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He's taking me to court - advise please

(17 Posts)
dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 11:42:45

Here is a brief background.
Ex and I have been split for 4 years, 2 kids age 7 & 5.
Regular contact between him and kids, 2 evenings a week and stay Fri - Sun alternate weekends.
Recently I went back to work full time, so need more help with the kids so requested via solicitor that we change contact to collection from school two days a week and stayed contact after school Fri - drop off at school Mon am.
He rejected this due to work commitments and we went to mediation.
This also did not bring about any resolution, he is refusing to budge and help with any extra and I am left relying on family to assist with drop off and collections from school.
After mediation broke down our relationship too turn for the worse and I wrongly withheld contact with the kids until he agreed to my demands (terrible I know), although contact has now resumed.
I received a letter from his solicitor stating he had made application to the court for contact as per the original agreement/terms and I would receive papers in next 7 days.
What I want to know is is it worth me perusing with the court to force him to take on the extra days/contact as I now also have work commitments.
My solicitor originally advised yes, but I have not spoken with her yet, as am unsure how to proceed.
Or will my ex get terms as he wants as he is the one applying to the court?
Any advise or experiences would be appreciated.

Collaborate Mon 29-Oct-12 11:53:05

You are the resident parent. You receive all of the child related benefits and presumably CSA maintenance. Harsh as it may sound you just have to do the best you can. The court will not force him to have more contact when he is unwilling. The responsiblity to sort out child care will always fall on the resident parent.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 11:56:39

Sorry, you were very unreasonable to with hold access until he agreed to your demands! shock

I agree with collaborate. It's your responsibility to sort out childcare. Can you use an afterschool club?

dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 11:58:26

Oh, I was hoping that as he has PR he would need to do a bit more!

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 12:01:01

No, that's not what PR is for. He's entitled to have a say into how his child is raised (schools, vaccinations etc). He's not free childcare. Sorry.

dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 12:01:09

I know - it is not my proudest moment.
Yes can use after school club, but I work a shift pattern sometimes until 9 or 10pm and also weekends.
I was kind of hoping that court would recognise my work commitments as well as ex's!

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 12:03:42

What about an aupair? I used to work shifts, I know how hard it is to find childcare. I had to leave, it was impossible. The court will only see what is fair on your children. They see their father, if he's unable to swap his days then there's not a lot you can do.

dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 12:11:17

Problem is, I don't earn a great deal.
Thanks for the advise though, still not sure what to do, but looks like court will be a waste of time! confused

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 12:37:08

Aupairs don't earn a great deal. You just need a spare room. It's very hard as a single parent with no childcare. sad

MOSagain Mon 29-Oct-12 13:34:44

As Collaborate says, you, and indeed the Courts, cannot force him to have the children additional times. You accept that you wrongly tried to bully him into having them to suit you which was not fair. I hope that you can try to re-build an amicable relationship with him for the sake of your children.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 29-Oct-12 13:48:02

Could your DCs reside with their Dad, or could you share residency more equally?

My DP was in a similar situation to the one you have placed your ex in; he wasn't prepared to agree to babysit his DCs when their mum was working, because she would change her shift pattern at short notice, or take sick leave and let him know at the last minute that she did not need him to have the DCs that night sad. He wanted to be an equal part of their lives, whereas she expected him to look after the DCs when she was working and have nothing to do with them the rest of the time - it was horrible for everyone involved sad

She also withheld contact when he asked to discuss a regular contact schedule - and he sought a contact order to secure stability for the DCs.

His ex, and the DCs, are much worse off now than they would have been if she'd been prepared to negotiate - the court (quite rightly) disregarded her work schedule because she'd managed both the DCs and work when she had withheld contact.

DP was awarded regular EOW contact and the DCs now spend days at a time without seeing either their mum or Dad sad

LIZS Mon 29-Oct-12 13:55:38

Had you still been together the additional childcare would still have been an issue assuming his work commitments are such. Many families with one or two parents face a similar situation. Therefore I don't see what case you can argue for him doing more.

dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 14:43:45

Don’t have a spare room so au pair is out of the question.
Yes I have been managing to juggle both work and childcare, but due to shifts etc. it’s a struggle.
This weekend ex did keep childs until this morning, but that was a right palaver getting him to do that.
I have (rather stupidly) agreed to work a late shift every other Sunday as thought the ex would have the children extra on his weekend.
He is self-employed and sub contracts all over the country so is point blank saying no way.
My solicitor wrote to him saying we would seek court action if he would not agree (first letter I sent) to the additional times, I naively believed that as he has PR he would have to pick up some of the slack and this is the impression she (solicitor) gave me.
This has cause massive bad feeling between me and the ex which resulted in a failed attempt at mediation, my briefly withholding contact (2 evenings) and threatening too if he did not do the additional night (the weekend).
I honestly thought I had a right to expect him to do more, based on bad information and being misled by my solicitor.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 29-Oct-12 14:48:44

The only way that your DP could be forced to take more responsibility for your DCs is if you chose to no longer have residency - gave up CB, tax credits etc and became the NRP.

Your ex would then be expected to become their primary carer - but even then, he might chose not to and the DCs would be homeless!

I'm not suggesting that is what you do, but have you put that suggestion on the table - or are you expecting him to stay at home and look after the DCs for longer while you still receive all the benefits?

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 15:02:10

I think you need to find a different solicitor. She/he should know what PR means, and it has nothing to do with contact.

MOSagain Mon 29-Oct-12 15:50:09

I agree, any family lawyer would know PR is not related to contact and also, a good family lawyer would know you can't force someone to have contact.

dfull Mon 29-Oct-12 15:57:24

Looks like I need to find a new solictior then.
Thanks for the advise all.

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