My husband and his ex have a fairly flexible contact relationship when it comes to the children. They have 2 daughters who are now 12 and 9. His ex has a new partner and a new child, a daughter (X) who will be 3 by Christmas. My husband sees his girls every other weekend plus half the holidays (and any other spare days we can get!). We always alternate the holidays, so Easter, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas etc, and they are always with the appropriate parent on Mothers Day / Fathers Day. Their father is very hands on with his children and would love to see them more, however we live nearly 100 miles away, so unfortunately this isn’t possible.
Recently his ex has told him that she wants all 3 children to spend Christmas together and that we will no longer be alternating Christmas. The girls are used to the current routine and are quite upset. His ex’s response is that it is for the good of her youngest daughter (X) and that she knows this will upset their girls but is prepared to bear the brunt of this. As you can imagine my husband was not happy, but after speaking (and to keep the peace for future years) agreed that she could have them for the next two years, until X was in school. Her reasoning is that X cannot understand where her sisters go, and that she gets upset when they leave. Until the ex can explain it to her properly, she wants them all at home.
Last week however, she decided that she wanted all 3 girls with her ‘until X stopped believing in Father Christmas…’ . My husband was quite angry and the talk ended in arguments and tears. All his ex is concerned about is the feelings of a 3 year old child. She knows the older 2 want to spend Xmas with their Dad, but she doesn’t care, she even said ‘it’s all about this little girl! (X)’. She refuses to budge and says she has decided and that is that. In the heat of the moment my ex threatened court, but we have now decided to send a letter inviting her to mediation instead.
My question is, what is HER solicitor likely to say when she goes for advice? Does she have a case? Is it possible a judge in court would allow her to have his children, every Christmas for the next however many years, just so it doesn’t upset her new child? (In the divorce they agreed every other weekend and half the holidays but did not specify Christmas.)
The status quo has a lot of bearing - how many years has Contact been going so far?
The eldest at 12 may be considered to have her feelings & wishes taken into consideration.
His ex is wrong, its not all about the youngest (the new child that isn''t his) - its about what is best for his children (the two older ones). How would his ex feel if the boot was on the other foot and it was you who''d had a baby and it was you who wanted all the kids together at Christmas for the next few years (stopping believing in Santa will mean no presents - I still believe )
You''re right to try the reasonable approach first, calm down and try to appeal to her sense of fairness. If this doesn''t work, Court is the next step.
I dontknow if you think this is workable for you and the gals bearing in mind the journey as well but I said to the harridan she could so xmas I''d do boxing day personally I''d give her xmas day and then say obviously you will expect her to drop the kids over every xmas night after the 3 year old has gone to bed she won''t do that either but then I shouldn''t have such negative views on mothers unilaterally moving the goalposts on child contact I ve been told its not common practice slap wrist for haway
All the best
My husband and his ex split 6 years ago. It was quite fractious at the beginning but has settled down nicely now. We swap weekends if things come up (weddings / family events etc) and now the girls are older, if they have parties or sleepover’s they want to go to, we are happy to swap.
The trouble started with the ex''s new addition....
The girls have also picked up on this, and even tho the ex is happy to be the baddy over Christmas, I think the girls will not resent their mother, but their sister, who’s ‘fault’ this all is. As it is we have heard (via friends and relatives) the girls saying that they cant do this or that because of the youngest one.
My husband and I are recently married, as is his sister, and we may have children in the future. I don’t want the girls to miss out on what would be a big family Christmas with their potential siblings and cousins. But for some reason she has dug her heels in over this and we are stuck. Hopefully she will agree to mediation, but I don’t know if that will work.
It would be a shame for things to go bad now after so long that they''ve been working together amicably, shows she is reasonable.
I don''t like the sound of the brewing resentments growing with the girls against Mum & toddler, that needs to be nipped in the bud, maybe they need to tell Mum how they feel and her being the baddy just aint on.
If she gets her way - she may have all the kids with her at Christmas, but the 2 oldest ones are NOT going to be happy, may play up and it may end up a terrible time in the end.
Is it worth your hubby offering an apology for losing his temper and extending an olive branch in an attempt more gentle discussions?
Maybe this way she will apologise also and be a little more open to suggestions
I have it the opposite way round whereby the older ones are free to stay with me while the younger one may beforce to see her father. I think siblings should be together on Christmas Day. However the older children are the more freedom of choice they should have.
I am looking at your situation from both sides and it seems it''s quite a difficult one.
My friend has 2 children by her ex husband and a 2 year old by her current partner. She alternates Christmas''s with her ex husband but has told him now that as soon as the youngest is old enough to understand Christmas and Santa etc then she will want all the kids together on Christmas day so they can all be excited together and her youngest doesn''t miss out, which I agree with to a certain extent, her 2 eldest are younger than your 2, they are 5 and 8.
With your situation I think that by the time the youngest is old enough to
Understand christmas and be excited about it that the eldest will have lost interest in the Christmas morning madness and the middle one will nearly be at that stage too. That would be my argument and I would argue this in mediation. Maybe ask to keep everything as it is for a few years and then look at how things are then, when all the children have grown up a bit and you know what position you are in regarding having your own child. It seems ridiculous to plan Christmas for the next 7 years and more reasonable to take it year by year.
The suggestion that another poster made was a good one, maybe she could have Christmas eve, Christmas day etc and you have boxing day to new year and alternate it that way.