have two boys 9 and 11 and separated 14 months. have them overnight mon to tues school to school, and sat am to 6.00pm. i have had continual interference with contact and games galore.good case study in the making on PA.
offered mediaition and said i would pay. costing £440 a session and i have the money for one more session (7 grand in debt)
i would like a parenting plan and some weekend overnoght contact every other weekend sat to sun at 1.00pm.
at last mediaition ex agred friday alternate overnight but cancelled it before first session as kids "were upset"
she contacted the mediator who allegedly agreed it was a proposal not an agreement.
i have said that i will only go back for last session if we go in with a signed agreed parenting plan and have sent one for discussion with extra contact alternate sat (she says i would lose alternate daytime sat.
this is based on her unwillingness to support increase from last session (ie dont trust her and do not want to spend last penny on useles process as she may decide not to sign anything. she states she wants finances sorted and even here i wonder is she just trying to soak up my last bit of cash and then get legal aid for court re. finances. (mediaitor states that she is not entitled to legal aid but i am not aware of her current financial situation.
got e mail from her today stating that the medistor does not want us to mediate outside of the session and on that basis she will not sign.
i want to avoid court for my kids sake and want a parenting agreement signed so that if she does interfere with it i will reluctantly have to go for court order.do i stick to my current position or gamble despite her refusal to support last increase in contact.
My thinking is that mediation has its place if it narrows the differences between you and builds some kind of working relationship for the future. In all honesty, that''s priceless for the kids.
That said, mediation is only ever going to provide what the ex feels is ok. It''s a forum where she has the power. Also, any agreements reached are not going to be legally enforceable.
I tenantively suggest that you complete a C100 and file for a contact order. I''d suggest presenting this to the ex as a ''positive'' thing. You want to avoid future conflict by allowing both parties to have peace of mind and know where they stand. You also hope that by the time the court date comes round you will have an agreement that the court could rubber stamp.
This approach runs the risk of antagonsing your ex, but on the other hand may concerntrate her mind a little on reaching reasonable comprimises.
Hope this helps (ought to mention im a children & family sw too)
thank you zonked. im going off track here but i know a lot of NRPs get hooked on levels of contact rather than quality of contact. the monday overnight is great because its like i can parent them. homework cooking fun time etc and take them to school the next day. saturday is ok too but i often end up dropping them at their nans and have been refused weekend overnight contact. im putting you on the spot here i know but what level of contact do you think is appropriate to maintain a relationship with the children. it has been a very hostile separation and i have tried to take the high road as it were eg pic of mum in kids bedroom, always positive about mum etc i coud list a hunderd things that show that this is not reciprocated. little one told me for example that mum said if i was keeping him here she would come and collect him, inappropriate telephone conversations within earshot of kids etc. im at aloss what to do. she loves the kids like i do but i just dont get it and im weary of the whole thing. sorry for rant!
Allow me to be blunt. I think your suffering from what I would call ''nice guy syndrome''. In an effort to be decent you have accepted a secondary parenting status and by doing so have relagated your childrens needs below your ex''s wishes.
Am not saying you should be confrontational, but am suggesting your starting point has to be what you feel represents your childrens best interests. In terms of a father, what should they have? My view is alternate weekends Fri-Mon and an overnight in the other week. Plus shared half terms, alternate easter/xams and holiday times. But my view, anyones view, is unimportant compared to yours. You are your childrens advocate, their father, your job is to argue from conviction what you believe there interests to be.
I think you should apply for a contact order - the kids have their own timetable and you can not afford further delay. Keep the mediation going as well, narrow the differences if you can. But the primary goal has to remain delivering to your kids the parenting arrangments they need and deserve.
the difficulty i have is the impact of court proceedings on the children. where possible the children have been made to choose between parents in terms of contact and the contact levels have been drawn up in her words under the remit of "the childrens wishes and feelings" and the wishes of the absent parent as she calls me.
the children have quite clearly got the message that contact with dad is unimportant-its often interfered with usually every three/four weeks. she does offer alternatives but it underlines the power imbalance with the kids.
i have aluded to parental alienation and cetainly having read amy bakers book breaking the ties that bind the common strategies used by an alienating parent are all the norm in my situation. a common theme for example was hte negative comment on the doorstep after contact. i could list them but suffice to say they were meant to end the contact with mums dissaproval. as stated she is a childrens social worker so waht i face is not a dads a B@@@@@d type scenario. its more subtle than that. parental alienation is generational in her family and indeed she was emotionally abused by her mother. i hate to pathologise my ex i loved her once and she loves the kids and in many respects is a good mother. she does though have issues arond attachment and abandonment. ironically my own mother tried to do the same with my old man but it didnt work.i know how it feels to be caught between parents and i loved my father dearly because his love was unconditional and he never slated my mother.
none of this of course solves my dilema and maybe there is no answer?
court would be a gamble in that it will be used to influence the eldest as in dads taking mum to court etc this would possibly push him further towards mum. he has said that he wants things to stay the same although he cant tell me why? told me he has "choices" (not very age appropriate for an 11 year old) and that mum says he does not have to go if he does not want to.in the summer the youngest told me that if "dad was keeping me here" mum would come and pick him up. these are all classic alienating strategies. its like watching your kids be emotionally abused and you feel powerless. i have managed to maintain a reasonable relationship with the kids although that is sometimes difficult when you have been undermined as a parent.
part of me thinks that the kids are being manipulated anyway so just go to court. on the other hand i know that it will up the ante in terms of pressure on the children.