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AIBU to suggest this child access?

(11 Posts)
MariaTheNun Fri 14-Mar-14 12:18:17

My controlling, financially abusive ExH and I split in October. Out of guilt at leaving, I agreed to let him see DD1 and DD2 three weekends out of four between 11am on the Sat and 6pm on the Sun. But he took my car away and, rather than have the girls sitting in the house all weekend, he takes them on the 4th Sunday too.
He gave me �500 less than normal this month, and �300 less last month. I am freelance so can't afford to turn down work. The regular shift I get is a Sat morning from 7. So he now has the girls from then on a Saturday and doesn't usually bring them back until at least 8 on the the Sunday.
It's just too much for me and the kids who are getting upset because they barely see me. Their Dad works away Tues-Fri so there's no chandce of them seeing him during the week.
I've suggested he has them Saturday and Monday and I have them Sundays and he's refused. I feel held to ransom over money.
What is reasonable?

formerbabe Fri 14-Mar-14 12:21:16

He took your car away? Is it yours or his? If yours, did you go to the police?

MariaTheNun Fri 14-Mar-14 12:25:18

Both cars are in his name and he keeps them bith at his mother's house

Dahlen Fri 14-Mar-14 12:25:53

In the eyes of the family courts, there is no relationship whatsoever between money and contact. The one should not influence the other. Contact should be based on what is best for the DC. If they are becoming upset about not having enough time with you, the current arrangement is clearly not in their best interests and needs redressing.

Draw up a new contact schedule and then discuss money. IF he tries to manipulate you with money, go via the CSA.

MariaTheNun Fri 14-Mar-14 12:28:30

Who decides access though? Ultimately, will we end up in court if we don't agree?
I'm not sure what a common arrangement is.
I don't trust him at all. He is only interested in the girls when they are adoring of him. He doesn't brush their teeth and they tell me they are often up until midnight. They are 4 and 7.

Dahlen Fri 14-Mar-14 12:45:55

Ideally, access arrangements are agreed between both parents out of court.

If you fail to come to an agreement informally, you could try mediation. If that fails, you go to court, although there is no legal aid for family law these days unless you meet very strict criteria surrounding abuse.

That's the legal position. In practical reality, power resides with the parent with care. That's you. If you refuse to budge on contact, he will have to take you to court to have your wishes overturned. He could, however, agree to anything and then take them away and bring them back late and there's nothing you can do about it unless you go to court.

My advice would be to make yourself less dependent on him. He works away half the week, so he's probably not going to return the DC late and risk his job. Therefore, don't allow him to have the DC until after you've enjoyed some weekend quality time with them and can hand them over knowing he'll have to return them on Monday.

That may mean changing your shifts or arranging alternative childcare. Not easy, but such is the life of a single parent with a controlling ex. You have to be independent of him so he can't control you. If you don't, he'll continue to control every aspect of your life for years to come.

gordyslovesheep Fri 14-Mar-14 12:49:14

then say NO to access every weekend - get your own car - get a financial agreement in place

My ex works mon-fri and most weekends but he still has them over night in the week and for one night at weekends

access is nothing to do with money btw - access is for the children to see their parent

MariaTheNun Fri 14-Mar-14 12:50:05

That is good advice, Dahlen. Thank you. Unfrtunately I can't change my shifts since I only get two a week and there is no Sunday shift or alternative Saturday shift. But, I am fortunate that I'm in Scotland where Legal Aid is avilable to me.

caruthers Fri 14-Mar-14 13:46:56

I've suggested he has them Saturday and Monday and I have them Sundays

Absolutely nothing wrong with that and it sounds like you're being very reasonable. Why doesn't he want that arrangement is there a reason?

MariaTheNun Fri 14-Mar-14 13:55:26

Thank you, Caruthers. I just wanted tro make sure I wasn't being unreasonable before oushing for this. He works away Tue-Fri so he wants them every weekend on Sat, Sun and Mon. But, the DDs are asking where I am and getting upset that they don't get time with me.
He just wants them all weekend because it suits him. He isn't thinking about the kids or me.
He has got back to me and suggested that I have them from 1 on Sundays. But, this will be 3 o'clock in reality. So I've suggested alternate weekends instead. Although, I think the kids would respond better to a routine.

caruthers Fri 14-Mar-14 14:01:24

MariaTheNun

As a Father who regularly changed my hours and saw my children as often as I could,it confounds me that when given the chance for contact like that some NRP's refuse.

Your children will thank you for this in the long run so please don't beat yourself up because you are doing the right thing.

Taking the car on the face of it is a way of removing your independence and some of your ability to look after your children. That is just spiteful and mean.

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