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Ex taking me to court for joint residency of 2 yo, feeling very low, help please.

(29 Posts)
theitalianjob Tue 21-May-13 23:17:35


I'm not new here but it's been a long time. I had some incredible support here in the past & I'm feeling so alone & low & worried I'd really appreciate some help & advice from others who have been or are in the same situation please.

I have 3 dc's.. The older two (10&8) are from one ex & dd3 who is almost 2 and a half is from my recent p who I split up with 4 months ago after 4 years. There was long term arguments & unhappiness between us, he never fully accepted my other children & it got worse when we had our own child & I was the one to finally end it.

So I've lived alone with my 3 for 4 months now, which is fine, my older 2 are happier as am I. Ex-p & I went to mediation voluntarily & I thought it was going ok (he sees dd every Sunday 10-6 & Thurs 9-2) but out

I live alone now with the

theitalianjob Tue 21-May-13 23:21:51

Oops sorry!

Out of the blue I've had solicitors letters & a court date for 19th June as he wants shared residency ie to have her half the week. I am worried sick about it, he is devious & poisonous & although I know how he must feel I don't think it's best for her. I can't afford much in the way of legal help & can't bear the thought of someone I don't know deciding what will happen for my daughter. We were due another mediation session at which it had been agreed she would start stating overnight one night a week but we now can't have that session as he has taken legal action.

Has anyone else had similar? And what was the outcome?

Thanks smile

betterthanever Wed 22-May-13 09:32:27

It seems a shame that mediation was going well and he has done this? I am not sure that a court would be happy that, that process has been interupted when it has not finished.
It is about what is best for your DD and you will both be asked why you wish things to be as you wish them to be. There is no one solution fits all, all cases are different, all circumstances are different.
Have you had a letter from cafcass? they may contact you and ask for the background and what it is you can and can't agree on and do a report before the court date.
Before you actually go into the court room for the hearing you will have a chance for `discussions'. Would he be able to care for her half the week? does he not have any work commitements? it is great he wants to be involved and as you were about to start overnights it does seem a shame that it has gone to court at this stage. The judge could order you go back to mediation. Legal assistance will be expensive for you both, given it is past 1st April I presume he has not got legal aid? shared residency does not always mean 50/50 as that is sometimes not practical, children are not pieces of furniture or money to be divided equally on a split - it has to be what is right for them not either of you and as they get older that will change too.

3xcookedchips Wed 22-May-13 10:17:35

Shared residency does not reflect time with parents. What it does is define who the child is living with according to a specific schedule. Its a label that is meant to promote equality of the parents.

If you had sole residence, then the he would have a contact schedule which could be the same as if there was a SR order in place.

Shared residency also allows either parent to take the child out of the country for no more than 28 days i,e. for holidays without requiring the permission of the other parent. Of course the dates need to be agreed.

So Shared residence and contact are separate issues. On this basis what objections would you have against there being a shared residence?

Also bear in mind - should the two of you be at loggerheads etc that is not a bar for shared residence order.

He may have been advised to aim high for contact in the hope he actually gets what he is seeking. She's too young and a huge jump for him to get 50/50

Why does he see so little of his daughter currently - his or your choice? Did he not say in mediation what his expectations are?

What are your expectations?

balia Wed 22-May-13 11:16:31

Unless it is a condition of the specific mediation service you are using, there's no reason why you can't carry on with the sessions. If you reach a mutually acceptable compromise he can withdraw the court application. I would say, though, that his action indicates strongly that he is not happy with the amount of contact or the pace of increase, and to be fair, after 4 months not having any overnights, I wouldn't be either.

Shared Residence is becoming a lot more common and reflects the idea that both parents have responsibility for the child, so it isn't as worrying as it sounds, and as others have said, doesn't automatically mean 50/50. However, i would disagree that the court will rule it out because of the child's age, although they would be likely to gradually increase the contact rather than immediately order a 50/50 split.

You need to think about the concrete reasons why such a split would not be in her best interests, and think about what kind of contact you do think would be in her interest.

betterthanever Wed 22-May-13 12:11:42

Yes but you see balia it isn't about you/ the Op's exp (being not happy) it is about the child..... this is where `best interests of the child' is used to get `what the NRP wants'.
OP don't be bullied, if a child isn't ready after 4 months then they are not or they may be ready - there is no one size fits all.

balia Wed 22-May-13 13:30:11

I specifically mention the interests of the child. Twice. There's no mention of how the child feels about contact or why it should be limited, and I think you will find that it is in a child's best interests to have full relationships with both parents (obvs not in cases of abuse etc).

3xcookedchips Wed 22-May-13 13:42:48

The court will go along with what you both agree - if there is still disagreement then the court may make an order.

Its not a case of the OP being bullied. Unless we know the reasons behind the current schedule it may be the case of the OP being overly restrictive and controlling and the father feels his only recourse is to court. They will put the interests of the child first and if they regard it is in the best interests of the child to see more of their father and establish a meaningful relationship then they will. However, a lot will depend on both of your attitudes and demeanour.

Age 2 is not so young for a child to be spending more time with the other parent, especially if that parent had already played a part in the their life for the 1st 2 years. Imagine the disruption that has been caused to that childs emotional well being after that parent had previously being a constant in her life.

betterthanever Wed 22-May-13 20:34:15

baili this is the bit I was talking about: I would say, though, that his action indicates strongly that he is not happy with the amount of contact or the pace of increase, and to be fair, after 4 months not having any over nights, I wouldn't be either. without a full picture I am not sure you can say that four months is too long too wait?
3x court is not ideal when mediation could have started the overnights now which is why it sounds like she is being bullied as I don't understand his eagerness to go to court - I hope the judge says mediation should continue. I don't like to see people pulled apart when things are already difficult - court is never nice for anyone.

betterthanever Wed 22-May-13 20:35:17

must add 3x your last par is spot on: Age 2 is not so young for a child to be spending more time with the other parent, especially if that parent had already played a part in the their life for the 1st 2 years. Imagine the disruption that has been caused to that childs emotional well being after that parent had previously being a constant in her life.

lucyloo78 Wed 22-May-13 20:46:18

what was his involvement in child's life b4? was it abusive relationship?

3xcookedchips Thu 23-May-13 08:40:01

Better: I agree court is the the last resort but when one or both sides are implacable then mediation is just another tick box on that road.

There is not enough info in the OP original post plus there is hostility warranted or otherwise which is likely to cloud the issue.

Lucy: Are you asking if the OP was abusive to the father?

kittycat68 Thu 23-May-13 10:09:11

If hes throwing in the im taking you to court card now then i agree he is trying to bully you into agreeing to what he wants.

Op think seriously though, you need to pick your battles carefully, you are in this with him for the long haul and things CAn get very nasty.

jellybeans Thu 23-May-13 10:21:05

I agree it is too much about rights of the father in many cases rather than what is best for the child. This is what happens when people insist there is no difference between mother and father and nothing 'special' about a mother to a young infant/child...In Australia there were cases where young breastfed babies were handed over to the father for a week at a time as there was a trend towards 50/50 physical contact. A recent report criticized this kind of care. It is crucial to have a relationship with both parents but it doesn't have to be 50/50, children are not possessions and should have one home with regular contact with the other parent. Don't give in and good luck.

lucyloo78 Thu 23-May-13 12:24:10

so ex doing same, going for shared res and 50/50 - tho this is not in my 3 yr old son's best interests. he manipulates and convinces people he's right despite catalogues of lies & tends to get own way.... any advice pls?

betterthanever Thu 23-May-13 22:39:09

lucy in some cases it may be in the child's best interest to have 50/50. Having read this board for 12 months now, the main thing I have learned is how every case is different and people tend to not be able to put much on here about their own circumstances (defo not all) so it is often difficult to know how things will turn out.
I have noticed that when giving advice it is often general and people sometimes get scared or overly positive by something that is just not relevant to them.
The best advice on here is from lawyers about protocol as the welfare side is just that and whilst it has legal elements to it, it is a welfare issue. If it is about the children and they are all different, what might work for one may not for another in exactly the same circumstances.
Other people sharing their actual experience is good too as you hear how it feels from a parents point of view. My advice is read and learn as much as you can, if you can stomach it... and then see if anything matches.

wonderingagain Thu 23-May-13 22:44:00

he is devious & poisonous can you give us some examples?

MsColour Thu 23-May-13 23:01:58

My ex took me to court for 50:50 shared residence of our 6 yo and 3 yo and didn't get it. He has every other weekend, half the holidays and a midweek teatime.

I can't imagine a court would enforce a 2 yo who hasn't had any overnight contact with her dad being forced to spend half her time with her dad.

Worrying times though. So stressful and pointless in the end. Court totally destroys any chance of parents working together.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 24-May-13 07:50:09

I can't imagine a court would enforce a 2 yo who hasn't had any overnight contact with her dad being forced to spend half her time with her dad.

But the OP makes it clear that he has had overnight contact for the first two years of his DDs life - it's only the last 4 months that has stopped.

Dadthelion Fri 24-May-13 10:53:54

I can't imagine having children with someone I wouldn't be prepared to share care with after a separation.

I can't imagine what it would be like to see your children every other weekend.

I wonder what the effects on the mental health of NRPs is for seeing so little of their children.

I'm so glad my ex wanted to do shared care. I think every other weekend contact is barbaric.

betterthanever Fri 24-May-13 11:02:45

I think every other weekend contact is barbaric. I think it totally depends on the circumstances.

3xcookedchips Fri 24-May-13 12:12:25

EOW as the default is at the very least is anachronistic.

Jelly: I was interested in your comments as they add nothing to this discussion other than to show you up for being an exponent of the Mum is good, Dad is bad camp. This child has two equal parents. The mother has no more rights over that child than the father does, only obligations of responsibility(and not just financial). The child on the other hand has a RIGHT to a meaningful relationship with BOTH parents and should be allowed to develop a bond/relationship with the father in the situation where the parents are separated. Age should not necessarily be a bar to overnights. It should be built up to sooner rather than later. How else will the father develop any parenting skills and else with the child begin developing that bond. If there are no welfare issues, where is the issue?
Children can have and do have two homes.

wonderingagain Fri 24-May-13 12:44:00

Oh dear, here we go.

It always depends on the circumstances and ultimately what's best for the child is paramount. If shared care 50/50 was happening before, with two parents fully sharing, then fine, shared 50/50 care should continue.

Dadthelion Fri 24-May-13 12:52:35

The default is every other weekend.

Did the NRP see their children every other weekend before the separation?

betterthanever Fri 24-May-13 13:55:38

The default is every other weekend. I hope we agree that this should not be a default?

And I don't think the OP was saying that is what they want, in fact overnights were about to start but I think even though the child sounds like they have a great relationship with both parents, overnights at a new place should be built up. The OP the NRP and the child may all agree that is great as it builds.

I think what struck me and others is the sudden need to take this to court, a place where hostility between parties tends to increase.

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