Hi all, I''m new to this, this is my first post. Some advice would be greatly appreciated. I have been divorced for over 12 months now. It was a messy divorce. I have 3 children 12, 10 and 6. We have been separated for over 4 years now but my ex still tries to use the children as a means to get at me and hurt me.
He sees the children alot as I believe it is important that they maintain a good relationship with their dad. I had thought that the contact arrangements were sorted as they have been working fine now for a couple of years. Basically he has the children every other Monday overnight and every other sat overnight. He also has them every tues and every thurs from school end till approx 9pm. He also takes the boys to football at the weekends.
I have in the last 18 months started a relationship. We are planning on living together and have put both our houses on the market with a view to buying one family home when they both sell. My ex has gone mad about this, saying he won''t have my partner seeing more of his kids than he does. He is now demanding that he has the kids one full week and I have them one full week.
I don''t agree with this. The children don''t want this but are too scared to tell their dad that for fear of upsetting him. I don''t believe that one week with his one with me is in their best interests for lots of reasons. I think it would be incredibly disruptive for them.
The children have come home this evening saying that their dad has told them that he has sorted staffing out at work so that as of the week after next he is having them all week and he won''t be returning them to me until the week after. What can I do to stop this happening and what rights do I have if he does carry out this threat. He has PR.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in anticipation
Your ex needs to realise you have the right to move on. Try a Parenting Information Program. Some of the content deal with feelings of peoples own emotions and the effect it can have on the children. He should be grateful he has contact with the children.
Lets face it.. his obvious issue "How dare you move on". Do not worry, he wont be able to vary it just like that. He has not got a leg to stand on.
I could be wrong here, but until he comes to terms with you moving on, this unreasonable mode will continue.... its difficult but hang in there.
Parental responsibility means both parent have equal responsibility and rights to carry out those responsibilities. That means where children live, contact, changing names and important medical/educational decisions need to be agreed and neither parent has the right to act unilaterally. When agreement can''t be reached it''s open for either parent to apply to court for a judicial decision.
A court would then consider the welfare checklist including the views of the children in light of their age and maturity, background factors and which parent(s) are best placed to are for the children. The overriding factor is the welfare of children and usually it''s an uphill struggle changing the established arrangement unless children aren''t surviving satisfactorily.
However, good contact for children relies on parents working together or at least not against one another and going to court tends to lead to resentment and resistance making that difficult or impossible. Therefore it makes sense to try and defuse the situation if at all possible and use alternative ways of resolving the dispute such as mediation or solicitor negotiation in the first instance. It could take a little time to set up an appointment for mediation but you might be able to make an urgent appointment to see a solicitor who could advise where you stand and what options there are, write to your ex and offer mediation as a way forward.
I do not think I will provide the advise you are expecting but I might help you with sheding some light to the dreadful 50/50.
First of all, do not panic. Your two older children can decide for themselves whether they want to live with dad half the time or not. But instead of starting out in the wrong foot (seeing 50/50 as something *bad*) why not give it a try and see where it takes you.
I have the 50/50 arrangment with my ex husband for two years now and it is working out fine with our 6 year old son. Having said this though and in order for a 50/50 arrangement to be successful, there are certain criteria (to my humble opinion) that should be met.
- How close you two live and how close you are both to the children''s schools and activitities is very important.
- How you perceive and experience the 50/50 arrangement is also very important. You both need to realise that your notion of family should change if such an arrangement is to succeed. i.e: WHat about birthdays, Xmas, easter, mother''s day, father''s day etc? Will you be celebrating all together or will you stick to the plan? (We celebrate all together.)
- You both need to update eachother on the children''s progress at school and anything concerning their day to day life and needs. Our drop off arrangements have turned into a Sunday family dinner, where we all eat together and whiole drinking coffee, me and my ex husband sit alone and look through last weeks schedule, inform Eachother of what went on and then look and discuss the plan together for next week, no matter who the child will live with. Just opening the door and dropping off the children and their things will definately won''t work.
- Your new partners need to be acknowledged if not accepted and included in your children''s lives. Besides the obvious reasons, when you have such an arrangement at times you might need help from everyone involved. I.e: This Thursday my son is with his dad. Dad has a late meeting at work but so has mum. Dad asked mum to take son to sports club but mum can''t. Mum''s partner though can and will be happy to. Problem solved. But if there was hostility and negativity from any of us, such a simple matter could become a huge issue and the child might end up losing his sports arrangement due to grown up idiocy (if you know what I mean).
All these are just examples of how easy but at the same time difficult a 50/50 arrangement can be.
After reading your post many times, I think that the difficulty with you (both) is that as I see it the father wants the arrangement because he does not want your new parnter to see your children more than he does and you do not like the idea from the begining. I might be wrong but these are not the best foundations to built on a 50/50 arrangement.
Now, you have two choices: Either you say no way Hose and you get an even more determined and hostile ex, or you say ok let''s give it a try but we need to have a talk first and ask him to attend mediation where you both discuss your point of view on this.
May I ask why the children don¨''t like the idea and why it will be disruptive to them? Also, why are they afraid of telling their dad that they do not find this as a very good idea?
Thanks for the advice. It does sound like shared custody works well in your case. It wouldn''t in mine. My ex will not communicate with me. When he has the children he sees it as being in control, if I phone him he doesn''t answer, same with text. He deliberately does thinks to hide things from me like take letters out of their school bags so I am in aware of what is happening. If he was granted the week on week off contact that he wants I would be completely detached from my children''s lives every other week,
The children are frightened of their Dad as he very easily loses his temper with them if they say something to him which he doesn''t like. He can be very nasty and childish.
Sounds like my stbx. Going to court for a contact order is not an easy road to go down but sometimes with somebody so intent on revenge, you will have to do it to protect your children from further exposure to anxiety and conflict. If you can afford a solicitor get them to write a letter to ex stating that you do not agree with his proposals for contact and that if he attempts to take the children and keep them without there being agreement over this, he is bound to upset the children. Offer to attend mediation to resolve contact issues even if you think this to be an unlikely solution.
If you can''t afford a solicitor, try to draft a similar letter yourself. This way, if you eventually need to go to court over this, you can demonstrate that you made your views clear, that you put your children''s interest first but were prepared to negotiate an agreement.
If his behaviour is upsetting the children, you need to keep a record of each and every incident and its impact as you might need it in court.
In my case, after 6 days in court (!!!!!!) my ex backed down. The judge clearly said that the poor communication between us meant that a 50:50 arrangement would not be in the children''s best interests.