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ExH starting to reduce contact time, what do I do?

(10 Posts)
FennCara Thu 06-Feb-14 09:22:42

Gutted. And I saw it coming.

DS is 4, DD1 is 2. We had a two night, three day arrangement at his house. I said at the start it wasn't sustainable, but he wanted 50/50 and it was as close as we could get.

I was pregnant when he left, so as our youngest is a baby he was seeing her for a few hours a week.

Now he is "busy" on weekends for the forseeable, and has reduced contact accordingly. He is flat refusing to see the baby until she can walk and talk.

What do I do? DS is 4 and sad. Do I let him throw his scraps to them and see them when he can, however little that is? Or stop contact until he can commit to a regular time? Can I even do that?

FennCara Thu 06-Feb-14 09:24:35

The baby, DD2, is 6 months.

Beanymonster Thu 06-Feb-14 09:27:00

I'm not sure I can offer any help but it sounds horrible, be strong thanks

Hope someone has some advice for you!

Wishyouwould Thu 06-Feb-14 09:32:52

So sorry OP.

What a sorry excuse for man he is.

He is refusing to see his own daughter until she can walk and talk?

I really don't know what I'd do in your situation. I'm someone will come along with some great advice soon.

I just feel so angry on your behalf.

Wishyouwould Thu 06-Feb-14 09:33:32

*sure

aw11 Thu 06-Feb-14 10:35:43

Wow, that is aweful. I never understand how a man can think anyone or anything is less important than his children. Anyway, I doubt there is very much you can do apart from be a good mum and try and be as flexible as possible (but don't let him take the piss!).

Dahlen Thu 06-Feb-14 11:28:44

A lot depends on whether you want to be true to the law or true to the DC. Sadly, the two aren't necessarily the same.

No court will deny your X the right to have contact with his DC. They won't make him take it, but they will insist that it is offered to him. You need to know that if this goes to court your X will probably get what he wants and then pick and choose when he wants to turn up within that remit. For example, he may get every other weekend and Wednesdays after school, but he can still cancel, or turn up late, or not at all.

At some point in the future, I hope that changes. Generally, contact is a good thing, but there is an increasing amount of evidence emerging to show that inconsistent contact, especially where is child is repeatedly disappointed, can do more damage than no contact at all. Throw in the mix of one child being outright rejected in a sibling relationship of two, and the damage that can cause is significant (and not just to the rejected child).

You can just decide what you want, of course. Only 1 woman has been imprisoned for failure to allow contact. Mostly what happens is nothing. If it even goes to court at all, the court normally has a "stern word" about the importance of contact but imposes no penalties. It's up to you if you want to chance that in the best interests of your children.

Sometimes, if you have a good judge and a good CAFCASS officer, your objections to contact (inconsistent, damaging because of the outright preference, etc) will be taken into account and while contact won't be withdrawn (this is exceptionally unusual, even in cases of abuse), a judge may be sympathetic to your reluctance and make a judgement with more emphasis on your X's obligation to turn up each and every time than on your obligation to make them available.

Not an easy choice.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Thu 06-Feb-14 12:10:58

I'm so sorry.

I don't know what you can really do.

I do know one thing though.

He's a prick, and a crap father. And being a crap father isn't something you tend to suffer from for a short while - it's who you are. So, please take comfort from the fact that one truth here is that if your children end up having a more distant, less directly influenced relationship with this poor excuse for a dad, in a way that might be a good thing for them long term. Their stability will come from YOU.

Yes of course him letting them down is the main problem right now. Yes you could stop contact - it would then be up to him to take it to court where you could explain your position and get a defined contact order which would set out (presumably far less than 50:50) contact for ALL THREE children. Doesn't mean he will stick to it though.

What would be better might be to agree to a far reduced schedule right now - see if you can get him to meet you halfway. You could offer to drop the current arrangement and he has them every other weekend, one evening a week too perhaps. But - no, he doesn't get to be 'busy' every weekend. That's where HE has to make the sacrifice - regular committment, being too busy for the other stuff because his prior committment is them.

What he wants of course is presumably to get to parent like he did before - ie have you actually do the work but him get to dabble but reap the benefits. He's tried actual real sharing of the load and doesn't like it. So what he will want is to not commit, to try and get you to agree to ad-hoc arrange as we go along (ie 'when nothing more interesting is happening'). That's what you refuse, because that's a. going to end up with confused disappointed children and b. making the presumption that HE gets to call the shots on how your life is arranged too. Err - no!

So: they will be available every other weekend and this weekday. If he doesn't turn up, it won't be long before you'll stop contact and tell him to go to court and explain that what he wants is to play at parenting when he's not too busy and could the court please support him smile

Dahlen Thu 06-Feb-14 12:27:15

My history is a little different because I insisted on supervised-only contact because of an assault on our child. I never blocked contact unless the supervisory criteria wasn't being met, and I always made the DC available for pre-arranged times. What I did do was stop arranging it myself, chasing him up for it, hanging around all afternoon waiting for it (e.g. if pick up was at 3 and there was no sign by 3.30 with no phone call or text to explain running late, we would go out - this wasn't just to make the point, it was a way of dealing with fractious children). I stopped telling the DC that daddy was coming too.

The last time we saw him was 7 months ago. the time before that was 5 months and the time before that was 4 months. This was a man who I had offered 50/50 contact at one stage and who claimed to want his DC full time (although this never extended to overnights or weekends...).

Sometimes, you don't have to fight, you just have to do nothing.

FennCara Thu 06-Feb-14 19:21:44

Thank you all for the replies. thanks

I have given him two months to come up with (and activate) a long-term contact plan with all three children. I'm not holding my breath. If he is still messing us around by the spring, I just won't answer the door to him.

It's a pure power battle. I will not go back to him and he has recently been dumped, so he's seeking to regain control somewhere. He has chosen, for reasons best known to himself, his children. Apparently he has withdrawn so he is not "reminded" of me. What an amazing load of bollocks He has shown nothing but contempt for every woman he has ever been near. How dare he.

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