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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35059
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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I have had my daughter all but one weekend per month since

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I have had my daughter all but one weekend per month since I seperated with her mother, I also had 3 weeks over the school holidays with her and 3 bank holidays. My ex had another child recently and since she has demanded our daughter more, I initially declined, and then offered for her to have our daughter twice on 5 week months and increase from 12 to 16/17 per year. She also just refused to drop my daughter off to me on Fridays which has been the case for over 4 years with a weeks notice forcing my partner to drive into London after work to collect her. She refuses to alternate pick up and drop offs moving forward. We have been to mediation and got nowhere, I even offered her 18/19 weekends per year and she diclined. She wanted the change of agreement wrapped up by the beginning of school term, but as we have not come to an agreement and she is refusing any of my requests, she sent a revised calendar for the next school year, which I loose 10 weekends over the year, have to take our daughter for half (6 weeks of the school holidays) and I must collect her on Friday moving forward. No matter how hard I tell her I do not agree and we need to meet up to discuss (as only weeks ago we nearly came to and agreement of her increasing to 19 weekends), she refuses saying it is final. I also know it is not what our 7 year old daughter wants (my ex also refused to let her be seen as part of mediation).
I also think my ex's husband may be putting ideas in her head and writing the emails on her behalf (he is in PR so good with words).
I feel I need to fight for my daughter but the stress it is causing is immense and not sure if I will get anywhere in court. From the facts I have told, do you think the court would be in favor of me? Oh I forgot to mention she works on Saturdays, and told me in mediation she will be returning to work to contribute for her family and that is why I have to take on half the school holidays moving forward. She is a hairdresser, so will have to work weekends again, so our daughter would with her step father and brother (who our daughter sees all through the week, before and after work).
Interested to know of you think I have a case, and what the costs would be?
Also would our daughter be seen? I think it is important her views are taken into account).
Many thanks
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Which of you moved away from where you previously lived together?
Do you not wish to have her for half of all school holidays?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


We lived together in Milton Keynes, where Emilie was born. She then moved to Northhampton after separating and then to London (50 miles away) in 2010. I have since moved near Reading which is a marginally shorter distance of 40 miles. Then a bit closer (Colnbrook) but it did not work out because of the cost of rent and my job issues. So now back near Reading (Wokingham) She recently at the beginning of mediation kept complaining about me moving 22 miles further, but it is still a shorter distance & time than her move. The mediator was quick to tell her she moved and created the distance first.

I am happy to have her in the holidays! But anything over my holiday allowance I can't spend quality time with my daughter as she would be in child care for 10hours per day, and that is not a sufficient replacement timewise for the lost weekends as I will see her for 3 hours a day (morning and 2 hours after pick her up from childcare), versus the full weekend I had with her before.

It is not all about money but this is why my ex says I must have her half school holidays to deal with childcare costs. It was not an issue before for her! I would pick up the costs plus my maintenance would go up and I fall in a lower bracket. So it will cost me about £900 for her forcing these changes on me, where I'm loosing out on the time I used to have with my daughter.

This is why I think her hubby is involved. To be fair is neither here nor there, just very disappointed in her selfish controlling behaviour.

My daughter has been with me this week and is due to be picked up in half an hour, she (without any coaxing/interference) has said she wants to stay! So she will not like the weekend changes one bit! When she caught wind of change she point blank told her mum she wants weekends with dad.

When does the weekend start and finish at the moment?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Friday from 5-6pm to Sunday 5-6pm (the ex has always dropped our daughter off and I returned her on Sunday, however in June she gave me a weeks notice and said she will not be dropping off anymore, so have to get the partner to do it as she has the car if I want to see my daughter).

Oh they did speak to me 3 weeks prior to the due date saying moving forward will have to be Sat morning drop off which I refused (as that takes 40 nights a year off me). My partner then asked my ex's husband what is work said about flexible working so he could be home for the new child whilst our daughter is dropped off. They had not explored any option that would not impact me. They came back and said his work had agreed to flexible working and it was fine other than a few late drop off's until a month an half after the baby was born. They made no attempt to discuss any changes until weeks before the due date!

Can your partner help out with the school holidays (and I do not mean instead of the weekends I mean as well as)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Funny you should mention that, that is the reason my ex gave for telling me I must have her school holidays (although her husband has never taken holiday for my daughter and they still have another child who will need child care).

we spend most our holidays together so that means no time off together! So not really an option. I can pay for child care, just don't think 10 hours a day is fair for our daughter and don't think it should count as my time with her as my ex says she does not count the weekdays she spends with Emilie as time with her (she works during school hours).

My main question is based on the fact I had my daughter so much since we seperated would I have a case to fight for more weekends? I think offering her 18 (from 12) was fair particularly as she will be working Saturdays!

I was also after an indication of court fees if not settled via CFCAS (or similar).

I can't allow her to demand and dictate and control things like she is!

You are correct your ex cannot simply impose a new pattern on you and assume that that is what will happen in the future.
If Mediation has broken down (and it seems it has) then the only option is an application to the court for a Child Arrangement Order.
I assume that you have offered her one weekend in three which is very fair given the current pattern and one that the court would be likely to endorse.
You should also ensure that you ask for holiday contact equal to your full holiday entitlement
You can also ask the court to decide the transport issues - and again your proposal is more than reasonable
At 7 your daughters views have little weight and you should avoid involving her.
The court application need cost you no more than the court fee of £215 if you deal with the matter yourself.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
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