Advice needed please. Very brief back story – far too long to say here in full. Ex has long history of taking me to court – has never ‘won’ (yet). He has also done the same to the mother of his other 2 children and as a result has now lost contact with them completely. My relationship with him is extremely difficult and as such communication has to be kept to necessity only.
We were supposed to attend mediation in July of this year (I don’t know what about as was never told) however he cancelled 2 days before the appointment. I have now received a solicitor’s letter from him staying I need to respond in the next 7 days if I want to avoid court action (knowing I was on holiday abroad for the next 7 days so this would be impossible). He wants to increase term time contact (one extra overnight per fortnight and one extra after school session a week). The existing arrangement has been in place for the past 5 years. He wants all holiday contact increased and to be fixed such that there is no negotiation regarding dates– i.e. he has first half of all holidays and I have the second. I have a few concerns about these changes but broadly speaking as long as my DD is happy I will probably agree without argument. (Another issue however is that I will probably still end up in court again soon regarding other issues so I do wonder how much of a pushover I should be – i.e. if I don’t try to negotiate at all will he push it even further and get even more contact).
His solicitor has emphasised that under no circumstances must these changes be communicated to DD (10) until all decided and agreed formally. Whilst I agree with the reasoning behind this in terms of her not being aware of a dispute between us and as such feeling stuck in the middle, my concern is that if I deliver a fait accompli to her she will be really upset. There have been a number of issues this year where she has wanted to reduce the amount of time spent at her Dad’s, or indeed not go at all (although she has always ended up going in the end after some persuasion and is happy enough when she is there) and I think she will react poorly to increasing the time there without at least a conversation with her about it. I suspect this is why he does not want her to be involved in the process of making this decision. I don’t generally believe children need to be involved in these types of adult discussions, but in the situation where the current contact has been working well and established for so many years I think it may be needed. Would it be wrong to try to ascertain her views on this? I am really unsure as the last thing I want is for DD to feel like she is choosing between her parents. Please be kind in your responses.