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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35056
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 daughter has an 11 year old daughter and is not with her

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My daughter has an 11 year old daughter and is not with her father. The father has been paying £200 a month in maintenance and my daughter has encouraged their relationship with access on alternate weekends and occasional evenings etc. My granddaughter was asked by her father and his parents if she would like to go on holiday with them to which she replied yes. Since then, she has been fretting about going away for a week away from her mother and family to the point that she has been really stressed and broke down with us, her grandparents. We all advised her that she should be truthful with her father but she was afraid of making him angry. We, together with our granddaughter, had a conversation with her father some weeks ago expressing her anxiety which he tried to make right for her. But clearly no amount of pacification has helped as this weekend things came to a head and our granddaughter told her father that she wasn't going on holiday with him and his family. He got cross with her on the 'phone expressing how she had let everyone down.
My daughter then received a text from her ex stating that as of the first of next month, he would be stopping her maintenance pay in lieu of the loss of part of the holiday pertaining to his daughter. He is convinced that my daughter has influenced his daughter's decision; in fact our 11 year old granddaughter has made up her own mind despite my daughter suggesting that she may have a great time away.
My understanding is that he intends to stop maintenance pay until the cost is covered which he is claiming amounts to £1,000. Clearly, this is a substantial amount of money which I guess she is within her rights to ask for proof of. But more importantly, my question is, has he any right to do this? The maintenance arrangement was handled outside of court with no involvement with the CSA as my daughter wanted to keep things as amicable as possible - her priority always being her daughter.
From the outside looking in, my daughter has tried her hardest to make this situation work. Despite the fact that her ex waked out when his daughter was just 8 months old, he constantly blames my daughter every time our granddaughter makes a decision, stating that her mother is influencing her which couldn't be further from the truth. He seems to miss the point that she is growing up and as such is making up her own mind whilst widening her social circle and activities. My daughter has had years of verbal abuse from him both face to face and via text since the break up which has been both unfair and unjust. This latest act is just another attempt to get back at my daughter - for what reason, I don't know but it does seem utterly unjustified. Can you advise on our best course of action please?
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Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Do you know how much the father earns.
Does your granddaughter actually enjoy the time she spends with her father?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare - Thank you for responding to my rambling question!

I'm afraid we have no idea how much her father earns; things have progressed slightly since in that my daughter has referred the matter to CSA. My granddaughter has also text her father to say that she does not wish to visit him this weekend in light of how he has and may react towards her. He insists that he will pick her up on Saturday and that his word is final on the matter.

Our granddaughter does seem to enjoy the time she spends with her father but is very wary of saying or doing anything that may make him angry (her words) and this latest refusal to visit him is, I think an indication of that.


Just to check - there is no Court Order in place?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, there isn't a court order in place.

Then neither parent can dictate what happens with regard to ocntact and if your grand daughter does not wish to attend this weekend her father cannot force her to do so.
Equally he has no right to "reclaim" the holiday monies from maintenance and your daughter has done the correct thing in passing this matter over the CMS.
What is clear is that you are correct - your daughter's ex doe snot understand that his daughter is growing up.
One option would be for your daughter to arrange to discuss things using Family mediation and a mediator trained to work with children
This may help your granddaughter express her wishes more clearly
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare - really helpful. Just one thing, I have passed this info on to my daughter and she tells me that there is a court order in place regarding access. My granddaughter's father is allowed access alternate weekends. Apologies for this oversight on my part.

Given that the child is 11 and has clearly expressed her decision NOT to see her father this weekend your daughter does not have to force her to go - and she can ignore the threats her ex will make.
Family mediation is still the way forward!
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35056
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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