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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34896
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have 5 year old daughter. I have parental responsibility.

Customer Question

I have 5 year old daughter. I have parental responsibility. We have a contact order in place stating the times and venue of which she will need to bring my daughter and where I need to collect and drop her off every Sunday. The mum suggested new contact times and venue of which I agreed to, as this results in increased contact time on Sunday.
The mum now wants to change the contact times and venue again. She will be moving further away and have asked me to travel 20 miles to collect and drop my daughter off on the contact day. Previously, I travelled 8 miles. She refused to give me her new address and I am unable to determine whether this travel is reasonable ie half distance for each parent.
My question is :
1. Do I have the rights to refuse to the new contact arrangements and stay with the current arrangements or revert back to the contact order if we can't arrive to an agreement?
2. Should I have been consulted prior to her making the move?
3. What is the reasonable distance to travel? Both parents half way?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Has your ex given you details of the new school the child will go to?
What does the order state the Contact should be and what changes has she asked for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No, my daughter have been in school since last September and she has never provided me with any information of what school she goes to

The contact order states that she must bring my daughter for contact to a contact centre and I drop her off at a shopping centre. The times are 1.30pm to 6pm
Any other times to be agreed by each party.
Current contact arrangement is pick up and drop off at shopping mall. Times are 10.30 - 5pm

She wants to change to pick up and drop off from a car park of a pub. Times are 10 -5pm
All the above are on a Sunday

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Please excuse the question - it is relevant to the answer - were there allegations of domestic violence involved?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes there was but it was cleared by the CPS. No charges were made.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Is there a non molestation order in place?
Do you know her current address?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No other orders in place other than the contact order as stated.

I know I'm entitled to know where she lives but she has never told me. I only got to know her previous address via court. I don't know where she currently lives and where she intends to move to.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
The only contact that is actually enforceable is the contact that is set out in the Court Order
Accordingly you can indeed refuse to agree the new arrangements.
You have parental responsibility for the child so are entitled to be consulted on any school move; and it is indeed reasonable to expect that your ex does at least half of the travelling.
I suggest that you discuss the matter with her using Family mediation ( - you should at least know where she is at school which may give you sufficient information to judge the fairness or otherwise of the trip.
It may also be time to think about overnight contact
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do get the occasional weekend overnight contact but recently in the past 2 months, this has not happened as the mum has taken my daughter away for holidays and claimed that my child has to attend extracurricular activities on Saturdays.

How should I enforce the contact order if she insists on the new contact arrangements and tell me I do not have an option on this?
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Rather than enforce it I would go back to change it to include regular staying contact alternate weekends from Friday to Sunday.
To do that you start by using Family mediation - then apply to the court using this form
The alternative is to enforce the Order using this form
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I acknowledge that this would be the ideal solution. However, this process takes time. I'm concerned that during the process of arranging a mediator and making an application to court, I am unable to have contact with my daughter.

I have already tried to discuss matters with the mum but she has insisted on the new contact arrangements and was told I have no other options. In such case, how should I proceed?
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
In that case go for the dual approach.
Ask for an urgent mediation appointment to renegotiate contact - if she refuses then you can issue the Form C100 sooner rather than later, and also issue the Form C79 to enforce the existing order