotiate not taking part in paying for transportation for visitations?
She lives with her mother and, even though she refuses to travel to visit the child, she does travel around the country and overseas with her mother, therefore I think one can assume that she could find the means to afford the visitation costs.2- If I can't avoid the grandmother to be present, am I entitled the same right? Could I, for instance, take my partner with me to support me?3- If I put a mediation process in motion, how will the mother be notified of the meeting to take place? Will she be sent an official letter form the mediation body?Best regards,Irene
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
*Apologies, I signed my partner's name instead of my own by mistake.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 years ago.
Hello Irene

Of course you can ask more questions.

1) If you did claim for child maintenance through the CMS - they would take the transportation costs into account - so yes this is fine.

2) Yes - things have to be equal. But its really not going to work - if it is going to descend into chaos.

3) When you make the referral to mediation - they will ask you for the mothers details - they will then write to her directly seeking if she is willing to engage.

Kind Regards

Caroline