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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34907
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 question related to a court order of April 2009 which has

Customer Question

My question related to a court order of April 2009 which has validity for another 2 years.
My step daughter (now 14y) is refusing to visit us over Christmas though the court order stipulates she has to visit for 7 days. What do we have to do if we fly to pick her up from her home and she still refuses to come? Will we need to get the police involved? The last time this was being done the police didn't want to know saying it was a civil matter. We don't want to go back to court.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare and I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Where do you and the child each live?
Why does she not wish to see you?
What happened last time?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My step daughter lives in Nuneaton - UK and her father and I live in Guernsey
Her father and I have had 4 children since march 2009 and she says that her father doesn't spend time with her and she has to follow me around when with us. The last two contacts we have been paying for a friend of hers to stay with us and to fly over with her, been driving her to every activity they requested and even before that I put my children second and done my utmost to make her time with us as enjoyable as possible. It is not easy as she never gives feedback and when asked what she fancies doing she doesn't know an answer or just wants to stay in her room on the internet. At times her father has to work a lot though his work is flexible on working hours and he does take time to meet us all on the beach or take her swimming with her friend though he cannot be there all day every day. Each contact too we go out for an evening meal (just us grown ups).

Last time I suggested contact dates wit her mother about 6 weeks in advance which her mother agreed (court order says 3 days and nights). A few weeks prior my step daughter texted me (she stipulated previously she didn't want to call) that the dates clash as it would be her cousins birthday party followed by a family gathering the day after and a Halloween party a few days later. We asked her to think of a compromise to suit both sides but so that we wouldn't miss out on the three days having her. She contacted I saying she wanted to come two days to ensure she wouldn't miss out. We said that this was out of the question and suggested (as has been suggested on previous occasions) that she's fly by herself from Birmingham to guernsey and return. It would be impossible from flight schedules to fetch her that way unless we'd disregard the booked flights and buy a complete new set. She replied that she felt backed into a corner as didn't like flying by herself. Since she was 6 years old her dad or I flew to UK, hired a car, fetched her and flew back to guernsey taking a whole day and costing us approx £800 each pick up/drop off. She is a confident flyer but won't entertain the thought of flying by herself. She did let me pick her up but neither said hello nor anything else to me or her father. She had no trouble conversing with her friend though whom we paid to come over though.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
The simple fact is that is this young lady does not wish to come for contact she will not be forced to do so.
The Police will certainly not get involved - your ONLY option is to apply to the court for an Enforcement Order against the mother.
That Order could include her compensating you for the cost of the flights.
I am uncertain why her mother is not required to take her to the airport but if the matter goes back to court then this is something that should be addressed.
My only concern if it does go back is that at 13 the Court will say that it is her choice whether she has contact or not in the future.
One option you could attempt would be to arrange for your husband to attend Family mediation with his ex and the child to see what alternative arrangements might work
I appreciate that this is not the news you wished to hear - please ask if you need further details