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Can a resident parent change the contact days without consultation?(5 Posts)
I am the resident parent, currently our 4 children (15,12, 10, 10) spend EOW and two days mid-week every other week with my ex DP. I've asked to discuss changing this and he's refused to even discuss. I have him two other options and he gave me a blanket no. I mentioned mediation and he also refused (of course he can't but doesn't seem to know that). Can I just change it to what best suits the kids and expect him to suck it up given his attitude?
The arrangements were made in Feb 18 before I knew he was moving to a town some 25 mins drive away. He moved out last April. He originally was going to rent somewhere a few streets away as we agreed it would be better for the kids and they could continue walking to school, seeing friends and doing activities nearby. He moved to the town instead because his new girlfriend lived there.
The setup sounded ok in theory but in reality we have no routine. They're with me Fri-Fri, with him Sat-Sun, me Mon-Tues, him Wed-Thurs then back to me. It's totally disruptive. Three of the kids have Aspergers and routine is critical for them but they find it hard to keep track of where they're going to be. Only two nights of the week can be regular as he insists on having a say over the other 5 despite being NRP. He's stopped taking our DD to art as it's incovenient to wait around. Often misses our son's drama for the same reason. Both were setup long before he left. They can't attend any after school activities wed/thurs/fri because he will say no. My daughter is in a play and he won't take her to the rehearsals - insists I give up my time and have all the kids 3 hours early instead.
But this is all because he lives so far away. He often doesn't bring them back with important stuff like school bags, pe Kit, library books, coats and then I have to wait another week for them. He makes no attempt to be in contact with any of them when they're not with him.
He is self-employed as am I. He has always had a very very flexible schedule work-wise and is often just working at home. So why should I respect his wishes when he's ignoring what is best for them.
Can I just do this? Could he take me to court about it? Am I being unreasonable?
If you don't have a court order you can propose what you want but he doesn't have to agree. He also doesn't have to attend mediation. It's encouraged but not a legal requirement. He is just required to consider it. He might take you to court. The court only cares about what is in the children's best interests. Regular, scheduled contact is important. They may or may not agree with you that the current set up is not best for the children.
Just because you are RP it doesn't give you a greater say in things. You don't get to dictate when contact takes place just because you are RP.
Thank you, I know that this is fairer but he just seems to be calling all the shots at the moment yet calling me controlling! He won't consider or discuss anything and that seems to be based on his needs not the kids.
25 mins isn’t that far away. A court wouldn’t consider it far away.
If there’s no court order in place then technically you can do what you like but I wouldn’t recommend it.
He doesn’t have to attend mediation. If you apply to court, you are obliged to attend a MIAM.
As far as I'm aware regarding mediation, you can approach mediation company, they will set up am individual or joint initial discussion, then you can begin mediation. There is usually a cost attached to this.
If he is invited and refuses to attend, you can attend your session and then the mediator can sign off the form to say mediation has failed and then you can apply to court to get this sorted out formally.
Without a formal agreement in place, you won't know where you stand and also aren't able to ensure you tried to put the kids needs first. Sometimes that can only be decided when looked at objectively by a third party, but even then, that's putting the decision in the hands of a complete stranger who may or may not see it from your point of view.
I'd be completely on your side as most mums and hands on dads would. Best interests for the children is what it's about - not what is convenient for the parent! Children benefit greatly from extracurricular activities and it teaches them much more about persistence and engages the creative brain, which is of course beneficial to them, especially if they enjoy it.
Really feel for you as I too have a very difficult, obstinate ex partner who is hell bent on making things hard and who refuses to communicate agreeably and civilly.
Best of luck x
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