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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
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 ex has just gained a final children arrangements order where

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My ex has just gained a final children arrangements order where he has my birthday weekend each year and the summer holiday arrangements prevent me from taking a full week holiday with my children. he has them for the next two entire Easter celebrations, Boxing Day, New Years Day. All this was thrown in at the last moment. I had no time to even discuss most of it with my solicitor before it was railroaded through. He is free to place the children with his parents as he does for four or five days during his holiday contact.
Can I apply for a rehearing? My solicitor seemed as railroaded as me and did not speak up in my interests.
The situaiton seems unworkable and certainly unbalanced.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What are the actual holiday arrangements - and does that mean you always have Christmas eve and Christmas day?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The Judge granted everything everything he wanted. I always have Christmas eve and Christmas Day but then they are away for a week until the evening of New Years Day. He has the next two Easters as they fall at the beginning of the holiday and has the rest of that week. If there are extra days at Easter including Inset days these are to be divided and the extra days added to his week.

My birthday falls at the beginning of the Summer Holidays, he has the children every year for that weekend and a day. Even naming my birthday as one of the days he has for this year (Judge was unaware of this, my solicitor said nothing). He has two full weeks on the 2nd and 5th weeks of the holidays which include the Saturdays before and at the end of the week. In effect I have one weekend with the children that he does not have half of. In reality I cannot take the children away for seven days at any point in the year (where accomodation is booked most places are Saturday to Saturday).- I will always be paying for holiday when I must bring the children home earlier. ( I will probably be fined by the local authority if I take holiday in term time) My solicitor said v.little and when he did he was shot down in flames by the Judge with nasty looks and any comment was instantly disregarded. My need to have a week where I could take the children away was discussed in court and the Judge agreed to me having week 3 and 4 in Summer . However by giving the ex the Saturdays at either end of this time I cannot in reality enjoy a full holiday experience with my children. My solicitor was pretty useless in fact and represented me, I believe very poorly. My ex had a barrister with 33 years experience who got without exception absolutely everything he demanded.

I was given little time with my solicitor to discuss this before the Judge railroaded it through.(The Offer was made at 10.30 the exact time we were to go before the Judge for a residency hearing which the ex would have probably lost.) In fairness my solicitor shouted at me alot in the brief time when he was in the room with me. I think he felt under pressure and conveyed that to me.

The Judge took no notice of the fact that my ex has placed the children in Pembs ( with grandparents) for the majority of every half term contact and Easter declaring that the Easter event was 'new evidence' and she would not hear it. However she then heard the other side declare that I was being investigated for harassment and never said that this was new evidence. I believe the placing of children elsewhere shows the contact demands are about taking the children away from their mother and their home with her, and certainly not about time with the children. He engages in motorway handovers with the grandparents but spend the first night and last night at his home.

The Judge also refused to hear me on the subject of the change in weekend contact arrangements where the children are to stay an extra night with dad every other weekend. He now collects from school on a Friday and takes to school on Monday. My 4 year old starts full-time education in September and I was not allowed to speak about my concerns about the timings of all this. 36 hours away from home a week instead of the 15 he is used to in Education and then an additional 56 hours away from home on his father's weekends. The Judge said I had to dismiss my solicitor if I wished to be heard. She was a very intimidating Judge!

The Judge also stated the children are only to speak to me once during stays of seven days of more. She was told they never ask to speak to me when in fact they are always distracted or told it is not possible when they do ask. They are 5 and 4 years. My solicitor said nothing on this subject.

Do you have a written copy of what was agreed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, there is some agreed preamble on the Order and then it states the Court Orders.... everything I have detailed to you.

The sealed copy has just come through although our lawyers are still in the process of agreeing the Finalised wording at present.

Is there anything in there about the usual pattern of contact is on hold during the holidays?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I quote

2. Summer holidays-2 full weeks of each summer holiday, being the second and fifth full week of the holidays AND in addition one full weekend from Friday toMonday.

It goes on to specify the exact dates and times which include Saturdays at either end of the weeks.

3.Easter for one half of the holiday father to pick up from school and handover at 4.30 on handover day, save that in the event of an odd number of days handover shall be the day before. For the purposes of calulating one half of the holidays there shall be included the weekend at the start and finish of the school terms (if applicable).

4.Each Christmas holiday from 10am Boxing Day until 1st of January of each year at 4.30

5. Each half term for two full days where the children are with their father the first weekend they shall stay until Tuesday evening at 6pm with their father the last weekend they shall stay with their father from 10am Thursday morning until Monday to school.

What time handover on the saturday?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Pick up 4.30 on the Friday and drop back 4.30 on the Saturday.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At present the Sealed Order does not state the suspension of the usual contact arrangements, however I have just received a letter sent to the court by ex's counsel requesting that this be included and stating that we have not mutually agreed the wording on the Final order.

Please note I have been asked to give feedback on you? I hope the system does not think I have received an answer to my question.Is it automated?

I am sorry - I believe there is a glitch!
So for your two weeks straight - you would not be able to start until after 4.30 on the saturday - but would be back by 4.30 some 13 days later - is that correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That is correct.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That is correct 2015 is

Father contact-Friday July 24th 4.30- Monday 27th 4.30

Friday 31st July 4.30- Saturday 8th July 4-30

Friday 21st August 4.30 - Tues 1st Sept 4.30

also these dates do not tally with the wording in the order that he has two full weeks. It does state that whoever the children are with on the Sunday they will spend Bank Holiday Monday with but it still does not explain why they are still with him on the Sunday and why they stay until Tues 4.30.

What other wording needs to be agreed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I received a letter today stating that the other side had returned the order to the court as we could not agree the wording in the Order. I objected to the addition of the statement 'to include the Saturday before and after the week' but the Judge DID award those specific dates for 2015.

The other side seem to have given up on this wording now.

There is also confusion over a 'planner' that Para 9 states was to be included from the other side with clear dates of holidays/weekend.

I raised the issue with the other side that the dates on it are wrong- additional dates are added for the Father to have contact.However they are insisting this is included even though it contradicts the wording of the Order.

Also in court the opposition stated that I would forgo the next two Easters but that Easter would fall late in 2017 and 2018. In fact Easter falls Sunday 2nd April 2018 which I think is very likely to be on the first week of the Easter holidays (as it is for 2015 and therefore with the father.

If the wording that the normal contact pattern is suspended during the holidays then you will benefit so that is a good thing to agree
At this stage I would suggest that you instruct your solicitor to point out that you and your ex are BOTH expected to have two full weeks during the Summer holidays and the current dates do not allow for this
Also point out that the current arrangements mean you will never spend your birthday with the children if it falls at a weekend.
Offer a different full weekend instead
These are areas where you can win.
The others I am afraid are not likely to be winnable and to maximise your chances of winning the summer points it would be unwise to raise them
Once these points are resolved you need to monitor how matters progress - especially once school restarts
On those occasions when the children are brought back early - or are late to school, make a note but no comment - this diary will be your evidence when you apply to vary the order
Please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou so far.You advise my solicitor or I as LP to write to the court?

To clarify you feel the fact I would spend one Easter in four with the children is not winnable despite the idea being he has two and I have two? (I would ideally like to split them as we do Christmas so both sides of the children's family can be involved.)

This wording needs to be negotiated with the solicitors for the other side - it is up to you whether you continue instructing your solicitor or not.
Easter is always a difficult holiday to divide and unless you are practising Christians I would not make an issue of it