wife taking children – we've not agreed contact time yet

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  • #23409 Report


    so the situation continues to deteriorate ; now the wife is arranging to move out. I’ve been given what she thinks is appropriate contact time (every other weekend) and i’m not sure of my options.  I really want 50/50% with my kids and every other weekend isn’t anywhere close … my concern is once she’s moved out and established this as the new routine it will be hard to change.

    #23413 Report


    There has to be some kind of arrangement initially for consistency.  The kids need to know where they stand and the important thing is to get a pattern.  When I moved out it was split with her having midweek and me having weekends, I asked her to choose which.  This in time evolved to me taking my son two days a week midweek and then every other weekend as this gives her a rest midweek plus gives both of us quality time with him and we are just flexible now so that we cover if there are any changes.

    My son is really happy with that as he sees both parents cooperating and both wanting time with him and making sure the other is able to see him without problems.  He cones first.

    It’s difficult when one parent moves far away though and courts tend to put the onus on the one that moves away to ensure they make every effort to enable the other parent to continue visitation unless there are specific grounds not to.

    Visitation when there are no factors such as child protection issues or concerns etc is something matrimonial courts try not to get involved in.  Their primary concern is for the welfare of the children in any divorce.

    When I was going through mine and naturally you hear horror stories and misinformation and the gloves cone off when separating because of high tension during discussion etc….I’d rather not go into too much detail as it is in the past now but I had a concern about her mental health at the time so wanted to see if I could take him midweek as the primary carer and her have weekends…her response instead of discussion was to immediately suggest I was implying she was an unfit mother and said I was not going to take him away and if I tried that she would apply for sole custody.

    On speaking to my solicitor my fears about this irrational behaviour were put to rest when I was told there is no such thing as a custody order in divorce proceedings. It’s to be sorted between the parents and court’s suggestion is that it is healthiest for the child to maintain equal contact with both parents where possible to maintain a healthy relationship with them and that unless there is good cause to intervene where the safety of the child is concerned then it’s up to the parents to sort out.

    So that’s something to think about…..is she moving far?  With her moving is she making it difficult to maintain visitation?

    Would you be able to suggest midweek visitation to try to ease her midweek school runs etc?   It’s got to be in the context of not what you want but what will benefit her or the situation.  During the first stages of separation how you feel or what you want is at the very bottom of the other partner’s concerns.  Solicitors can fan flames and make simple matters complicated and add fuel or potential scenarios that make people think very differently if their partner (just in case) etc, and communication can break down.   It did in our case so in the end we binned off mediator and solicitor as we wanted that money to be spent on our son instead.  We drew up a consent order and had a good talk about what was best all round and then ran it by a solicitor to check then job done it was all over.  I think that was about £500 in total or thereabouts  We had already wasted a couple of thousand before that in solicitor and mediation costs and gotten nowhere fast.

    While it is important to have council….it’s very important that it is driven by the client and not the solicitor.  The solicitor should advise about legal matters or aspects of the present situation not the relationship or what could happen etc.  In many cases this is what breaks down communication after initial separation.

    Try to encourage mediation with her to discuss the visitation.  I’m told it is a prerequisite for divorce now unless there are specific reasons why you are unable to which you have to specify.  This would be your opportunity then to discuss what you think was fair and she would need to put her reasons as to why she thought it was unfair etc… and eventually the mediator should be able to help you get to a point where you can agree.



    #23418 Report


    I’m super worried about things being established and not being able to unpick them later. I’ve been taking the kids to school two mornings with a view to establishing that


    Who is currently the primary caregiver? Shared but mostly my wife.

    How old are the children? 5 and 9

    Who normally drops and collects from school? My wife as I work … but for the last month I’ve been doing this. I used to do it all the time until I gave up my car some years ago.

    Do the children attend wraparound care or crèches etc? Sometimes but not much.

    Do you and your wife both work? Wife works one night a week and I work full time … work are on board that I may need to change hours and be flexible.

    full time? Yes unfortunately but have been thinking 4 days for a while.

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