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Partner's ex threatening to stop access because of me

(36 Posts)
BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 14:26:37

To cut a long story short, I spent the day with my partner and his daughter at the weekend which is only the second time I've met her in the 8 months we've been together. We expected some backlash but heard nothing, until today. Now she is threatening to stop access if I am involved, on the grounds that it may 'affect her [SD's] emotional wellbeing'.

She also said that she is filing for divorce and he should expect a letter soon. Can anyone tell me if the divorce letter is likely to discuss access arrangements? I'm worried that he's going to get a letter full of accusations about his ability as a parent that is going to lay the foundations for her to refuse reasonable access.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 24-Jan-13 14:31:22

I think you're worrying for no reason. Even if a solicitor's letter is full of accusations, it has no more value or weight than if she scribbled it herself in green crayon. It's not evidence and cannot be used as such in court.

Are contact meeting by court order, or voluntary? How old is the daughter?

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 14:40:17

It's been voluntary so far, although ex has been very controlling as to what he can do and where he can go with her. She is 4 so she is asking difficult questions etc. and I know his ex has to deal with a lot of that but they have to move on, she wants to spend more time with her Dad, real 'family' time, but ex is trying to prevent that.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 24-Jan-13 14:55:59

That's a pain, I'm assuming here that she has no reason to worry? Probably best if you wait for the letter to arrive, see what it says, and go from there. Your dp is going to need his own solicitor at some point, so now might be a good time to start looking for a lawyer he likes.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 24-Jan-13 14:58:13

This is a good place to start looking, or here if you're in Scotland. Hope you can get this all sorted out soon.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 24-Jan-13 14:59:53

Families need Fathers have useful info too. NB, NOT F4J!

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 24-Jan-13 15:01:31

Hang on, 'they' have to move on? Are you expecting a 4 yr old to be able to grasp the concept of 'moving on'? And 'move on' from what exactly? What difficult questions are being asked by the 4 yr old? And what is your DP doing to deal with these 'difficult questions'?

Ultimately, if your DP doesn't want to be 'controlled' over when and how much time he spends with his DD, and who he introduces to his DD, then he either seeks medation with his ex, or takes the matter to court if mediation fails to resolve the issues the ex has over contact/your involvement.

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 15:03:13

Thanks, I'll pass on the info.

No, she has no reason to worry, it's just a BS excuse because she (perhaps understandably) doesn't like the idea of us being together.

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 15:06:27

Bunch - I meant partner and his ex need to move on, to a point where the child gets to spend quality time with her Dad. They've been doing the Sunday thing for a long time now. She's asking about where he lives and wants to go to his (our) house but ex won't let him take her there.

He was hoping to avoid court but sadly it looks unavoidable now.

ivykaty44 Thu 24-Jan-13 15:14:16

I would suggest for mediation and then your boyfriend can explain that if he can't spend time with other people when he has his dd this will make her life very sad for their daughter - as friends etc might also affect her [SD's] emotional wellbeing

But of course it also means that the mother needs to act in the same way so she needs to stop seeing any friends as it may effect her daughters emotional well being. As it needs to be a level play fields with both parents acting the same and having the same rules when parenting.

It would be better if both parents could decide how they handle boyfirends and girls friends when their daughter is around and that perhaps they don't hold hands or kiss in front of daughter and don't introduce her to a string of girls friends or boy friends - but they need to do this and make choices for the daughter together - not one making rules for the other to obay.

Could your partner write a letter suggesting they get together to talk about things they want as parents for their daughter so they can avoid misunderstandings and both do the same things regarding her care as they both love their daughter and want her to be a well adjusted child.

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 15:27:11

Ivy, I totally agree. She is being very inconsistent, especially as she has introduced her daughter to at least one boyfriend that we know of.

I have made a point of not being affectionate towards my partner when we see her and hanging back a bit sometimes to make sure she doesn't feel uncomfortable. We both want her to gradually get used to me being around.

A letter could work, although he is very cautious of saying anything that could be used against him so he's just taking the 'say nothing' approach until he's seen the solicitor's letter and had chance to think about it.

Collaborate Thu 24-Jan-13 15:45:20

Typical argument that the court sadly hears a lot of. Tends not to impress most judges. Why on earth would a 4 year old have a problem with either parent's new partner unless the other parent implants it?

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 15:54:02

She has also said that being in houses she's not familiar with is too upsetting for her. This is the reason she hasn't allowed her to visit the house. I'd maybe understand it if the kid was an emotional wreck but she's a happy, confident little girl who just wants to spend more time with her Dad.

ThingummyBob Thu 24-Jan-13 16:07:23

Is there a reason the ex specifically doesn't like you OP were you the ow in their split or would she be unreasonable with any new partner of her ex's? It does sound strange if she has introduced a new patner but he is not allowed confused

I think the answer to this changes expectations of how the ex should behave tbh.

Also, 8 months in is pretty soon, maybe the ex feels that it is too quick to be introoduced as someone who already lives with her dad iyswim. Do you think she would have felt differently if the child had been intoduced to you slowly as a girlfriend first rather than a live-in partner?

BadlyDrawnWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 16:20:38

She just seems very controlling and manipulative and she's forgetting that it's not him, her or me that's important here, it's her daughter. She's using their child to hurt him and dressing it up as protection.

I don't think 8 months is soon at all, we're at a point where we're serious enough about each other live together, I'd say that is the point at which we have to be introduced.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 24-Jan-13 18:40:59

OP how was the introduction, on both sides, dealt with? Did your DP tell his ex when he was going to introduce you the 1st and 2nd time it happened? Was his DD aware it was going to happen? Did his ex talk to your DP before she introduced her boyfriend? Do they actually talk to each other or is communication non existent?

balia Thu 24-Jan-13 19:11:44

I agree with you, OP, sounds very controlling. I agree with the suggestion of taking action now, organising mediation and then court to sort it out. Much better for the little one to have a normal relationship with her Dad.

nkf Thu 24-Jan-13 19:17:25

I don't understand the housing situation. Eight months in, you are living together? Did he ever live anywhere where his daughter could visit?

ThingummyBob Fri 25-Jan-13 09:16:02

Did you miss the first question I asked OP?

Its pertinent I think.

You aslo never explained how the intriductions were made.

If you were an ow the situation is very different to an amicable split where each parent has now moved on....

Collaborate Fri 25-Jan-13 09:24:15

Thingummy: the reason puts it in context but is irrelevant, if you prioritise the needs of the child, to the issue of what contact arrangements are appropriate.

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 09:28:26

BTDT.

Tell your man to get lawyered up.
I had access problems from the get go; eventually OW had moved in with me, and xDW was angry, unsurprisingly.

She tried to set conditions.
She was disabused of this very sharply.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 25-Jan-13 09:39:31

On the basis that Mum has introduced her DD to her boyfriend/partner, it seems irrelevant whether the OP and her boyfriend are moving 'too fast' for the DC - Mum seems to have already set the pace in that regard.

Similarly, if OP was the 'OW' then the relevance if that is lost now that Mum has involved her DC with her own new partner.

BadlyDrawnWoman Fri 25-Jan-13 09:59:20

OnMoreChap - he is looking into that now, he expects to get a letter from her solicitor soon about the divorce but we don't know how much of the access arrangements will be discussed at this stage.

Can I ask how long it took for you and your ex to come to agreement over access? How did you do it? Did it cost a lot?

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 11:37:55

Access remained problematic for years. Usually resolved by me saying, "Fine, we'll go to Court."

She used to lie to the children about when I said I'd have them, what I had requested for holidays. That ended up with me refusing to make arrangements that weren't written down. When I asked for a weekend/holiday, I'd give the children an open letter, so they could read what I had asked for.

Once the children were older, they used to just tell their mother they'd like to go and see their dad - and she'd ring up and rant at me; I'd say drop me a line - and she would have to be careful, because the children would then ask her to see what she was sending me.

OW or not, the father should not, and almost certainly won't be prevented by the courts from seeing his kids. I had to make sure I had a suitable flat - later house - for them to come and stay.

I offered to get social services involved which also upset XW.

ThingummyBob Fri 25-Jan-13 11:56:51

Oh i don't know.

If OP was the ow then I think it would be expected that normal introductions etc might take longer/be more fraught.

OP also said that the ex might stop access as she feels OP being around is affecting the childs well being. Why would she say this if she herself has had a new boyfriend? That why I wondered.

She might just be an idiot being difficult with her ex, or she might be trying to protect her child from further hurt caused by the fallout of an affair etc; which if the OP had been ow would seem not at all unreasonable to me at this early stage of an affair becoming a 'proper' relationship.

Different situations call for a different approach. Without all the info its difficult to advise.

I maybe a cynic but I do wonder why the OP did not answer my question.

Onemorechap and collaborate. It seems from the OP that the mother is not refusing access carte blanche. She is being 'difficult' about it and I'm wondering if OP needs to back off a bit for a while and let her partner sort out any fallout with his ex before any of them can 'move on' properly.

ivykaty44 Fri 25-Jan-13 12:06:54

regardless of whether Op is the ow or not it is the child of 4 that matters and she is not going to understand or care about whether this is a regular girl friend or the OW? A child of 4 just isn't going to be able to tell the difference - is she?

ThingummyBob Fri 25-Jan-13 12:19:37

No katy, but OP might jsut have to accept that her dream scenario of happy blended family might take a bit longer to adjust too than if it was an amicable split and all above board from the start.

Do none of you see this?

I admit that if I found myself in thsi situation I may have a few issues concerning my dcs and the ow.

How does the OP know that the 'kid' is happy and welll adjusted if shes only met her twice confused

This is me being cynical though as the OP didn't answer the question. It may be that she was not the ow at all...

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 12:29:15

ThingummyBob

yeah, I got difficult.
"You can have access between 10-12 on Saturday... when the kids are at swimming lessons." So I could either not speak to them at lessons, or take them out of lessons.

Solicitor's letter for proper weekend access.
DP and ex can sort out their issues without ex using the kids as a weapon.

BadlyDrawnWoman Fri 25-Jan-13 12:37:09

I'd rather let you speculate, and, as others have said, how we got together has nothing to do with with what I'm asking about.

A lot of ex partners have a problem with their children playing happy families with their step-family, but they have to go along with it for the sake of the children, and I admire that. But what's happening here is my partner's ex putting her own feelings ahead of her child's welfare.

I've looked into the court forms for divorce and child arrangements and there are questions about childcare and access so I guess he will have a chance to question the current arrangements there. But what happens if the parents don't agree? Will the solicitor(s) recommend mediation straight away?

BadlyDrawnWoman Fri 25-Jan-13 12:39:41

Ivy, you're right, she doesn't understand or care what my relationship is to her Dad yet, in fact she asked him 'where his sister had gone' when he dropped her off smile

MOSagain Fri 25-Jan-13 13:22:23

Sadly, many family lawyers such as collaborate and myself have seen numerous situations where the mother is being 'difficult' for no other reason than spite/control.

Sometimes it is the only control the mother has when her ex leaves and quite often the child or children become pawns which is so very sad.

ScrabbleMarathon Fri 25-Jan-13 17:37:13

Slow waaaaaay down OP.
You are the OW yes? It's not relevant when dealing with cold hard facts and ensuring that your partner has contact with his daughter.
But it IS relevant when you are dealing with basic humanity and emotions.
Ex has only just found out that you have been introduced to her little girl. A couple of days in and you are taking it upon yourself to look into court forms for someone elses divorce hmm

I sense a long hard road ahead if you don't both take a step back and your partner then makes an effort to reassure his Ex about the nature of his relationship with you, and seeks to work WITH her to ensure that any concerns she might have (no matter how unreasonable they may seem to YOU) are addressed.

nkf Fri 25-Jan-13 19:59:37

Oh, well, he should sort it out. Otherwise, you will become another of those whingy stepmothers (MN is full of them) going on about ex wives. But while he's got you to do the worrying and fretting, why should he bother. If everything you do has been done with the welfare of young children uppermost, you have nothing to think about.

ThingummyBob Fri 25-Jan-13 20:14:11

But it IS relevant when you are dealing with basic humanity and emotions

Well said Scrabble.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 25-Jan-13 21:29:08

nkf are MOS and collaborate wrong when they cite their experience in the legal profession?

Are there really no unreasonable, selfish, abusive mothers out there who use contact between their DCs and their ex as a weapon to punish their ex for his perceived transgression?

OneMoreChap Mon 28-Jan-13 11:28:09

NotaDisneyMum Fri 25-Jan-13 21:29:08

Are there really no unreasonable, selfish, abusive mothers out there who use contact between their DCs and their ex as a weapon to punish their ex for his perceived transgression?

Shedloads.
Oh, and hasn't ex had some BF too?

especially as she has introduced her daughter to at least one boyfriend that we know of Oh, yes she has.

Legal and court; only way forward. I agree with posters who say it's down to the dad; if he's too spineless to push, he won't get.

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