Wikivorce member Roger tells us about his ordeal of taking his son on holiday, during a difficult divorce.
My ex stopped contact with my son when my partner and her children aged (12, 10 and 5 at the time) moved in with me, (in her words... ‘as soon as she moves in with her kids I will stop contact’) which she duly did. Me and my partner had been together a while but decided that paying for two homes was silly.
I didn’t see my son for over 12 months even though his grandma (mother's side) lived 4 doors away from me and my partner. I started court proceedings straight away and after 6 months of court letters etc. achieved access to my son. This was only from 2pm -6pm on a Saturday, due to me not seeing him for 12 months, the court wanted to take this slowly. After going back to court this increased to 11am - 7pm on a Saturday and 3 months later from 6pm Friday till 7 pm Sunday. We also advised we wanted to take him on holiday every year abroad which wasn’t looked open very well from my ex but the judge advised it was only fair and ordered us to have 10 days holiday contact this year and 2 weeks every other year. The judge advised me to sort the passport out as soon as possible, as this was May 2009 and we were going on holiday in August 2009. I did this as soon as I returned from court.
We received the passport back with 4 weeks and were happily planning and also buying clothes for my son's holiday, until the day I received a letter from the passport office stating that my ex partner had applied for a passport for my son the week before going back to court in her maiden name (I now know she changed his name by deed poll, although she didn’t have my permission as I have Parental Responsibility), so the passport office advised I needed to send the passport we received back to them immediately.
I contacted my ex who advised she had no intention of letting my son come on holiday with us, and was willing to break the court order to do this. As this was now middle of June 2009 and we were due to fly in 7 weeks time, I didn’t have a clue how we were going to resolve this as she wouldn’t answer any of my calls. My partner advised she had been looking on the internet at the Wikivorce site and couldn’t believe there were so many people in the same situation as us. She posted on the forum and we couldn’t believe the responses we had, we were told by our solicitor that she couldn’t get us into court in time to make a judge allow us the passport, but we were getting different advice from people at Wikivorce. We were given all the help and advice we needed and also self represented, which we would never have done; within 4 weeks we had a court date. We now have a court order stating that we can have my son's passport every time we go on holiday.
But the best bit? We got to take my son on holiday!