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Letter from Ex's Solicitor

(9 Posts)
Pandato2 Wed 01-Jun-11 19:35:30

Hi I'm new to this but hoping someone can help or maybe advise if they have been in a similar situation. I split with ex just over two years ago. We have two children now 4 and 7. We had to move out of our home as he wouldn't and during the first few months he chose to play around rather than see his children. Obviously I wouldn't let him introduce my two to lots of different women. He never understood this. Anyway over time things improved, however my two have never like having sleepover's (they only ever stayed one night every two weeks). I encouraged this as I believed it was the right thing to do. I had to ask him to take down his calendar in his kitchen of topless girls when my daughters were visiting after my eldest made a comment. He did not see any wrong in it.
He has recently been sacked for gross misconduct and as far as I'm aware waiting to know if he is being charged. He has stopped paying maintenance and has not seen or made an attempt to see his children since the begining of March. He has also now moved 350 miles away.
I came home today to a solicitors letter acting on his behalf stating he wants to have the children at certain times during the year. This includes a whole week at Easter time and two weeks during the Summer holidays. He is living with a woman who has a 13 year old boy, who my inlaws have said is naughty and a complete handful, I've never met him and not sure I want my girls to be around him.
M daughters will be distraught about leaving home for one week let alone two. I just don't think they will cope with it very well emotionally at all. There dad does shout at them and scares them a bit.
I work part time but having done the legal aid calculator it says I'm not legible. I certainly cannot afford a solicitor at £150 per hour.
I'm at my wits end as to which way to turn and what to do for the best. My two daughters are my only concern. If he was a good dad I would have no issues. He has a step daughter who is now grown up and has recently referred to her a 'just a pair of tits'. I just feel he has a very unhealthy attitude to women, and to make a comment like that to his own daughters is just not right.
I would be ever so grateful for any advice, or has anyone else been in the same situation?
Thank you.
Add message | Report | Message poster Gster Wed 01-Jun-11 18:32:14

GypsyMoth Wed 01-Jun-11 19:40:52

firstly,a solicitors letter is not in any way legally binding. they cant force you into anything. only the courts can do that

secondly,if it gets to court,then you could look into self representing. families need fathers can help,despite their name.

it could be a long process

i would suggest letterbox contact fiirst,building up to regular phonecalls. then a few sessions in a contact centre ,then a few days out unsupervised.....if he jumps through all those hoops,then maybe the overnights/hols would be an option?

GypsyMoth Wed 01-Jun-11 19:41:18

i'm not a solicitor by the way....just been through it all myself!

Pandato2 Wed 01-Jun-11 20:00:10

Thank you, what you are saying makes perfect sense. I do want them to have a relationship with him, but not just like that. I think the building up etc etc is a great idea.

Thanks xx

Did you get yourself sorted?

GypsyMoth Wed 01-Jun-11 20:03:21

it went pear shaped when we got to court....ex had started misbehaving badly since i left him.....he got zero access in the end and doesnt see them at all now

Pandato2 Wed 01-Jun-11 20:30:52

Ah sorry to hear that xx

prh47bridge Wed 01-Jun-11 23:08:45

You need to be aware that much of what you have posted would be regarded as irrelevant by the courts. The court will take the view that you have no right to any say in what he does with your daughters when they are in his care. You may not like them meeting his current girlfriend and her son but you cannot stop it, any more than he can stop you introducing your daughters to your boyfriend (should you get have or get one) and any children your boyfriend may have.

The fact he is not paying maintenance is not relevant when considering contact. Given your daughter's ages I'm afraid their views will not count for much with the court. Equally, you may not like his attitude to women but the court is highly unlikely to regard that as a good reason for stopping or limiting contact.

If this goes to court he is likely to get some form of regular contact. It could well take the form he has requested. Since he has moved away the court is likely to expect him to bear all or most of the costs involved in contact. The fact he is so far away means the court is likely to agree to extended contact as a round journey of 700 miles for a few hours contact isn't really worth it.

I sympathise with your concerns but I think you would be better off accepting that overnight and extended contact will take place during which your daughters will meet his girlfriend and her son, and trying to negotiate an acceptable arrangement. That would be much cheaper and easier for everyone than going to court.

Pandato2 Thu 02-Jun-11 07:13:30

Thanks for advice prh47bridge. I have met his girlfriend once and she seemed ok and the girls seemed to like her. It's more the fact that due to his own bad behaviour we are now in this situation. I do know that my daughters need a relationship with him and am kind of hoping this can be rebuilt in small steps to accommodate them and their emotions. He is suggesting the next time he sees them is in the summer holidays. We are away first two weeks of the holiday so it will be August. He is then expecting them to visit him for two weeks in a place they do not know, with people they do not know. He hasn't seen them since March and has made absolutely no attempt to see them. He doesn't even telephone them or write them.

At the ages of 4 and 7, 5 months with no contact at all is a very long time.

Maybe this time next year two weeks won't be an issue?

prh47bridge Thu 02-Jun-11 09:28:44

That sounds like a good, positive approach to me. Respond to his solicitors with an offer. Don't start with your bottom line - you need to give them something to negotiate around. And bear in mind what the courts are likely to do - there is no point holding out for something that gives substantially less contact than he would get by going to court. Although it isn't directly related, you could ask about maintenance at the same time, although you should not try to make contact dependent on payment of maintenance. If you can agree maintenance with him it will be a lot better than getting the CSA involved. You always have the option of involving the CSA later if he doesn't pay.

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