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ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1432
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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My partner has divorced and split from her husband for

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Hi, my partner has divorced and split from her husband for 5 years. He has paid maintenance for this period. They have 3 children. 1 Year ago her eldest daughter went into Foster care for abusive behaviour and now lives with the ex husband full time. He has sought legal advice and now claiming maintenance from my partner through the child maintenance service. The other 2 children live with us and see their father every other weekend. He would like to see them more and has suggested that a midweek arrangement or Sunday nights would suit him. However, living 1.5 hours away and with a step son who is ADHD and semi Autistic, breaking his bedtime and school routine would not be good, they would need to leave his house at 6.30am to get to school. Previously He has never wanted anything to do with his children's school life but has recently tried making contact through a contact book he has drawn up and also has arranged to visit their schools. He has worked out the exact number of nights he needs to decrease his maintenance. We think he may be after a Contact Order through the courts followed by a custody order for more time with them? What could we do to make an offensive against this (possibly a residency order)?Any thoughts would be gratefully received
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just to add my partner will do anything to ensure the children stay with us etc. She did have a Molestation order? against him too as he hit her a few times towards end of the marriage. There is no contact between them other than what he is trying to start
Hello Welcome to Just Answer I am a Solicitor and will assist you. Please may I ask: - how old is the child who is living with him?- how old are the younger 2 children?- how long has the weekend contact been happening? how is this going? Kind Regards Caroline
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Caroline
The eldest is 15 today, she had been with him since September after 4 months foster care. The other 2 are 12 and nearly 10. They have been every other weekend since August when we moved to the coast. Before it was also 1 week night but we lived much closer, rgds Mark
Hello Mark Thank you for your response. Is this currently working well? are they enjoying the time? any concerns? Kind Regards Caroline
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is working well and when we moved to the coast (where I live) we had to drop the midweek days and regrettably he didn't see them as much. He wasn't bothered until now and has started making moves to see them. We have offered other adhoc weekends where we can but nothing in concrete. Because of the distance of 80 miles school nights do not seem an option for us but they are for him. If his son goes to bed at 8.30 as normal he would only get 2-2.5 hours with his dad mid week and an extra 2 hours on a Sunday night. he really wouldn't cope with the travel and early rising. Both the children would like to see their Dad more it is just the logistics. I'm sure he is just keen to pay less maintenance but there could be a different motive. My partner and the dad hate each other and wont meet on level ground on anything, both want control which I understand. The other thing is that the middle daughter was bullied by the older sister and may be reluctant to move back with her and the older daughter wont have anything to do with my partner. Hope that helps.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will add on a Friday (today) we will drop the children to near his home and he brings them back Sunday nights. Also my partner has tried everything to gain any info on her eldest daughter such as general well being, school reports etc and everybody is providing her the most limited info, even the school.
Hello Mark Thank you for your response. Please accept my apologies for my delay in responding to you this afternoon. I am glad to hear that the contact has been going well with the father. It is the position of the family courts that children are entitled to enjoy a relationship with their parents as long as it is safe to do so. I do agree with you that 80 miles during the midweek is a long haul and I do consider that a court would agree that it is not in the children's best interest for such midweek contact to take place on school days. Whilst I appreciate that you would like to know if there is anything you can do to preempt any application that the father might make - this is not actually the approach that you need to take. The court abides by a 'no order principle' and therefore it will not make a court order unless a court order is required. That being it would not likely make an order to confirm the children live in your household as opposed to the fathers if he is not actually disputing this. If the Father does seek to spend more time with the children - then he will have to refer his case to mediation before he can make an application to the court. If he doesn't do this then the court will automatically reject his application. If he does refer the matter to mediation and/ later to court - then your concerns in respect of the travel and the children's routine requirements would be considered as very valid ones by the court and they would likely agree with you. Just because he might put in an application at court first -doesn't not mean that what he is asking for will be ordered. The court will only order what is in the children's interest and your reasons seem more than logical and sensible to me. This isn't a case where you are opposed to contact as contact has been happening and therefore my advice has to be that you just sit back and wait. If he does apply to mediation to court - do not worry! Just see this as oyur opportunity to express why what he is proposing is not in the children's best interest. Please do not hesitate to ask if I can clarify anything for you. Kind Regards Caroline Please kindly remember to star rate our service so that we receive credit for helping you today
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