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Ex H wants to change contact order(8 Posts)
Ex H and I separated in 2008 and divorced in 2012. We have one DD now aged 13. Ex H has been difficult at times (hence taking 3.5 years to get divorced...). Had a contact order agreed in 2009. This order was "sisted" (Scotland) in 2009 as ex H and had reached agreement for him to have DD on Weds eves and EOW.
This arrangement has worked well over the years, with exh and I in regular (civil) verbal, text and email contact to arrange drop offs/pick ups etc. We have been flexible when for example his niece's wedding was on "my weekend", swapping time accordingly. Exh has not worked for years and has had DD in the last year or so on inset days etc. For summer hols etc I advise him of plans for going away etc once I have arranged hols with work etc. Ex H then has free choice of the rest of the hols. Same with Xmas etc - we have always managed to agree contact.
However, every so often, exh throws his toys out of the pram and starts going on about his "rights to see DD...". There is normally a trigger.
Recently he has refused to contact me except by email. He accused me of "denying access" to DD when I took her on a pre agreed trip to visit family in London which encroached on a part of "his weekend". After the trip he had her for part of "my weekend" and the whole of the following week when I was at work. Trigger this time seems to have been my first wedding anniversary to DH.
Today I got home from work to a letter which seems to have some court papers in it..has a "signed for" label but was just shoved through letterbox as non-one in.
Papers look like he is trying to get the "sisted" court order for contact reactivated to be very very specific times/days of week/ occasions (funerals anyone...!!!). I can't tell from the papers what, if anything I am required to do...anyone know??
I am really not keen to go down a legal route money is a bit tight (big mortgage) and wouldn't qualify for any assistance. Can I just self represent? I am not scared of standing up in court and speaking for myself.
Presumably you have some proof that the rearranged weekend was mutually agreed rather than you just witholding access to your DD without notice?
I would call the court and check what you need to do next or if you respond in some way. Does your house insurance have legal cover?
What does your dd think of it and want?,presumably she is now old enough for her opinions to count if changes are proposed. It might not suit her if she misses school stuff/proms etc because she cant be flexible with dates
We had a verbal conversation about it and I have texts. I feel we have to flexible as from time to time he has asked me about DD going to his family christenings/weddings/parties etc and I have always agreed.
Bomb, yes DD has got a view. Also, she is at an age where she wants to go to sleepovers etc and they sometimes fall on her dad's weekends.
I will contact the court. Its a total PITA as I am full on with work at the minute.
You can self-represent. If you look at the papers, there should be a notice of hearing with a date and time. I am not very familiar with Scots law but in England, it would be a First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment.
If the process is anything like it is here, if you cannot reach an agreement at the FHDRA, the court would be likely to order a court welfare officer (Cafcass) to write a report and make recommendations. As your DD is 13, her views are likely to hold great weight and the court would not force an arrangement on her.
To be honest, this sort of case is one that should be dealt with in mediation rather than be taken to court. Perhaps suggest that to your ex. You can also suggest it at court. In England and Wales, the court can adjourn proceedings in order for parties to mediate. To be honest I can't see a judge being very impressed that your ex has issued this application.
One option you could consider going forward is that he makes contact arrangements direct with your DD (presuming she has a mobile etc). She is old enough for this to happen and then you won't be accused of trying to restrict his contact.
Also- noting that you said that you can't tell what to do from the papers. Have they been sealed by the court? This would be a stamp on the front of the application form with the name of the court. There would also be a reference number written by the court on the front. You would normally also have an acknowledgment of service form to fill in. If none of that is present, he might well just have filled the form in and sent it to you as a threat. Unless it has a stamp and a number and a notice telling you what to do, you don't have to do anything.
Blimey, I hope you are able to see the funny side of him desperately wanting to impose a ridiculous order when your DD is already 13!!!!!
Will be interesting to see what the courts make of it...
Running - I don't see a stamp, but there is an address of the issuing court. There is a document allowing me to oppose the motion which I have to respond to within 7 days of issue so I have until this Thursday - seems tight! I have decided to ask my solicitor to check the papers to see if genuine and id so, to submit the motion to oppose as I don't have time due to full time work to run around court clerks offices!
Random - I agree - the courts should be to deal with the real issues of non contact over a period of years, and yes to DD agreeing her own contact going forward.
I'm not sure if mediation is suggested first in Scotland - I think it should be! ExH has refused previous offers by me of privately funded mediation - basically he is always in the right!!!
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