Long Distance Handovers
4 November 2019 at 10:53 am #32471
I am a father who has my son every other weekend and during most if not all school holidays and half terms. My son’s mum and I separated when he was 3 years old and have lived about 2 hours away from each other for the last few years, until recently, meeting halfway or closer to her home for handovers.
Recently, my ex has moved about 4 hours away and handovers have become an increasingly difficult ordeal. Initially, we agreed to meet halfway as we had done before or on some weekends slightly closer to one of our homes. She has started regularly being late (45 minutes or more) for our handovers and last night said she wasn’t willing to carry on as things were.
I received a message stating that either we would have to reduce contact hours or she would only allow me to collect him from her home. This would result in a 7-8 hour round trip on a Friday evening after his school which is (in my opinion) very much not in his best interests.
I have looked online and mediation seems to be the only way forward, but I am very worried I will be told if I want to see more of my son I will have to move away from my home, job and partner. Does anybody have experience in this kind of situation or any advice? As an aside is virtual (online skype etc.) mediation available as I am worried she would refuse to visit mediation unless I travelled to her new hometown.
C4 November 2019 at 4:16 pm #32489
How old is your son? Is train a possibility?Or coach?4 November 2019 at 4:49 pm #32490
He’s only 7 so needs accompaniment for the journey.5 November 2019 at 6:38 pm #32576
Under these circumstances it is most likely that she would be ordered to make half the journeys. However at four hours one way a court nay well say that eow is too much now for this level of travel.
Did she discuss relocating with you beforehand?
Did you have any written agreement about what she would do?
Did you object?
Mediation would probably have to be in the location of the resident parent in your circumstances, however if you apply locally and she refuses/declines then it is signed off and you can proceed to court.
I am afraid that there only seems to two plausible outcomes I can envisage.
- Less weekend contact, but increased holiday contact. Primarily due to the eight hour round trip for the child.
- You apply for resident parent status and effectively apply to have the child with you full time. So that the tables are reversed. Again that’s not ideal and may not be what your child wants either.
Either way it would seem that your son will lose out on contact with you.5 November 2019 at 7:07 pm #32579
I live four hours from my daughters father and went through a similar experience last year. There is virtual mediation – we used the family mediation service.
It wasn’t an easy journey but we have made it work – my daughter spends EOW with her father, two of those weekends in a six week period we meet half way, and one weekend he spends the weekend local to where we live so my daughter only does the round trip twice in every six weeks. We meet at a play centre half way so she has a play / lunch before doing the rest of the journey.
Next year she will start spending week long periods with her dad.
As she has chosen to move away, she will be expected to do half the travel.
I hope you find something that works for your family soon