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Shared Care holiday arrangements

(23 Posts)
hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 16:26:41

We have a court order saying term time pattern continues throughout holidays, (Me having DS Wed and Thurs, ex DH having him Mon and Tue and us alternating weekends.)
Court only finished in Oct last year, so so far we've only dealt with the Xmas hols (ExDH decided he wouldn't take up the 7 day hol option) and the Easter hols (ExDH took up the 7 day hol option, but stayed in his flat for five days then took him camping 2 nights).
Now we are approaching summer. Do the dates have to be agreed between us or is it ok for him to dictate his dates, giving me no choice? He has emailed to say he is taking DS away July 23rd for 7 days. My son's oldest friend's parents are getting married July 25th and it is a three day wedding weekend, events on the Fri nite, Sat and Sun. We have all been super excited about it and looking forward to it for a year or more. I checked the calander and that weekend was one which I would have care of DS, so in April this year I rsvp'd to say yes and booked accommodation and they have ordered special meals for my son even who has allergies. DS knows about it. Ex DH didn't know about it as he never talks to me except to threaten me. I did not think I would need to inform him as it was a weekend DS was timetabled to be with me. BUt horror of horrors, he's now emailed to say he's taking him away that week!
I said I'm so sorry we already have long standing plans for that weekend and explained the wedding, rsvp, DS's oldest friend, etc. Even outlined the list of fun events they are putting on for the kids all weekend which DS knows about.
Ex DH is saying tough; the entire holiday period is up for grabs and first to communicate their dates, gets them.
I haven't specifically asked the lawyer about this as it's Saturday and I've run out of money to keep asking lawyers stuff, but they did say in response to a previous, query of mine that I can tell him "Sorry those dates are not convenient" when arranging our period of 7 days over the hols.
I've explained that we need to check with the other parent when arranging our 7 day hol period to ensure there are not clashes and agree dates. But he says the court order means all dates are up for grabs and first come first served, so he's taking him. Is this true?
My ds will be devastated to miss the wedding weekend. He also finds it very hard spending prolonged periods with his father (Dad with nasty temper, etc.) , but that's another story.
Can anyone advise?
My instinct is to just reply again saying
"we need to consult with the other parents to arrange dates for our 7 day hols, and unfortunately that weekend is not available as we are at a wedding." BUt he is saying I am going against the court order.
The court order just says "Two seperate additional weeks with each parent during the summer hols, following which the term time pattern recommences." It says nothing abbot how those 7 day periods are agreed.

hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 16:28:50

Gawd I;ve not made that very clear, have I? Term time pattern continues throughout the hols BUT with an additional week (7 nights) with each parent in Easter, one in Christmas and two seperate ones in summer.

Collaborate Sat 30-May-15 16:54:42

The 7 days are days that are to be agreed. You quite reasonably don't agree his. You need to agree other weeks. Easier said than done, by the sound of things(!)

AnneElliott Sat 30-May-15 17:56:44

I've no experience with the court stuff, but can you email and offer him other 7 day dates during the holidays to show how reasonable you're being?

hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 17:58:55

Thanks. I thought it should be but the court order doesn't specifically say this. I want to word my e-mails back to him correctly.
"When we’re looking to arrange our 7 day holiday periods, we need to consult with the other parent to ensure there aren’t clashes and agree dates. DS is timetabled to be with me July 22nd to July 27th, and we have long standing plans. The dates you propose for your 7 day holiday therefore are unfortunately not possible."

I already sent the above and he said "tough. the whole hol is up for grabs and first come first served" In not so many words (he uses flowery Shakespearian language-)
. But I shall just reply reiterating the above.

hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 18:01:14

Frankly that weekend is the ONLY date all summer that I have plans so he's welcome to any other week. but I think he;s been offered to join his mate and his family on a weeks hol that date and he HATES to be told "No"

hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 18:47:04

Is this how a lawyer would interpret this court order? That the dates must be agreed?

hotdiggitydawg Sat 30-May-15 21:26:59

Bump

Collaborate Sun 31-May-15 00:34:21

Yes. And I am a lawyer.

Why must he choose a 7 day period that includes your weekend anyway?

hotdiggitydawg Sun 31-May-15 06:57:47

Oh great. Thank you. I shall reply omething ikesays "when arranging our 7 day hol periods we need to consult with the other parent and agree dates. It is not appropriate that you impose dates on me. The dates you propose are not agreed as we are going to a wedding that weekend." Is that ok?
I guess its not poss for him to have a 7 day hol without taking sime of my timetabled time with ds, as ds is with me every wed amd Thursday too. The poor lad goes back amd forth every few days.

hotdiggitydawg Mon 01-Jun-15 16:38:28

So... I replied to him saying:
"When arranging our 7 day holiday periods, we need to consult with the other parent and agree on dates. Unfortunately I can’t agree the dates you propose as ds and I are due at a wedding that weekend. I will work hard to accommodate your preferred dates going forward, but unfortunately we are away the weekend of July 24th, 25th, 26th. DS would be upset to miss this event, and he must be at the heart of any decisions regarding holiday dates.
I'm sure we can work together to find other suitable dates for our 2 holiday periods of 7 days each. "

He's simply replied
"This is not agreed"

I had to talk to my lawyer today re something else and they confirmed the term time pattern remains in the hols and these 7 day periods have to be built in BY AGREEMENT. So going away on a weekend DS is due to be with me seems ok, him insisting on his dates for a 7 day hol, despite me not agreeing them seems not ok. But what happens now? He will not back down I guess.
How do you deal with it if your exdh's hold onto the kids to enforce their will? (EXDH has form for this)

titchy Mon 01-Jun-15 18:36:41

Back to court for a specific issue order?

hotdiggitydawg Mon 01-Jun-15 19:07:36

How would this play out in court? Or is it quite random what the judge would decide?
When should I take it to court? Or let him?

hotdiggitydawg Tue 02-Jun-15 08:59:00

He's due to have ds a few days up until the 22nd, so I fear he won't bring him back on the 22nd in order to take him away on the 23rd. The court order doesn't say exact dates. Would police get involved if he didn't return him?

Collaborate Tue 02-Jun-15 09:10:51

If you're that convinced that there's going to be a problem, you need to refer it back to court, saying that the summer dates can't be agreed. You should firstly offer your ex a couple of alternatives for his week, and suggest a couple of alternatives for your week too. If there's no agreement, take it back to court.

hotdiggitydawg Tue 02-Jun-15 09:34:29

Gawd what a nightmare. Shall I email saying if we can't agree dates we will have to return to court. Or if we cant' agree dates, we will have to stick to the term time pattern. Do the police get involved if he keeps ds?

Collaborate Tue 02-Jun-15 10:49:12

The police wouldn't get involved unless there are child protection concerns.

I thin it's premature saying "let's take it back to court" now without you exploring first whether there is truly no scope for agreeing alternative dates. That means that YOU must give him your preferred dates. Then see what he has to offer in return, and go from there.

It seems to me that you each have him for 5 days at a time then 2 days at a time. If he's only going to give you your 7 days holiday to coincide with when you have your 5 days anyway, yet want to take his 7 days during a time when you'd otherwise be having your son 5 days anyway, there is an imbalance.

hotdiggitydawg Tue 02-Jun-15 11:40:23

Surely there must be other dates he can go away for without having to prevent ds going to the wedding he's looking forward to. I think it's a case of him not wanting to back down or ever be told no, so he won't be interested in looking at alternative dates. I've said I'm open to accommodating his preferred dates but unfortunately we're away that weekend. He says "This is not agreed"

Collaborate Tue 02-Jun-15 12:17:38

It doesn't matter what his response will be to your reasonable attempt to settle things. What matters is that you make a reasonable attempt. Whatever you do (or don't do) may well be scrutinised by a judge, who will be looking for someone to blame/take it out on. Judges don't like to have to deal with theses situations. They think that parents should be reasonable enough to sort it out themselves, so can be quick to blame. Make sure it's not you who's blamed.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 02-Jun-15 23:48:30

well you gotin first with the wedding no? wink

babybarrister Wed 03-Jun-15 09:55:13

courts take time to list hearings so if I were you I would tell him that if he does not agree other dates now then you will be making an application to the court within 7 days for a specific issue order in relation to these holidays ....

dunfightin Wed 03-Jun-15 13:23:47

Sadly, I've had to go back to court with ex for a couple of specific issues. Our order is worded differently, but every judge has made the decision on what DCs would prefer and looked at what can be changed or not i.e. a once-a-year event that happened on x weekend v "normal contact". And it does help if you are flexible re other weekends or holiday days so it doesn't look as though one parent is trying to map out the whole school holiday to their advantage.
To avoid potential clashes, we do have an electronic calendar that events get put into and holidays away have to be put in a month before. It was possibly a mistake not to just let him know about the wedding in advance.
Showing that an event is clearly child-focused is the way to go and it sounds as if the wedding is important to your DS.
Offer mediation as you will required to attend a MIAM before any hearing.

lostdad Mon 08-Jun-15 11:57:04

Sadly there's no magic formula here. The bottom line is that if you are unable to resolve this matter yourselves court is the only arena (or mediation if it's not an emergency matter).

As Collaborate says in not so many words it's not what you do, it's what you're seen to do. Compromise, haggle, provide potential solutions to avoid court.

Going forward make sure that any order you get is as unambiguous as possible. A lot of people I go to court with (I am a McKenzie Friend') are in situations similar to your own with their existing order saying in not so many words `Contact shall take place at some non-specified time as agreed between the parties'....which means they end up arguing about what it means at the next hearing.

Finally, if I were an old cynic I would respond to Colloborate's comment about how the order would be interpreted by a lawyer by saying `If there were only one way to interprete an order there would be a lot of redundant lawyers because they'd have nothing to argue about in court'.

But I'm not. wink

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