There are a few issues that my fiance has with his ex that we could do with advice on. The situation is on shaky grounds again and we obviously want to deal with it as best we can. Please bear with me as this could get lengthy!
Firstly, in the latest contact order the classic line "additional contact to be agreed by both parties" was added in. In the past the ex has suggested to my fiance that he helps out with school holidays by taking care of the children if he is on rest days during the week (he works shifts). My fiance is happy to share holidays as much as he can but ex will only allow this if it is day contact only and the children are dropped home at 5.30pm instead of staying overnight. This is due to her attempt to drag out overnight stays as much as possible to prevent a CM reduction through CSA.
As we had the children the weekend just gone and with my fiance being on a rest day on Bank Holiday Monday we decided that it was worth texting the ex to ask if the children could stay over on Sunday night as well as Saturday so he can show willing to help out when the children are off school by taking care of them on the bank holiday. He received a text back saying that they have dinner plans and therefore she wants them home. This came as no surprise to either of us but at least he tried.
The annoying thing about this situation is that the ex''s mum who lives in Wales seems to be increasingly staying at her daughters and covering most if not all the school holidays. It was teacher training day on Thursday so her mum came up from Wales to cover! The ex would rather her mum travel from Wales rather than give my fiance first refusal on any dates that she needs help with.
The longest he has them during the 6 weeks holiday this year is 3 nights at the beginning of August and 3 nights at the end. On one of his designated weekends in July she''s told him he can''t have them Saturday night because she wants to take them to a BQQ on the Saturday afternoon so instead she''ll allow him Friday night but he has to drop them back by noon on Saturday. This means his time with the children will be cut short on his designated weekend. However, like always this is not reciprocated.
Coincidentally over the weekend the children asked both myself and my fiance on two separate occassions why they were only staying 1 night. We obviously took this is a positive sign that the children want to stay more often but it''s also frustrating when we do want to see them more but have had it refused.
The second incident occurred when I was asked by my fiance to collect the children on Saturday morning because he was coming off a night shift. I''ve only ever collected or dropped off the children about 5 times in 2 years and although the ex doesn''t particularly like it she''s never made it an issue. However, as my fiance is still going through the court process I suggested to him that he still text his ex to inform her that I''ll be collecting the children just to show that he is trying to communicate when necessary. She text back acknowledging the his text but told him that he doesn''t need to keep contacting her!!
In a fornights time when we have the girls again they have a horse riding lesson on the Sunday. (If anyone recalls my previous post, mum had booked the children into swimming lessons every Sunday without telling my fiance.) The horse riding lesson was booked months ago when we didn''t know that mum had booked swimming lessons up to the end of July. So as the ex clearly has the hump should he still text her to tell her the children won''t be going to their swimming lesson or just leave it?
How do we handle the situation regarding the children requesting to stay overnight for longer?
We have been invited to go camping with some friends at the end of August so we also wanted to ask the ex if we could extend the overnight contact from 3 nights to 4 but it''s clearly we need to pick the right time to ask this question.
How do we handle all this if the ex is saying that she doesn''t want to be contacted? It''s got to the point now whereby when her mum is visting she sees the children off at the door as she clearly can''t stand the sight of either of us.
Is it worth just documenting all this and then raising it at the next court hearing to avoid any direct contact or further hostility until then?
In short, you need a more defined order. When dealing with CSS overnighter wackos you need to push this, get specific amount of holiday time in the order and if she doesn''t agree the dates/extra time then you need to go back for enforcement. My ex started out like this but has relaxed in the last year or so when she realised she had to abide bynthe order.
Thanks for you input. Yes I agree a more defined order needs to be put in place. At the last hearing the judge told them to go away & agree future dates, which will be very testing between now & the next hearing. The next hearing was set for Dec but the ex won''t agree to alternate Xmas day so my fiancé has written to the judge asking for the hearing to be bought forward so the matter of alternating special dates can be sorted.
in answer to one of your questions, I would sort the camping first, get that agreed on a good day, (If she has one?)
I wouldnt necessarily txt her about the swimming.
If the kids want the horse riding lesson, just forget about the swimming.
If she contacts you, you can always use the get out clause, saying you didnt think it necessary as it was booked long ago.
Seems like you are getting in touch too much, she still feels like she can be in control, she needs to learn that when the kids are with you, its your time and you do what you want, when with her, her time, she does what she wants.
My ex booked swimming lessons when the kids were with me, I took them a couple of times, but couldnt always, when she confronted me, I simply said, if you want them to go swimming thats up to you in your time, in my time its my decision.
She tried to argue that it was important and they should go, at the time she was smoking with the kids in the car, Pointed out that also this was important (that it didnt happen) but there wasnt a lot I could do about that.
Def get an agreement about the camping but dont worry about the swimming, if you tell her in advance, she will say you cant have the kids until after the swimming! simples
Bobbinalong, these good days are few and far between.
The children do not know about the horse riding lesson yet. We don''t tend to tell them things that they will be doing with us in advance of the event as the ex has been known to frustrate contact in the past and the little she knows about what goes on in our family, the better. The ex just usually hands over their swimming bags and then slams the door.
Its a case of ''can''t win'', If he contacts her to appease her in order to be seen to be communicating she tells him not to bother or it''s verging on harrassment but if he doesn''t she''ll moan at him for not communicating with her.
Regarding the additional day for camping, at the last hearing the judge said that if they have problems before the next hearing to contact him. If she denies this additional night to allow the children a small holiday with their father, is it worth my fiance writing to the judge and asking for Directions or another hearing?
The children have seen the camping equipment and as they haven''t been before they are really eager to go. The ex is taking them abroad with her mum for 10 nights in August.
Its very frustrating as the "additional contact to be agreed by both parties" basically means that the father (in most cases) has to ask the mothers permission and if she says no...game over...no additional contact.
your right re the extra contact, its in my order too. Only happens on her terms.
i think best thing is do the best you can this year.
Your contact seems very minimal anyhow. Also seems the judge has you on side, but its difficult to get through and get anything doen I guess.
Its also not good going back to court with minimal ''ammo''.
Then, after this year, sit down, after having noted everything in a diary start to put together another position statment and have your order re done to account for the problems you have had.
It seems she can still very much dictate what does and doesnt happen.
I have been there so much and its so frustrating to have to try to accommodate and be let down so much and the kids are growing up.
My order is pretty watertight and she has already had two warnings in written formal fashion from me, another and I wont bother writing, I''ll just see her in derby court.
As many have said to me you would think that she would like the break!
I think the least contact thing is the future, as is for me, so your order needs to be a bit more specific.
Yes you are right about the additional contact. She has given up one of her designated weekends as it''s her birthday and therefore wants to go out and celebrate!
He currently has 1 night per fortnight and this increases to 2 nights in July. However, additional contact between now and December is only two 2 night stays and three 3 night stays.
The judge does seem to be on my fiance''s side but what it appears he is doing is slowly pushing the ex into handing over more contact.
The problem with this years contact is that a defined contact order of alternate weekends plus school holiday contact hasn''t been put in place so therefore it doesn''t really flow as well as it should as the ex has said things like "you can''t have them on that weekend because I want to take them to a party, but you can have this weekend instead", so in some cases he has them 2 weekends in a row but then perhaps doesn''t see them for 3 weeks. I understand that a degree of flexibility needs to be given from both parties but it rarely, if at all, gets reciprocated by the ex.
My fiance has put in for a shared residence order purely because the children have mentioned that they have two homes and he thinks it would be more beneficial for him and the children. He is working towards Fri-Mon, pickup''s/drop off''s at school with additional holiday contact. The ex is against this idea as she is a control freak and sees herself as the superior parent.
We''ve done several position statements over the years. If memory serves me you can do them without the judge requesting them can''t you?