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Does DS (8) have to give up football?

(28 Posts)
ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 21:11:31

ExH has a contact order which is approx 2 years old. It does seem to work well and DS is used to the routine, but it has no flexibility and exH does not negotiate.
DS loves football. He has been in a few teams since he was 4 years old, but since the contact order he has not been able to be part of a team as they all play on Saturdays and most train on Wednesdays. The contact order is alternate Friday nights over to Saturday tea time and every Wednesday for 3 hours after school. ExH will not take DS to football as he lives 25 miles away. I managed to find a local team that trains on Thursday evening but plays on Saturdays - DS was happy just to train and the coach accepted that he would not be available on alternate Saturdays. DS has been loving training on Thursdays and has made some new friends. Unfortunately, the coach could only find an indoor venue for over the winter on Wednesday evening (overlapping exH's contact time by 30 minutes). I have sent a message to exH explaining the change and offering to extend his contact time by half an hour so that he can take DS to football (I have also given him the option of dropping DS off at training and I can collect him). So far - there has been no reply (the message has been read as his phone tells people when a message has been read) - do I need to start preparing DS for the possibility of having to leave another team?
Is it normal that children with divorced parents have to give up their activities?
DS wanted to stay after school on Wednesdays to do music classes but didn't even ask about it as he knew he had to go to his Dad's - I feel like DS has to live his life around the court order and its making us both sad. Earlier this year, DS told his dad that he wanted to go to his best friend's birthday party which was on a Saturday - his dad told him he could go so DS rsvp'd yes but his dad took him out instead. DS was distraught when he realised he'd missed the party.
I feel strongly that DS needs regular contact with exH, but surely this should be doing things that DS wants to do, at the moment it seems like DS has to fit in with whatever exH needs to do at his house.
Thankyou for reading - sorry its long!

ratbagcatbag Wed 17-Oct-12 21:15:20

I do think its a balance but we take my DSS to activities three times a week, contact changes to suit it as his mum can't make it or training nights have changed. I'd just tell exp that what will be happening at training and let him argue in court (and I never say anything like that) how sad for your son sad

ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 21:24:44

It is very sad for DS - he even has to sit on the side lines watching exH's DSS (also 8) play football when he's there and has been to the other lad's marshal arts classes. None of the activities they (exH, OW, OW's son from previous relationship and the baby they have together) seem to involve DS (he has to sleep in their office when he stays over even though exH told Cafcass he would have his own room). Last year, DS told me that he had been going horse riding with his dad and exH's DSS so I spent lots of time encouraging him and even bought him some jodhpurs but they never got used as exH stopped taking him.

I get the impression that DS gets up on his own (7am is normal for DS) in the morning as they all sleep in until mid morning and then he spends the rest of his contact time playing on games consoles not necessarily in the same room as his dad.


ratbagcatbag Wed 17-Oct-12 21:35:50

That's awful, what an utter arse, my DH moves heaven and earth to meet his ds commitments sad can you not go back and renegotiate the agreement or look fir a Sunday side, they are out there, we had to swap the other way due to a clash of activities, it took some doing but is possible.

ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 21:38:35

Ratbagcatbag (love the name) when you said about court - do I need to take him to court to get the order amended? I feel like we're stuck with this arrangement forever and DS really isn't that happy about it. When all this started, he was only 3 so Cafcass didn't ask him what he wanted (quite rightly) but they did say if he'd been 7 or older they would have asked him. Well, he is over 7 now and has no say about what happens to him.
We (me and DP) do find it quite frustrating as we can't book to go anywhere as we always have to be back for contact except for 3 weeks in the summer that the magistrate "awarded" to me to give us a break - of course all the holidays are astronomically priced during the summer!

How do you get contact orders reassessed without costing too much (already spent £15k defending spurious "shared residency" applications which it turned out, exH didn't even want as he had taken advice from a stranger in the reception of the magistrate court"

ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 22:24:41

Unfortunately, all the under 9's teams in the district play on a Saturday - we thought we'd struck gold when we found one that trained on a Thursday instead of Wednesday sad
We've had to change his swimming lesson from Friday too as even though it was agreed in court that he would take DS swimming on Friday (his original day for lessons) then have him overnight - he stopped taking him - he just gave me the swimming kit back at the handover and bundling DS into his car very confused. The more I think about it, everything we do is worked very carefully round his dad - we even have to stop what we are doing on "our" Saturdays so that DS can ring his dad as he insisted on "telephone contact" on the weeks he doesn't have him. Quite often, DS has to leave a voicemail as exH doesn't answer! I'm so sad that my lovely boy lives his life like this - I saw it coming at the time and was powerless to stop it. Shit shit shit sad

NarcolepsyQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 22:48:19

It sounds as though everybody is jumping to his tune rather than him doing what is best for your DS. I have been in a similar situation. I just announced that DD now does Brownies on a Fri eve, so he can pick her up afterwards, or on Sat morning if he prefers. If he wants to go to court, let him. I doubt he would. But even if he did, I can't see a court saying that your DS can't go to any clubs. Even if they DID, you could still continue letting him go. What could he do at the end of the day? He is being selfish and trying to weild his power. Poor DS. Poor you.

ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 23:00:42

Everyone ALWAYS dances to exH's tune - our divorce took a year and a half longer than necessary to sort out because of him messing about trying to manipulate the figures! We agreed to a "clean break - I won't go after your house if you don't go after my business" (nice!) and refused to let anyone see his accounts. Finally got his accounts (fictitious of course - my Dad did his accounts when we were married and could see straight away that they were fabricated) but he made out that he was poverty stricken. Judge then questioned the figures as it looked very onesided and he changed his tune to "we are comfortable and don't want to claim anything".
I need to grow a spine and stand up to his manipulative ways but don't want to make DS any sadder than he already is sad

NarcolepsyQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 23:09:36

He sounds like my ex. Standing up for your DS won't make him sad - he needs you to do what is best for him. I still question myself when it comes to my ex - but I don't want my DD to miss out. If she has parties she wants to go to, I make him pick her up after or swap weekends. It is going to become more like this as they get older - what about school trips, and friends and sarurday jobs etc. Ask your DS what he wants - and do that!

ineedamiracle Wed 17-Oct-12 23:24:53

Narcolepsy - how do you "make" him take him to things? DP is of the opinion that as it's exH's time with DS, he can do what he wants. The court order says that DS has to be available for contact between X and Y and failure to do this could lead to fines or imprisonment for me - he has me totally over a barrel doesn't he?

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Wed 17-Oct-12 23:37:41

did the cout order that he be taken swimming? record every single week that he has not been swimming... record every single time that his dad does not answetr the phone on his contact phone call. ecord the fact that ds is still sleeping in the office (though i bet they will say it is his room)

you could go with the suggestion that you tell ex he is going to football over winter and offer him an extra half hour. let him take you back tocourt an dprove that it is in ds;'s best interest to miss out on football.

get the details of all the football teeams in your area as infomation as well.

can you afford to see a solicitor? can you afford to go back to court as it is in the best interests of ds?

certainly you need legal advice to see what can be done.

SDeuchars Wed 17-Oct-12 23:42:41

INeedaMiracle: I recognise this so much! But my DC were older (10+) so it was easier for them to insist that they did stuff. We also wasted huge amounts of money and time to enable xH not to meet the DCs needs.

The court order was set when DS was 3 - he is now 8. It is ridiculous to say it will just continue without changes and without reference to him until he is 16. I would suggest to DS that he pick another weekday evening and then write to xH on DS's behalf to say he will go on Xday or Yday and stay with you to do football on Weds. Then pick DS up from school and take him, preferably with another adult there at first to support DS (and take him away) if xH makes a fuss. Tell him calmly and repeatedly that he can pick X or Y for contact instead but that DS wants to go to football on Weds.

If he threatens court, call his bluff. It might also help to call Cafcass and talk to them.

ineedamiracle Thu 18-Oct-12 00:02:45

Thankyou for your replies - it's reassuring to know that I'm not being unreasonable (DP thinks its totally unreasonable for me to try to dictate what exH does during contact time and that the court order is set in stone, end of story).
I'm lucky that exH does not collect DS from school on any day (had to put that rule in place some years ago when exH tried to take DS without my permission in the days before the court order - but that's a whole different story) so the school yard pick up scenario isn't a factor. I'm also VERY lucky that my parents help me out with handovers a) because I work shifts and b) because I find the handovers very stressful - exH is very confident and will just barge in the house to use the loo then make comments about things that are none of his business. I really don't want to drag my lovely parents through all this again but DS needs someone to stick up for him sad

ineedamiracle Thu 18-Oct-12 00:08:24

Redwhiteandblue - the contact time on a Friday just starts at 4pm which is the time his swimming lessons used to start. The plan was that I would go with him and leave when his Dad arrived. ExH started bringing OW with him so my parents stepped in and he was supposed to collect him from their house in time to get to swimming. It worked for a couple of weeks then he just stopped taking him. I swapped the lesson day and steered clear of Fridays ever since.

NarcolepsyQueen Thu 18-Oct-12 00:12:04

I don't 'make him take her to things'. I take her. He can pick he up after, or change his day. The court won't imprison you or fine you! You are not being difficult. You are allowing contact and access - childrens needs change as they get older.

ineedamiracle Thu 18-Oct-12 00:18:30

Thankyou! I keep imagining myself in prison - I really wouldn't like it very much smile
I'll keep persevering with the text messages - hopefully he will see that DS has things he wants to do.
I'm truly dreading Christmas sad

WildWorld2004 Thu 18-Oct-12 00:24:47

Your ds needs you to do something. He has things he likes & wants to do but isnt being allowed to do coz of his dads behaviour. Thats not fair on your ds. Put your foot down with your ex. The courts are not going to do anything as what you are doing isnt for you its for your ds. If possible like someone said drop him off at activities & get your ex to pick him up.

NarcolepsyQueen Thu 18-Oct-12 07:00:01

It doesn't much matter whether your ex 'sees' it or not. He is behaving selfishly, and not putting your DSs needs or wants first. You will have to do it for him. Ask DS what he wants to do - and then book him in. Then tell ex. Ex will have to fit in around DS. I felt helpless like you. My DP is very assertive though, and puts up with no shit from my ex, and ensures that my DDs needs and wants are met first and foremost. He doesn't have you over a barrel. You can also change the time he phones if that helps? Either first thing, or last thing works well for us - that way we are usually at home so they skype (once a week). If we are out - well, he can phone her instead. No problem!

ineedamiracle Thu 18-Oct-12 17:53:51

Ok, so I've text exH again to discuss football training - giving 2 further options as well as reminding him that contact time should be about DS primarily and that his requirements have changed over the last 2 years. I have said that I am prepared to completely renegotiate to make sure that DS's thoughts and feelings are taken into account and that contact time works for all involved.
Guess what? No reply sad sad sad

Attilathehun Thu 18-Oct-12 18:01:16

Won't football matches move to Sundays?

Here U8s play Saturdays and all older age groups play Sundays.
Apart from the higher-level Saturday leagues.

shewhowines Thu 18-Oct-12 18:05:35

Don't ask him tell him.

Say DS is going to do football on wed. Would you like Tues or Thurs (or whatever) instead.

ratbagcatbag Thu 18-Oct-12 18:12:24

I would just be firm then, send an email so you have got a copy you can keep stating something like "as per texts x and y, it is not possible for ds to move football teams or matches, so therefore, as of next weds he will attending football at x time, you can pick him up afterwards, however if I didn't hear from you I will assume you're not going to do this. In leiu of weds I propose you have Tuesday instead so your contact time with ds remains the same but just adapts to his growing needs" and go to footy on weds. So long as you offer a fixed swap I can't see the issue.

NarcolepsyQueen Thu 18-Oct-12 19:16:50

Well done! He probably won't reply for a while as my guess is that he will be surprised that you are making a stand? You are doing the right thing!

I agree with Shewhowines - you are going to have to tell him how it is going to be!

ineedamiracle Thu 18-Oct-12 19:20:18

I've offered 5 different options (including a straight swap, extended contact time and a trial without midweek contact - it's 3 hours, nearly 2 of which are spent in the car in the M6) - no's just rude! Even a quick "I've got your message, will get back to you" would be something, but no.
What happened to manners?

NarcolepsyQueen Thu 18-Oct-12 20:09:11

What time did you send the message? Try not to get wound up by him - focus on DS and what is best for him. It will make things so much easier for you in the future. Don't beat yourself up by offering too many options!

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