VIC Help with Understanding Family Court Orders?

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Shan_90

Well-Known Member
5 February 2016
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Hi everyone,

Just needing some help understanding school holidays time in my family court orders.

So my son finishes school this Friday and holidays technically start Saturday. I'm wondering what half would be. My orders say that the father is to have the first half in 2017 during school term holidays and that the father's midweek and weekend time is suspended during holiday period and it actually falls on his long weekend, so he is meant to pick him up Thursday this week.

Would it just go straight onto holidays from Thursday onwards or would I collect him from school Friday and drop him to his dad on Saturday? I'm so confused.

His father also will have Easter Sunday from 5pm until easter Monday 5pm. I'm confused on which day I will pick him up from access with his dad, whether to start from end of term or start on actual holidays.

Thank you
 

Dad in trouble

Active Member
3 March 2017
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I would say it's likely that school holidays are from 3pm on the last day of school of the previous term until 9am on the first day of school of the next term.

Does the court orders refer to the child's school holidays, the State's school holidays, or something else?

Wouldn't both parents' time with the child be suspended for school holidays?

Is it possible to ask the father what he thinks it means? Are you happy to go with what he says if it sounds reasonable?
 

Dad in trouble

Active Member
3 March 2017
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Term Dates

The above link gives the Victorian school holidays as: 31/3 (3pm) to 18/4 (9am) - total of 18 nights or to be more precise 17 days (ie 24 hour periods) and 18 hours.

If one had to be pedantic, then the halfway mark based on 17 days and 18 hours is 9/4 at noon, 8 days and 21 hours each. Hoping my maths is correct. But a word of caution using hours might not be useful where it ends up that changeover is a ridiculous midnight!

If you were using 18 nights, then halfway would be 9/4 as well. But this system also has the half day/night conundrum.

Now with Easter, unless there is something clarifying in the court orders, it seem possible that your son is with his father Easter Sunday 5pm to Easter Monday 5pm, even though it's school holidays.

So based on the original post, it sounds like:

- your son lives with his father Friday 31/3 3pm to Sunday 9/4 (time to be agreed)
- your son lives with you Sunday 9/4 to Sunday 16/4 5pm
- your son lives with his father Sunday 16/4 5pm to Monday 17/4 5pm
- your son lives with you Monday 17/4 5pm to Tuesday 18/4 9am.

Now if the court orders allow the parties to agree in writing other times and if you feel your child's father is likely to be agreeable, then you might have options to let you son stay with his father until school resumes. But that's a judgment call.

Again, it might do well to ask your child's father his views.
 

Shan_90

Well-Known Member
5 February 2016
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Hi, thanks for your reply.

No, it doesn't say anything about school holiday dates, all it says is during school term holidays, the child spend time with the father for the second half in 2016 and each alternate year after and for the first half in 2017, unless otherwise agreed in writing not less than 7 days before holidays commence between parents.

My ex partner has our son 5 nights a fortnight during school terms in a 2 week cycle. Week one is Thursday to Monday and week two is Thursday to Friday. I'm not sure I am able to discuss this with him as he is not a very agreeable person. We also have mutual intervention orders in place, so not sure it's a good idea.

My thoughts would be that he would have our son this Thursday until the following Saturday on that Saturday I would pick our son up and have him until Easter Sunday until 5pm, then get him back Easter Monday 5pm and would take him to school on Tuesday first day of term as I have second half of the school holidays this year.

Don't know if I'm right or wrong....

For school holidays we have agreed to changeover times to be at 3.30pm
 

Dad in trouble

Active Member
3 March 2017
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Given the further information, I would lean towards Sunday 9/4 3:30pm being the halfway change point, but you can always try and say Saturday, but that might irk him more.

But at the very least, both of you need to be clear on when the halfway changeover point is for these holidays, so some communication might be required.

Since you did this last year, you must have some system on determining school holidays. If you do, perhaps follow that system.
 

Shan_90

Well-Known Member
5 February 2016
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But that would give him 9 days and only 7 days for me because on that Sunday our son will have to go back at 5 until 5pm Monday. That doesn't seem fair... Considering he will have him Thursday the 30 until the 9th of April then I will have him 9th of April until Sunday the 16th of April, then get him back the 17th at 5pm.

I thought if we did it Saturday to Saturday that would be an even 8 days...argh so confusing.

I hate these orders not being specific. I don't think they're very helpful for a child with autism who requires structure and the father he doesn't follow orders to begin with
 

AllForHer

Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
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In most orders that actually do clarify when the holiday start and finish, holidays are usually said to commence at the conclusion of school on the last day of term, and conclude before school on the first day of the following term. For the Easter holidays, therefore, they commence after school on Friday, 31 March 2017 and conclude before school on Tuesday, 17 April 2017, which is 18 nights. Nine nights each makes the halfway point Sunday, 9 April 2017.

If you want to cut off a night at both the start of the holidays and the end so it's 16 nights, the halfway point would still be Sunday, 9 April 2017. This option would require the child to spend a night with dad, then a night with mum, then eight nights with dad, then eight nights with mum, then a night back at dad's (I assume) for the start of Term 2.

That's, what, five changeovers in the space of two weeks, three of which would be in-person, rather than at school? You're worried about what's fair, but I'm inclined to think that five changeovers, between parents who need intervention orders against each other, is probably going to cause more stress to an autistic child than one or two extra nights at dad's, who, mind, doesn't have majority care.

If it were me, I would let dad collect the child from school on Thursday, let him have the child on Friday, then conduct changeover at 3:30pm on Sunday, 9 April 2017 and keep the child in your care until he goes back to school on Tuesday, 17 April 2017. That's one night of regular time and nine nights of holiday time with dad, and nine nights of holiday time with you, with all changeovers except one taking place at school.

Reasonable, no?
 

Dad in trouble

Active Member
3 March 2017
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I can see why you think it seems unfair right now. Unfortunately court orders are unlikely to get more specific. And furthermore conflicting parents are unlikely to see fairness when it's not in their perceived favour.

It seems that there is nothing clarifying how Easter works during school term and during school holidays, except for what you have pointed out. It doesn't sound like there is an Easter clause stating your child's time with you.

If this is the case (and to possibly give you the news now), in future you might have the following "unfair" Easter scenarios:

- it's Easter and its school term, week 1 - your child lives with his father from Thursday until Monday 5pm, then with you to when school resumes after the public holiday

- it's Easter and its school term, week 2 - your child lives with his father Thursday to Friday (9am?), then with you until Sunday 5pm, back with his father until Monday 5pm, then with you until school resumes.

...if you go through the other combinations for Easter and school holidays, it doesn't sound to me like it works out well for fairness from your point of view if there is no Easter clause stating your child's time with you.

Try to take a long view of this and to not worry about how it works out in this particular holiday. It is what it is. Is it really worth it getting worked up over 1 day?

I'm just stating how I think the court orders on school holidays might work. Others on this forum may have a different viewpoint.

I think the most important thing is both parents know who is your son living with from the start of school holidays until the resumption of school and when the changeovers are....and that your son enjoys his whole school holidays.

I don't think it would be a good situation if your son is say expecting Parent A to pick up on say Friday (because one parent thought that) but it turned out to be wrong. Or the halfway changeover is Saturday, when it was meant to be Sunday, or vice versa.

Your options as I see it are to say nothing to the other parent and hope it works out, state your views to the father (and risk an argument) or ask for his view first then work out how you want to respond. At the end of the day it seems likely that more discussion between the parents will escalate emotions more.

It might do well at the beginning of every school year to have a brief exchange with the father to work out the division of school holidays for the following 12 months so both parents are clear as soon as possible.

You might need to make time to get legal advice where the father is not following court orders.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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My ex used to have all sorts of fun with this sort of crap. I'm a school teacher, so I attend work on student free days. My ex delighted in telling me student free days were school holidays and as such it wasn't her fault that I could not supervise the children if the student free days fell when she thought the kids should be with me...

Sometimes the holidays started on the last day of term (according to her)... Sometimes on the Saturday, sometimes on the Monday after school broke up. If it was my turn to have the kids in the second week of the holidays - then according to the crazy one, the holidays ended of the Friday of the second week, so she would have them returned for the weekend before school returned.

So depending on her fancy the two weeks of holidays might be from Monday of the first week until Friday of the second - except that the weekend in the middle of the holidays was a weekend and not holiday time... So the holidays were only 9 nights and I would get 4 because she had to have the kids returned on the Friday prior to school going back....

No matter how she'd do it, the end result was always different and every time it caused a bucket load of grief and arguments.

So one of the other things she loved doing was insisting I make the schedule, so she could then tell my why it was wrong... She was too busy to do one. It would seem being unemployed is time consuming... (sorry starting to rant) OH and the best bit... Booking medical / dental appointments during my time and then attend those appointments... So how much fun was dad's time?

So I had 5 nights a fortnight and half holidays just like your ex does. So my suggestion? Do only one thing like my ex... Ask him. Ask your ex when suits him and go with that? Easy.

Sure it might mean you miss a day or two that arguably could be your time... But over a year you're getting 60% care and he is getting 40%. But consider this... I'm guessing he pays child support? So be mindful of the fact that keeping his boss happy is also in your best interests.

Final story - my new partner calls her ex and asks him when he wants to see his kid and then she makes it happen. Sometimes we call him and ask if he'd take the child for us so we can go away - he almost always says yes... Sometimes he asks for extra weekends and we almost always say yes.

Sorry for the rant - but my point is this - you can make it really really hard if you want and clearly your orders are not specific enough, so there is room for disputes. Neither of you will be right - but you will both be in disagreement - your hair will go grey and you will get bitter and twisted. Or just ask him when he wants the kids and go out of your way to make it happen, after all you have 20% more time with the kids than he does. True
 

Shan_90

Well-Known Member
5 February 2016
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121
In most orders that actually do clarify when the holiday start and finish, holidays are usually said to commence at the conclusion of school on the last day of term, and conclude before school on the first day of the following term. For the Easter holidays, therefore, they commence after school on Friday, 31 March 2017 and conclude before school on Tuesday, 17 April 2017, which is 18 nights. Nine nights each makes the halfway point Sunday, 9 April 2017.

If you want to cut off a night at both the start of the holidays and the end so it's 16 nights, the halfway point would still be Sunday, 9 April 2017. This option would require the child to spend a night with dad, then a night with mum, then eight nights with dad, then eight nights with mum, then a night back at dad's (I assume) for the start of Term 2. That's, what, five changeovers in the space of two weeks, three of which would be in-person, rather than at school? You're worried about what's fair, but I'm inclined to think that five changeovers, between parents who need intervention orders against each other, is probably going to cause more stress to an autistic child than one or two extra nights at dad's, who, mind, doesn't have majority care.

If it were me, I would let dad collect the child from school on Thursday, let him have the child on Friday, then conduct changeover at 3:30pm on Sunday, 9 April 2017 and keep the child in your care until he goes back to school on Tuesday, 17 April 2017. That's one night of regular time and nine nights of holiday time with dad, and nine nights of holiday time with you, with all changeovers except one taking place at school.

Reasonable, no?
Thank you that seems fair. It's just that my the orders say that the father spend time Easter Sunday 5pm to Easter Monday 5pm, so would it be fair to say that I would pick my son up Sunday then drop him off to his father the following Sunday for Easter? Then I would pick him up again Monday at 5pm.

I know it's so many pick changeovers but that's what it says in my orders for the holidays and the Easter period....