Can you be forced to have 50/50 shared care?

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Can you be forced to have 50/50 shared care?

Post by Arb123 » Mon Mar 14, 2022 5:13 pm

I was hoping I could get some advise me on a situation I have with my ex partner?

I have two children with my ex partner and have been separated for three years.

Since we have been separated we have had a verbal agreement regarding the weekends, which is every other weekend and every Wednesday evening for Dinner.

I am a self-employed tree surgeon and have recently started a new contract which is great for my business.

There are quite a lot of sections to the contract but one of them is having to work one Saturday a month at a school onsite.

Unfortutnely the one Saturday a month falls when I should have my daughters. The school have picked the weekends as they hold sporting events which means I can't pick the weekends to suit me.

I have approached my ex partner and have asked her if we can to swap the weekends with each other or come up with a slightly different routine for weekends going forward, so I can still see my children and also build my business, this contract is a fantastic opportunity for me.

My ex partner has outright refused and has said the weekends have worked fine for the last three years and why should she change. Unfortunately I feel she is being difficult for the sake of it as she is used to getting her own way.

She is absolutely right they have worked for the last three years but on this occasion my work situation is changing and all I’m asking her to do is to swap weekends or come up with a slightly different pattern.

My ex doesn't work weekends and as I have explained I am trying to grow my business to provide for my children. The contract is a massive growth and financial gain for my company. I am not trying to be difficult and have even suggested we swap every two months and I will subcontract out the weekends I couldn't work to try and compromise, It would mean I wouldn't be making as much money but I was trying to come up with a happy medium, but she has also refused that scenario.

I have attended mediation but my ex refused to go, I even offered to pay for her. I need to change weekends for my livelihood and feel I have no option but to go down the court route regarding child arrangements. Surely I have as much right to change the weekends as she has as our agreement is only verbally.

I am the children’s father and I don't feel it's a fair situation when we are both parents to our girls.

My ex-partner is now saying if we go down the court route she is going to insist we have 50/50 shared care, but with my line of work that just wouldn't be feasible (she works in a school term-time). Could I be forced by the court to have my girls 50% of the time, is that something I can be made to do, even if I can't do it?

Any advise and help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Can you be forced to have 50/50 shared care?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Mar 17, 2022 12:05 pm

Dear Arb123

Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am Family Rights Group’s online adviser. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties that you are having in relation to the arrangements for you to spend time with your daughters. It is good to hear that your business is thriving but I am sorry that this is complicating your arrangements to see your girls and that your ex-partner declined mediation to try to resolve the difficulties.

Your query is a private law matter which unfortunately we do not advise on as our remit is to advise parents and family members who are involved with children’s services. However, there are a number of other services that advise and websites which help parents navigate these difficulties so I hope that the following will help:

You can get legal advice by phone or email from Child Law Advice. Their contact details are telephone: 0300 330 5480 and email advice.

You can find further sources of legal advice here.

Advice Now have provided this useful guide to survival guide to sorting out child arrangements which I hope you may find helpful.

Support Through Court offer practical and emotional support to people going through court without a solicitor.

Gingerbread also provide advice and information to single parents about contact arrangements.

I hope you manage to work out the situation and continue to have the best relationship you can with your daughters.

Best wishes


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