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Advice around contact arrangements(2 Posts)
I am trying to help my sister who is currently at the start of divorce proceedings. I am not at all well-versed in how things work and would welcome any advice.
My ex- brother in law left after being caught having an affair in mid December. That relationship has continued. There are two children under 5 living with my sister in the house that she owns jointly with him.
Divorce has been filed for, by my sister. The children are struggling, cling to her, have nightmares, say 'Mummy don't leave me' when she leaves a room, or tries to go to the toilet.
Contact and finance have not been agreed formally and so they are trying to get through this interim period. They have managed to agree on each having an alternate day each weekend. The children have been brought home early (because the have asked to) on every visit so far except one, where it wasn't physically possible. He also wants to have them at random times each week, at short notice, to fit around his social life, essentially. As in, not having a pre-agreed weekly day and time in case he wants to go out with his girlfriend/friends or stay the night at hers (which isn't nearby so not convenient for collecting children to take to school) My sister does not want that for the children as they thrive on routine and get very anxious and worried about sudden changes and are already resisting going with him at all. She has always been their primary carer and he only saw them briefly in the morning and for part of the weekend during the marriage.
As he is joint owner of the house, when she has told him no to this, he has simply said- I want to see them, I'm sure they want to see me, I'm coming. And of course as co-owner of the house, he has a key and can just come in. This is causing my sister enormous anxiety as she can never quite relax and doesn't know if he will just arrive at will and say he's taking the children to school next week.
What would be the best way to resolve this for the children and also so my sister is not in a constant state of anxiety? Ideally without causing a stir with him. He already repeatedly messages her all through the day, causing her additional stress at work.
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