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Agreeing Contact Dates

Hi, I have a residence and contact order in place and with the school holiday coming up my ex and I are meant to be agreeing dates. He is ordered 4 weeks over this period and this year it is his turn to have them for Christmas. He is using very aggressive lawyers and I am SRL for nearly the last 2 years as I can't afford years of solicitors anymore. His solicitors wrote and suggested dates which were inconvenient saying I had to agree by 6th Nov or they would go to court to enforce the order without further notice to me.

I wrote back asking for dates for the 4 weeks to start closer to Christmas so the kids could celebrate near Christmas with their other siblings and family as they will be away for such a long stretch. (I believe this is reasonable, when my ex doesn't have them for Christmas his contact with them starts straight after so they can have a Christmas Celebration). I haven't heard back so am now thinking they may have gone to court without notice to me as threatened.

What I would like to know is, will this be considered reasonable and what is the Court likely to do? Is it ok for them to just write once saying agree to these dates or Court? Or will the Court say they have to make more effort in reaching agreement. I am worried they have been trying to find any excuse to get to Court as they have other demands which are not ordered but they want anyway.
I think the reason they are saying this because you wont will have to notify about going to court so you get in before xmas, so yes this is pretty resonable.

If the order is allready been agreeed to or ordered by the courts and you dont want to stick with it, and by mediation you cant agree you may just have to live with the agreement or face getting bashed around in court.


Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Is there an allotted time that is contained with in the court orders you have or is it just " half of school holidays " ???????????????

To my knowledge if they make an application to the court you will be served and have a chance to respond and if there is a change to the Court Orders a copy will be sent to all parties.

Unless your orders state that you must come up with an agreeable plan by a set date then you do not but this may see an application made to the court to rule on specific times if the situation is in conflict. Both parties will be allowed to express their wishes and the adjudicator will decide ' in the best interests of the child '.

It would be fair to assume that if a block period is to be had each year that it be rotated each year so the children are not denied this celebration with both their parents.

The letter will be a form of trying to get you to agree by demand, not a nice thing but it may be that his holidays need to booked in advance and he has lets say embellished the truth to his lawyer.
I may not have been clear.

 I am not refusing contact just wishing to have some input into the dates.

According to the court order the dates are to be agreed not less than three months in advance.

As I hadn't heard from my ex I wrote to the solicitors asking for us to agree them.  Their response has been to demand certain dates which if I do not agree with they will take to court without me to 'enforce'.  They are complete bullies who always threaten court knowing I am unrepresented.

Christmas is alternated in the order, but when I have Christmas he gets them immediately after so they spend some of the holiday season with him.

I would merely like the same courtesy of having the children close to Christmas beforehand.
If you suggest dates that do "work" for you, there is little chance they would get in to court before Christmas in any event.

Remain approachable, ignore the bully boy tactics and cite the court orders.

Do what you can so there is not even a remote chance of contravention.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
You could always fire some back as well, remain approachable and mediate for your kids but don't take the bullying.

If in the orders it states that this agreement is to be made three months prior then simply suggest as your X has not approached the situation to confirm he is having the kids during this Christmas break it was assumed he had no intent therefore you have organised prior commitments on said days, list the dates that you have commitments and confirm days he can have them. Finish off with the statement that you are willing to negotiate providing it does not interrupt your previous commitments, remind the lawyer of the order that states this holiday period is to be arranged 3 months prior.

If neither party is directed to be the sole organiser of this time then either one of you should have made contact with the other at the three month period to negotiate times not demand. If neither party did then you are both responsible.

This could well be a tactic for the lawyer to have his Christmas bonus at his clients expense.

Best of luck and remember only commit to what you are prepared to follow up, if you shoot an attack back expect a response thats unpleasant, this lawyer has already proved he is not shy of putting the thumb screws on.

I think the point you make about having the same courtesy as him is VERY reasonable and I expect would be seen this way by a court. So if he did this last year it could be expected to be the same this year. If these new dates are so important to him now why did he not mention 3 months before. I take it he has not stated why he wants these date's for example - he has holiday booked and paid for. If there is a good reason then I am sure you would hear him out.

Stick to your guns. You seem to have a compelling argument. Send them a letter making it very clear that you will abide by the 4 weeks in the court order and let them know the dates, noting they are the same/similar to what he had last year.

Furthermore it would seem that you are not breaching the orders if they do not state a date. They could try to enforce the 4 week period in the orders and even perhaps if you said it wont start until January but not something reasonable, particularly if it was the same for him last year. Ring the courts advice line 1300 352 000 and ask them if any documents have been lodged. That will tell you if they have made an application. Aside from this, ring up your court to check availability. I would say there is little to no chance of them getting a court date prior to christmas anyway.

I would suggest this is something you want to get clarified for next year though so you don't go through it every year. If you don't want to make a new application for ammendment in case they try to ride it for other demands then get it mediated and consented and a written agreement so you both know where you stand in the future and have some certainty.

Also D4E makes a good point about the $olicitor. They make a lot of money for a client conference and a few letters without having to spend the entire day in court. Even if they think their demands are tenuous they will do whatever their client wants them to do if they are willing to pay for it.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"
Reply in courtesy but in kind - a diplomatic reminder in any correspondence about the Courts/Acts desire to seek agreements rather than litigation - and how the aggressive tone of the letter upset you! Confrontational rather than seeking agreement……….

Comply with the orders - without ruining your own holiday with the children - perhaps they are seeking an excuse to get back into Court to attempt to get the original orders changed.

Check with your local registry for the 'cut off' date for Christmas applications. The Courts accept there will be an increased amount of small cases near Christmas because of the longer school holidays and guarantee to run these before Christmas (if they are lodged before the cut off date)

Pull out your old Court papers and use the case number and reference number to check your Court file -will give you notification if any applications have been lodged.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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