How to deal with access in this situation?(23 Posts)
Ex-P was emotionally abusive, we split up 4 months ago. We have together DS2 who is nearly 8yo, we have a defined contact order for him from when we split up a few years ago. DS2 has asd and needs routine.
DS3 is 8mo, and a bf bottle refuser.
Ex-P has been having set access that is about to be screwed up by his employer - see threads Here in Legal and Here in employment.
How do I approach this issue wrt to INSISTING that Ex-P has access on set days so that I can move on with MY life? I don't want to block contact, I just want to have set days - if the days have to change to, say, Wed and Fri each week, then so be it, but I want to know where I stand so I can manage DS2's anxieties from his asd, and so I can have my own life that HE doesn't control.
What would happen if I stuck to my guns, insisted on set days, Ex-P couldn't make those set days due to work, and he took me back to court? Would the court order me to be flexible?
There is also the added complication that I have an older DS, DS1, and he has VERY SET access with his dad - and I'd like to be able to have some days where I have all 4 of my dc together, would the courts also bear in mind the sibling relationship there?
I pretty much doubt the court will ask you to be flexible, they will concentrate in what is best for your child and certainly, there is no doubt whatsoever that lack of routine is bad for a child with ASD. Stick to your guns.
I'm hoping that is the case - because Ex-P is going to get NASTY towards me if I refuse to be flexible - it will all be MY fault for refusing to drop everything when HE wants, not his employers fault for refusing to take his access into consideration.
And when he gets NASTY, boy oh boy does he get nasty - Social Services get phoned with spurious allegations, DWP fraud hotline get phoned saying I have a man living with me (which means all my money gets stopped while they investigate, and he hopes that I will go crawling back to him so I can feed the dc - it worked last time - I didn't know it was him at the time, only found that out when he spat it at me in an argument just before we split up this time).
And it will all be MY fault, not his works' fault. <<Harrumph>>
it's my understanding that because he has parental responsibility (I'm guessing he is on the birth certificates) and a court order stating contact arrangements then he has the right to request family friendly contract. Due to the TUPE agrement he will be classed as having continuous service and so will be eligible
he needs to put the request in writing to his line manager, and then legally they have to respond
keeping the 2 early shifts a week is a pretty minor request and a company the size of the NHS would be hard pressed to prove that this request is not in the best interest of the business
they have to reply in writing, arrange a meeting to discuss the request and he has the right to take someone in with him, then they have to formally give their decision. He would then have 4 weeks to appeal if he didn't get it approved -they also have to say specifically why they are refusing
the problem at the moment is that everyone is so scared to rock the boat when it comes to employment, that they don't enforce their rights for fear of being labled a troublemaker
I will add to that that I know NRP working for the NHS who have managed to set their shifts in one way or another in order to be able to continue with contact arrangements. He may not be aware that he can ask for such right.
I would like to apply to work a flexible working pattern that is different to my current working pattern under my right provided under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996. I confirm I meet each of the eligibility criteria as follows:
I have responsibility for the upbringing of either:
[ ] a child under 17; or
[ ] a disabled child under 18.
o The mother, father, adopter, guardian, special guardian or foster parent of the child; or
o Married to, or the partner or civil partner of, the childs mother, father, adopter, guardian, special guardian or foster parent.
I am making this request to help me care for the child.
if you go on the direct gov website there are some very helpful bits and bobs....
Do talk to WA and a solicitor; bear in mind that any court orders WRT access put the children's interests first, so your DC's need for regular access arrangement due to SN will be taken into consideration. The other thing to do WRT XP is stonewall all communcation attempts that are not to do with DC, put the phone down on him if necessary, ignore text and emails, don't allow him in the house if it's not at the pre-arranged time.
Thank you - I will pass this info on and let him do what he wants with it - not up to me to bug him into fighting his employer - I assume if he wants access to his dc, he will do it - and really, it's NOT asking for that much flexibility - he has told his boss that he doesn't mind if they put him on different shifts ever other day of the week - even if he ends up on lates that he hates all the other times - as long as he can do an early shift on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
IMO, his employer (NHS) is trying to get rid of all the Carrillion staff that are paid about £2 an hour MORE for this job than the NHS would pay - by being as generally twuntish as they can be.
ah the wonders of the TUPE agrements
where I work they have been taken over so many times there are people on about 6 different paystructures all doing the same job
doesn't cause many problems....
Oh, don't worry, sgb - I haven't let him in the house when it's not access times, and am not answering his
many texts. He can't email me - he doesn't have my email address. . And when he is here - I will talk pleasantly about the dc, but nothing more.
Have made a LOT of progress with this (I am even throwing a Halloween party for my friends - all LP's, one who has just come out of a refuge, the only one not technically an LP has a partner who works abroad for 3 months at a time...). He is NOT invited - despite his wheedling - I just said it's for ME and MY friends - if you want a party, throw one yourself - then changed the subject! (I didn't tell him BTW, DS2 did).
You could refuse contact other than that defined in the order but you would not look too well in court. They will expect flexibility from both parties but, yes your child's particular need for routine would be taken into account.
Similarly, his malicious behaviour will go down like a lead balloon. It would be best for all, most of all the children if you could have something agreed between you rather than going back to court.
Get a solicitor to write to him setting out your concerns, your proposals and a firm request that he desist from behaviour "of which the court would take a dim view." In the meantime, keep a record of all communications.
Can't afford a solicitor - if it went to court I would have to self-represent. The solicitor I was using no longer accepts legal aid, and every other family law solicitor in my town has been used by my Ex-P in the past (he kept getting asked to leave them when we were apart before because he was being so unreasonable and wouldn't take the solicitors advice - he went through 6 law firms). They can't take me on because it would be a conflict of interest apparently.
How flexible would they expect ME to be? Would they expect me to drop anything I had planned to fit in with him? Because he WILL take advantage, and deliberately insist on coming round EVERY time I had anything planned - he doesn't WANT me to have friends etc - but he knows enough people to know when I have something planned IYKWIM. And there's no way I'm going to let him continue to control my life - when that is the reason we ARE apart - it was so bad he would even tell me what time of day I was 'allowed' to wash...
No, they wont expect you to drop everything to accommodate him and he will be expected to have tried mediation before making his application.
Its difficult to give anything more than general advice without knowing all the details which you probably dont want to provide on an internet forum.
Try solicitors in the next town. The CAB sometimes have a list of solicitors that do LA work. W.A. may also be able to help. What part of the country are you in?
If you really have to go LIP (litigant in person) get someone to assist you- preferably someone who knows the system (a McKenzie friend) Lucy Reed, a very good family law barrister has written a book for LIPs which you can order from her blog site below.
If you cant find a solicitor soon, send me a private message and Ill help you with the basics. Bear in mind that anything you write to him could be shown to the court.
You could also place your post in the legal section where you will get more useful responses.
Not sure about the asd issue tbh, I would think it more important that a child sees their father. He needs to work to earn money therefore I think you are going to have to be flexible. He should know his shift pattern enough in advance to not need to just turn up surely? And if you have arranged to do something with all four then it needs to be another time.
so I just need to ignore the fact that I have plans - even though I have planned in advance? Ex-P gets his rota either on a Friday or a Saturday for the following Monday - Sunday now. I make my plans 4 weeks in advance, due to preparing DS2 for a change in routine.
I cannot get a solicitor in another town - the next nearest town is 30 miles away, and due to my epilepsy, I don't drive. So I can't get a solicitor at all because Ex-P has bolcked them all up in the past and now they say it's a 'conflict of interest'. He got kicked out by 6 solicitor firms because he wouldn't listen to their advice.
Mediation only works if there is a compromise available - to my Ex, a compromise means whatever HE wants is the decision. I just want to be able to have a life free of his dictation. I want to be able to see my friends when I have arranged to, it's been years since I was allowed to. All I want is, say, a monthly rota, so I know when I'm free to arrange things - but his employer won't do that - they want to do weekly rota's with only a few days notice.
Which leaves me still unable to have a life...might as well have stayed with him and been his doormat for the next 18 years - I still have to live my life around him even when he's not my partner.
Look I do realise this is hard and frustrating. But actually when you have children with someone, you do have to live your life around them to some extent and no, you will never be "free" of them as you have children together.
These shifts are not your ex's fault and you need to do whatever you can to ensure that your children don't suffer, or suffer as little
A social life is sometimes what we have to sacrifice part of for our children.
Surely your children maintaining a relationship with their father (with or without regular days) is better than not having a relationship with their father.
Not if he won't give up HIS social life to see them on his days off - he only comes to see the baby AFTER WORK when he is on an early shift - so HE gets his social life, and I still don't get to have one. Why?
Because you had children with a selfish man. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it seems to be what has happened.
But it's not tit for tat here, it's your kids' wellbeing. You both have 100% responsibility - if he doesn't take responsibility it doesn't abdicate you from yours - in fact, you have to work all the harder for what is best for them
(which isn't what is your preferred method of managing your social life).
I do get how hard and frustrating this is.
I've been in a similar situation. I first tried for the sake of the children to fit in with him, but when i wanted to go back to work, start a new relationship etc things became difficult from his side. When I didn't agree with his requests Social services were called, police threats etc. My advise would be to get everthing laid down in court then everyone knows where they stand you can all move on and for me the tedious sometimes abusive negotiations stopped. The judge took the childrens interests more than the parents. Be strong, being in your situation is horrible especially with a baby with hormones and being alone, but stay strong, i am 7 years along now and things have got so much better going to court.
<<Sigh>> I know - it just seems so fucking unfair. I have been MORE accommodating than most people would be in my situation - letting a controlling arse come into my home for four hours at a time, twice a week, just so that he can build a relationship with our baby DS3 who is bf - but now it just seems like it'll never be enough, and I'll NEVER get MY life back!
That's why I was offering him EXTRA defined contact (because he obviously can't take an EBF baby from 11am on Saturday till 6pm on Sunday like he does with DS2 - especially when DS3 won't take a bottle!!
But now it will all be on his terms - I can't get a solicitor, so he will walk all over me in a courtroom. And it's HIS fault I can't get a solicitor.
Has he made a request in writing for flexible working? Although he's actually not asking for flexibility, he's asking for set shifts, but still - he can use the children as a reason for the request.
XH has changed one of his shifts each week because he wanted to do one school run a week. He had to request it in writing, but was allowed to do so. Worth a go?
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