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Is this reasonable? It feels like a cruel joke to me

(21 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 13:55:57

I raised an issue with ex regarding care for dd while she was with him. I stated clearly that I all I wanted was reassurance that she was being looked after. After much disagreement about it, I eventually sent a solicitors letter expressing my concerns. His response to this?

An application to the court for shared residence, with contact to take place every weekend from fri-mon. They ( he and his wife) would 'allow' me one weekend per half term.

I am completely devestated. I can't believe he has done this. Dd already spends 2 nights per week and half hols. There are major issues with intimidation from him and his wife in email form, but never like this.

The letter is also full of salicious lies about how I have failed to honour previous agreements, therefore they do not want mediation. I've asked him repeatedly to mediate with me, but he won't.

Please somebody tell me the courts will not take my baby away from fri to Monday every week of her life? sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 14:05:29

You sent a solicitor's letter which was perceived as a threat. You've had a threatening letter in return. I would talk to your solicitor but suggest that the way to defuse this one is not to respond. Courts use 'what is best for the child' as their test, 50/50 parenting as a starting point (which you've got), and, if you have intimidating e-mails and a letter with salacious lies, I doubt anyone would think people like that would make better carers.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 14:10:48

Their letter to me includes a completed application for shared residency.

The emails they send me never actually sound threatening, they are carefully crafted to sound full of concern, when they are full of lies. sad

TheLazyGirl Tue 16-Oct-12 14:13:52

If they have been sending emails, you need to print these off and use them. Have you any proof you have tried to initiate mediation and he has refused?

How old is your DD? Can you not ask the school to help out with a letter supporting you?

You know, from what I've seen from friends who have gone through similar, the courts don't want to cause massive upheaval with children's lives, especially not just due to adults not being able to agree. Its usually a last resort if the child is at risk.

Twitterqueen Tue 16-Oct-12 14:15:44

Agree with Cogito - don't respond.
The more you engage, the higher the costs, the stress and the total waste of time and effort.... .
You have every right to raise concerns as a parent and if you feel those concerns are not being met, then you are also right to formalise them thru your solicitor.
This does not mean you have to fight a residency claim. Let it lie.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 14:31:19

Yeah I've got all the emails, although they are usually just full of woe ' we are most upset to see that you are not putting our dd'd needs above your own'. They also attack me constantly in the solicitors letter for 'leaving' dd in the care of family and friends constantly ( this is a complete lie, i only have one family member near me, the rest are a plane ride away). He himself insists on having dd half of all hols when he is working, yet as much as i hate this, accept it isn't my call to make. I work term time only and able to care for her- but that's by the by I guess.
The solicitors letter states that dd misses him and is increasingly unsettled, therefore he wants every single weekend in order to stabilise her behaviour. It all so self serving.angry dd's behaviour is fine! She is 5yo ffs!

The letter states that I relentlessly change contact at the last minute, take her out of the country without notice or permission, and that these are the reasons they are seeking shared residency. I cannot express to you how untrue this will I get the chance to defend this? We frequently change/swap weekends ourself with advanced notice and NEVER at the last minute. This is a lie.

I have an email where he turns down both mediation and a defined court order so that his mind could be put at rest about dd.

Ps- how can i not fight a residency claim? What would i do if not defend it?
Also- my sol said this is a smokescreen , ie, a dirty tactic because he was challenged. sad

WaitingForMe Tue 16-Oct-12 14:33:56

I'm a bit confused as to what you thought would happen. We have an amicable relationship with DHs ex but if she got solicitors involved we'd be reacting very aggressively. I'm sure you feel your concerns were valid but you made a major threat against them and going for 50/50 residency sounds like quite a sensible move on their part if they think your concerns are unwarranted. Your daughter is his baby too!

WaitingForMe Tue 16-Oct-12 14:35:29

I'm not saying he's not being unreasonable, just trying to show how your OP reads from someone on the other side.

Zavi Tue 16-Oct-12 14:36:52

Why on earth did you get a solicitor to write to your daughter's father seeking reassurance that she was being looked after? That's an inflammatory way of going about things. How well did you think he would respond to receiving that? Sounds like your daughters father - possibly rightly - doesn't want you "concerning" about how he cares for his own daughter in the future and is going to court to put the legalities specified on an equal footing.

Nancy66 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:43:14

What's the problem with your daughter seeing her dad every weekend?

I don't know the back story but (reading between the lines) your post suggest you and your ex are both using your child as a weapon

missymoomoomee Tue 16-Oct-12 14:52:59

She is his baby too why should't he have her for weekends? You started the legal situation. I don't feel sorry for anyone but your child in this, I agree with Nancy she is being used as a weapon.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 15:15:50

We live an hour away from each other, to take DD every weekend would deny her contact with my family, her friends, her activities. What quality time would I get?
I sent the letter in response to a concern I had that was ignored, and then followed up with a 3 page email listing my failings as a parent. I had enough. The bullying is relentless so I had enough and involved solicitors. There is no question whatsoever of me using our child as a weaponsad

BeingBooyhoo Tue 16-Oct-12 15:29:44

she already spends 2 nights a week with him. why the objection to her spending a third night? it doesn't have to be weekend nights you could negotiate saturday evening til tuesday morning drop off at school that way you both get part of the weekend with her.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 15:38:48

How can we negotiate if he won't mediate with me? And I still can't see how raising a genuine concern results in a residency order. He is 'concerned' for my dd on an almost constant basis, always undermining me, yet I never felt the need to get a court order.

Sat-tue still means I could never go visit my family at the weekends with dd.

Nancy66 Tue 16-Oct-12 15:42:00

so if you can't sort it out between you then perhaps the legal route is the way to go...

Dahlen Tue 16-Oct-12 15:46:30

Every other weekend is the fairest situation for you and your DD, although as she gets older and involved in more activities, she may express a preference for spending most weekends with a particular parent. But you can cross that bridge as you come to it.

In a situation where both parents are responsible loving parents, I'd have thought a judge would be quite happy to give 50/50 residency that involves sharing weekends on an alternate basis. It's unlikely that your X would get every weekend, because although your DD will live with you in the week, it's recognised that she will be at school and that a week day does not offer the same quality time as a weekend day. Plus the courts take into account the importance of family contact and appreciate you will need time to take DD to see her extended family, etc.

I think you're worrying too much. If this goes to court, you can prove that mediation has been offered and denied. You have the emails he sent you. A good solicitor can easily demonstrate the bullying behaviour from your ex.

BeingBooyhoo Tue 16-Oct-12 15:47:57

you negotiate through your solicitors. it will cost money but you did start the whole solicitor thing. ok if saturday til tuesday doesn't work. have a think about what will work and instruct your solicitor to send the letter offering what you can do. hopefully you will come to an arrangement. you will have to compromise.

Snorbs Tue 16-Oct-12 15:48:42

It's very unlikely a court would rule that a child should spend every weekend with one parent and the rest of the week with the other. As you say, you'd get very little quality time with her. Judges aren't stupid.

Try not to fret. At the moment all he's done is send a solicitor's letter (and don't forget that a solicitor will write pretty much anything you pay them to write) and an application for a court hearing. Has he actually submitted that to court though? As your solicitor says, assume it's just a bluff until or unless you get paperwork from the court.

If it does get to court then you need to calmly point out the lies and stress how you do not believe it would be in DD's best interests to not get to spend any quality time with her mother. The application being for shared residence might be granted (if, again, this isn't just a big bluff to get you to back down) but that doesn't mean it will necessarily be 50:50 sharing of time. It's about making sure that both parents are considered as equal which is no bad thing.

CremeEggThief Tue 16-Oct-12 15:54:37

I would suggest that you post this in legal matters instead. Report it and ask MNHQ to move it for you.

I think YANBU by the way.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 16:13:47

Thanks for the responses, have just posted in legal as well, thanks.

Snorbs, i hadn't actually thought about whether the application has been submitted or not? It would be just like him and his DW to try an intimidation tactic first- it's always worked before.

Boo- i understand that you think I went legal first and so deserve what I get, however, without stating all the details, the issue i raised was a safeguarding one, a genuine one and not borne out of any other reason than what dd herself revealed to me. When I raised it with exp, he said dd was lying. After that, he sent a long email attacking my parenting, and mentioned little to nothing of the initial concern I raised expect to say it was garbage. I didn't go 'legal' over contact issues. I literally didn't even mention them. However it's clear to me now that while Ec and his DW can raise any concerns they like ( and believe me, it is relentless) if I do the same, I will be dragged to court for a seemingly unrelated issue altogether. He made no noises about extra contact before this.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 19:00:37


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