Contact with young children - any experience v much appreciated(5 Posts)
I am going through v difficult divorce. My STBXH sees my 19month old for 5hrs each Sat & 2hrs each Sun, mostly at my house. He sees my 1month old for an hour a day during this time (when I look after the 19mo). My 19mo doesn't enjoy this contact due to zero rapport/myriad neglect issues (which my lawyer says are probably irrelevant). My LO is markedly unhappy (crying) a lot of this time with his Dad & there are constant emotional & practical neglect issues. My STBXH can't cope with this contact, he frequently takes him up to me during their contact to have a break.
I am very scared as my STBXH as sent lawyer's letter asking for 6pm Fri-6pm Sun EOW & half holidays (all with both children together) with effect in 4months time. He cannot cope with 4hrs with a 19mo let alone 48hrs with both of them. My questions I would be so, so grateful for your experience on:
1. Is this reasonable contact for a toddler so young? If not, what period of a build up of contact time or an age gain can I expect before it is?
2. Surely this is not reasonable for a newborn baby (is it not detrimental to be away from a primary carer for this long?)?
3. Surely it is not reasonable for him to have them both together when they are so young & he is so incapable currently?
4. Do you know any women's/family/legal advice/charities etc that can support on this?
5. If we go to mediation does he have to pay?
He has a lot more money than me & I know will persue legal action when I don't agree.
Many thanks for any experience/advice.
I have recent experience of similar. My youngest is now 7 months old and the contact started at 1hr per wk supported and gradually increased over 2 months he's now on 2hrs every other wkend (sat and sun) and 2 hrs one day in the wk - this is now unsupported and gradually increasing over the next 2 months. Overnight won't be til he's at least 1yrs old or even 2yrs old - social services recommend!
My advice is stand your ground, put your children first and don't be bullied into something you or your children aren't happy with X
Solictors letters always try it on and ask for more they know they wont get. I would maybe suggest building the 5 hours for the toddler up slightly and a plan for the babys contact to be build up over a longer period of time to establish a routine. He would also have to ensure he had approiate age equipment for the two children due to their age.
Thank you both for replying.
Charlybear - I will be so happy if I can negotiate a good gradual increase like you describe. Has a social worker said to you they don't recommend re the overnight or is it written somewhere (if so would be v helpful to me)? I hope I can stand my ground but legal advice is (shockingly to me given ages & his lack of experience) that what he's asking for is not unreasonable in our situation.
I really hope you are right Sunbeam re asking for more than he wants, I fear tho that he has been told by friends/lawyers this is what he's 'entitled to' so he will want it even tho he knows not in children's best interests currently. He is a litigator as a job & quite aggressive/confrontational/competitive by nature.
It is u reasonable what he's asking ref the new born. They need to build up a bond gradually and you need to know that he'll be happy and safe being apart from you. My ex took me to court to get unsupervised contact but it wasn't granted. Social services recommended supervised contact gradually building up to unsupervised and then the hours increasing. My ex left me when I was 7 months pregnant and then took me to court when my baby was 5 months old. They were strangers to eachother and kinda still are. I don't think they'll ever have a great relationship especially when he didn't even want to see him over Xmas!
Social services said overnight contact for my baby isn't suitable until he's one or possibly 2. Maybe try and speak to your health visitor to get some guidance and then you can inform your ex that this is what a child professional recommends.
My ex threatened to get custody of my children. He is a disgusting human being to say that so soon after giving birth.
Stay strong X
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