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Hi Everyone

We have school holidays starting today here in Qld.  My court orders say that I get the 1st half of the holidays and my ex has the 2nd half.  He has not seen the children since Oct last year (his choice).  Our change over during the holidays is at vacation care at the school.  I sent my ex an email 1 week ago asking him if he was going to have the children these holidays and asked him to let me know by 9am today so that I can book the vacation care etc.  He has not replied to my email (he never does).  I know that he has the right to have the children on his time etc and I would never stop that but with that said is it fair enough to say that I should not have to put them into vacation care next Monday knowing full well that he wont be taking them.  I have 4 children and the cost for the vacation care is $30 each so I do not find it fair that I have to pay $120 even though he is not going to pick them up and I do not need them to be in vacation care.  Like I said I emailed him 1 week ago to let me know by today and he has not - is this fair enough for me to just go about and plan what I want for the holidays?
If he's failed to pick them up as entitled on the last 4 sets of school holidays (is that right?) then I think you can safely assume he will be the same this time. Don't prepay for anything expensive though, as he may still lob up (presumably head to your place when finds they aren't in vacation care) and you'll have to let him take the kids - I imagine they'll be happy but surprised and confused to see him if he does.
Is it a problem to call him up and ask what's going on? or is it possible a third party could do that on your behalf. Emailing and not getting a reply is extremly frustrating. These kids need certainty of what is going to happen in the holiday period and so do you before you arrange care etc. The father needs to step up to the mark here. Is there more to this than we know about? Seems bizarre that dad does not want the contact. It is not fair that he has not responded to you.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Thanks for your reply.  The very short version of my story is as follows:-

The father has been in and out of the children's lives.  He would come see them and then he would just disappear for months on end.  At the end of 2006 he took them from me and did not return them and as we had no court orders I had to take him to court to get my children back.  We had a family report written that suggested we do week on week off.  We did this for a year and then my ex said it was not working.  But I thought it was working ok considering the fact that he and I can not communicate.  So it then went back to court and went to trial after nearly another year of delays (amazing how the whole court thing can get delayed some much) In the end after another family report and both of us seeing a psychiatrist (he was trying to claim I was insane lol) it all came down to who the children were closest to.  And it was clear in all documents and reports that that was me.   So I was granted that the children live with me and the children spend every 2nd weekend from Thursday after school till Monday mornings and 1/2 of holidays.  He did this for a few months but then wanted a calender with dates set our which weekend he had etc.  Which is more than fair enough.  So through the children's lawyers we did this up (this was Sept last year) but then he did not agree with the change over day for the June holidays of this year (this is back in Sept last year that he was not agreeing with it) so he stopped having access for 2 weeks till that was sorted out.  He said he did not want to see the children till that was sorted.  So I gave into him and just gave him the extra couple of days for the holidays.  So he had them for a few more weekends and all along he had put a appeal into Centrelink regarding family payments as he was not entitled to it because he had the children less than 35% of the time.  (it has to be noted here that while we were doing 50/50 he was claiming single parent pension and 1/2 family payments and child support from me) So in the middle of Oct last year he received a phone call on a Friday morning (this was his weekend with the children and he had them the night before) to say that he had lost his appeal.  He rang me at work that morning and said it was all my fault and he cant have the kids anymore because he cant feed them.  So he did not pick up the children from school that afternoon and has had not access at his house since.  The children's lawyer took it back to court and the judge was in a foul mood that day and just through it out and said she was turning it into final orders and to go fight it out between ourselves.  My ex then went to the children's school that same day and took them lollies and told them they will not be going to his house any more.  The next time he has tried to have contact was at their school again in June on a Monday (the day after what should have been his weekend) Although the school let him see the children (2 didn't want to see him) they did tell him that he was not allowed to be there unless it was agreed between him and I.    He has made no contact at all for any of the children's birthdays.  Did not make any contact on father's day (the children even dropped cards to his mail box on the day)  And this weekend is his main religious celebration and he is not making contact for that either even though technically this is his weekend.    So I think it is fair to say that he has very little interest in his children and it really was just about money for him.  The truth is if it was any normal person and they honestly could not afford to feed their kids then they would try to see them an hour or 2 on a Saturday or something.  He only lives in the next street from us so it doesn't even cost him petrol to visit his children.  I have tried everything I can to make it easy for him to have a relationship with his children but he just wants it his way.  His idea of parenting is either he does it all or I do it all there is no sharing.  We all know that that is not in the best interest of the children. 

Anyway hope that gives you a better idea of what is going on.
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