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Advice needed on access to my children following ex wife's behaviour.

(39 Posts)
CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 14:39:49

I am a guy wanting some advice on child access after a difficult divorce. I know I need to see my solicitor, but I am hoping he isn’t going to tell me my only option is a child contact centre. If it is then I don’t need to pay £175 plus VAT to be told this, so any advice welcome, thank you.

I divorced my wife 4 years ago now. I admit I did leave her for another woman who is and always was the love of my life. My ex wife was obviously very bitter and angry, but I have been more than fair with regards to child access and financial provision. After about 3 months she allowed me to see our two young children and I had them every other weekend and a night in the week. This was all fine and we were beginning to be amicable until me and my girlfriend move in together 9 months later. She then stopped access again and I took her to court to get a formal agreement. It was granted and we went back to the same routine. Since then she has made my life hell on every pick up and drop off, I have just put up with it and tried to make it as smooth as possible and not engaged with her shouting and name calling etc. I will not argue with her, especially not in front of the children.
In the summer, my girlfriend and I married and that’s when all the trouble started. The first contact I had after we married my ex wife seemed ok. The next fortnight when I turned up to drop the children back to her she came out of the house and charged at the car, she opened the car door and starting getting our youngest out of his seat belt. This is unusual as I usually just take them to the door and knock etc. She had clearly been waiting for us. She started yelling at me and my wife, who was in the passenger seat, our youngest became scared and started crying. Ex wife got frustrated as she couldn’t undo the seat belt and started getting angry and shouting at my wife’s son who was sat next to our son in the back. I just wanted to get out of there as quick as possible so I said ‘here let me do it’ and tried to help her undo the car seat buckle for her. By now all three kids were scared and crying. It all happened so fast but she yelled at me to f off or something and then elbowed me in the head. She got our youngest out of the car seat and barged past me, I was still being over a bit dis-orientated as she had caught the corner of my eye. She then slammed the back car door into my head, twice I think. I don’t really remember much next but my wife got our other child out of the car and came running round to me, ex wife then threw a toy our youngest was holding at my wife and split her lip open. She then went back in and that was that.

I am still in shock about it if I’m honest and feel awful for my kids. Anyway, my wife and I called the police as we were worried for the children. They actually arrested her and dragged her away and locked her up overnight apparently. Fast forward and she was charged with two counts of assault.

I have not been able to see my children since as she was issued with a non-molestation order against me which means she cannot come near within so far of me and my house. I have emailed her several times and told her that I want to put the past behind us and I still want to see my children. I have asked her if her mother or sister would facilitate the pickup and drop off at their houses, but even when a solicitor wrote to her she will not agree to this.

Is my only chance to see my children now through a visitation centre? I am gutted. This would mean only seeing them 3 hours a week!

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 15:13:50

I don't see why that would be the case. Surely a court would grant you reasonable access in these circumstances?

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 15:19:59

Thanks for your reply. I already have access, but I don;t want to go to her property after what has happened. I am not sure how this works anyway as she is not allowed within 30 metres of me.

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 15:22:13

I see. Sorry then, it sounds like picking them up from the contact centre is the realistic option. She isn't obliged to facilitate anything else via family members.

Simonneilsbeard Fri 11-Nov-16 15:26:11

If you have an court order in place regarding your contact and you aren't seeing the children then surely she is in breach of a contact order and you can take this back to court
I'm not entirely sure what to do having never been in this situation but definitely you need to speak to your solicitor.
Your ex wife's behaviour is totally unacceptable.

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 15:29:31

Yes she is in breech of her contact order. She says its because she is't allowed near me so won't release the children to me. Even so, I don't really want to be in contact with her after what has happened.

It just seems so unfair that if I have to go down this route then I will only get to see my children between 10-1 on a Saturday as this is the only time it is open. My children must be so confused.

lizzieoak Fri 11-Nov-16 15:29:40

Gosh, that's awful. Poor kids. No wonder you're in shock, that's shocking behaviour.

I'm not in the UK, but when I looked into it in Canada, family services provide a neutral drop-off spot - I would think a similar handover idea would be in effect for you.

Hang in there. The kids will get older & it will get easier. You'll be able to pick them up from school, or after-school care during term time for example.

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 15:31:58

I am happy to go back to court, but if the contact center is the only option then I'd rather not spend the money on a solicitor telling me that. I feel so at a loss to what to do.

Simonneilsbeard Fri 11-Nov-16 15:33:44

This is a horrible situation for you and the Children.
Do you know how long the non molestion order is for? In some cases they issue an interim order for 3 months and it might be a case that you see the children in the contact centre for that period only! I know it's not idea or fair..is there any way to find out?

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 15:37:31

Simonneilsbeard it is for a year.

I guess i could go back to court to see if i could pick the children up from a childminder on a friday and dropped to them on Monday morning? I used to drop back to my exwife on a Sunday night though as i leave for work on a Monday at 6.30am.
Would she have to agree to this or could a judge enforce this?

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 15:38:13

I understand the situation now. However, your ex can't win here - either she breaks a court order by not allowing you access, or she breaks one by meeting you to hand over the children.

jeaux90 Fri 11-Nov-16 15:45:47

Horrible OP really have my sympathy but sounds like you should go to your solicitor if I'm honest! Good luck! X

GeorgeTheThird Fri 11-Nov-16 15:53:04

The contact centre isn't the only option, if you can facilitate a handover between you via a neutral third party. Not your wife. Why does it have to be your ex-wife's family? Could it be anyone else, your family or friends perhaps? Or are the kids old enough to come out to the car without an adult if you wait outside your ex's house? The state will not provide the third party via social services etc. And it wouldn't cost you £175 to call your solicitor, unless you were on the phone for an hour.

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 15:59:33

GeorgeTheThird - My solicitor charges £175 for hour. I would rather use my solicitor if any as they know my 'case' and i now have such a long back story. I have tried ringing one of these £90 telephone helpline things and they just want more info (and more money). My children are 6 and 8, so still quite young. I don;t know how I feel about going to my ex wife's house if i'm honest, but I don;t know what choice i have. i wouldn't want to park 30 metres down the road thats for sure.

I do have family, but they are not really a viable option. My mum lives a 2 hour drive away. My dad lives down the road but is 82 and doesn't drive and is quite frail. I have a brother who is local, i know he would help if he could but he works a very varied shift pattern so i wouldn't be able to count on him at the same time each fortnight.

Exactly Trifleorbust, but its not my ex wife who is missing out. Meanwhiile she has been to the CMS and upped my payments because I am not having them overnight. I feel like i have been royally screwed over.

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 16:01:07

The minimum my solicitor charges for a Phone appointment / advice is half an hour. then they have to send you a follow up email with it doccumented which costs another £40.

TheNaze73 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:04:18

Disgusting behaviour on her part. Can only echo others suggestion of a solicitor meeting

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 16:09:06

I just don't understand it TheNaze73. She was never violent in our relationship, controlling yes, but never violent.

In court she was sobbing and very remourseful. She did not try and deny what she had done and claimed that she was depressed and angry at me and my wife for getting married (yet had seemed fine after the first contact after the wedding.

However since then she has told my exsil (who is still friends with her) that it is all my fault and what a bad person i am for pressing charges against her.

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 16:12:34

I think parking down the road and having the kids come to you is your best option. Not ideal but it means you continue to see them, and you can always drive off if threatened.

I don't see what CMS has to do with it tbh.

madgingermunchkin Fri 11-Nov-16 16:16:40

You're coming across abit "no I can't do this, no I can't do that."

This is access to your children. Surely you'd willing pay whatever to see them? Book an appointment at your solicitor and get your options sorted. Which is that is she is refusing to allow you to see your children therefore breaking the court order.

Or are you just going to continue sitting here hand wringing, shooting down any and all advice?

jeaux90 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:18:43

Are you scared of her? If not can you get the contact issue lifted? That way she can comply to the court order on contact but you already fired the massive warning shot if she attacks you etc

lizzieoak Fri 11-Nov-16 16:32:01

Well, if she's had maintenance raised then you're not out of pocket if you talk to the solicitor & get it sorted. That way you're paying less £ to her plus get to see the kids (the latter is clearly your objective).

I think the shock of it has paralyzed you a bit.

Bob19702 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:41:05

I think you need to go and see your solicitor maybe just for a 30 min session. I have joint custody of my children and wouldn't let £175 or a 30 mtr walk stand in the way of seeing them ..good luck .

CAES Fri 11-Nov-16 16:52:46

I am not going to let go of my children. I am going to put another C100 form in and take her back to court. I just know from previous exp that the form asks you for what contact you want and why you are coming back to court. I just wanted some advice on what people thought my options were.

I don't have many friends that I can talk about this stuff too so just appreciated peoples opinions and to see if anyone had any similar experiences.

i don't begrudge spending money to see my kids, but i do begrudge wasting money on a solicitors appointment if i don't need one.

Bob19702 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:56:04

I know it's not about the money but it might be the easiest route to take , it's good to take general advise but someone in the legal profession would give invaluable advice .

lizzieoak Fri 11-Nov-16 17:01:18

Fair enough. Sometimes putting things out there brings up information you might miss in another venue, sometimes it just serves to clarify your thoughts.

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