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This is possibly a very broad topic but just wondering if anyone has any advice on how often a 5yr old child should be expected to travel to visit a non resident parent. The non resident parent moved over a 10 hour return trip away and is now demanding that i drive halfway every fortnight. This seems like alot of time to be spent travelling for a young child. but what is more important and where do you draw the line. Also would i really be expected to do 50/50 travel or is the parent who moved away expected to do this? Just after people's opinions and maybe what other people have in place that works  so that I can work out what might be fair and unbiased. (Obviously Im a bit upset at the moment) There are no orders or parenting plan in place.
Guest said
This is possibly a very broad topic but just wondering if anyone has any advice on how often a 5yr old child should be expected to travel to visit a non resident parent. The non resident parent moved over a 10 hour return trip away and is now demanding that i drive halfway every fortnight.
5 hours in the car each way would not be sustainable for long. I think the Non Resident parent might have considered the implications of such a move as it will definitely be a significant impost on contact arrangements. Sydney to Coffs Harbour. Is that for every alternate weekend contact ? What sort of contacts ? 50/50 travel seems to be a normal arrangement but needs to be worked out depending on a wide range of issues. One scenario is that a person picks up and the other drops off depending on what the arrangements are. Another is to and from school where often the non resident parent will do both pick up Friday after school and drop off Monday and any subsequent days.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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At the moment contact is quite varied  between 3 - 8 weeks but always half of school holidays.

My ex partner is always telling me this isnt enough to maintain a relationship and I need to do more to facilitate this.

On weekend visits my son usually takes a few days to recover and get back to routine and often cries in the car on the way home because he is tired. At the moment I only drive about 40% of the total trip for drop offs and pickups. I work full time and get no financial help from my ex partner who is demanding I also drive 50/50

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

He moved, he needs to do the driving, but there is no way in hell that I would be subjecting a 5 year old child to that sort of trip every fortnight, that is just ludicrous and certainly not in the childs best interests.  He should have thought of that before he moved and he can demand all he likes, doesn't mean you have to agree with it!

I would offer him Skype calls twice a week and he can travel down to visit the child once a month.  It is up to both parents to facilitate the relationship, so what is stopping him from coming down to visit for the weekend?

Have you filed a claim for Child Support, if not, why not, as he has a legal duty to maintain his child.

If I was you, I would be organising mediation and getting proper orders put in place, that are in the best interests of the child and not your ex's best interests!
Firstly, please let me apologize moderator. I wasn't aware multiple posts were coming through to you.
Secondly, Thank you smurfergirl for your time to reply and advice. Just better clear one thing up, it was the mother who moved away and I am the father.
At the moment there are phone calls between my son and the OP usually once or twice a week.
I have never looked into child support as I work full time and my ex partner does not work.
Does anybody else have any suggestions/opinions on what might be fair with regards to how often weekend visits should occur and what portion of the travel i should do? What do other people have in place that works for long distance visits?
For me, the last couple of visits have been increasingly difficult, where drop offs occur ok, but when it is time for pick ups , the ex demands that I drive further to pick up my son (as that is what is 'fair') and I have even deposited fuel money  into an account just so I could have my son returned and then drove further than halfway to pick him up. Unless it is on my Ex's terms, I am seen as being unreasonable.
I do want to facilitate a relationship but how do I do this without all the extra stress and demands.
I sometimes feel like doing nothing at all to help, as i didnt move or ask for any of this, but the only one who suffers then is my son.
Sorry, it was a natural assumption, so please excuse me.

However, the advice stands, you need to get some proper orders put in place, as this is way too much to put on a five year old.

Is there any reason that the mother cannot do all the travel, to your area to save the child.  It is just ridiculous to expect the poor child to do this every fortnight.  

I would be stopping the EOW visits and offering a skype call, in it's place and book an intake at FDR, perhaps she will listen to reason with a mediator.
I think ten hours travel over one weekend is not something a five year old  should be doing regularly.
Hi Guest,

Up until contact became sporadic (which has caused us to start court proceedings), my partner had care of his 2 children about every fortnight. We live in Canberra, the mother lives in Sydney so it's about 3 hours each way. However, some of those trips my partner would take the childrento Wollongong which is just under 1.5 hours from where the children live (as he has relatives there, and also used to live there). The meeting point used to be about 30 minutes out from the mother's house but until she realised that if she didn't drive anywhere that my partner would still come to pick them up, the pick up and drop off was either at her house or her mother's house around the corner, ie my partner did the entire 6-hour or 4.5- hour drive.

While I do think that the parent who moved away should do most of the driving, I also think making them do 100% of the driving is ridiculous - if my partner had moved away but stayed in Sydney, there is a good chance the trip would be an hour or more anyway due to traffic. However, we feel that she has all the power in this situation as her attitude was "if you want them, you come get them" and you can't physically make someone drive to meet you. We never entertained the thought of threatening not to return them unless she picked them up or met us closer because we didn't want to jeopardise our chances of seeing them again, however, if your ex partner is likely to do this and follow through then you are in a more difficult position.

The girls are very used to being in the car (they're almost 5 and 6 years) and normally fall asleep or entertain themselves so we never had any dramas.

Mediation is probably the best option if you can talk through what is fair, and if that doesn't work, get parenting orders. I don't think it's reasonable to expect your ex to do a 10-hour return trip on her own (you would worry about the safety of your son due to her being fatigued, for example) but the fact that she is so far away does mean that every second weekend might be too much to expect. I'm worried that we may not get every 2nd weekend due to the distance but we'll see.
My suggestion with travel, if this is causing argument, and if possible for you is to have each party do the travel on their collection. ie Mother travels to you to collect the children and you travel to her to collect the children back.

This means that you are both doing the travel. I would then try to reduce the time for weekends to every 4 weeks and maybe give a little more in school holidays if this is possible.

The distance and travel would be seen as excessive in the court with more probability than not. The courts would also look at the schooling of the children due to fatigue.

Thanks Raches and Kalimnadancer for your replies.
I think that for a 10 hour return trip it probably is better that both parties do some of the driving  for both the drop off and pick up. The question of how much and how often still remains.
We are going to go through the process of mediation and see what happens. Hopefully can achieve an outcome for my sons sake.
The time travelled by both is the same as if you met half way except for each party they do it in one go. It is then their option to maybe travel, stay overnight , collect children next day and return. It also eliminates the argument about collection point.
This also allows the collecting parent not to come if they do not want the time that is theirs.
I do understand your reasons.
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