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  1. #1
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    Default Any Family Lawyers Here? Help!

    I just want to preface this by knowing that any advice given here is general and an opinion only, but I didn't know where else to turn for a quick interpretation or understanding of this part of our consent order.

    We have consent orders for DSS and our time with him starts from Friday after school to the following Thursday before school. Now the issue is that his birthday is coming up soon and it falls on a Friday. In the consent orders it states that:

    "On the child’s birthday, the child spend time with the parent who the child is not already then spending time with as follows:-
    If the child’s birthday falls on a school day, from the conclusion of school to 8.00 pm; or if the child’s birthday falls on a non-school day, from 12.00 pm to 6.00 pm."

    The problem is that DSS's birthday falls on a Friday and that is changeover day so he wakes up with his Mum, but would normally be picked up by Dad after school. So it is a bit confusing with regards to the order, as I'm not sure which parent would be considered he be spending time with (or not) in these circumstances.

    The order is meant to make sure that both parents spend time with DSS on his birthday, but because it falls on changeover day, both parents believe they are entitled to have him from after school to 8pm. Dad because DSS woke up with Mum and gets to open presents before school, and Mum because normally it would be Dad's time after school, so therefore it appears that he is the parent that DSS is spending time with (even though it doesn't start until after school on the Friday), so she gets the after school to 8pm as well.

    I can see both interpretations - I don't think it is fair that Mum gets both before school, after school and dinner and DH only sees DSS just before bed - but legally can anyone give me clarity on what is actually correct in these circumstances? I'm sure it's never going to occur again (timing!) but both parents are digging their heels in and I'd rather have a little bit of an idea of what might be the correct interpretation before it goes any further.

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by Summer; 11-05-2016 at 14:57.

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    A lawyer but not family lawyer - and yes very general advice! I'm assuming the arrangement is week about?

    In that case should your DSS birthday fall on the alternate week (when he resides with his mum) your DH would collect him from school and keep him until 8pm. His mum only having had him returned after school the Thursday before (but yes she would get to wake up with him).

    My understanding of these orders would be that because your DH's time starts from end of school - then technically that would mean his mum would collect him from school until 8 pm at which time she would return him to your DH.

    I understand the feeling of unfair though. Unfortunately these types of situations will always arise. For example if DSS birthday is on a Thursday at the end of your DH week. Technically he would then collect his son from school until 8 pm - as that time DSS would ordinarily reside with his mother - see what I mean?

    Is there any room for compromise? Can you all have dinner together somewhere - with the understanding should this occur on bio mum's time in a subsequent year you would do the same?

    Co-parenting is hard but if parents can put their child's needs before their own it can work.

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    Summer  (11-05-2016)

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    I would assume that Dad is the one who is "already spending time with" and therefore mum should have him.

    Because it is a school day, so the time spoken of is after school until 8pm.

    There is no mention of hand over days- that was agreed separately.

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    Summer  (11-05-2016)

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    I think you're both right in that the way it reads, because it is supposed to be the Father's time from after school (even though he hasn't seen his son for the past eight nights and his time hasn't actually started) it would be the Mother who has him from after school until 8pm.

    The orders were supposed to make this more fair, but we didn't foresee that DSSs birthday would fall on changeover day so it isn't specifically written into the order what happens.

    It is all very fresh so at the moment both parents hate each others guts (understatement!) and need some time for it to all settle before they can be sensible about these things again. In the past they have been, but it's all blown up recently with changes to the orders and both are very emotional and feeling hard done by.

    I don't know what will happen, I guess maybe they will need to get legal advice as to what happens as I don't see either of them giving in at the moment and I know DH does not want these issues to effect DSS at all, so they need to sort it out behind the scenes and quick!
    Last edited by Summer; 11-05-2016 at 16:20.

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    Any possibility of compromising in this situation ? Can Dad have him the extra night (Thursday), therefore wakes up with him on his birthday, and then as per orders mum have him on the Friday after school ? So dad does still get to spend "some" time with DSS on his birthday ? But still picks him up at 8pm, as per orders. I know it is stretching it, but god knows, hopefully she may understand what a sucky situation it is I feel for you, it definitely sucks, even more so if it is so fresh - eek !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    I just want to preface this by knowing that any advice given here is general and an opinion only, but I didn't know where else to turn for a quick interpretation or understanding of this part of our consent order.

    We have consent orders for DSS and our time with him starts from Friday after school to the following Thursday before school. Now the issue is that his birthday is coming up soon and it falls on a Friday. In the consent orders it states that:

    "On the child’s birthday, the child spend time with the parent who the child is not already then spending time with as follows:-
    If the child’s birthday falls on a school day, from the conclusion of school to 8.00 pm; or if the child’s birthday falls on a non-school day, from 12.00 pm to 6.00 pm."

    The problem is that DSS's birthday falls on a Friday and that is changeover day so he wakes up with his Mum, but would normally be picked up by Dad after school. So it is a bit confusing with regards to the order, as I'm not sure which parent would be considered he be spending time with (or not) in these circumstances.

    The order is meant to make sure that both parents spend time with DSS on his birthday, but because it falls on changeover day, both parents believe they are entitled to have him from after school to 8pm. Dad because DSS woke up with Mum and gets to open presents before school, and Mum because normally it would be Dad's time after school, so therefore it appears that he is the parent that DSS is spending time with (even though it doesn't start until after school on the Friday), so she gets the after school to 8pm as well.

    I can see both interpretations - I don't think it is fair that Mum gets both before school, after school and dinner and DH only sees DSS just before bed - but legally can anyone give me clarity on what is actually correct in these circumstances? I'm sure it's never going to occur again (timing!) but both parents are digging their heels in and I'd rather have a little bit of an idea of what might be the correct interpretation before it goes any further.

    Thank you in advance!
    To be honest the orders need slight changing to take into account this situation. It won't be the last time.

    Our orders state the same thing except if not a school day from 5 pm until 11am. This is for EVERYONEs birthdays including brothers/sisters from new relationships as they are family and birthdays should be celebrated together.

    We often have days that are special days in exchange days and although they are technically entitled to it the parent who saw them in the morning won't see them at night. However like I said the agreed exchange time is 5pm so the parent can still have afternoon tea/party but not dinner, the other parent gets dinner. This has been working for us for 6 years and by no means is ours a healthy amicable relationship just putting kids first.

    Maybe (depending on age) the kids might have a say? They might want to see both parents?

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    Summer  (12-05-2016)

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    Can you send an email to the lawyer who prepared the consent orders for you?

    I know my lawyer always emails back when I am asking for clarification of something in the consent orders. She doesn't charge for this.

    For me "spends time with" would be where the child spends the night. Although I can see why both parents feel it is "unfair".

    To be honest, I really don't get on with my ex but I learnt to let it go. I haven't spent DD11 actual birthday with her for about 3 years. We make a special day to celebrate with her another day. Cake, dinner out, presents. Although I do always talk with her on her day.

    Separated parenting sucks and there is always something missing from consent orders that causes trouble.
    Last edited by PomPoms; 11-05-2016 at 19:13.

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    Summer  (12-05-2016)

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    Thanks everyone, there's been some great replies and ideas that we can look at implementing to make this one a little more fair. In the past they've had no trouble co-parenting and were very fair with each other and the time they spent with DSS with give and compromise on both sides.

    It did take a turn for the nasty when DH sought to increase time with DSS as he's getting older and with that now being upheld it has caused no end of drama and things are really raw and very emotionally fraught right now. I know in time it will settle back down again once a new routine is established etc but for this one it seems like a point they both just want their own way over. I'll see if I can intervene and be the peacemaker in the middle and see if we can arrange something that suits.

    Appreciate the help, thanks!

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    Honestly, with this one I'd advise your DH to let it go. He wanted more time with DSS and got it. Give the mum the interpretation she wants this time, buy yourselves some goodwill and start mending the co parenting relationship. It will be so worth it long term. If he digs in chances are he won't win this one anyway - give it up gracefully and get some kudos for being cooperative at the same time. Then have a special bday celebration on the Sat.

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    I'm not a lawyer but I would look at it this way, let the mum have him till 8pm, give him presents when he gets home. Let him stay up late (because it's his birthday) and watch movies or whatever with him. Yhen on Saturday so the celebration part of it for him. Explain that you wanted him to spend time with both parents cause it's his birthday so you will do something special the next day.

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