Long distance co parenting & court orders
7 May 2020 at 11:45 am #39759
Does anyone have experience of long distance co parenting with a child arrangement order in place that could offer advice on how contact works? Does the child travel to the non resident parent or the parent travel to the child?
Dad lives a 4 hour drive away & wants alternate weekend contact at his house. I think doing that much travelling is not in the child’s best interest… Looking for guidance on what courts put into place ahead of us ending up there so that I can hopefully make a reasonable, child focused proposal. I can find lots of information for parents that live in the same town/close to each other, or for older children but nothing for long distance and very little for toddlers!
(Just to highlight – I’m not and never have been against dad having contact, just want it to be child focused and appropriate to his age and needs)11 May 2020 at 10:58 am #39895
A mediator or solicitor is your best point of contact if you are unable to agree this between yourselves. I would suggest attempting child focused mediation first as you may both find this useful in reaching am agreement if you are both keen to do so.
Hope this helps and stay safe11 May 2020 at 10:52 pm #39923
If it helps,. Mine are 3 and 6 and the current distance is a couple of hundred miles between locations. Court went for school holidays to spend time with the other parent.12 May 2020 at 7:22 am #39936
I’m in the same boat! Our little boy is just 1 and I disagree in him doing a 200 mike journey to see his dad, I put my foot down last autumn and since then his dad’s visited him here.
however we’re currently waiting on a court hearing to decide what happens because we can’t agree.
Its frustrating because my ex partner accuses me of having a personal vendetta and that this is the reason I don’t let our son go to visit his house. When the reality is I don’t want our soon travelling 400 miles every other weekend!
put your foot down, we have to be our children’s voice. Just be prepared to go to court.12 May 2020 at 8:34 am #39938
Usually the judge would take into consideration the age of the child, how well they would cope with the legnth of the journey, how practical it would be for them to complete the journey and make it back in time for school etc without being exhausted and how it would impact the childs social life, out of shool activities etc. In most cases the long distance visitation is that during term time they stay with the primary carer and then they spend the holidays with the other parent. But obviously each individual case is assessed by the judge so its not a guarentee thats what will be granted – it all depends on the circumstances. Hope this helps13 May 2020 at 12:15 pm #39979
I am in the mids of all this. My ex has moved to the Lake district over 200 miles away, 2 weeks before lockdown and he started court procedings.
He wants to travel down to see his son and stay in a hotel that apparently is still open (they are all shut unless only key workers)
I do not see that driving 200 miles as essential travel as he will have no where to stay plus he is coming from a high risk area to a low risk ( south west)
He cant take his son back to where he is living because he is living with his parents who one is over 70 amd the other has a health condition.15 February 2021 at 9:39 pm #49506
Hi All, Has anyone had a court outcome for this? I am now in the same situation my daughter is 2 and her dad has decided to move 3.5hrs away and now wants overnight access. Would love to know what courts have awarded/decided as I don’t think its fair to put her through that travel. Thanks in advance xz15 February 2021 at 10:52 pm #49510
generally it would depend on individual circumstances. For arguments sake a child that say is 4 years old or above would see their dad half of holidays and every other weekend. Dad would normally do all pick up and drop offs . There is no reason why it cant be from when they are 2 years old every other weekend although often they may phase some of the holidays especially summer holidays depending on circumstances. in some cases a judge may agree a child shouldnt be away from mum for 7 nights , but depends on circumstances.
They sometimes look at why theres such a distance between mum and dads home . It happens fairly often 1 party will move a long distance away from other parent .15 February 2021 at 10:53 pm #49511
with those long distances I think courts will likely have dad spend school holidays with kids. if hotels are open then travelling down to stay in one would be sensible.15 February 2021 at 10:58 pm #49512
Bekabryne92 : Due to your son being 1 and it being a round trip of 400 miles . It is highly likely his dad would have to wait until hes at least 2 at the earliest before overnight contact could happen.15 February 2021 at 11:17 pm #49513
We had many court appearances trying to resolve it in the end – the first order stated that our son travel every other weekend from 18 months, with one 7 day block of holiday time each year. Then it was varied so that dad travelled one weekend each month and son did the other with the same holiday arrangement… We’re due another hearing next month to review that order but Dad has agreed out of court that it doesn’t work for our son to travel that much and is now doing all the travelling (son was doing 11 hours plus travelling for 9 awake hours of contact) & son is noticeably happier with contact as a result.16 February 2021 at 8:48 am #49516
Thanks @mamabearr it’s helpful to know. My ex has never had our daughter for more than 3hrs so jumping to full weekends with overnights 3.5hrs away seems a bit extreme and unfair on her. Do you mind me asking what happens when your ex comes to you does he take your little one out for the day or have a hotel for the weekend? I’m just trying to look at options so that I can have a suggestion that she stills sees him but it doesn’t involve 7hrs plus travelling as per your little one. It also doesn’t help she HATES the car.16 February 2021 at 8:52 am #49517
Oh and if it makes any difference my ex has moved to live/stay with his new partner. There is no reason why he couldn’t live locally still its a choice of his to be further away.16 February 2021 at 10:43 am #49521
In your case your ex partner moving away where travel is 3.5 hours away is very poor . If he has only ever had 3 hours he wont be getting full weekends and only has himself to blame that he will have to wait whilst it is potentially built up slowly. A good suggestion is perhaps he has his little one locally for 4-6 hours initially maybe being increased to 8. If all is well you could then suggest he gets a hotel room/accommodation locally and has a overnight stay.
Eventually then he could then have little one every other weekend with perhaps one weekend spent locally and one at his leading to it eventually been left for both of you to decide when time is right that it will be every other weekend16 February 2021 at 11:39 am #49523
@ everythingwillbeok – my ex refused to see his son until he was 1 and then took me to court to get contact (which I’d been begging him to have from the day he was born… 🤦♀️) he wanted to go straight into full weekends but because he hadn’t had any contact it was stepped up from 2 hours supervised in the community every other Sunday to 2 hours unsupervised, then jumped to 6 hours every other Sunday and then full weekends. The reasoning from the magistrates who put the jump from 6 hours to 30 (full weekend) which I said was far too big a jump in time away from home for our son was that 8 hours in the community with his Dad was too long…Dad said it wasn’t possible to be out & about with him for that long, despite me detailing many days that I did out with him for that length of time (me giving examples of what he could do with our son for 8 hours was deemed to be controlling Dad’s contact by the magistrates so beware of that too).
Does your LO go to nursery? I had to put my son into nursery after the hearing where they decided that he’d only travel for the 4th weekend each month and Dad would do the travelling on the 2nd so that nursery staff could monitor his behaviour following contact and give an independent view about any impact it has.
When Dad comes to visit he stays in an AirBnb locally with him & tries to go to the same one each time to provide stability for our son. Any Child Arrangements between separated parents overrides the Covid laws so he can travel and stay locally.
I would agree that you suggest stepping up the contact to either 4or 6 hours locally then adding in an overnight. I would try to get it to start that your LO comes home after breakfast and you step up the time on the second day too if you can. We’ve just finally agreed (after our son asking his Dad to do it) to do that and our son is coping a lot better with contact now – happy to go, no aggression or telling me he doesn’t love me, our house isn’t his home on return etc which I used to get everytime he came back from a full weekend.