Contact arrangements for my boys(7 Posts)
I'm having a difficult time at the moment with regards to my children and their dad..
I have had a CAF/TAC open since October this year. The referral was made due to issues raised by my youngest son (11) at school within his nurture group (with regards to visits to his dad). These are in addition to ongoing issues over the last 5-10 years with the boys dad. I have tried numerous times over the years to address the issues with my ex husband, but to no avail. My ex was invited to the TAC but didn't show. The family worker (the TAC lead) has requested to meet with him on several occasions but my ex has not responded. Finally I took things into my own hands and consulted a solicitor. The solicitor suggested I write him a letter with regards to contact and to propose contact arrangements. This is the letter I sent...
21st December 2015
I am writing this letter to you with regards to the current contact arrangements with our boys. Unfortunately the current situation is not acceptable as the boys feel both unhappy and unsafe whilst in your care, which I feel is detrimental to their health and wellbeing.. Quality of time with you, sleeping arrangements, and general living environment, are some of the issues which the boys have voiced to the family support worker and CBT therapist, hence the CAF being opened and the TAC in place. I am concerned that this is having a negative impact on them and is resulting in the deterioration of their relationship with you. I very much wish for you to have a positive relationship with the boys so they can both benefit from spending time with you, in an environment in which they feel safe and secure.
It seems reasonable for me to rearrange the contact over the next 6 months to scheduled dates/times (details below) and to ask you to commit to taking the boys on these dates with a view to seeing how the arrangement works and making changes as the situation improves. I am happy to meet with you along with the Family Care Practitioner (Sergio Paya-Borrull) as part of the CAF/TAC to discuss the issues that are a cause for concern for me, and a sense of unhappiness for the boys. The revised contact arrangements will remain in place until the situation improves and the improvements are sustained.
New Years Eve the boys will be ready for you to collect from my parents at 4.30pm and I will collect them at 12.30am from the venue your at, so they can enjoy the New Year celebrations with you. They will be ready for you to collect on New Years Day at 2.30pm to be returned to my parents by 6.30pm. With effect from 2nd January 2016 (following the seasonal period) the contact arrangements will be as stated below, will remain in place, as stated above.
It is not in my interest to upset you or cause you any difficulties, I simply wish to work towards rebuilding your relationship with the boys and vice versa, which will benefit all of us in the long term. The arrangements I am offering are in place so that a good relationship between you and the boys can be re-established, built upon, and maintained.
I hope that we can work with each other to ensure our children have the best relationship possible with both parents as they grow up.
With kind regards
21st December 2015
New Years Eve - 4.30pm untill 12.30am pick up from my parents and I will collect at 12.30am.
New Years day - 2.30pm until 6.30pm pick up from my parents and return to my parents.
From 2nd January 2016:
Every other weekend:
Away from the home environment.
Saturday afternoon/evening (to be returned to my parents by 8pm)
Sunday afternoon (to be returned to my parents by 6.30pm)
And for you to spend some time alone with just the boys during these visits.
The boys would really like you to continue to attend their events (football or otherwise) to support/watch them when you are able to.
I sent the letter on Monday and have had no response, and to be honest I don't expect to. My problem now though is my boys informed me this morning that on their last visit (weekend just gone) their dad and step mum were questioning them and telling them they have to do what they say and that your mum (me) can't do anything about it. I told my boys that I have rearranged the contact and my youngest got really upset as he only wants to visit on a Sunday and isn't interested in spending time with his dad over new year and doesn't want to spend time anywhere near his step mum, he stormed off very angry with me. My oldest (12) wants to see his dad and wants to go as per the proposal.
As I have already sent the letter via email, I am worried about emailing again and making further changes re my youngest visiting his dad.
I just want my boys to be happy and though they love and want to see their dad, neither are happy with the way they are treated when they're there. They don't say anything to their dad as they don't want to upset him. But every time I try to relay their worries my ex tells me my boys or I are lying etc.
Sorry if none of this makes much sense, I just not sure what to do anymore?? Any advice would be most grateful x
I think you just need to get a contact order which is enforced by the courts. I don't know anything about CAF/TAC. It's all changed a bit since I was in and out of family courts. Am I correct in assuming you are dealing with contact outside of the court and that there is no order in place?
Unless it's an order, words are mere words. They are not law until they are put down in an order and only then will they be adhered to. They should be adhered to, but often, they aren't adhered to by the deadbeat parent.
Your ex seems like a passive-aggressive jerk BUT he's not obliged to give you the time of day on any of this because my understanding is that all of these steps you've taken to encourage a more structured contact are not backed by a court order. And in my own experience, if you want their ears to perk up and you want them to start playing ball, a court order with a contact schedule attached is the only way to go.
As it stands, you're whistling in the wind. Your ex has made that abundantly clear.
Wouldn't it be nice and easy if you could just do this without the courts? For the sake of your kids, your ex should just set up a schedule with you that you can both agree upon. But it rarely goes that way and the fact that the kids get messed with doesn't matter to your ex. The point for him is that he's getting his way. The more you write and the more you ask for structured contact, the less he sees you as a voice of reason and the more he sees you as his manipulative, controlling ex wife, which you're totally not. But of course, he's going to see it in his light only.
I mean, you've written the guy a very reasonable, sensible letter. The focus is on maintaining healthy contact and the welfare of the kids. What a lovely woman you seem to be. What a pr*ck he is for never responding. It says it all. You could stop contact and wait for him to take you to court for contact and then present your history and your attempts to create a more stable schedule for the kids. It's not a nice way of doing it, but I had to do this about three times because my ex' s 'comme ci, comme ca' up and down, as and when approach to contact just destabilised our son's routine immensely. He never knew when he was sleeping over at dad's and the majority of the time, dad was losing his home so he'd end up visiting dad at friends' houses all over the place. It was awful... crashing on sofas in strangers' homes. So lame.
I know what I'd do. I'd just stop contact and wait for his court summons in the post. I wouldn't answer his calls. I wouldn't communicate through solicitors to iron out anything. Sod that. I'd just show up in court and say, "Yes, I revoked contact for x,y, and z reasons and here's what I feel is best for the kids"... present your history, your kids' upset, and your ideal, workable schedule. If you stop contact, you're not breaking a court order. So no one can slap you on the wrists.
Vocational You would stop contact? Did you not read that the boys want to see their father??
Piggie Why did you not discuss changing arrangements with the children before sending the letter?
OP do you realise you've named your DC's youth worker? You should get this removed to protect yourself, the DCs and the professional.
It doesn't make any sense. You dont say what the concerns are specifically. Eg sleeping ? Do you mean for rxampke that child a complsined that he had to sleep on the floor on xx November ?
General living environment what does that mean? Eg there was no heating or there was poo all over the floor ? What ?
Quality time what does that mean?
I don't understand the new year proposal why dont they just stay with him instead of you going to pick them up at 12.30 only for them to go with him later ?
I can see why he would not reply.
Also if they really are unhappy and unsafe why are you proposing contact at all ?
Also why don't you make it a condition that no contact takes place until he engages with tac caf and professionals and listens to what ds is complaining about.. there can then be done kind of contract or agreement to address whatever the specific issues are. But you need to spell put the issues. What precisely are they as general terms mean nothing and open to interpretation (you don't need to say here but you do need to tell dc dad )
If younger child wants to go he can
I reported your post so that MN could remove the name of the person you mentioned in your letter.
It depends what the issues are, really - if you're trying to dictate that they don't spend time with your ex's new wife, then that is probably not realistic or reasonable to enforce unless there are concerns about how she behaves towards the children. They are part of the family when they are there (although I do agree he should spend quality time just with them). But from the fact other professionals are involved I'm guessing there's more to it than that. I agree that it needs to be dealt with via a legal order, especially if you think the ex might not return them back to stay at yours overnight.
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