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He's taking me to court for a contact order, but not quite sure why??

(27 Posts)
mummytowillow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:29:25

I'm sure you have read some of my other threads!! wink

My ex has just ruined what should have been a lovely birthday for our daughter. He and his family came up for the weekend, they had her all weekend, came to her party and had what I thought was good time!

He was taking her back to his parents for the week, he wanted to introduce his girlfriend to her (the one he had an affair with but denied it) and I wasn't happy with this. He initially wanted to take her to his flat, and throw her in at the deep end and spend the week with her and him sad

I obviously wasn't happy with this and we compromised that he would take her to his parents and introduce her at a later date. That was until he was driving down the motorway last night. He started texting me, saying he couldn't guarantee he wouldn't introduce her and I couldn't do anything about it, I said I wasn't happy with this. So he stopped at the services and told me to come and get her! I called his bluff and said fine but he would have to wait for me (she's 4 for god's sake)! He spent 20 minutes shouting down the phone at me and she heard it all. He was trying to make me agree to his demands, and it was like he was obsessed with her meeting my daughter?

He drives her to his parents, she cries all the way and wants to come back to me. He text me at 10 last night and told me to come and get her, as he couldn't cope with her as she was asking for me? So at 7am I had to do a 400 mile round trip, which took 8 hours to go and get her, I had to wangle the day off work to. He had ljust eft her with his parents and gone back to his girlfriend at his flat (a two hour drive away from his parents).

He has now told me he won't stand for her getting upset about leaving me, and he is taking me to court for a contact order. Just to clarify though, I have never ever stopped him from phoning or seeing her. He is the one who lets her down all the time saying he has to work on his weekends to have her. In the last 8 months he has seen her 4 times!

So, if he goes to court for a contact order, what will the process be? Do I need to get a solicitor as I haven't done anything wrong? Will she have to be interviewed etc? And what will the judge make me do or make him do? And how long is the order likely to take, as he is refusing all contact until it is arranged?

I think he is going to make himself look foolish as I've never stopped him seeing his daughter, I've even taken her down to see him! He is doing this to punish me as I'm not happy about her being thrown together with the OW?

I can't actually believe he is willing to go to court to make them put contact with his girlfriend in the order? And the fact he chose to leave his daughter this morning and go to his girlfriend, what a complete pig!

Any advice please?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:34:05

what don't you want your dd to meet her fathers girlfriend?

mummytowillow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:39:22

Because she is 4 and he wanted her to turn up at his flat and spend a week with her staying in the same flat, she will be confused and I think that is unfair.

GypsyMoth Mon 22-Aug-11 21:44:01

all that could have been avoided by arguing with him and being so stubborn when you knew she would hear it (and probably knew she would get so upset and ask for you)

i dont get how you could do that??

fwiw,he doesnt need your permission or agreeance for her to be introduced. so it was all futile

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:44:03

Hmmm, I thought you compromised and agreed that they would stay with his parents?

ChippingIn Mon 22-Aug-11 21:45:21

I don't agree that at 4 she will be confused. They're pretty black and white at that age and not full of adult angst. I also don't understand why you think you get a say in who he introduces his daughter to - in the same way he doesn't with you. You can express an opinion if you think something isn't right for her - but that's all it is I'm afraid - your opinion.

However, he behaved like a complete and utter prick. I can't see what he hopes to achieve by taking you to court - but you have nothing to lose do you, as you are fine with him having contact with her. Just tell ignore him.

SenoritaViva Mon 22-Aug-11 21:49:48

I can see this has been horrible for you and your daughter. You ex does sound like he's behaving like a jerk. However, as you are no longer together I am afraid the others are right, you can't dictate when your DD is introduced to a new girlfriend. Sad but true.

mummytowillow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:51:11

Actually, I asked if she could hear him and he told me he was away from the car. If I had known she could hear it, I wouldn't have had the conversation, I am not that cruel!

I had agreed a compromise that they would stay at his parents, he told me he wasn't going to do this once he got her there. I understand I can't stop him introducing OW to her, however, I think it needs to be done gradually! Not just turning up at this flat and saying, 'oh she's in my bed tonight', your in the spare room!

GypsyMoth Mon 22-Aug-11 21:52:48

so you let him rant....for 20 mins....AWAY FROM THE CAR!!??

has your dd been to his flat before or is it all new to her?

mummytowillow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:56:12

He was parked in a services, he told me she couldn't hear him? I foolishly believed him!

She has been to his flat once.

SenoritaViva Mon 22-Aug-11 21:57:53

I agree that might not be the best way but still that's not your decision, hellish as that may be and I do agree with you and can empathise. I think suggesting to him that that was not the best way would have been fine but my understanding is you can't dictate (dictating is for marriages it seems).

I suppose you could have spoken to your DD about the situation, explain where she'll be etc. so you could have prepped her for it (the most 'gradual' influence you'd have).

It saddens me because I don't think your ex is really thinking of your DD and I can see how hard it must be to stand on the side lines and you don't want to feel you are not fighting her corner for her.

festi Mon 22-Aug-11 21:57:55

I think you need to allow her to meet is girlfriend, I dont think realisticly you can or should have any controle over this. Although it is probably difficult for you and possibly has an emotional upset I dont think it will impead on your DD at all. It is a matter of parental standers, he may do something you wouldnt and vice versa. As far the courts go they would probably suggest that unless dd is at risk then you should have no say over this.

The first thing you need to do is stop getting into slanging matches with him around your DD, you must pick your battles and the times in which you challenge him. If Im honest I would say it was probably partly your fault DD was unsettled last night. He should never have behaved as he did.

I would make a detailed and accurate record of what happened this weekend removing all emotion and keeping it factual.

he would need to see a soclistor who would accertain the facts, unless you are activly preventing him from jhaving contact it will not get as far as court it will be reffered for mediation and this would be a very good thing for you to consider. I had very similar exp refused to see dd and then told me he was applying for joint custody, he said he had seen a solicitor, so I panicked. I booked a 1 hour free session with a family law solicitor who was very reassuring. I would in your situation book a free hour to reasure you. I also wrote a letter to exp stating explicity I was not preventing contact and suggested mediation to him. I kept a copy if I needed it to be used as evidance.

we did have mediation and things seem far better now all the emotion and bitterness has gone and we can communicate just for dds sake and to make arrangements, I think we are near on the very of holding polite small talk soon grin.

Oakmaiden Mon 22-Aug-11 22:00:13

He's her father, he has as much right to make decisions about where she sleeps and who she meets as you do. I can understand why he would think YOU are being controlling and unreasonable.

mummytowillow Mon 22-Aug-11 22:02:43

Oh well, it appears I'm am wrong then?

Fair enough

Tyr Mon 22-Aug-11 22:11:13

If he is introducing the child to his GF, it should be done slowly and with sensitivity. At the same time, you have to accept it will happen and not let the child pick up on any hostility over it.
Based on what you've posted, he would be foolish to take this to court. He will be expected to have tried mediation first anyway (as of 6 April 2011- new rules) If you had to drive that far top pick up a distressed child, he will fall flat on his face in court.
What you need is a clearly defined set of arrangements that you both can stick to. Offer mediation.

Demiwave Mon 22-Aug-11 22:14:01

No, I don't think you're wrong - he's an idiot and you are just trying to protect your daughter. I don't know anything about contact orders but I wouldn't worry too much as you have no problem with him having contact with her. Re. the girlfriend, I would feel the same as you but not sure what you can do except put your point of view across to him.

keepmefromcourt Tue 23-Aug-11 08:17:01

poor you mummytowillow, i sympathise, i think the whole potential stepmum thing is very emotional. i understand why you don't want him to introduce her to his girlf, but unfortunately, you can't control this.

i realise things are pretty antagonistic between you two, but do you think ex would agree to you meeting the girlf first? I think you might find this more bearable. getting to know my ex's gf was actually very helpful, helped me to see her as a person, not just some archetypal rival for my daughter's affections (which of course she isn't)

If you're feeling sensitive about the girlf thing, go have a read of the stepparenting board. I think you'll find that they're the ones with the harder job - starting a relationship with somebody who has a child with somebody else is not easy.

I wouldn't worry about the contact order, you've done nothing wrong.

hairylights Tue 23-Aug-11 19:17:35

Sorry but it's not up to you in isolation. He is her father and (sorry that you won't Luke this) the simple truth is that you started a fight over something you have no right to veto. You're bringing your own feelings in to this ... Rather than taking an objective view ... It won't harm your daughter to spend this time with them ... Unless you have genuine reason to believe she is cruel or negligent to children.

niceguy2 Tue 23-Aug-11 20:03:37

I've never really understood why it's such a big issue for children to meet the new squeeze. I've yet to hear of a child coming home and mixing up their parents.

To be fair, you've both fucked it up really. You for making an issue out of it. Him for continuing to pick a fight where none was needed. She's gone with him, he's free to do as he pleases. Why pull over and have a full blown argument over it in front of DD.

No wonder poor DD is upset. Her parents are fighting and she's no clue why!

Strategically a contact order might be a good thing to define when he will see DD. He can't have "As and when he feels like it". So if you are happy for him to set a routine up then I'd welcome him to do it.

Chances are once he finds out how much it costs, the commitment it takes to pursue it and the time it takes, he'll back off anyway.

secretskillrelationships Wed 24-Aug-11 11:01:41

I understand exactly why you are feeling so upset about this. You may not have the legal right to any say as to how and when this woman is introduced to your DD but that doesn't stop you having strong feelings about it. I think it is reasonable that new partners are introduced slowly and gradually. Anything less runs the very real risk of making the child feel they are being squeezed out of that parent's life.

I think emotions run particularly high around this issue but it does seem to split along very specific lines. Not sure if it's gender or resident/non-resident but it appears to me that the primary carer is often the one who feels things should go slowly and the other who often wants everything done their way and now. On top of which, lots of people then post that you have no say anyway and surely you trust their dad to have their best interests at heart. Well, if your ex has had an affair and left, no I don't think you do trust them to put anyone but their own interests first.

So why the split in approach? I guess you could argue either way depending on your perspective. In my case, there was another woman around a lot who wasn't a partner. This caused a lot of issues for my DD(11) who felt that her dad valued this friend more than her. This has led to a very real breakdown in DD's relationship with him. His attitude is that he needs friends and she'll just have to put up with it. Well, yes she will, for the moment. But it doesn't mean she's happy about it, in spite of my best efforts to support her relationship with her father.

DCs are very vulnerable after a separation. They often feel rejected and abandoned by the parent who left (regardless of how they are told and why the parent left). They need constant reassurance by both parents that they come first and this need should be taken into account when introducing new people to the DCs (and I think this goes for friends as well as partners). Hence, things should move slowly to allow DCs to adapt to the new situation and to ensure that they know that although their parent has a new partner, it doesn't pose any threat to their relationship with that parent. This, to me, seems to be common sense. If I introduce someone to the DCs fast and that diverts my attention away from the DCs, I can't see how that would allow the DCs to build a good relationship with my new partner.

MumblingRagDoll Wed 24-Aug-11 11:09:48

niceguy with respect calling a woman a "squeeze" is offensive. Keep it for somewhre else.

OP this s obviously very hard but you will have to accept your exes partner. It will be FARless stressful for DD if you are positive about her.

have you met the girlfriend yet?

ProcrastinatorGeneral Thu 25-Aug-11 00:12:30

For the record, I think that expecting a child to be okay with being dumped into the deep end for an entire week with a new person like that is a bit much. You meet somewhere neutral first, for a short period of time. Preferably more than once. That from an experienced and expensive for him mediator.

I refused point blank to let my ex introduce the children to his homewrecking baggage wife for about two years.

(before you all whine, I have never and will never use such language and terminology in front of my children, I reserve the right to abuse the facilities offered by the relative anonymity of the internet though wink )

STIDW Thu 25-Aug-11 00:56:17

Children can grieve for the end of their parent's relationship and responsible parents with the best interests of children at heart will introduce new partners gradually and sensitively. Too many parents alienate their children by introducing new partners too soon. However, if they do the introduction there is very little that is more damaging to children than conflict between parents and biting ones lips is the lesser of all evils.

If a contact application is made you shouldn't view the courts as hostile. You don't necessarily need a solicitor, there isn't usually an awful lot of law involved in contact cases, but it can be very useful to help keep matters focused on the children rather than the issues between parents.

After the court receive an application a first hearing is set for in about six weeks. Both parties are supposed to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting to see if mediation would be appropriate for resolving the dispute. When no agreement can be reached before seeing a judge, the judge will decide what information he/she will require to assist them in making a decision and sets a timetable for future hearings. The court isn't really that interested in apportioning blame, the focus is on the best interests of children and how to move matters forward.

Lasvegas Thu 25-Aug-11 14:18:44

From a step mums perspective, I met step kids 6 and 8 for 3 hours (6 months before they spent a one week foreign holiday with me and their dad). I did offer to meet their mum first but their Dad said there was no need as mum trusted him to be in a relationship with a person who was good with kids.

If the shoe was on the other foot I would want to meet somone who was jointly looking after my kids 24/7. So OP I understand where you are coming from. I would hate to be in your situation.

mumy2 Thu 25-Aug-11 20:35:06

omg this is my first ever post i cant believe some of the comments, i think you have done nothing wrong you are the one bringing up your child full time while he wanders in and out believing he super dad and i do think that parents partners can greatly affect children, if i was me i would, let him take me to court, he prob wont even be arsed to see it through.

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