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The children don't want to see stbxh - at all

(22 Posts)
ThreeRandomWords Tue 25-Feb-20 14:54:27

Going through a divorce from dh, at long last. We are trying to reach a settlement through mediation, not sure if it will be successful and the signs so far aren't good. But leaving the finances aside, dh wants to talk about access to the children.
The oldest is at uni, almost 20. She hasn't had any contact with him since Christmas. I think he tried to call her once or twice, but she didn't answer because she didn't want to speak to him. Now, I'm not saying that's good behaviour on her part or anything, but the truth is, she can't stand him.
Neither of the others, who are still at school, want to see him either. Indeed, the youngest one, almost 14, has to be cajoled into seeing him at all. She would be in tears at the prospect of an overnight stay at his house and I really wouldn't want to do that to her. I haven't even mentioned this proposal to her, because I think she would be so upset. (Stbxh has suggested weekly overnights for dd2 and dd3. I think in part to try to cut down any maintenance payable. He hinted as much. )
Anyway, wonder if anyone has any experience of this sort of situation? Or any advice?I know the obvious answer is to see a solicitor, but I have very little cash to pay. When I did see my solicitor a few weeks ago, he said he thought it unlikely that the children could be forced to see their father, given their ages. But at that point, I seriously didn't expect dh to be that bothered about seeing them anyway. He's never shown much interest in them before.
Dh seems to think I should somehow convince dd1 to see him regularly, and even stay with him, because "she listens to me". And he wants weekly overnights with two teenagers who would prefer to see him not at all, or certainly no more than 3-4 times per year.

OP’s posts: |
Goawayquickly Tue 25-Feb-20 14:58:46

If the kids don’t want to see him there’s obviously a good reason, I wonder if he’s ever questioned himself about that?
I wouldn’t try to guilt or force them, just let them talk to you about why they don’t want to go. They’re teenagers, they want to see their friends.
He is finding out you reap what you sow. Mine has done the same, he gets a duty visit now and then from his kids.

BobbinThreadbare123 Tue 25-Feb-20 15:01:31

I have experience. I was your eldest DD. Two of us were in the 16-20 bracket and one smaller one. Only the small one saw 'D'F and this is still the case nearly 20 years later. Judge said we couldn't be made to (I certainly couldn't as an adult). Small one was under 10 so a visitation schedule was sorted which lasted until ~13/14 years (wouldn't go after that).
My F gave up trying to contact us; you XH might do the same if he realises it requires effort, OP!

BabyWenger Tue 25-Feb-20 15:07:50

Do you even need to engage a solicitor yourself at all at this point? Just wait until he does and state that the DC are of an age where they are free to make their own decisions, and they have separately said they do not want scheduled visits or overnights?

I don't even think the over 18yo needs to be mentioned - they're an adult that you have no say over.

Purpleartichoke Tue 25-Feb-20 15:13:12

The reason they don’t want to see him matters. You don’t have to share, but I imagine it’s not as simple as “we like mom better”. Addiction, abuse, anger, whatever is the reason you are divorcing him, the kids have dealt with it too.

Family counseling might be a good approach. So would him working on himself and then showing the kids through word and deed that he is trying to be a better person.

ThreeRandomWords Tue 25-Feb-20 15:27:41

The short answer to why they don't want to see him is that he is a selfish, sulky git who has barely shown any interest in them ever. However, according to stbxh, he is a contender for "dad of the year" if only I hadn't brain-washed them into thinking otherwise. Not sure how he thinks I have prevented dd1, who is at uni most of the time, from speaking to him or otherwise contacting him (not that much bothers to contact her, other than the phone-calls mentioned), but there you go.
Dh seems to think that all of the girls can be made to see him as part of the settlement, even the (almost) 20 year old. Even when I point out that legally she is an adult, he is still telling me that I should somehow convince her or even make her do so.

OP’s posts: |
Flutteringsatlast Tue 25-Feb-20 15:29:15

At 12 and 14 my dc stopped seeing exh. He had a court order but knew a judge would be unable to enforce it...
Respecting your dc's choices is what makes you the better parent op.
No need to have his number or contact him at all imo. Haven't heard from my exh for many years.
Best way ime!!

pumpkinpie01 Tue 25-Feb-20 15:36:31

Why should you be persuading an adult to see their father, that's ridiculous! My DD 18 is never that keen on seeing her dad I have left her to it for the last few years. I would ignore his messages regarding the dc that are over 18.

MooseBeTimeForSummer Tue 25-Feb-20 15:38:05

“The wishes of the children in light of their age and understanding” is one of the factors the Court takes into account. If the youngest is 14 and saying no, they won’t be ignored if they can articulate why they don’t want contact and it’s clear that they’re not saying no just to keep mum happy.

Some mediators are trained to speak to children.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Tue 25-Feb-20 15:39:58

Your ex has quite unrealistic expectations.

I know it's expensive to get legal advice but it might be helpful.

But they are unlikely to be forced to see their dad against their will at their ages especially, obviously, your adult child.

forrestgreen Tue 25-Feb-20 16:03:15

Tell him that the children are old enough legally to know their own minds and you won't be interfering in any way.
As others have said let him take you to court over visitation rights.
Do the dc see a school councillor etc who they could discuss it with.

AutumnRose1 Tue 25-Feb-20 16:17:14

Not my experience but that of a friend

“ When I did see my solicitor a few weeks ago, he said he thought it unlikely that the children could be forced to see their father, given their ages. ”

This. My friends horrible ex ended up trying to go to court to see his 13 year old but was advised against it.

A 20 year old, he’s got no chance. Don’t waste your money. He can start a legal process if he wants to.

pallisers Tue 25-Feb-20 16:17:24

You reap what you sow - that is what is happening your ex.

Tell him the children are old enough to make decisions about overnights and that you cannot control his relationship with his adult daughter.

yesterdaystotalsteps123 Tue 25-Feb-20 19:39:06

You may find the cafcass website useful. If he does take you to court then they may talk to your youngest children to find out their wishes but I thought if they were over 12 they can't be forced to have contact if they don't want to. However do you need a bit of time for yourself? Maybe he could have contact in the day to give you a break?

pointythings Tue 25-Feb-20 19:58:21

You're definitely being the better parent taking your DDs' wishes into account. The under 18s are old enough to be taken seriously, especially if they can articulate why they don't want to see him. I've been in this situation too, only my husband didn't push as far as the courts - he just gave me a lot of self pity. He was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, DDs were 15 and 17. After he was made to leave the family home by the police, they only saw him once and that was to do with paperwork. The next time they 'saw' him was at his funeral.

AustinRd Tue 25-Feb-20 22:04:00

My DC are much younger than yours (9 and 10) and Cafcass have taken how they feel extremely seriously. Neither are keen to see their ‘D’F but both Cafcass and I have explained at their age it’s important that they do spend time with him and once they are older they can decide for themselves. Dd1 has asked at what age and the response was that there is no specified age but rather and ability to articulate her reasons and to demonstrate and understanding of the longer term implications of her decision. This can be as young as 11 but for some it’s 13/14. Currently EOW Sat/Sun is all Cafcass will support despite a (totally unrealistic) 50/50 request from my EA ex.

2018anewstart Wed 26-Feb-20 02:46:33

My daughter was 12 and her views were taken into account. She didn't want overnight stays as she didn't want to be splitting herself between 2 houses and she said she was just closer to me. Her dad had invested very little time in either of his children. Even though there is a court order in place she basically sees him when she wants. Usually once a week.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 26-Feb-20 03:01:14

He wants you to coerce a 20 year old into seeing him? What an idiot.

okiedokieme Fri 28-Feb-20 10:01:36

My dd was reluctant at first but I did persuade her to maintain a relationship, no overnights (local anyway) but 6 months on it's improved a lot, she never contacts him though, always the other way around. Dd2 is fine, she realised that keeping her dad on side means money straight away and is milking him for every penny!

You can't make kids but as the mum you have influence and can tell them the positive reasons for limited contact

Frankola Sat 29-Feb-20 12:05:05

Listen to your kids and respect their choices. He needs to too. However, I do wonder what they have seen or been told to make them feel this way?

strawberry2017 Sat 29-Feb-20 12:14:19

Support what they want but if they do want to try and have a relationship don't discourage.
That's all you can do really at this stage.

MarieG10 Sat 29-Feb-20 15:20:24

The bottom line is that at their ages they can decide. Frankly how will anyone force them if they don't want I go

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