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How do you negotiate when ex holds trump card?

(23 Posts)
mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 10:44:19

We are separated and negotiating divorce. Ex and the inlaws say and agree in writing that decisions will be made by mutual consent. (Don't get me started on the inlaws - ex does exactly what they tell him). Most of the things they have asked for I have agreed to. There have been a couple of things that I have not felt happy about but each time they have told me that they will not give permission for me to take ds on short trips abroad to see family. My family are unable to travel very often and I want ds to have a relationship with them that isn't just restricted to Skype.

So far I have given in to ensure contact with my family is maintained but this isn't what I'd call mutual consent but I don't see how I am ever going to be able to successfully object to anything. The ex knows that this is their trump card and will always play it.

Any ideas?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 16-Feb-14 11:01:39

My understanding is that either you or your STBXH can take you DS out of the country for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent. So their threat doesn't stand up. Your STBXH could take you to court to try and prevent you going but unless he had concrete proof that you were leaving with definite intention to never return, he'd struggle to prevent you going. I'm not a solicitor but that is my understanding of your situation.

Do you have your own solicitor? I think you need to get proper legal advice on any threats they are making in order to manipulate you into agreeing to what they ask for.

Bluesandgreen Sun 16-Feb-14 11:12:46

That's not right tension. If there's a residency order then that parent can take tge DCs out if the country for up to 28 days otherwise both parents have to give permission. However if they are doing it simply to control the situation and to manipulate you into doing what they want for no good reason then perhaps you might have a good reason for applying for a residency order? Alternatively you could get a specific issue order on it. The court would likely think he were being an arse unless there were very good reasons why he thought you might not return, particularly if it were a non Hague convention country.

Bluesandgreen Sun 16-Feb-14 11:14:51

In other words, don't agree to things that aren't in your DCs best interest just because of threats that are unlikely to hold water!

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 16-Feb-14 11:26:11

Your right, my mistake.

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 12:30:46

We are negotiating the childcare arrangements for the divorce at the moment. I will have residency. He wants it to say that I can't take ds abroad at all without his permission. Family live in mainland Europe BTW and my life is here so there is no way I would move abroad which ex is well aware of.

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 12:44:49

Tension I have had a free half hour with a solicitor but cannot afford to use a solicitor. Stbxh left me with large debts and it has taken a year to save up enough money to fund a diy divorce.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 16-Feb-14 12:54:46

Maybe post your query in the legal section here, just to clarify things a little. Again, I don't have the knowledge/experience to know for certain but I think having residency is slightly different from having a residency order, unless that's what it is you are negotiating the terms of at the moment.

I found this when checking my misinformation earlier, so if you have/get a residency order, that would give you the 1 mth period to go visit family without permission that you are probably looking for. I've already given duff advice so it might help you to seek more qualified advice on the legal boards, so you don't get misinformed by the unqualified posters like me!

Mintymoomoo Sun 16-Feb-14 14:29:28

I can't see how they can stop you taking ds on holiday out the country unless they have a court order in

Mintymoomoo Sun 16-Feb-14 14:30:42

Whoops sorry

Court order in place stating that you can't, as your the resident parent you can holiday as and when you please!

Don't feel they have a hold over u because they don't

AskBasil Sun 16-Feb-14 14:36:00

Your ex doesn't hold the trump card

Do NOT agree to this, because you don't have to - he doesn't want residency because he doesn't want the work of looking after DC, but he wants control.

I know you think you can't afford a solicitor, but it may cost you far more in the long run if you don't get one.

Can you access the CAB?

Alternatively, Gingerbread has an advice line where they can give you some advice and they'll tell you that he's bullshitting about this. However, this is what happens when you don't have proper legal advice - you're led to believe shit that's not true so you agree to stuff you don't have to. Always be aware that he's determined to control, so don't take it for granted that you have to agree to stuff he presents as non-negotiable.

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 14:56:26

askbasil there is no way I can afford a solicitor. Having seen the bills that friends have ended up with it is out of reach. Not sure about CAB but will check out Gingerbread - thanks for that.

I find it very difficult that I'm trying to ensure ds spends time with his paternal family but it's not reciprocated. I could turn round and say no to ds spending time with his paternal uncles and aunts if he is not allowed to spend time with his maternal uncles and aunts, but the only loser in all this will be ds. I've given way in ds's interests but it just means I don't get to share many treats with him.

When ds asks me why we never get to go on treats and trips together I tell him it's because I can't afford it (partly true) but I wish I could tell him it's because stbxh won't let us. Being the better person can be a real struggle.

AskBasil Sun 16-Feb-14 18:06:06

mustbetimefortea, it is NOT in your DS's interests to spend time with people who are controlling, undermining and emotionally manipulative.

Honestly, we have been sold the myth of contact with the non resident family at all costs, but there is no real evidence that contact with vile people is in any child's interest.

Have you suggested mediation? This may be a really useful thing for you because it is much, much cheaper than legal advice and it would show very clearly how extraordinarily unreasonable your xp and his family are.

I've never been divorced so don't know how a DIY divorce works. Do you still have to go to court just without legal representation?

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 18:27:19

askbasil the diy route means that you download the relevant forms from the government website, along with guidance on filling them in. You just fill them in and send them off to the court with your �400. It's all pretty straightforward. Once they've gone off as long as the ex doesn't dispute it all you have to do is wait for the court to send you the decree nisi.

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 18:33:16

Mediation will be the next step if I can't get the wording right. Stbxh hasn't argued with any of the examples I have given for his unreasonable behaviour as they are all factual - even though an outsider will immediately see what a shit he has been.

AskBasil Sun 16-Feb-14 18:54:54

Sometimes when you are faced with an implacable person who cannot be negotiated with, you have to stop trying to treat them as reasonable because all that happens is that they walk all over you.

It sounds like he and his dreadful family have convinced you that they have all the power here. They don't. You have some negotiation power yourself and you don't need to accept all their shit. You sound as though you've been a bit ground down by them.

Every time you negotiate anything, run it by someone with some legal training, whether that be the Gingerbread helpline or online forum, the legal section here, the CAB - whatever - just to find out whether you have to accept or not. Don't take any of their assumptions as gospel and don't feel you need to bend over backwards to placate them because they sound to me like they cannot be placated - it's their way or the highway. With some people, you think you're giving up something so that they won't ask for something else, but in fact all you're doing is allowing them to push down another boundary making it easier for them to push down the next one. I'd be very careful not to fall into that trap.

Sounds like a horrible situation you're in, I hope you manage to get some decent quality RL advice. thanks

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 21:06:13

You're right - I do feel ground down by it all. Stbxh treated me like something he'd trodden in. His mother was initially the only member of his family not to be ashamed of him, but as I predicted they closed ranks.

They now feel that it was a bit of a blip that should be ignored and we should all be one happy family. Except that my family are not expected to be involved with ds and they wanted me to attend all their family events but on the sidelines. At one of their family weddings I was told I was to go but not sit with any of them or ds but to sit with people I'd never met. At xmas I was supposed to spend the day with them all and the OW. My refusal to meet these demands has not gone down well.

mustbetimefortea Sun 16-Feb-14 21:10:39

I should say that they didn't want us to get back together just that we should all pretend that the split had been completely amicable and that he hadn't screwed around throughout the "marriage".

bibliomania Mon 17-Feb-14 10:36:27

My ex would looooove to be able to stop me visiting family outside the UK. He can't, because I have a residence order. It says I have to tell him in advance and give him travel details and a contact phone number, but he can't stop me going for periiods of up to 28 days (although in practice I don't go that long).

Keep evidence of any threats to stop you travelling or instances when he has done this. Courts prefer not to make an order in family cases, so you need to justify why you are applying for a residence order. This is a good reason. Your dc should have contact with your extended family too.

(By the way, about not affording a solicitor, my solicitor agreed I could pay by monthly instalments. Might be worth it to get a residence order and stop this kind of manipulation).

mustbetimefortea Mon 17-Feb-14 19:27:43

What is the difference between being the resident parent as agreed in the statement of arrangements for children and having a residency order?

KingR0llo Mon 17-Feb-14 19:38:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bluesandgreen Mon 17-Feb-14 19:49:31

A residency order is made by a family court in childrens act proceedings.

You sound like you've got a very good case. Have they been unwise enough to document the fact they will object to you seeing your family unless you comply with their demands?
You might find you could manage the case yourself. There isn't much law to know and acting yourself is so common the courts are used to it. There's also lots of online advice that might help you.

Bluesandgreen Mon 17-Feb-14 19:58:20

That way, you'd have to pay for some mediation which needs to happen prior to court now (and could solve the problem anyway) and then if unsuccessful, the court fee only. Still not cheap but I think more like £300 in total rather than £200 an hour for a solicitor.
It's very very unusual for costs to be awarded against either party btw. Usually each pays there own in family proceedings. Although he is being unreasonable it would take an entirely different league of unreasonableness for your costs to be given to him.
If they are so keen to present it as amicable then maybe there will be a bit of pressure to make mediation work rather than have a court order imposed on them?

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