Richard and Rosie have three children aged seven, five and three. The family separated in March this year. Since then the children have been living in Rosie’s primary care and spending regular time with Richard around his full-time working hours. Their routine includes the children spending the first half of their school holidays with Richard. Rosie thought it was a sensible idea to start making plans for how the children would spend time with Richard over the summer school holidays. It is the first Christmas since the separation and the children haven’t spent a block of time more than seven days away from Rosie’s care since their birth.
Unfortunately, their discussions were not productive. Richard said, ‘The children already spend so much time with you, I want to spend the entire Christmas holidays with them.’ Rosie tried to negotiate with Richard to allow her some time with the children to celebrate Christmas, and to spend some block time with her. However, they could not reach an agreement. Richard said, ‘I’ll take the children on holiday the whole time, you won’t get to see them at all’.
Rosie made an attempt to resolve their differences with the assistance of Family Dispute Resolution at the Family Relationships Centre, to no avail – Richard refused to participate.
Rosie consulted her Family Law Specialist for advice. ‘Rosie, you are wise to take action early. We can try and assist you negotiate an agreement with Richard. If there is an ongoing dispute, then it may be sensible to consider bringing an Application to Court. The Family Court has a deadline of 4pm on Friday 13 November 2015 for filing any Applications which need consideration before Christmas time, however in our experience if you wait until that deadline there is no guarantee the Court will be able to determine the matter in time – unfortunately our court system is under-funded and resources are stretched.’
Rosie was glad she received some advice from a Family Law Specialist. After it became apparent that Richard did not intend to negotiate, Rosie’s solicitor was able to bring her Application before the Court in enough time for sensible Orders to be made, ensuring that the children were able to spend time with each of their parents during the school holidays. This gave Rosie relief to know the children could not be prevented from seeing her at Christmas.
If you have concerns about arrangements for the Christmas period you should take action now to avoid disappointment due to the Court’s delays. Contact Family Law Matters to find out what’s fair. We will guide you through the process of a resolution (02) 9523 3007.See page four for Christmas and school holiday examples and suggestions.
This article is designed to provide information, not legal advice. Please note the people and examples used in this article are fictional characters. You should ensure you obtain legal advice as the law applies to individual situations in different ways. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.