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Responsibility for travel arrangements between children's homes
#1
Hi there, new member looking for some advice on behalf of my partner. Apologies if this sort of thing has been posted before - I did have a search through but couldn’t find a close answer! Sorry for a bit of a ramble to set the scene, but any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'll try to set the scene as succinctly as possible...
  • Partner and ex-wife separated 6 years ago, divorce finalised (purely financial arrangements) 2 years ago now
  • Two children (9 and 6) - no contact/child arrangements order in place currently as the ex only wanted to settle finances (despite partner's protests)
  • Partner sees children twice during week (3.15pm-6pm) and alternate weekends (Fri 3.15pm - Sun 9am) collecting from school and returning home (he works on Sundays to be able to see them more regularly during the week, which children said they prefer)
  • Partner has handled all of the travelling between their mother/school and his home (coming in at 4 return trips per week of an hour each time) for the past six years to date because ex-wife maintains that ‘if he wants to see the children, it is his responsibility’.
  • This means that during the weekday visits of 2hr 45min, just over an hour of that is spent driving them to his and back again
My partner has repeatedly tried asking her to handle even just one of these trips per fortnight so that the children get a little more time with him without this impacting on their bedtime routine (or other social activities) at home, but she always refuses (and has even failed to show up on two occasions when he said he was unable to take them back, meaning the children had to be taken to school without a uniform/school bags, etc.)

Whenever the discussion comes up, she has a range of excuses as to why she should not take on any responsibility for picking up the children: her normal working hours conveniently change so that she’s unable to collect the children (these have been fixed for some years now, 8am-4pm) and even tried to claim that that the children would become ‘distressed’ if she collected them instead of him dropping them off!!!

Her only responses so far to both my partner and his solicitor have been that he should continue to do all of the travel logistics but has them for the full day Sunday (which he cannot do due to working Sundays in order to see them in the week) or the most ridiculous yet, has them for 15 minutes longer on one of the evenings, then drops one at Cubs and one at home (again, simply adding to his driving for almost no extra time with the children).

She is constantly mocking him and making fun of him because she believes she’s untouchable when it comes to the children and firmly believes that as she has the ‘main day to day’ care she can pick and choose the responsibilities that she takes on, whilst claiming every benefit going, and passing the children off to every other member of her family so that she doesn’t need to care for them herself. 

So, after all of that rambling, my question basically is, is there anything we can do? Has anyone else had any similar experiences?

We have been looking at getting a Child Arrangements Order in place anyway, to ensure that she doesn’t simply decide to revoke contact (something she has done in the past), but would the judge be likely to state that she has to handle any of the travel arrangements - given how frequent this is and how much of his time with the children this takes up? Or is it usually the case that it’s assumed the Dad has to do all of the driving around? Although the distance isn’t massive, doing it so frequently and it taking up such a proportion of their time during the week is really taking its toll. 

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows how this might pan out we really would appreciate it - the woman is horrible to deal with and has a long history of firmly believing that she’s ‘above the law’ (including a few warnings from the police about her behaviour towards my partner) - even the solicitor is getting fed up of dealing with her. 
Reply
#2
(08-02-2017, 08:39 AM)kwko75 Wrote: Hi there, new member looking for some advice on behalf of my partner. Apologies if this sort of thing has been posted before - I did have a search through but couldn’t find a close answer! Sorry for a bit of a ramble to set the scene, but any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'll try to set the scene as succinctly as possible...
  • Partner and ex-wife separated 6 years ago, divorce finalised (purely financial arrangements) 2 years ago now
  • Two children (9 and 6) - no contact/child arrangements order in place currently as the ex only wanted to settle finances (despite partner's protests)
  • Partner sees children twice during week (3.15pm-6pm) and alternate weekends (Fri 3.15pm - Sun 9am) collecting from school and returning home (he works on Sundays to be able to see them more regularly during the week, which children said they prefer)
  • Partner has handled all of the travelling between their mother/school and his home (coming in at 4 return trips per week of an hour each time) for the past six years to date because ex-wife maintains that ‘if he wants to see the children, it is his responsibility’.
  • This means that during the weekday visits of 2hr 45min, just over an hour of that is spent driving them to his and back again
My partner has repeatedly tried asking her to handle even just one of these trips per fortnight so that the children get a little more time with him without this impacting on their bedtime routine (or other social activities) at home, but she always refuses (and has even failed to show up on two occasions when he said he was unable to take them back, meaning the children had to be taken to school without a uniform/school bags, etc.)

Whenever the discussion comes up, she has a range of excuses as to why she should not take on any responsibility for picking up the children: her normal working hours conveniently change so that she’s unable to collect the children (these have been fixed for some years now, 8am-4pm) and even tried to claim that that the children would become ‘distressed’ if she collected them instead of him dropping them off!!!

Her only responses so far to both my partner and his solicitor have been that he should continue to do all of the travel logistics but has them for the full day Sunday (which he cannot do due to working Sundays in order to see them in the week) or the most ridiculous yet, has them for 15 minutes longer on one of the evenings, then drops one at Cubs and one at home (again, simply adding to his driving for almost no extra time with the children).

She is constantly mocking him and making fun of him because she believes she’s untouchable when it comes to the children and firmly believes that as she has the ‘main day to day’ care she can pick and choose the responsibilities that she takes on, whilst claiming every benefit going, and passing the children off to every other member of her family so that she doesn’t need to care for them herself. 

So, after all of that rambling, my question basically is, is there anything we can do? Has anyone else had any similar experiences?

We have been looking at getting a Child Arrangements Order in place anyway, to ensure that she doesn’t simply decide to revoke contact (something she has done in the past), but would the judge be likely to state that she has to handle any of the travel arrangements - given how frequent this is and how much of his time with the children this takes up? Or is it usually the case that it’s assumed the Dad has to do all of the driving around? Although the distance isn’t massive, doing it so frequently and it taking up such a proportion of their time during the week is really taking its toll. 

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows how this might pan out we really would appreciate it - the woman is horrible to deal with and has a long history of firmly believing that she’s ‘above the law’ (including a few warnings from the police about her behaviour towards my partner) - even the solicitor is getting fed up of dealing with her. 

It is up to the Non Resident Parent to do the transport, unless its by agreement. However, in a CMS case, you can claim a reduction in Child Support, for "Excessive Travel for Contact". It works out about 9pm a mile they allow, or public transport cost.

He should not have to drop the children at seperate places, but a Court would Order them back to his ex, in time for her to get the child to cubs.

With regard to the child arrangements, there is 2 seperate parts a Court would look at.
Quality Time, what is weekends and school holidays. He would get every other weekend and up to half school holidays, if he asked for it. Often people go for a 4 week a year plan for school holidays instead, as they can not get 6.5 weeks off. That would be a week at Easter and Christmas, and 2 weeks (plus a weekend) in hte summer holiday.

If his ex is using Child Care in the "Care Time", then he can ask for him to have the child if he is avaliable. As his partner, it would be accepted that for some of the time the child might be in your care, but he must be present for the bulk of it.

You do not have the right to go to Court yet, as you now need Mediation. It might be that the mid week days need to change, to make it more workable.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
Reply
#3
(08-02-2017, 09:02 AM)MarkR Wrote:
(08-02-2017, 08:39 AM)kwko75 Wrote: Hi there, new member looking for some advice on behalf of my partner. Apologies if this sort of thing has been posted before - I did have a search through but couldn’t find a close answer! Sorry for a bit of a ramble to set the scene, but any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'll try to set the scene as succinctly as possible...
  • Partner and ex-wife separated 6 years ago, divorce finalised (purely financial arrangements) 2 years ago now
  • Two children (9 and 6) - no contact/child arrangements order in place currently as the ex only wanted to settle finances (despite partner's protests)
  • Partner sees children twice during week (3.15pm-6pm) and alternate weekends (Fri 3.15pm - Sun 9am) collecting from school and returning home (he works on Sundays to be able to see them more regularly during the week, which children said they prefer)
  • Partner has handled all of the travelling between their mother/school and his home (coming in at 4 return trips per week of an hour each time) for the past six years to date because ex-wife maintains that ‘if he wants to see the children, it is his responsibility’.
  • This means that during the weekday visits of 2hr 45min, just over an hour of that is spent driving them to his and back again
My partner has repeatedly tried asking her to handle even just one of these trips per fortnight so that the children get a little more time with him without this impacting on their bedtime routine (or other social activities) at home, but she always refuses (and has even failed to show up on two occasions when he said he was unable to take them back, meaning the children had to be taken to school without a uniform/school bags, etc.)

Whenever the discussion comes up, she has a range of excuses as to why she should not take on any responsibility for picking up the children: her normal working hours conveniently change so that she’s unable to collect the children (these have been fixed for some years now, 8am-4pm) and even tried to claim that that the children would become ‘distressed’ if she collected them instead of him dropping them off!!!

Her only responses so far to both my partner and his solicitor have been that he should continue to do all of the travel logistics but has them for the full day Sunday (which he cannot do due to working Sundays in order to see them in the week) or the most ridiculous yet, has them for 15 minutes longer on one of the evenings, then drops one at Cubs and one at home (again, simply adding to his driving for almost no extra time with the children).

She is constantly mocking him and making fun of him because she believes she’s untouchable when it comes to the children and firmly believes that as she has the ‘main day to day’ care she can pick and choose the responsibilities that she takes on, whilst claiming every benefit going, and passing the children off to every other member of her family so that she doesn’t need to care for them herself. 

So, after all of that rambling, my question basically is, is there anything we can do? Has anyone else had any similar experiences?

We have been looking at getting a Child Arrangements Order in place anyway, to ensure that she doesn’t simply decide to revoke contact (something she has done in the past), but would the judge be likely to state that she has to handle any of the travel arrangements - given how frequent this is and how much of his time with the children this takes up? Or is it usually the case that it’s assumed the Dad has to do all of the driving around? Although the distance isn’t massive, doing it so frequently and it taking up such a proportion of their time during the week is really taking its toll. 

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows how this might pan out we really would appreciate it - the woman is horrible to deal with and has a long history of firmly believing that she’s ‘above the law’ (including a few warnings from the police about her behaviour towards my partner) - even the solicitor is getting fed up of dealing with her. 

It is up to the Non Resident Parent to do the transport, unless its by agreement. However, in a CMS case, you can claim a reduction in Child Support, for "Excessive Travel for Contact". It works out about 9pm a mile they allow, or public transport cost.

He should not have to drop the children at seperate places, but a Court would Order them back to his ex, in time for her to get the child to cubs.

With regard to the child arrangements, there is 2 seperate parts a Court would look at.
Quality Time, what is weekends and school holidays. He would get every other weekend and up to half school holidays, if he asked for it. Often people go for a 4 week a year plan for school holidays instead, as they can not get 6.5 weeks off. That would be a week at Easter and Christmas, and 2 weeks (plus a weekend) in hte summer holiday.

If his ex is using Child Care in the "Care Time", then he can ask for him to have the child if he is avaliable. As his partner, it would be accepted that for some of the time the child might be in your care, but he must be present for the bulk of it.

You do not have the right to go to Court yet, as you now need Mediation. It might be that the mid week days need to change, to make it more workable.


Thanks for your reply. He has tried mediation with her but in the first instance she simply walked out so that she could have her chance to say 'I'll see you in court!' and the second time she refused to attend at all, so he has already received confirmation that he can go straight to court for an order now as she's refused to attend.

She does use childcare during her ‘Care Time’ - a before- and after-school childminder that collects the children from school on the days that he doesn’t see the children until she returns from work to pick them up at 4.15pm. He already has the children during this time for a few nights a week as part of his time. I personally don’t look after the children alone for any length of time as I’m not back from work myself until 6pm and my partner wants every available minute that he can get with them (whilst still being able to fit in a job!).

In terms of changing the weekdays, that is what he is worried about losing - the regular contact with them is working brilliantly for him and the children, and they love seeing him during the week rather than only on alternate weekends. What would be a feasible change around this?

In summary, is it the case then that unless she has a total change of heart (and personality), he has to continue to handle all of the travel and a judge would order the same? 
Reply
#4
(08-02-2017, 09:20 AM)kwko75 Wrote:
(08-02-2017, 09:02 AM)MarkR Wrote:
(08-02-2017, 08:39 AM)kwko75 Wrote: Hi there, new member looking for some advice on behalf of my partner. Apologies if this sort of thing has been posted before - I did have a search through but couldn’t find a close answer! Sorry for a bit of a ramble to set the scene, but any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'll try to set the scene as succinctly as possible...
  • Partner and ex-wife separated 6 years ago, divorce finalised (purely financial arrangements) 2 years ago now
  • Two children (9 and 6) - no contact/child arrangements order in place currently as the ex only wanted to settle finances (despite partner's protests)
  • Partner sees children twice during week (3.15pm-6pm) and alternate weekends (Fri 3.15pm - Sun 9am) collecting from school and returning home (he works on Sundays to be able to see them more regularly during the week, which children said they prefer)
  • Partner has handled all of the travelling between their mother/school and his home (coming in at 4 return trips per week of an hour each time) for the past six years to date because ex-wife maintains that ‘if he wants to see the children, it is his responsibility’.
  • This means that during the weekday visits of 2hr 45min, just over an hour of that is spent driving them to his and back again
My partner has repeatedly tried asking her to handle even just one of these trips per fortnight so that the children get a little more time with him without this impacting on their bedtime routine (or other social activities) at home, but she always refuses (and has even failed to show up on two occasions when he said he was unable to take them back, meaning the children had to be taken to school without a uniform/school bags, etc.)

Whenever the discussion comes up, she has a range of excuses as to why she should not take on any responsibility for picking up the children: her normal working hours conveniently change so that she’s unable to collect the children (these have been fixed for some years now, 8am-4pm) and even tried to claim that that the children would become ‘distressed’ if she collected them instead of him dropping them off!!!

Her only responses so far to both my partner and his solicitor have been that he should continue to do all of the travel logistics but has them for the full day Sunday (which he cannot do due to working Sundays in order to see them in the week) or the most ridiculous yet, has them for 15 minutes longer on one of the evenings, then drops one at Cubs and one at home (again, simply adding to his driving for almost no extra time with the children).

She is constantly mocking him and making fun of him because she believes she’s untouchable when it comes to the children and firmly believes that as she has the ‘main day to day’ care she can pick and choose the responsibilities that she takes on, whilst claiming every benefit going, and passing the children off to every other member of her family so that she doesn’t need to care for them herself. 

So, after all of that rambling, my question basically is, is there anything we can do? Has anyone else had any similar experiences?

We have been looking at getting a Child Arrangements Order in place anyway, to ensure that she doesn’t simply decide to revoke contact (something she has done in the past), but would the judge be likely to state that she has to handle any of the travel arrangements - given how frequent this is and how much of his time with the children this takes up? Or is it usually the case that it’s assumed the Dad has to do all of the driving around? Although the distance isn’t massive, doing it so frequently and it taking up such a proportion of their time during the week is really taking its toll. 

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows how this might pan out we really would appreciate it - the woman is horrible to deal with and has a long history of firmly believing that she’s ‘above the law’ (including a few warnings from the police about her behaviour towards my partner) - even the solicitor is getting fed up of dealing with her. 

It is up to the Non Resident Parent to do the transport, unless its by agreement. However, in a CMS case, you can claim a reduction in Child Support, for "Excessive Travel for Contact". It works out about 9pm a mile they allow, or public transport cost.

He should not have to drop the children at seperate places, but a Court would Order them back to his ex, in time for her to get the child to cubs.

With regard to the child arrangements, there is 2 seperate parts a Court would look at.
Quality Time, what is weekends and school holidays. He would get every other weekend and up to half school holidays, if he asked for it. Often people go for a 4 week a year plan for school holidays instead, as they can not get 6.5 weeks off. That would be a week at Easter and Christmas, and 2 weeks (plus a weekend) in hte summer holiday.

If his ex is using Child Care in the "Care Time", then he can ask for him to have the child if he is avaliable. As his partner, it would be accepted that for some of the time the child might be in your care, but he must be present for the bulk of it.

You do not have the right to go to Court yet, as you now need Mediation. It might be that the mid week days need to change, to make it more workable.


Thanks for your reply. He has tried mediation with her but in the first instance she simply walked out so that she could have her chance to say 'I'll see you in court!' and the second time she refused to attend at all, so he has already received confirmation that he can go straight to court for an order now as she's refused to attend.

She does use childcare during her ‘Care Time’ - a before- and after-school childminder that collects the children from school on the days that he doesn’t see the children until she returns from work to pick them up at 4.15pm. He already has the children during this time for a few nights a week as part of his time. I personally don’t look after the children alone for any length of time as I’m not back from work myself until 6pm and my partner wants every available minute that he can get with them (whilst still being able to fit in a job!).

In terms of changing the weekdays, that is what he is worried about losing - the regular contact with them is working brilliantly for him and the children, and they love seeing him during the week rather than only on alternate weekends. What would be a feasible change around this?

In summary, is it the case then that unless she has a total change of heart (and personality), he has to continue to handle all of the travel and a judge would order the same? 

I am not sure a Judge would change the time for a sake of 1 hour 3 school days a week. However, the fact that he has this mid week contact in place, it would be for her to have to show good reason to change that.

The Judge will not make her transport the children.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
Reply
#5
If your partner could change his working days and have one week Fri- Sunday and one week with Friday overnight It all may work out less stressful with the driving.

It may not be what is ideal for him but the current set up just seems like added stress. Could be worth thinking about.
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#6
Thanks very much for all of the advice, I'll have a chat with him and pass on the info. I guess something's got to give...
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