Is she in the wrong?(15 Posts)
I need some advice as I am not sure how to proceed. Me and my ex partner split up 3-4 years ago and have recently(last 6 months) finally got an agreement sorted out for my contact with the boys so I have them over my house every other weekend (friday evening-sunday afternoon) This has been going very well. However she has just announced that in 2 weeks time when it's supposed to be my weekend with the boys that they want to go to haven so she is taking them there. I have said that is unfair as it is my weekend and she just keeps on saying it's their choice as they are old enough to decide. They are only 5 and 3 respectively and I feel the decisions they make should be about what they do with me and not about whether they see me or go to haven on a week I am supposed to see them as my time with them means the world to me.
She also said that last time my oldest was coming to mine that he said he didnt want to go but when he saw me he said he did want to stay over. He ended up having a great time and there have been otherwise no problems with my contact. She is also saying that if he says he doesnt want to see me then she will stop him from seeing me but I know given what he is like with me that he benefits a great deal from seeing me and I feel he shouldn't be stopped just because he says he doesnt want to as he always has fun.
As a background this arrangement was setup after she didn't reply to mediation and literally was on the edge of going to court as I just couldn't get anything arranged.
I am hoping for advice for what to do and even about whether I am right to feel agrieved about this situation or not. I just feel he is too young to make such a big decision given how small my contact is in relation. Also I am not sure how to proceed so any help welcome
Ideally you should have some sort of agreement about holiday times, so that if either of you want to take them on holiday, you give the other party a month or so's notice.
How was the agreement reached? Was a mediator involved? Can you agree with her that next time she gives you x amount of notice before she cancels your weekend with them?
No she shouldn't have booked a weekend away on your weekend however I know that sometimes the "deals" are on certain weekends only so maybe that is what has happened here.
Without any formal court agreed contact she can swap and change I am afraid. I am not saying that is right just true.
Can you not arrange to have your DC for 2 consecutive weekends to make up for the one you are missing?
You need to be flexible but the children are much too young to have their 'views' taken into account. If you are losing a weekend, then you should be being offered an alternative
Also in regards to your son changing his mind given his age it is likely that he will say he doesn't want to go then say he does when you turn up. Your DC are still young and won't fully understand what not going means.
If you feel that your ex will not follow contact arrangements consistently then your only option is to go to court I am afraid if past mediation has failed.
It was done privately as she did not reply to any of the mediation letters or calls. I will likely ask that she does give more time next time as it's very short notice. I am concerned that she is giving the kids too much say when she is more than happy to influence their answer. Offering them something exciting to do on my time just to try to make sure that they say they want to do that instead of keeping up the contact with me
I did ask about swapping the weekend to calm the situation but was told no as she hasn't done anything wrong. I do feel they are too young to be deciding to cancel my contact themselves as they don't understand the repercussions of doing that.
I have a feeling I might have to offer mediation once more and get a more formal version of this arrangement put down( if she replies to them and turns up) or go to court as they have said for me to ring them for the paperwork I need as she never replied despite repeated efforts last time.
I would suggest that you want to keep things as 'amicable' as possible, given the circumstances. So hopefully she will agree to give you reasonable notice next time and perhaps allow you two consecutive weekends when they return from Haven.
Bear in mind that as the boys get older, they'll be more keen to see you when they have fun with you and enjoy your together-time, and she'll gradually have less influence. Hopefully she'll also realise that spending time with you is in their best interests.
Can you talk to your ex?
If so it maybe worth sitting down and discussing what boundaries are in place. Yes children's wants/wishes should always be taken into consideration however with children so young it is up to the adults to make decisions in their best interests.
It is important that your children have a consistent relationship with you and constant swapping and changing/stop start contact can have a detrimental affect on them emotionally. If you can talk to your ex about the negative impact it will have on the children.
I am doing my best to keep it amicable as the kids are my main concern. I am just trying to understand what I can do because she doesn't seem to want to give me 2 weekends in a row another time and she is just adamant that everything is going to be up to the boys to decide which doesn't make sense as they are too young. I had already made plans for that weekend and now it might not go ahead.
I always have tried and continue to try to keep my messages civil and have decided not to reply to any more because I cannot get across the point that the contact should be kept and not just decided by how the kids feel on the day as that would not be beneficial for anyone as they do not understand what their choices mean long term. I just want it to be sorted because I have spent so long fighting to get this time with my kids I don't want to lose it.
Is there anyone that can act as a go-between? A grandparent maybe? Someone who can point out that it would be fairer and much more settled for them if their contact with you was regular and planned?
Unfortunately not. It is currently left at the point that she is insisiting the kids are old enough to decide everything that is going to happen including if they just say they don't feel like going to contact then they won't go. Which means my weekend will come down to how much that week she pushes haven into their minds and makes them want it.
It sounds as if Haven's going to happen now anyway, so you'll just have to accept that. I'd have thought she might welcome some child-free time anyway at the weekends, but maybe you'll have to play it by ear and see how it goes over the Summer.
Don't leave it too long though. She is falsely empowering the children and that's no good for anyone. Google Karen Woodall.
I am letting it settle a bit but I am concerned as she has in the past tried to turn my kids against me although trying to get them to pick her activities over mine to cancel my contact is a new thing. If she carries on down this route I have no choice but to pursue further options however that is something I am desperately trying to avoid.
I have just googled Karen Woodall and she has written some very interesting and touching stuff. If I am honest some of it is some of my deepest fears about this situation and how powerless I feel in just being able to have a continued stable contact with my kids.
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