Making Arrangements In The Other Parents Contact Time

(276 Posts)
SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 09:46:17

Hi everyone, I have another thread too but have some other issues that I'd like to pose to mumsnetters. Everyone gave very honest advice (even if it was a little harsh at times) on my other thread (which I will update as soon as we have an update) and I (and my DP) would very much appreciate some honest opinions here too, and ideas of what to do etc.

My DSD (3) is starting a new preschool in January. She has been on the waiting list for over a year and was finally offered a place in October. It's so much better in every way than her current one, which has just had a "satisfactory" Ofsted report, and this one is "outstanding" - not that Ofsted reports are everything but it just adds to the list of reasons why the new one is better. It's bigger, more activities, better facilities, nicer location etc.

DSD's mum doesn't want her to change preschool but decided to leave it until 2 weeks ago to email DP to tell him. She likes the old one and wants her to stay there. We now have a very awkward situation as she is already enrolled in the new one and deposit is paid. For those of you who have not read my other thread, DSD's mum has only been having her and my other DSD on a 50/50 basis for the last 6/7 months. Before that, she was only seeing them about 1 night per week for around 2 years. During this time things like pre schools and schools were considered, visited, chosen and applied for - she wasn't interested in what choices were made, didn't want to visit any etc, so my DP and I did this, until 6 mths ago she had never been to see DSD's preschool. There is no residency order in place, no court involvement so far, which sort of makes things harder as when DSD's parents can't agree I guess it's a bit of a stalemate!

She hasn't actually given any particular reason for wanting to stop the move just "I like the current one". DP has asked her to visit the new one so she can see how great it is, she won't, she also doesn't want the prospectus we picked up for her, she just will not discuss it. DSD knows she is going to the new pre school after Xmas, she has been and visited with us a couple of times already too.

So my 1st question is What do we do? Cancel the new better preschool because her mum doesn't want her going there, even though she has been waiting for a space for so long, knows that's where she is going and we have paid deposit and we believe it's much better (hence the long waiting list).

My 2nd question is a little bit last minute. Next week, during the DSD's time with their mother, the new pre school is having their "induction" session for all new January starters. The children meet the staff and key workers and all the other new starters, parents have coffee and introduce themselves etc. This is only done once and unfortunately falls on a day when DSD's are with their mum. DP has written to her about 5 weeks ago and explained this all and proposed we take DSD to it (it's only 2 hrs). DSD's mum is at work that particular day, so DSD will be at pre school all day that day anyway so we would pick her up, take her for two hours and drop her back to preschool. DSD's mum has said no, DP cannot take her out of preschool for 2 hours as it is her week with the children.

Now as there is no court order in place DP knows he can very easily just go and get DSD and take her and return her but he is torn as to what to do. He has never once planned something during their time with their mum or asked to take them to anything during that time- and as she is working it doesn't make a difference to her anyway as DSD will be at pre school. He has asked their mum if she could get the time off work to take her instead of us, or we all go together, but she has ignored this possible idea. So what do you guys think? It is for DSD's pre school education but it's certainly not compulsory, it would just be very nice for her and I would think helpful for DSD to go. DP doesn't want to cause problems or act unreasonably during their mums contact time, but equally we know she is saying no because she doesn't want her to start at the new preschool at all (she may have other reasons but she hasn't mentioned any).

All advice greatly received, some of you have so much experience as step parents and of step family situations perhaps someone has been in a similar situation? Part of me just wants to say to DP, forget it, let her mum make the decisions just to keep the peace.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 10:03:08

What are your DPs reasons for changing pre-school?

It's a HUGE step for a little girl who is already at risk if emotional upset (there are issues with her big sister, I think?) - is she desperately unhappy at the existing pre-school or does your DP have concerns about the care/communication/welfare provided?

There's so much going on for these little girls ATM, is be tempted to leave things as they are. It won't be long and she'll be off again for school!

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 10:16:35

Yes, some concerns for her older sister with regards to her being upset/very quite at school sometimes.

The staff at the current pre-school aren't the greatest (I've worked in a pre school before, albeit years ago, so I know what to expect) communication is almost zero and other small things like she never ever brings anything home, no paintings, no pictures, nothing. There are only 2 staff members and a handful of children now whereas there were 25 when she started, so other parents must feel the same and be taking their children out too. But no, there are no concerns about her being mistreated there or anything like that, it's just not a very good preschool. We think 2 terms at this new preschool will really give her the best possible start to school.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 10:25:48

TBH, unless there are very strong reasons to change, I'd leave it.

Your DP needs to pick his battles and it sound like there's been plenty of those!

Lookingatclouds Wed 05-Dec-12 10:27:25

I wouldn't inflame things by arranging anything during her mum's time with her, I'd be arranging mediation to see if it could be sorted out that way.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 10:28:25

"DSD knows she is going to the new pre school after Xmas, she has been and visited with us a couple of times already too"

So you've told DSD she's going even though mum doesn't agree?

Incidentally, is this new pre school the one your children go/went to??

"she also doesn't want the prospectus we picked up for her" - "we" hmm, Do you mean you?

I find your OP title a little misleading. It suggests some activity or other, whereas what you actually want to do is take DSD out of the pre-school her mother is happy with, to have an induction session in a pre-school her mother doesn't want her to go to.

Lookingatclouds Wed 05-Dec-12 10:33:25

I think I'd be considering too not the detail of which pre-school your dsd goes to, or how to get your own way with regard to this, contact and finances, but more how to improve things with their mum so that you can communicate a bit more effectively and they can start to bring the children up together. I would definitely agree with NADM (again) about choosing your battles.

OptimisticPessimist Wed 05-Dec-12 10:34:33

I agree with NADM, these children have so much going on already, with moving to a new contact arrangement in the last 6 months and continuing disagreements between their parents, the older child having trouble at school, this child will presumably be starting school next September which is yet another change, even without the mother's disagreement I would think this is a change too far. Leave her in her current setting and if you really feel she needs more preparation for school then work on it at home on their weeks with you.

purpleroses Wed 05-Dec-12 10:58:16

When will she be 4? If it's before next September, and she'll only have 2 terms of preschool left, then I would definitely leave her where she is. Even if the new preschool is better, the disruption of changing will probably offset any gain. Plus you'd have a battle with her mum.

If she's got another year and a half left, then it might be more worth it, but your DP needs to talk to his ex properly about it, and agree together where she should go. If they can't agree, then leave her where she is.

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 11:25:12

Leave her where she is - in fact I don't really think that is advise as such because if mom doesn't agree then you have no say in it at all and it is between mom and dad.

I agree with the others that these kids by your own admission in other thread are already emotionally distressed so really think being in familiar surroundings are very important and changing to a new environment is just going to cause further upset.

On a slightly different note I have been thinking about your other thread and about you childrens contact with their father? You didn't answer how often he see's your kids? Also I feel that maybe the kids mom had a very tough time and clearly relinquished a lot of her childrens care to their dad, my guess now she is feeling better and able to cope with decision making on their behalf again that she is going to become more assertive over things like this and that may be a bit of a shock to your DP but just because she didn't/couldn't before doesn't mean she does not have the right to do so now. If your DP does not pick his battles as advised then he may find that the stronger she gets mentally the more she may just decides that the 50/50 arrangement is not in the childrens best interests anymore.

millie30 Wed 05-Dec-12 11:36:55

Whose idea was it to change preschool? DP's or yours? Why didn't your DP discuss it with his ex before telling the child she is moving and enrolling her there? For a man who is apparently so decent that he is worried about using the child benefit for purposes which haven't been agreed with his ex, he seems quite happy to find plenty of other ways to ignore her wishes and aggravate her.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 12:06:04

Children need stability and constant routine.too much has happened in their short lives,even adults would find it emotionally difficult .please snow think bout whats best for these kids and not what you want..

Why have you decided this new per school is better? Is it the same one your own dc's attend? Or maybe closer to your home/work place?

These could easily be seen as inflammatory factors by the child's own mother and then cloud any further discussion on the subject.

Will you answer these questions I wonder hmm

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 12:16:44

I agree with purplerose, if she's starting school in September there's no point in moving her now. Moving preschools/schools can be very distressing (for parents and children), I'd say it took my 3yo DS about a month to settle in, even now 3 months later I'd say he's not as settled as he was at his old nursery but he's now in the nursery at the school he will be at so as far as he's concerned it's just school and in September he'll just be moving up to reception.

It just sounds like you and DP made the decision to move her without even discussing it with her mum. Yes she wasn't bothered in the past but things have changed and she now has 50/50 care so decisions should be made together.
How would you and DP like it if she went and made a big decision without consulting you over it? I know if it was me I'd be pissed off so the natural reaction is to just say ''no''.
Also moving her will affect her mum as she will need to take her/pick her up, maybe it's not that convenient for her?

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 12:21:08

If the mother ever does decide to go to court over residency and access, this will look like unreasonable behaviour on your OH's part I would say.

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 12:31:38

Is the current pre-school attached to your older DSD's current school? Does Mum just want to do the one drop-off at the same location? If she's working I can understand why she wouldn't want to do two.

I agree that if your DSD3 is due to start school in September there is very little point moving her now. It's more upheaval for a little girl that's already experienced more than her fair share.

We had a similar situation - my DSD's school got put into Special Measures last year. Obvioulsy my DH wanted to move her but Mum wasn't so sure. He backed down, grumbled now and then and continued to make it clear that he would prefer a different school without stamping his feet. Mum has just agreed to move her after Christmas. DH was uncomfortable for a while but better that than the full-on confrontation that would have resulted if he'd chucked his toys of his pram.

If Mum's not happy with the move, I think you have to leave her where she is. You and DH shouldn't be making these decisions without their Mum.

Mum & Dad need to go to mediation. Alone!

parachutesarefab Wed 05-Dec-12 12:42:06

Do either of the pre-schools link to the primary school that DSD will go to? If the proposed new pre-school has a lot of children who DSD is likely to start school with, and the current pre-school has none, then the disruption now may be worth it as she'll find things easier in September.

I read it that the decision to move pre-school was taken with the knowledge of, but no input from, DSD's mum. In which case telling (preparing) DSD seems reasonable, and for DSD's mum to only now object unreasonable. But, whatever should / shouldn't have happened, this is the situation now. Personally, I would respect DSD's mums wishes, and not take DSD to the 2 hour induction. It would be nice (if she changes pre-school), but not worth fighting a battle over.

I would recommend that your DP keeps copies of communication, notes of phone conversations etc. in case things ever end up in court. But it does sound as if some sort of mediation, for DSD's parents, would be good for everyone.

Lookingatclouds Wed 05-Dec-12 12:59:50

I'd assumed too that this was already in the pipeline before her mum starting having her 50:50. I do wonder though what has happened between her not having any interest whatsover in things like this, to now starting to express an opinion and I wonder too how she has been emotionally, and whether she has been really struggling, and is now finding some strength to stand up for what she would like.

HKnight Wed 05-Dec-12 13:32:23

I see there are some comments on here about the mum who may now be wishing to be more assertive. My DH is in a similar but reversed situation, after the breakdown of his marriage he suffered depression, mourned the loss of his DSC's and only saw his DS for one night a week. At the time he was fighting a costly divorce, had to pay maintenance, and try to save for his future. He lived on a sofa bed that he had to share with his DS whenever he stayed over.

DH now lives with me, his life has stability and he wants to be active in his son's life and he has pushed for more involvement and more contact. This has not gone down well with his Ex, who had been making all the decisions regarding secondary schools, and moaned that why should my DH have more contact and involvement because he never had before.

My view and I feel that mediators and courts will also have this view, is that it takes a mother and a father to raise children. If one had a bit of a wobble but is now willing and able to be active in their children's lives then they need to be supported. I feel it is my role to support my husband in his decisions and not make them for him, and whatever I may feel about the Ex and the way she uses her son as a pawn, she is still his mother and no matter how much of a saint I think I am, she is still the best person to be his mother.

I think you/your DP need to stop fighting the mother, and work with her. It's not easy and my goodness my DH and his ex may never get there. When a mother and father are in a relationship they discuss schooling etc, both have an equal voice and they come to a joint decision, why should this stop once the relationship is over? One party should not dictate to the other, resentment and conflict automatically ensue. I think the best thing you can do for your DSC is to acknowledge that their mum may not be perfect but she is trying, and unless she is actually abusive and the children are in any danger with her, then she has every right to have her thoughts on how her children be raised, where they go to pre-school and when contact should be.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 13:54:57

Thank you everyone who has replied so far. I will try and reply to your questions. The girls have had quite a lot of change over the past 6 months, seeing their mum more mainly so I do agree changing pre school would have to be done for a very good reason.

Parachute and lookingatclouds..... are correct, this was a decision made when their mum wasn't interested. her name was put on the waiting list as it is the most oversubscribed pre school in the area and really is very good. Since then her current pre school has got worse, worsening Ofsted reports, we've started to notice they just don't do all the things a pre school normally does etc. Their number have dropped massively, so other parents are moving their kids too. Now she has a chance to spend the last 2 terms at an excellent pre school. The new pre school is the main feeder pre school for the primary school that DSD may well be going to (2nd choice school but most likely to be offered a place at) so it will massively benefit her as most children there will move up to reception with her.

MrsKeithLemon & Xalla.....The new pre school is near our house, as is the current one, it's only about 3 roads away and their mum drives so no difference in the journey. Neither is attached to the eldest DSD's primary school, that is in a different location, about halfway between our house and their mums house so whoever has the children always has to do 2 drop offs and pickups. My own children are not at either preschool and neither my partner or I have any personal selfish reasons for her going there. Oh and she has refused mediation twice because "she doesn't think it will work" she just will not communicate with DP.

DP has always tried to communicate in writing with their mum. Usually she ignores his emails (once a fortnight after the children's week with us) even important things. She doesn't give her opinion on things that he wants to discuss (pre schools included) he always gives her a few weeks and usually asks again but it's usually the same, ignored. So in the absence of her wanting any imput he has to make decisions himself, what else could he do? He rmum knew that she was on the waiting list for this preschool, she knew when the place was offered too as DP wrote it into an email, she didn't respond. She left it til now, once DP had said she was enrolled to object. It's just so frustrating she doesn't even have a reason.

Allnew... Well I'm not sure who actually reached over and picked up the prospectus from the desk smile but when DP and I visited the preschool we brought home two prospectuses (prospecti?) one for us and one for DSD's mum, in the hope that she might read it and show some interest. She didn't.

Millie... DP doesn't "ignore her wishes" it's just that she has left it right to the last minute to try and change things, doesn't have a good reason to and it just seems to be done to cause problems and hassle for Dp and I.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 13:55:59

Hear hear hknight!

It became a lot easier for me to take a deep breath and deal with whatever drama or chaos the DSC were embroiled in at the hands of their Mum once I had truly accepted that she is doing her best.

For whatever reason, she is reluctant to engage with/listen to professional advice and she does believe that her DCs would be better of without contact with their Dad.

I don't agree with her view, but it is a lot easier to deal with now I have accepted that its not malicious - her values and ethics are different to mine and she is doing her best for the DCs within that framework.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 13:58:14

So, what do you think, Snow?

Are you going to support your DP to change your DSD pre-school despite your initial feelings which have been supported here, or are you going to help your DP achieve what he wants to do against your better judgement?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 13:59:17

HKnight - Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry to hear what you r DH went through but I am glad that he is having lots more contact with his son now! We have no reason to believe their mum had/has any mental health problems, but of course it's sometimes very hard to tell. DP has encouraged and try to help as much as he can for her to have 50/50 care of the children, which she now has, but he has some concerns that her priorities still aren't where they need to be in order to care for two small children for a whole week at a time. Constantly being late for school and other school related things are the main ones. However, he is and always had tried to get her to communicate and make joint decisions but she isn't interested, then at the last minute (like now to do with the preschool) tries to change plans that were made without her because she didn't want to be involved.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 14:02:17

I'm not sure Disney.. If it were my child and I had to make the decision then I would 100% change the preschool, the other one is that much better and she will get to have 2 terms there with many children who will be at reception with her. But I do understand everyone's views about how much change they have had already. Both options have negatives and positives, and either one could be the right or wrong choice, like you were saying yesterday, it's hard to tell which is which.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 14:05:26

You misunderstand me snow - what I'm asking is whether you feel that it would be better for you DP to forget it, (as you said in your OP) not what you would do if you were him wink

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 14:11:10

I think, in that case, I'd be inclined to just take her to the induction (I mean by that I think your DP should taker her) and make it clear to Mum in advance that he is going to do so and list your reasons above. From what you say, Mum probably won't do anything but that's quite worrying in itself.

I don't really agree in doing it without Mum's consent but if she's ignored this as long as you say she has, I can't believe that's she's got particularly strong feelings on the subject? Which is very weird...

I don't know where you live but around here (if you're talking state primary schools), kids are mostly allocated a place at the school where their elder siblings are. Is there a pre-school attached to your elder DSD's school? Maybe your yongest DSD could go there if the current one is failing her? Then the girls would be together. Surely Mum would be happy with that?

In fact so much about your portrayal of Mum bothers me. It sounds like she's quite unwell. Or terrified of your DP? I kind of wish a third party like the courts would get involved.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 14:13:01

Well you cant accept the new placement without mums agreement.the only thing you can do is take all concerns to court and hopefully they will sort it out properly.

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:18:09

Snow - I know that this may not be relevant to this particular thread but I have asked a few times the contact arrangement between your child and their dad - would like to see the bigger picture to get some of the issues into persective

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 14:18:12

xalia I think theres an element of double standards in your post - there are literally thousands of Dads who behave the way snows DSD mum is behaving - and their not assumed to be unwell or terrified of their ex, they are called deadbeat Dads and the DCs mum is encouraged to get on with her life without him.

It is far more unusual for a mother to do this, but not unheard of - although I'm amazed at the similarities between snows experience and that of previous posters - it must be more common than I thought!

Unfortunately, a parent who refuses to be a part of their DCs life cannot be forced to be - and if they interfere and cause distress to the DCs through malice or an inability to parent, then sometimes a court order is the best way for the responsible parent to protect the DCs.

I hope snows DP gets the help he needs so that these DCs are protected from their parents continual bickering hmm

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 14:19:00

*They're, not their!!!!

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 14:23:22

Soething is really wrong here.the mum is being portrayed as not bein bothered,so why then would she do 50/50 split.there is definately more to this.shame we cant here the mums side of this.

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 14:23:49

Yeah I suppose you're right Disney. I know there are plenty of Dad's who behave like that. I don't like to think of a mother capable of it but yes, of course they exist too.

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 14:30:55

Actually though, I've just thought...most deadbeat Dads don't have 50 / 50 care do they?? Deadbeat Dads see their kids occasionally / not at all.

If this woman has her kids 50% of the time (and according to Snow's other thread, she definitely does want her kids 50% time) then it IS very weird that she's so totally switched off to things like her girls' education.

Sorry Disney, I stand by my earlier post!

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 14:33:57

Regardless of how much the kids have already been through, I think a move in pre-school for 2 terms is too much.
I have looked at many preschools and agree that there are HUGE differences between the good ones and bad ones and I appreciate the importance of early years education.'s only for 2 terms, how much difference is 2 terms really going to make? I think as long as you are educating her at home too to make sure she will not be behind when she starts school then she'll be fine.
As far as I'm aware once they're in reception they go back over everything that they have already learnt in preschool because there will be some children who have never had any education.
So in the grand scale of things does it really make that much difference? Going to the worse nursery for 2 more terms is not going to hold her back in later life, so why give the poor girl even more upheaval when she just needs to be settled?

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 14:37:36

As I read it, there has been a change. in the last few months - up until then, Mum only saw her DDs once or twice a week and was uninterested in their pre-school, education etc.

Now she has 50:50 (possibly feeling pressured by their Dad who has been pushing for her to take more interest?) but she has refused to be primary carer, and HAS now expressed an opinion about pre-school.

Yes, it sounds like there are issues of lateness and minor welfare issues (unsuitable clothing etc) but that's not unusual for any family regardless of marital status.

I do think that the OPs DP could do a lot more for his DDs - he seems to be focussing on certain issues and ignoring others, which may be inadvertently inflaming the situation - but unless he secures a court order setting out contact, care and other arrangements then each parent will be at the whim of the other and the DCs will remain in the middle.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 14:44:48

I think theres an element of double standards in your post - there are literally thousands of Dads who behave the way snows DSD mum is behaving - and their not assumed to be unwell or terrified of their ex, they are called deadbeat Dads and the DCs mum is encouraged to get on with her life without him.

DP has often said the same. Mum doesn't show much interest and refuses to communicate about the children- must be struggling, or mentally unwell... Dad does the same- must be a shit dad.

Elliebellys - Something is wrong, but neither DP or I know why or what. She doesn't bother with really important things and ignores DP attempts to discuss and communicate about the children yet she does want them 50/50. It's very odd, and it doesn't seem consistent, that's the biggest problems, she is inconsistent with how much she cares and how much interest she takes in things about the children..

Dp can accept the new placement without her mums agreement, in fact, the new placement has already been accepted (her mum was obviously informed of the place being offered and DP waited a few weeks and when no response was received, accepted the place, as we'd waited so long for it) paper work is done, dd has done a couple of visits there etc. The question is now do we cancel that and keep her at her current pre school.

Xalla - There is no reason to believe she is mentally unwell, she seems to cope fine with all other aspects of her life, hold down a good job, has a relationship, she has a close relationship with her parents who are also close to Dp and they have said they don't know why she behaves like this either. Of course she may be mentally struggling and hiding it well, but surely it would show in some other aspect of her life too. DP and I often wonder what on Earth goes through her head when she says and does really odd things. She definitely isn't scared of DP!

There is no preschool attached to DSD's primary school. Primary schools for youngest DSD are awhole other issue as she is very unlikely to get into the one eldest DSD is in and there isn't much we can do about it, although we have put it as first choice on her application form of course.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 14:47:14

Notadisneymum... You have hit the nail on the head with that last post.

Dp tries as best as he can but he finds it hard (even with help and support from family and friends) to know what IS best for the children in this really messed up situation.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 14:55:31

So you've put dsd1's school first on the application, but are moving Dsd2 to a preschool for 2 terms which is attached to a different primary?

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 14:56:37

Well if that's honestly the case, then I think your DP should apply for sole residency asap. For the sake of his two little girls I think boundaries need to be drawn.

Xalla Wed 05-Dec-12 15:02:16

Sorry, didn't mean to post that yet.
I meant to add otherwise, things like decisions over school, over who buys uniform, who pays for school dinners etc will doubtlessly result in confrontation and conflict which will in turn will negatively affect the kids (and everyone else for that matter).

Someone needs to take responsibilty for making the decisions if they can't be made jointly. Maybe it's time your DP acknowledged that.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 15:03:42

snow There's a lot of support out there for Dads who are keen to stay involved in their DCs lives - I mentioned the Separated Parents course yesterday, there are family support workers in most extended schools who could try and work with your DSD mum as well as yourselves, play therapy for the DCs, counselling (individually and together as a family) and all sorts of other independent local charities like Homestart Etc who help families in crisis.

Your DP has tried to do this on his own and hasn't succeeded; his ex still isn't able to step up in a way that would be best for the DCs.

I think it's time for him to make a decision.

He can accept that this is the way it will always be and learnt to live with it - i think you and he may need counselling to fully accept it because it is clearly something that frustrates you at the moment.

Or, he can decide that he's not giving up yet, but he's done everything he can on his own and so it's time to ask for professional support. He'll be pushing at a open door - the school is engaging with him and they are obviously concerned about the girls.
It won't be easy, and he may have to compromise and accommodate his exW limitations on the advice of the professionals - such as dropping the CSA claim or not changing pre-schools - but in the long run, it may be better for the DCs if he does.

What he can't do is carry on pushing his ex to do something that she isn't capable of right now. Well, he can, but he's setting everyone up to fail - and that includes his relationship with you as it will undoubtedly come under pressure as the stress and frustration mounts.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 15:04:58

Allnewtaketwo... Yep. DSD1's primary school is 1st on DSD2's application, however DSD1's primary was applied for when DP and DSD's were living at DP's mother's house. We have obviously move out of the area (as had dsd's mum) and we know already there is very very little chance that she will get offered a place there. 2nd choice is our local village primary, which the new pre school is main feeder to (not attached to) if that makes sense.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 15:11:00

snow Given the schools involvement in your older DSD emotional problems and their mums chaotic lifestyle, it's quite possible that your DP and ex would win an appeal on those grounds for DSD2 to attend the same school.

I imagine that SS are already considering a CAF, which would help too; these two little mites need all the help they can at the moment!

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 15:13:58

Which School do YOUR children go to?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 16:45:01

NotsDisneyMum... Really? Is that what they refer to as "exceptional social circumstances? on the order of priority lists in the application packs?

Given there has been no court involvement, no actual social services action and up until now only one school meeting about eldest DSD: initial concerns about her being very emotional some mornings, they are going to monitor it, wanted our opinions, and we are meeting again at end of term to discuss again and told DP and I that they didn't need to refer it to social services at this stage- so no major "problems" as such at school or on paper really - I'm not sure they'd consider it relevant.

BUT would we be able to make an appeal for DSD to get in the same school as her older sister due to the fact that otherwise they are at two different locations? Surely they must have loads of appeals of this nature? Would be great if we could win with that as an argument as would be great to have them both at the same school, we'd assumed it wasn't enough to win an appeal - after all, both parents moved out of catchment through choice. Sorry if lots of questions, I understand if you don't know the answers.

allnewtaketwo - My children go to the village primary where DSD2 will be offered a place if she doesn't get offered a place at eldest DSD's primary.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 16:58:35

Given the circumstances, I suggest your DP asks the school about the possibility of a CAF, and push for one if necessary.

I get the impression that your DP is keen to give the outside world that he is coping, and everything is fine - but all the while he downplays his ex's behaviour, and ignores the signs that she's not coping well (unsuitable dress, poor hygiene, school lateness etc), then his girls won't get any additional support.
Too often, agencies only get involved once a crisis has happened - whereas if someone had pushed for help earlier, then the crisis could be averted completely.

You are not in an 'average family situation' and your DSD cannot be assessed equally with other DCs; they have experienced incredible upheaval and conflict in their short lives and it is inevitable that they will need support to come to terms with it. Even as adults, the knowledge and memories of their childhood will influence their own relationships and parenting.

timeforachangebaby Wed 05-Dec-12 17:09:03

I wouldnt change my DDs preschool and she is nearly 3, I have debated it because I would prefer somewhere with wrap around.

Tbh, having read your thread and you being a SAHM, I cannot understand why you have left her in such a poor preschool for so long? Would she not have been better off at home? Either way for DSDs sake, I think moving her now, so close to moving schools, is a dreadful idea.

I didn't think OFSTED reports were that frequent tbh, for them to be worsening while she is there, given that PG doesnt start until they are 2.

timeforachangebaby Wed 05-Dec-12 17:10:04

you wont have to appeal to get DSD in with older DSD, its usually the first criteria on the list.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 17:14:35

timeforachangebaby - By worsening I mean they have had one and it was lots worse than the one that was "current" when DSD started. She is happy there, she is not being mistreated, it's just a crap preschool.

DSD1's primary school has the criteria listed on the councils application pack and out of borough siblings come lower down that in catchment siblings AND below children for who the school is closest to their home. Both our house and their mums house are out of borough.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 17:24:46

snow all the more reason for your DP to have their circumstances acknowledged as a special case, then.

I appreciate he may be embarrassed, or ashamed, that his ex did a flit with another man, abandoned him with their DCs and (let's be totally honest) he's probably worried about what people think of him moving in with you so soon, but if he really has his DDs interests at heart, then he needs to overcome that and seek support for them.
You have described a high conflict situation in which their mum is an inconsistent figure in their lives, and who is struggling to meet their basic needs. This isn't something that your DP can resolve on his own, and he can't provide his DDs with the specialist support they need - even if he happened to be experienced in child psychology, he isn't best placed to help his own DCs, they need independent intervention to help them cope with the emotions they are experiencing.

Once your DP gets the right agencies involved, the worries ge has about schooling etc can be put to one side.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 17:33:17

Oh what a coincidence, you want your Dsd 2 to to the preschool attached to you own children's primary. That would be very handy for you. Not so much for their mother, as she lives an hour away and DSD1 goes to a different school. That would be impossible for a full time working mother. She really would be set up to fail then, being late for school would be a certainty.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 17:41:54

Oh what a coincidence, you want your Dsd 2 to to the preschool attached to you own children's primary. That would be very handy for you. Not so much for their mother, as she lives an hour away and DSD1 goes to a different school. That would be impossible for a full time working mother. She really would be set up to fail then, being late for school would be a certainty

Not really a coincidence though it it? My children have always lived in this village and they of course go to the village primary. My DSD2 has lived here with my DP and I for approx 2 years and this has been her permanent home the entire time whilst her mother was only seeing her one night per week. Her preschool is in this village a short walk from our house as she hardly saw her mum when we enrolled her and her mum only ever had her at the weekend for the one night a week so we enrolled her in preschool near her home, of course we would! The new preschool is just around the corner from the current one and is the feeder pre-school to the school where she is likely to be offered a place. It makes no difference logistically to the current situation. Pre school starts well after primary school so their mum drops eldest DSD at school then drives to pre-school to drop youngest DSD, as do DP or I when the DSD's are with us! It's not any more or less "handy" for anyone! Their mum is constantly late for school anyway and the DSD1's school is no further from her than it is us! Nobody is setting her up to fail at all!

I knew that's why you were asking though! There is nothing untoward about it all, this is DSD's home hence why her pre school is here and why she is likely to be offered a primary school here and we would have to appeal to get her into the same one as DSD1.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:08:18

It makes sense logistically to you, of course. But circumstances have changed now and her mother had been encouraged, by your DO, to have 50:50 apparently. How is she supposed to do this when DSD2 is at school an hour away from her house?

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:10:40

And what do you mean "this is DSD's home". That's simply not the case in a 50:50 situation.

Non of this is making any sense. Your DP pushed 50:50 but equally you insist your home is Dsd's home, not her mothers

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 18:20:03

Why all of a sudden did your dp push for every other week?

DollyTwat Wed 05-Dec-12 18:34:21

Op this all sounds very familiar

Did you used to live in the marital home whilst the ex had to move out?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:34:53

He encouraged her to have more contact with them than every other night. She appeared to be more reliable than she had before, she had sorted out a suitable home (new house to live in with her new partner) and she said she'd like them more. That started, however we had handovers every few days and it was difficult, she became quite shouty and abusive at some handover, some of which were at our house and it upset the DSD's and my Dc too. So DP decided it was best to minimise handovers and so we sort of came to the week-at-a-time solution, which she asked for and DP agreed to as long as they both agreed it was trial period only to see how it was affecting the DSD's. DP regrets agreeing to week-at-a-time and wishes he has been firm about a gradual build up to it, as to be honest it must be hard to go from seeing your kids one night a week to having them 50% of the time and it's hard for them too.

This is DD's home. I know she now has a new home with her mum, which has been her second home for 6 mths but both DSd's still cal our house home and mums house "mums house" over time I'm sure that will change, it's all so new too them still.

So what do you suggest then allnewtaketwo? DSD1 is at school about a 30 min drive from her mums house. Not much we can do about that, unless she changes school, which I think would be very very difficult for her and the school really is a lovely one. DSD2 is at preschool near our house and is unlikely to get into DSD1's school unless we appeal (which we will if we can) and will likely be offered a school place here. Any ideas?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:36:00

No Dollytwat, they were never married. DP left the family home and he and I got a new home together in the village I have always lived in. DP's EX also moved out and now lives somewhere else with her new partner.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:36:46

Sorry my post at 18:34 should say "more contact than one night every week" not "more than every other night" oooops!

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:40:22

My primary idea would be for to get your story straight. Previously you've said you and your DP were encouraging the mother to have more time, 50 50. Now you seem to be reneging on that.

Not only the school situation, but also the alleged 'abuse' by the mother sounds very familiar from previous posts I've read

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Wed 05-Dec-12 18:41:04

OP I think you need to go back through some of the posts being made and really read what's being said. This situation seems to just bounce from once major 'issue' to another, with no real thinking being done beyond the immediate 'crisis' to hand. You have a 3 yr old, currently experiencing a 50/50 split in care between both her parents, and who has been at a preschool your DP decided to enroll her in, when the decision came to pick where she would go. Placing her on a waiting list for another, better, pre-school, when she only had that option when the time came to make that choice, was a pretty futile exercise as the disruption any move would cause your DSD just would not be worth the effect that would have on her. All this stuff about ofsted reports, it being a 'pretty crap pre-school' etc. is not helping this situation. You have a 3yr old who is settled, and has no reason to want to move anywhere. Being 'flighty' over which preschool is best, now, at this stage, when she is so close to going to primary school, and not in anyway being abused or neglected or badly treated in the setting she is in now, just isn't in that little girl's best interests. The decision to move her, is one that I really don't understand as there is no real reason to even consider it unless there is real concern over the level of care being provided by the preschool she currently attends. That desire to 'always want the absolute best' for children is something that can cause utter chaos in a young life, if that's what is more important to the grown ups around her. Children thrive when they are in a loving, supportive, nurturing environment, and if that little girl isn't thriving in a way you expect her to be, then you need to start looking at the life your DP and you are providing her, alongside the life she has with her mother. Pre-school does not have the ability to negate all the negative stuff going on in her life, and if you change preschool now, she's not going to do any better just because of an outstanding ofsted report.

There seems to be a theme coming through your posts, you and your DP seem to get into an almighty panic when you come up with some idea you think is 'best' or 'better' that what currently exists, and are trying everything you can think of/come up with, to make that happen But without really thinking through whether such a 'flighty' attitude to the welfare of 2 children, who have been through enough already in their short lives, is the right way to be. This obsession with how your DP's ex reacts to things you come up with, and how she does not conform to your expected 'social norms' when it comes to the 2 girls stuck in the middle, only serves to fuel the ongoing conflict. Being so focussed on her responses/lack or interest/refusal to discuss anything, means that rather than stop and think 'is this actually a good idea for the girls' you both seem to ramp up the pressure, scouring the interent for ideas on how to get past the obstruction you see his ex as. You both need to just stop the endless rumminating on how to deal with the ex to achieve what you both want, and start looking at how all this conflict and tension is affecting those 2 girls.

Something needs to be done to establish a life for them that is free from conflict, and if your DP isn't capable of taking the steps needed to do that, then it will likely come from an official agency at some point in the future when one or both of those girls start to unravel through the pressure this situation is putting them under.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 18:44:05

See this is were its gone so was far to big a jump.its no good sayin its only a trial.its all been ill thought out.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:52:59

Allnewtaketwo - We were encouraging her to have more time with them, they are still so little and she would often not even turn up or turn up late. DP wanted her to take responsibility and have proper contact time, her wanted them to be able to see ehr more, she wanted them more, problems with handovers, etc all led to him agreeing to week-at-a-time. She's not "abusing" them, she's just, well, I'm not entirely sure what she is and isn't really.

Yes, Elliesbelly, yes he regrets not insisting it was much more gradual or getting some sort of professional help / intervention / court involvement to have in laid out in stone. sad Hindsight is wonderful.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:56:17

I was referring to her alleged verbal abuse of your DP on the doorstep, which sounded very familiar.

Lookingatclouds Wed 05-Dec-12 19:00:18

I just don't get why you would agree to 50:50 care, or push for more contact with someone who couldn't prove themselves to be reliable on the little contact she was having, and with someone who allegedly wasn't showing any interest in things like education.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 19:07:01

Its no good blamin mum,all 3 of you have caused this situation,nd not one of you are really doin anythin bout it.what hop is there for these 2 girls.its just goin to get worse.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 19:15:15

snow why does your DP regret not getting professional support and help - its something he can still do!

Yet again, my last few posts seem to have been in invisible font as you've been very quick to address/defend yourself and your DP from challenges by other posters, but you don't seem willing to express an opinionated response about the advice I've given.

Is it unwelcome? If you'd prefer me not to post, then I'll hide your threads if my suggestions upset you.

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:52:54

How long has 50/50 accees been a trial? I'm sure I read on another thread that it has been in place for 7 months now? Am I wrong?

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 20:02:04

I totally agree with bunchamunch the move is not in the best interest of DSD and I really don't think that you're acknowledging how much stress moving her for 2 terms is going to cause her, this has got more to do with you wanting to prove to yourselves and probably others that you're giving her the best and you haven't stopped to think about what actually is best for her. She will survive another 2 terms there, she will be fine, she'll settle in to her new school just as well. SHE DOES NOT NEED TO BE MOVED!
I've posted twice saying this and other people are saying the same but you just ignore those comments, it seems that you're more bothered about all the irrelevant stuff 'she's done this.../he said that etc'. I get the impression this is more about winning the fight with her mum than it is actually about doing what is best for the girls.
I don't think that a 50:50 split can really work when you live so far away from each other and DP and his ex are unable to make joint decisions, I think one person has to be the main carer who gets the final say over things like this or else you're going to come up against problems like this all the time for many years to come.

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 20:04:54

And am I not correct in thinking that ofsted reports are only done every 4 years unless they are under performing? Also a report can depend on who's doing it, whether they've got pmt that day etc

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:08:10

Notadisney.. No please don't be offended, I really do appreciate your posts, they just contain so much advice, useful, really useful ideas and suggestions that I will have to sit and read them properly and think about them and think about my replies when everyone is in bed and I have some time to think. Other posters posing small quick questions are easy to reply to whilst sorting dinner and the children!

He is going to have to get something sorted, he knows that even if he is hesitant about apply to court for residency but I will support him to do so. I know they are not my girls but I have lived with them for over 2 years as a family now and most of that time their mother has hardly been in their lives at all, I've lived with them since they were babies, so really I do care for them and want what is best for them.

Writing it all down is actually making me see just how silly this has all become, we are hopping from one issue to another and it's impossible to make joint parenting decisions with someone who will not communicate and who doesn't really want to make any decisions but wants to complain about them.

Allnewtaketwo...Are you confusing me with another poster? I'm sure lots of people have experienced or given abuse from/to their ex or their DP's ex and moaned about it on here!

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:11:29

PoppyPrincess. The Ofsted report isn't the be all and end all for us, not at all, it was just one of many points. The "current" report that has been done before DSD started was "good" the latest one was "satisfactory".

Sanityseeker, yes 6-7 months, over the summer July/Aug we (I) had them a bit more often when their mum worked but it's been generally week-at-a-time 50/50. Since the eldest went back to school in Sept it's been evident there are some issues with the week-at-a-time, especially the lack of communication from their mum, amongst other things.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:15:59

You're right Poppy.. DSD2 doesn't need to be moved, but plenty of people move their children's school or pre-school when they are unhappy with the current one and have the option of a much better one. DD2 is very confident, outgoing and bright, she shows no signs of distress, anxiety or anything, she has been to visit this new pre-school a few times and the staff even said to me how sociable she is and how it's hard to tell who the new child is! I know she will have no problems settling there. She may not be my own child but my partner and I have raised her form a baby and I know her as if she were my own child and she will do fabulously there, and it will be much better for her than her current one. However, it will be up to Dp to make the actual decision of course, I will show him all your advice later.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:23:26

From your post,it seems to me your the driving force in this not your dp,nd that you want him to agree with you..

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:27:03

Elliesbellys - I think that's unavoidable as it's me writing here, me giving my opinions and only stating his opinions second hand. He makes the decision, but we are a family, I have helped him raise his 2 girls (as they mum has been all but absent, especially with decisions or the big stuff) since they were little, so he values my opinions and we make decisions that affect our family (his girls and my DC) together. To be honest we both generally agree on the big stuff, we are quite similar in our parenting styles.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 20:30:21

I'm not confusing you with anyone, but there are so many similarities between your posts and someone else's that it seems you have a mumsnet twin smile

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:37:04

So why not just stop posting rather than constantly accusing me of being someone else - MN themselves have posted and said they can confirm I am a new poster and NOT someone else!

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:37:19

Still think what you says goes.definately.whether she hasnt had muchinput is irrelevant.she is their mother and her views when she expresses them have to taken on board,shether you agree or not.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 20:41:55

Realistically moving preschools is pointless, irrelevant and likely to cause massive conflict with the mother for no reason other than you want to.

Its a matter of picking your battles.

I can guarantee you that when the times comes round where you want to move DSD1 into a different school, and you end up in court, then acting without consultation and basically overriding mum when the DSDs are in a 50/50 situation will backfire and your DP will be painted as controlling, out only to win against the ex, and not putting his daughters wishes infront of his selfish desires.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 20:45:06

Also whilst the mother may have been the biggest pile of shit for a large part of the childrens lives, the last 7 months she has consistently done 50/50 and been reliable and there for her children, so constantly going on about how she wasnt involved previously also wont do you any favours.

Focus on the now and the future, which would appear to involve 2 parents who are 50% involved in their childrens lives, and focus on instead how you can improve the communication between them thus avoiding making the children the centre of a battleground with each parent out to win.

That does far more damage than how many hours spent with who.

MustafaCake Wed 05-Dec-12 20:50:08

There is absolutely no valid reason to move your DSD.

A 3 year old will not even notice the things YOU think are important about the new school ie "It's bigger, more activities, better facilities, nicer location etc".

All she will care about is being thrust into an unfamiliar environment away from established friends and carers. And for only 2 terms then another upheaval to primary school.

And you need to stop pretending that all this is being done for DSD's benefit. It is clearly about you and your partner trying to get what you want done. You all need to be putting the children first and coming to arrangements that benefit them even if it feels like you are compromising on things.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:52:02

Snow,why keep postin then,cos you aint listenin to anyone, just verbally beatin their mum

ArtexTheHallWithBoughsOfMonkey Wed 05-Dec-12 20:53:36

I will show my arse in Greggs if you appeal to get dsd2 into dsd1's school. You'll just move dsd1. I can feel it in my water. I also don't understand why you've asked for people's advice if you're not going to take it, but then the same thing goes for most threads on mn I guess.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 21:06:38

Artex, who said the advice wasn't going to be taken? It will be taken, replayed to Dp (who will prob read it all himself later) and then seriously considered. We are talking about decision for children and their education and welfare, hardly something that can be decided immediately and solely on advice from a stranger on MN!

There has been no mention of moving DSD1's school. It's lovely and she is happy there, they seem to be very helpful and supportive too. Why would we want to move her, there is no issue there and it would upset her too much, she's very quiet and sensitive and doesn't do change very well.

It's your arse so show it wherever you like!

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:12:26

Thanks snow for answering question. Imho I dont really think 7 months is still a trial, if it was me I would assume after having same contact arrangements for 7 months that it is now a standing arrangement, even if not court ordered. Therefore I think dsc have 2 homes based on 50/50 and both mom and dad have right to make decision on major changes regardless ofwhat used to be the case.

I also feel that if you took dsd out of preschool for induction on moms week without her consent then you and your dp are majorly overstepping the mark and I know that any mother would be fuming in this scenario. what would you do if she turned up on your week and collected her daughter to take her somewhere without your consent?

I think you see these children as your own being the problem here and actually it is heartbreaking. As a sm you are expected to look after and care for these children and give them your heart. I also would do anything for my stepkids and have been there for operations and sickness, but I also accept that to truely love them I have to accept I am not and never will be their mom. Even if their mom died tomorrow, I would never be able to take her place.

This situation is always going to hurt you unless you accept their moms place in their lives. If she cocks up, they will see this and understand as they get older but if you are not careful they will hate and resent you forever for the part you will have played sad

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 21:19:59

Snow But realistically, even if youve not got round to dealing with it in your head, once DSD2 is in a school in your village, and DSD1 is in a school 30 mins away, you cannot, or mum cannot get them both to school on time.

Given that you have already raised mums lateness as a parenting fail, how do you propose to deal with 2 children needing to be in 2 places at the same time, when those places are 30 mins apart? How are you going to pick them up?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 21:40:03

Sanityseeker, in a way you are right, I have found it very hard adjusting to their mum now wanting to be their mum again. I have raised the girls for the last two years with my DP they were 1 and 3 when we met) we have done all the milestones with them, all the firsts and the sleepless nights, hard work and all the rewards. I find it just as hard as DP does to not have them here, to not wake up with them in the house, to not be able to tuck them up and kiss them goodnight every night when I have done that almost every night for the past two years.

I know that they are with their mum and we know they she would not hurt them or anything awful but we also know that they are not happy with the "new" alternate week arrangement and hoped we could do something to still keep 50/50 but to both make it easier for the girls and also hopefully easier for their mum to "cope".

We are hoping that the school will have a good chat with her (they told us that they were calling her in to talk to her) about how it's just not on to keep taking DSD1 in late, it makes her really anxious and she worries lots about it and it's been noticed by the teachers. It makes me angry and sad because it's not far to drive, she doesn't work most days she takes her to school, why can't she just get her there on time to save her being upset!


Thank you so much for all your advice. We will be re-meeting with the school teacher and headteacher before the end of term. I will ask about a CAF as you suggest, and get DP look it up as I have no idea what it is! smile Hopefully the school will give her a kick up the arse about lateness and solve that problem.

DP emailed their mum last night about the CB and suggested her use the CB to pay for all the things for DD's such as school dinners, clothes, uniforms and clubs etc - no reply as yet about that, we aren't hopeful and he has said he may just do it in the absence of a response he might just cancel the trust funds and use the CB to pay for stuff and cancel the CSA claim.

You are right I am angry that she won't take responsibility, and DP and I both want things to be "fair" but I see that sometimes it's better to accept that she might be shit but she is their mum and we have to take the shit from her and make what we can of it to keep the girls happy. She does just want all the good bits of the DSC without all the hard and stressful bits, if that makes sense. sad

The preschool thing, well Dp hasn't decided. He is going to take DSD tomorrow as he still really wants her to go to the new preschool. She iwll be taken from her current preschool, round the corner to her new one and will be returned within 2 hrs. It will make no difference at all to contact time as her mum is at work anyway and he feels its the best decision in DD's best interests. (To answer someones question up thread, Dp has always said he has no problems at all with EX taking DD out of preschool if she has the opportunity to spend the day with her doing a special activity / day out / visiting relatives, although she never has and to date DP has never interfered in EX's contact time either, but feels this is important. I have told him all you guys seem to think it's too much for her to move just for 2 terms and reasons people have given. We have to be realistic and we know that she is likely to be going to the village primary so it is beneficial for her to do her last 2 terms at the pre-school that feeds there as she will knows lots of children already when she starts reception. We also know DSD2 is confident and easily settles into new routines and with new people, so it will be an y easy transition for her. If it were DSD1 then it would be a definite non option, but he really wants this new pre-school for her. I have encouraged him to consider EX's wishes, which he says he has and I suppose I agree that she is basing her refusal to agree on nothing at all, she has never even been to the new preschool and has now idea how downhill the old one has got over time.

As for residency / court... well he is seeing his solicitor Friday. He is going to ask her opinion, options and her recommendations. It seems that many of you here who know and have lived as step families seem to agree that a residency order will give the DSD's some stability and enable important decisions to be made. He is hoping he can get a residency order , possibly with contact 50/50 if possible and if their mum can cope with it, but not alternate weeks as it's not working for them. We don't know if this would be a joint residency order or a shared residency order or if he should apply for sole residency and 50/50 contact for their mum or what, but hope the solicitor will clear it all up for him.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 21:44:17

Snow - We already do that though, my Dc are in the village primary and DSD1 is at school out of the village (it's not that far, 30 mins in morning traffic). DP and I either do oone school run each or my DC walk to school with my friend who's children go to the village primary and I drive DSD1.

It will be impossible for their mum to do, but that's not anyone's fault as DSD1's school was applied for from where she was living at the time and now we have all moved outwards. I'm unsure of the options, apart from to appeal and if not then to offer to do school runs for their mum when we can, or DP said tonight perhaps she has the DSD more weekend days and we have them more school days as we can more easily do the school runs. Residency / contact arrangements may be different by then anyway. It's hard to try and resolve future problems when there are so many right now..

Plus it's nearly bloody Christmas... sad

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 21:48:37

Sorry my last post should have said "MagicLaama" not "snow" smile

Also, when I say impossible for their mum, I mean without a childminder or before school club. DSD1 could go to before school club for 30 mins and she could then get DSD2 to school on time, if that's what she chose.

Dp has raised this with her, no reply or proposals form her though. She has never mentioned her worries about this problem or tried to make arrangements around it or anything. It's like she leaves the stress and worries to us to deal with and think up solutions!

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:50:51

Snow, be very careful on this school thing, if you say it is impossible for mom to do. You will be percieved as deliberately trying to seperate her from her children. What if she counteracts and moves them to a school an hour in the other direction to you? I feel if you force this issue all hell will break loose and dsc will be smack in the middle

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 21:57:16

There is nothing to be careful with sanity. DSD1 goes to school where she does because she was living with DP at the time at his mums house after they separated so they applied from that address.

DSD2's application has already been submitted, DSD1's school first choice and our local school 2nd choice.

She is almost certain to not get in DSD1's school as we are out of catchment by miles and out of borough.

What other option is there? The only other thing we could do is to transfer CB to DSD's mum, withdraw the application that is in and allow her to apply to the school nearby her. Which then creates the same situation, both girls in different schools. Except DSD's mum cant / won't be as helpful to us as we would her, she won't offer to help with difficult school runs or change contact days like we would. Plus then DP and I would have 3 school destinations across our 4 children! lol

It is a bit shit, but there is no other option that we can think of, apart from to appeal. DSD's mum can go to court all she likes and claim we were unreasonable, the only reason DSD1 is in a school near neither of us is because she did a disappearing act and then decided she didn't want the girls (babies) living with her.

I have a friend who has previous been on an appeals panel and we are hoping she can help us do a shit hot appeal when the inevitable happens.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:00:47

I seriously hope a court wouldn't award her sole residency and leave to remove DSD from her current school.

Surely, a mother who has only had 1 night a week contact for 2 years and recently had 6-7 months of aternate week contact which isn't working for the children and is leaving them upset and having issues at school plus refuses to communicate with the other parent wouldn't get that? sad

DP needs to apply for residency doesn't he. sad

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 22:05:15


Please be careful. Its obvious from your posts that you care for these children, its obvious that you are used to being their mum, and I can understand that having mum reinvolved is difficult for you and your DP.

However, I really believe this school thing could cause massive problems for you.
1) You should not be interfering in the other parents contact time. Regardless of the fact that the childen are not directly in her presence.
2) Education should be agreed on between parties with PR and where parties do not agree, court should decide
3) You are setting a precedent for one parent just totally disregarding the other and acting without agreement. What if mum just decides to move DSD2 to a preschool near her?

I know what you are saying re school & friends, but honestly in the scheme of things its not important. The conflict you, your DP and the ex are putting these DSDs through is important.

Im 30, and I dealt with this shit from my parents. It affects me now, and my brother, who was less aligned with a parent, and more in the middle it affects even more.

Please, please, please, if you hold these childrens best wishes at heart, just dont.

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:07:09

I don't know but perhaps dp should get legal advice first? I doubt they would give kids straight back but I do think they look at best interests of children and it does look a bit manipulative of your do to change schools so you can help with drop offs just before seeking residency hmm

CatchingMockingbirds Wed 05-Dec-12 22:09:57

If the preschool is next to your house isn't that an hour away from the mum? And if it's a feeder to DSD's future school then I take it she won't be going to the school her big sister goes to which is half way between your DP and the mother making things much easier for the children since their parents have 50/50 care?

I can see why the mother would be objecting.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 22:10:21

snow it certainly won't be as easy for the school
as giving her mum a kick up the bum to resolve the lateness.

Habitual school lateness is used by schools as flag for possible chaotic lifestyle and/or a family in crisis.

Whatever the school may have told you and your DP, they will be carefully assessing the situation and watching for other indicators of neglect and/or abuse (including emotional) and based on what you have said it may not be long before there are enough concerns for them to raise them with SS. The whole family set up is then scrutinised and your own DCs as well as both your DSD's will become involved.

I think your DP needs to familiarise himself with the local child protection and safeguarding procedures - he may well find himself plunged into the middle of it based on what you have said about the circumstances - I've seen it happen myself.

I certainly think you have a case for 'exceptional social circumstances' regarding the school application and if your DP puts his mind your, his DD could be accepted on those grounds with no need for appeal. If he's not keen to do so, even though it will smooth the way for his DDs then I hope that will be enough for you to question his motives - by refusing to do everything he can to secure his DD a place, he is increasing the hurdles for his ex to overcome. Sounds like he's still quite emotionally invested - which isn't a surprise given the nature of their split and speed of your relationship. I understand why you feel vulnerable and are reluctant to openly disagree with his opinion.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 22:10:24

Also on another note, a friend of mine had 50/50 with his DSs, and was in a similar situation to you, he changed childcare provider without mums agreement, she went to court, after a lot of faff and court appearances the judge awarded the ex residency on the basis that the hostility and the distance between them meant 50/50 was unworkable, and one of them needed to be the primary care, and the dads actions of acting without consultation, the involvement of the SM, the deliberate sidelining on the mum meant that whilst a good parent in the majority of respects, he wasnt with regards to their emotional welfare. He said that mum has stuck to he contact, not brought conflict into the parenting relationship, and was a able as dad to provide all the welfare checklist, but her behaviour showed she had more care to their emotional welfare.

He now has a shared residency order, which allows him to have them every other weekend Fri to Mon, with a teatime visit in their hometown every Wednesday, and 50% of holidays.

Hes gutted. Gutted

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:17:02

Magiclaama, you are right. Totally, thank you! x Yeah, I know I will get flamed to hell and back for admitting it, but I do feel like they are "mine". I love them and take care of them as I would my own. I don't ever bad mouth their mum or do anything to give them a negative view of her but it hurts like hell each time she comes and collects them (or each time we have to drop them to her more often then not). I wouldn't leave my own DC in her care for many reasons and I do worry about them when they are with her.

Sanity, I'm not sure if my massive long waffling posts have confused you maybe other posters too.

The only thing DP would be changing is DSD2's preschool, it's only a 5 min walk away from her current one. She has been then since before her mum started having her 50/50. It makes no difference to her at all as it starts 40 mins after DSD1's primary school, so plenty of time to get there.

The primary school DSD2 will get into next Sept is near our house, which causes a problem for her mum. But we don't know what else to do. With catchment areas an such there is no way she can go to a school nearer to her mum or nearer DSD1's school.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:20:47

Catchingmokingbirds, please read up thread for reasons why she won't get into DSD1's school, we are planning an appeal but failing that she will have to go to the local primary near our house. School can only be applied for from Child Benefit address, so that is 2nd choice, she wouldn't get into DSD1's school from mums address either though.

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 22:22:41

What's to stop her moving both DSD's to a school near her? How do you know she hasn't already? If you live so far away from each other I assume you'll fall under different councils so she'd be able to do that?

I think it would depend on her case as to whether she'd be granted residency, if she can prove that she had good reason for her absence and that those reasons are now fixed then who knows?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:32:52


Oh really, well that's good news, hopefully it will prompt her to get out of bed and get them to school. She doesn't drink or do drugs, isn't up all night partying etc. It's baffling! She's not getting caught in traffic as there isn't much up her way (rural) and she's not just 5 mins late it's 30-40 mins regularly.

Dp just told me that he called someone at social services (children's services?) today.. They had information of the girls on record anyway after we had reported a few things to police (ages ago now) when their mum had been swearing outside out house on a number of occasions. He had a good chat with a lady there about what to do about things. She also advised solicitors - which he is doing Friday. He asked what to if DSD's mum doesn't respond about important things for the DSD's and would he look very bad at any future court case if he has to make decisions alone that should really be joint decisions in the absence of a response from her after a reasonable amount of time. They advised him that in the absence of a response he should make the decision he feels is in the best interests of the children to the bets of his knowledge. He seems much happier now, he just needs a little reassurance from someone knowledgeable that he is doing the right thing.

Now we need to sort out Christmas....She has said she will have them for half of Xmas day but only if we drop them to her door and collect them from her door on Boxing day afternoon as she has family round. sad This was after DP proposed to her that she have them Xmas day night despite it being their week with us as it would be sad if they didn't see her. I actually could just scream, and then cry and then bang my head against a wall! To top it all off I miss the girls so much it hurts and I haven't seen them for days and days now.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 22:33:43

You need to think of the long game here, which is what you are failing to do.

- Mum has said no to moving pre schools.
- You & Dp are ignoring this and moving her anyway
- This is deliberately because you think she will get into school 2 on your list (whereas ith NADM advice you could likely guarantee a place in school 1, making the move irrelvant and pointless).
- Placement in school 2 leaves mum unable to maintain current 50/50 contact
- Mum makes application to court to move DSD2 to school near her house
- Court looks at behaviour of parents
- Court sees your DP deliberately undermining & sidelining mum

Its not good.

As I said a friend lost his 50/50 share because of exact behaviour like that. I honestly think that for 2 terms of preschool you are taking silly risks.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 22:34:21

<invisible font again>

Your DP has a very real chance of securing his DD2 a place at DD1's school if he wanted to. He has a choice.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:35:51

PoppyPrincess - She could apply but it would be a fraudulent application as the DSd's "registered address" is our house, for doctors, dentist, school etc and CB is registered to our house too. Honestly, I don't think she would. She hasn't ever said she wants the girls more than 50/50 and isn't really coping with it as it is. We have to do lots of the dropping offs and collecting and "helping" her. If she took them to a school near her, we wouldn't be able to.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 22:36:32

but he has HAD a response

She has said she doesnt agree with the move. Thats a response. It might not be a response you like, but it is still a response.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:38:02

Sorry, I did read you last post Disney...

Yes, Dp and I will try all we can to get DSD2 in there. We have no reason to not want her to as DSD1 is there anyway and really she shouldn't be moved now she is settled there as she is very emotional and doesn't do change very well. Do is going to call the LEA tomorrow to get some info about what is classed as exceptional circumstances and if we can be labelled as one! smile

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:39:50

Magiclaama - Yes, she responded about the change of preschool, she hasn't about many other things and it worries DP that making decisions alone that should be joint will go against him. Social services "lady" says as long as he makes reasonable attempts to communicate with her but she ignore him then he wouldn't be looked down on for making decisions himself.

MagicLlama Wed 05-Dec-12 22:43:18

But on this occasion, and this post was about the preschool, she hasnt ignored him, she has responsed and he doesnt like her response and so has decided to ignore it.

That will be looked badly upon.

I also have to say that what SS has said goes directly against my experience in court, and that of a number of other people who have also been through the family courts.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 22:51:42

I think the preschool thing has annoyed my DP and I so much because she has literally only just said "no".. She knew she was on the waiting list, she knew when the place was offered, she declined the opportunity to look around, see the prospectus or anything else, knew were had taken DSD to visit her new preschool etc - she also didn't say no during all this time. She waited until she knew that we'd signed the forms and contract, paid deposit and taken her to first few sessions to say "no". 2 weeks before the end of bloody term! No reasons nothing. Given that she has taken no responsibility for either of her children's education or childcare or preschool settings until now and then she hasn't even got a bloody reason it's really pissed us off. She is just doing it to cause us problems, I know I can't prove it, but she is. sad

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 23:05:06

snow I realise how hard this is for you, and it is clear you are totally committed to your DSD but have you stopped to consider the sacrifices you are asking your own DCs to make?

You have a finite amount of time and energy - and if you are investing that in your DSD, then your own DCs are not benefiting.
Look at the time you have taken to post about your DSD here on MN - imagine how much your own DCs would gain if you invested that time on other parts of the site - enhancing your knowledge and skills in parenting them smile

Your DCs will remember their childhood - and much as you'd like to think of your DSD and DC as one big happy family, as they get older, that's not how they'll see it. They will remember the fact that you gave as much of yourself to their step siblings as you did to them and while you consider that to be a good thing, they probably won't.

You may need help to deal with the grief of losing your DSD; and if you don't seek it, then you are putting your DSD ahead if your own DCs.

SavoyCabbage Thu 06-Dec-12 04:02:00

You can't just keep moving schools because you perceive something better is on the horizon.

It's a huge deal for a child to go to a different school. It's something that you do if you have to.

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 07:06:02

I don't get it. You know that the school run will be IMPOSSIBLE for their mother but you still are going on about 50:50. You're either knowingly set her up to fail, or you are very naive and are ignoring facts

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 08:38:51

Op the problem is that you proceeded on the basis that she would say yes, and didn't consider the possibility that she would say no. You had no express agreement and you knew that, yet still went ahead with trial sessions, deposits etc. It's frustrating dealing with someone who doesn't communicate but you need to change how you deal with that because that is the reality of your situation - you feel like their mother but you have no say in these decisions because their mother has the right to say mo to whatever you proposed. Thats her right as their mother, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Bulldozing your way through in the hope that it gives her no choice but to agree with whatever is suggested is never going to yield the results you or your DP wants. The fact is she is their mother, she has a say, and you cannot continue to live as though its immaterial to your plans what her views are. Unless the mother's rights/ responsibilities are legally terminated, you cannot proceed on anything that changed the status quo without her say/input/agreement. If she fails to respond or agree with what you or your DP want, you have to accept that or risk the long term set up if the ex here ever decides she's had enough of being steamrolled into whatever the next 'best' or 'better' thing is that you come up with. Listen to what magicllama said about her friend.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 09:34:39

allnewtaketwo - She is also well aware of the issue with DSD2's primary school application and that she is very unlikely to get into the same school as DSD1 without appeal. She hasn't raised any issues or proposals for change and still wants 50/50, so we are hardly "setting her up to fail" Isn't that ultimately down to her mum to organize how she gets her to school (although DP has told her he is more than willing to rearrange the 50/50 and help her with school runs when we can). The situation was nobody's fault as such and has just arisen due to them separating and both moving out of the area.

Savoycabbage - Nobody is moving schools! DSD1 is definitely not moving. The only moving that is planned is for DSD2 to change preschools, to a better one round the corner form her current one.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 09:45:10

If she fails to respond or agree with what you or your DP want, you have to accept that

I agree.

In the early stages of my separation, my interaction with my ex was not dissimilar to the OP's DP and his ex.

My ex would email, text or write to me, ostensibly to "discuss" an issue regarding DD, but it was worded in such as way that it was clear that he had already decided on what he wanted to do, and was seeking my agreement - it felt like he was only asking me because he didn't want to look bad; he wanted to be able to say "well, I asked her what she thought" - just like the OP has been saying on this thread.

This used to piss me off no end - I felt bullied and sidelined because he was drawing conclusions on his own about was best for DD without listening to my opinion at all. He often discussed issues with other family members before mentioning them to me.

So, occasionally, I dug my heels in and didn't play his game. Yes, there were occasions when he was all set to action something he had unilaterally decided was right for DD, and I would then say that no, I didn't agree, and I wasn't prepared to co-operate with his decision.

It's certainly not the best thing for the DC's, but when you feel that you are being excluded from your own DC's life, the tigress-mother instinct kicks in.

snow, can I ask a question about the pre-school issue, please? It's a nice quick question, so you won't need to re-read it, or consider your response. Did your DP provide the pre-school that he has applied to with his ex's details - name, address, details of the care arrangement etc,even though she was not involved in the application at the time? I ask because one of the incidents that has left a lasting impact on my ability to co-operate with my ex is when I was told by DD's dentists that they would not discuss her treatment with me because they had no record of me as DD's mum. Can you imagine how I felt, having to provide evidence that my DD was in fact my DD?

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 10:00:00

"Isn't that ultimately down to her mum to organize how she gets her to school"

NO, you are specifically making plans knowing that she will end up in the school 1 hour away from her home, making it IMPOSSIBLE for her mother to get both children to school. And you know she has no say in it because your DP holds the child benefit.

This all sounds very deliberate, pre-planned and vindictive to me. You insist you're encouraging her but at the same time creating a situation which is impossible and unworkable for her.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 10:15:42

allnewtaketwo - We have no say it in either as holding the CB doesn't mean you get to choose what school your children go to, you have to be nearby too!

So, we are applying for DSD2 to go to DSD1's school as first choice and 2nd choice is the school most local to us. That is what has been submitted on her application.

We will appeal if she doesn't get choice 1 (DSD1's school) but we don't actually have any other options. Unless we (ot their mum) moves, right now, and before Jan 18th when the school applications close, to where DSD1's school is, which isn't possible for either us or her.

Deliberate, preplanned and vindictive? Nope. We are not and have not created a situation that is unworkable for her, there is no choice we can make that will or would have made it easier for her.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 10:16:59

My ex would email, text or write to me, ostensibly to "discuss" an issue regarding DD, but it was worded in such as way that it was clear that he had already decided on what he wanted to do, and was seeking my agreement - it felt like he was only asking me because he didn't want to look bad; he wanted to be able to say "well, I asked her what she thought" - just like the OP has been saying on this thread.

That's exactly how it reads to me too NADM. OP, in this situation, you have started from the POV that your DSD has the opportunity to go to a 'better' preschool (in your opinion) than her current one, and have done everything you can to persuade the ex here that it's in the girl's best interests to move pre-school, even though she'll be moving again for school in less than a year. The reason you are still going ahead with this proposal, even though the mum hasn't agreed, and has specifically said no to you/your DP taking your DSD out of her current pre-school for a meet'n'greet at your preferred preschool, is not beause there was an issue with the current one - and by that I mean there is no neglect, no ill treatment, no health & safety issues - but because you see an opportunity that you think is 'better' and you will go to anylengths to make it happen, even when the child's mother says no. The fact that you can still disregard her objection, despite everything that has been posted already, quite frankly astounds me. Your reality is, you have no say, and your DP cannot simply, unilaterally, decide to move her when there are no real issues with the current preschool, when his ex has said no. If he does, he risks the current set up he has, and any future ability to have a say himself, should his ex decide she's had enough of your DP bulldozing her on issues that she has a right to veto is she chooses to.

Moving your DSD to a preschool for a max 6 mths, for the sake of an 'outstanding' ofsted report, at the risk of long term stability should this be the straw that broke the camel's back for the ex here, is a massive, MASSIVE gamble to take, and more so because your DSD's here have already had enough to deal with 'til now. So many people posting here simply cannot understand WHY you and your DP would take that gamble, for the sake of 6 mths in a preschool that will not magically guarantee any tangible evidence of your DSD 'having the best start to school', when the stakes here are so high, and the most impact will fall on those 2 girls you claim you love like they were your own. I would never take a risk like that with my DD, never mind anyone else's kids. If you truely love those girls, and really want whats best for them, you need to take a good, hard look at what you are doing to fuel the endless cycle of 'issues' and conflict, and do what you can to step back, or encourage your DP to change how he is dealing with this situation.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 10:19:34

we don't actually have any other options

Yes, you do. You can engage with professionals who are paid and trained to work with families such as your DSD, to ensure that they are not subject to more disruption and chaos.
Why is your DP so reluctant to do so?

I'm desperately trying to overlook the fact that you have used the phrase "WE". you're right in one way, because "YOU" have no options at all - your DP has, though, but you are ignoring them.

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 10:20:57

If I was their mum I'd be applying for residency, getting the child benefit transferred to me and putting them both in a school on my door step.

Sorry but I think if you're not careful you're going to end up losing these girls.
There's no residency order, there's nothing to stop her just not returning them to you one day. By the time it would get to court they would have been living with her for a couple of months and as long as she was coping well they'd probably grant her residency as they wouldn't want another upheaval for the girls.

I think you need to gain some more respect for their mother, despite what you think about her she is their mother.
If another woman was trying to claim such a right to my children the way that you are with hers it would make my blood boil!

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 10:20:58

I don't believe that you hadn't thought of all this before though, particularly as your own children handily go to the school near you where you are pretty certain DSD2 will go to. With the level of pre-planning you clearly do, I simply don't believe you hadn't foreseen exactly what was going to happen here.

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 10:25:08

If you INSIST on moving your DSD2's pre-school, despite her mothers CLEAR OBJECTION, and despite the overwhelming advice you've had on here, then I sincerly hope that the mother gets some extremely good legal advice and support to apply for residency, then get the child benefit and claim maintenance from you DH.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 11:07:18

"Did your DP provide the pre-school that he has applied to with his ex's details - name, address, details of the care arrangement etc,even though she was not involved in the application at the time?"

Oh dear. snow Your lack of response to that question has answered it.

Xalla Thu 06-Dec-12 11:35:06

To top it all off I miss the girls so much it hurts and I haven't seen them for days and days now

I just think that kind of sentiment / language in relation to step-children is very misguided.

I've cared for my DSD since she was a baby too but I'd never say such a thing. They're with their Mum; where they should be! They've had their week with their Dad, and now it's their turn to enjoy a week with their Mum. Actually I'd be fairly appalled if I heard my DH saying that about his own DD! Of course we miss my DSD when she's gone and there's a bit of a 'hole' but mostly we're just relieved she gets to enjoy a relationship with both of her parents without getting royally f*** up in the process.

I can't see that you really do support them with their relationship with their Mum at all; you have too much emotionally invested yourself to do so.

Please HEAR some of the advice above (from your fellow step-Mums) and disengage a bit. You're going to get terribly hurt if you don't Snow.

I hope your DP's solicitor apt results in some real progress for these girls.

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 11:52:50

It does really annoy me when I hear people saying ''I love them as if they were my own''. Really? Sorry but this may sound like a horrible thing to say but if there was a fire and you could only carry 2 out of your house which 2 would you take?
I would say that I never knew it was possible to love someone else's children as much as I love my DSC, I miss them when they're not here but I don't think it can ever be the same as the love you have for a child that you have made, carried for 9 months and given birth to.
I love all the kids, I treat them all the same, I will admire them all, enjoy cuddles with them all equally etc but if they're all playing upstairs and I hear one fall off the bed and start crying my instant gut reaction and thought is ''god I hope it's not DS''
That's not being mean, it's just being truthful and I doubt that I'm alone with that feeling.

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 12:23:10

Also I think it is possible to care for children and love them without stepping on the other parents toes, I think in this case their Mum's toes have been well and truly trampled on and broken in many places (metaphorically speaking).

I've been with DP since DS was 5 months old and in many ways he treats him as if he was his own but he knows the boundaries, he is my main responsibility, I make decisions regarding nurseries, schooling etc, he is his step dad not someone pretending to be his dad. Even when DS's dad was off the scene it would have been very easy for us to say that DP will just be his dad but we didn't and we've both been supportive of him having a relationship with his dad.
I think if I was to ask DP about his feelings for my DS I think he'd say the same, that he loves him an awful lot but its not the same as the love you have for your own flesh and blood.

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 12:26:02

Why in the name of god do you relentlessly ask for advice, when you never EVER accept it?

sanityseeker75 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:46:42

I am sorry Poppy but I do not think that is the fairest thing to say - although I know that lots of people will share in that view. I have also had my DSC around from very early age (DSS was younger than 1 when EW access was set up and also DSD (born with cleft palate and hair lip) has had several ops in which I have been there (alongside mom and dad) and she has always come home with us (me and DH) to recover straight from hospital. I think that if I had adopted a baby then I would be able to claim I loved it as much as my DS but because another woman is involved in their lives then I have to say I love them but not to much? Also it is very common for mothers to struggle to bond with babies and often takes a lot of time and support to develop this bond (infact I am almost inclined to think that perhaps the Mom in this case had PND depression and as a result did not bond with baby and instead of having support to get through it was pushed out of her childrens lives or took the easier route - big assumption I know). I think it is unfair to judge as nobody truly knows how anyone else feels and if that is how snow feels then who are we to say that she is wrong?

That said Snow I am not surprised that people inc me feel slightly frustrated by your thread. It is fine to love all the children in your life but you do not have the monopoly on them. They DESERVE a chance at a relationship with their mom.

On your other post you said that DP was trying to get mom to have them one of the nights in the week on your week and vice versa. I do not agree that this is truly what you want and that this was for the children as you must of known that that contact arrangement would also fail because of the school drop off and pick up point with school.

I think that the reason the DSC get upset is because your own separation anxiety is rubbing off on them and this is truly unforgivable. You have painted a picture in your head of this monster of a mother, it doesn't matter that she is now trying to put right issues in the past you just will not forgive her her failings and actually it is not your place to forgive it is her childrens to be able to accept mom for who she is.

As far as preschool is concern - there is not a school out there that would not have a separate induction given the circumstances during your contact time. Do they know you are step mom and that mom is involved in DSD care? Do the children call you mom?

I think if you had your way then mom would just do one and have no access to the children. This will NEVER happen, even in relationships where there has been abuse parents are still given some access even if it is supervised only.

I wish that you could see that what you and your DP are doing to the children could be seen as just as damaging as what you claim mom has done. I even think that it is you that is struggling not to see the children in her contact week rather than your DP because you fear that if they build a relationship with mom then they may not love you? Children have the ability to love more than one person you know, that is not just for adults.

sanityseeker75 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:49:08

Sorry Poppy I meant previous post before you elaborated blush not last one!

sanityseeker75 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:52:21

He is going to take DSD tomorrow as he still really wants her to go to the new preschool. She iwll be taken from her current preschool, round the corner to her new one and will be returned within 2 hrs. It will make no difference at all to contact time as her mum is at work anyway and he feels its the best decision in DD's best interests.

My guess is snow is there as we type sad

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 12:55:26

I would love to see how ex and OP would react to mum simply lifting dd out of school on HIS time. My guess is that mum would have hell to pay, but lemme guess OP, this is different, right?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 13:19:12

My guess is snow is there as we type

And the worst part of this situation is that when they have been to this induction day, they'll be even more convinced of it's fantastic facilities, and become more entranched in their determination to move that poor child, knowing the risk that it poses for her long term future/stability/relationship with all the adults around her. sad

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 13:21:15

entrenched not entranched.

millie30 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:29:43

OP have you told the new preschool that DSD has a mother that she lives with half the time who needs to give her input? Or are you just pretending that she doesn't exist?

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 13:43:51

I'm just trying to imagine the conversation with DSD2's mother collects her from nursery today/tomorrow.

Mum: "Did you have a good day at nursery? What did you do?"
DSD2: "I went with Dad and SM to see my new pre-school"

Mum is then understandably furious. DSD2 is alarmed because clearly mum is angry.

Does this sound like a good situation to put a 3 year old in who you supposedly care a great deal about?

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 13:47:56

OP have you told the new preschool that DSD has a mother that she lives with half the time who needs to give her input? Or are you just pretending that she doesn't exist?

Millie I imagine that if the OP has been at the pre-school this morning with her DP and DSD, then she has made sure that she told them about Mum today.
When she comes back to this thread, she can justify her DP's decision not to tell them earlier because Mum wasn't interested, and assure everyone that he had every intention of passing on his ex's details to the pre-school today.

As I said, my ex did this to me - registered DD with a dentist where she was receiving treatment, and sent me emails "updating" me as to the treatment and decisions he had made. When I called the dentist themselves, you could hear the stunned silence when I introduced myself as DD's Mum - as far as their records showed, DD had a Dad, and a stepmum, but no mention of a Mum - let alone one who she lived with 50% of the time and whose household was in receipt of CB.

That incident alone provided me with evidence that could have been used by a solicitor/barrister had I wanted the court to decide on DD's residency. More importantly, it damaged the trust I had placed in exH that he was committed to shared parenting - it was clear from his actions that he was quite prepared to exclude me from DD's welfare and care. It made me far less inclined to work with him to co-parent DD, as I was unable to take what he was saying at face value and was always wondering what he hadn't told me.

Perhaps I was wrong to do that. Perhaps for DD's sake, I should have accepted that exH was perfectly entitled to do these things and continue to trust him to do the right thing regardless, but it's not always as easy as it sounds to do those things.
The OP is human too. She has become very attached to her DSD, is neglecting her own DC's in favour of them, and is at risk of enormous pain as they grow up and reject her (anyone who has read "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin knows why that rejection is more or less inevitable at some stage).

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 15:09:53

NADM - I've seen you mention about Stepmonster a few times, when I read about it it said she hadn't got kids of her own, do you think I'd still benefit from reading it as I have my own kids? But you do don't you? So I suppose that answers the question.

I definitely think there's no excuse for not putting her Mum's details down on the forms. DS only sees his dad at weekends so won't ever be picking him up/dropping him off etc but I still put his details down as his father and put me, his dad, DP and my mum down as emergency contacts.

I get the impression that their mum is just an inconvenience to OP and she'd rather she just left her nice little family to live happily ever after.

And I do think that it sounds like their mum was possibly suffering with PND, I have it myself and I'm sure most people have no idea, it's different to other depression I've experienced in the past, I don't even cry but sometimes I feel like I can't cope and I feel like I want to run away and start a new life. Isn't that basically what she did?

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 15:36:37

NADM - I've seen you mention about Stepmonster a few times, when I read about it it said she hadn't got kids of her own, do you think I'd still benefit from reading it as I have my own kids? But you do don't you? So I suppose that answers the question.

Definitely worth it - it was such a lightbulb moment for me!

It's not just about her own situation, in fact, she only uses that as a way to put what she is writing about into context - it is sort of like a summary of a lot of research done into step-mothers across the world written in a way that is accessible and makes sense. It details the reasons for the WSM portrayal in fairy tales (did you know that in many of the original stories, it was a mother that was the evil character, not a step-mother?) and even describes the findings of studies into the social dynamics involving step-mothers within isolated tribal communities - WSM's even exist in the Amazonian jungle!

It has helped me no end in coming to terms with the distant/fragile relationship I have with DP's parents, and how come friends and family who know me well act with horror and alarm when I am anything other than exclusively positive about the SDC wink

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 15:45:50

NADM you're making me want a copy of that book!

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 15:49:38

What did it way about relationship with inlaws? (sorry thread hijack but am very interested)

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 15:54:24

Poppy I agree there is more to the ex's behaviour here than the OP is willing to acknowledge. It doesn't even have to be PND or whatever, or anything major for that matter. The thing is, there are all manor of mental issues/illnesses that can manifest themselves in odd and peculiar ways, meaning someone's behaviour can be interpreted one way, but actually mean something completely different.

For example, my ex has little to do with day to day stuff with our DD, I've made all major decisions regarding health, schools, childcare, hobbies etc. basically every aspect of our DD's life has fallen to me to sort out. I used to get really pissed off that I couldn't engage with him on anything, couldn't get an opinion on what might be good/not good in whatever I was trying to do for DD. It's pretty wearing to be the only responsible parent, and it's nice to have someone else also take part in those 'big' and small decisions every day. It caused a fair few arguments betweens us, relations deteriorated and he went from occasionally seeing DD for an over night every week to months in between seeing DD whenever I said or did something that he felt was a criticism when I saw myself as trying to 'get through' to him, provoke a reaction that would mean he'd suddenly realise what he was missing out on, what DD was missing out on and that he really needed to 'grow up' and start being responsible. Nothing worked. Not a thing.

I eventually backed off, got on with just doing what was needed for DD, and eventually (it took 2 years in total) he started making more of an effort. He is still not what you could ever call a 'model' parent but his relationship with our DD is good, DD adores her dad (because she's oblivious to the conflict we went through) and that is far more important to me than anything.

The reasons for my ex's behaviour are complex, and after 2 years of trying to figure him out, I came to this conclusion - his own childhood was not ideal, and he baulks at having any 'grown up responsibility as a result. It's not the way many people who have a less than ideal childhood react when they become a parent, but it explained a lot about why he felt able to walk away the way he did. The pressure he felt weighed far more on him than the desire to see and spend time with our DD on a regular basis. He also felt that I was doing such a great job with DD that he really didn't need to do anything so why bother? I wasn't a controlling, over bearing person who put him down or excluded him but he was happy that the responsibility he feared so much, was being well handled by me, on my own, and he had therefore no reason to comply with the expected 'social norms' I had of him. He has a strong, almost pathalogical aversion to responsibility of any kind (to the point he regularly gets himself into difficult situations as a result) because of his past, his upbringing, and his reaction to our split. I simply need to accept that he is who he is, and move on, because trying to make him be someone he isn't won't get me anywhere, and just breeds resentment.

One thing that I've learned is not to hang onto what happened in the past, and to not let what did happen affect how things are now. I hold no grudge against my ex, he's not the ideal parent in my eyes, but he does something right because our DD absolutely adores him and often tells me he's her favourite parent (despite me being the constant in her life since birth, never wavering, never letting her down). I don't feel hurt by that, or angry that he's achieved that despite what he did in the past, but I'm actually delighted that DD has the sort of relationship that she gets so much from, even though it isn't what anyone would think of as the 'ideal' where a separated parent is concerned. I'm delighted for her because my DD's happiness and stability is paramount for me, as is her right to a relationship with her dad, even if it is on his terms. His terms aren't what I could live with for myself given the personal standards I have for the sort of parent I want to be, and want for my DD. But, I realised a long time ago I cannot make him be the sort of parent I think my DD should have. SHe has him, he is her parent, and we both just accept him for who he is, warts and all.

My ex didn't have a break down, he didn't show many signs of mental health problems. He just stopped answering my texts, stopped calling, refused to engage with me on any level. The impression he gave me was very similar to what the OP describes her DP has with his ex. But, we are still here, the moon hasn't yet fallen out of the sky, and things are good for us because we have all moved on. Developing the ability to step back from my own frustration with the behaviour of my ex, and to not let every little thing he did or didn't do, bother me is how we got here. I highly recommend it!

sanityseeker75 Thu 06-Dec-12 16:15:04

And I do think that it sounds like their mum was possibly suffering with PND, I have it myself and I'm sure most people have no idea, it's different to other depression I've experienced in the past, I don't even cry but sometimes I feel like I can't cope and I feel like I want to run away and start a new life. Isn't that basically what she did?

I did have PND but didn't really see it at the time and couldn't understand what this magic "bond" was all about. It took ages for anyone to recognise that it was PND that had been the problem - and to be honest I sort of just closed in on my self and never told anyone how I was feeling.

From what I can gather poppy she did go away after a couple of days conversation and when she was gone H moved out with kids to his moms. Lets face it there is more than just OP and her H side of the story but we are never going to know moms side of the story.

I have asked DH to buy me Stepmonster for Christmas smile

NotaDisneyMum Thu 06-Dec-12 16:38:42

I think there are some mums (and dads) who are prepared to walk away from their DC's and absolve themselves of responsibility - but it's usually possible to tell if this is just the way they are, or whether there is something else influencing their behaviour.

My ex was (and is) an absolutely devoted Dad; and yet when we separated, the impact of his behaviour on DD was horrendous - he just didn't think about her at all.
I could have written him off as a lousy father, just like all the others who let their DC's down, but I knew that his behaviour was out of character and that when he was thinking clearly, he wouldn't do that to her. I remember sobbing to the mediator after another failed session that "this wasn't exDH", that "he is unwell" that "he loves DD, so why is he doing this?"

The OP's DP will know if his ex's behaviour - abandoning her babies and not showing interest - is out of character or not. He presumably decided that she was a good mum to their first DD, as they went on to have another child together, but only he can say if this pattern of behaviour was evident in their relationship or not.
The fact that he has been actively encouraging his ex to take more responsibility and get involved in their DD's lives again suggests to me that he knows that this isn't really her - I just think it is shame that for whatever reason, he refuses to help her more and is instead taking advantage of the situation, because it is their DC's that are suffering.

sanityseeker75 Thu 06-Dec-12 16:58:14

The fact that he has been actively encouraging his ex to take more responsibility and get involved in their DD's lives again suggests to me that he knows that this isn't really her - I just think it is shame that for whatever reason, he refuses to help her more and is instead taking advantage of the situation, because it is their DC's that are suffering.

I agree NADM and I think that is the frustrating part about all of this.

My Ex refuses to have contact with me and will not even acknowledge me in the street - all communication is by text. He leaves all parenting decisions to me but I still think he is a good dad because he trys to do the best he can with DS (not always how I would do things) and DS knows that Dad loves him very much regardless of how much DH and I do on a practical level for him.

I agree there are really shit parents out there but these are usually the ones who have no contact and also never try to be involved in childrens lives and I know people who have this situation, I also know though people who say their kids have really shit dads who do not want to know but actually the mom has made it practically impossible for them to have contact and dragged it out through courts until the dad can no longer afford to pay but mom kept getting legal aid - I know that the guidlines around this have now changed.

I just think all the kids deserve to have everyone try to work in their best interests and I am convinced this is not happening here on some level.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 17:04:03

I agree NADM, I think my frustration with my ex was also based on the 'WTF is he doing' reaction, knowing just how much DD had meant to him, and how good a dad he was before we split. I genuinely couldn't get my head around why he went so long between contact, knowing that he did love her, and they got on like a house on fire when they were together. It caused all sorts of feelings in me - anger, frustration, guilt, sadness for DD, confusion, and just hurt really. But I then realised that how I was reacting to that wasn't helping the situation, or improving it, and I needed to disengage from him and the choices he was making. It took some of the pressure off him, and while he was 'clearing his head' as it were, I made sure DD's life was busy, full of people who loved her etc. I always hoped he'd come round, and now, I'm glad I backed off and just got on with focussing on my DD and what was best for her, not on what I wanted, or what I thought my ex should do/say/not do/not say etc.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 21:34:26

Well, we didn't take DSD to her new preschool today. I know most of you think that is a good thing but I feel a bit sad for DSD, she would have loved it there and it seems that we will have to just agree to her mums decision that she wants her to stay at her old preschool. She has still not given a reason, refuses to discuss pros and cons of each with DP and won't even go and visit. She's been telling DSD that her new preschool would be rubbish and the kids there are mean and the teachers aren't nice, so DP decided if she's going to keep that up she is going to make DSD upset about it and she will hate going there. So she's not going. I admit I'm disappointed for DSD and disappointed her mum could use her emotions like that to get her own way sad

As for other stuff, her mum emailed DP today, insisting that if he want the girls to see her at Christmas he should be willing to drop them there Xmas day PM and bring them back Boxing day PM. He is working boxing day so I will have to be the one who goes and collect them, which I really don't want to bloody do as I can't see any reason why she can't make one of the journeys to see her own babies at Christmas. She has "family" round, well so do we! We have two families (mine and DP's) to visit and an extra set of DC with their own family and Xmas plans too, one journey each would have been fair. But I already know I will give in and do the 2 hr round trip as otherwise DSD's will be left at hers an extra night during their normal time with us and I would rather have them at home with us than win that argument.

Millie - I'm not sure why it is relevant, but yes I did inform the preschool (when we registered her) of her family arrangements 50/50 with her mum. They only asked for one address and "parent/carer living at this address" plus an emergency contact to collect her in case she was ill etc. I was emergency contact as live round the corner and SAHM, would have been pointless putting their mum as she works FT and is nearly an hours drive away. We did give them her address name and number though for their records although they said they didn't need it. Not that it matters now. For things like DSD2's school application they ask on the forms for resident parents details and have separate boxes for any non resident parent or other person who has PR, so the LEA have all their mums details too. Eldest DSD's school have been provided with a letter by DP detailing contact arrangements and what days the children stay at each home of course. They have only one address on file, which is ours.

Disney... I think I will buy and read "Stepmonster" it seems to be very much recommended by lots of SM's!

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 21:37:22

Should add though, should there be an emergency at preschool or school then of course DP or I would contact their mum immediately! It's just practically, I am much closer than she is as emergency contact for "non" emergencies like feeling a bit sick or running a slight temp etc.

purpleroses Thu 06-Dec-12 22:08:13

Can see that you're sad, if you thought she'd be happier there, but she'll probably be fine where she is, with friiends that she's made for the next two terms. And things always change around a bit when they start school anyway.

Be aware that the emergency contact isn't just about who can pick them up if they're unwell - it's also about who has PR and can consent to medical treatment, if they should be injured or something. I would assume it'll be their dad and mum who have PR, not you, so best make sure they have everyone's contact details and are aware who's who. IME schools are quite good at asking the child direct which is the best parent to ring if they just need to go home early as they're unwell.

allnewtaketwo Thu 06-Dec-12 22:16:50

Erm I work full time and an hour away from DS's school but there is EVERY reason why I am down as emergency contact, as is DH. We are his mother and father.

Btw how do you know mum has been saying these things about the preschool

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 22:22:37

Interesting that you lament about the 2 hour round trip on Xmas day, yet mum does it 5 days a week on her week?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 22:29:23

Snow, you might ignore me but I'll say it anyway - I think a massive part of the problem you are in is the huge part you are playing in enabling both your DSD's parents to behave in the way they are doing. You doing the driving/pick up based on a demand from the mum, while the DSDs are with her but on your DP's time, while he is working? But you'll do it anyway as you'd rather they spent time with you than one more day with their mum? You have conceded that your DSD should stay at the preschool where she is, but it's all about her mum refusing 'for no reason' and how she's filling her head with negative stuff about the preschool etc. I'm sorry but that is a really fucked up situation to be in, even though you are doing this willingly and with gusto as you 'love your DSD like they were your own'. You are taking the fact that you've had to go along with the ex's wishes here, really personally, and the resentment you have for her is oozing through your post.

You were way too involved in this whole process, as it was never down to you to do all that you did to try and persuade the ex here to go along with this 'plan'. You invested way too much in trying to get this to happen, and that is also a major problem with the situation you are in, in this 'blended family' you have. All the talk about how you knew the current preschool is 'pretty crap' because you used to work in one, is influence and interference your DP doesn't need when he has to deal with an ex he has little chance of persuading to go along with such plans. You have effectively 'cranked up' the pressure in a situation where he would have otherwise been able to just shrug off because he'd have known there was virutally no way he could get his ex to agree i.e. he'd have been able to determine that this is a battle not worth picking with his ex. That is a very restrictive way to bring your own children up, but it's his reality and he needs to be able to deal with that. Not be egged on about how fantastic a preschool this is, and it's really in DSD's best interests etc. You need to be wary of what you say and how you say it, in a situation where what you say can spur him on to have yet another spat with his ex, prolonging the conflict, and meaning that he'll not get to the point where he can change his response to his ex's behaviour. Now, rather than just putting it behind you and move on, because really there is nothing you can do in this situation given that you have no rights whatsoever, you seem to want to hold onto that resentment. You need to just drop it, not think about it, and just move on without dwelling on 'how sad' it is your DSD is missing out on this wonderful preschool. For your sake, your DP's sake and especially your DSDs' sakes.

There is nothing wrong in wanting the best for children you care about, but the boundaries here are so blurred and trampled all over that it's impossible for you to see the wood from the trees. Let your DP do what is needed to make things right for his children, and leave him to it.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 22:40:04

Well Pingu the reason she has that trip to do is because she decided to not be involved with DSD2 for any more than 1 overnight a week until about 6 mths ago, so of course DSD was placed into a preschool by her home, our house, this was well before we knew her mum would start having her more often or on preschool days, so her mums house location wasn't even in consideration when it was chosen. She doesn't do it 5 days a week anyway, more like 3 and she has to drive half the distance to get to DSD1's primary school anyway.

I am a little annoyed by the fact that a 2 hr round trip is too much effort to be able to see her children over Christmas. But like I said, I would do it.

Pingu.... You seem to have an issue with me? Are you a mum who's children have a SM that you dislike? You seem to be very much of the view that a SM, even a resident one who has jointly raised their DSC with her DP after then mum pretty much left them and didn't have much interest in them shouldn't take an active role in their lives.

Purple, she can tell the preschool her details if she likes, she doesn't need us to do it for her anyway. They do have her details though, I gave them to the pre school manager. She was of course provided with copies of the application forms when they were done and she goes there regularly now too. I do also have PR for both DSD's though, not that it matters, if there were to be a proper emergency I would be likely to get there first and would of course call DP and their mum right away.

millie30 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:42:20

So if there was an emergency with DSD at the preschool during her week with her mother you would get the phonecall and not her mother? She has made it clear from your other thread that she values her time with the children and doesn't want to surrender any of that but you would still try to impinge on it by putting yourself in between any communication she would have with the preschool where her own DCs go. And I simply don't believe that the school said they didn't need the contact details of a parent with whom they live half the time. I think it's far more likely you either minimised her involvement or didn't mention her at all.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 22:47:59

Yeah that's right Millie, I didn't mention her at all and when she drops them off/collect them she wears her invisible coat! I did give them her details to have "on file" but their application forms do not ask for the details as standard of a non resident parent or second home or anything - one home address space and parents/carers living at this address. I feel you are trying to pick fault here where there is none. I think preschool have only ever called once and they called me first before DP as they know that I am SAHM and round the corner and I went and collected her.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 22:54:17

I do also have PR for both DSD's though, not that it matters

WTF? You have PR, and failed to even mention that at any point throughout your threads? How on earth did you manage to acquire PR in this situation? And if that's the case, you and your DP, together, outnumber the ex here, and can basically ride roughshod over any wishes she has. And for that reason alone, I doubt there would be a court in the land who would grant that, knowing the potential battlefield that would create between 2 parents who already have difficulty in communicating.

Sorry, but I don't believe for a second that you have PR here, not being married to your DP, and not even being able to communicate with the other person who would have to agree to PR being granted to you.

millie30 Thu 06-Dec-12 23:01:37

I was referring to the new preschool when I suggested that you hadn't mentioned the mother. I'm not picking fault, I'm stating that you seem incapable of recognising that the wishes and status of the mother should be prioritised over your own position. You do also seem to have changed your story a bit as in the opening post on your first thread you portrayed a reasonable arrangement and a mother who was desperate not to lose any of her contact time. As the threads have moved on she has turned into a useless mother who has had to be coerced into caring for her own children.

And I also don't believe you have PR.

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 23:07:03

Yes snow, you are right. I do have an issue- but not with you, as you put it, because I don't know you.
I have however, lots of issues with the things that you say. You are spot on that I am also on the receiving end of a SM like you. To date, she hasn't quite gone as far as you have yet ( and if you'd just take a moment to actually read the hundreds of posters who oppose your views, you'd see that as far as stepmothers go- you are a pretty extreme version.
I've been a member of mn for a long time. The step parenting board is somewhere I spend a fair bit of time on. I get lots of fab advice on here and to be honest, it's kept me pretty sane when I've been up against some very unfair behaviour by my ex and his partner. Most of the posters on this board are step parents- unsurprisingly then, it's fair to say they understand each other and suffer a lot of the problems associated with step-parenting. The majority of posters who disagree with you are step-parents, and yet staggeringly - you still fail to see that you are wrong. You prefer instead to insist that we 'just don't get you' or that (in my case) we are mothers who's children have wicked stepmothers.

<head, wall, banging>

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 23:09:13


My dd's SM also told me she had PR for my dd. Fuck knows where she got that little gem from, but I happily enlightened hergrin

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:09:26

I didn't mention it because it has no relevance to my original really bunchamunchy, and nobody asked until now. I also know that it often puts peoples backs up and they (as you have) assume that we could outnumber and override their mums decisions. We can't and wouldn't anyway. For things like school applications it needs to be agreed by all people with PR, we can say "two against one, ha ha" it doesn't work like that. Although, until now it's not been a problem as she has agreed the school application for DSD2. We probably could go to court and try and get some sort of order to enable us to get DSD2 to change preschool, but we really can't afford it to be honest, not just before Xmas, I'd rather spend the money on nice pressies for all the DC- plus I'm guessing it would take ages and by then she would lose her place.

It's not hard to acquire PR, their mum and DP both had to sign consent forms and DP's solicitor made an application to court and it was sorted. I did lots of things like doctors and dentists appointments and vaccinations and things so it made sense.

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 23:12:22

Made an application to court.

You said you had never been to court and neither yourself or DP had any experience of it.
You also said there was a lot of hostility and abuse from the mum towards you....yet you reckon that she handed PR over to you?

millie30 Thu 06-Dec-12 23:12:48

Snow, my child doesn't have a stepmother. I was raised by an amazing stepmother who is still one of the most important people in my life. I have one spare ticket to DS' nativity play next week and I gave it to her. So I certainly don't have any bias or grudge against step parents. But I think your actions are divisive, antagonistic and ultimately not in the interests of your DSCs.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:13:52

Fair enough Pingu. I can understand your point of view and appreciate it too, although in a slightly round about way.

When you say you are on the receiving end of a SM like me? Did you walk out on your children and hardly see them for 2 year swhen they were babies? Did you refuse to take any interest in them or their upbringing, and have to be encouraged to see them and reminded when you were supposed to be seeing them? Was your DC SM and your EX left to raise your DC alone because you weren't really that interested? Would you sau to your EX and DC SM that you will see the DSD on Xmas day but only if they drive them both ways as you have "family" over that day? I'm thinking not....

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 23:15:24

I didn't mention it because it has no relevance to my original really

Erm, PR gives those who have it a say in where the child attends school/preschool etc. How on earth is that not relevant over a dispute between your DP and his ex over which pre-school your DSD attends? And 2 against 1 in terms of 'important' decisions to be made for a child is exactly why I don't believe for a second you actually have it.

A woman who won't even reply to a question over a change of pre-school happily signed a form giving you legal responsibility for her kids, all the while she's verbally abusing you/your DP? hmm

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:15:53

No I haven't been to court nor has DP, we have no experience of courts. Perhaps made an application to court isn't the correct legal term - do excuse my ignorance when it comes to family court lingo. They filled in a very quick form each and Dp took it to his solicitor. We did not have to actually go to court at all, DP solicitor "entered the paperwork" "applied to court" or whatever it is called and that was it. I'm not imagining it!

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 23:17:08

No, Snow, I haven't done any of those things you mention. Forgive me though, but I don't actually believe that the situation here is as you are reporting it.
Sorry, but that's my gut feeling.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:19:13

That's fair enough. Most people I talk to who don't know us do find it hard to believe a mum would ever not prioritise her children. I just spoke to DP and he seems to think it is fairly common for SM or SD's to have PR? Or is that incorrect?

millie30 Thu 06-Dec-12 23:20:17

Snow, if she is so useless and disinterested then why has she fought so hard to keep her 50% of the time?

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:23:03

Honestly, I can't answer that question Millie. I think she has just decided she would like to be in her DD's lives again I guess.

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 23:25:24

bunchamunchy your story is almost identical to mine with my ex. The only difference is he didn't have a bad childhood, maybe it wasn't ideal, in fact his mum blames the way he is on the fact that he was the youngest of 5 so thinks they prob spoilt him too much and were too soft on him. He now shies away from any responsibility and I too am solely responsible for all the decision making. It used to bother me, especially before I met DP as sometimes you just need some reassurance that you're making the right decisions. He's what I'd call a fair weather parent. He likes all the fun stuff but he's never nursed him when he's poorly or taken him to dr's, he doesn't even know where his school is never mind been there.
But I was the same as you, I'd get upset about things like him saying he couldn't have DS for the day because he was ill, well do I get to not look after him when I'm ill? No! It's called being a parent, you're looking after your son not your nephew!
But eventually after about 18 months of arguments someone told me about the parent/adult/child psychology model which basically says if you speak to somebody as though you're telling them off (like a parent) the other person will come back at you like a child, which is what he did, he'd give me abuse and then ignore me for weeks. But if you speak to somebody as an adult they respond like an adult so ever since then I have always just tried to remain adult like and we get on sooo much better and he's now really stepped up as a father. He's still not involved as far as decisions etc but he's much more reliable and I trust him a lot more. DS loves him to bits and that's all that matters. Life just became so much easier when I just let go and stopped trying to make him do stuff, I've left him to it and he's now changed because he wanted to, not because I told him to.

In OP's situation I suspect these emails may be guilty of being 'parent like' which is only going to make their mum pissed off and behave childlike by not replying.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 23:25:39

Snow do you actually think this woman doesn't love her kids? Is that why you think you are justified in having such a low opinion of her?

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:29:00

I do think she loves them, just in her own way. I think they are equal to other things she also loves.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 23:30:14

So you feel superior to her?

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:33:01

Not superior. I guess I feel towards her how I would feel if my EX didn't priortise our DC.

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 23:38:16

To my knowledge not all parents with PR have to OK a school application, when I applied for DS's school place there was no mention of his father, in fact I'm sure it just asked about DS's details not parents details.
Also, there isn't really any need for you to have PR, anybody can take a child to the dentists/doctor etc yes you may need your details against their file or maybe a letter from dad, but have you ever seriously been asked at dentists/doctors etc ''and who are you ? Do you have PR?'' No it's just not asked and its not necessary at all.
I'm beginning to think you're full of s* and the fact that you feel it's necessary for you to have PR to me shows that you're doing everything you can to claim as much of a hold over them as you can and to push their mum further and further out of the picture.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:45:57

Poppy - how sweet of you to say I'm full of shit.

Have a little look at the new standard online application forms. They ask for childs home address, parents/carers living at the address and there is a separate section that asks for name and address of any other parent or person who has PR - why the heck would I lie about a bloody box on an application form is beyond me!

You are right, they will not contact everyone with PR to check they agree with the application, my point was all with PR should agree as if they don't anyone with PR can kick up a stink and apply to court (as far as I'm aware) even if it is 2 with PR against 1 without.

Yes, I have been asked if I have PR for the children when I have taken them for vaccinations actually! The nurse shouldn't give vaccinations without permission from someone with PR, so yes they do ask, unless they just assume you are the parent.

pinguthepenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 23:46:18

Actually snow, I'm gonna revise my last post to you and explain a few things.

When my dd was a few weeks old, her dad and I split up. Soon after it emerged that he was in fact now with the woman who is my dd's SM. I was understandably devastated, but after about a year, I was (or so I thought, on my feet). Unfortunately for me though, dd's SM had other ideas and both her and exp decided I was someone who they were 'up against' rather than someone to work with.
They criticised me relentlessly, harrassed me even, and I became so low about it, that I lost total confidence in my ability to parent dd. I started asking ex to have her more often, and yet he and her both still chipped and chipped at my perceived crapness. Ex ( encouraged by SM) scrutinised every minute detail of my parenting and like yourself, seemed to 'know' an awful lot about my life.
Ex and his wife tried to register dd in schools of their choice, change my Childminder, sack another Childminder, and take her for medical appointments together, saying I didn't need to go.
As a mother, I was now surplus to requirements. This behaviour almost destroyed me and I actually was very close to letting dd go to live there, because I could not take it any more. After around 2.5 years of this I decided to fight back. This did not go down well- they reminded me of how often I sent dd to theirs, when I 'couldn't cope'. They refused to acknowledge that it was THEM who almost broke me. They ( yes THEY) sent me letters detailing my failings and I ignored them. It was and is the only way I can manage them.

So reading that, is there even a teeny tiny part of you that can see the part you and your ex have had or continue to play in this situation? A little introspection here snow......

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:47:28

Sorry I meant even if it is 2 with PR against 1 with PR - if that makes sense.

It is not vitally necessary for me to have PR but I do, and it does help. Both parents agreed without being held at knife point, so there is no problem.

SnowWhiteWinter Thu 06-Dec-12 23:50:19

Yes Pingu, of course it makes me feel that perhaps their mum is sometimes trying but not quite making it. That sound really awful for you sad

PoppyPrincess Thu 06-Dec-12 23:54:40

snow you're moaning about having to do this drive twice over Xmas, imagine what it's like for her having to drive up to where you live EVERY day TWICE a day to take kids/pick them up from preschool/school!
But of course she's a terrible mum who is always late for no reason and can't be bothered with them.
I'm not surprised she wants you to take them to her, she's quite clearly fed up of having to do all that driving so figured since you and DP are off work you can do some of the driving for once, and you know what, I don't blame her!
I really do feel sorry for this woman

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 06-Dec-12 23:58:32

Snow the way you feel about her, and her parenting, or her apparent disinterest is really affecting you. It's clear from your posts that you do feel superior to her, you are clearly a very 'hands on' mum and extend that care to your DSDs. But, if any of us posting here have learned anything at all, it's that you cannot expect people to live by your own personal standards alone, and if you go through life judging the ex here, and her 'disinterest' with complete focus on the negative all the time, you will never get to a point where your DSDs will not feel the tension, or pressure being put upon them by the situation they are caught up in. My ex shows no interest at all in schooling, DD's friends, what's she's up to or anything along those lines. I used to really resent him for not being as interested or committed to DD as I was, and felt personally offended by his disinterest in our DD. But, when he did see her, and spend time with her, she wouldn't shut up about it when she got home. He isn't the best parent but the relationship DD has with him is worth all the hard work I have to put in to make that happen. It shouldn't come down to me to do all the hard work for that to happen but it does, because otherwise DD wouldn't see him and spend the time with him that she does. And she loves it.

Even if your DSDs don't come back from their mum's chatting happily about their time with her, they'll still be getting something from that time that is precious for them. You need to be happy about that because that relationship for your DSDs is important. Why would you not be happy that your DSD get to spend so much time with their mum? If the ex spending the time she has with her own children affects you so much, then you won't be the fabulous mum you want to be to your own kids, because it will impact you more than you realise. Both you and your DP need to get past the anger and resentment, the bitterness and the judgemental attitude you have about the ex here, and just stop antagonising this situation with the way you deal with the ex. I honestly picture you with a cat's bum face when you are talking about the ex here, as you have a real problem with her. And that isn't doing anyone any good as it just stops you from disengaging and adopting a much less stressful outlook on things. Seriously, try and just not react to the ex, think happy thoughts about your DSD having a better relationship with their mum than they have had, and start to enjoy the time you have to concentrate on your own kids when they are gone. Because they need you focussed on their needs and happiness when they are with you, and not 'sad' because your DSDs aren't there.

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 00:00:17

The ONLY reason she has to drive to us is because she was having very little contact with her DD's at all until 6 mths ago - her choice. That's why DSD2 is in pre school near us, because she didn't care and never had her on weekdays at all, had she had weekday contact with her then DSD2 would probably be in preschool near DSD1's primary to make it a fair easy journey for both us and her mum. When she had then 1 day a week we used to do most of the driving then too.

What should we do? She's shown some interest for 6 months - shall we move next door to her so she doesn't have to drive anywhere? Uproot my Dc and take them away from their primary school, friends and their Dad? Sh has no other children neither does her DP - she could always move here, she won't though.

I'd drive to the other side of the county and back to see my DC or my DSD's on Christmas day, not state I have "family" round - WTF are the DSD's?

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 00:01:30

Bunchy you are right! smile

pinguthepenguin Fri 07-Dec-12 00:02:51

So if you can truly see my point, why can't you try to support this mother? If you love those the right thing
Yes I know you say you have supported her- but be honest, you haven't. Going after PR of those kids, the whole school mess meaning she has to do two hours driving a day and then make dd late for school, the trying to switch dd's nursery, the trying to force her hand with the mid week stays, the hounding her for maintenance even though you get CB, the fact that you are down as the emergency contact over the mother, the fact that you will only do the Xmas driving because you want the kids with you rather than their mother. It all stinks.....come on...part of you must know deep down that this would DESTROY you if you were on the receiving end?

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 00:03:20

snow at my dr's there is a sign up in reception saying that if someone without PR is taking a child for a vaccination then they require a letter from a parent giving their consent. That's all that is required, just a note, not a legal document.
Again, my DP has been around since DS was a baby but we have never found it necessary for him to have PR, but that's probably because he doesn't try to be his Dad.
I really think you need to back off and gain perspective and come to terms with the fact that you are not their mum

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 00:09:27

Your DP has lied to you snow; why would he do that about something so important if he was as committed to you and your DC as you are to him and his?

As you have PR, my advice would be to decide, on your own, what is best for your DSD's, and action it unilaterally without involving either of their parents. Neither of them have their DDs best interests as a priority in their life.

Your DP has misled you. It is very unusual for step-parents to be awarded PR - and from your posts, it is obvious that you don't appreciate the significance of the responsibility he has placed on you.

I don't understand his reasons for doing it - but the fact that he has lied to you about something so important in his DDs lives is evidence enough that he has his own agenda - one that you don't know about or understand.

You are equal to the girls parents in law - use that to protect them from their own parents who are manipulating you and abusing their DDs for goodness only knows what reason.

Your DP has lied to you snow; why would he do that about something so important if he was as committed to you and your DC as you are to him and his?

Xalla Fri 07-Dec-12 05:46:29

I've taken my DSD for vaccinations and doctor's appointments in the past. Actually I took her to the dentist yesterday. I haven't got PR and I've never needed it.

I don't know any step-parents with PR bar one, and she took on the role of Step-Mum after the childrens' Mum passed away. In your case the children's Mum has not passed away - she parents them equally to your DH now and there is as far as I can see, no reason whatsoever for you to retain PR.

As far as emergency contacts go... At my DSD's school (and pre-school before that) my DH and Mum were down jointly as 'first priority emergency contacts' - the school had to phone both of them in an emergency / if DSD was ill. Myself and DSD's maternal gran were down jointly as 'second priority'. The agreement was made when DH and his ex were not getting on very well but it still stands although the reality is, everyone's getting on much better now and in the event, we all phone each other to see who can get there the quickest / leave work the easiest.

You haven't answered the question, what do the girls call you? Do they call you Mum?

As far as the Boxing Day pick up goes I just wouldn't go and pick up the girls. If Mum has plans Boxing Day, leave the girls with her and let her drop them home on the 27th. Actually reading that made me smile; there was tension over who did the Boxing Day pick up between my DH and his ex for years - let's face it none of us want to spend Boxing Day in the car, kids included, most of us have family over and want to relax. It was decided that the handover should be on the 27th instead and guess what? Nobody's got a problem with that! DSD spends from the last day of term to the 27th with one parent and the 27th to the first day of term with the other. She reverses each year. They have another agreement that the person whose house she's going to does the pick up; this year she's with her Mum for Xmas and my DH for NY so Mum will pick her up from school on the last day of term to go to her house, DH will pick her up on the 27th to come here and then DH takes her back to school in Jan and term-time contact resumes. Simples!

Xalla Fri 07-Dec-12 06:30:50

I also think the reason this hasn't gone to court is because your DP is well aware that Cafcass / the courts would take a very dim view of what's been happening in your 'blended family'. I think there would be a HUGE amount of sympathy for Mum (as there has been on here) and now 50/50 contact is the girls' 'status quo' - it would be much easier for the balance to tip in Mum's favour.

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:32:23

The PR thing in a nonsense Snow

You are either explaining it very badly or the solicitor / DP have lied to you for you to think you have PR.

A Parental Responsibility Agreement (where you dont have to go to court) can only be for a father or a married stepparent - you are neither of those are you?

A Parental Responsibility Order can be made by court but again you have to be legally connected to the child, step parent (legal defination marriage), grandparent etc.

The only way a non-married step parent can get PR is by a residence order

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 07:35:58

Yes I think either snow is lying or her DP has lied to her, perhaps just to keep her quiet happy

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 07:49:04

Is simple

- Snow is either marrier to her DP and has done a PR agreement

- Snow and her DP have a residence or shared residence order naming both them and the mother

- Snow and her DP have adopted the children (in which case the mother does not have PR)

- Snows DP has lied to her telling her she has PR when she does not

- Snows DP has told her that he can delegate his day to day decision making PR to her, when the children are in his care, and snow has misunderstood to assume she has full PR - this is true, but is not the same as "proper" PR

There is no legal way for Snow to have PR in the circumstances she has described on here.

Xalla Fri 07-Dec-12 08:09:11

In that case Snow declaring herself as a 'person with PR' on school applications and such is fraudulent....right?

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 09:51:49

Or the other possibility is that she is just full of shit? Sorry but too many things just don't add up here.
I'd love to hear the DSD's mums version of events!

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 09:54:16

In fact this is all reminding me of a film I saw once...The Hand That Rocked the Cradle!

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:03:55

I have thought that a number of things don't add up from the very start of the last thread. There are countless contradictions and it just doesn't feel right.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 10:13:23

Or maybe you are all reading more into this than you should, simply because the OP is the Step, rather than the Mother...

Would you question the Mother in such detail?

The way you are badgering the OP here makes very uncomfortable reading.

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:17:35

I'm a step-mother and am definitely not usually suspicious of SM on here at all.

The OP has actually been given a lot of very good advice on here about how to improve the quality of her DSCs lives and also how to avoid future hurt herself

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 10:20:39

Xmas we're all Stepmums too!

The OP has appealed to SM for advice based on experience - and that's what we're giving!

Many of us have found ourselves unwittingly used as pawns in a game of one-upmanship between our DPs and their ex's; and that is the experience we are sharing with the OP - suggesting she questions things her DP assures her of when it clearly doesn't add up.

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 10:24:42

Sorry but when she states things which you know aren't correct eg. Saying she's got PR when legally she can't, then of course it raises suspicions.

The way she speaks about these girls and seems to have such a low opinion of their own mother makes very uncomfortable reading to me. As a mother and a step mother it just doesn't sit right with me.

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:30:16

The thought of the OP removing her step-child from nursery against the mother's express wishes, likely to cause stress for a 3 year old, made me doubt the sincerity of the OP's intentions for the "best" for them.

Also the lack of mention of her own children unless questioned - her children who go to the (handilly nearby to her) local school which is an hour away from the mother. All the while claiming to be so supportive of 50:50 care.

Also the constant repetition of how well placed she is to care for the children relative to their mother because she is so conveniently a SAHM. So patronising and derogatory.

And the awful attitude towards the mother, who the OP apparently actively encourages, yet then goes on to admit she never speaks to her.

Also the moving in with her DP while the youngest child is only a baby.

Etc, etc.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 10:48:01

I know that NADM, and usually I find you give great advice to SMs that are suffering (as you did with me smile), but this thread has made very uncomfortable reading. You are digging, digging, digging at everything the OP is posting, as if you are looking to trip her up.

I don't believe the same advice and nitpicking would take place if it was the mother posting.

Things like:

The thought of the OP removing her step-child from nursery against the mother's express wishes, likely to cause stress for a 3 year old, made me doubt the sincerity of the OP's intentions for the "best" for them

That will be the nursery that the Mother had no input to because as the time she couldn't be bothered to see her child. That will be the nursery that was 'good' when the child was first enroled, but has deteriorated drastically since. That will be the nursery that is on 10 minutes walk from the 'new' nursery. That will be the nursery that the child has been told about, and was looking forward to visiting until the Mother slagged it off.

and this:

Also the lack of mention of her own children unless questioned - her children who go to the (handilly nearby to her) local school which is an hour away from the mother. All the while claiming to be so supportive of 50:50 care

Oh, the 'own' children that have nothing to do with the questions the OP has asked. The local school that the step child was enroled into when the Mother couldn't be bothered with her child. The local school that the OP has already said numerous times is a second choice, and that she is going to try to get the younger child into the same school as her sister.


Also the moving in with her DP while the youngest child is only a baby

What the fuck has that got to do with the price of fish? The DP was essentially a single parent with 2 children. Who he introduces to his children, who he brings into his children's lives, and when, is his business, no-one elses. The Mother has the same entitlement.

Look, it matters little to me, I can hide threads that I feel are nasty, and will, but I do wish you would all try to see the OPs POV as well, and you really don't sound as if you want to.

Like I said, it makes for uncomfortable reading.

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 10:51:52

I don't think it sounds like the DP was ever a single parent tbh

The OP doesn't just sound like she has a POV, she sounds way too actively involved in driving the decision making relating to her DSCs. That's very different to the entitlement to an opinion.

timeforachangebaby Fri 07-Dec-12 10:54:14

Tbf - as a former resident SP who never had "legal" PR - I never needed it - I just acted as if I had it and no-one ever questioned it.

Doctors, dentist, schools - I dealt with then all.

And I know from a DofE viewpoint - any adult with whom a child lives is deemed the same as a parent - that's easily googleable.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 11:01:40

I don't think it sounds like the DP was ever a single parent tbh

What does that matter?

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 11:03:27

allnewtaketwo I agree with you, I have my doubts that he is ever really single which could explain the mother's reasons for leaving him and abandoning her babies.

It's the way she pretends to be their mother that actually makes me feel sick to the stomach.
It is possible to raise a child from being a baby, to love them, care for them etc without thinking that you have such a right to make decisions and override their mother in this way.
I know it is because I've seen my DP do it.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 11:04:01

Xmas I don't disagree with what you say - I think the increasing frustration that people are feeling because the OP isn't making it clear that she is acknowledging, let alone considering, the advice she has been asked for is leading to some unguarded posts.

The OP has considered the advice though, and I'm sure that one of the reasons that the OP's DP changed his mind about taking his DD to the nursery was because of what has been written here in response to the OP's request for advice.

The problem is that it feels like a total waste of time and effort giving advice if it turns out that the OP has omitted key information or deliberately misled in their posts in order to influence the responses. That suggests that the OP is looking for validation, rather than advice, and I for one am not prepared to spend my time doing that.

There is also the fact that the OP may well be having the wool pulled over her eyes by her DP - and just like posts on the relationship thread, responses can become blunt if the OP is just unable or unwilling to acknowledge the evidence that is right in front of her.

In this case, the OP mistakenly believes that she has PR for her two young DSD's - she is being seriously misled by her DP about something that could have life-changing consequences for her. Lets say she gives consent for dental treatment and there is a reaction to medication; and Mum decides to make an issue of the situation? Imagine how SS would view that situation? The OP's own DC's would undoubtedly be dragged into the mess, and as a former childcare worker, the OP's future employment opportunities could be put at risk, too.
Her refusal to acknowledge the possible risk that her DP has placed on her and her DC's is frustrating - and leads to questions over the OP's own judgement - in much the same way as she is questioning her DSD Mums judgement. Is the OP really doing the best she can for her own DC's if she refuses to accept that her DP is manipulating her for a reason she doesn't understand?

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 11:07:38

asking for - the OP has been asking for advice, not has been asked for it!

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 11:09:28

I suspect OP has probably abandoned the thread now that she isn't hearing what she wants to hear.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 11:52:04

I hear and understand you NADM. I do feel you have been hectoring, but now I understand why. I think the most recent posts, that are almost certainly coloured by those posters (erroneous?) view that the OP is the 'OW' have spoilt the thread.

This is a shame, because the advice you have given is quite likely to be missed whilst the OP is trying to defend herself against the others.

She may well not come back. And in doing so will lose the huge pockets of experience and advice she could have received sad

Lookingatclouds Fri 07-Dec-12 11:58:19

I have dsd living with me, and not with either parent, and I don't have PR.

What doesn't make sense to me, and I think I said this earlier, is if they had so many concerns about mum's willingness to be involved why 50:50 was agreed to, and seems to have been encouraged. Why not stick to alternate weekends and build it up if she is so unreliable or so disinterested. I just don't get why you would opt for 50:50, unless it were court ordered, if you had those concerns. Something for me doesn't add up.

The other thing for me too is that she never seems to speak with the ex directly. My xh paints me and our break-up in a bad light to his gf I'm sure (he says the things to me directly, so I'm sure he says them to her), I probably sound like a vindictive, money-grabbing, contact preventing, shouting harridan from his version. The truth is very different, but how would she know if all she knows of me is what he has told her. It wasn't surprising when he told me not contact her directly.

If this is the case here, I feel for her as she has been manipulated by her DP, and she has a hell of a lot to take on board right now if she is starting to see things differently.

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 12:00:33

xmas she did receive lots of good advice on this thread and on another but she just ignored it which just annoyed the rest of us.
She wasn't looking for advice she was looking for validation. She had made up her mind and wanted us to tell her how she could go about getting what she wanted.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:06:53

poppy To be fair to snow she didn't ignore the advice -she may have defended the reasons for her thinking, but actually, in both the threads this week, there was an overwhelming consensus, which snow and her DP did put into place.
In this case, the OP has accepted that her DSD won't be going to the new pre-school. Despite the fact that she doesn't necessarily think it is the best thing for her DSD, she has accepted the advice given here and looked at the bigger picture.

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 12:09:32

lookingatclouds I don't have any contact with my ex's DP or with DP's ex, not for any particular reason, just because there has never been a need for me to. But if my DS was living with his dad and his gf was caring for him a lot and making decisions about health care, schools etc then I would guess I would be in contact with her. And if DSC lived here and I was caring for them and making decisions about them then I would most certainly be in contact with their mum and whether she didn't have much input or not I'd still be checking things with her.

Unless of course the mother won't speak to OP because she was responsible for the breakup and she feels like OP has stolen her family?

Lookingatclouds Fri 07-Dec-12 12:19:05

Exactly Poppy. I tried to start bypassing xh and talking to his gf when it was appropriate because I wanted to build a relationship with her and be able to discuss things with her. I felt it was important when I was a stepmum, I feel it's important now. But he wasn't having any of it, he expressly told me not to text her.

I really can't ascertain here whether the OP and the mum have any communication that doesn't go through the dad.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:20:07

if my DS was living with his dad and his gf was caring for him a lot and making decisions about health care, schools etc then I would guess I would be in contact with her. And if DSC lived here and I was caring for them and making decisions about them then I would most certainly be in contact with their mum and whether she didn't have much input or not I'd still be checking things with her.

Everyone is different though - my DD lives with her Dad and SM 50% of the time and is often in the care of SM - she attends school appointments etc, but I have never had more than the odd casual conversation with her, exchanged polite hellos etc. She definitely wasn't the OW, I left DP and DD's SM came into her life much later on.
I've never needed to contact DD's SM, and most contact with my ex is by email/text (it's easier).

Yes, DD is a bit older, but even so, I wouldn't want to deal with DD SM unless her Dad was incapable and then I'd probably be questioning whether DD should be in his care so much.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 12:27:13

Unless of course the mother won't speak to OP because she was responsible for the breakup and she feels like OP has stolen her family?

and there we go - perfectly illustrated. There is NO WAY the OP is going to get fair treatment here.

purpleroses Fri 07-Dec-12 12:28:24

I don't have any direct contact with my ex's DW, nor with my DP's ex. When my ex first got together with his DW he had a phase of saying "we" this and "we" that which really pissed me off. It felt like there were two of them ganging up on me. So I'd always favour letting the parents be parents together and as a step-parent having your conversations just with your DP.

My DP, however, does sometimes have direct contact with his ex's DP - mainly because he's often a lot more reasonable about things than DP's ex is - but it's my DP that's initiated this - the parent - the step parent (his ex's DP) has never initiated any conversations.

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 12:30:01

I'm confused - in the OP, it states that the induction is next week. Yet yesterday, the OP stated that they didn't take DSD to the pre-school "today"

Did I miss something?

CatchingMockingbirds Fri 07-Dec-12 12:33:28

poppy didn't say the mother shouldnt speak to the OP as she's broken up the family ltX. She was offering a suggestion as to why the mother may feel the need to ignore the OP.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Fri 07-Dec-12 12:43:58

Tbf Xmas, I think those comments about the OP possibly being the OW are an attempt (albeit harsh in some cases) to try and get the OP to have some perspective on her situation whereby she softens her attitude towards the DSDs' mum, for the overall benefit of the kids stuck in the middle. I understand that sort of accusation on the SP board isn't warmly embraced, but in this case, the OP has a very low view of the mum here, she has very strong feelings about the mum's low standards of parenting, not putting the DSDs first in situations she feels she should, and her own attitude towards the mum is not helping her disengage with the behaviour she is displaying. This situation is rife with conflict and the SM has the ability to do something about that herself, but she seems unable to even want to consider doing anything she feels benefits the mum, or somehow validates the mum's behaviour, and it no doubt 'sticks in her throat' to even consider that the mum here is behaving in a way that can be explained by things her DP has/is doing, and things that she has/is doing.

The end of this high conflict scenario has to start somewhere, and the responses posted by both SPs and non SPs (I'm not a SP, only a lone parent with a DD who has a SM) are to attempt to get OP to see she has the ability to change the road these 2 warring parents are heading down, given her indepth involvement in everything to do with her DSDs.

Thats my take on those comments anyway.

Lookingatclouds Fri 07-Dec-12 12:47:16

It's horses for courses isn't it? My lovely dsd took full advantage of her mum and dad/I not communicating to play us off against each other. She openly admits it now!

And when I have talked to his gf it's been really helpful. When he was refusing to have dd to sleep at his (after 2 years of every other weekend and more) because "there was no room for her" and I talked to the gf and explained that dd was really missing her Dad because she was used to seeing a lot of him and hadn't for a few weeks, things suddenly changed and they were able to accommodate her after all. If I'd left it to just dealing with xh she would have missed out on contact.

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 13:30:46

I do think sometimes things would be easier if me n DP's ex did speak as j can imagine sometimes she must get a bit annoyed with him. EW: ''can you pick kids up earlier on sat?'' DP: ''ermmm I'll just check with DP and ring you back''. And btw he's not checking for permission just that there's nothing going on that its going to clash with. But I can imagine how that must look to the XW. Maybe that's why she hates me so much?

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 13:51:50

I'm confused - in the OP, it states that the induction is next week. Yet yesterday, the OP stated that they didn't take DSD to the pre-school "today"

Good point allnew - I'd missed that!

Clearly there are inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies in the OP's posts on this thread - I wonder what the motivation for posting is? It's obviously not to receive advice about a genuine situation.

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 13:59:14

Or because mum said NO to taking her DD to the new pre-school next week, during 'her' week (which is why the OP was posted), they changed the appointment to this week, during 'their' week and were going to take her then.

Not beyond the realms of possibility...

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 14:03:58

But the first post was on Wednesday. I really doubt that it was suddenly rearranged for the Thursday, and then cancelled on the spot

Xalla Fri 07-Dec-12 14:07:21

Yesterday wasn't 'their week' though Xmas. Yesterday she was "missing the girls so much it hurt".

Which actually would imply that next week was Snow's DP's week and the supposed induction was actually in their week anyway.

Confused much?

LtXmasEve Fri 07-Dec-12 14:21:19

Very confused confused

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 14:41:57

Sorry not to have replied today, been busy. I did say NEXT week in the OP and I have just re read it and it was a typo, I mean this week. No we did not rebook it and yes the children are with their mum this week (including yesterday) when the induction session was. It's not "inconsistencies" I have typed the same thing over and over again so I will some times make small typing errors.

Will try and reply to your other questions and give an update...

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 14:52:47


Next week must be the OPs week because Xmas week is also the OP & her DPs week, meaning they must be with their mum this week and also the week commencing 17th.

Perhaps the OP tried to adjust the date of the preschool visit, to avoid it being clear who she is in real life? I know that sometimes when I posted on here in the past re my court issues with DS1s dad that I altered a date to try and make myself less obvious. Although with hindsight, whether I said March or April, it would have been really obviously who I was grin

Personally, and Snow can tell me to stick myself, I dont think the issue here is when the preschool meeting is, I think the issue here is the battle between the parents and the fact that none of them appear to be willing to back off and take the moral high ground for the sake of the kids.

I posted about the PR, because if Snow genuinely thinks she has PR, when she cannot have it, this could cause real problems for her if she maks decisions using it that she is then pulled up on, but also because, taking Snow at face value, it means her DP is lying to her. That would concern me, and I think Snow needs to work out why that might be the case, and also try and see just how much she is, however well meaning, contributing to the distress these girls are going to suffer as this war wages on.

I reiterate that my friend lost his 50/50 because of the exact behaviour that the OP and her DP are doing. I can geniunely see that Snow cares about these kids, and I can also (from seeing my friends reaction) just how much losing it might affect her DP. My friend wishes he had behaved differently, but its too late now. Its not to late for Snow and her DP, and if they really really want to do the best for these kids, they need to come back, be honest about whats going on, as im sure people on these boards would be willing to help.

Its far better to get flamed on here, and then change your behaviour than get flamed by a judge / CAFCASS / other professionals and it be too late to do anything about it.

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 14:54:23

And then I cross posted with the OP!

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 14:54:31

I have indeed very much considered the advice given to me here and really appreciate it. This advice together with lots of talking between DP and I has led to us deciding to "let go" the issue about the pre school and keep DSD at the one we no longer like as per their mums wishes. Also why Dp has approached his EX about their agreement that CB goes into trust fund to reach and agreement whereby we use that for the children and he dropped the CSA claim. To say I am not accepting or appreciating advice is simply incorrect.

Secondaly, I do indeed have PR for the girls. I am not imagining it, I am not pretending (what exactly would be the point) and my DP has lied to me stating I have it. We have all the documents here (somewhere) and we definitely did NOT go to court to obtain it and there is definitely no residence order with me named on it or otherwise. I spoke to DP last night about it and he confirmed his solicitor sorted out the paperwork, I think she may have had to apply to court for it, but I am unsure exactly what happened their end. We did all sign a PR agreement, whereby they both agreed to me also having PR, we did have to take it somewhere in London with Dp's solicitor and have it witnessed but it certainly wasn't a court, more like a council offices building, definitely not a court though.

Oh and I was certainly not the OW! I didn't break up the family, it was already broken up when I met DP!

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 14:57:39

MagicLlama - I haven't posted all day then BAM out posts cross! smile

I really appreciate your time posting, I do honestly appreciate hearing good and bad tales of what's happened in other peoples lives and it helps us to make the right decisions and neither DP or I want to be doing the wrong thing by DSD's. The next few months are going to be hard, I just know it, something has to be sorted and DP is meeting with his solicitor to hopefully agree on a plan of action that is best for DSD's and get something in place that gives them stability and none of this arguing and hassle.

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 15:23:24

grin I know sods law and all of that!

With regards to PR, and I really dont want to harp on about it, I am sure you cannot have it as parlimentary guidance itself states that PR agreements and orders can only apply to married stepparents. Indeed the step parent parental responsibility agreement form downloadable from clearly states that you have to take along proof of your marriage certificate with you.

But equally I dont know why you would be adament that you have PR, when all the guidance pretty much everywhere says you cant!

Either, everything everywhere is wrong, its not a PR order, or your DP is talking out of his hat.

I really think it might be worth you finding the paperwork, and seeing exactly what it says to be honest. even if only for my peace of mind grin

(Finally if you do have it, id love to know exactly how you got it and what the order that gave it was, as it would be very useful to someone I know, who is trying to get it but has been advised by every solicitor she saw, the childrens legal centre, and the clerk at court that she cant!)

Was it today your DP was at the solicitors? I hope hes gone on OK.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 15:23:46

We did all sign a PR agreement, whereby they both agreed to me also having PR, we did have to take it somewhere in London with Dp's solicitor and have it witnessed but it certainly wasn't a court, more like a council offices building, definitely not a court though.

Is it possible that you married your DP at the same time?

I only ask because being married to your DSD's Dad really is the only way you can legally have PR - look at the guidance notes on the form I have linked to.

If you're not married to your DP, and you have documents that you think give you PR, then someone has committed fraud - did you read the form carefully before you signed them, or did you trust your DP?

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 15:24:39
SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 16:15:04

Disney, you made me laugh! No I certainly di dnot marry my DP at the same time. I honestly am not an idiot, promise! I know for a fact that I have PR for the DSD's, it was when mum wasn't really that interested and DP and I were doing everything for them. Their mum wasn't "ill" and recovering, she honestly never showed any signs of wanting a proper relationship with them. DP's solicitor suggested it, said it was easy if mum agreed, Dp asked her and she said yes. I seem to remember she met DP and I up in London one afternoon when we had taken the DC out for the day and we all went in a signed, certainly wasn't a court or a judge though.

I'm going to get DP to get the boxes down from the loft over the weekend and then I can confirm exactly what form / order I have with my name on. I'm a little bit concerned now, how strange. Honestly, I haven't needed PR, although it has come in handy when asked for vaccinations, but as another poster said a letter from the parent giving permission would have sorted that. I have never used it to gang up on their mum with DP over decisions, I have never abused it or really thought about it much. That sounds a bit shit but so much has happened, so many changes, problems etc that it all sort of rolls into one after a while.

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 16:18:03

So if you didn't need it, it does rather raise the question as to why your DP was so keen for you to have it (sorry but am dubious that it was solicitor's suggestion). Especially if no issues in this regard had arisen prior to this.

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 16:22:55

I can't answer that allnewtaketwo. It was the solicitors suggestion, I was there when she suggested it (different one to our now solicitor) although I can't remember what the actual reason we were there for as it was ages ago - it wasn't anything "big" though.

Magic, I have given DP instructions that he is up in the loft this weekend to find the boxes of old paperwork and I will report back! smile How odd. I am a little concerned, although we are both certain we definitely got what we went for and didn't come out married!

Today's solicitors appointment went well (expensive - sob). DP's solicitor is advising he applies to court for residency and that he has to have a think about whether he wants to apply for 50/50 or more in our favour. I can't see applying for 50/50 shared residency is actually any different to how it is now though, does it make any difference to have it on paper, I can't see how....

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 16:24:26

Does anyone know what the difference between sole residency with other parent having lots of frequent contact and shared residency with contact being 60/40 for example? Or can you only have shared residency if it is 50/50?

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 16:26:34

So if you were there when the solicitor advised it, did you not ask why she was advising it? And what led to this comment - did she make it out of the blue or had problems/issues been discussed which led to subject coming up. Presumably there was a charge for the process, so it would have been odd not to question the recommendation if you didn't understand the reason?

purpleroses Fri 07-Dec-12 16:28:20

Shared residency doesn't have to be 50-50 - my DP has it, and we only have the DSC at weekends. I'm not sure what rights it gives you really over a sole residency with contact order for X amount of time. Sure someone else must know.

MagicLlama Fri 07-Dec-12 16:47:54

Solicitors are expensive. I managed to blow £25k on mine sad and mine wasnt even apparently a complicated case as complicated family law cases go! Dread to think what complicated adds up to!

You can have shared residency with any proportions. It doesnt have to be 50/50. It can be as little as 90/10.

Generally, a sole residence order is given when it is inappropriate for the child to "live" at the other house. Alot of applications these days come out with shared residency.

The main difference is a residence order allows you to take the child abroad for up to 28 days without the other parents permission., so with shared residence both parents can go on holidays abroad without asking, although in theory if it affects the other parents contact time they should at least negotiate it. A contact order doesnt allow this.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 17:02:57

'm going to get DP to get the boxes down from the loft over the weekend and then I can confirm exactly what form / order I have with my name on. I'm a little bit concerned now, how strange.

A very good idea, snow - you may know for a fact that you have PR for your DSD's, but that just isn't legally possible in England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) unless you have either been awarded residency through court, or been granted leave by the court to apply for PR.

I know you have been subject to some harsh accusations and skepticism here - but if you genuinely believe that you have PR, I would recommend that you have your own solicitor (not the same one as your DP uses) look over the paperwork, so that you know exactly what responsibilities you have.

Accepting PR for a child is a very big deal - for instance, if there is an attendance issue at school (even if that is your DSD mums fault) then ALL adults with PR can be held accountable - you could be facing a hefty fine for actions their Mum takes. I know of a NRP who got fined in these circumstances, when he tried to appeal, the answer was that he should have got a court order for residency so he could take the DC's to school because he knew they were habitual non-attenders.
You now have a legal responsibility to house and maintain your DSD's up to the age of 18; even if you and their Dad are no longer together; something I appreciate you may not think is significant now, but they are very young, things change.

I think you would benefit from finding out exactly what it is that you have signed up to and the implications of that - for your and your DC's sake. Should you and your DC's dad ever disagree, your judgement regarding this could well be brought into question.

pinguthepenguin Fri 07-Dec-12 17:42:24

OP is it possible that what you have is a written agreement via solicitors for PR rather than a legally binding one?

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 18:57:13

Ah I see. So shared residency means the children have two homes but doesn't have to be 50/50 time in each of those homes. Sole residency is where the children have one home and spend contact time with the other parent. The thing about holidays is good, although their mum has never stopped us taking them on holiday, it's good to know she can't if we have a residency order in place - although we'd not take them during her contact time of course.

NADM.. I will update once he has got the forms down. I know we used them when DSD1 started school and took copies of it along with her birth cert when we took her in for her first day at school, so the school had it all on file, but I don't think I've had it out since.

Attendance at school is as issue, lateness rather than non attendance at the moment, but considerable and regular lateness (on the days their mum takes them) We have a meeting booked for the last week of term to discuss attendence and other things so should find out for certain then. They have raised a huge issue over her lateness (yet) but Dp is on top of it and has said to EX quite a few times the importance of getting DSD to school on time and how being late doesn't do her any good when she already gets upset some mornngs anyway.

Possible Pingu, I'm not sure. Do you know the difference?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Fri 07-Dec-12 19:14:46

Snow I'm just curious but does your DP have the same 'PR' agreement for your DC or is does this only apply toy your DP's children?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Fri 07-Dec-12 19:15:13

Sorry , random y there.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Fri 07-Dec-12 19:16:27

And a random 'is'.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 19:21:50

Possible Pingu, I'm not sure. Do you know the difference?

One is legally binding, the other is merely a statement of commitment made by the parties, but can be ignored/overuled at any time by any of the three.

snow Doesn't it worry you that you don't really know, and you have trusted your DP to take care of things? Although you say how attached you are to your DSD, you seem quite blase about what your responsibilities are!

Given the chaotic lifestyle you have described their mum having, this is something you would do well to have nailed down.

If there was an emergency involving your DP, you may find yourself in direct dispute with your DSD mum, or even SS - and you don't really want to be rummaging in the loft boxes to find out whether you are legally able to look after them, do you - it's a bit late then!

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 20:17:45

Say if OP does have PR, what happens of she splits with DP?? Is that why its actually related to marriage, whereby the PR is rescinded upon divorce? That would make sense, as I can imagine countless nightmares if an unmarried partner has PR and then tries to act on it even after splitting with an actual parent

allnewtaketwo Fri 07-Dec-12 20:29:14

Snow, are you all (including the mother) going into school to talk about the lateness? If its just you and DP, what can possibly be gained, when neither of you understand the reason?

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 07-Dec-12 21:04:10

allnewtaketwo - That's a really good point, I suppose we never know what the future holds, I assume that if DP and I break up then the PR is revoked somehow. I know it sounds awful but I am honestly not sure.

Just DP and I went to the last meeting. This was after the parents consultation where they told use that some mornings DSD is very quiet and upset when she gets to school, but the teacher stated it was only mornings after being with her mum. DP and I were worried and wrote to headteacher, they then backtracked a bit and said they "think" it's the mornings she's with her mum but will keep a record for a few months to identify a cause and hopefully a resolution. We got called in for a meeting about this and they mentioned attendance then too. As far as we know the head has called in their mum for a meeting too but we are unsure if she went as she hasn't answered DP when he asked her via email. Meeting is last week of term, just DP and I - I assume their mum will have a separate meeting.

Disney... I do sound blase, but I'm not. I have always taken responsibility of DSD's alongside DP, I feel responsible for them, I feel I am one of the few adults in their lives that needs to make sure they are provided for, needs to ensure they have a secure and happy home etc, and I take those responsibilities very seriously as I do for my own DC too. You're right about the paperwork.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 07-Dec-12 22:41:11

PR awarded to a StepP is not rescinded automatically in the event of divorce - one or more of the other people with PR have to apply for the court to have it removed.

This is why it is such a big issue to have it awarded in the first place and marriage is a necessary pre-requisite for it to be agreed without a court order/decision.

Either snow and her DP are married, in which case a PR agreement can be signed by the DSD Mum and Dad, or they have been to court to secure PR through residency order or PR order.
Anything else isn't legal.

PoppyPrincess Fri 07-Dec-12 23:48:12

snow I've just been reading online and it sounds like it would probably be Special Guardianship. The parents still have parental responsibility but you are able to exercise parental responsibility. This can be obtained as long as all parties with parental responsibility agree.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 08-Dec-12 00:02:40

poppy You may be right - although a Special Guardian has day to day responsibility for a DC, does have PR and they can exercise that PR to the exclusion of others with PR - it's part of the adoption legislation; would a reputable solicitor really recommend that?!?

PoppyPrincess Sat 08-Dec-12 00:11:35

I'm not sure, it sounds like its usually used in cases where grandparents are bringing up a child, but maybe it could have been used here. I'm no legal expert and I won't pretend to be.
But to say that DSD is only 3 so either this agreement/order was done not very long which case why are the details so vague? or it was done when she was very young and therefore when snow and DP hadn't been together very long, in which case why would both parents give any PR to somebody who hadn't been involved for that long?

allnewtaketwo Sat 08-Dec-12 07:20:14

Poppy I was wondering that. The posts make it sound not very recent, despite DSD2 only being 3

PoppyPrincess Sat 08-Dec-12 08:42:31

I know everybody is different but even now after DP being DS's stepdad for 3 years and us having our own child together I still don't think I'd want him to have PR, mainly because I don't see a need for it but also because I think it's important that boundaries are set.
DS's dad doesn't have that much involvement with DS, 1 day per week which is the same as the girls mum had at the time of apparently signing a form to give OP PR but I can pretty much be certain that DS's dad, even during the time that he wasn't seeing him at all, wouldn't sign something to give DP PR. and the 2 of them quite get on but he just doesn't know him well enough to give any kind of power or rights to our son.
I don't believe that their mum was ever that disinterested in the girls to not be bothered about signing a piece of paper to give OP guardianship/PR, OP has said herself that they don't speak to one another. And if she was that disinterested then she wouldn't have seen them every weekend and wouldn't now be insisting on 50:50 care.

Again, it just doesn't add up to me

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 08:51:13

See I dont think it can be a SGO, because this actually limits the parents PR. I cant see that Snows DP and the ex would agree to giving Snow more rights than themselves!

A SGO for Snow would basically say the DSDs were living with HER, not with her DP!

I would also be astounded if a SGO was made when the children were already living with someone with PR, especially when it appears that someone had not been involved in the childrens lives very long.

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 08:55:44

There would also have been Local Authority involvement and reports by professionals, you cant just apply and agree a SGO by yourselves, (and im sure Snow would have remembered these rather than just say they popped out to London and signed something) as a person with a SGO is entitled to financial help from the LA, thus meaning that you have to notify them before you do it, unless you had already applied to adopt the child, so the LA were involved anyway?

You and your DP didnt apply to adopt the DSDs when the ex was uninvolved did you Snow?

NotaDisneyMum Sat 08-Dec-12 08:59:43

The mere fact that it is subject to speculation is fairly unbelievable - who on earth signs a piece of paper that may, or may not, give them PR for two very young DCs at the request of their DP and his solicitor without really understanding the legalities, implications and the reasons why?

Furthermore, when issues arise regarding the DCs in terms of schooling, residency, welfare etc, that piece of paper is stashed in a box in the loft and is considered irrelevant to the situation.


Someone, somewhere, at some point is going to pick this situation apart - probably not until things go horribly wrong - but when then do, I only hope that the professionals who have failed snow, her DCs and DSD are held to account.

allnewtaketwo Sat 08-Dec-12 09:37:01

Well if Snow's DP was looking out the paperwork from the attic she should know by now. I must say it all sounds very bizarre, but I'd gamble that the DP knows a hell of a lot more about it than Snow does.

timeforachangebaby Sat 08-Dec-12 10:07:24

SS do not always get involved in situations like this - that's a hell off an assumption - one of my children lives with my mum - they have had no involvement - it's a private arrangement between parents.

I have already pointed out it is quite possible to act in loco parentis without being asked to produce a piece of paper.

There may be legal implications on the minutest chance something went wrong but with the dad consenting I doubt it.


Xalla Sat 08-Dec-12 10:17:12

I was thinking about this - I have friends in London whose nannies literally do all the childcare - take the kids for vaccinations, take them to pre-school, collect them when they're sick, sign consent forms for swimming lessons etc. I can't imagine any of them have been given PR!!! I just can't think if any reason there would be to justify Snow (or her DP on her behalf) applying for PR or an SGO.

allnewtaketwo Sat 08-Dec-12 10:46:12

Let's believe for a second that OP has PR.

However, Snow has said that the mother can't bear to look at her, and the two of them do not speak. Why would a mother consent to PR for a woman she can't even bear to look at. It doesn't make any sense. Unless there was some pressure being exerted for whatever reason, or the mother wasn't of a sound mental state at the time.

PoppyPrincess Sat 08-Dec-12 10:57:48

Exactly, PR isn't so much about having the ability to do things for the child it's about being legally OBLIGED to do things. If there are 2 parents who already have the obligation then there is no need for another person to have the responsibility also

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 11:00:26


Is that directed at me? I havent mentioned anything about SS.

You can have your children go and live with someone else without any involvement of any authority if you so wish. However those people do not have legally official PR, only delegated PR.

However, you cannot have a Special Guardianship without first giving the local authority 3 months notice and the court receiving reports on the situation. This doesnt appear to apply to Snow.

timeforachangebaby Sat 08-Dec-12 11:03:19

No it was a general observation on the thread, legally speaking is one thing, but as someone who has done most of the things mooted as impossible on this thread, in real life, when dealing with practicalities, it doesn't require the legal side as sorted as people think.

timeforachangebaby Sat 08-Dec-12 11:05:51

Take an example, a child is estranged from a parent for whatever reason, and lives with SM and Dad, Dad is away, child has accident in school, is the school seriously going to turn the SM away when she comes to collect, having already been given authority by dad.

Is the hospital then going to refuse to treat the child.

In real life, the SM would collect child and take to AnE, there will be no mention of paperwork/PR, in real life, they don't even ask.

PoppyPrincess Sat 08-Dec-12 11:32:35

I think fundermentally everybody is in agreement but everybody is getting lost in all the legal speak. The top and bottom of it is that in snow's circumstances there is no reason for her to have PR/SGO and it seems unlikely that any legal body would recommend it, that parents would want it or that a court would grant whatever responsibility she has apparently been given.

catsrus Sat 08-Dec-12 13:37:38

From what I know about SGOs the local authority does not have to be involved - i think it's entirely possible the OP has a SGO see this site here which states (in the section for "who can apply for an SGO")
"f. Anyone who has the consent of all those with parental responsibility for the child "

If the DM was unable/unwilling to exercise her PR and the OP had full time care - which seems to have been the case, then a SGO would have enabled the OP to simply get on with parenting the children with her DP. This seems to have been an unusual situation and the OP and her DP simply trying to do what they could to give the dcs a stable family life - and the DM agreed with that decision.

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 13:48:18


If you read the section that says "what is the process" on that link it says the following:

There is nothing in the Special Guardianship regulations setting out a planning process which local authorities must follow, as there is for adoption. Each local authority will need to establish their own policies and procedures to make a decision about special guardianship for children in their care, and it is not necessary to have a panel to make this recommendation.

All applicants must give their local authority 3 months notice in writing that they are going to apply for an order, and local authorities are required to produce to the court a report on all children, not just those who are looked after, when an application is made. This report must include information about the child, the child’s wishes, the child’s birth family, contact arrangements, the prospective special guardian and recommendations about whether or not an order should be made (See the schedule to the relevant regulations for further details). The local authority is expected to start work on this report, or arrange for someone else to do it, as soon as possible after receiving the notice. The court cannot make an order without having received a report. Local authorities are expected to ensure that the social worker who prepares the report is suitably qualified and experienced, but there are no restrictions on who can write the report as there are for adoption

Before making the Special Guardianship Order a court must consider whether to vary or discharge any other existing order made under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. The court can also decide to make a Section 8 Contact Order at the same time as the Special Guardianship Order. In all circumstances the court must consider the whole range of options available before making a Special Guardianship Order.

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 13:52:11

Additionally, having given Snow a SGO, would massively limit her DPs PR, which would seem a mad thing for a solicitor to suggest and any parent who was still actively involved in looking after their children to agree to:

1. What is Special Guardianship

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 introduces a completely new court order, Special Guardianship, intended to provide another option for legal permanence for children who cannot grow up with their birth families.
A Special Guardianship Order gives the special guardian legal parental responsibility for the child which is expected to last until the child is 18. But, unlike Adoption Orders, these orders do not remove parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents, although their ability to exercise it is extremely limited

catsrus Sat 08-Dec-12 15:07:42

I'm pretty sure (but not 100%) that this only refers to children in LA care Magic - the court can grant one - if my memory on this is correct - in other circumstances which do not involve looked after children. I'll see if I can find the info I read a while back about it.

catsrus Sat 08-Dec-12 15:13:01

I'm glad I said I wasn't 100% - it does involve the LA - so i remembered that wrongly blush better info here.

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 15:18:42

No im quite sure its all children. The guidance itself says, the report must be done on all children, not just those who are looked after, when an application is made.

So anyone can apply for a SGO, but a report still has to be done.

Its a very serious matter limiting a parents PR, and the courts wont just do it on a say so without gathering information, even if that parent says its OK. They have to have medical reports to check the parent isnt suffering from something, they have to be sure the parent knows what they are signing away, they have to be sure the person applying for the SGO is suitable.

Also as I said, if Snow has a SGO, then she overrides her partners RP (as a person with PR cannot be given a SGO, so it cant be for Snow and her DP). I cant imagine any solicitor anywhere, if the parent is suitably caring for his children, suggest his new partner applies for something that trumps his PR!

MagicLlama Sat 08-Dec-12 15:22:55

grin I knew id cross post with you! Doh

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