Court order - advice needed(10 Posts)
There is a very standard court order in place for contact between DS and his father. It's been in place for 3 years now - my DS is now 5 years old.
DS lives with me and every January I plan contact for the whole year. My ex is not flexible. He wants all dates up front and once agreed wont flex even for half an hour which can be stressful, but it is what it is. He also insists that all school holidays are split equally down to the minute and if he misses an hour wants it made up elsewhere.
The order states alternate weekends with Ex, half of all school holidays (divided as agreed between the parents) and for mother and father to agree the provision of special dates to the benefit of DS. We live 3 hours apart and meet halfway at all handovers.
My questions are:
- What constitutes a special date? My ex is claiming that his birthday is a special date - that's the exes birthday not DS. I had thought special dates were Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Weddings, family events etc. Accommodating my exes birthday this year impacts on a holiday I was planning with DS. Do I really need to change plans for his birthday?
- I was ill on one handover date. I actually ended up in an ambulance two days later. I was too frightened of the repercussions from my ex had I said I was unable to make the handover, so I drove whilst feeling unwell rather than asking him to collect DS. I regret that decision, but could I have made a different decision and insisted he drove? I'm sure he would have insisted my elderly parents took DS instead, but can he do that?
- We are in the process of sorting out summer holiday dates. He wasn't happy with my original proposal which was based on last years plans so I have asked him to let me know when he is booking holidays so that I can accommodate this. He is being pedantic about the number of nights he has DS. There are 42 nights in the school holiday - 21 each. I have split it to take into consideration his two planned holidays (one abroad and one in the UK), but also to accommodate my work schedule, the childminders availability and a week's holiday I'd like to take with DS. It has resulted in him being short one night. Is that really as big an issue as he is making it? Can I be held accountable for that?
- Finally, during term time the handovers take place on a Friday evening until Sunday. Sometimes there are discos and events on at the school on the Friday night DS is due with his father. What's the right course of action for this? DS always wants to go to these, it's hyped up at school and he doesn't want to miss out. Do I ask my ex if DS can go and suggest meeting later and accept whatever his decision is on it because it's his contact weekend? Do I state that DS is going and we will meet later?
Any advice on this would be welcomed. I am feeling very controlled and bullied by this man and his partner, but equally I don't know how much I can assert myself with regards to these matters.
I think there are a few issues here but they all seemed to be caused by his inability to be flexible/desire not to miss out. I can see why he's not wanting to lose time ( whether or not that's tied to maintenance or not, obviously I have no idea) but it will begin to impact on your son, and their relationship as time goes on. If he's constantly missing out, he'll resent his dad. Can you bring up the school discos when it's not actually pressured that he gives an answer? Just let him know that you need to rethink this as it's impacting on your son etc. Otherwise I think the only advice beyond speaking to him is to try to get the court order reviewed but you'd already know how costly and risky that would be. They'd favour the father - son relationship over a disco I'm afraid, so if he says no, it's a no. Not much help, sorry. It's so difficult trying to negotiate with someone who doesn't want to give an inch.
Thanks - It took me 8 months, but I did manage to get him back to mediation a few months ago to discuss things like parties and school discos etc. I wanted to do it before DS started school, but he dragged his heels.
My ex sat there with his arms crossed being really unhelpful throughout and when parties etc were discussed, he just said if it's my weekend I don't want to know about it. But I'm the one who has to see Ds's heartbreak and I'm the one who has to get him in the car sobbing when all his friends have been talking about it on the walk home. Just one of those things I will just have to accept and deal with I suppose.
The whole scenario is problematic all of the time. He wants to be in full control and to some extent I let him because it's easier, but as I am the day-to-day parent sometimes he has to fit around us and that's when it gets particularly bad. I am currently on anti-depressants and beta blockers to help control my anxiety, on bad days I feel like a zombie at work, so I need to improve the situation.
Maintenance is pitiful, so it can't be due to that. I'd rather he stopped paying altogether and just worked in the interests of DS.
what happened in mediation?
At 5 there are a lot of parties..Can I suggest you say negotiate on his close circle of friends..One thing I have learnt about disco's parties is once they are over they don't even mention them.
Is he taking DS on these holidays?
I would tell him this needs to be discussed in mediation . As he may well be more reasonable in front of someone else ..My Ex certainly was.
When I was in court over child contact the judge actually decided things like parties were important for the children.
I offered to make up for the party weeeknd the following weekend and dc would go to contact two weeks in a row instead of every other week ifyswim.
Children's socialising and making it to social events is important to gheir development and I wasn't preventing twatface from having the contact that had been set.
Judge wasn't impressed with ex when he refused to agree and said parties were important.
I also made it known amongst friends which weekends we had contact so they usually arranged around us bless them.
Thanks for the replies. Mediation isn't possible, I managed to get him back to mediation a few months ago, but it took 8 months to get him there. He sat with his arms crossed the whole time, wouldn't discuss anything and concluded it by saying that it was a total waste of his time and money.
I totally agree that not all parties need to be attended and in fact have just declined one because it's not a close friend and he's at his dad's.
The flexibility with breaking up the holidays is my main stress point, my ex wants all his preferred dates even if they clash with my plans and I don't know where I stand with how much i can influence when the contact takes place over the 6 week summer holiday. My son struggles with more than 7 days away, despite this I have agreed to trying a 9 night block.
I really don't know but he doesn't get to dictate them either.
It may be wort checking with your Solicitor as they will know all the terms of the court order.
I've spoken with my solicitor this morning and he's going to meet with me FOC for 40 mins to run through my rights and where I stand. Final straw this morning DS returned from his Dads last night. This morning he has been saying that my exes wife has said that I have stopped them going abroad (not true the whole holiday has been arranged around the holiday they want to take abroad), that DS has to sort it out with mummy (he's 5) and that I'm stopping him going. He was really confused and upset (as am I now). Getting so angry/upset with the constant inappropriate discussions with DS while he's there and as he's only 5 it's very hard to make head nor tail of what was actually said and how it was said. There's absolutely no chance of discussing anything with the ex as he twists everything I say and is a deeply unpleasant man. Feel like screaming today!
Well Solicitor is realyl good news. At least then My solicitor said may well shut him up a bit more.
He is those been vile putting a 5 year in the middle of anything. Just a bit of advice re your son. Do let your child know its not true.. ( He needs the security of knowing you are there for him and don't alienate him from his dad) Tell him not to worry I will sort it out.
Thank you. That's excellent advice. It's really hard to know how to deal with it. I desperately want to do the right thing all the time and it's difficult to know what that is.
I told him that it wasn't true and showed him the calendar and that the coloured blocks were his time at Daddy's. He can read (with assistance) so I showed him the coloured blocks and where I'd written their holiday abroad in. I told him that I was cross with daddy's partner, but that it would all be ok and I would sort. I reassured him that he wouldn't miss the holiday. I'm not sure whether I should have said I was cross, but he knew I was uncomfortable/unhappy and I didn't want him to think that was directed at him. DS got angry and started to 'act up' I just ignored the behaviour and focussed on him when he was being well behaved. I can only think it was his frustrations playing out.
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