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When do you need a court order?

(22 Posts)
HystericalMe Sat 02-Jul-11 09:08:54

Do most lone parents organise when their child's other parent sees them with a friendly arrangement?

What about when it comes to primary school and drop off and pick up?

My ex refuses to have our son at the weekend which I have had to put up with up until now (he wants to have saturdays and sundays free to party) but I am really sure that our son needs to be with me Monday to Friday when he starts school, I will keep his belongings, clothing and homework in order, I will get him to school on time.

When with my ex, our DS eats all sorts of junk and watches loads of crazy DVDs which leave him hyped up and aggressive at nursery. Also I have been seriously distressed on dropping DS off at his Dad's and realising that he is drunk. He also comes back sometimes with minor injuries and is obviously not well entertained or watched. It takes me a while to calm him down and settle him back into our routine at mine.

What should I do to ensure my DS is with me Monday to Friday? How can I stop my ex picking him up from school or disappearing with DS? I don't trust my ex to get him to school in the right state of mind or properly organised. sad

belledechocchipcookie Sat 02-Jul-11 12:27:10

You need to seek legal advice on this now really.

It sounds really stressful for you both sad

gillybean2 Sat 02-Jul-11 12:41:45

Why would you leave your ds with him if he is drunk?

niceguy2 Sat 02-Jul-11 12:51:22

What are his reasons for wanting contact midweek? You may feel like it's in your son's best interests to have him Mon-Fri but naturally he will disagree so we can help better if we understood his side of the argument.

As for minor injuries, calming down and settling into a routine. None of those are really valid reasons for a court order so you'd be wasting courts time.

In short, you need to have good solid reasons why you are insisting on a particular pattern of contact. What happens whilst he's there is almost inconsequential unless you can prove ex is endangering your son. Eating junk food and watching DVD's won't count.

HystericalMe Sat 02-Jul-11 12:56:56

His only reason for wanting to see DS during the week is to stop me from going out and socialising.

Went round there on a weekday morning to drop off DS and suspected he was drunk. Immediately said to DS lets come back later... Then faced with wailing DS and ex saying he'll be fine here. It was just a poor choice when DS looks forward to seeing daddy so much.

HystericalMe Sat 02-Jul-11 12:57:30

I thought courts usually ordered every other weekend as reasonable access?

gillybean2 Sat 02-Jul-11 13:21:40

No court order can force him to see his ds at the weekend if he doesn't want too though.
What is it you would want a court order to achieve?

HystericalMe Sat 02-Jul-11 14:09:19

I want my son to have a stable start to school, knowing that he gets enough sleep and arrives at school with his correct uniform, on time and with a packed lunch, etc.

mrscolour Sat 02-Jul-11 17:40:04

Not sure court would be the right place to deal with these issues.

Sounds like you need a third party to help you resolve these issues which would mean either a solicitor or mediation. Mediation would give you chance to talk about parenting issues face to face but it obviously depends on how open he is to the process.

I think your concerns about him being with his dad midweek are valid. Starting school is an exhausting time for children and it would be good if he had a regular routine of seeing his dad. Could you try and get his dad to see that if he only sees his son midweek once he's at school he won't be seeing him much at all. There is no reason why it should be every other weekend, it could be one day every weekend or whatever arrangements suit you both.

PinkCarBlueCar Sat 02-Jul-11 20:20:56

Like niceguy said, minor injuries, needing to be re-settled into routine, general not best practice parenting, not reasons to involve the courts. That said, what minor injuries are we talking about? Scratches and bruises on legs, knees, elbows - pretty normal. Bruises to neck, backs of upper arms - possible cause for concern.

Being drunk while in charge of your (presumably) 3 / 4 yr old DS - definite cause for concern. Is your ex a drinker / alcoholic? What was / is he like when drunk? Is this something that appears to happen often, or was it just a one-off? And what is your ex's definition of partying over the weekend?

niceguy2 Sat 02-Jul-11 20:57:48

I thought courts usually ordered every other weekend as reasonable access?

A court would not order every other weekend if the dad didn't want it. At the end of the day, you cannot force dad to have their child.

HystericalMe Sun 03-Jul-11 22:16:14

So how would I go about getting a solicitor for mediation? How expensive is it? Would this bring me closer to a family court, which quite frankly sounds scary according to a thread on mumsnet today?

gillybean2 Sun 03-Jul-11 23:40:14

You don't need a solicitor for mediation. You need to look for mediation services in your area - look in phone book, ask your GP surgery if they know of any, or your health visitor etc. You then need to persuade him to attend with you.

Write a clear, unemotional letter stating why you are seeking mediation and why things need to change in your view (ie school means different contact will be required)

If he refuses mediation get it in writing if at all possible. Keep details of dates and times you spoke to him and his response. Keep text messages or emails in which he refuses to discuss or attend mediation.

You can then change the arrangements (because of school), but offer him reasonable contact bearing in mind how frequently your ds sees him now.
Then if he takes you to court because he's not happy you will then be able to show in court you attempted to sort it out via mediation and he refused. The court will then send you both off to try mediation before they do anything else...

Just be reasonable and child focussed in what you are suggesting and make sure you set it all out in an unemotional letter. Offer more time in teh holidays perhaps if he is going to see less of his ds during the term time.

cestlavielife Mon 04-Jul-11 11:27:04

you are not being stopped from going out as you could get a babysitter.

family court isnt so scary - it is formal though (think of it as a formal interview type scenario) so people cannot rant and rage there without consequence! but mediation best starting point.

has ahe ahd him overnights?
you might eb expected to give dad a chance to prove he can get DS tos chool on time, fed, washed in clothes and with lunch box - really, you ahve to record him not achieving this ratehr than assume he wont achieve it.

unless of course there is clear evidence (police reports etc) of drubk/alcoholic behaviour which gives cause for concern...

HystericalMe Mon 04-Jul-11 19:55:36

BUT why should HE decide that he wont have his child on weekends, ever purely out of spite!?

gillya Mon 04-Jul-11 20:44:21

As other posters have said - you can't force a parent to have any contact.
It may seem unfair, but that is the way it is. Would you really want to send your DS to spend time with someone who wasn't interested anyway?
Babysitters (paid or otherwise) will probably be the best option to avoid the stress of being let down at the last minute.

cestlavielife Mon 04-Jul-11 23:52:02

i dont really understand - has he said to you "i wont have him weekeneds because i dont want you to go out"? it wouldnt stop you going out - you can get a babysitter...

you have raised issues over his care of your child - surely even more likely that care would be poor on a weekend with parties etc

why do you really want to send DS off to dad on a weekend when you think dad will just party, let him watch crazy videos etc?

you cannot make him have contact - you could just drop your child with him and see how he copes - but gvien the drinking tec that would be far too risky wouldnt it?

basically - until dad grows up and takes responsibility it wont be safe to leave ds with him for weekends anyway. it is hard - but best just get on with your life, let him have couple mid week contacts after nursery and plan your life, get to know people to do babysitting swaps etc

Maelstrom Tue 05-Jul-11 01:01:55

Try to see it the other way around, if you have your child in the weekends you get to have a lot of quality time.

Having said that, if there is no order you both have a right to claim whatever days of the week you want. However, the court is likely to want to preserve the status quo so... if your son has been having weekday overnight contact for a while (or a few weeks), you will need some very good reasons to be able to change it.

Well your XP sounds like a complete knobber, so the first thing to do is to get a structure in place which means you are not relying on him for anything. So look into babysitters or taking turns with a friend to mind each other's DC so you can go out. It the knobber is very keen to stop you going out, it's important to arrange things so that you can go out and that you do so: he is not entitled to control you like this. As to his drinking and possible neglect, get evidence if you can, gillybean's advice re mediation etc is good.

Dragon15 Thu 07-Jul-11 14:13:57

If your are certain that your ex partner is actively drinking when the child is in his care plus the child shows injuries on return at home you may have a strong case for a court order based on him deemed to be not a responsible adult and the child welfare at risk according to your annual salary you may be entitled to free legal aid however there are family solicitors firms operating on your child Tax Credit allowance as mean of payment a mediator has a background is social servicing and family law can be costly and stressful also he may refuse to attend in that case you wont be able to start any sessions contact Social Services and explain your situation

TheHumanCatapult Fri 08-Jul-11 12:04:04

Were of to medation as xdh now wants access i offered every other weekend but he does not want weekends.so have offered him a midweek dinner or a Every other Saturday or sunday day time meet ave said e can not have evey saturday daytime as ds3 goes to a sn club and its the only socialisation he has with a peer like group so is good for building his social skills and his confidence up ( supported by his disablity sw luckily )

.( can not have them overnight midweekas ds3 has sn taxi and they will not change transport and he is about 45 mins from dd school and about 90 from ds3 )

But we can not agree so hence the medation .But yes sadly you can not make them have th contact

HystericalMe Sat 30-Jul-11 13:40:11

How did mediation go The Human Catapult?

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