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Can my partners ex wife stop him seeing the chidren more often?

(16 Posts)
bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 10:57:53

My partner has two boys aged 12 and 15 who he sees 4 nights every 2 weeks. The boys want to spend more time with their Dad, but their mother will not allow this. There is no court order re visiting arrangements, just an informal agreement between mum and dad. Going to court and involving solicitors isn't an option financially. What can Dad do? Any advice would be very welcome! thank you!

ElenorRigby Tue 26-Nov-13 11:18:15

You would probably get more response in Step-parenting or Legal.

At 12 and 15 the courts would listen to the views of the children.
You don't need a solicitor get some advice from Families Need Fathers on representing yourself with the help of a McKenzie Friend

bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 11:28:13

Thank you! I'll try that! smile

lostdad Tue 26-Nov-13 11:35:11

As ElenorRigby says.

If the ex won't discuss things, won't go to mediation court is the only other option open to you. Make sure you have tried both of these first though because court really isn't a nice option. Bear in mind however that if she's played games with contact before you'll have contact right up until the point she changes her mind...

McKenzie Friends can do many of the things solicitors and barristers do but they can't litigate for you, can't act as your agent and don't have automatic rights of audience (although it is increasingly common - in all courts including the High Court). Get references, talk to them before you engage them and ask for a copy of their terms and conditions.

I work as a McKenzie Friend and your situation is very, very common! grin

bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 11:45:28

Thank you smile I've posted the thread in legal too. I don't want to say ex is always hostile, but extremely controlling and un-flexible. Dad and boys only want to have Sunday night extra, following his weekend contact so they can have un-hurried meal together after taking boys to their sporting activities most of Sunday. Their divorce took its toll emotionally and financially and he absolutely doesn't want to have to go back to court again.

kinkyfuckery Tue 26-Nov-13 11:47:19

Has she given him a reason for why he can't have the boys on the Sunday night?

bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 11:51:03

Sorry, should have added that ex won't go to mediation or discuss. Dad would like to simply tell her formally by letter that he'll be taking the boys to school on the Monday mornings after his weekend but is worried that she will be angry the boys will suffer. If he was to do this, would a letter of intent be sufficient?

bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 11:59:09

Mum gives various reasons for refusing extra night contact on Sunday.. says she needs to make sure boys have done homework, have clean clothes etc, have family meals with grandparents, firework displays to go to, wants to make sure they go to bed on time and so on. I've been with Dad for nearly 2 years and truthfully he's completely kind, honest and responsible towards his boys whom he adores and is more than capable of taking them to school on Mondays. He has them one night in the week and takes them to school the following morning.

iHateMrTumble Tue 26-Nov-13 12:16:44

If you dont mind me asking does he have the boys from sat till sun night? but wants them from sat till mon am?
I think I would be sad if I were their mother if that is the case because school does really have custody of children all week and the evenings go quickly and children seem to have more homework than ever before, I'd be thinking when is my quality time to relax with my children and let them enjoy my company?
I'm not having a pop it's just that lots of families in this situation have an every other weekend situation, free time is tight for children in term time.
When I was a nanny for a family with school age children I felt like the big bad witch because I would be the one to wake them up and make sure they were dressed and had brekki to be out the door on time, constantly reminding them about homework and dont forget your swim bag/ pe kit, I felt like a nag. Food in the week would be mostly healthy while weekends were for treats.
So of course their mother was this lovely woman who could take them out for days when they wern't tired, she was cinema and mcdonalds, I was homework and shepherds pie bore! This of course is perfectly fine because I was paid to do a job and not related to them but if they were my own sons it would break my heart that they would not get much chance to see me on a day when they wern't woken up early and tired

bambicat Tue 26-Nov-13 12:32:21

Dad has the boys from Fri after school till Sunday 6pm on alternate weekends and Wednesday after school till Thursday morning school drop off every week. The whole of their Sunday is spent with the deadline of 6pm looming. The eldest boy is in a good local football team and this often means away games and the day is gone in a blink of an eye. Having their Sunday night would dramatically change the quality of their time together. This wasn't always an issue when they were much younger, but the age they are now, having a relaxing Sunday night together seems very important. I should add that I don't live with Dad and we only occasionally spend weekends together with all our children on the weekends he has his boys.

Isetan Sun 15-Dec-13 05:15:46

Were talking an extra four hours tops, which includes getting ready for bed and homework, trust me there won't be a lot of quality time in those four hours. As frustrating as it may be this could well be a battle not to be picked.

paperlantern Sun 15-Dec-13 07:29:38

if the kids are ok with it that sounds fine to me (and in many ways less disruptive to the kids). if it was every weekend that would be wrong but it's only every other.

I would send the letter your dp proposes with the understanding that you will start it in a months time if you receive no objection. if you receive and objection seriously I would take it to mediation then court.

there's nothing in mum's objection that dad can't do so really can't see why he wouldn't get it

purpleroses Sun 15-Dec-13 07:36:07

I don't think I'd bother fighting that one. My DCs do stay over the Sunday night with their dad and tbh is does make life more complicated - they need to have school uniform etc with them. And anything they take to his has to get home via school.
My DP drops his DCs back around 7.30pm on a Sunday after eating. Would that be an option for you? But agree with the above poster that the small amount of time extra you're proposing would not dramatically change anything. But going to court could badly damage his relations with his ex all for the sake of not very much.

angelpinkcar Mon 16-Dec-13 09:45:19

I would keep out of it, it is between them, they are their children at the end of the day not yours. Take it from me as the ex wife albeit I have to fight to get my ex to have his DCs as he prefers to see OW then them and sees them when it suits him no one else. He sounds like a decent dad but as other posters have said if you fight this one when the DCs are having contact and your partner ends up in court you may not like the outcome. How long have you been together? Was it an amicable split? You need to factor in how the ex is feeling towards you living there and having you and DC's playing happy families with her children. Not being impartial here but I would not like it if the OW started sticking her oar in. Also at their age DC's can have the right not to see the other parent or see them, if you got
legal advice a solicitor would tell you, affaid you will have to pay for the advice and bite the bullet if you want to persue it, it will end up in court.

lostdad Mon 16-Dec-13 10:08:50

The bottom line is that if the ex won't agree to anything informally court is the only way forward. Nothing else. As others have said, FNF is a good organisation to contact - many of the people in it are in exactly the same situation you and your partner are. As others also say a McKenzie Friend is an option too - if you do that, speak to a few and ask about their experience, background, references, etc. (you should do that if you DID use a solicitor or barrister too however...!)

As the children concerned are 12 and 15 their opinion will matter. For the 15 year old he could vote for his feet and the 12 year old's view will be very important right now and something the ex will struggle to fight against.

I empathise with you as a stepmum - they get a lot of grief for `sticking their oar in' (which is odd because stepdads are usually held up as paragons of male virtue for `taking on another man's child' or somesuch'. My other half went through all that...and now she's McKenzie Friend and a member of FNF - a lot of stepmums are!

Contact me if you want a few pointers. There is a lot you can do here.

cestlavielife Mon 16-Dec-13 11:22:23

they are 12 and 15 they really dont need to be home at six pm for bath and bed do they?! they can bring homemwork to dads.
how about he propsoes he drops them at eight or nine pm? and they eat first ?

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