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Opposing changes to informal contact arrangements

(6 Posts)
PaleBlueDot Fri 20-Nov-15 10:55:23

For the past 2 years DP has had his children one week on, one week off.
So, effectively the have had 2 homes, 2 bedrooms, 2 wardrobes etc etc - nothing has passed between the homes except homework. They are fully provided for in both homes. And all school fees paid by the parent on the respective week.

DPs exW suddenly decided last weekend, that she is only allowing DP to have them on weekends, her reasons being that she feels it's time to establish a better routine.

The catalyst for this decision was that she asked DP to have them earlier than normal to which DP could not do - he did offer an alternative but was also declined.

She is now offering every Fri am until Sunday pm and states that 3 days a week is still a 50/50 arrangement.

DP sought legal advice and as such advised exW that he would not be having them for the weekend only as doing so would imply he had agreed to her change in the status quo.

DPs solicitor has written to exW saying that as parents they have identical legal status and that the arrangement should remain in place unless another arrangement is agreed or ordered by court.

Sol has suggested mediation, or instructing solicitor to negotiate settlement and in the absence of resolution then courts will have to decide what's in the best interest for the children.

DP does not want to be a weekend dad - the boys have become accustomed to this arrangement over 2 years and DP wants to be involved in all aspects of the boys lives not just fun time daddy on the weekend. Also, wouldn't it be detrimental for the boys never to have any weekend time with their mum?

This is pretty much where we are at the moment but DP is incolsolable at the thought of not seeing his boys and we are both carrying this awful feeling around of emptiness.

Can anyone relate to this kind of scenario and would you kindly offer any advice, guidance?

PaleBlueDot Fri 20-Nov-15 11:08:59

It was only 6 months ago that exW asked DP to have the boys for all Christmas & New Year as she wanted to go on holiday with new husband so we made plans for a full family festive season only to be told 5 months later that the holiday was no longer and DP could have them a few hours on Christmas Day

Also only 3 weeks ago exW asked if DP could collect boys from school on her week too because she could no longer afford childcare. We said yes and made arrangements for my daughter who attends a different school to go into after school club so that we could help.

It just seems wholly unfair that despite doing everything we can and always helping, the one time DP could not accomodate a request she pulls the rug from under his feet.

I just cannot see this being in the best interests of the children.

PaleBlueDot Sun 22-Nov-15 11:24:41

Anyone around to offer some guidance?

Collaborate Mon 23-Nov-15 09:24:33

Mediation should be attempted first, but she shouldn't unilaterally change the arrangements while negotiations are ongoing.

If no agreement can be reached one or other of them will have to apply to the court for future arrangements to be set.

It's up to her to explain why the current arrangements are not working. He should not let the arrangements change until there is agreement or court order, as the court will usually go with the status quo unless something isn't working.

PaleBlueDot Mon 23-Nov-15 09:42:07

Thanks Collaborate, that's exactly the advice we have been given and also our solicitor has outlined same in our letter to her.

However, she is still keeping the boys - DP asked to collect as normal on Sunday and she refused. Said that we would receive her response this week.

She is sticking to her offer of Friday (am) to Sunday (pm)

Initially DP declined (upon advice from solicitor) but if that's all she is offering then it seems that in order for DP to see his boys then he needs to conceed for now?

Would agreeing to have them every weekend until this is resolved then become the status quo and the 20 odd months arrangement would be forgotten?

On one hand we want to see the boys as often as we can, but on the other hand we realise that the exception would then become the norm and a court would agree as such.

Her reasonings for holding them back are:

In her opinion
- she has a better bedtime routine
- she dresses them better
- she does homework/reading
- they have their own bedrooms

We do all of the above, of course we do as I have my dd at home and we have routine for all.

It's so tough, I just don't know what to do for the best sad

Collaborate Mon 23-Nov-15 10:14:56

It seems then that the advice is not being taken.

If he was following the advice he'd have got it in to court urgently to make her stick to the current arrangements until the matter is finalised.

You're being told what to do for the best. No point had-wringing. Just get on with it. Sorry to be blunt, but that's just how it is.

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