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My right to change and enforce the court order?
#1
I recently attend a dispute rewsolution hearing for a child arrangements order as per my previous posts. I now have a documented order from the court to say what rights I have and what arrangements are to be followed. So far things have been going fairly well but despite what the court order says my ex is not following it as it says and seems to be doing things how she wants again. Although it is is only minor things that she is not doing, I feel that it is more the principle than the point of the matter and I am wondering if it's worth enforcing the order or if it's more hassle and costly than whats it's worth. 

For example, the court order says that collection and return shall be slit equally between parties so that both parents alternate collection/drop off and return after contact. That is exactly what I want as up to now it has been myself that has been doing all the pick ups and drops offs as my ex simply does not want to and said in court that if she drives more than a quarter of a mile she gets panic attacks. We only live 3 miles apart so I find that to be a very feable excuse and in my opinion she is just being lazy. As an alternative she said that she would do all weekend pickups/drop off and I do mid week. However, as I tend to see my children mainly mid-week rather than weekewnds due to my work it is still me that does the majority of the pickups and drops off so I wouldn't say that is split equally at all. I have also noticed that when I have had my children over the weekend it is her mother and not my ex that picks up and drops off my children, not that it makes much difference really as at least I am not doing it all.

Do you think I should enforce the order to make it how it should be and not how my ex wants it?

The other issue I have is that in the order it says 'if the applicant's work roster changes then the applicant will notify the respondent as soon as practicable'. Now, when the court order was drawn up my contact arrangements were put down up until the end of February 2020. However, from January 2020 my work roster will be changing slightly which means that some of the shifts in the court order I am unable to do so I have had to work out alternative dates which I emailed my ex at the beginning of this month which I gave her more than a month's notice.

My ex replied saying no, I have to follow the court order and swap my shifts around and that I refer to the court order which includes my contact arrangements up until March 2020, this is a legally binding document so I'm afraid that I must follow this in its entirety.

As I am not able to swap my shifts around as my ex stated, what are my rights bearing in mind that it does say in the court order that if my roster changed then I have to notify the respondent, which is what I have done although admittedly the court order does show contact arrangements before my roster changed?

Do I have the right to change what is now a legally binding document or do I have to speak to my manager and make sure that I have the contact dates for my children on the court order adhered to, even though it is my work who changed my roster and not me?
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#2
The court sees it as the children’s rights, not yours exactly. The term Fathers Rights or My rights doesn’t go down well with courts - in terms of terminology but I get what you mean.

The transport issue sounds like you have to work it out between you and would be difficult to enforce I think.

If your shifts have changed and she won’t agree to adapt arrangements then I’m not sure that is enforcement either. The order just says you will notify her as soon as possible and although a reasonable person can assume that means so there can be adjustments, it doesn’t actually say that.

I would try to get agreement from her before applying to court to show you have done everything you can first (ie have evidence in writing).

So send her a biff email (brief, informative, friendly, formal) eg

Dear Ex name

As per the court order I have given you notice of my changes of shift commencing x date. Thus clause is for the purpose of us agreeing varied child arrangements due to my change of shifts.

As such I propose the following variation to the court order and seek your agreement in writing please.

Change 3pm wed to 9 am Friday to “3pm tues to 9am thurs”

There is also a clause in the order which says “such further and other times as agreed between the parties in writing”. As such we need to agree the changes schedule in writing. To formalise it as a variation we would each need a solicitor- mine would draw up the amendment to the order for yours to approve and this could then be sent to court by the solicitors as an agreed variation and the court would issue the amended order.

Regards, you.”

I assume you have that clause “such further and other times” it’s a common one. If so then technically you can just agree the change in writing but best if it is formally varied.

If she still refuses to change anything then you’d need to have a MIAM, invite her to mediation and try to reach agreement. If she won’t go you get signed off and apply with a C100 to vary the order. That could be worse for her as you could ask for extra time at the same time .
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#3
(12-20-2019, 10:33 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: The court sees it as the children’s rights, not yours exactly. The term Fathers Rights or My rights doesn’t go down well with courts - in terms of terminology but I get what you mean.

The transport issue sounds like you have to work it out between you and would be difficult to enforce I think.

If your shifts have changed and she won’t agree to adapt arrangements then I’m not sure that is enforcement either.  The order just says you will notify her as soon as possible and although a reasonable person can assume that means so there can be adjustments, it doesn’t actually say that.

I would try to get agreement from her before applying to court to show you have done everything you can first (ie have evidence in writing).

So send her a biff email (brief, informative, friendly, formal) eg

Dear Ex name

As per the court order I have given you notice of my changes of shift commencing x date. Thus clause is for the purpose of us agreeing varied child arrangements due to my change of shifts.

As such I propose the following variation to the court order and seek your agreement in writing please.

Change 3pm wed to 9 am Friday to “3pm tues to 9am thurs”

There is also a clause in the order which says “such further and other times as agreed between the parties in writing”. As such we need to agree the changes schedule in writing. To formalise it as a variation we would each need a solicitor- mine would draw up the amendment to the order for yours to approve and this could then be sent to court by the solicitors as an agreed variation and the court would issue the amended order.

Regards, you.”

I assume you have that clause “such further and other times” it’s a common one. If so then technically you can just agree the change in writing but best if it is formally varied.

If she still refuses to change anything then you’d need to have a MIAM, invite her to mediation and try to reach agreement. If she won’t go you get signed off and apply with a C100 to vary the order. That could be worse for her as you could ask for extra time at the same time .

Mediation is not needed UNLESS DIRECTED BY A JUDGE, to vary an order. Its only when no Order exists in most cases you need it.

I would file an application to vary on a C100, stating that your work hours have changed, and so you need to change the existing timetable, and that your ex is unwilling to be flexable on it.

Unless the child lives with you, your employer does not have to change your hours to fit in with contact. Only the parent who gets Child Benefit (or would do if earnings did not exceed threashold), has them sort of rights in employemnet law.
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.
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#4
The courts would prefer to see parties resolve things as amicably as possible, away from the courts. Indeed wouldn't we all?

So even though mediation may not be a requirement to apply to vary an order (even though I cant find clear guidance to that effect), it may sensibly be the cheaper, faster and less harmful approach and worth a try. Unless of course, depending on your specifics and your history with your ex, you are certain that mediation would not help. In that case you could elect to not pursue that and waste your time in the process.

I do think, that a judge would expect/prefer parties to have tried some mediation before applying to court, especially for less serious matters, not involving allegations and welfare concerns etc.
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#5
FYI. I'm going back to court to vary an existing order. After consulting the forum (see my previous post http://www.separateddads.co.uk/forum/thread-9122.html ) and solicitors etc I decided to pay £100 quid for mediation certificate (without any input from respondent, they interviewed me and issued me cert straight away) did it to ensure the c100 form is complete (I didnt want them to send it back), the c100 was posted back in December and I now have a court date in April 2020. I didnt want to risk having my application rejected due to having a missing MIAM causing more delays although I could have saved a hundred quid!
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