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Child Contact Arrangements Order - in the event of ex breaching. Advice desperately needed!

(15 Posts)
SoulSista85 Mon 20-Feb-17 01:15:41

Hi all,

It's been so long since I've posted and I truly can't believe I'm here again!

Some context: basically my ex and I have been split up for nearly 4 years. We have 2 dd's.

The history involves domestic violence, stalking, harassment and all manner of nasty stuff which meant that he took me to court for contact with our dd's after I protected my family by getting a restraining order against him. The restraining order lasted two years.

After much hassle, the court granted him every other weekend from Friday after school through until Sunday when he drops them back in the afternoon. He was also granted Wednesday's after school until 6 which he has since failed (with no reason and without providing an alternative) to stick to.

There's plenty more to this but to cut to the chase, he called our eldest dd last week on her mobile and told her that he would no longer be able to have them when he's supposed to.

She was really upset and I had to take the phone from her and attempt to get him to talk with me about what the arrangements were going to be. He refused to talk to me about it and I ended up hanging up as he started the typical narcissistic word salad (manipulating behaviour) and blocking him on her phone.

I need to point out that the ex and I are no contact unless it's in relation to the children and contact arrangements. Prior to this call to our 8-year-old he had not once contacted me to discuss any changes he needs to make.

I followed up with a text, copied, pasted and sent in an email to him reminding him of his obligations to comply with the court order and to point out that he is breaching it the day after.

Nothing. No response whatsoever.

Cut to almost a week later (the day he was supposed to be taking his alternate weekend but had told our eldest he couldn't) I miss a phone call from him around what in typical circumstances would'very been pick up time whilst at work. I left work a few minutes later to find two texts from him.

One asking where the girls were and a second with some shitty comment accusing ME of breaching the court order.

I was not home when these texts arrived so I have no way of knowing if he turned up to pick them up although along with what I know about him, I also have reason to doubt he did as my friend/neighbour who looked after our dd's while I was at work was on her way home with them at the time those texts came through and she didn't see him. I say this as well because had he have been there, there's no way our dd's would have missed him and they both assure me that they did not see him either.

He turned up outside our flat a couple hours later though. I hid myself and our dd's and watched him outside until he had gone. I logged this with 101 as he should not have been there.

I honestly don't know what to do. Would anyone have any advice here?

I have approached the solicitor that represented me in court for the order itself but because he has been involved already, I have to book an appointment for 30 minster at £75 + VAT. I don't have that to spare 😕

salsmum Mon 20-Feb-17 01:22:17

I wonder op if it might be a good idea for you to also post this on DVD uk fab site as they may also advise good luck flowersflowers

salsmum Mon 20-Feb-17 01:22:47

D v not DVD confused

SoulSista85 Mon 20-Feb-17 01:29:39

DV uk? Can't find it confused

MrsBertBibby Mon 20-Feb-17 07:38:06

You really need to see a solicitor to whom you can show the order and all the messages etc, but my basic advice to anyone in your shoes is that regardless of what he says, you need to ensure the children are available each time as per the order.

Keep a diary of all contact failures, texts, calls and so on.

It's far too early for you to get the order changed, so just build that evidence.

SoulSista85 Mon 20-Feb-17 08:58:03

MrsBertBibby thank you for your reply. I appreciate that and have been 100% compliant up until this particular contact date, because he decided not to be. More to the point, he'said playing games.

As a result of this, I had to make other arrangements and still go to work being the only one of the two of us financially providing for our children as well.

Whether you are the petitioner or the defendant when it comes to such matters, I was of the understanding that there are implications. I've been reading posts whilst waiting for answers and ther eseems to be a lot around to suggest that in short, if the petitioner (in this case, my ex) decides not to stick to it, they basically get away Scott free and the defendant (in this case, me) suffers all of the logistical and legal consequences. That can't be right!

MrsBertBibby Mon 20-Feb-17 09:41:18

It doesn't matter who is the petitioner or applicant, or respondent. What matters is what the order says, and whether you are doing what you are required to do.

On the whole, orders about contact place a positive duty on the primary carer to make the children available for contact, so it is them that can be punished for breach.

I know it's shitty when you're stuck with a game player, but you need to establish a clear pattern of you doing what's required, and him messing around, before this can go back to court.

SoulSista85 Mon 20-Feb-17 10:03:30

It doesn't matter who is the petitioner or applicant, or respondent. What matters is what the order says, and whether you are doing what you are required to do.

Again, thanks MrsBertBibby. I totally see that and have been fully compliant my side. Beyond, actually.

On the whole, orders about contact place a positive duty on the primary carer to make the children available for contact, so it is them that can be punished for breach.

I get that. But again, this neither answers the question about what the implications are when the parent (applicant/petitioner, whatever) breaches the order themselves which creates a negative impact on said positive duty. And very cleverly, I must say. This time, he's been totally unresponsive in any constructive way and has put nothing in writing, which is a pain because the only proof I have of this is the call from him to our daughter. And that's of course, only a log.

I know it's shitty when you're stuck with a game player, but you need to establish a clear pattern of you doing what's required, and him messing around, before this can go back to court.

That clear pattern has been upheld by me since the order was served. Only he seems to think he can do or NOT do (more often than not) whatever he likes.

All of your points are being duly noted, MrsBertBibby - I appreciate it.

Anyone else have any advice?

GreenGoblin0 Mon 20-Feb-17 10:53:02

but the issue is he is not in breach of the order if he doesn't collect the children when stipulated or if he comes to collect them two hours later. As MrsBert says it's shitty if he's playing games but the order places obligations on you as the parent with primary care to make the children available a opposed to obliging him to collect them at the stipulated time.

NewNNfor2017 Mon 20-Feb-17 12:56:44

soulsista what is it that you want the Family Court to do?

It is highly unlikely that they would force an unwilling parent to have contact or care for their DC's - that isn't in the DC's best interests and I'm surprised you would want your DCs put in that position, tbh.

Do yo want the court to issue punishment to your ex for being a crap father? That's not the remit of the family court on the whole.

Mombie2016 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:03:29

It is up to the court to enforce the order. And if he won't be compliant with what he actually fought for then the order will be changed. Judges dont like it when NRP doesn't stick to the court order. It can then be changed to No contact and then the OP isn't obliged to let him see their children. Court orders are there to maintain stability and routine for children and if someone isn't sticking to it then yes, the court does do something.

NewNNfor2017 Mon 20-Feb-17 13:42:27

Definitely mombie - but there are no "implications" as the OP calls them; there is no compensation for the OP, even though she has suffered the legal and logistical consequences.
Family court is there to do what is right for the DC's - not to "punish" either parent for non-compliance.

SoulSista85 Mon 20-Feb-17 20:33:31

NewNNfor2017 compensation is definitely not something that crossed my mind.

And while I don't necessarily know specifically what I want the family court to do, I do know that I don't want and shouldn't be held liable for his failure to do what he is meant to be doing.

What I don't want is for the courts to come down on me because he

1) decides he's not complying with the order he fought for
2) turns up despite telling our daughter he wasn't going to, which really upset her, still does and meant that I had to make all the arrangements for alternative childcare and 3) have the kids or myself left any more vulnerable to his nasty game playing especially now he's come up with this bull about me breaching the order when HE decided not to show by making out as he quite possibly can and will now as if I'm not making them available for contact.

Mombie2016 - thank you! The, I'll repeat implications should affect the parent not sticking to their legal obligations not the one who is sticking to the order to the letter. What, if anything could you suggest about how I approach this?

jacswc Tue 21-Feb-17 07:07:54

My advice would be as follows
1. I'm assuming you'd have thought of this already but is there any family member available who is able to act as an intermediary, for instance actually transporting them to his house?
2. Continue to ensure that at the times agreed your dds are available and don't have other plans. Maybe text or email him each time so you have this record. Including the Wednesdays he has never attended.
3. Keep a log of when he is not turning up.
4. If he behaves in a way that is threatening or could be harassment, call the police and keep a log of any crime number.
5. If he continues to not maintain contact at all, or its so inconsistent that it's really having an affect on the girls then you could consider stopping contact.

The implication of this is it would then be his responsibility to go back to court again.
At that point present your written records of attempts to arrange contact, your logs of it not happening, and the details of any further police involvement.

MrsBertBibby Tue 21-Feb-17 07:19:17

No, you must continue to comply with the order until the Court changes it.

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