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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34888
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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Ex-husband has dropped from 8 nights child contact to 4

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Ex-husband has dropped from 8 nights child contact to 4 nights per month due to new job. Court Order states 8 nights, I am happy to agree *but* court order also states I do one of the roundtrips to transport children. I only agreed to this as he was making 8 trips per month - now he is only doing 4, earns four times as much as me, I think he should collect and drop off the children himself. Be says I *must* agree to him reducing his days with them, but also *must* keep doing one of the roundtrips as it's more convenient for him. He has used same court order to prove to CMS he needs a reduction in child support for the 8 nights on the order, not the 4 he actually has them. I can't afford the petrol for these two-hour roundtrips - on tax credits, housing benefit and working 18hrs pw - had to cut from 22 now to look after the kids on the weekday he has dropped with them. If he won't agree to me not doing this trips, what is my recourse? I can't afford a solicitor. :-(

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

has he confirmed in an email that he will reduce the times he has the children>

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello! Thanks for replying - he has - we only communicate through email as it was a Domestic Violence case and email contact only is court ordered too. His words: "I do not currently see a means whereby I can have the children overnight on Wednesday night, and take them to school on Thursday. I appreciate this is both short notice for the change, and an unwelcome change to the arrangements." If he ever does return to having them on a Wednesday night, I have made it clear I would be happy to go back to doing some of the journeys again according to the terms of the court order. It's just while he only has them twice a month I want to stop making these journeys myself - I know it will be for a very long time though, as his new job is in London and he is commuting to it. Thank you!

In that case you can use the email to show to the CMS that he no longer has the children 8 nights a month

With regard to the traveling he cannot force you to do any travelling - if he wishes to try and enforce the Order he will have to explain why you should do one in four when the order said one in eight!

Please do not worry if he takes the matter to court then you can deal with the matter yourself.

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply- sorry for the delay but it's my youngest son's birthday and it's been non-stop since the end of school!So you don't think I am being unreasonable by saying he must do the journeys now? It was a long and controlling marriage and I still find it hard to go against him. May I ask you to just cast your eye over the relevant bits of his latest email and let me know if in law he is talking rubbish? His words:
"I currently do not have a plan to allow me to have the children with me on a Wednesday night. However, you have made it abundantly clear that you are not willing to consider a voluntary arrangement. This leaves me with a difficulty: as you say, both parents must agree to change the calculation. If I agree now, and then in a month's time I am able to find a way to look after the children on a Wednesday night, and notify the CMS that the situation has once changed... it will be my word against yours to recognise the new reality. Of course, I earnestly hope you would be entirely honest with CMS in that situation, but I am afraid that I must take the prudent course...So I have been entirely honest with CMS in my calls with them. I have told them that the contact order represents my intent, and that I do not feel in a position to say that the Wednesday contact is permanently ended. I am only on my second week, and still settling into the new role. I would be happy to review the situation with you again - say, in three month's time...However, while I thank you for the offer of the later time on Sunday, I will, of course, expect you to stick to the terms of the Order, and to collect the children from my house, as previously. I do not see that anything has changed that would prevent you from complying with an agreement that you previously made, and have met without apparent difficulty ever since."

He is very manipulative

Simply forward a copy of the email saying he does not intend to have them to the CMS and ask them to recalculate

Also email him and say that since he will no longer be making seven trips a month you see no reason why he needs you to do one.

If you wish to compromise then say that you will continue to do one trip in 8 - which is once every two months assuming that the Child Maintenance is changed to reflect the fact that the children spend four nights a month more with you

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you! I really needed that second opinion, it has given me much more confidence to deal with it! I was worried he'd try to take me to court but if you think his position is weak legally, I feel much more reassured. I will forward the email to CMS as you suggest - on the phone they said they have to go by the court order but that makes no sense when I have his emails! Thank you again. :-)