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SASH_Law, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2504
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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My daughter is 9 and her father sees her every other

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My daughter is 9 and her father sees her every other weekend. He used to live in Australia and my daughter and I moved back to the UK after our divorce. He then moved back a year or so later and since then, Ihave worked hard to keep their contact time regular. He has threatened legal action against me as I refuse to do any of the pick ups and drop offs for HIS contact hours. He does nothing bar the contact hours in terms of her life, no school picks ups/drop offs, no doctor's appointments, if she is sick I have to cover that, basically all he does is their time together.
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: None at this stage though he has sent me a message to say that I will be hearing from his solicitors in Jan. We recently moved to another part of London and this has made him angry as the route is less convenient for him
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county does he live in?
Customer: He lives in Suffolk and works in Birmingham. I live in Harrow, London
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: This issue he has raised for the past 2 years and I have made clear that as he does not maintain any other aspect of her time, his contact hours should be his responsibility. I have remarried and I have two other children, one of which also goes to school. He is a single man that has chosen to live in Suffolk but work part ofhis week in Birmingham, it is a lot of travel for him but I reminded him when he took that job, that his contact hours or any issues relating to travel time should not become my problem.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Hi, I'm Lea and I have reviewed your query.

How can I assist you with this? Is there a child arrangements order in place, or is the contact by agreement between the two of you? Where did you move from - did it make the travel costs/distance/time increase for him?

Please bear in mind this is an email service and not a live chat so responses may not be instantaneous. I am not available for calls, but in all cases it is very likely you can be helped online.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I want to know if he can force me to pick-up and drop off for his contact hours. The contact thus far has been agreed by us, no legal doc relating to our child bar a consent order stating that he will pay school fees up to 11k and ongoing maintenance of £89 per month.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
There is no legal document in place that states who should do what in terms of transportation for his contact time. I moved from one side of London to the other, Zone 2 to Zone 5. It makes the distance marginally longer but it's still London, and her school is now here as oppose to central london where it used to be. His travels far from work to collect her then has to travel again to where he lives, but again, he made those choices knowing that she would always need collecting from London

The very simple answer, if there are no court orders saying otherwise, is that no, he cannot insist that you do all the handovers.

If you want this matter regulated by an order, then you can apply for a child arrangements order for the child to live with you and spend time with him, with both of you sharing the handovers equally, or unequally if you feel that he should do the handovers.

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
As I manage all aspects of our daughter's life day to day, I think it is unfair that I should have to do any of the travel for his time with her
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
can he get a court order to force me to do them if he does nothing else bar his contact hours?

If it goes to court, the court will make the decisions if the two of you can't agree. He can't force you any more than you can force him. The court will decide who does what with the best interests of the child in mind.

You can certainly put forward to the court (if he or you applies) that you believe he should do his own collection and drop offs as he is the one that has chosen to live so far afield.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Understood, and is it in my interests to kick off legal proceedings to say that he should do all the pickups and dropoffs before he requests the opposite?

I'd suggest letting him make the application to court - he's the one that is making the demands. It really doesn't matter to the court who makes the application - it's not a first in line kind of thing. The court will consider what both of you say and will make a decision that keeps the child's best interests paramount.

If he is threatening court action, but that you won't hear from his solicitors until January, it is unlikely he'll get a hearing much before the middle of February.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is my stance unreasonable? Not emotionally but on paper, if one parent is responsible for the child 24/7 bar the alternate weekends with her father, is the judge likely to be sympathetic to his cause?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He is not being stopped from seeing her

It really depends on how much travel the father is expected to do - because the child has to travel regardless of which parent is doing the handovers.

You said the father collects from school - does he return her to your home or expect you to collect her from his home?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He collects her from school Friday pm and drops her to my house Monday am. The travel time is complicated because of his choice to work in Birmingham, the opposite direction from London. So he has to come to London from Birmingham, collect her, and then travel to Suffolk where he has chosen to live (on the weekends).
These are all decisions he has made, without a partner or other children to consider, he has always known that our daughter is and will be based in London

Often the court expects the parent who has 'moved away' to do most of the travelling, which it sounds as if he is doing. What is his proposal for the changes?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He wants me to do 50% of the pick up and drop offs for her weekends with him. This would mean me travelling 4 hours each day to do this, and I have two other small children at home which I need to care for.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'm wondering if my recent house move gives his case leverage

The court would take into consideration your commitments to your other children - and would certainly not expect small children to travel with you for such lengthy periods of time. I think that you'd have a good chance of persuading the court that the father should do the travelling given he is the one that has chosen to live in Suffolk.

You're entitled to move - and you only moved within the same town (albeit London is huge). I don't think that would have a huge impact on a court's decision.

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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your help.

You're very welcome.

As I said, I think you have a good chance of persuading a court (if it gets that far) that the father should do the travelling...maybe offer one collection in four if you are feeling generous - but don't be pushed into agreeing more than you can comfortably make.