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Telephone Contact details in a Court Order?

(11 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Sat 13-Aug-11 17:17:02

Does anyone know if it is possible to have frequency of telephone contact between DC's and either/both parents added to a Court Order?

As I expected, the agreement that DSS mum made with DP to call on certain days/times while DSS with us for two weeks has only lasted a few days angry At DP's request, she nominated the frequency, days and times that she would call when DP picked DSS up from her last week; but she has now started calling as and when again, like she does when he is here EOW, and has been telling SS that she will call again "tomorrow".

The calls are disruptive and upsetting for him; he is anticipating her next call all the time. He runs for the phone when it rings, dropping whatever he is doing, and recently when I answered the phone before he got there, and went to get DP as it was a business call for him, DSS came into the hall and picked up the handset - he started talking to the person on the other end assuming it was his mum!

DSS also gets upset because when his mum does phone him, she tells him how much she is missing him, how much his sister & grandma are missing him, asking him to blow kisses and hug the phone etc. DSS is subdued and withdrawn after each call.

The calls seem to be because his mum needs to keep in touch rather than because he does; but then she can go several days without calling when her work prevents the calls - which must be really difficult for him to understand.

Unfortunately, DP and his exW co-parenting relationship is non-existent; legal action seems to be the only way she is prepared to engage with him, despite repeated attempts on his part.

emjanedel Sat 13-Aug-11 18:27:17

Yes it can be. My partner had a non direct contact order last year. The childs mother would only allow non direct contact ie letters and phone calls.

This would have worked well they decided a time and day. So dp would phone at the specific time and would be greeted by her voicemail and then an hour she would send a text saying that the child was now free if he wanted to speak to her. So not very productive in this case.

But i think court and cafcass would be sympathatic to the distress this is causing him so worth a go.

elastamum Sat 13-Aug-11 21:40:08

Why on earth wouldnt you let the childs mother talk to him every day?

My ex phones the children whenever he or they feel like it. He calls most days. When the children are with him, I call them everyday or they call me. Their dads numbers are programmed into all our phones so they can call him anytime they need to.

We both also send each other pictures of what they are up to when they are away so the other parent can chat to them about it. Our children have always been happy to go with either of us as they know they can always get in touch with the other parent.

If it is obvious you dont welcome the calls, the poor child is probably picking up vibes that something is wrong and feeling anxious.

SingingTunelessly Sat 13-Aug-11 21:46:49

elastamum, I don't read this that it's the phone calls that are the problem more the content - i.e. missing him, sister grandma missing him, asking him to hug the 'phone, etc. Sounds like they are loading guilt/misplaced loyalties on to the child and leaving him upset.

OP, sorry but if DP and his exW are not speaking to discuss this I'm not sure what you can do tbh.

brdgrl Sun 14-Aug-11 00:37:07

are there other ways to cut this back/make it less of a problem? My first thought was to wonder why you take the calls if they come outside of the agreed upon times. After all, if you weren't home, or were busy, or at mealtimes, of if DP were on a work call - then you wouldn't answer the phone, anyway.

DSS could be taught not to answer the phone, which would deal with the issue of him answering DP's work calls - sorry, I have forgotten his age, but I think he is still pretty young, so teaching him not to pick up the phone at your house might be good anyway. I assume the calls are coming to a landline so that you don't know who is calling and answer - you could get a (very cheap) designated phone for her calls, and then you'd see on the screen when it is a call from her.

I don't think a call everyday is unreasonable but I can see that it might be helpful in lots of ways to know (espeically for DSS's peace of mind) to know when to expect it.

The content of the calls is a problem, it sounds like, but unfortunately there isn't much you can do about that really if DP and she can't talk reasonably, except to try to minimize the effect on DSS by keeping things light on your end.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 14-Aug-11 00:43:38

Elastamum - it would be great if she did call every day, and show interest in what he does here - but she can't/won't do that because of her working pattern sad
Some weekends she calls several times a day, other weekends he won't hear from her at all - hence DP asking her to agree a call schedule that suited her, which we could put on our wall planner, so DSS knows when to expect a call from his mum, rather than be on tenterhooks all the time when the phone rings or someone else is using it.

As for the content of the calls - I can only comment on the snippits I've heard, but when DSS says 'I love you too, I miss you loads too, I'm hugging the phone right back' it suggests that he is exposed to his mums natural emotions about his absence, which are probably best kept to herself given DSS age sad

NotaDisneyMum Sun 14-Aug-11 09:55:25

brdgirl DP has explained repeatedly to DSS(just 8) about not answering the phone, especially as we both get business calls to the landline - he nods, says he understands, and then the next time the phone rings - he's racing for the hall to answer it. DP is understandably reluctant to discipline DSS over something he is already so anxious about sad

DSS mum withholds her number, so we never know if it's her or not - and changing to another phone would require her co-operation to call that number; as it is, if we don't answer the landline, she calls DPs mobile to speak to DSS.

It's just another one of those impossible situations that hurt the DSC that could be resolved very easily if the adults would behave as such!

chelen Sun 14-Aug-11 16:48:45

Hi, we also used to have nightmare with calls. We resolved it by accepting we couldn't change SS' mum so we'd have to manage it our end, we got a phone with ringer silencer underneath so we didn't know if it was ringing. Everyone else called mobiles.

Our prob was mum would refuse to arrange calls & again would go very long stretches then suddenly call a lot plus often call exactly at bedtime, delaying bed & causing late night upset.

These days it has settled down, largely cos SS now phones her at times agreed between the 3 of them. Its horrible to watch him crossing his fingers then leaving ansaphone message though.

I think its great to have amicable situations, but unfortunately its not always that way. In the situation we were in, SS' need for stability/predictability had to come ahead of his mum's convenience.

Tyr Sun 14-Aug-11 16:54:19

You can have it written into a court order and it is sometime best to do so as it gives consistency for everyone, most importantly the child.
Unless the case is already in court, I'd write a letter first with your concerns and suggest a routine.

Whata Mon 15-Aug-11 19:17:53

thank you elastamum.

I text Ex with funny things the DCs have done,send pics and if DCs want ot speak to Dad we phone, whenever.

He phones whenever to talk to them, tell him what he is doing etc. He send me pics when they are out and doing stuff, including DC having the biggest 2 yr old tantrum about not getting to drink EXH beer - very funny!

Parenting to me does not come on a rota, it is 24/7 and we both have a right to share in the happy and bad times whenever and wherever they are.

His current GF is a little less happy at me phoning to say good night but her opinion really does not concern me where my DCs are concerned. This is what they expect and we both faciliatate it.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 15-Aug-11 23:46:32

whata - My DD has that kind of contact with her Dad and Stepmum (we have 50:50); it takes effort to overcome the hostility and tension left from the divorce, but important for DD, so worth it, imo.

It can only work if both parents buy into it though; unfortunately, neither DP or his exW have reached a place where this is possible, and at the moment, damage limitation seems to be the best that can be achieved, hence my DPs request for his exW to nominate days/times for the calls (every day would have been fine, we would have worked around it, just as long as DSS has some idea of what level of contact to expect).

What I won't facilitate is our entire household revolving around him; so this evening, when the phone rang during dinner, both DP and I ignored it, as we do all calls while we are having a meal.
DSS said "but it might be mum", and we reminded him of the schedule she had agreed and we had put on the wall planner. When she called back later, he got anxious trying to explain why he hadn't answered the phone earlier - he was trying to avoid saying that we (his Dad and I) had ignored the call as he didn't want to get us "into trouble with his mum" sad.

Eventually, he will probably realise for himself that his mum can't stick to her word.

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