Family Law Child Access

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by cavanman2015, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. cavanman2015

    cavanman2015 New Member

    I'm just wondering if other's on askaboutmoney could provide me with some help / advice on a very difficult situation.

    I'll just set out the situation first


    Non Resident Parent (Dad)

    Judicially Seperated 1 year, staying with relatives, have now just acquired my own rental property after plenty of difficulty due to housing crisis. 4 Kids aged 14 ,13 (secondary school), 10 & 5 (primary school). Relations unfortunately very poor with ex wife and constant hostility directed at me.

    Seperation agreement states parents will agree own schedule of access once I acquire a house & in the event that a schedule of access cannot be agreed, default schedule is every second weekend 2 nights Saturday PM to Monday AM and overnight Wednesday on week that I do not have kids. States that this comes into force once I have acquired my own base (ie now)

    Current state of Play

    Former wife refusing to discuss or agree a schedule of access. Kids have only spent 2 single overnights in house which is nearby to former family home.

    Current longstanding pattern up to this whilst with relatives was that I have kids 3 hours on weeknight and 3-4 hours on either sat or sunday afternoon, no schedule, usually get yeh or nay 24 hours before by text or sometimes same day ,after several preceding days of texts as to when I can have.

    Paying substantial maintenance in full & 100% on time

    So I have no idea from week to week when I will have kids. Various reasons are being invoked like kids dont want to go with you (unfortunately true for 2/4 kids, no particular reason, just could not be bothered), various faults with my parenting, "I'm not suddenly jumping to your tune", "i do shift work and I don't know in advance when I will be working at weekends until shortly before", "its too complicated with 4 to have any schedule", "kids dont want to go", "kids have x/y/z on"

    To summarise, ex wife not recognising my new circumstances, still operating temporary arrangements pending me getting own base, constantly keeping me dangling until last moment as to access, no advance schedule, relationship with kids sliding, says we don't need a schedule and happy to continue ad hoc last minute arrangements based around what kids are doing that particular weekend.

    What Do I Do

    1. Keep going with this for another 2-3 months and hope things improve / first demand enforcement in writing of default cant reach agreement access schedule as per judicial seperation, then go legal

    2. Commence a court case myself now having first got legal advice (I feel able to represent myself as I feel the circumstance of the case are clear at least to me, I have the forms already) & seek access order

    3. Seek mediation / parenting course (expect wont co-operate)

    4. Other ideas?

    Just to add there are no arrangements for Christmas...

    Thank you in advance for any advice or ideas
  2. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

    By all means go ahead with court case; all other things being equal I'd be confident you will get an order for access.

    Then you have to get the order enforced.

    And if you think there's hostility now, just wait & it'll get 10 times worse.

    I would try mediation and keep trying; don't give up at the first block.

    In the meantime can you get involved in your childrend activities? Take them to swimming lessons,/sign up as football coach/ join PTA at school etc
  3. cavanman2015

    cavanman2015 New Member


    Thank you for your helpful comments
  4. cavanman2015

    cavanman2015 New Member

    Just an update on the situation. Basically 3/4 of the kids are saying "I dont want to go". Its nothing to do with me, its just that they are comfortable where they are and don't want to relocate say one overnight a week to my own home which has the same facilities as their mothers house. They are happy to do a few hours here and there, but with no schedule / pattern and decided sometimes same day.Ex wife is basically saying the decision is their's, full stop. No active encouragement to go. Expect that this will end up in court quite shortly. What view is a judge likely to take on "I don't want to go" where the reason is "inconvenience"/ "inertia" for want of a better word from the kids, and ex wife gives me limited daytime contact with sometimes just same day notification? Two kids are primary school age & two are early secondary school.
  5. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    Good luck with trying to get teenagers, of which you have two to do anything you want. I'd imagine their mother feels the same. She's managing four full time and I'd say daily battles without trying to schedule you in to. Plus she must have a difficult time with shift work. I don't envy her.

    If you go to court, she'll probably consider that is you going nuclear. Do you really really think a judge can make a 13 year old, never mind a 14 year do what he/she says. (see Rocco Madonna !) And where they go the 10 year old will follow.

    Thirsty gave you great advice. Maybe, and I don't know this, you have to make amends with your kids. Be patient, do things they like, but still be a parent and be involved in their activites.

    I was told the other day about what one of my teenagers will not do - for next summer !

    None of this negats the fact that you have to do your utmost to be a parent. So it seems to me, you are the most flexible, and you need to tred softly rather than try and enforce a schedule. Is there any chance you and your ex can meet, in a calm manner and agree on the way forward. It must be very hard for you, so you have my sympathies.
  6. Bronte

    Bronte Frequent Poster

    What does non resident Dad mean? Non Irish?
  7. elcato

    elcato Moderator

    My take on it was not living with the wife and children.
    This may sound a bit naive (I am single and have no children) but perhaps letting them decide to contact you rather than the current situation where you are doing all the chasing. I'm pretty sure it can come as a bit of a relief and a break for your ex to have them stay with you at some point. It may also give the children time to reflect on whether they are missing you and may prompt them to actually try and get in touch. Just a thought.