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Husband's ex threatening to breach contact order(22 Posts)
Hi all, I've been reading this forum for many years!
A bit of brief background to this. My husband has a 15 year old daughter from a previous relationship, and when we first met he still had an amicable relationship with his ex. This quickly changed to the point where she continually threatened to stop him seeing his daughter if I was going to be there, and in the end he applied for and was given a contact order. We even had to apply for a holiday order because she wouldn't allow his daughter to attend our wedding and honeymoon!
The contact order is for every other weekend and a night in the week. She's breached it a few times but frustratingly he's never reported it to the court. The order also details holidays, including 1 week for each parent at Christmas (stipulates his is the 2nd week). His ex has always insisted on holidays running Monday to Monday.
Christmas has always been a difficult time, especially the last 3 years, which is when they agreed to alternate the Christmas period (just the 3 days from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day). (By the way, there was no specific detail put in the order for Christmas, it was left up to them to sort it between themselves as they'd always managed to at that point.) Unfortunately, although my husband always complies with this, when it comes to the year that my step daughter is meant to stay with us, his ex refuses, threatens to totally deny access unless we agree, and we end up just having her for 1 day. This has happened again this year. He's only seen his daughter on Christmas Eve once since we met.
However, by coincidence, she's due to be with us for the Christmas weekend, Saturday morning to Monday morning (ie, Christmas Day morning), and so my husband has called her bluff and told her to forget trying to come to an agreement and to just stick to the contact order (they'll both see her on Christmas Day and more or less get equal time). His ex has now threatened to not make his daughter available, ultimately threatening to breach the contact order, and she will probably carry it out (as mentioned, she's done it before). She says it's because she feels that he won't return his daughter to her on Christmas Day (no grounds for this, he's always stuck to the court order).
So, my question is what steps can he take to prevent this happening? Can the court stop her from doing this or will they only get involved after the event (by which time Christmas will be over)?
Apologies for such a long message, thanks for reading!!
My barrister told me the judge we had wouldn't get involved with Christmas arrangements. We were expected to deal with it like adults..
Obviously difficult when exes act like petulant dc though isn't it?
Absolutely but she refuses to express a preference, which is understandable. In that instance, surely that's what the contact order is for, to prevent her having to make a choice at such a young age?
Extremely difficult. As i say, my husband has always stuck to the order and has agreed to her requests, but unfortunately his ex abuses her role as mother and doesn't respect the role of the father at all. I think deep down she hopes that my husband will give up.
In 3 years time she'll be an adult and can make her own decisions. If your home is a welcoming place I'm sure she will want to visit regularly. I never quite get the going to weddings of new partners though.
My DP is never 'allowed' to see his children in special days (Christmas, Easter, birthdays) and any additional time with them is entirely determined by what is convenient to their mum.
It's desperately sad. He never rocked the boat because of the fear of losing the kids altogether.
What we do is try to make the most of the time we have with them in the hope that they aren't drawn into any shit that's going on between their parents. We celebrate the big things as soon as we can before or after the event.
It's so sad for everyone but I'm glad we didn't push it. In time your partners child will be able to make their own decision about who they spend holiday time with. I wouldn't be saying this if they were very young but from what you've said in your post I wouldn't be surprised if you DPs ex tried to prevent access altogether.
So is there really nothing we can do to prevent her from stopping us from seeing DD even on the days that forms part of the contact order? I read somewhere about an eforcement order?
Are you sure this isn't just what your husband is telling you?
I'm the ex in this scenario (although my DDs Dad doesn't bother with our DD now!) He used to however, tell his new girlfriend allllll kinds of ridiculous stories like this, that I was 'preventing' and 'threatening to prevent' him from seeing her etc. When in reality I was BEGGING him to see her at Christmas. Begging him to Skype her. At one point I snapped and even offered to pay him £2k to be a Dad to her (I know, I know! But like I said, I'd snapped). I even started court proceedings myself to save him the bulk of the cost. Yet allll the time she was being told it was ME that was the problem! ME that was telling him "No you can't see her" I even offered to drive the 140 mile round trip with her to see him close to his house! Yet his girlfriend was being told that I was 'jealous of her!'
Enforcement applications require a breach to have occurred, before you can apply.
She's 15. Her choice to see him or not. They have phones, don't they?
Are you sure this isn't just what your husband is telling you?
Why is it some assume it's always the exH fault?
OK at your DSD age she will be needing to start to make her own choices, whether that be saying no to mum or dad.
I never 'assumed' and I never said 'always'
She’s definitely threatened it, twice via email. Just doesn’t seem fair that she can just do that. 😔
I would ask to set up a meeting in a neutral place, with the mother and daughter and try to come to an agreement together. It will set a good example for your daughter and encourage her to speak her opinion between you both. She needs to be encouraged and allowed to say what she wants.
If she feels she can’t then it doesn’t say much for their parenting abilities... that she’s too scared to say anything.
If the order says the second of two weeks over Christmas, then that is what it is. If it is broken this year, then go back to court. The judge will expect your DSD to have an opinion and the older the child, the more weight her opinion will carry. She needs to know what the arrangement is and be asked if she would like it varied so perhaps her Dad could chat to her about it when he does see her. He may need to be a bit more proactive if his ex is not meeting her obligations.
In that case - back to court! You have the emails! You're married now so you and your DH should be on the same page! I would be having words with him and suggesting another hearing. Even if he represents himself to save on solicitor's fees? Only costs £210 if no Solicitor to factor in, I believe x
We will go back to court, no doubt about that. But by the sounds of it we can’t do anything pro actively to try and prevent her from stopping us from seeing DD at Christmas. As I say, we always alternate but when it comes around to our year to see DD, his ex always goes back on it.
By the way, we have spoken to DD, as you can imagine it’s upsetting for her to choose between her parents and wants them to sort it out so that she doesn’t have to, bless her. She has, however, said that she wants to see both of them. Her Dad absolutely dotes on her and they have a great relationship, which makes it even more baffling than if he wasn’t that bothered or was only doing it out of duty.
Do NOT represent yourself. Judges are getting very fed up with this and although they try and help litigants in person, the hearings can end up in shouting matches and anger. Swearing at the judge is ot uncommon.
It is far, far, better to engate a barrister who will put your case to the judge in the way that is more persuasive and in such a way the judge will understand the issues because it will be succinct. You put yourself at a disadvantage if you are a litigant in person and in many cases it is a disaster.
Your DSD could be told that the only way to sort it out is to let someone else decide (a judge). Most children actually understand this and can let the judge know their opinions. If she wants to see both parents along the current agreed lines, then she can express this.
You may have to suck it up this Christmas and then, because the order has not been followed, that is part of your evidence regarding going back to court. I do repeat again, do not represent yourself. Get a family barrister. Younger just qualified ones do not cost that much but you will get a professional service and you need it and you also owe it to your DSD.
I don't agree with not self representing. Thanks to the changes to legal aid there is no way we would ever have been able to go to court for contact . We have had over 15 hearings over the last decade with - yes - they are out there - a genuinely bat shit crazy ex - who has done everything possible to frustrate contact and alienate my husbands children from their father , including a leave to remove full hearing where she nearly managed to take them away to live abroad. We have self represented throughout. I have done all the paper work.. written all statements and gathered all evidence. (I am rightly not permitted in the court) My husband has been litigant in person. At ALL times the Judge (s) have been incredibly supportive. We would NEVER have been able to pay a Barrister for this.
Ex Wife did have a Barrister. We won EVERY application for contact with the Judge transferring residency at the request of his eldest two.
We have now had a relatively quiet few years with a very real threat of prison held over her - if she tries any further nonsense. (Not at all a quick business) .
My advice is lawyer if money no problem. Self represent if not. It's hard work but not difficult. Doing nothing is not OK. Your children will think you aren't bothered.
Quite right. Judge's are, indeed, fed up that so many people who really need lawyers can't get them as it makes their job harder, but It's the government they blame, not the LiPs
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