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Withholding contact with kids.... can I? I want him to take me to court!!

(22 Posts)
gemmajfk Tue 07-May-19 20:22:21

So exh and I separated in January 2017. Since then we have an every other weekend arrangement where he collects them Friday at 1600 and we meet on a Sunday at 1800 to swap back.

In the last 2 years it's been really really hard times! it's been on and off issues between us from him trying to change collection arrangements to not being flexible or offering any other help and assistance in school holiday or anything. We both work full time and live about 40 mins away from each other. He has had them
Minimal times in school holidays and I have to also beg him to have them.....

Anyway fast forward to this weekend and today and I've finally had enough. He now wants me to send clothes for his visits and has told the kids he pays me enough I have to send clothes. I've told him before I won't as they either don't come back, come back stained and how do I know what they are doing and what to pack; never mind the extra washing when they come back!

After many aggressive text messages today I've finally told him no contact with the kids until he takes me to court. I've had enough of him half heartily seeing them. He also doesn't contact them at all Over the 2 weeks they are with me.

I want him to take me to court.
I want it formal what he has to do and when and a more fair spilt on holidays and birthdays etc.

So I've text and just said that's it. Enough take me to court.

So am I allowed to do this?
We have no formal agreement to say they live with me? We do have a court order as he owes me a large sum of money next year when he gets a pay out and that mentions the kids reside with me but nothing more than that.......

Any advice?!

I went to mediation about 8 months after our separation to sort all this stuff but he wouldn't respond or go.

I just want him to do more and show more of an interest. I've never stopped him having them, in fact the reverse I want him to have them
More! he's in services so he has about 40 days annual leave a year to use!

Just so fed up now.
Any similar situations or advice?

OP’s posts: |
HKW81 Tue 07-May-19 20:25:47

Yes you can do that as you are exercising your PR, in the same way he could do that if they were with him (presuming he's on the birth certificate). You don't have to hand them over unless it's court ordered, but if he's on the birth certificate there's nothing to stop him collecting them from school etc. I think you need a Section 17 in court (not 100% though). He sounds like a complete muppet!

TheOrigRightsofwomen Tue 07-May-19 21:59:17

Do you have an existing CAO?

We did and I broke it by keeping DS with me on ex's contact time as I beloved that was in DSs best interest.
It's a civil not a criminal matter.

I took him to court myself as it looked better for me that I acknowledged I was "keeping" ds away from ex but wanted to sort it out formally.

Good luck

gemmajfk Tue 07-May-19 22:25:57

We have no formal legal agreement in place at all..... they just lived with me from the word go and it was never questioned. We then agreed every other weekend etc as that seemed normal to do. He wouldn't want them full time!

OP’s posts: |
SomersetTimes Tue 07-May-19 22:37:44

I separated from my ex 9 years ago so have been through many years of legal issues, divorce and problems.

One thing I have learnt is that their childhoods are very very short.

My ex and I are now good friends and coparent as a untied team. It took thousands in legal fees and a lot of heartache to get here BUT I wish with all my heart we could have done this from the start.

Honestly in 10 years time you won’t care about the clothes that went missing / came back stained but your kids will remember/know that you kept them away from their dad due to clothes.

Please don’t do it unless he is a true risk to them. If he is rude to you and a bit pants as a dad honestly let it Slide.

Divorce is not fair. One parent often ends up doing the lion share but it is not a reason to end contact. Make sure you can look them in the eyes as adults and know you did everything to give them a relationship with both parents. They will thank you for it one day.

Doyoumind Tue 07-May-19 22:43:08

Going to court won't necessarily improve things. Court is viewed as a last resort and if you go about petty stuff it won't go down well. Even if more consistent contact is ordered, you can't make him stick to it. Don't even bother mentioning the clothes thing whatever you do.

Bringonspring Tue 07-May-19 22:44:43

Sorry your going through this but it is Great advice from Somersettimes

Happyspud Tue 07-May-19 22:49:50

What is best for your kids? Do that. I suspect contact with none between (what age are they by the way?) would be better than no contact, obstructed by one parent.

But it’s your family and I don’t know every detail so am not the best judge. Other than to say simply do whatever is best for your kids, even if it causes you pain and anger.

lazymoz Tue 07-May-19 22:49:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorthernSpirit Wed 08-May-19 00:23:49

Legally you can stop contact as you don’t have a contact order.

Morally it’s wrong. You are going to stop the kids seeing their dad for something as petty as clothes?

Children aren’t possessions, you don’t own them, nor do you dictate. The father has as much right to see them as you do.

If the shoe was on the other foot and you only saw the kids EOW and then were stopped from seeing them, how would you feel? That’s your answer.

NorthernSpirit Wed 08-May-19 00:27:52

And totally agree with @SomersetTimes.

I’m a DSM and have watched from the sidelines over the years as the mother has controlled, dictated, stopped contact. The last time resulted in a threat of a change of residency by a judge.

It’s heartbreaking to see the damage withholding contact has done to the children.

Keep it child focused, it’s about then, not you and your EX and petty squabbles.

gemmajfk Wed 08-May-19 09:47:49

Thank you for all comments and advice.

I am trying to do what's in best interest of the kids.

I know the clothes seems petty, but that's not the only issue you can imagine, it's just the one this weekend. He refuses to do homework as he doesn't have time he says; despite it coming home on a Friday and due in Monday, what can I do on his weekends?

Also it's not the case he only gets the EOW he could see them mid week or have more weekends but he doesn't! I've never stopped him. He has nearly every school holiday off, including 3 weeks in the summer but only had them 5 days last year. He's not truly interested. He doesn't call them during the 2 weeks he doesn't see them.

Some may say all very petty things but they all add up and I just want it all formalised so we both have the same expectations of what he should be doing.

It's just a mess. And stress which is very hard.
I also have a new marriage and new baby and step daughter to consider in all the stress which is caused by him and his messages and emails.

But thanks xx

OP’s posts: |
Happyspud Wed 08-May-19 09:59:54

Just try to keep some perspective which is hard when your chain is being jerked constantly like this. Homework not done is shitty but vs. Not seeing father it’s a no brainer. Clothes again are simply not important vs. Not seeing father. Every time try to ask yourself who is suffering? If it’s the kids it can be considered relevant to stopping contact. And is the suffering bad enough to stop them seeing their father and start a court battle over?

YankeeDad Wed 08-May-19 10:27:29

OP - sadly, it sounds as though he has played you. He sounds uninterested in spending time with his children or giving them attention, so he managed to manipulate you into saying that he cannot see them, so that he can make it seem like your fault even though he's the one being a dick.

Ideally I think you need to retract the text threatening NC, while also affirming yourself. I wish I had a suggestion how to do that.

I'm also not sure whether he can be forced to face any consequences for not taking care of their clothes, helping with homework, taking them during holidays, etc, but I am guessing not. It may be you who would need to approach a court if you're the one who wants a change in his behaviour.

How old are your children? If older, maybe they can take on a bit more of the responsibility (homework, clothing) themselves.

purpleboy Wed 08-May-19 11:13:52

I agree with yankeedad

I have gone through exactly the same things you describe, I'm sure my ex only saw dd so he could tell others what great dad he was. He never actually did a thing for her. She saw through him from the age of 14 and has no contact with him now. But that was all her choice I never stopped her seeing her dad and I put up with the shit he gave me because I knew it would work itself out in the end.

Maybe you could buy a couple of cheap supermarket or primark T-shirt's and joggers for him to keep at his house, just to keep the peace and be the bigger person. Eventually your kids will see him for the man he is, but as long as you do your best by them, it will never come back on you.

Smallereveryday Wed 08-May-19 11:41:54

Sadly a court order will not achieve what you want. A non resident father (or mother) cannot be ordered to see their children.

You could get him to take you to court. An order could be made for you to make the children 'available ' for contact firbthe times you wish BUT he could still not turn up and no one can force him !

whatdoesthis Wed 08-May-19 11:50:20

You are right in that a CAO can't force a parent to see their child, however an Order can be very specific as to (what might seem petty so some) actions and behaviours a parent must conform to.

e.g. mine states ex can't do drastic hair cuts and that he'll take him to clubs and other small things like this.

Having said that, I have found that there is no consequence to him not following these instructions unless you go back to court or if there are safeguarding issues.

A CAO can be a pretty useless document in fact but I guess it all adds up to a bigger picture.

poweroverme Wed 08-May-19 11:53:36

You separated in 2017 and now have a new baby and dp. You've stopped contact and request he take you to court.

You need to understand that as much as your reason maybe right to you that doesn't mean they will come across that way in court. There are a lot of rp who state they want the np to seem the dc anytime and then add in a big BUT.
Be realistic in realising, that
Your dc aren't going to see there df until mediation and court is files minimum of 8 weeks, you ex could say you've stopped contact because you want your new dp to be there dad and want him out of the picture. That you are trying to control his contact and time with the dc and is the reason you broke up.

Take it from someone who went through court, and who's dp is currently going through it. It isn't as easy as people make out.

My own exh fought for eow and one days week, which I had agree to previous to court.

He sees them now twice a month, has an empty bed which he still hasn't sorted for them. Can't do holidays because of work, but went to Thorpe park with his gf on a week day, never ever got them clothes at his, and hardly ever returned the clothes, and when he did they were no use. Goes on holiday with out them never went to a school function, but he's quite middle class and comes across as a loving dad to all.

I once told him that he was to drop the dc at my mother as I was out ( went to a concert) . Where did he drop them?... at mine.

I just ignore it all, because we get on well when I don't pick up on his laziness, and I just think the dc enjoy their time and I'll do anything that makes them happy.

Plus my life only in occurs him if I expect something from him which I rarely do, he's an ex for a reason.

gemmajfk Wed 08-May-19 11:54:01

Thanks @YankeeDad I hadn't actually thought he had pressed my buttons to get me to say it but now I've just read back through it all maybe your right.....

He basically does and bare minimum to be classed as "doing the right thing" he's not really interested or cares.....

I've sent bags and bags of clothes from
Here to help but now they are too small he won't replenish. Baring in mind he has pots of money and I know it!! He can afford to clothe them! And after all the 4 nights a month he has them is deducted from the CSA he pays so he has to provide for them fully for those days!

We've 2 weeks not till his weekend so just leaving it and will see how dust settles and if he comes back with anything as he made many threats about reporting me for what I don't know!

Thanks for comments all helpful and very relevant x.

OP’s posts: |
YankeeDad Wed 08-May-19 14:17:14

Are you divorced, or just separated?

If the latter, then unless you want to stay married to him, divorce proceedings might entitle you to more money, especially if he's got "pots of money." Some of that could go a good way towards buying them clothes …

Boulezvous Wed 08-May-19 14:53:26

I agree with Somersettimes.

Number 1 principle - do what's best for the kids. Having a loving relationship with two parents is important to their health. Try your best to avoid action that will cast a cloud of tension and hostility over them through conflict with their father. It will impact on them and affect their wellbeing.

Don't be petty - they need their clothes so let them take them. He can wash them as well as you.

Occupy the moral high ground - so that when they grow up they don't judge you to have been mean or manipulative or prevented them from seeing their Dad. It don't look good. Preserve their good opinion if you - it will matter to you if they grow up and judge you poorly.

Conserve your resources - legal action is a last resort. You will be glad of every penny when they grow into teens and wear adult size everything, have huge appetites and college aspirations.

Think about how to use your mental energy to make you happy. Don't waste it on negativity and bitterness. Is it really worth it? Unless it's really, really serious you will be wasting your life on legal action and issues. Look ahead and enjoy the time you have with your kids.

Of course if there is major abuse or risk then legal action is imperative. Otherwise find other civil routes. Or learn to ignore. Their childhood goes so quickly.

lovinglifexo Wed 08-May-19 16:21:56

Please don’t do that, honestly it’s not worth it.

Also a court order just means YOU have to make the kids available, he doesn’t HAVE to see them x

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