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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34910
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 partner is having problems getting regular access to his

Customer Question

My partner is having problems getting regular access to his children. We would like to have his 2 children every other weekend overnight for 1-2 nights but recently his children's mother has been making this difficult as she isn't willing to be flexible considering my partner works shifts in a hospital. We were supposed to have them last weekend but we weren't able to as she had taken them away for the week and so we havn't seen them for nearly 3 weeks. We therefore said we would have them this weekend but she has said we can only have them Sunday during the day as it is her weekend to have them but we then won't be able to have them the following weekend because my partner has to work. Where do we stand with getting her to be more flexible and do we need to get some legal arrangements in place for us to get more access. Thank you. Laura.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
How old are the children and what has been the pattern of contact until now?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The children are 8 years old and 6 years old. Up until around November of last year we were having the children every other weekend for 2 nights unless their mother had made plans i.e a party she wanted them to go to etc. From November this changed slightly as my partner, the children's father, went on to a 4 week shift pattern which meant we still had the 2 children every other weekend but sometimes only for 1 night as he was working until 22:00 hrs on the Friday. We did however have the children whenever possible and sometimes for 3 nights or more during school holidays. In February, however, my partners shift pattern changed to a 5 week cycle which meant that it would be impossible to have the children every other weekend as he works 3 weekends in 5 and she would not allow them to stay with me. My partner did discuss the situation with her and even let her know his rota and she indicated that she was willing to work with us but it appears now she is not willing to be a bit more flexible even with adequate notice. I hope you can help and thank you.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
What pattern of contact would work?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry I have just re-checked his rota and its 2 weekends in 5 that he works not 3. Realistically it would be good if we could have then 2 weekends in a row so have them 3 weekends in 5 to incorporate his shift pattern. However we would be happy to compromise to just having them for 1 night instead of 2 of those 3 out of 5 weeks to remain fair. We would also just be happy if she wouldn't depict to us when we are allowed to have the children
according to her plans. Really we would like a little more flexibility from her. How much access is my partner entitled to? and also are we entitled to take the children away on holiday? I also have 2 children from a previous relationship and we would love to take them allaway together as we are strong believers in treating them all equally.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
The law says that children are entitled to regular contact with both parents and the courts will enforce this if necessary.
Since every family is no set amount of contact that children should or should not have - but alternate full weekends plus an evening/night in the week and half the school holidays is certainly not unusual.
It is not unreasonable to ask that the pattern of contact should fit around the work schedule - so two full weekends plus a one night weekend in five is a very reasonable suggestion - plus extra weeks in the school holidays so that you can all go away.
Your partner should try and discuss matters with his ex using family mediation ( and if that fails he may need to apply to the court for a defined contact order
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further information