To refuse to allow ex to take dc on this holiday?(56 Posts)
I don't suppose I can, but I really want to.
The dc have just come back from a day with ex after 10 days in France with me. We've been apart 4 years and he has never taken them away apart from twice, to UK destinations paid for and arranged by his dm, and accompanied by her and other members of his family. I take them abroad every summer, and on short breaks away, often, but not always, to see family and friends, throughout the rest of the year.
The dc have told me that ex needs my holiday dates for next year as he will be taking them to Italy in the summer. I ignored it, but he has now sent a text asking me when I will be away as he wants to book to go to Italy.
I'm not happy because:
1. The dc don't enjoy spending more than a few days at a time with him (he has them 2 nights a week, non-consecutive and no more than 4 nights at a time during holidays. They get bored because he doesn't interact much and then gets snappy when their behaviour deteriorates/any issues arise.
2. They are off away with him and his family next week and are constantly saying they don't want to go for one reason or another.
- He will be taking them to stay with a friend of his, who he has, imo a very bizarre relationship with. He knows this man through his df who has worked with the man's df, and always spoke about him as a really close friend but when he first came to the UK after I had ds2 it was clear to me that ex and he are not particularly close. Ex insisted on this man being ds2's 'godfather' (we had a non-traditional ceremony) and it was just odd. The man doesn't speak much English, ex speaks imperfect Italian, and they're just aren't very close. He came for dinner and it was just awkward - lots of long silences and a weird atmosphere. I think ex is in love with the idea of being Italian/having Italian friends, and I suppose the man was being polite for the sake of his father?? I know ex has been to stay with him a few times since we split, and I feel like he forces himself on him as a way of getting a cheap holiday. I just find it embarrassing, though it's nothing to do with me anymore, and I don't want the dc going to stay with him as it will be an awkward atmosphere and they are old enough to notice.
3. The place he lives is not a great holiday destination and the dc will be bored, ex is shit at entertaining them, and the atmosphere will be off, as above. It will not be a holiday as they have been experiencing them with me, but I don't think ex will be capable of making it a fun alternative either.
4. With the Brexit disaster, I'm not booking ahead like I usually do, and if it comes to booking after March (assuming we can) I don't want to have to factor in his plans too.
5. Finally, and least importantly, but it does rankle, he has never paid any CM for them and is in arrears with CMS. He provides nothing at his either, so I have to send pretty much everything. The holiday will cost at least £600, just in flights, and I feel he should be spending this on stuff they need, not a shit holiday they won't enjoy. He is on a ridiculously low income because of his irresponsible attitude, and this feels like a poor use of money and is just being done so he can say he takes them away too.
AIBU in thinking he shouldn't be planning this and to say so?
YANBU tell him you'll let him know dates when he pays you the outstanding CM.
Imo you need to let him get on with it. His flakey financial contribution to his dc is shit but he is allowed a holiday with them the same as you are. If the dc hate it and he struggles it will be a one off anyway.
Or maybe it won't even get off the planning stage...
Yes, sorry you are bu. I get it's inconvenient to you but alot of your points are personal (selfish)reasons, and inconvenient to you- he has a right to take the children on holiday too. If it's as boring as you think (and they may be saying that in a misguided attempt to placate you) in years to come they will say that directly to him and make their own plans. If you get involved now I don't see how it will end well for your relationship with him or them.
Have you been through CMS for maintainance? They're crap, but it's better than nothing
You can tell him your concerns by all means but if you "refuse" permission he will have to go to court to get permission which honestly based on your concerns alone he will most likely get as he is their dad and there are no real safeguarding concerns.
You've forgotten to tell us the age of the children.
I know, I know...
They definitely do find it boring, and upsetting sometimes. I had a thread about ex smacking ds1 (may have been under another name) and also ds2 being called skinny and being criticised for the small amount he eats by ex and family. It's none of it serious enough to stop contact, but really makes me not want them abroad with him.
He's never pay to take me to court. Dc are 11 & 9.
CMS to enforce maintenance but it is separate from contact time with the DC. You can't dictate what he spends his money on (frustrating though it is and believe me, I fully get it) and can only go through the correct channels to at least get some CM for them.
As for them being bored - not your call and not a remotely valid reason to withhold permission. Plus, they will resent you for it, as it doesn't sound as though they don't want to go.
At that age and given these particular circumstances, I'd let them choose whether they want to go or not.
You can't force them anyway but also you can't really stop them either.
Time to step back a bit, as difficult as it sounds.
Holiday aside, why is he not paying cm? As far as I'm concerned that amounts to stealing from his children. Even if it's a paltry sum, he should pay it. Maybe if he does he won't be able to afford a Holiday so the problem will go away.
He's their father. You take them away on holiday. How would you feel if he refused for you to take them away? You don't have more rights because you're their mother. Yabvu.
Let them go but don’t do any shopping or supply anything for the holiday he can do it.
Does not sound like the dc will enjoy it, but if they want to go let them.
Do your kids want to go to Italy?
If yes, YABU. If not, YANBU.
He doesn't pay CM because he doesn't want to and doesn't think he should have to since I earn more than him. CMS are useless and he will do all he can to evade paying, including leaving jobs. He works through agencies and on various temp contracts anyway, so although they have said they are now going to try and take direct from his earnings, I'm not convinced they will be able to.
Uchafi You clearly can't really think that simple reversal works in situations like mine ?
Can appreciate the reasons you've listed but you need to think of this from the pov of your kids' long-term relationship with their father.
Going abroad together is a relationship-builder and your kids are entitled to have a relationship with their dad.
They are old enough that you could give them a mobile phone to take with them (if they don't already have one) and they can contact you if they're really unhappy but I think you need to let them go and have this experience. As pp said if they're bored or don't like it they won't want to go again anyway.
"At that age and given these particular circumstances, I'd let them choose whether they want to go or not."
There has to come a point when the kids get a say in when/how long/where/if they want to see their dad?
I posted with a very similar situation a few months ago, and the responses I got were on the side of saying no.
My situation was maybe a little different in that withholding maintenance means I'm on the bones of my arse and going without stuff so my kids can eat.
So I essentially told him that he's welcome to spend the time with the kids, but I wouldn't be handing over passports (which my parents paid for) until he started paying what he should.
Sorry - simple reversal DOES work. You don't have more rights to develop a relationship with the DC than he does and the PP is right that going on holiday is a normal part of that. You can't control what he does during his contact time, unless you have safeguarding concerns, in which case you need to act immediately.
The CM, although incredibly frustrating, does not give you greater rights than their father. He is a dick for evading his responsibilities and I hope the CMS catch up with him for it. You can't use it as a reason to stop him taking them on holiday, though. It's separate.
I’d wait until the children have been away with him next week. Why not send him a text saying you’re not sure yet but you’ll look into it and get back to him ASAP.
They are only 9 and 11 but at that age to a certain extent they can amuse themselves and they have eachother. Encourage them to have a good time next week and to make the effort to get along with one another. If they then come back with complaints you can relay concrete concerns the DC’s have about going away next years and reasons why they aren’t keen to go. Make it into a dialogue, see if he will make concessions.
It's up to the children. They are at an age where they can make an informed decision.
It sounds like the kids would suffer if you said yes, as he can’t really parent them. given the ages I’d give them a say too. But if they didn’t want to go I’d say it was me saying no to protect them from ex being pissed off.
I understand your POV and can’t say I disagree, but you can’t really stop him taking them when the worst thing an outsider (such as a court) will hear is ‘they might not enjoy it’.
I would tell him that I was LESS than impressed with him spending money on a holiday when he owes me money, that I think he’s planning something that the kids won’t enjoy and that they will ALL find it stressful, IF they go. Tell him the kids have said they don’t want to go, and that at their age you cannot physically force them on the plane, so he might want to think hard before paying for tickets for them. After that, it’s down to him. Tell him if he’s going to book it, to just do it and let you know the dates. (Even though you don’t want to, you You can work around it).
You’re getting closer and closer to the time when the kids can decide more, and speak more for themselves with regard to contact. Hang in there.
I think all you’re reasons are pretty sound, actually, OP. And of course the hackneyed ‘How would you feel if he did it to you?’ argument doesn’t apply. They’re staying in the private accommodation of a man with whom they can’t readily communicate, and who has a spurious relationship with your ex? And there’s not a lot to do, and he struggles having them for long, anyway? Sounds a bit Lemony Snicket to me, poor souls. That said, I think you’ll have to let them go, as you know. I’d certainly email communicating your concerns and asking for some assurances that he’s going to do something with them, and that they’re welcome in this bloke’s house.
This ‘contact and maintenance aren’t linked’ bs really annoys me. It’s a principle of the court, not an absolute truth. I had to tell my clients that it was the case all the time, but it isn’t right, it isn’t fair, and I didn’t expect them to be happy about it, ffs. I would certainly put in a letter, for example: “In view of the fact that your client has roundly failed to pay a penny in maintenance, our client would like some assurances that yours has sufficient funds to ensure that the needs of the children are met whilst abroad and in his care.’
They’ll probably hate it, he’ll probably hate it, and you won’t have to do it again.
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