I had been considering what to do about my problematic divorce when my ex suddenly filed for residence of the kids and defined contact.
I have (on the advice of a solicitor) filed papers in a cross application for residence, contact and prohibited steps.
As I''m sure most of you know, I''ve been left without hardly any advice and feel very lost.
Does anyone have any good frank advice as to what will happen at the first hearing?
The kids are currently seeing their mother 2 nights a week (Monday and Tuesday), and it seems very clear in the mind of my eldest son what he wants to do and when. He likes his routine and I am trying very ardently to stick to it because last upset (mum leaving) caused months of mental anguish and difficulty at school etc. He''s exceptionally bright (possibly the brightest in his class) for his age, but I''m still worried about CAFCASS reports not wanting to let him have a say since he''s 7 and a half.
I''ve been primary carer since she left and was pretty much primary carer before she went as well. She''s previously been abusive to me and the kids.
At the first hearing, the judge wants to assess the two of you to see what sort of relationship you have with each other. The safeguarding information needs to have been filed. Most importantly, the judge and the CAFCASS officer will be wanting to know what is the reason that your ex thinks it is appropriate to impose on the children what would be quite a dramatic change in their lives - and it would need to be a very good reason to justify it. How long has she been gone now?
She has been gone now for nearly 2 years (Aug 2010). Originally we were trying to do shared care, but after about a year (til aug 2011) she barely had them go to her place to have them sleep over and the contact arrangements were always all over the place; she never stuck to times properly and used to request them to see her all kinds of times.
It got very tense once the switch over days were becoming difficult; the kids wanted to stay at home and sleep at home. We built the contact up from 0 nights to 2. The kids seemed to just about cope with that.
I want to stick to what we''re already doing because the children are happy doing it.
She wants to impose changes upon them, even after her abusive behaviour, ignoring their requests and neglecting them.
The relationship I now have with my ex is awful. I can barely look her in the eye. I feel scared and intimidated by her and totally unable to speak my mind because she bullies me so much.
I''m not a wuss, but trying to talk to her causes her to attack me in the most horrid ways.
We went to mediation and her first move was to tell me she was moving back into the FMH "to get her rights back to her property and her children", and she has a habit of then denying saying or doing those things after the event. I was shocked and upset, as you can imagine, I was also confused and cornered.
I''m never abusive, I don''t shout, but I do get desperate and upset.
By the way- I know she will try to accuse me of withholding contact (because sometimes she would come to my house to pick up and they would refuse to go, sometimes she would leave them peacefully, sometimes she would verbally and mentally abuse them and me, sometimes she would physically abuse me and them too.) She will also try to suggest that I''ve been withholding information, or just being generally bad at passing on stuff for the kids. I''ve tried my best to get all the doctors to CC all information and letters to her, I''ve also tried my best to get them to see her, and encourage contact.