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Ex-P, access and his employer?

(19 Posts)
CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 12:05:41

Ex-P has worked in the same job for 4 years. His employer (Carrillion) lost the contract, so his boss is now the NHS.

He has been on the same, fortnightly rota the whole time he has worked there - Mon 1 late, Tue 1 early, Wed 1 late, Thur 1 OFF, Fri 1 OFF, Sat 1 early, Sun 1 early, Mon 2 early, Tue 2 early, Wed 2 late, Thur 2 early, Fri 2 early, Sat 2 OFF, Sun 2 OFF.

This enabled us to SET an access pattern where Ex-P would come round to see the dc's after work on a Tuesday and a Thursday (allowing me to plan my life around this, so I could arrange in advance to spend time with MY friends etc, or go out for a meal with the dc's on a Wednesday). Ex-P then had overnight with DS2 on Sat2 and brought him back on Sun2.

NOW that his employer has changed - they have decided NOT to have set shift patterns, and only release the rota for the following week on a Friday (so shifts for Monday set on Fri). If Ex-P isn't WORKING Friday, he can't tell me until Saturday. Which means that I can't ever arrange MY life because of not knowing what my EX-P will be working. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN - If I have arranged to be out on a Wed, and Ex-P can't come on Tue or Thurs - tough, I'm allowed a life too!! OH - and they are saying that he can only have ONE weekend off a month instead of every other weekend. But that's when he has DS2 overnight at MIL's - he can't do that on a school day due to distance and lack of buses (his mum, my MIL is very rural, we are in the 'closest' town).

However, when he complained to his boss that he can't do access at such short notice, has offered shift pattern flexibility when he can, just asked to be kept on early shift on Tue and Thur and to keep his set weekend off - he got told "Business comes first, your family will have to suck it up". But I'm BLOODY NOT his family any more - and while I want him to keep in contact with the dc, I'm NOT prepared to drop everything in MY life to do that.

I am giving reasonable access, with set days (which is VERY important to ME).

What I am asking is if his employer can do this? Can they change a shift pattern that effectively either forces me to not have any life because of my EX partners work shifts, or for my Ex-P to hardly ever see his dc? Surely they have to allow flexible working when all he is asking is to have his weekend off every fortnight (that access IS court ordered, with supporting paperwork), and to be on an early shift on a Tue and Thur (which isn't court ordered, is done 'amicably'). He's not saying he WON'T work Tue or Thur, just that he needs to be on an early (his late shift finishes at 10pm, too late to see his dc).

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 12:08:01

Oh, and as an aside - the set days are also VERY important for DS2, our older dc together, he has asd, and it is in the COURT ORDER that he has SET DAYS. And the freuquent weekday (every Tue & Thur) is on Solicitor advice as DS3 is 8mo, and a bf bottle refuser, and little and often is classed as the best way for them to form a relationship.

prh47bridge Sat 08-Oct-11 13:24:16

The short answer is yes, his employer can do that. They do not have to allow flexible working. They have to have good business reasons for rejecting the request. Has your ex tried talking to HR or has he only spoken to his boss?

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 14:50:05

It's all a bit new as it only changed to NHS from Carrillion last week. He spoke to his boss - not sure if there is HR for him to speak to.

Does that mean that I am not allowed to make plans for my own life then? Or does my Ex-P have to accept that if he isn't available on the contact days that he cannot see the dc?

What happens if he cannot have DS2 overnight once a fortnight? As he will be breaking acourt order not to have him?

Ex-P is going to talk to his union rep next week, but I'm NOT prepared to accept off-the cuff access. It's set days and if he cant come on set days then he doesn't come. We split up partly because of his emotional abuse, and the only way I feel I can move on is to draw very firm lines in the sand WRT access, especially as it has to be in MY home.

Where do I stand legally wrt refusing to be 'flexible' with access, ansd insisting on set days? I don't mind if the days have to change to,say, Wed and Fri, as long as they are the SAME DAYS EACH WEEK. Where would I stand legally if me refusing to be flexible meant Ex-P no longer got to see DS3, for example?

I don't want to stop contact, but I feel I have the right to expect DEFINED contact, with set days, so that I can live my life, not have to cancel plans for Monday afternoon if I am only told on a Friday or Saturday, when I make my plans a month in advance, generally.

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 14:54:30

Also - set days stop Ex-P from cancelling access to go out with his mates, and expecting ME to drop whatever I'm doing to ALWAYS fit in with HIS social life - so is a necessity, especially for DS2's need for routine that is caused by his asd, and is court ordered.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 08-Oct-11 15:03:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 17:13:17

If I refuse to be flexible, and refuse to give up what I am doing at short notice, to fit in with HIS life, and HIS work - he WILL take me to court and say that I am blocking access - which I'm NOT, I just want SET DAYS.

How would the courts be? Would they order me to be flexible? Or would they tell him that X, X and X are his set contact days, and to sort it out with work?

Ex-P and I are managing to stay cordial at the moment - but that will NOT last when I refuse to change access days every week at maybe only a day or two's notice - he's going to go MENTAL. And I'm trying to draw boundaries so that he can no longer control my life by stopping me from seeing my friends etc. If I HAVE to be flexible - he will find out when I have plans and insist on coming round THAT night - NOT FAIR and not going to happen. I've been doing so well at drawing boundaries, and getting him to stop 'dropping in' to my life every night after work - and phoning me to yell at me if I'm not in, or I have friends round so it's not convenient for him to be here (on nights he's not meant to be here).

He already tries to stop me from having a life - will a judge in court MAKE me be flexible even if it hands control of my life back to my Ex-P?

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 08-Oct-11 17:26:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 17:54:58

SGM - I can't yet move contact out of my house, DS3 will NOT drink from a bottle, and due to TT and upper lip tie, meaning bf not entirely effective, he feeds every 30 mins - 2hrs.

When DS3 is able to take a bottle (he really can't / won't) then contact will be moved out of the house - I'm doing it so DS3 can build a relationship with his father, it's not permanant, but I NEED the boundaries of set days.

If Ex-P goes to court, I will be forced to do mediation, as I (and probably he due to low income) would be on legal aid, and they insist on it. Happened last time we split up too. This time, though, I'm adamant I am NOT getting back with him. Didn't work last time, and won't work this time either.

There was no actual 'DV' in the sense of hitting etc - it was more emotional blackmail (If you don't let me go out when I want on my own, I'll leave etc), gaslighting, telling me I was a nutcase, refusing to help AT ALL with the dc or the house, not being safe to leave around the baby because he fell asleep and almost dropped the baby (I had to do a running dive to catch baby and never left them alone again - Ex doesn't do that in my house, may do elsewhere, hence contact in my home, so I can keep DS3 safe until he's older). And much much more - alienating me from my friends and family, controlling my appearance, taking whatever free time he wanted while refusing me any, blah blah blah.

Can't afford a lawyer - am on benefits.

HarrietJones Sat 08-Oct-11 18:35:30

He should have option to put ins flexible working request ( post in employment issues) , if he doesn't do this then you can at least say he hasn't tried everything.

No use on the legal side sorry but I spent years doing contact at home for dds as their dad needed supervision so you've my sympathy!

CardyMow Sat 08-Oct-11 18:44:04

It's only till DS3 is about 2/3 - even Ex-P has admitted that he doesn't feel capable of being in sole charge of a non-verbal child?!

Gonzo33 Sun 09-Oct-11 14:15:11

Before you do anything get proper legal advice. It is really your exes problem whether he gets the flexibility at work that he needs, not yours.

It is your problem to ensure that your children get the contact that they need.

Only way to do that is to get proper legal advice.

STIDW Sun 09-Oct-11 15:32:20

I think the two most important things here to bear in mind are that contact and the father being in employment so he can pay child support are in the interests of the children. Whilst I take the point about boundaries it isn't your ex's fault that his employer has changed and there is now a different arrangement for shifts.

Contact arrangements often have to be renegotiated as children get to different stages and parents' commitments change. I read somewhere this week that apparently the average duration of a contact order is about 9 months, with most parents then agreeing different arrangements between themselves. You seem to be doing that already with extra contact over and above what was ordered.

A compromise of having plans on certain days of the week and being flexible for contact on the other days if your ex gives you notice as soon as he knows of his shifts would be reasonable. Unless the contact order is varied you must make the children available at the times stated. Under the circumstances it isn't unreasonable for him not to always take it up.

If your ex doesn't agree it is open to him to apply for a variation to the contact order. As long a you have done your bit to comply with the order and been reasonable there is little to fear about going back to court.

CardyMow Sun 09-Oct-11 15:42:06

The over and above the court order is because we have had another dc.

And you say the average length of a contact order is 9 months - I have had the same contact order with my other ex for my older son for 6 YEARS with no changes. It works for BOTH of us, and our child, why would we change it?

So do I, say, keep Tuesdays and Thursdays free as I am at the moment, then making my plans for the other days, as I am right now, or do I have to wait for him to get his rota on the Fri / Sat before making my plans? Because I make my plans a month in advance - so I would be breaking plans all the time!! (How to make yourself look flaky to everyone).

What do you mean by being 'flexible' on the other days - do you mean that I can, say, make a plan for Wednesday, and if Ex-P rings me on Saturday and says I can only come round Wednesday, I say, "Sorry, I have plans but you can come round Mon / Tue / Thurs / Fri" then I'm not in the wrong?

I'm being honest, I don't KNOW what is right and wrong here?

CardyMow Sun 09-Oct-11 15:47:22

BTW - he gets 2 days off each week, and doesn't usually use them to come and see the dc - he comes round AFTER WORK when he is on an early shift - because he 'has his own life'. Which he won't allow ME.

His problem is not his days off (because he uses 3/4 of them to have the social life he won't allow ME), but the fact that he can no longer have enough advance notice of his early shifts.

Surely if he was wanting ACCESS rather than to control me, surely he would just ask to have the baby at least during the day when he has a day off (but he won't because it will eat into HIS social life).

So I'm trying to figure out if it is OK for him to do what he wants on his days off, but to be allowed to say what I can and can't do in the afternoons when HE wants to see the dc?

STIDW Sun 09-Oct-11 20:36:48

Shift working can present a challenge for organising contact. I think it would be reasonable to make plans three days a week say Friday, Saturday and one night during the week and be prepared to be flexible on the other four days. It doesn't stop you from going out on the other days, it just means you can't make concrete plans until your ex knows his shifts.

You really don't want to go to court about this if it can be avoided, there are no certainties of the outcome. Contact orders can be overly complicated and rigid to accommodate shifts. One judge ruled that the child should be made available at short notice for a couple of hours twice a week whenever the father could make it. Not saying that would happen here, but the only consideration was the welfare of child not the social life of either parent. In any case it doesn't sound as though it will be that much longer before your ex will be taking the child over to his so it will only be a short term measure.

CardyMow Sun 09-Oct-11 21:54:01

HA! Ex-P isn't happy having DS3 overnight until he is 2/3yo and verbal, by his own admission...so the afternoon visits could continue for quite some time! They did with DS2, when we split up when HE was little - Ex-P didn't have him overnight until he was 4yo! (DS2 has SN and was non-verbal until 3.7yo, and didn't walk until 3.6yo). So unlikely to be a short-term thing, at leats another year and a half, maybe two and a half years.

So, there are precedents that say that I might have to make DS3 'available' at short notice, then. Bums. Most of my plans are weekday ones - going round to a friend's house for tea, or having my friends round mine - and they won't come if he's here, they actively dislike him. But I have to plan things in advance, around my friends too. It's like the Halloween party I'm doing - my friends and I started planning that in September.

Due to all of my friends having dc, and us doing things together with the dc. I don't GO out without my dc, so this is my only social life at all.

cestlavielife Sun 09-Oct-11 23:51:13

maybe at least his work have to give month by month schedules, so everyone can plan.

cant be good for anyone being told on friday what you doing next week! so surely ALL staff would appreciate month by month schedule? not just separated parents? maybe that is angle for him to take up with boss ?

surely they can do month by month? then you can review - and if its say something that you planned for months - well tough, that one is missed but made up another day...

my son has ASd and with visual calendar can cope with changes. so long as he knows xxx will happen and when, he ok with changes. routine is important with ASD but so is teaching ability to deal with change....

certainly a month by month schedul ewould help ds as well.

ChocHobNob Wed 12-Oct-11 10:39:51

Although can understand it isn't ideal at all to have to work around shifts. In my experience, court will take them into consideration. When I was in court, the judge said the father's shifts were to be worked around and contact days can change weekly. However, the father had his shifts months in advance so it was easier.

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