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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34905
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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contact dispute help

Customer Question

Hello, i would like to discuss a possible contact dispute please. The short summary is that there has been an agreement in place for roughly 5 years (not court ordered)... lately, there has been some flexibility with this as the children get older and do more activities. It now seems to have gone too far towards them(children's mother) deciding when they should come... today i received a solicitor letter requesting change to this weekend. I would like to see what my options are. Can i say no... should i be considering a court order to ensure that the structure remains? I have tried to be flexible,I am now concerned that this nature has set a precedent that I will always do as requested. Thanks, Mike

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Claire and I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old are the children and what is the pattern of contact?
What are the solicitors requesting?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello, thanks for your response.


The girls are 10 and 8, the agreement is Friday to Sunday contact every other week. I have 1 school collection, 1 week in the summer and alternative Christmas Days.


The solicitors requested a change to contact this weekend. Usually, these would be dealt with direct and are always agreed to. This letter was more aggressive, it reminded me that there was no Court Order in place and also requested that we do not cross examine the children as to the reasons why... something that was very strange.


The main issues for me were:

The we have always agreed changes directly.

The tone of the letter.

The timing of the letter, contact was due today and the letter was received on Wednesday.


Mitigating circumstances - The girls mother has just had a baby on 31st August, the reason for the change request is so that the girls can spend more time with their new baby brother.


In 100% of cases where contact change was requested direct (or usually by my eldest daughter phoning up) it has been agreed.


Due to the timing of this letter... i responded asking for further clarification and proposals around when the time would be made up etc. My requests for clarification were ignored, so I have refused to change the contact agreement.


I guess we will see what happens at 6pm today, when i am due to collect them.


Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Hi Mike
You are right - it seems both an odd reason and an odd approach.
If Contact does not go ahead this weekend I suggest that you write back and say that you are surprised at this change in approach as all other alterations have always been agreed.
Point out that you have always assumed that an Order was not necessary - but that in the circumstances this may have to be reconsidered.
You should offer to discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation (
You may also wish to ask to extend the holiday contact - half of all school holidays is not an unreasonable request.
You may also find some interesting information on this website
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