Children's contact with father(3 Posts)
After 20 years together myself and my husband separated earlier this year, we were lucky in that we sold our house quickly and are both now in our own houses. At the time an agreement was made that my husband would have our two children aged 11 and 15 2-3 nights per week. We live very close to each other and so the intention was they could call in and see him when they wanted to on top of this. It has been 9 months now and we have tried to stay as amicable as possible for the children, but he just keeps letting them down and I am at my wits end as to what to do about it.
This month so far he has had them 3 nights, far short of the agreement, he is due to have them this weekend from Friday - Sunday afternoon however I have been told by my oldest that he is now going out on Saturday with his new girlfriend and they will have to stay at his Mum's. Neither of them want this as quite frankly they want to spend the time with him and not his mum as they see so little of him. As a result my son the youngest has asked if he can stay with me instead. Unfortunately this is a recurrent pattern, he is constantly having them on the days he is supposed to and then letting his mum look after them and I get the phone calls from them wanting to come home. My view is that if they are not with him then they may as well be at home with me if that is what they want.
He is shortly due to move in next door to his mum and he has intimated that he may go for 50/50 custody (mainly I suspect as he does not want to pay me maintenance) and he will ask his mum to have the children on the days that he cannot. Would any court really allow this? For me the children are my paramount concern and I am trying to give them a normal and stable home life and I wanted that to involve seeing their dad as much as possible. It is hard enough that they have to divide their time between two homes, but not 3! He has already let them down on numerous occasions due to various dates he has been on and my eldest is finding it particularly hard. I cannot really afford Solicitor's fees at the moment and I tried to talk to him about it a few weeks ago, suggesting he needs to put them first but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Last month he had them 8 nights and on two of those he had made social plans which meant the kids being looked after elsewhere, he fails to see the point that he had 23 other nights in which to make plans.
I am really worrying that once he moves house he will push for 50/50 and I will have to take this to court to fight him, something I can ill afford and I assume they will take it that he has equal rights. I just feel that I spend all my time dealing with my children's disappointment when he lets them down and despite my best efforts he just does not seem to understand. I should say as well I am in a new relationship and I am quite happy that he is out dating and therefore this is not based on jealousy. I am quite disheartened that he has dated about 7 women and seems to insist telling our eldest all the details and has also introduced two of them, both of which lasted a few weeks. I have asked him not to introduce someone unless he knows it is serious but this doesn't seem to have sunk in either!
Sorry for the long post!
Are you taking steps to divorce or are you legally separated?
Regardless, your 15yo is of an age to choose when/how often they see/stay with their df and your 11yo's wishes will be taken into account in the unlikely event that the matter of contact with their df is put before a court of law.
As your h seems to be an unprincipled bellend with regard to promises he's made in respect of the dc, it's possible that he will
bluff and bluster claim that he wants have a 50/50 arrangement in order to reduce his child maintenance payments.
If this should be the case you're best advised to sit back, relax, and let him get on with it as, before he can go to court, he must first attend mediation at which time you will be able to express your views and those of the dc.
If no agreement can be reached at mediation and the matter goes to court you can ask for a CAFCASS worker to report on the dc's wishes at which time it will become abundantly clear that, while they are perhaps not averse to staying with their dgm on occasion, they want quality time with their df and would rather be with their dm, and/or engaging in social activities with their friends, instead of twiddling their thumbs at granny's while he's squiring his various girlfriends around town.
In short if he tries this
hackneyed cheap trick he stands to make a complete prat of himself and, as mediation and court proceedings don't come cheap, he may end up spending more than he stands to save on maintenance if he were to be successful - which, from what you've said, he very definitely won't be
Please don't worry about instructing solicitors you can ill afford as, again from what you've said about the dc's wishes, I have every confidence that, should it be necessary, you can successfully represent yourself in a matter such as this.
I would suggest that you tell your dc that if they don't wish to stay with their dgm while their df is otherwise engaged with his latest squeeze tomorrow you'll pick them up, or make suitable arrangements for them to travel home together.
I also suggest you inform your h accordingly and make it clear to him that contact cannot be facilitated when he's not around to interact with and care for the dc.
In addition to goddess' advice keep a record of when he was supposed to have them and didn't so should it ever go to court you have this.
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