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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
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Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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URGENT: here we go again, sorry - Claire, this coming Friday

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URGENT: here we go again, sorry - Claire, this coming Friday and Sunday are Orthodox Good Friday and Easter. I am entitled to spend 2 hours with the children as you are aware and I have proposed on time 2 hours after school and lunch time on Sunday.
Friday- she is aware that our son has an after school club playing football from 3,30 until 4.30-4.40. She is saying she would collect them at 5.30. I proposed 6.30 to allow us the 2 hours to sit down in peace and eat an Easter meal without being interrupted half way through. She refuses.
Sunday - I have an event to attend (can't cancel it unfortunately) after 3pm on Sunday, Easter which my ex is aware of and is using it against me. I proposed the children have lunch with me 1-3pm - she refused. I then proposed 9-11am so I can have breakfast with them and take them to church, she could take them from me in church - she refuses BOTH proposals and is deliberately saying 6-8pm take it or leave it. I could easily leave it on both days, swallow it and not see them as much as it hurts both the children and me, but where does this leave me and the children and the time we should have to spend on these days according to the consent order? How could I approach this? Please read below to pick out if I've missed to explain something.

From me to ex: The children should spend 2 hours with me on Good Friday, whichever 2 hours suit you (presumably after school, just let me know which ) and 2 hours Easter (Sunday) around 12.30-1.00pm so they can have lunch with me on Easter.
Ex's reply: Collect children after school on Friday, I will pick them up from you at 5:30. As for Easter (Sunday), unfortunately I have to decline your proposal. XXXX has a birthday party on Sunday and I also planned on having lunch with them, so you can't have a block of 2 hours as you proposed. You can have the children in the evening for 2 hours (you can have dinner with them), 6-8pm. You collect them from me and bring them back to me.
From me to ex: Good Friday - XXXXX has his sports on Fridays, you know he doesn't finish before 4.30, by the time he changes its 4.40 and I can't get him home before before 5 to warm up a meal and sit down in peace. So either its 6.30 or just collect them from school and don't bother, keep them for the 30 mins or so that I would end up with. They've had enough upheaval in their short lives so far, I won't be the one to cause them even more by getting them off the table without being able to finish their meal. Please confirm the 6.30 proposal.
Easter - I contacted you in adequate and reasonable time to let you know I would like them to have lunch with me and you could have the rest of the day uninterrupted, yet you tell me now that you want lunch with them too. Fine, I know why you're doing this. I would like to see them 9-11am, then you can collect them from Church if you are going there. If not from Church which is logical, you can collect them from my home. 6-8pm, I can't - I have other arrangements setup almost 5 months ago. That's why I proposed on time to have lunch with them. I know XXX's mum and have spoken to her, her birthday is XXXXX and it doesn't get in your way. I personally think she should stay with family on Easter (you or me, whoever they're with), not go to birthdays, but its your weekend, your choice. Please confirm the 9-11 proposal.
Ex's reply: 6:30 proposal is unacceptable, so I will just collect them from school and we won't bother with the 2 hour thing, as you suggested.
Easter Sunday, 6-8pm is my only offer, take it or leave it. This is my weekend and it is up to me how I wish to organise my time with the children. I didn't ask for your opinion or advice, so please do not offer it in future.
Hi Nigel
Thank you for your question.
She is relentless isn't she.
Write and say that you are indeed willing to have your two hours after school on Friday.
You will not be able to collect your son until 4.30 so will return him to her at 6.30 in accordance with the terms of the order.
Might I suggest that you take the children out for dinner?
So far as Sunday is concerned you have rather walked into it by tying up your afternoon and on this occasion you may have to just accept it
I know that this is not what you wish to hear
but it is realistic
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You're welcome, I'm glad I pay for membership so you get credit every time I need help! :)


Sorry Claire, I know just when you think you've answered my questions I come back with more and I don't stress over it as you may think or I used to, but she keeps complicating it and I want to make sure I don't work against myself and the children by doing to wrong thing in the eyes of the law. Thanks for your help again.

Relentless??? Let's say at least that, yes! The hatred towards me far outweighs her love for the children and what's best for the children -

its turned into pure emotional abuse now. Anyway...


Its not as simple as you propose, wish it was:

Its her Friday when she should normally collect the children from school, daughter at 3.30, son at 4.30. Three choices here for me:

1.I collect my daughter at 3.30, son at 4.30 and return them in the same order, daughter at 5.30, son at 6.30? That means conflict at the door straight away when I drop off my daughter!

2, I collect them (at 3.30 and 4.30) and return them both at 6.30, but then I don't how that will be used against me because I would effectively have 3 hours with my daughter as opposed to 2 as per order?

3.I insist she collects them as usual from school as she would on her friday and I then collect the children from her, probably about 5 and plead stupidity and just take them back at 7. Maybe I even get to see an upon my return !?? :) This is an option that she is very unlikely to accept even if I was to threaten and say that I will come to collect the children in the presence of the police. As you said, they are not there to enforce contact.

In any case, if I don't return the children "on time", I risk getting the same back on Monday when we need to handover the children for the bank holiday we share! We've kind of agreed a time already and she';; just "disappear" and not let me collect the children. I know this person so well, I know this is what will happen.

There's simplicity for you :) What do I choose?


Sunday - she was adamant and refused anything other than 6-8pm already, before I mentioned my afternoon. I can swallow this one as I can swallow many more that are coming in the following months, but this abuse has to lead to something?

The question is: Can I make notes of dates and her actions of abuse and alienation and have this to my advantage when we eventually end up in court? Will I have an advantage, really?


Personally I would go with option 2 and let her whine about it.
It is a reasonable compromise given the two school finish times - and also takes account of the fact that you will not be able to have them on Sunday.
Alternatively compromise and take them back at 6.
You can indeed (in fact must) keep a record of all the problems she puts in the way - this will be an important part of your eventual application
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
msg to ex
After taking legal advice on this, I confirm I am indeed willing to have our two hours after school tomorrow, Good Friday and will pick them up from school. I will on this occasion bring them back to Littleover for 6.30, a very reasonable compromise which is taking into account that I will not be able to see them on Sunday. You are welcome to take your own advice or actions if you wish to do so.
Easter Sunday - you won't let the children see their father at neither of the 2 proposed times and are deliberately making it awkward setting a time that I can't do - so be it, your obstructive behaviour and deliberate parental alienation is noted. This is certainly not in the children's best interests.

ex's reply
ok, collect them from school and bring them back to me @ 6:30pm on Friday. Sunday - I'm not doing anything deliberately, it's my weekend, my Easter too and I have my own plans. World doesn't spin around you, you know. If 6-8pm is not good for you, would 5-7pm be any better? If not, then I'm sorry that you made other plans for Sunday evening and can't see your children.

"The world doesn't spind around me", but its my weekend, my Easter, my plans...nothing about the children :) You got to laugh at some of the stuff that she comes out with
One way or the other, I think the line from me "after taking legal advice" has done the trick - thanks again. I'm sure we'll speak soon again Laughing
Hi Nigel
Well done - very nicely worded
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you