Childcare arrangement order

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  • #57305 Report


    Hi all,

    Just seeking some advice from anyone that may have been in a similar position. Trying to keep this brief but share the relevant points.

    Divorced about 10 years ago, have two children now 14 and 11. About 4 years ago my ex sought and obtained an order after our eldest started refusing to visit for overnight stays – his argument being that I was preventing access.  This was not the case (did actually enjoy my weekends whilst they were at his!) and until this time we had an informal agreement (through divorce) for every other weekend and weds evening (not overnight) which on the whole worked well.

    The order specifies that the children live with me and visit him, as cafcass picked up on his controlling behaviour and his lack of co-operation to answer questions put to him when filing their report.

    I have done my best to adhere to the order and on the whole it has been adhered to (he hasn’t maintained his undertaking at all times to prevent the children being exposed to harm from verbal dispute with his partner) despite the emotional impact on my eldest who funnily enough did not change her mindset just because he had obtained an order.

    Covid impacted on contact, in the first lockdown I did stop the contact, explained my reasoning and ensured that FaceTime contact was maintained (again despite significant objection from the children). At his demand (via solicitors letters) all ‘lost’ time was made up last year with additional weekends with our youngest, our eldest refused , only doing what was in the order.

    For the last probably 6 months our eldest has again refused all overnight stays again and youngest is also now saying the same – to me as is too scared to confront him having seen the consequences with her sibling. (Taken into a room or car alone with him and verbally/emotionally abused).

    My barrister previously advised that the children would be ‘heard’ by the court around aged 12. In reality is this the case? And I suppose what is the likely outcome if we were to go back again as this is the underlining threat always put upon me.

    My eldest wants to retain a relationship with her father (also has a half sister) weekly on Wednesday evenings but is adamant she does not want to stay overnight.  Youngest now also wants to same, 12 this year, mainly because he spends very little time with her and she just sits in her room bored all weekend.

    He is extremely controlling in his behaviour and has a narcissist personality, and in his opinion everything is always my fault.

    The last order took about a year of back and forth to court, it was stressful and given the choice I wouldn’t go back.

    Any experience of orders being enforced (or not) with children of this age would be useful to hear about.



    #57309 Report



    my kids are lot younger, but have researched and the courts do seem to take the children’s wishes and views into account from about age 12 onwards. Am not sure what the court will be able to do if the kids tell them they do not want to spend nights with dad. they can not force the kids. court might not do anything about it, other than ask you to encourage kids to spend more time with dad.

    #57315 Report


    Thank you for your response. I want the children to maintain some contact time but also want them to be happy and actually want to go. Teenage years require flexibility and unfortunately court orders bring none.

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