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My stbxw is making it hard for me to see my kids

  • Stratocaster
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04 Oct 12 #359381 by Stratocaster
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I am in the process of divorcing and am still in the same home with my stbxw and our 2 children.

She has frequently taken them away from home and kept them away all night without discussion or informing me where they are. Tonight is one such night and I was able to call my daughter and she told me her mother has left her at their aunts house, she didnt know where her mother went, I can only suspect it is on one of her dates.

What I need to ask is what can I do? I want to be with my children yet my stbxw makes it so hard and regularly takes them away overnight.

I love my children and feel it is unfair that I am denied seeing them, helping them with homework, cooking for them etc while the mother goes out all night. If she chooses to go out all night she can leave my children with me, but she doesnt.

Is there anything I can do to prevent her doing this? How will this reflect on her if custody of the children gets to the divorce courts?

I need advice, I cant tell you how depressed I get when I am away from my children.

  • Ripcord
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04 Oct 12 #359384 by Ripcord
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Ok, you dont say how old your children are? Or what the plan is in terms of who is eventually going to move out of the house? If your going to remain in the house, get down to the court with an application for a residence order pdq! then she cant just up and take the children when she wants to.
Have you sat and talked with her about how you share current childcare? Tried to deveop a rota if needed?
Whatever their ages it cant be good for them to with all this upheaval too & from their aunts and you have PR for them where aunt doesn''t!
I wuld try reasning first, then to court if it doesn''t work!!
Good luck!

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04 Oct 12 #359385 by Stratocaster
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Children are 9 and 12. We are not in agreement about who moves out, I have offered to buy her out but cannot give the lump sum she wants, she refuses to allow me to pay a set amount every year for a buyout.

I am hoping to have the children at least 50% of the time.

What is a ''residence order''?

I cant speak with her because I have been summonsed to court on a non-molestation order in a few weeks but the court has allowed me to still live here until I have given my side of events. Added to this I will not speak to my stbxw as I am in fear of her accusing me of harrassment or being violently aggressive, as only last month she became violently aggressive toward me in front of our children and then called the police and accused me of assault (I was released the next day without charge). I dont want to put myself in a position shere she can accuse me of aggression in any way.

I''m not in a good position as I am lost with what I can and should do.

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05 Oct 12 #359448 by Ripcord
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Have you been to the Citizens Advice Bureau? They have solicitors who could give you some pointers. You are vulnerable to accusations all the time you are living under the same roof. More importantly the children are at risk of witnessing further domestic situations. Children are affected by domestic abuse whatever form it is in, verbal, physical, hearing it going on in the house etc; and that is the way the court will look at it. If your stbxw is determined to sully your character, she will manufacture situations like before, it will be difficult for you to prove whether you are the victim or the perpetrator.
A Residence Order is an order made by the court which states where and with who children will live. Usually a Guardian is appointed by the court to look after the children''s interests and they will ask them questions, at 9 & 12 they can say how they feel but emotionally they may feel torn between the two of you.
If your stbxw takes them to their aunt''s again, go and pick them up, you have parental responsibility for them not the aunt she can''t prevent you collecting your own children (well don''t leave it until they''re asleep!)
As far as the house is concerned, is it possible (presuming you jointly own it but you pay the mortgage?) to let your stbxw stay there until your children have finished their education, then sell it and split the equity? Or have a valuation of the house now, let her carry on paying the mortgage but collect your share of the equity once the children finish in education? There''s a number of options, depending on who does or can financially contribute, I''m just trying to give you ideas to follow up. If you then had a place of your own closeby, you could have a shared Residence Order (maybe with a defined contact order)with your stbxw so the children can have 50% time with you both.
Get to the Citizens Advice, you can''t do this on your own!

  • Fiona
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05 Oct 12 #359481 by Fiona
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You need to sort out arrangements for the children before you can tackle the finances.

Both parents have Parental Responsibility which means they have equal responsibility and rights to carry out those responsibilities. If agreement can''t be reached about living or contact arrangements it''s open to either parent to apply to court for an order to regulate Parental Responsibility.

The terms "custody" and "access" were replaced with "residence" and "contact" a good few years ago. A residence order determines where a child lives and can be in favour of one parent or if the children live with both parents shared. A shared residence order doesn''t necessarily mean child care is shared equally 50:50, it can be in different proportions.When making an order the court has to consider whether it is necessary to make an order at all and residence orders are usually only granted in favour of one parent when for one reason or another it is deemed inappropriate for the child to live with the other parent.

If there is a dispute about residence or concerns about children''s welfare a judge can ask for a court officer responsible for advising courts about children (CAFCASS) to carry out an investigation into the background of the case to assist the judge making a decision. A guardian is only appointed if matters can''t be resolved and the judge thinks the children should have someone to represent their interests independently.

When making a decision the court refers to a Welfare Checklist in s1 Children Act 1989. The welfare of children is paramount and regard is given to the wishes and feelings of children according to their age and maturity, the background and the capabilities of each parent. It''s unlikely the courts would change an established arrangement significantly. When there is evidence both parents worked and shared child caring responsibilities equally 50:50 or almost 50:50 during their relationship the courts are likely to make an order for 50:50 shared residence when the relationship ends.

If in your case child care responsibilities were shared in significant proportions before you separated and your wife is unilaterally changing the status quo you would be well advised to take the matter to court sooner rather than later before a new status quo is established.

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05 Oct 12 #359497 by Stratocaster
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Thank you very much Fiona, there''s a lot of good advice there, and yes she does appear to be trying to change the Status Quo in that I rarely see my children.

Just so that you are aware, I work at home and cannot work elsewhere as all my resources are here. I have been hit hard by the recession and lost my regular work some 3 years ago and have been struggling since then, The only secure work I have is working for myself which is now my main income. If I lose access to my home it is a likely scenario that I can become bankrupt.

Do you or anyone else reading this have any advice on what I can do?

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