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childcare arrangements between me and ds dad

(2 Posts)
bananasinpyjamas Tue 01-Mar-11 23:13:28

Am worried about being identified as my story is quite unique so don't want to give too much info. ds autistic and diagnosed with cancer last year. Still having treatment. At his request, me and ds dad separated (been together 15 years) straight after diagnosis. He got engaged to new woman 7 weeks later and she moved in with him as soon as I moved out. Dad has every other weekend and one night a week. He wants more time with ds. I don't agree with this at all and have said so. He wants to take it to mediation.
Does anyone have any links to research or anything which may support my case of not changing current arrangements? Ds happy though he won't verbalise due to autism.
Is all incredibly stressful and I don't want to stop ds seeing dad but don't feel he has put ds interests first.
Any advise or help would be very useful.

Calmed Sun 01-Apr-12 09:43:11

First of all, I am sorry that you DS has been so ill; very stressful time for you.

I have not been to court for a few years re childcare arrangements, so I don't know if things have changed, but I can tell you my experiences.

What you have currently, is what I have been told is the 'norm' i.e. every other weekend and one night per week. So, you are already being reasonable regarding contact.

My solicitor always said that the onus was on my ex to fight for contact, I did not have to do anything until he did.

Do you have a contact agreement i.e. a legal one?

You have a child with autism and as any parent with a child with autism knows, they need consistency and routine. You no doubt have established ways of doing things in order to reduce DS's anxiety and aid communication? Your ex has not been along for the ride, as he bailed straight after the diagnosis - how knowledgeable is he about autism and do you think your DS comes back more anxious/stressed after a visit?

I think if push came to shove, your argument would be based on your DS's needs for a secure base familiar to him, with familiar routines and someone he trusts. Too much exposure to two differing parenting styles can cause additional anxiety and stress and your DS does not need this.

'Contact a Family' might be able to point you in the right direction or give you direct information re your obligations. However, unless things have changed, you are not obliged to attend mediation (and again unless things have changed there is a cost involved) and why should you, if you are happy with the current arrangements? You are being reasonable with the amount of contact and you need to be concentrating on your DS's health.

Try to get some free initial legal advice and write to him, stating that you already provide reasonable contact and that you do not consider it in your DS's interests for him to go for more.

I had to fight in the courts regarding contact and even represented myself - I won both times, because I was already being reasonable and I clearly put a case that it was not in my DS's interest to go more.

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