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Pick up & drop off - legal requirement after divorce

(15 Posts)
rachelandthenoodle Wed 15-Mar-17 07:34:40

My ex husband and I separated years ago and divorced just over a year ago. We had no formal arrangements made for custody, but our DS lives with me. I agreed to help 50/50 with the task of getting our DS to him for his alternate weekends (Fri after to school to Monday evening), either by splitting the drive and meeting halfway (it's over 1.45hr each way). This is a pain in the bum, but I always felt it was reasonably fair, despite the fact that for the duration of our six years together his last ex wife never ONCE did any part of the drive for her kids to us. I did point this out to him once last year and he just said 'well just because that was an unfair situation doesn't make it right that you should be just as unfair'...and because I saw his point and didn't want the argument, I let it go.

NOW, however, I am remarried and newly pregnant. In a few months time, I am going to be wholly unwilling (reasonably) to do that drive and frankly unable. I am frightened to even raise this topic with my ex (he's a scary, angry and aggressive man, hence the being divorced!) and I feel like I should work out exactly what my rights and obligations are before I approach him about it. Any top tips?? Anyone been there themselves?

Thanks

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 15-Mar-17 12:59:55

I would not contact your ex about this, other than to explain how you're going to manage getting DS to him for the contact weekends. Can you ask a family member or friend to do the drive and hand over for you until you're able to do it again? Can your current partner do it instead of you? Is your DS old enough to go in a taxi?

I think you need to maintain the current situation for your DS's sake rather than try and force your ex to make changes.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:02:50

So you have enabled him to be a lazy twat all this time?
Explain that due to a change of circumstances he has to step up and be responsible for seeing his own dc from now on. .
No judge would expect you to have done this. . Or ordered it either.

reallyanotherone Wed 15-Mar-17 13:08:14

I think courts base it on who moved.

If you moved away, it is your responsibility to get dc back to your ex. If he moved away, it is his. If both of you moved, it's 50:50.

will your new partner help out temporarily?

rachelandthenoodle Wed 15-Mar-17 21:13:10

Thanks for the feedback. The question of 'moving away' is a tricky one. Initially I did move away, but my ex is military so moves constantly and his current posting is actually to the town I live in but he has (for convoluted reasons he is keeping to himself, but if you read between the lines, I believe it relates to a recent girlfriend) chosen to remain living where he is and to commute weekly. This is clearly insane, but I'm too removed from it to be able to comment and frankly it's not really my business.

My current husband is willing to help out a little with driving, but is reluctant because my ex husband has made a habit of behaving ludicrously to him over the years (ex won't look at or speak to my OH), so his feeling is a little bit 'meh' to doing him any favours.

There's no way a taxi or train is possible. I child is 7! And the journey is over 1hr45 each way by car!

I just wonder if maybe I should get legal advice. If I don't have to do the drive, then I'm now at the point of wanting to back out of it...at least for a few months when the baby comes. But I'm just a little worried that this will mean my ex refuses to drop him back one weekend and I'll have to drive out anyway, or risk that my child misses school or something. My ex is neither a rational nor a particularly mature human being, so I consider this to be a fairly real risk.

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 15-Mar-17 21:19:08

Presumably your DS wants to see his dad? Could your DH just literally drop your son off and make sure he is with his Dad, without needing to actually interact with your exH?

I think that potentially antagonising your exH at the point in time when you're focusing on your new baby is just going to cause trouble for you and no one else.

rachelandthenoodle Wed 15-Mar-17 21:28:09

Assassinatedbeauty, I hear what you're saying, and that's kind of been my stance for the past few years, but the situation is more complicated. My OH works LONG weeks, and to ask him to then do a 3.5 hour round trip drive after work on a Friday (which would likely see him home not much before 2300hrs) or on a Sunday, which invariable cuts out half the day, is a big ask and not one I want to do unless it really is the only option. Because ex is driving anyway (and passes within 30 mins of my house on his weekly commute), it actually is much much less impactful on his life to do both pick up and drop off than it is on mine or my OH's.

Yes, DS wants to see his dad (well, mostly, but this is another can of worms- he gets nightmares after almost every visit and finds the whole being juggled back and forth very distributive, but that's not really up for debate here- I'm in no way suggesting he doesn't see his dad, just that for a few months it would be really really helpful if his dad did all the driving. I'm not even saying it has to be a permanent solution; just until the baby is old enough to be either left with someone else for >3 hrs (i.e. no longer breast feeding) or else able to cope with a horrendously long round trip journey.

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 15-Mar-17 21:36:33

I don't think there's any way you can force your exH to be helpful, even if you're in the right legally speaking.

You could try pointing out that you'll be unfit to drive and/or unavailable for the few weeks before, during and after your baby arrives. That is an indisputable fact. You could also say that you still want to try and sort out contact, and then ask him if he could do the collection just for a specific duration. If you try and raise it very neutrally, perhaps he might be more amenable to a change of routine.

CocoaLeaves Wed 15-Mar-17 21:42:05

If he passes within 30 minutes of your house, can he not meet you with DS at that 30 minute point somewhere?

If there is no court order in place, you are not legally obliged to take DS anywhere, just make him available for contact. I would see a solicitor just to save the stress, though.

rachelandthenoodle Wed 15-Mar-17 22:06:32

Cocoaleaves, this would be great if he would be willing, but he says that to meet there on Friday would mean he'd have to waste a lot of time after he finishes work (because no one can take DS to meet him until 1630 at the earliest on a Friday and he normally finishes by 1300), and likewise to get DS back on a Sunday in time for bed etc would mean he'd have to return to work at ~1800hrs on a Sunday, which he doesn't want to do. So he prefers me to do at least one full round trip so his weekend is only inconvenienced at one end or the other. Sometimes he is reasonable about it and we can reach some kind of accommodation, but that's not always the case - so what I'm really trying to work out is the pure legal requirement rather than what might be easy/nice/fair...and use that as a baseline. Then I can try to offer a little bit of help where I can, but not be held to ransom for it.

TalkingofMichaelAngel0 Wed 15-Mar-17 22:14:06

See a solicitor.

GreenGoblin0 Wed 15-Mar-17 23:41:37

is there any reason why your exh can't pick your child directly from school on the Friday if he is already over that way for work?

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 15-Mar-17 23:50:47

My dh drives three hours there and three back on a Friday after work then the same on a Sunday. Wouldn't think of asking his ex to drive because he wants to see his child and that's where his child lives.

Your ex needs to suck it up.

CocoaLeaves Thu 16-Mar-17 06:07:28

Yes, I agree see a solicitor- it makes no sense that xH cannot pick up your DS after school on Friday and bring him back on Sunday. That is not an inconvenience, it is what you do for your child. He has eleven days out of fourteen not to be 'inconvenienced'. I get that your ex does not want to do a long drive on Sunday and then again on Monday but it is once a fortnight.

But then I just read your OP again about him being a scary, aggressive and angry man, your DS has nightmares and does not like being juggled about. No wonder he feels juggled about if this is the response of his dad.

I would see a solicitor - you left a man because of his temperament; he is not willing to collect DS; and DS has nightmares after every visit. I would go back to the drawing board with this one. Contact is your xH's responsibility, he needs to come up with the solution- but I also think there may be questions about type/length/frequency of contact around what your DS wants.

SorrelSoup Thu 16-Mar-17 06:41:00

I agree with what Cocoa has said. Also lie and say you've been instructed by gp not to drive long distances due to spd or another pregnancy condition.

Seems like a lot of people are bending over backwards for this man as they are in fear of this bully. Seems like a good opportunity to put a stop to all this. Maybe a solicitor will give you the confidence to say no.

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