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Constraints of Court Order V's Child Attending Agreed Day Trip

(40 Posts)
mummytippy Thu 04-Feb-16 14:33:13

I've popped back on here as on Saturday (06.02) my ds has an activity trip which was agreed at Court he could attend. It is my ds's weekend for contact with his dad (orginally it wasn't and was my weekend with my ds, hence the fact I had said my ds could attend the trip). Usually and as per the court order, I take my ds to his dad on alternate Friday eves. There is a distance between us which equates to an approx 2 hour drive. As my ds is to leave on his activity trip on Sat at 8am here, I don't see how it is practical to take him to his dads on Friday eve (2 hr drive) for his dad to then have to return him Sat am (a further trip back 2 hrs) to catch a coach at 8am. The trip is to a destination approx 2 hrs away too so potentially my ds would spend approx 6-7 hours travelling within a 12 hour period and that's just to get to the trip destination. He would also have to get up at around 5.30am on the Sat in order to get back to my area.
My plan is to take my ds to his dad on Sat eve when he arrives back from his activity trip (meeting him at the coach stop) meaning his dad would just return him Sunday eve as usual but the finer details of the day (logistics) were not arranged.

It was agreed at Court in December our ds could attend this trip (as originally it was my weekend for contact). Since then his father has not asked about any of the details of the finer points for the trip (although he knows about it from it being agreed at court and it's marked on the schedule we have identical copies of). To me this indicates he has no intention of ensuring our ds makes the trip.

I genuinely believe that if I drop my ds off on Friday eve, his father will not bother to drive to my area on Sat am for 8am and my ds will miss his trip which he's extremely excited about.

I was going to email him this eve to tell him I propose to drop our ds off on Saturday once he's arrived back from him trip as agreed (although the finer points were not/have not yet been agreed). I was going to do this to mainly ensure my ds goes on the trip as he is expecting to and as was agreed and also so that his travelling time is minimised.

Any thoughts on this from anyone... and how to potentially word the email to my ex would be very welcome. Thank you in advance.

nephrofox Thu 04-Feb-16 14:38:56

Surely this won't come as a surprise to his dad.

I would write ...

" As you're aware from the court order, X is going on his activity trip on Saturday. Thus I will drop him off at X location when he returns on Saturday night, approx (time)"

Cabrinha Thu 04-Feb-16 15:56:29

If I only had my child 2 nights in 14, then I would be reluctant to lose one of those - especially with a large chunk of the Sat gone too.
I personally would still want my Fri night - and I know my child, the drives would be OK. And you could trust me to do the run back on Sat morning. Of course, I'm a normal reasonable type, and if you've ended up with court orders actually specifying school trips it sounds like he is not.

You've left it very late to arrange this - why is that?

I'd also mail, but I'd only start throwing in mentions of court orders if you know from experience that it's necessary. To me, it would get my back up. I'd also be annoyed with you telling me I wasn't getting my Fri.

I'd be more likely to say "as X has his trip to <place> leaving at 08:00 tomorrow, shall I keep him Fri night? You could collect at xx:xx on Sat evening, and how about keeping him until <later than usual on Sun>?"

But, that may work better with reasonable people.

Cabrinha Thu 04-Feb-16 15:59:46

Again, my approach is based on two reasonable parents, and may not suit. But if he's missing the entire Sat (sounds like it if the trip is 2 hours away), then I would probably have proposed that you do a weekend swap. If you're EOW, he stays with you this weekend, then next weekend his dad - and carry on the pattern from there. Not great re-arranging on Thu for Fri though.

WalkingBlind Thu 04-Feb-16 16:18:10

In the case of me and my DD's dad (we've been in a similar position with school trips organised before/during court) I said it made more sense for her to stay with me until the trip but he could have her the additional hours he had missed out on after it had finished. He can't realistically turn that down and court would agree.

When our CAO was put in place the judge said we were to work out any amendments between ourselves when it came to special occasions and if any party severely opposed it would have to go back to court.

Hopefully he is reasonable, I wouldn't expect DC to travel that much for no reason. It would be selfish to drag him to a different house further away just to literally sleep

WalkingBlind Thu 04-Feb-16 16:19:45

Obvs by the time he took you back to court (if he was really against it) your DS will have been on school trip and they'd wonder why the hell he bothered, so it would be an expensive tantrum on his part

mummytippy Thu 04-Feb-16 16:28:15

Thanks Cabrinha for your time and comments...
While I understand what you are saying...

My ex has known about the trip since Dec and could he not equally have asked about the finer details?
He knows it is an early start/late finish day trip on Saturday too.
I understand about the Friday night and he may feel he's losing 'his' Friday but it is a one off... and the Saturday part is agreed. I suppose what I'm trying to say is he has PR so he could equally have contacted the organiser etc, I have not purposefully left it to surprise him last minute.
Sadly he is far from reasonable.
I'm fine for him to return our ds a little later on Sunday eve (although it is a school night) and the time he is to have him home is by 7pm.
Usually he returns him at 6.15pm - so he actually does not utilise the whole time he has for contact.
I am also fine for him to take our ds for tea on a school night... something I've invited before but he has never taken me up on it. Sadly he has an aversion to driving.

bibliomania Thu 04-Feb-16 16:28:32

I read your other thread, and agree with the advice you were given about stepping back. You cannot control what happens when your son is at his father's. Yes, it's horrendously unfair for the child - I've been there. But you've got to stop trying. No matter how you feel, you've got to present a façade of utter indifference to your ex's actions - if he's acting out of spite, that's the only way of taking his weapon away.

OzzieFem Thu 04-Feb-16 16:47:55

If he only has one W/E a fortnight why not offer him part of the next weekend to make up? He may be happy with this, or let you have the full W/E, BUT he cannot say you are reducing his contact hours because you have made the offer.

I think it would have been nice to remind him of the date of the trip. Some men (not all) just cannot keep dates in their heads. Just ask any number of wives with missed birthdays etc. smile

mummytippy Thu 04-Feb-16 16:57:14

He has a new baby due with his partner anytime too so I think he will be even less likely to make extra trips to see/transport our ds as he is on standby.

bibliomania Thu 04-Feb-16 17:04:39

Does this give you an opening to say, "Hey, I know you're on standby for x, so would it make life easier for you if I kept DS on Fri and dropped him off for his trip on Sat?"

If your ex is just not able to get it together to do the drop-off, this gives him a way out. If he is actively being spiteful, frankly, there's nothing you can do about it. Your best hope is to present it as a "win:win" scenario. (I haven't used it myself, but I'm told the book "Getting to Yes" is helpful in trying to conduct negotiations).

mummytippy Thu 04-Feb-16 20:12:00

Thanks all. Well before I got to send an email about the arrangements for the trip my ex rang my son and wanted to speak to me.

He said to ds it would best for your mum to take you to the trip... he then added his partner might be starting to have the baby.

My phone was on speaker and not thinking and worrying that he was going to make the arrangements for the weekend direct with our ds, I made my proposal to take our ds to the pick up point. I suggested cancelling contact for this weekend might be for the best. He said that would be great.

I said if you are you wanting to cancel weekend contact in view of the impending birth, please could he email me to confirm this. He refused.

He said I'm not emailing, we are adults. The Judge said weare not to email (the Judge said nothing of the sort)... don't worry I am not going to take you back to Court!

I said I would just prefer comms to remain as they had been before... and he said he did not and that it had never worked, been a nightmare and had received at least 3 million emails from me all telling lies etc... This is why I want to communicate by email. I cant cope with his pathetic attempts to get a rise out of me... and all within ear-shot of our son.

I then went on to explain I was going to have suggested to taking our ds to him on Sat after the trip and he said that would be great. He then said but he may struggle to return him if the baby isn't born. I made it clear I cannot collect our ds from him as I cannot afford 4 trips up/down the motorway in one weekend.

I am extremely annoyed at myself for saying this!!! as he had already said he was happy to cancel entirely which would have kept things simple.

In view of the court order I would be happier him confirming by email but he simply disagreed to send me one. It has been left now that he will update me by phone by lunchtime on Saturday whether I am to take my ds after the trip or not so I'm basically hanging on.

I simply do not trust him and still feel I should email him as I explained he has to respect my wishes on how to communicate. As well as this if there are to be invitations to parties/further club activities surely email keeps it simpler?

catkind Thu 04-Feb-16 20:29:41

I think you could email him to confirm what he said on the phone. That's standard procedure if you think someone might backtrack on a verbal agreement. Don't make a big deal of the fact you're emailing, just a businesslike "to confirm what we agreed on the phone this evening, ... " and best wishes for the baby.

lazymoz Thu 04-Feb-16 22:31:16

I agree with him ... you are both adults with your child's best interests at heart. I think you both managed to come to a reasonable agreement together there. Just because there has been conflict in the past doesn't mean it needs to continue into the future. Hope your son enjoys his trip ☺

mummytippy Fri 05-Feb-16 08:53:55

Thanks for your messages. I am going to email him to confirm things as that is how we have always done things. It is he who has taken it upon himself to impose 'speaking on the telephone only'. He has gone back on his word in the past so although it is unfortunate - I do not trust him.

In an ideal world we should be able to communicate simply over the phone but I dont see why I should have to listen to personal remarks made about me in order to either upset me or cause a problem. Too much has happened through 2 years of family court for me. Lies made up about me in order to gain custody of our ds... sorry if I sound bitter but I've been through Hell and so has my ds. Once bitten.

catkind Fri 05-Feb-16 19:22:27

Hmm, then I'd be trying to get written communication only. If not by agreement, by some kind of legal arrangement if he's using phone calls to harrass you. Sorry I don't know the technicalities but I know it can be done as some friends have it.

mummytippy Fri 05-Feb-16 19:34:12

Thanks for your advice...

I sent my email along the lines of FullMoonDiva and a poster from a previous post whos name annoyingly is escaping me. Not quite as 'strong' and have had a reply which is: '' Stop sending me emails full of lies ''... and that is all it says.

So, not sure of his GF is in labour... whether my ds is going to him tom after the trip or what is happening... ??? What kind of a reply is that?!

He has not confirmed whether my understanding or the arrangements for this weekend are right or wrong!!! And so I suppose he thinks the game of bat and ball is going to start...

I've sent him my understanding of the situation... any further suggestions please?

mummytippy Fri 05-Feb-16 19:51:52

Had a text off the GF asking me to stop lying and that she heard what was said on the phone. I've text her back and asked her politely to keep out of it. She's text again and said I need to ''stop doing this'' ??? as I'm causing her stress as she's on bed rest and I'm not doing the baby any good.

I've emailed him and asked him to clarify what he's not in agreement with. Just so sick of things being twisted and they gang up.

catkind Fri 05-Feb-16 20:26:47

Assuming you did just email what he said on the phone (can't see the pp's posts you mention), they're just trying to rile you, rise above it. I'd be tempted to reply to gf along the lines of "Yes it is stressful when arrangements are confused isn't it? In future let's agree by email then everything's clear. All the best with baby, son is excited about having a new sibling." On balance though probably better to just ignore anything that isn't a constructive contribution.

mummytippy Fri 05-Feb-16 21:18:15

Yes, I did, I recapped on our convo and invited him to confirm agreement and I got that response. Tired of it all. I should have just taken my ds to his dad and let him ensure our ds makes the trip. Some people make their lifes work wrecking someone elses or making it a misery... my ex and his gf are two of those people.

Cabrinha Fri 05-Feb-16 21:32:39

You need to continue to work on disengaging though.
It does sound like there are a lot of emails going on - though doubtless not the 1000s you're accused of!
I get that you don't want to speak to him.
I get that he's a liar and you want a paper trail for potential court visits.

But why invite him to confirm agreement? Why try to engage him in an additional unnecessary email?
You could have just mailed "as per call, we'll do xyz". If he claims that he never agreed to it (presumably to claim you're messing about on access) judge will see that he must have done as he had ample opportunity to reply to your mail.

Use email to confirm conversations - but also to close them down. Don't engage further.

For the future, yes, you probably are better to leave it to his dad to sort things out on his own weekends.

My ex and I use an online shared calendar. Birthday parties etc go in there. We are far more civil, but for a long time I could bear to talk to him, even via text and putting a date in an online calendar seemed less engaging than actually texting "Friend's party is 14:00 at Softplay". Can you try that?

catkind Fri 05-Feb-16 21:48:31

The more accomodating and polite you are, the more ridiculous they look. Don't play their game. They're walking into your hands anyway, if they're going to claim you are lying about what was said on the phone all the more reason to communicate by email.

mummytippy Fri 05-Feb-16 21:58:41

Thanks Cabrinha

The online calendar sounds like a possibility for the future. Could you tell me which online calendar you use please.

The reason there have been more emails than probably necessary is because he never seems to agree to anything (and I am the most reasonable person I know (and my friends say this too!)). If anything I have been a doormat in the past and he thinks he can continue in the same vein.

Today for example I basically said ... plan a, if baby not born...
and plan b, if baby is born... please let me know by text/email by midday tom so I know what's happening... if I don't hear I will keep ds here... not so much confirm agreement as such.

To get ''stop sending me emails full of lies'' doesn't quite add up.
Surely it would make sense to say '' I didn't quite say x... so could you do y'' but I don't get anything constructive. Tedious and exhausting.

catkind Fri 05-Feb-16 22:41:32

He's doing it on purpose to annoy and exhaust you, I don't think you can expect this person to make sense. In this case I don't get the impression it matters much to you either way. You've got the email trail to show you've tried to find out his preference. Let him flail around if he wants, you know what you're doing if you don't get a coherent response from him by lunchtime.

Cabrinha Sat 06-Feb-16 08:36:01

We both have iPhones so we use the iphone calendar option - it's shared, and separate to any other calendars. I expect there are plenty of apps that do the same.

You know that whatever you do won't be right - so, back off from doing anything.

So what if his baby is due now? Plenty of fathers with an older child miss the birth because there's no other childcare. That's up to him to sort out. It's his contact weekend, so it's up to him to get his mum, dad, sister, cousin, friend or his GF's friend, family (you get the picture!) on call ready to take your son. Leave him to it.

It would be fine for him to say "baby due, can <son> miss this weekend?". But leave it to him to ask. Stop trying to decide what happens. It's ridiculous that you're waiting around for a call from someone who you know is an arsehole.

Don't ask questions in emails where possible or make open ended arrangements where you're waiting around! Make him come to you with suggestions. He does Fri evening to 18:00 Sunday EOW. It's not his business and his problem how he manages his life (and events for his son) in that time.

Sorry to sound harsh, but you REALLY need to disengage!

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