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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34905
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 an 18month son with a lady. She lives with her mother

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I have an 18month son with a lady. She lives with her mother who she insists must look after him weekdays whilst she's at work. I have been having brief contact with him every Friday since birth. She lives in London and I in Suffolk so it's usually quite a travel after work to London (even though I always leave work at mid day for this purpose) and there's barely any time left in the day to spend doing anything of value with him. I suggested taking him home with me every other friday evening and brinf him back Sunday. Now I'm "not aloud" to even take him out for the day, mother and grandmother say either is never going to happen. Its been too much issues here and I just want to know what I'm able to do to maintain contact with my son (not justseeing him for an hour in an entire week).I know what rights I have here and before I seek mediation I just need to clarify my one concern - Is my son too young for me to request alternating weekend contact? Not to mention the fact that he's having to live in an uncondusive home, in the midst of plenty. I feel for my boy every day.

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

From what you have said you have rarely been allowed to spend time alone with your son - and certainly have not yet had him overnight

The law says a child is entitled to have a close relationship with both parents - and alternate weekends are certainly achievable BUT you need to work up to that at a rate suitable for your son's needs.

So to start with you should ask for say three or four hours every week on a Saturday or Sunday - and then after a couple of months build up to a whole day; then a few months later you could stay over at a local band b and have him for all day saturday and all day sunday on alternate weekends - and then move to overnight on alternate weekends - and then two nights (and eventually longer in the holidays)

So your proposal should involve a gradual increase in contact to reach you hoped for result - it should take somewhere between 6 and 12 months to reach the desired result

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks for the response. Is there an age requirement by law for the child to have reached before overnight stays with me his father? I get what you've suggested (which we have tried briefly before this recent development from mother and grandmother). My son has stayed with me all day at home several times - one of the reasons for the maternal outrage (There's alot more to it - her not wanting my wife near my son etc). I know how to go about my request in either mediation or court however I need to know if under child law he is too young for overnight custody or contact with me every other weekend?

No there is no age requirement as every child and every family set up is different

If you and your ex had been living together until recently and had shared care of the child then there would be no reason why overnight contact should not start straight away

Since that has not been the position it will be a much more gradual build up for your child - and several all day visits is not enough to mean that it time to go to overnight contact yet

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you