My ex-wife recently moved our two children (9 and 11) just over an hour away, in to the house of her new partner. They now attend schools that are about 30 minutes apart, and finish at different times.
We have agreed that they’ll spend every other weekend with me in the town where we all used to live, from Friday after school to Monday mornings (when I take them back). The sticking point has been the Fridays. I work a couple of hours from where I live and can’t get the flexible working to enable me to leave at 2pm on a Friday to get over to their new location to first get our youngest, then (after 90 minutes of hanging about) the eldest. However, she is insisting I do so, and says that ‘coming to get your kids twice a month isnt much to ask’. We’ve struggled through the last half term, generally with me instead having to get to their new home at around 7pm to drive them back to mine just for them to then have to go to bed. It’s a waste of an evening for all concerned, and it would almost be better for us to forget it and just move to Saturday mornings instead. I hate that thought though – why should me or my kids have our time together reduced?
My preference is for her to collect them from school on a Friday and meet me halfway.
It has become a massive source tension and stress every fortnight. I’ve tried reasoned persuasion, suggested alternatives, had a solicitor write a letter – all to no avail. I’ve now tried to get a mediator involved and she’s outright refused to engage. It feels like I have no option but to apply to the court for a decision on what is reasonable here but it seems so disproportionate (and is money I’d prefer not to have to spend). What is the general advice? I feel like that because she moved them away voluntarily, the onus should be on her to be more flexible around transport arrangements to ensure contact is maintained. Is that correct?
By the way, I think the best way here is just count on yourself. I’m completely understand it’s difficult to change your work time but the best way that I think is finishing your job as soon as you can to spend time with your kids.