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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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Hi, when me and my ex husband got divorced it was agreed we

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Hi, when me and my ex husband got divorced it was agreed we had our two children split 3nights one week 4 nights the next. On the mane this is maintained. No agreement was needed regarding set nights as I work for the NHS and have funny shift patterns. No maintenance was discussed as the children was shared.
He has recently demanded I have them set nights and this is something I cant accommodate due to my job as I am a full time worker. As the mum do I have any rights to say no to this? If I had to have the children set nights I would potentially have to reduce my hours and find less paid job. Does he have any rights to make me do this? And how do i cover my potential loss of earnings?
Much thanks
Hello and thanks for your question.

When a couple separate, no court order is needed if they can agree between them how much time the children are to spend with each of them - so well done for reaching an agreement, even though it has now broken down.

However, where parents don't agree, as in your case now, either parent can apply to the family court for a child arrangements order.

In any dispute concerning a child, the court's decision will be based on what is best for those particular children, rather than on who shouts loudest.

The court has to consider all the factors in the welfare checklist in the Children Act 1989, which include the wishes and feelings of the children concerned, taking into account their ages. There's obviously no issues concering the ability of each of you to look after the children well while they are in your care, because that has been happening so far.

However, whatever arrangment is proposed, whether by agreement or by the court, it has to one that is workable for all concerned.

I appreciate what you say about working full time with funny shift patterns - but even the oddest of shift patterns has a pattern of some sort eg it may be a three week pattern, or a six week pattern or a 9 week pattern, but I'm sure that there has to be an element of predictabilty about it somewhere, even if it not a weekly, fortnightly or monthly pattern. So the trick is to come up with a pattern for contact that matches your shift pattern.

If you and your ex and the children know in advance what days and nights the children will be with each of you, that is going to be easier for you all, including the children.

Only the court can *make* you do anything - you and he have equal rights with regards ***** ***** children - until a court makes an order - but your ex's reasons for wanting a change will also be taken into account by the court.

Where there's a dispute about where a child should live or how much contact they should have with someone, any of the people concerned can apply to court for a child arrangements order, which will set out in detail what is to happen.

To apply for this order, you need form C100, here:

Going to court is stressful, time-consuming and expensive, so negotiating an arrangement is better if you can do it - that can be either between yourselves, or via solicitors' correspondence or via mediation.

The fanily court anyway now requires that the parties attempt mediation first, before it will consider an application to court. Here's where to find a local family mediator:

I think you would also benefit from some face-to-face legal advice. Here's where to find a specialist family law solicitor:

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

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