What to do about contact - aka - how the fuck am I here?(14 Posts)
I left the marital home last day or two of May.
From what I can work out - i.e., changes of mood/dressing nicely/dropping of contact with kids - he met a new woman about 6/7 weeks ago (!). OK, whatever.
Then I found out that during his last residential contact 11th July that he introduced our kids to her kids and they all went to her house. This was less than 24 hours after during handover I told him that DS1 has been referred to a therapist and the schools have begun an assessment. So in a nutshell he's struggling.
I've been under WA and when I found this out I put the kibosh on the next residential visit and instead allowed him contact within the home - because frankly the two pea-brains couldn't figure out between the two of them that "blending" a new family after a 10 day or so relationship was a fucking stupid idea.
He's due to have the kids this coming weekend and I simply don't think I can trust him to put their best interests at heart. They are falling apart. DS2 sleeps in my bed because he can't bear to be alone and if I'm out of eyesight he panics, DS1 is having different problems.
Now, because of WA and I'm also MARAC, I have a lot of leverage - and whilst I wish to punish him dearly for being an utter bellend - what is fair and sensible in terms of contact in light of the fact that the peabrain duo think it's OK to mix & match families?
Option 1: no contact until instructed by solicitors/courts
Option 2: Limited supervised contact in my home
Option 3: Supervised contact at "centre"
Option 4: Reduced weekend - e.g., friday night - saturday lunchtime (giving him less hours to repeat bellendedness)
First thing, forget any idea of using your children's relationship with their father to punish your ex.
Now, what do YOU think is in their best interests at this time?
OP - I've been there. How old are your children?
Despite your ex making some questionable decisions at the moment, I'm not sure I would be in the space where I would cut contact - that too will have a monumental affect on our kids, possibly worse than hanging out with her and her kids (depending on how the hanging out is being handled).
Given they are struggling, perhaps a 'little and often' approach would be best for them. Helping them to come to terms with it by not having long stretches of time without him around to get used to.
Could you talk to your ex about changes based on the fact they are struggling? Would he be receptive do you think?
Perhaps a couple of evenings a week for dinner and a few hours each weekend would be better for them, and would also reduce the need for the family blending as your ex would have more time to spend with her outside of the time he spends with the kids. Thus killing two birds with one stone??
It's worth saying that from from my experience (limited as it is!), as long as your ex isn't putting the kids at risk of physical harm/ neglect the courts/ SS would look for him to have regular time with your kids, and they would refrain from commenting on his decision to have them spend time with his new partner.
So in some ways you have to put aside what you think/ feel about this, and focus on what the kids want and need. Do they want to stop contact with their Dad?
OP do you have a solicitor? If so, I would take advice from them. If you left an abusive marriage then I'm guessing you have a lot of discretion in this area, but its important that you do things 'by the book' if possible. Obviously, if doing is likely to harm your DC then you'll just have to take that risk.
Mix &a match families sadly there isn't much you can do - three days is all ExH left it around here. Little and often contact can be better as then children never feel they are abandoning the other parent.
Bellemere DC1 will be utterly destroyed if a new mummy/kids combo is forced upon him. He has always been very sensitive.
My ex says he understands that it was a very poor judgement call and has promised not to do it again. But, can I really trust it?
Right now I want to go for the friday night, home saturday lunchtime option. It gives him a much smaller window for fuckery. Then I'd like to build back up to full weekends when the children are more settled and he's demonstrated that he's not a completely thoughtless tosser.
3 days? Jesus wept! What fucking planet are they on?
Also, he's been coming friday evenings putting them to bed. Their behaviour is always shit on the saturday and it feels (to me!) like after his visits/weekends they're a lot more hard to handle.
Obviously I think he's a massive bellend wanky cunt - can I say that here?
It's completely normal for them to act up after seeing their father. Seeing him is a reminder that their family unit has broken. The acting up is their way of expressing difficult feelings.
He isn't making the best decisions but honestly I wouldn't be cutting contact. The best thing you can be doing is focusing on the time the children spend with you and making that as healthy as possible.
stop him coming to your home, stop him seeing the kids at your home, stop putting them to bed in your house...it really is wrong and confusing for kids. does dad live here or doesnt he?
dad is here dad is not.
there are no clear boundaries. start by making the boundaries so kids know that
1. dad is not here any more
2. i see dad outside the home or in his house
if there is marac/dv etc then inviting your ex into your home is asking for trouble - i know i did it and it ended v badly.
that he invites his friend/her children to be in his home and meet your kids is not a risk factor per se. they can understand that daddy has different friends and if they ask if she is stepmother etc then deal with that. but first set the boundaries and stop having contact in your home they need to understand daddy has moved out and moved on.
if it needs to be supervised use a contact centre.
and work with the people ds is being refereed to - my dds did family therapy sessions (at age 8 +10) and it was very helpful. they didnt include dad in those as dds did not want him there but did lots of child centered age appropriate things to get them to figure out what was going on and how they felt and what could improve things. if it's on offer take it.
unless the kids are coming back saying things like "daddy says xxx is my new mummy now" then you can calm them down, and make it ok. daddy has gone and he is entitled to have friends...
if they do say"is xxx my new mummy?" you can explain that no, you are their mummy, but daddy has a new friend and isn't it nice she has children too to play with?"
you need to make it sound positive for the dc, so they can feel more secure...
(and to repeat again, stop having him round to your house, it is too confusing for dc)
GiantPurple - they're 5 and 3.
I think I need to give him the full weekend's access even though it kills me that he could potentially be whooping it up in the "house of joy".
I also need to get him 100% on board with DS1's issues/therapy - right now it's just "oh he's normal, it's just boys" - but he's not the one who is seeing it. What's the term? "Disney dad".
And I will explain that contact in the home is not a good idea - he lives about 25 miles away and his work is a further 25 so it's not easy to just "nip in". I was thinking of allowing two "skype" sessions on a weds + fri. Could that be a compromise? (most of the time when this happens they just show him their arse + bits which seems appropriate)
so you moved further away and he stays in the marital home?
distance does not help but all more reason to make it your home /his home an not to mix it up.
skype is fine, of course kids will just mess about.
what are ds 1 issues? how old is he?
are you having support/counselling/freedom programme with WA to move on yourself?
oh i see he is 5. even when parents live together it is often case than one parent does not get the issues - just go over to the Sn board.
Swiss - 3 and 5 is still so young. They will need time and support on this as it will be difficult for them to understand whats going on.
As PP's have said - at your home is probably not the best idea. Skype seems like a good compromise.
Also - as much as you can, little and often is better. I know having experienced it that a week in between contact for a 3 yr old can seem like forever!
It's worth thinking through what you think would work for the kids and making suggestions to your ex. You don't 'need' to do anything with regards to access/contact - the whole idea is that you and your ex agree something between you.
Perhaps you could agree a short amount of time every weekend, gradually increasing the time they stay on one weekend and reducing the other when things have settled?
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