Home > The Court Process > What Happens at Family Court?

What Happens at Family Court?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 15 Feb 2017 |
 
Family Court Lawyer Hearing Case Person

The Family Court is essentially a specialist court in which family matters are decided. These range from adoption, contact with and residence of children and the taking of children into care. Although it is still a court environment, it is less formal than other types of courts. Barristers are not in wigs and gowns, and the whole hearing may be conducted around a large table – rather like a company meeting. In other cases, the courtroom might look more like a traditional court.

That said, it is always wise to be respectful to everyone you meet and to behave in a dignified fashion – regardless of how churned up you might feel inside. Those that remain calm are always seen more favourably by the courts than people who shout, are rude, or cause disruption to proceedings.

When to Get There

You should ensure you arrive at court in good time. If the court is sitting at 10.30am, you should aim to be there by 9.45am or earlier if your solicitor advises you to. When you arrive at court, don’t be surprised if there are a number of other people there, too. The court often operates in ‘lists’, which means that cases get called on in a specific order, or are called on as and when they are ‘ready’ to go on. This means that you may have a long wait until your case is called on, so take something to read.

You should make yourself known to the ‘usher’, who is usually a person wearing a black robe and holding a clipboard. If you have a solicitor, or if you’re being represented by a barrister (read our article Does Having a Good Lawyer Help? on this site), the usher should also be able to tell you if they have arrived yet and where they are.

What Happens in Court

It is very unlikely that your case will be dealt with at the first hearing. You are likely to have to go back to the Family Court on two or more occasions. At the first hearing, the court may make directions as to the filing of statements of case, or evidence, and give deadlines for when these things need to be filed. All family court proceedings are currently held in private, and will not be publicly reported – although there are changes on the way that will allow accredited journalists to be present in court hearings and report on them. It is not possible, in these circumstances, for the media to name the parties or anyone involved in the case.

Hearings

When your hearing is effective, the applicant – i.e. the person who is making the application – will speak first. If you are represented by a solicitor, they will do this on your behalf. This opening statement basically sets out what your application is and why you are making it. Then the other side will be invited to reply and to explain why they oppose the application. The judges or magistrates will ask questions of either party to clarify certain matters, if appropriate. You may be called to give evidence, which means that you will talk about any statement you have made under oath. The other side’s lawyer will ask you questions, and the judge or magistrates may also ask you questions as well.

Attendance and Bringing Friends For Support

You should always attend Family Court hearings unless you have specifically been excused from doing so, e.g. if it is simply a directions hearing that both solicitors need to attend. You can always take a Friend or relative along with you to help you, but you must obtain the permission of the court to do this. It is worth remembering, however, that if the friend or relative that you bring to court is also a witness in your case, they will not be able to sit in on the proceedings until after they have given evidence.

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Hi I need some advice so i have a 4 month old daughter i havent been with my ex partner since the beginning of pregnancy i found out when i got pregnant he had taken cocain he addmitted this to me and he got very nasty from then he didnt contact me through my pregnancy untill i was 6 months pregnant where he demanded a letter to state i was living with him saying it was to help him move i refused as i wasnt prepared to lie my daughter was born and i said to him to come to my family home near enough everyday for the first 2 weeks he came for an hour he held her but never fed or changed her hos behaviour started to show signs of aggression and the same signs as when i left and he was taking drugs he fell asleep on my daughter on the sofa to which i asked him to leave and return when he was more fit and not so tired He then stopped messaging me again which i said he should or could do everydayto ask the welfare of our daughter he went missing from here for 2 weeks then demanded for me to visit his home because i wanted to do the right thing i went upon arrival his flat was terribly unhygenic the dog had messed on the sofa it and i found a needle with red liquid to which he said was vitamin b shots he verbally abused me and got very nasty whilst holding the baby so i said i wouldnt go again and in the best interest of our daughter contact should remain at my home as this wasnt suitable for a baby. His dog also has attacked another dog unprovoked and i cannot take that risk he demanded we visit his family which i had no problem with but asked it it could be a week or 2 after he asked as i just had our baby and was going through some complications after birth in the end we went and he fell asleep at the wheel with me and my children in the car. He has refused to see my daughter in nearly 10 weeks now and given up messaging hes never contributed with milk nappies etc and ive never asked for money but 2 weeks ago recieved an email saying he is taking me to court this is so stressful and i dont no what to do i also found questionable documents which seem to be fraudulent he has written in the email i have stopped his family seeing the baby this isnt true and have planned to meet with them yhis week we dont live in close distance upon agreement he isnt there as our relationship should remain seperate to keep it healthy his mother is a social worker and is abusing her position by using her legal status to help him what do i do please help? He has no experience with children ive offered to show how to make bottles change nappies etc but he has no interest its been 10 weeks now hes been absent what do i do i spoke to a solicitor who said i shouldnt do anything Any advice would be appriciated
J88 - 15-Feb-17 @ 8:59 PM
Bubba Bear - Your Question:
Hi there , my son is now 3 years old and I've not been with his mother since his birth. I've had sporadic access until a year ago. I was then granted to see him every Sunday for 8 hours.after 8 months my access was abruptly stopped with out any notification. It has come to my knowledge that she believes that I'm incapable of looking after him. He has never gone home , unfed, dirty , distressed.When I took him out with my new partner and her child ,we always went somewhere exciting for the children. As time went by certain comments were thrown at me saying she was not happy.Come last October I received a text message saying I'll never see him again.So I have just filed a C100 and want to know what happens next as I am doing this on my own back as I can not afford a solicitor even though I'm in full time employment.Can any body please give me a bit of idea or help of what I should expect ,as I know she will ignore all correspondence.Cheers

Our Response:
Please see link here which will give you more information, along with all our other pages which are designed to help. You may also wish to register with our forum, where dads will help you answer specific questions. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:41 PM
Hi there , my son is now 3 years old and I've not been with his mother since his birth. I've had sporadic access until a year ago. . I was then granted to see him every Sunday for 8 hours...after 8 months my access was abruptly stopped with out any notification. . . It has come to my knowledge that she believes that I'm incapable of looking after him . . He has never gone home , unfed, dirty , distressed.. When I took him out with my new partner and her child ,we always went somewhere exciting for the children . As time went by certain comments were thrown at me saying she was not happy. Come last October I received a text message saying I'll never see him again... So I have just filed a C100 and want to know what happens next as I am doing this on my own back as I can not afford a solicitor even though I'm in full time employment. Can any body please give me a bit of idea or help of what I should expect ,as I know she will ignore all correspondence. Cheers
Bubba Bear - 8-Feb-17 @ 9:48 PM
moremilkdaddy - Your Question:
Hi, I dont know where my ex has moved to. she told a court previously that she has no problem with me seeing the kids. since I was there from birth and have a strong bond, however. she finds any issue to stop me once the butter melts we all suffer!!! how do I go about getting her to court? will the court do this work for me? thanks. spidermans dad:)

Our Response:
You can apply via a C100 form for contact and also fill in a C4 form which is an application to the courts for a disclose for a child's wherabouts. This means the courts can put a trace on your child to allow you to bring the matter to court for access.
SeparatedDads - 31-Jan-17 @ 12:10 PM
hi, i dont know where my ex has moved to. she told a court previously that she has no problem with me seeing the kids. since i was there from birth and have a strong bond, however. she finds any issue to stop me once the butter melts we all suffer!!! how do i go about getting her to court? will the court do this work for me? thanks... spidermans dad:)
moremilkdaddy - 30-Jan-17 @ 5:58 PM
ccc - Your Question:
I am attending the first court hearing Feb 2nd for my daughter who I have never seen. She is 4 months old and the mother cut all contact after leaving without reason or explanation when pregnant. Cafcass called today and it all seemed quite positive.the mother did not answer her Cafcass call. She has refused mediation and cut all contact. Cafcass mentioned that I may only get to see my baby for a couple of hours alongside my family initially. Anyone have any experience of this? How long did this last? When will I get my requested time with her? There is no violence, dodgy pasts etc cafcass have told me I came up clean as a whistle. Any help greatly appreciated!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. I will put your post on our Separated Dads Facebook page to see if any of the other dads can help you with advice, as many have been through the same or similar situations. Please refer to the Separated Dads Facebook page for your answers. I hope they help.
SeparatedDads - 18-Jan-17 @ 12:23 PM
I am attending the first court hearing Feb 2nd for my daughter who I have never seen. She is 4 months old and the mother cut all contact after leaving without reason or explanation when pregnant. Cafcass called today and it all seemed quite positive...the mother did not answer her Cafcass call. She has refused mediation and cut all contact. Cafcass mentioned that I may only get to see my baby for a couple of hours alongside my family initially. Anyone have any experience of this? How long did this last? When will I get my requested time with her? There is no violence, dodgy pasts etc cafcass have told me I came up clean as a whistle. Any help greatly appreciated!
ccc - 17-Jan-17 @ 8:46 PM
Donna - Your Question:
My x is had his children 6 nights a month but when he got married his wife said she would kick him out if he didn't tell me he could only have them 4 nights a month because they get in the way of them going out partying and living a free life, now he only wants them 3 nights a month, there's no reason he can't do more and he's missing out and so are his kids, what should I do?

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is nothing you can do to force your ex as a non-resident parent to have his children.
SeparatedDads - 17-Jan-17 @ 2:12 PM
My x is had his children 6 nights a month but when he got married his wife said she would kick him out if he didn't tell me he could only have them 4 nights a month because they get in the way of them going out partying and living a free life, now he only wants them 3 nights a month, there's no reason he can't do more and he's missing out and so are his kids, what should I do?
Donna - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:24 PM
Betty- Your Question:
Hi Currently going through the remo unit for breach of a maintenance order , my ex lives in the uk and I'm in Ireland. How long does it take to get a court date in the uk? Does the summons for court be sent by registered post?Thanks

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is impossible to predict as it very much depends upon how busy the court system is and other variables. Plus, we do not have a answer to your second question - the REMO unit may know better.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jan-17 @ 2:18 PM
SimonK - Your Question:
I am currently in a situation where I am likely to be taking my ex wife to court to sort out the child arrangements. We have been split for over a year and agreed at a round table meeting in May 16 with our solicitors to child arrangements for the remainder of the year and also agreed to meet again towards the end of the year to sort out the arrangements for 2017, this subsequent started to happen and I requested that we attend family based mediation which I attended and she rejected and subsequently have nothing in place agreed for 2017. My solicitor wrote to my ex's solicitor the week before xmas stating that we need to get something sorted sorted before the 9th January. We have heard nothing and I am now in the process of preparing the C100 to apply to court. I just need some advise as I feel so frustrated the children want to have their say but can't and I think she's scared that they are going to say that want to live with us equally. We both have the facilities to do that and live within 900 meters from each other.

Our Response:
So far you have been going about trying to sort out issues in the correct way, which generally makes for an amicable agreement. However, you have both obviously come to an impasse. A solicitor's letter highlighting your ex's rejection of mediation, unwillingness to co-operate and your own attempts to try to resolve the matter amicably may do the trick, and if your solicitor emphasises that if she has not replied by a certain date, you will most definitely apply to court. While court is seen as a last resort, if a stalemate situation like this occurs, you have no choice really than to take it further, if you want solid care/access arrangements in place. You don't say how old your kids are, but if they are are over age 11, they will be able to have a say. Hopefully, a resolution will come occur before it goes to court.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:56 AM
Hi Currently going through the remo unit for breach of a maintenance order , my ex lives in the uk and I'm in Ireland . How long does it take to get a court date in the uk? Does the summons for court be sent by registered post? Thanks
Betty - 9-Jan-17 @ 10:24 PM
I am currently in a situation where i am likely to be taking my ex wife to court to sort out the child arrangements. We have been split for over a year and agreed at a round table meeting in May 16 with our solicitors to child arrangements for the remainder of the year and also agreed to meet again towards the end of the year to sort out the arrangements for 2017, this subsequent started to happen and I requested that we attend family based mediation which i attended and she rejected and subsequently have nothing in place agreed for 2017. My solicitor wrote to my ex's solicitor the week before xmas stating that we need to get something sorted sorted before the 9th January. We have heard nothing and I am now in the process of preparing the C100 to apply to court. I just need some advise as i feel so frustrated the children want to have their say but can't andi think she's scared that they are going to say that want to live with us equally. We both have the facilities to do that and live within 900 meters from each other.
SimonK - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:54 PM
It does depend on the court and the judge. But be prepared to go into a twilight zone of corrupt admin court staff, man hating militant feminist judges, dishonest solicitors and straight in your face open persecution for being a father or simply a man. You will feel you are in a modern day witch trial. The evidence will be made up, laughably so, and taken seriously. You will even be threatened by the judge with penal orders.If you're lucky you'll come out of it sane and still with some money in your pocket. If youre unlucky banged up with 100s of other innocent blokes and stripped clean of everything. It all really hinges on the lady in question and how greedy, selfish and vindictive she is. You will never be able to drive last a lrison again and think theyre all guilty in there. Good luck.
Dave - 16-Dec-16 @ 6:17 PM
Tolley29 - Your Question:
I was sentenced to prison for 9 years, I served 4 and a half. I'be been out of prison 3 years and I now want to see my 5 children. I haven't got money for a solicitor. If I represent myself will I get contact? I have charges on my ex of domestic violence 7 years ago, will this effect me?

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is difficult to predict whether a court will allow you access as much will depend upon the circumstances. However, the judge has to ensure that if you are representing yourself, you are not disadvantaged in the proceedings (i.e if your ex has representation). Self-litigation works well if you as the litigant-in-person prepares a good case and keeps the main focus in mind, that the court process is not about what is in the best interests of them, but what is in the best interests of their children. If the court thinks that your trying to build a relationship with your kids will benefit them, then it will only let your past affect the present if it feels it may impact negatively on your children currently or in the future. Despite what you may have heard or experienced otherwise, the courts do want non-resident parents to have a relationship with their children. Therefore, if you do not have a relationship with your children currently, then what have you to lose by applying.
SeparatedDads - 16-Dec-16 @ 11:46 AM
I was sentenced to prison for 9 years, I served 4 and a half. I'be been out of prison 3 years and i now want to see my 5 children. I haven't got money for a solicitor. If i represent myself will i get contact? I have charges on my ex of domestic violence 7 years ago, will this effect me?
Tolley29 - 15-Dec-16 @ 7:50 PM
My ex wants me to see a psychiatrist and her solicitor has put in a Part 25 Application. It has a lot of incorrect and false medical allegations. I have all the relevant medical letters to oppose the application. How do I oppose it? Do I write a statement and send it to the court with my evidence?
Taz - 8-Dec-16 @ 11:35 AM
I am being denied access to my Son due to a disagreement over parenting. I have had him stay with me every weekend for the past 5 years. This has now been refused and all contact broken off with no meaningful communication. I applied for access via the Family Court and now have a Hearing date. My ex says she will not attend and I'll never see my Son again.Two questions please, 1 . do I need to prepare any further evidence or documentation for the first hearing. 2. What happens if she continually refuses to attend? Thanks for any help
Dave - 7-Dec-16 @ 11:54 PM
Mac - Your Question:
Hi there. My parents have taken me and my ex partner to court for access to our 1 year old child. We always encouraged contact but refused to allow them to have our child as they have done nothing but try and take over and they hate my ex partner.They have also threatened us repeatedly and harassed us non stop. They do not want me or my ex partner around. Our child has no relationship with them and simply does not know who they are. My ex partner offered them contact but they refused and took us to court for unsupervised contact. My mother is simply out of control. She always wanted a little girl but never got one. She is now trying to take our child. She made a promising threat that she will not stop until she has our child living under her roof. We attended court and were ordered to attend mediation. We went and everything seemed to go ok. We allowed them to have a couple hours contact with our child within the contact centre. That soon stopped again when we found out they were trying to use the contact centre to build a relationship woth our child to use against us in court to then try and get our child unsupervised. We then offered them an ultimate. They either see our child with us present every weekend or they are getting nothing. They refused and stated they would fight our rights as parents in court. That they should be able to have their grandchild when ever they want.They went from not seeing our child for 9 months. To being offered to see her every weekend. They refused. That proves they don't just want contact. They are trying to rule us out as parents. We are back in court in a month and I was wondering if the court would take a very dim view on this or if the court will give them what they want, unsupervised contact? We will appeal if that happens. They are a bad example to our child and this would just be the beginning of what they promised.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot really answer this question as it is impossible to predict what a court may decide. Plus, we are hearing only one side of the story, and your parents will obviously have their own reasons for wanting a relationship with your child, which may differ from your interpretation.
SeparatedDads - 5-Dec-16 @ 10:52 AM
Hi there. My parents have taken me and my ex partner to court for access to our 1 year old child. We always encouraged contact but refused to allow them to have our child as they have done nothing but try and take over and they hate my ex partner.They have also threatened us repeatedly and harassed us non stop. They do not want me or my ex partner around. Our child has no relationship with them and simply does not know who they are. My ex partner offered them contact but they refused and took us to court for unsupervised contact. My mother is simply out of control. She always wanted a little girl but never got one. She is now trying to take our child. She made a promising threat that she will not stop until she has our child living under her roof. We attended court and were ordered to attend mediation. We went and everything seemed to go ok. We allowed them to have a couple hours contact with our child within the contact centre. That soon stopped again when we found out they were trying to use the contact centre to build a relationship woth our child to use against us in court to then try and get our child unsupervised. We then offered them an ultimate. They either see our child with us present every weekend or they are getting nothing. They refused and stated they would fight our rights as parents in court. That they should be able to have their grandchild when ever they want.They went from not seeing our child for 9 months. To being offered to see her every weekend. They refused. That proves they don't just want contact. They are trying to rule us out as parents. We are back in court in a month and I was wondering if the court would take a very dim view on this or if the court will give them what they want, unsupervised contact? We will appeal if that happens. They are a bad example to our child and this would just be the beginning of what they promised.
Mac - 4-Dec-16 @ 10:24 AM
John smith- Your Question:
Hi this is a bit of a long story so please bare with me. My partner has currently stopped access to her ex partner due to him taking there child to regularly see his grandfather. His grandfather was convicted of drug dealing on a million pound scale and child abuse (sexual).My partner contacted social service and the police regarding what to do with access and they informed her to stop contacted immediately due to due he severity of the convictions. She has just recived a court date through the post. we was reading through the application and noticed sections where he's lied regarding my partner attending a miam which she hasn't been to also that he was unaware as to why my partner stopped contact with him and his child.We have evidence on when he was told what was happing and why it was happening. As you can imagine my partner is no worrying he will get some custody again and continue to visit his grandfather. Any ideas on the typical outcomes t these types of cases as there has to be a safeguarding issue here.Thanks

Our Response:
If Cafcass get involved your partner would need to make this clear to the reporting officer, and/or to her representing solicitor.
SeparatedDads - 2-Nov-16 @ 12:13 PM
Hi this is a bit of a long story so please bare with me . My partner has currently stopped access to her ex partner due to him taking there child to regularly see his grandfather . His grandfather was convicted of drug dealing on a million pound scale and child abuse (sexual) . My partner contacted social service and the police regarding what to do with access and they informed her to stop contacted immediately due to due he severity of the convictions . She has just recived a court date through the post.... we was reading through the application and noticed sections where he's lied regarding my partner attending a miam which she hasn't been to also that he was unaware as to why my partner stopped contact with him and his child . We have evidence on when he was told what was happing and why it was happening . As you can imagine my partner is no worrying he will get some custody again and continue to visit his grandfather. Any ideas on the typical outcomes t these types of cases as there has to be a safeguarding issue here . Thanks
John smith - 1-Nov-16 @ 5:06 PM
Snowy10 - Your Question:
My partner has 2 children (9 & 10) with his ex. They have split up 5 years ago. We see them alternate weekends and 1 night in the week. This total 5 nights in 14. We split half terms, and holidays 50/50, although Christmas is always tricky. His ex has always decided the access, times they are returned. In the early days his work was unreliable and we sometimes had to change days at short notice. We always agree if we can to swap when she requests. We pay maintenance as demanded, not discussed, and also provide half towards school uniforms and trips. The children now want to split their time equally between us and Mum, and have asked us to discuss this. We have said we will try for an extra night and build from there. She has refused and told the children the law is that children always live with their mum and only see dad a few times a week. We cannot afford the court process, and fear that she would try and delay matters as much as possible. Is this statement she has told them true, and are we legally able to request more time with them?

Our Response:
You are not legally able to request more time with the children is the resident parent does not agree. The only option would be to take the matter to court, and let the court decide what it thinks is in the children's best interests. However, it is rare the courts will choose to change an arrangement unless necessary. However, as the children get older their opinions will count for more. I can only suggest your partner seeks legal advice in the first instance to see whether he may have a case. After that, if he can't afford the legal fees, he can choose to self-litigate, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-Nov-16 @ 2:16 PM
My partner has 2 children (9 & 10) with his ex. They have split up 5 years ago. We see them alternate weekends and 1 night in the week. This total 5 nights in 14. We split half terms, and holidays 50/50, although Christmas is always tricky. His ex has always decided the access, times they are returned. In the early days his work was unreliable and we sometimes had to change days at short notice. We always agree if we can to swap when she requests. We pay maintenance as demanded, not discussed, and also provide half towards school uniforms and trips. The children now want to split their time equally between us and Mum, and have asked us to discuss this. We have said we will try for an extra night and build from there. She has refused and told the children the law is that children always live with their mum and only see dad a few times a week. We cannot afford the court process, and fear that she would try and delay matters as much as possible. Is this statement she has told them true, and are we legally able to request more time with them?
Snowy10 - 29-Oct-16 @ 9:40 PM
Sabsy - Your Question:
Partner has 2 kids with his ex,he's only named on 1 of birth certificates.has a step son from same ex.how could he see all 3 of the children?he's got another 2 ex partners with other children eldest 17 years old.what age do children have the say if want to see father.where do we start with any access to see the children?many thanks

Our Response:
To see all three children (including his stepchild), your partner would have to either suggest mediation to his ex, or apply to take the matter to court (if his ex is denying access and won't consider mediation) and prove that he has been significantly involved with his stepchild as much as he has his own. The court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of the children regardless of whether your partner is on the birth certificate or is not the biological father. However, with a stepchild is more difficult, as he would have to show that his stepchild has played an important part in his/her life. Children are asked their opinion from an age when they can rationally form an opinion. Age 11, is considered a significant age, and by the child reaches the age of 17, unless there is a good reason why the child should not see a non-resident parent, then the court will more or less take the young person's view on board.
SeparatedDads - 27-Oct-16 @ 1:48 PM
Partner has 2 kids with his ex,he's only named on 1 of birth certificates.has a step son from same ex.how could he see all 3 of the children?he's got another 2 ex partners with other children eldest 17 years old.what age do children have the say if want to see father.where do we start with any access to see the children?many thanks
Sabsy - 26-Oct-16 @ 9:49 PM
Fabregas - Your Question:
Hi I need some help I have an ex who keeps using my children as weapons I have them every weekend also have them over night every few weeks my ex does not like my girlfriend and always uses the kids by stopping my access where do I stand I'm after a writing agreement to stop my ex having full control

Our Response:
Please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here. Mediation should be suggested to your ex in the first instance if you cannot resolve the issues between you. Court is always seen as the last resort, however, in many cases it is the only option.
SeparatedDads - 24-Oct-16 @ 11:25 AM
hi I need some help I have an ex who keeps using my children as weapons i have them every weekend also have them over night every few weeks my ex does not like my girlfriend and always uses the kids by stopping my access where do I stand I'm after a writing agreement to stop my ex having full control
Fabregas - 23-Oct-16 @ 11:06 AM
Hi could you advice please , I'm asking for my son , he and his sons mum haven't been together for 9 years my grandson is now 11 , my son as had contact and seen my grandson regular for all these years , even going to see a solicitor and getting the agreed access in writing, signedby both my son and his ex and the solicitor, this was in 2011 , this agreement as not been broken by son , who as actually had my grandsona lot more , agreed by his mum , he last saw my grandson last Sunday took him to school on Monday,went to pick him up on Friday the following week as he always does , my grandsons mum had been to school early and took him , my son tried to contact her without success, so phoned the police and they spoke to his mum , who said she wasn't happy about him going his dad's as she didn't feel he was safe , without reason , without anything to back this up , no reason at all , apart from my grandson told me 4 weeks ago that his mum was moving in with her new boyfriend and he didn't want to go , I had a word with mum and it ended up in a argument,what I want to know is will he have to apply for mediation or apply straight to court , seeing as a accessaggreement is already in place and hasn't been been broken by my son . Thanks .
mandymoo - 22-Oct-16 @ 8:46 AM
eladc - Your Question:
I have been divorced for 3 years and have by 2 boys 2 nights per week and every other weekend. I am very commited to regular contact and quality time with them. I am now in a new relationship and looking at moving in together. The issue is the distance away from the boys. I have proposed one night per week and an extra day each weekend I have them so the amount of contact is the same. The issue is my ex works away a lot and says it wont work for her and that she will take me to court to force me to have the boys to support her career. can she do this?

Our Response:
If you have a court order in place, then you would have to apply for a variation to change the agreement. However, if you don't and cannot agree between yourselves then mediation may be the best option, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. There is always the argument that why should the mother always have to re-arrange her timetable while the father gets to choose access which suits him? Many parents advocate equal parenting, but that also means compromise and having to adhere to commitments that may not suit you. You may wish to request flexible working in order to keep to your previous commitments or try to find another way around keeping to the schedule. I can't speculate what a court may decide, it will weigh up what it thinks is in the best interests of your kids and make its decision based on this. However, court is a last resort and you will have expected to have gone through the mediation process first and that to have broken down before you can apply.
SeparatedDads - 11-Oct-16 @ 10:39 AM
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