Contact Order when shared parenting – advice

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  • #34180 Report



    So I am a separated father of a 3 year old. Since separation I have maintained the family home where our son has lived since birth. I am named on birth certificate and therefore have parental responsibility. Since separation over a year ago, we have had an informal joint custody arrangement in place with both parents looking after our child 50% of the time and assuming equally half of parental responsibilities.

    I have had a number of issues with ex-partner around our childs records with my ex-partner making a number of changes to his records and care arrangements independently without any discussion or consultation, therefore ignoring my parental responsibility rights.

    After a number of attempts to get a consent order or memorandum of understanding in place, which proved unsuccessful due to ex partner agreeing to certain things and then changing her mind, I am now advised she is trying to apply for a contact order. She is using legal aid to do this which unfortunately and do not qualify for and cannot afford my own representation.

    I would like to understand the process for this contact order request. My view is that this is and always has been a shared parenting arrangement. We have both assumed 50% of responsibility and care and I would not be happy with anything less than this and I do not feel I should be having any conditions imposed on me by my ex. I am a fully hands on and involved parent and if anything provide a much more stable home to our son as I have maintained the same address and employment while my ex-partner has changed addresses and employment a number of times.

    Can anyone advise on how a contact order would work ? Would this be an equal agreement or is it an order that one person imposes on the other ?



    #34184 Report



    Unless there are good reasons, the family court will usually start at 50:50.

    Do you know why your ex has decided to go to court? It might be something like not having a regular routine that allows each parent to plan ahead and have downtime, or maybe to ensure each parent get equal amounts of “quality” weekend time and equal amounts of routine time like school or nursery runs or work time when your son is nursery or school etc.

    A contact order normally sets out the routine – which days, which nights, alternate Christmases, alternate birthdays, how holidays are handled, so there is no confusion.

    #34194 Report


    Hi….thanks for reply…if the court start at 50:50 then that sounds reasonable. No reason at all why that should not be the case as it has been for last year or more.

    To be honest…ex has agreed to a number of things via mediation etc…then when it comes to formalising whats agreed in a court order..she suddenly decides to change her mind and not commit to what was agreed. Latest is over schooling I think…we have compromise option where our child could go to a school that we can both easily access but she wants child to go to school near her house…despite her working every day close to the school that is close to both of us…so think she just wants to have the control to say she decides where he goes to school….

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