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ExH and access - please give me your comments

(10 Posts)
AutumnLady Tue 21-Jul-09 11:11:54

I'm just looking for comments/opinions on this as sometimes I know that it is hard to be impartial when it's so emotional.

I am recently divorced from 8 month old DS father who had an affair when i was 7 months pg last year. I attempted to make the situation better and offered to go to relate or similar, but he refused and we just hobbled along until DS was born in November. He then didn't bother helping out and would disappear off every afternoon saying that he was going to the office and then just never came home til the following morning. I filed in January after finding out that he was going to visit this other woamn (an ex friend of ours) over New Year for a week and he maintained that he was going to work in Germany (long story).

Anyway, he signed the Arrangements for Children form in February stating that he agreed to me having residence and made no demands for access. I had it written in that he could see DS at any time as long as reasonable notice was given and that it was to be him alone and not his new partner.

We ended up going to Court over maintenance and he has now made one payment - I am just waiting to see if he carries on with the agreement or if I have to go back to Court again. He has only seen DS 3 times since I moved back to my parents in March and has just arranged to see him at the beginning of August, to which I have agreed. He also wanted to know what my plans were for bank holiday weekend at the end of August. I really don't know at the moment but asked which day he might like to see DS and he said either the Friday or Saturday and that he would like to pick him up after breakfast and drop him back before dinner.

I am extremely unhappy with this as he has never changed a nappy or fed DS at all in 8 months so I can't beleive that he will be able to care for him properly for a whole day so I have said that for the foreseeable future he should only see DS with me on a regular basis until he can build a relationship with him. Am I being mean and nasty or just realistic? I just don't want DS to come to me in the future and bemoan the fact that his useless absent father doesn't see him.

Thanks and sorry it's such a long post!

GypsyMoth Tue 21-Jul-09 11:18:23

why can't he start building up to a full day now? little and often is the best way with babies,so dont think yabu if you think a whole day is too much.

he's probably planning on having new partner with him anyway. does she have kids? you dont actually have rights to stop his partner being present,though really,it would be better for him to build a relationship with his son first!

AutumnLady Tue 21-Jul-09 11:33:14

Thanks Tiffany
It would be the ideal situation to build up now but he can only 'manage' to see DS every 6 weeks or so as he is never around at weekends due to being abroad with new girlfriend. He has taken a flat with her over in denmark and apparently wants to move there full time but still works in the UK. I could do without seeing him but am trying to be sensible for DS's sake.

I can stop new partner seeing DS as he agreed to these terms in the court document. She has no kids of her own and I don't want her anywhere near my DS. Am still v angry at what they have both put me and DS through

Brad79 Tue 21-Jul-09 11:34:07

As your DS is still very young I would think the little and often approach would be one of the best ways forward.

If you are unhappy that he is unable to perform such tasks then you could "oversee" the first few visits and then it could progress to him taking out for an hour or so and then gradually increase the time that they are out together. Everyone has to start somewhere lol.

Although I would base any access on the fact that it has to be regular and at agreed times which are convient to you and your DS.

Best of luck. I dont think you are being nasty but just having the interests of your DS as a priority, because you are not dening access but just that some sort of structure needs to be in place.

Access is always a tricky issue. As I have seen it from both sides, where I was having my two DS every weekend and now I am their primary carer and I'm trying to tread the access mine field with my ex.

AutumnLady Tue 21-Jul-09 11:56:53

Thanks brad for sharing your story too, helps me feel as though it's not just me!

as I replied previously, he has only managed every 6/7 weeks so far so building up a relationship is difficult. I have offered to let him change his nappy but he's always refused.

Haribosmummy Tue 21-Jul-09 12:09:07

Your son is very young.

I don't think you would have too much difficulty in getting an agreement which says:
1. Contact to start at a few hours building up to a full day.
2. Contact to be at a location suitable for you. Your house is always good, as you can be present but in a different room.
3. Contact to be with the father only.
4. Overnight visitation to start at approx. 18 months to 2 years. (at which point, you won't really be able to stop him introducing any new partner).

I would suggest you offer mediation, always look at the longer term (be sure to be positive when looking at weekend / week long vists at somepoint in the future)

Also, do not offer.. .demand. You are not together anymore.

I'm a step mum, so closest to the OW in this situation, so I'm being realistic when I say it's absolutely possible to control who your 8 month old sees / spends time with.

You also need to keep a diary. Note all contact / missed contact. try not to re-read it too much (it'll make you mad!!!) but do record everything.

Good luck.

AutumnLady Tue 21-Jul-09 12:24:20

Thanks haribosmummy, that has helped the angry mist to clear slightly and will help to plan out the future. I wouldn't be surprised if he fades away though as he's really not that bothered.

Mediation was offered in the past and he never took it up and to be honest, I really don't want to have to sit with him for any length of time whilst he lies! I know this too shall pass, I think it's just too raw right now. I just have an issue of whether he remains in the Uk or does in fact relocate to denmark as it's not going to be that easy to have DS for weekends/overnights etc. I also cannot get my head around his girlfriend ever having contact with DS as I really cannot stand her!!!!

Haribosmummy Tue 21-Jul-09 12:35:51


Can you talk to a mediator (or a good friend) about this?

I think what you need to do is plan out what YOU would like to happen from this point onwards.

And remember, that mediation doesn't neccesarily HAVE to mean you two sitting together.. It's about an arbitary, independent person listing to both PoV and working to create an agreement.

IMHO, keep offering mediation (get your solicitor to do it too). It looks better when you go to court wink

Do offer longer contact periods in the future, but make sure there is a caviat that allows some flexibility - who knows if your DS will be an early or late developer! I know my DSDs couldn't be more different! DSD1 is 14 going on 21 and DSD2 is 11 going on 8!!!!!

You also do need to get your head around the new GF. Sorry, I know it's tough, but you do. Ask to meet with her first (when you feel ready), just the two of you (perhaps with a mediator / note taker) to agree how things will work.

Again, offer mediation. It is possible to be perfectly reasonable while sticking 100% ot your guns on what is and is not acceptable.

Do try to get as much sorted out quickly though... A court will be more sympathetic to a newly separated / divorced mum of a young baby to one who has had time to get to grips with things.

GypsyMoth Tue 21-Jul-09 13:57:03

the statements of arrangements for children actually have no standing within the law. its only so that the judge can see that at the time of divorce,then that was the position.

unfortunately if the ex took you to couer for defined contact,then he would be able to have her involved. so maybe avoid court! i'm going through an acess case so do know this and have not just made it up


AutumnLady Tue 21-Jul-09 14:18:56

Thanks Tiffany and appreciate the comments. I doubt if he will be with this other person long enough for it to matter, but definitely want to avoid court again, far too stressful!
Sorry to hear you are having a hard time, hope you can get the agreement that's best for you.

Haribosmummy - unfortunately there will be no sitting with the new gf as she is the reason we split. She was a friend of both of ours and I helped her with her split from her boyfriend last year which makes this harder to deal with from my side.

Thanks for your comments and for appreciating how tough this is

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