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Ask jusleen Your Own Question
jusleen, Family Lawyer
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 942
Experience:  Qualified Family Solicitor practising family law since 1999. Member of resolution.
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id like to know if my ex should have joint custody. we were

Customer Question

i'd like to know if my ex should have joint custody. we were never married but have four children and i would like him to see them more and he says he cant because of work and his new partner he only has them every two weeks which i dont think is enough, if his week end falls with a bank holiday he may keep them until the monday. his new partner has two children and they have decided that they will have my children on the same weekends that she has hers, i have not really had much say in this. i would like him to take the children for half of the school holidays but again because of work he wont. where do i stand with this please
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  jusleen replied 3 years ago.

jusleen : Hi unfortunately if the children's father does not want to have more contact then you can't compel him to do so.
jusleen : the law does not set how much time the children should spend with each parent upon separation.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

what if i applied to the court for joint custody

jusleen : every case is different and the parties and the children's requirements are not the same as another family
jusleen : If you made an application to court for a shared residence order the court would want to know what the father wants.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

so basically he can still dictate my life

jusleen : if he says he is happy with arrangements as they are the court would not force him to spend more time with the children as this is not in their best interests to be stuck with a parent who would rather they weren't with them.
jusleen : You can make sure that there is a set pattern in place and that he is not chopping and changing contact z
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

he is a good parent and he loves his kids but since he has been with his new partner it has all changed

jusleen : The children need structure and security and it is important that contact is set and there is a routine. He needs to make sure that he is consistent.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

and i and his family believe it is his new partner that is asking him to make these changes

jusleen : if the father wants contact on his terms then you can refuse to allow him to so this if it is not in the children's interests and seek a defined order from the court.
jusleen : The problem is that you cannot do anything if he insists on listening to his partner:
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

so there is nothing that i can do by law to make him see his children

jusleen : if he won't listen then maybe you should make a referral for mediation where both parents with the assistance of a mediator can agree a schedule that works for the children.
jusleen : mediation is a prerequisite to any court application in any event however you cannot force him to attend mediation or take part in mediation if he chooses not to.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

would his new partner need to be involved in this as it is her house they stay in every other weekend

jusleen : No it's the parents who attend.
jusleen : However if contact takes place at her house then she has to be happy and prepared to let the arrangement work.
jusleen : if she does not agree then maybe another family member for instance grandparents can allow contact to take place at their house.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

this is the trouble i am having as i am sure it is her that is lowering his time spent with the children

JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

so other than a mediation there is not much i can do ?

jusleen : It's difficult if he won't listen. Maybe you should both read the parenting plan booklet which is very helpful for parents to understand how to meet the children's needs after separation.
jusleen : Unfortunately if your ex does not want to spend more time with the children you cannot force him
jusleen : Through the courts. It's sad but unfortunately the court won't force him.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

ok thank you

jusleen : That's a pleasure I'm sorry I could tell you what you were hoping for.
JACUSTOMER-e3lcp17i- :

sorry just quickly is it correct that if i stop is access altogether he can apply to the court for access

jusleen : Hi I'm sorry that I didn't respond immediately to your last query but my connection went on the blink. If you stop contact then yes the father will be able to apply for a contact order from the court and you would be required to make the children available for contact.
Expert:  jusleen replied 3 years ago.
If you require any further assistance please let me know. Please bear in mind if I am not logged on all the time, on account of being a practising solicitor full time. I will respond as soon as I can. Kind regards Jusleen
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i wasn't really happy with the answers, as there father (down as such on birth cert a legal documant) there must be something the law can do. not just if he doesnt want to he doesnt have to.

Expert:  jusleen replied 3 years ago.
Hi I am really sorry that you don't find the answers acceptable. I can only advise you on how the court would approach matters. I appreciate that you feel it is not acceptable that the father cannot be forced to spend more time with the children but the court cannot force someone who clearly isn't committed and interested to spend time with children as that would not be in the children's best interests. I know it seems unfair but forced upon contact would not be meaningful for the children and if he resents the time with the children because the court had forced him would ensure that the children pick up on his resentment and that Is emotionally upsetting for them. You can stipulate that there is a regular routine but you can't force more contact unless he wants this I'm afraid.

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