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Ex is refusing supervised contact, her solicitor talking about contact every w/end

(14 Posts)
JuJusDad Sat 27-Jun-09 13:30:10

Hi all,

I hope I'm posting this in the right place (or somewhere close to it).

I was granted interim residency on Thursday 14th May for our DD (23mths old) as well as a prohibitive steps order.

On the day of the interim hearing, my ex took the opportunity to make some heinous accusations about me. Possibly rather than face up to the facts I had presented about her leaving her previous DD (my DD's half sister) in the care of a range of others, as well as the dates when my ex left me to care for our DD (including the final straw when she went to China for 9 weeks - yes it's me again)

So as she mainly ranted when we were with the CAFCASS officer, and then she walked out of the Judge's chambers, nothing was decided regarding contact.

Since then, my ex has become something close to a stalker - I have many many texts about us getting back together.

I thought about the contact a lot after the hearing, and decided that because not only could I not trust her, but also because of how she is (literally give an inch she'll do her best to take a mile) and how she treated DD when she has had access, that the only sensible solution was supervised contact.

Because that way, she wouldn't be able to rock up with a new boyf in tow, I wouldn't have to be subject to her love bombing alternating with her anger, and I could be sure that she wouldn't be able to take DD away for days on end on a whim. (Which is why we're here in the first place).

Current issue is - I've just had a letter from her solicitor.

This is interesting in itself as this week I've been getting texts saying she has nowhere to live (and presumably no job), and she was also calling my Dad to say she was homeless and penniless.

Her solicitor is saying my ex is not willing for contact to take place in the supervised contact place, and instead wants contact every weekend, either Sat or Sun from 9 till 2.

I'm tempted to try next weekend (already got plans for DD this weekend), but then I've literally just had two texts while writing this about she misses me and loves me. No mention of missing our DD, though...

Question is, can I refuse her request?

The supervised contact is currently to start July 11th, and will be for max of 3 hours as that's how long the place is open for.

I'm asking you guys as I'm more likely to get a response from a single parent with residency who's been through / going through similar things.

I suppose my main concerns are her taking off with our DD or making some sort of scene in front of DD.

PS sorry if I'm a bit disjointed, haven't had much sleep lately, and Social Services are visiting next Tues in relation to the accusations she made, so stress levels bit higher than usual.

PPS I don't answer her texts unless she asks about DD.

CarGirl Sat 27-Jun-09 13:42:43

Due the past incidents I tell her very politely, stuff it, supervised contact until committment to seeing dd is established. There still sounds like an absconding risk?

I take it you have your dds passport safe & secure?

Your ex sounds very unpredictable and not trustworthy.

JuJusDad Sat 27-Jun-09 13:56:27

PPPS Whenever she asks about DD (times are few and far between), I send a text to say I'm sending an email of DD's activities, diet etc as per the reports I get from her nursery.

I used to send them daily, then dropped the frequency off until I'm now waiting for her to ask before I send the info.

I know, mean in some ways, but more than a lot of absent parents get, and why should I constantly send stuff without it being asked for?

milou2 Sat 27-Jun-09 13:58:22

Supervised contact might give you a chance to get into a routine of visits and know that your dd sees her mother, but is in a very safe place while this happens. Would the workers at the contact centre be able to give you feed back on how each session went?

Can the supervision of visits continue for as long as you want it?

My brother had a frightening wife, so sympathies. Remember to eat nice things and do simple things that help you and dd feel secure and safe.

I haven't been through this myself, but wanted to answer the post.

JuJusDad Sat 27-Jun-09 14:10:32

CarGirl - my thoughts exactly. She's known for ages that I've been arranging this, and why. I asked for the soonest available slot, and told her the moment it was offered.

Yes, pasport safe and secure - before everything went to court and until just after, I had been in touch with Reunite - gave excellent advice about anti-abduction measures etc.

milou2 - not sure if they'll do feedback, but I do know there is a limit to the number of visits. (think 3 mths) But this is currently a self referral, so maybe they'll extend if CAFCASS refers us.

Would I be right in thinking that her solicitor is (more or less) bluffing?

CarGirl Sat 27-Jun-09 15:09:23

all she can do surely is take you to court to ask for unsupervised contact? YOu would then have the opportunity to explain why you want supervised?

If in the meantime she hadn't turned up at the contact centre it would just look bad on her I should think.

I don't think the solicitor is bluffing as such he's just saying that your ex wants unsupervised. You can write back refusing unsupervised which then buts the ball back in her court surley?

Sorry I'm no expert have you joined families need fathers? I'm sure lots of people on there will be able to give you more accurate information.

Snorbs Sat 27-Jun-09 15:20:27

A solicitor can ask for anything. It doesn't mean you have to go along with it. Seems to me that she had opportunities to discuss contact, either with the CAFCASS officer and/or with the judge directly, and she chose not to.

You are not blocking contact, you are simply trying to find a way of allowing contact to happen in a safe and controlled manner until a proper ruling can be made.

As you have an interim order then it implies that you will be back before the judge at some point to nail it all down. I'd simply write back to her sol saying "I've given it a lot of thought, and I feel that the best interests of DD would be served if contact is supervised for now until CAFCASS and/or the court can make a final judgement regarding contact between DD's mother and DD."

As for SS, I've had a fair amount of dealings with them in the past due to my ex. Keep it polite, keep it honest, keep it about DD and send a polite, helpful, recorded delivery follow-up letter afterwards thanking them for their time and reiterating the main points. If there is a formal report, fight tooth and nail to get any mistakes corrected ASAP (and there WILL be mistakes). SS floats on paper, and what's in their records is important.

Heated Sat 27-Jun-09 15:29:13

Do you have you own solicitor to word a response?
She has access & there is a review in 3 months.
Keep phone records as evidence of her harassing you.

2rebecca Sat 27-Jun-09 15:57:32

I wouldn't spend money on solicitors writing letters at this stage. I'd just write to solicitor saying no, supervised access as previously arranged. If she was that bothered about unsupervised access then she shouldn't have walked out. You both have to think long term. If I was your ex I'd jump through whatever hoops were necessary and if that meant supervised contact for a few weeks I'd do it.
She's not being nice to you, no reason for you to be nice to her.
Is she able to speak to her daughter on the phone? That sounds reasonable. She's stupid if she won't turn up to supervised access.

JuJusDad Sat 27-Jun-09 18:58:59

Thanks, guys.

I've joined Families need Fathers, and another Dad's online group, but since I've got residency, I (how do I put this) don't quite feel like I'd be talking to the right people there. OTO, there's plenty good advice and info on those sites, especially on FNF regarding CAFCASS and legal stuff.

Bang on, Snorbs. The post-CAFCASS report hearing is early Sept. Big thanks for the suggested letter to sols wording, I'll be making use of that smile

2rebecca (& Snorbs) - I was wondering if this was something where I'd need a sols, but I'm hoping to only use one for the hearing itself (if I really have to), and even that will be min £500 sad, so thanks for clarifying that a sols isn't strictly necessary.

I continue to be nice and reasonable because until things are sorted out, I can show how nice and reasonable I've been. And if necessary, I can also show how she hasn't been nice or reasonable.

I did once do a webcam with her - another disaster. DD got somewhat upset and confused at seeing mummy's face look, well, there was a lot of tears, it wasn't pretty and in the end I had to tell her to block her picture as it was upsetting DD.

So I wouldn't be happy for them to speak on the phone - DD doesn't speak in words (sign and baby noises, but almost no words), and highly likely Mum will break down in tears.

I have suggested the webcam since then but had no take up on it. If she'd said yes, would've been ready to tell her to cover the camera at her end if necessary.

We don't talk on the phone anymore. That's my choice so I don't have to deal with the stress of talking to her, plus there's a record of what's said and although it's usually text and sometimes email / messenger, it's easier to be clear.

Thanks again, guys smile

Off to do DD night routine smile

theoptimist Sat 27-Jun-09 20:10:06

Hi there,
We've dealt with CAFCASS and obtained an interim residency and prohibitive steps order for my partner's son. And two of my brothers have been through the same process (successfully)...
Without repeating what others have said here, I'd just add that you can arrange what you like with your ex, as long as you show you're acting in the best interest of your daughter, as primary carer.
The court and CAFCASS are not bothered about fulfilling the absent parents desires to have contact. They're interested in what's best for the child. So, I'd say, before you agree with your ex on contact, always make sure you are then able to justify it - as being in your daughter's best interests.
I'm sure you'll be granted a permanent residency order, but the courts and CAFCASS do prefer parents to sort out contact themselves if possible. The courts have been known to give residency to the non-resident parent in cases where the resident parent made contact difficult, but they also want to ensure the decisions you make on behalf of your daughter are in her 'best interests'. If you're in any doubt about this, then supervised contact is the best and safest way forward for now.
Even though I'm female, I went to FNF website a lot to help my partner and brothers. And I think there's a lot of good advice there.
About the accusations - my partner and brother had these. My brother had almost everything you could sling at a bloke slung at him. But, the judge is not daft! I wouldn't worry. I wrote all of the statements on behalf of my partner and brothers, and in response to all accusations that were not true, I just stated that they were untrue and got back to focusing on the real issues related to the child(ren).
A solicitor was not used or required in any of the cases I helped with. You can do this yourself.
As others have said, make sure you have a record of everything. I wrote updates to CAFCASS and sent copies to the exs' solicitors.
I hope this helps.

2rebecca Sat 27-Jun-09 20:13:01

When I got divorced a solicitor friend advised us only to use solicitors when necessary as they can slow things down, increase the confrontation level and cost a fortune. The family law guy I saw for my half of the divorce explained that just because a letter comes from a solicitor doesn't mean the reply has to come from a solicitor and for simple decisions I was as well typing and sending my own letters, saving copies.
We got through the divorce and access/ residency stuff fairly cheaply. I wouldn't not let her see web pictures of her mum just because it upsets her. In the short term it may upset her, but long term it may help keep contact between them going, especially if she doesn't do phones yet. Different if she's really hysterical and not understanding the situation at all I suppose.
If I was your wife I'd hate not to have communication with my daughter just because it upset her.
If she sees her mum at an access place she's likely to be upset before and after this, but it's still in her interests to keep going with it.

cestlavielife Tue 30-Jun-09 14:47:43

stick to the supervised contact - you have good enough reasons.

i also have an ex who still keeps on about getting back together. he does not get it. i have had all the crying stuff too.very wearisome.

he has had five supervised contact sessions. CAFCASS officer was keen to now arrange unsuperised between us but dcs have expressed their view they don't want to see him unsupervised, so i will also argue that it is not "in their best interest".

it is good advice to keep it all about the child's best interest.

if she wont accept supervised it is her problem - she has to see it in her own best interest to prove herself...but of course she probably wont... it is all about her, not her child...

JuJusDad Tue 30-Jun-09 22:16:01

cestlavielife - thanks smile. It is very wearisome.

I've even gone the route of having police explain / give harrasment warning. So not something I wanted to do to the mother of my child.

Even so, she still doesn't get it. It's like having a stalker, only this one really is part of your life. Or dc's life at least.

Thanks for support of knowing it's not just me, although obv. would almost be nice to know no-one else has to deal with this bobbins IYSWIM

Very glad to see so many people aggree I have good reason for supervised contact.

[short rant about ex removed]

SS visit went well - seems she's been in touch with them, and despite her extra allegations the man said his conclusion would be along lines of I'm a doting father, and DD is not at risk. [relieved emoticon]

Pimms is calling - must suggest it on the "how to keep cool" thread wink

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