Right of first refusal

(24 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 09:40:11

Hi all.

I always like to post on the steps boards for questions like this. I trust you to tell me if I am unreasonable or not, plus as my dd is in a step family situation, I want to see things through her/her other family's eyes.

Ex and I are in a dispute at the moment over several things. It is not pretty and unfortunately he is taking me to court. However, one issue that he has raised just recently through his sols is that I have left our dd in the care of others when he was available to care for her. He is very 'personal' in his wording ( I guess solicitors helped him with that) and it reads like I 'dump' my dd with whoever. Not nice.
Now the irony here, is that the occasions he speaks of are rare rare events where I have left dd with someone else (family), yet ex himself regularly leaves dd with his wife, her family and more recently, a nanny employed for their other children.
I responded to his points by agreeing that dd should always be cared for by her parents and askin him in that case, to agree that we offer each other the right of first refusal if either parent isn't available.
His response? That the delegation of care is an inevitability at times, therefore he will agree to offer me care of dd if he isn't available, but only if SM, dd's childminder or their nanny isn't available.

Has he missed the point here completely? He basically wants to 'attack' my leaving dd with someone else twice in one year, yet he can do it all the time? (he is heavily dependent on SM for care)
To be honest, I knew the 'right of first refusal thing would not suit him. Something like this would affect him way more than it does me. My job lends itself to being able to care for dd much more than his can. Whilst this is clearly not his fault, I offered a solution to a problem that HE raised, and he now won't agree to it.

He complained bitterly that I had arranged for someone else to look after dd while I was away for the day. When he brought her back, I wasnt there and he said I should have let him keep her and that it was 'decietful' not to inform him of my absence. Surely though, if he insists on having dd in the holiday and doesn't tell me he will actually not be available and will be putting her in childcare, then his argument is weak?

Should care of dd be offered to 3 other people before me if I am willing?

What do you think?

clam Sat 10-Nov-12 09:53:41

OK, so this is probably not very helpful, but how do you stop yourself from telling him to just fuck off?

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 10:02:27

Lol clam, it takes every fibre of my being, believe me.

Can I also ask. Ex has referred to their nanny as one of my dd's designated childminders. The issue I have with this is I never heard of the woman before and surely if she was my dd's Childminder, I should have been told? Ex and his wife insisted on a separate meeting with my dd's current Childminder, and asked her all sorts of pertinent questions ( after I had already employed her?!). How can accept that this new woman is a Childminder for my dd when i haven't even met her?!

amarylisnightandday Sat 10-Nov-12 10:14:57

Don't humour this. He is being controlling for the sake of it. And ridiculous

DSD lives with us now, but just after the divorce she lived with her mother, who instructed DH that she should never be left with anyone else for any reason... Including a couple who had looked after DSD for a week while DH & exW had a holiday!

He simply said to her in that case, the same applied to her. She said that was unrealistic. He said "..."

I think your ex is being controlling. To a certain extent, if it's a day's holiday & you're not there to look after her, it would be polite to offer the time to him, but if he is generally a controlling arse I can see why you wouldn't. In addition, if it is family looking after her, they would appreciate the time with her too.

Don't think he has a leg to stand on, & I think your response of ensuring that the right of first refusal would be mutual is perfectly appropriate.

Re the childminder - have to say if he's employed her then I think she is a childminder during your DD's time with her Dad. Equally, I would expect it to be reasonable that if you employed a new childminder during your time that he would respect your judgement to do so - i.e. it needs to work both ways!

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 11:06:55

Thanks for replies. I think the issue of the Childminder irked me because Ex insisted on interviewing the one I employ for dd after school. He is regularly in touch with dd's Childminder and let's me know of his rights in that respect.What he is failing to realise is that if he expects these rights to be met, then surely i would have the same ones?

I can't agree with the idea that care of my dd should be offered to 3 other people before me. This isn't a right of first refusal at all- this is seeing me a last resort! angry while actually making a point in his court application that I leave dd with family and friends all the time?

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sat 10-Nov-12 11:11:04

I'm with Clam!!

He's being a controlling fuckwit - ignore all his crap and deal with it in court.

Don't make daft agreements with him (right of first refusal) as clearly it only works in one direction.

Stop letting the twat bully you
x

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 11:15:43

Chip- do you think a judge would agree with me that dd's care should not be offered to 3 other people before me? ( one of whom I've never heard of?)

ChocHobNob Sat 10-Nov-12 11:23:11

Pingu, I'm confused about whether you agree with this "right of first refusal" or not.

I think you are absolutely right to be annoyed at his hypocrisy, untruths and attempts to control you. He cannot dictate you must check with him first for any childcare if he isn't willing to do the same.

But you have been happy in the past with sorting out your own childcare cover and now seem dead set on this right of first refusal. This will affect you too. Will you be happy to check with him first every time you need to find suitable care for your child? Or would you rather just continue as you both have been and that is taking care of matters in your own time as you see fit?

In my eyes, it would be better for you to focus on the fact that you have not done this regularly, it has been on very rare occasions and when needs must and that you don't expect him to have to check with you every time he needs care either.

On short notice or for short periods, there is nothing wrong with finding suitable care while in your own time. I would say though, that if you discovered you had a day out like you did and it meant you wouldn't be home when your dd was being dropped off, my first thought would be to check with Dad first to see if he can and wants to keep dd for longer rather then trying to find someone else to look after her.

ChocHobNob Sat 10-Nov-12 11:27:16

That is completely different to Dad or you ending up having to pop out or something crops up half way through the day, so you find someone to just pop in and babysit or you pop dd over to theirs.

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 11:43:01

Choc, thanks for the reply.

I guess the issue of offering him right of first refusal is because he attacks my choices to leave dd with other people. I offered him this so that we would both be agreeing to the same thing, given that it seemed to bother him so much, ifyswim.

I fully expected him not to agree to it. He depends on other people a lot, whereas its rare for me. I guess what annoyed me was only was he not going to agree to it- he would check if 3 other people were available first!

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 11:49:51

Choc I also completely agree that it made more sense to ask ex if he could care for DD that day I was out- however, the man intimidates me. I have learned from experience that if I ask him to hang on to dd for an extra couple of hours because I'm running late, he insists on keeping her overnight, so I didn't get to see her at all. sad
He also sniffs and tuts at my what he calls my 'big social life' and just generally implies that dd comes second to it, so asking him to cover me occasionally has just left me open to criticism that I no longer want. If I had the kind of relationship with him where I could send dd there (on my days) without the fear of what they will say about me, or that they will just keep her overnight, then I would. Gladly.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 10-Nov-12 11:50:51

No surprises so far then pingu - one rule for you and another for him!

Hand it to your solicitor, let him present your ex's inconsistency in relation to this for what it is - a blatant attempt to control you.

(Technically, he's right, he could refuse to place your DD in someone else's care when he drops her off unless a CO is in place - but so can you and that includes you placing her in SM or Nannys care.

Keep strong; it sounds like he's revealing his true colours with each integration you have and that can only help your legal team if it ever ends up in court.

ChocHobNob Sat 10-Nov-12 12:03:35

I understand what you are saying.

I just worry that the impression you give from focusing on your frustration with him having 3 choices of childcare before you, is that you are giving support to his claims that you have been unreasonable those times before when you left dd in someone else's care. It's like you are holding your hands up and saying "You are absolutely right, I was wrong to do that and you are too so we have to both stop doing it."

Whereas I would try and focus more on the fact that it didn't harm dd in the past to be left with your choice of carer, it isn't always practical to give first right of refusal but if he feels so strongly about it you are more than willing to follow it through as long as he repays you the same respect and you have first right of refusal when he cannot do the childcare himself. Then he is just digging himself into a bigger hole when he refuses.

Rather then tit for tat.

I hope that makes sense.

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 12:07:45

Thanks NADM, you are very kind. wink
It is definitely going to court - we have a date now.

I just thought this issue was bizarre in the extreme. He goes as far in the court application as mentioning the specific details of two occasions where i left her with someone else. He says that I KNEW he was available to care for dd ( how I wonder? Telepathically?!) yet left her in childcare.
Grrr

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 12:10:58

Choc - you are absolutely right and i see that now. when i respond to his letter I will make sure that I word in the way you describe, i.e. that I was merely offering right of first refusal given that he appeared to have quite strong objections to dd being left with others. grin

NotaDisneyMum Sat 10-Nov-12 13:25:07

pingu don't assume because you have an initial hearing date that the case will go all the way to court order. At any point, the two of you can agree to an arrangement and proceedings can be halted. - once your ex (and his DW) realise that he won't get everything his own way it's quite possible that he'll opt not to seek any form if order - as what he has now with no order may be better than what he's likely to secure through court.
You might decide its best for your DD to have a firm arrangement in place, though.

pinguthepenguin Sat 10-Nov-12 13:39:38

God Disney, the thought of a court order used to terrify me but I'd welcome it now. There is a constant fear that sits in my stomach over contact arrangements, I look forward to that feeling going away.
I also look forward to the chance to finally stand up for my dd.

purpleroses Sun 11-Nov-12 10:05:28

Personally I'd stay well away from any right of first refusal - unless it's a regular and substantial amount of care being provided.

Otherwise why would you want that level of involvement in each other's lives? Every time you want a night out or arange a playdate to cover working late you'd legally have to tell your ex. And the other parent isn't necessarily the best person to care for the child. It may be better for them to be cared for in the house they're at, to see extended family, or learn to trust other people. My DD loves her teenage babysitter. I'm saying this from the standpoint of a reasonably amicable relationship with my ex, do maybe it's harder if you don't trust your ex's judgement. But if things are hostile there seems even more reason to be avoiding either of you being involed in the day to day lives of the other.

pinguthepenguin Sun 11-Nov-12 10:15:17

Purple- thanks.
This isnt really something I am after. It was more of a way of asking ex to agree to one if he felt so strongly about me leaving dd in someone else's care. He has refused the offer, which means he wants to able to belittle my choices and interfere in my life, but to be able to do what he wants when dd is with him. He never had any 'real' concerns about her, it's an attack on me ifyswim.

I guess the part about him offering her care to 3 other people before me smacks a bit, but again, I see it for what it is now.

theredhen Sun 11-Nov-12 10:58:44

I think you also need to be wary because what starts if as childminding actually can become residency.

If your ex end ups having your lo for significant amounts if time, even by using his partner or they nanny, you could end up back in court with him stating he is the main carer. Something to be aware of.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 11-Nov-12 10:58:55

pingu it may be the lesser of two evils in your case - given the level of hostility and the fact that your ex has delegated responsibility for everything including medical decisions to his DW, I'd be trying to secure a way of preventing him replacing you with his DW, too.

I'm sure by now, her assertion that she has rights regarding your DD because she's married to your DDs Dad has been corrected by his solicitor - but the fact that your ex was prepared to support her when she tried to assert those rights over you is a clear indication that he acquiesces to her and considers the women in his DD's life to be interchangeable sad

pinguthepenguin Sun 11-Nov-12 11:14:59

Red- he tried years ago to force me into letting a member of DW's family be dd'd 'childminder' in their home. I saw straight through them- they were trying to take dd from me sad
Disney- you are right on the money there and save from discussing legal tactics, what you've alluded to is the approach my sol wants to take.

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