Access abroad any advice gratefully received(7 Posts)
Hi there, I?ve really taken comfort from reading some of the posts on here but have been more of a lurker than a participator so I hope you don?t think me too cheeky for using my first post to ask your advice.
I?ll try to keep it brief (though might be a bit hard ;)).
I am a single parent to dd (age 4 in November), her dad and I separated when she was 7 months old (2006) and at that time I returned to the UK from Canada where we had been living for the previous year (we are both English and had no family/close friends there so I returned to be near the support of my family). At that time xh (hope I?m getting the abbreviations right here) decided to stay where he was and not to prevent me from returning, we agreed informally that while our DD was young we would attempt to alternate holidays (i.e. he would visit the UK one year and I would fly over with dd the other) if we were in a position to do so.
When DD was 1yr xh requested that we meet up in France (where xh parents retired to) I agreed and flew over with dd for a week (we all stayed with xh parents and yes it was awkward but good for them all to meet). After this I then flew over to Canada for her 2nd B-day for a 2 week holiday (with my mum) and xh spent the days with dd (whilst we moped around)and she spent the nights with me. During this time xh has met and married a partner with two young teenage children. xh has not attempted to visit dd citing too expensive as his reason however he has taken his family (his words) to Disneyland, paid for a wedding and a honeymoon......
We have exchanged many a heated email concerning visitation and the lack of on his part and earlier this year he even mentioned sending dd to him unaccompanied minor as soon as she was able (which is 5yrs on BA, needless to say his mum, my parents and myself had a meltdown over that suggestion). After that he said he would bring his family to the UK next summer and pick up dd for a holiday (staying in the UK). A month ago he told me this was going to be too expensive for him and next summer she should go to Canada.
Although dd webcams with xh every weekend for an hour or so by next summer dd will not have seen him ?in the flesh? for almost 3 years (xh does not talk about his life to her and when I suggest this would be good to enable her to form a closer relationship with him he says I?m just being nosey....), I have been attempting to persuade him that he needs to visit with dd to make a relationship with her before thinking of her going to Canada though he just takes this as a personal attack on his parenting skills and says they know each other well enough! He even said he may come over for her b-day in a few weeks then a couple of weeks later when I asked if he had booked flights he said again it was too expensive (I even offered him a lift from the airport and a place to stay to minimise the cost).
So down to the point, xh has emailed saying he will be flying in to collect dd and take her to stay with him in Canada for the whole of August (2010), he then expects me to fly out and collect her at the end of August. He has also stated that during this time he will be taking his family including dd on a vacation (his mum said he is taking them to all too Disney). Now I?m in turmoil as although dd has said she would like to visit xh she doesn?t seem to understand it?s not just going to be a day trip and that mummy won?t be there, when I have said this to her and asked how she feels about it she said ?mummy it makes my tummy feel sicky?........ now I am torn between not wanting dd to be emotionally distressed (especially someplace I can?t easily get to and with people she does not really know) and not wanting to unreasonably deny access, I do understand the importance of knowing you have two parents that love you (although I?m probably not even going to be able to afford the August flight prices which are almost £900 return ouch!). I have suggested many times that xh come over to spend time with dd (before a long trip to Canada), but he says he won?t come without his family. I have also suggested I bring dd over for two weeks in May 2010 (as flights are cheaper then and she?s not at school yet) and stay close by in case I?m needed (but with dd staying with them), but he says his children are in school then and he wants them all to be on holiday together (I am of the opinion that this should be an opportunity for xh and dd to spend some time together).
Both mine and his parents (dd has actually ended up spending more time with them than xh as they visit often and we have visited them) think he is being selfish and he needs to come and spend time with her before suggesting such a trip and that I am mad to consider it, but I feel awful guilt that dd has not seen xh in such a long time and don?t want to be a barrier to them forming a relationship, however the thought of her being distressed over there makes me feel physically sick.
I realise it?s hard for me to be objective when I?m so close to the situation so would appreciate any thoughts........
sorry about the length of post.
there was a similiar thread to this running last week....not canada but australia. think general opinion was no way...too far and in your case,she won't know any of the other family members she'll be staying with.
gut feeling on this says no,he needs to come here....plenty of time for her to visit in canada when she's much older
1. You both are supposed to do the leg work/cover expenses. He is avoiding his.
2. Your child has hardly spent anytime with her father, 1 hour a week in a webcam is a fantastically long time... for web camera standards, my child wouldn't talk to a camera for more than a minute at that age.
3. A full month is a particularly long time for a child that age who is not in regular contact (like spending days/night at his house on a weekly basis). His suggestion would be fantastic, if your child was a teenager.
4. Do you have a court order that formalises that you are the parent with care? if not, I wouldn't dream to send her away for that amount time. If he puts her in school and says she is not returning, by the time you are in a position to sort this out, the courts may be reluctant to move the girl again. (This is the one and only reason why I would insist in having such order when parents live in or are from different countries). Not trying to scare you off, but unfortunately, more than 95% of kidnapped children are taken by the non resident parent. The chances are REMOTE but, it is unfortunately, something to consider.
5. DOn't forget you are your child's main carer and as such you have a pretty good idea of what is convenient for your child and what it is not. If you think this is not the right option, there is a very simple solution to the problem:
Say "NO", you can, and let hims suggest a more convenient and child focused alternative.
Good advice here. It seems like you're bending over backwards to come up with a compromise but he won't be you halfway. I think the May 2010 suggestion is a good one. Stick to your guns.
thanks all, these kind of things make me doubt my own judgement, it's great to hear some outside views.
ILoveBISCUITS great name! I agree my gut is saying no and I'm sure she'll love being able to holiday in Canada when she's older.
Biobytes, through the divorce we have a legal separation agreement which covers custody. It states we share joint custody
but that dd's primary residence is with me and I have day to day responsibility. It also states that xh shall have liberal and generous access although due to the factors in residence regular access will not be feasible or practicable, it also says the wife shall consent to requests for access and such requests should not be unreasonably denied......so I guess my worry is what their definition of reasonable is.
I wish I could be more forceful and say no, and it would be great if he could be reasoned with on the damage this may cause dd and suggest his own compromise, but he just goes mad whenever I don't comply with his demands (not that it surprises me as he was the same throught our marriage).
thanks also nicknametaken (my first 5 choices were too ), I think I'm going to just put forward the May suggestion again and say to expect her to go for a month with no build up in access is not in her best interests.
thanks again for the support.
My ex also goes mad when I don't comply to his wishes, but there are some times when what they want is absolutely unreasonable and no matter how bad, anxious, guilty or whatever I feel, you need to stick to your guns.
YANBU to refuse to allow your dd to be away from you for a month because;
1, she has not seen her father for 3 yrs, although he talks to her via web cam he has no idea of her day to day needs/routine etc. At her age those things are important and any legal process would consier that as a factor.
2, you agreed that you would fly out if financially feasible, it's not, you can't afford it. That is not unreasonable.
3. you have offered reasonable alternatives which he has refused, he has not offered any compromise.
Even his parents agree with you, I would take heart from that. It backs up your point of view.
Say no, let him send heated emails, you are offering a decent and fair alternative, it is up to him to maintain his relationship with his dd in a responsible child focussed manner.
Insisting that a pre-school age child fly to a different country for a month with a man whom she has had a very limited amount of contact with and his stepchildren and wife whom she does not know at all is not chld focussed nor reasonable.
He sounds like a twat.
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