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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35071
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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Amending an existing Contact Order.

Customer Question

My ex partner applied to the courts for a Contact Order for our daughter (who is now 5) and was granted such in January 2012. This allowed him every other weekend contact and every Wednesday evening (which he has never exercised for 2 years), and specified holiday contact.
I have always abided by this Order and made her available, but he has failed to exercise it on many levels, continually cancelling weekends and failing to support on half term holidays with no notice; even though he is a school teacher. He refuses to be flexible around the Contact Order arrangements, unless he just doesn't exercise them, and has never collected her from school, even on the Fridays when he has weekend access, he insists on collecting her from home at 7pm.
I am a full time working mother and I started a new job at the end of April 2014, therefore the only 2 weeks consecutive holidays (last 2 weeks in August) I can have over the summer coincide with a split week period (20-27 August) that he states is the only time he can have her. Despite having 6 weeks off as a school teacher. He is now threatening me with solicitors letters and the fact he is going to make an emergency application to the court regarding this particular week in August. I am inclined to respond and tell him to do so, and financially I'm not in a position this time to instruct legal support again (it cost me the best part of £10k last time he dragged me though the courts). Before I respond to the solicitors letter, I wanted to understand if I can apply to the courts myself to have the Contact Order amended to reflect the reality of our situation. It is causing me a lot of unnecessary stress, I would be grateful for some advise. Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare and I will do my best to help you
If he does take the matter to court then you can take the opportunity to have the order amended to reflect what actually happens - and to ask for the collection time to be changed
Accordingly I suggest that you write to him and say that you are willing to discuss the matter with him using Family mediation - and that if he does decide to issue proceedings then there are a number of changes to the contact pattern that you will seek at the same time
Above all else do keep a contemporaneous record of what contact she does have with her father?
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dear Clare

Thank you for your response.

I have already been through family mediation with her Father to no avail prior to the Court involvement last time; consequently I see little value in repeating that. Although I found the experience useful, he still insisted on taking me to Court to formalise the contact arrangements.

Therefore please advise if I should write back to the solicitor (or her Father directly) to inform them/ him that I will use any further court attendance to have the Contact Order amended to reflect reality?

I do have a full record of actual contact my daughter has had with her father and all of the reasons why it didn't materialise. I have all of the email exchanges between us.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
I appreciate that mediation is unlikely to work - but nonetheless it is a pre requisite for any court action these days - and your willingness to try (again) will win the approval of the court
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Clare
Thank you for your latest response. I have acted upon the advice that you supplied by suggesting that I would be willing to discuss the matter through mediation.
I hope you appreciate that it is difficult for me to rate your service until I receive a response to what you have suggested, I.e it has been responded to by the solicitor that my Daughter's father has instructed.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
That is fine