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weekend only contact

(39 Posts)
pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 20:40:23

I've posted this elsewhere and am hoping for some perspective from a step parents pov.

Ex sent me a sols letter this morn with a court application attached, stating that he is taking me to court for shared residence, and to change the current arrangement from one weekday night ( which he fought me tooth and nail for last year) and a one weekend night to ALL weekend instead, ie fri after school til monday. I am obviously shocked and upset, I don't think this is in DD's interests at all, and to top it all off, the application has a supporting statement which basically says that I am a a very difficult co-parent, a liar and he has concerns about my parenting, that weeklend only contact would resolve.

He pre-empts me in the application by stating he does not want mediation as I have previously broken all other agreements ( I have no idea what he is talking about here). To say I am scared and worried is an understatement. Does anyone here know how this is likely to fare?

UC Tue 16-Oct-12 20:58:34

Well, without knowing anything about the circumstances, or why it would be in DD's best interests not to stay with her dad all weekend, I don't see why he wouldn't get what he asks for. I presume he means every other weekend, not EVERY weekend? At the moment, I understand from your OP that he sees DD for 1 night in the week and 1 night at the weekend - every weekend?

If he means he wants to have DD Fri - Mon every weekend, then that would be unreasonable. But every other weekend, for the whole weekend wouldn't be unreasonable at all, IMO. Of course, assuming your ex isn't abusive, and there aren't good reasons why DD shouldn't spend much time with him.

I am a step mum and a mum. We have the SDCs 50% shared care with their mum - that changed from every other weekend a couple of years ago. She said an interesting thing to me - that although it hurt, she has always felt the SDCs are as much their father's children as they are her children, and they should see both, so she would always facilitate his being able to have the children as much as possible, up to the 50%.

pinguthepenguin Tue 16-Oct-12 21:05:22

Hi UC

No the court application is for shared residency for dd to reside with him every weekend from fri-monday, allowing me one weekend in half terms only sad

Cloverhoney Wed 17-Oct-12 06:42:05

I doubt he'll get that Pingu. Every other weekend plus half of all school holidays seems to be what is considered the 'norm' for a school age child.
How old is your DD?
If she is at school, he lives nearby, is able to do school runs and wants to be involved in her academic life, he might get weekday contact in addition to that.
It would also depend on whether you work or not. If you do work Mon - Fri the weekends will also be considered an important time for you to spend with your DD so it's doubtful he'd be given all of them.
It seems to me that 'decent' non-resident Dads with a good history of contact seem to get between 30% - 50% of their kids' time given to them in court these days.
My DH has my SC about 45% of the time.

purpleroses Wed 17-Oct-12 08:07:18

My DP has his every weekend, but this is the ex's choice too. I'd always assumed she could have them half the weekends if she wanted. I think arguing that you want to have some weekends with yoru DD would seem fair enough. I've not heard of anyone awarded none of them when it's been fought through courts.

UC Wed 17-Oct-12 08:29:49

Every weekend, allowing you one in half terms only - unless there's some valid reason why DD shouldn't be with you, that seems highly unreasonable! So he wants you to have every Monday eve to Friday morning, and he gets Friday after school until Monday morning under this proposal. I've assumed your DD is at school, but maybe she's younger? Like Cloverhoney says, if you don't work, and DD isn't at school yet, maybe this might seem more reasonable, but certainly not if you work and DD is at school. Even if she is young and you don't work, this would have to change once she was old enough to go to school, so I don't suppose it would be advisable to agree to it now and then have to fight to change it later...

Does he live near enough to see DD in the week? Have you spoken to a solicitor? If not, I would if I were you.

Good luck.

pinguthepenguin Wed 17-Oct-12 09:20:14

Hi everyone, thanks for the reponses.

Yes it definitely states on the court application that he wants from every fri to monday school. DD is 5, is at school and I work full time (although I recently took a pay cut to 4 days as I wanted a day to be there for her after school). The court app says that dd's behaviour is becoming increasingly difficult and that he believes this is because she is very tired from being between in either house. She visits him for one overnight per week.

The ironic thing is, over 18m ago, I poionted out to him at the time that at 3.9m, dd would find it tiring to be at his during the week, given that they live an hour away and traffic isnt great. He went ballistic, saying dd had the right to a mid week visit for the sake of her stability, so i let him get on with it. Now though, he seems to think that removing her from me all weekend will sort the tiredness and behaviour out. He also said in the court app that she is gaining weight and being with him all weekend would allow him to resolve this.
The thing is, I have no actual concerns whatsover about tiredness or behaviour, she is full of beans all the time, sure she gets tired, but I have never considered it to be an issue that was worth fighting over.

Its incredibly worrying. Most people seem to think they won't get it, but then my sol said they might have a chance. I only recieved this yesterday and havent had a chance to get a proper appointment.

BTW, ex has applied for shared residency and a court order from fri-mon.

His finishes the court app by saying he would not want mediation with me as I have failed to honour all previous agreements. I have no idea what he means by this. None whatsoever.

Cloverhoney Wed 17-Oct-12 11:53:49

I think maybe speak to a diff solicitor and get a second opinion?

chocoreturns Wed 17-Oct-12 13:30:06

keep asking solicitors until you find one who you feel comfortable with, that you believe will represent your interests well.

FWIW I would expect him to document all these agreements he feels have been ignored (ie, provide a copy of these agreements as and when they were made by you to your solicitor - including emails between you both etc, and describe in detail the ways and dates when you 'broke' them) as a first point of call. Just to get rid of the vague-ness. At the end of the day, he may feel he has a point but you can't just make a statement like that and not provide evidence, otherwise it's just a slur/and or an excuse not to behave reasonably and go through mediation. If he has such evidence then you at least know why he is upset and can start to work on the problems in communication, rather than just feel shocked and confused.

Also, can you get your school and HV to assess your DD, and let you know how they feel she is regarding tiredness and health/development. He will be entitled to have the same information provided to him, so it won't be prejudiced one way or the other - it would help you to address anything such as weight if it's a valid point (although I'd question that unless it's really obviously an issue, as many children go out then up! Particularly at a young age) getting some advice from your HV about diet etc can't do any harm - it would show you are taking him seriously, and probably reassure you if the HV can tell you it's not a problem to.

pinguthepenguin Wed 17-Oct-12 16:06:42

Thanks Choco

I have just written down everything you said about getting facts about my supposed breaking of arrnagments. It just hasn't happened. We have often mutually swapped weekends etc, but thats it. DD was sick about two years ago and I cancelled the mid week one and he went crazy at me, so perhaps that was it? He once came and lifted her off my sofa when she had just suffered a burst ear drum and was in agony. I felt too intimidated to stop him, but put my foot down when it happpened again, so perhaps this is what he is referring to?

I will be seeing my sol again on fri - he couldnt see me yesterday, but just briefly said over the phone that they might get the shared residency they are after. However, he sent me an email this aft which says that in terms of the contact itself, he will be striving to show the court how unreasonable a proposal this is, and that the big guns walk to straight to court is just another method of bullying.

Regarding the weight issue. This has been going since dd was about a year old and is very distressing. I actually thought it over as ex stopped talking about it quite a long time ago when dd seemed to stretch up. However, it was most bizzarely mentioned in the court application as a concern, so I guess we are back on to it again[sad[. When they first raised concerns, I disagreed with him as dd was so tiny, however, he was up to all soets of tricks like telling my cm to cut down her milk, going crazy with me when he found out cm gave dd a packet of crisps once. I took dd to her HV for her 2 year check up and they said she was fine. I then took her to the doctors, and he said she was fine. EX would not let it drop though and wanted dd to go to a paed. I refused on the grounds that she was not overweight according to her centile charts and that I felt he was harrassing me.

I will of course now go back to the HV. BTW, she had her school checks in june and passed them no probs?

pingu

NotaDisneyMum Wed 17-Oct-12 17:10:37

pingu does he know how much it bothered you when he raised the issue of your DDs weight in the past?

He's pushing your buttons (well, his DW is) - and he will inevitably push the ones that he knows work best sad You have to try not to let it bother you - if he raises thw issue of your DDs weight, then agree with him, say to him that you agree that keeping her weight under control is important and that you have regular contact with the practice nurse/GP/school - and would he like their phone number?

Never defend yourself - that's what they want. Agree with everything he throws at you - but work it through to its logical conclusion and invite him to be involved.

Please, please don't worry and try and see this for what it is; a pathetic attempt by a weak man and his insecure wife to maintain control of you and the parenting of your DD.

pinguthepenguin Wed 17-Oct-12 18:32:06

NADM- we frequently argued about his interpretation of dd's weight, yes. I felt it was grossly exaggerated and untrue, so didn't agree she needed to see a paed. My ex tends to go from 0-60mph in a split second, (as evidenced by this court app) in that he immediately wanted a referral to a paed, to get to diagnosed with clinical obesity, whereas I said we should just sort it ourselves ( even though I didn't actually believe dd was overweight) - I just didn't want to go down that road for a little baby that wasn't even walking yet!!!!

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 14:39:37

Wow - whilst I'm not sure about your attitude that one night a week was okay, and that he had to fight tooth and nail for two nights - I can completely understand that every weekend is just completely unreasonable of him!! I seriously think you need to find a new solicitor, one who is on your side and hasn't lost the battle before it's begun.

There is no way that it is in the best interests of your daughter to not have any weekend time with you. Don't let the initial letter get to you. They are deliberately harsh and he ahs no proof of the things that he has said as there is none.

Offer mediation, make it clear that you are committed to making the mediation work for the sake of your daughter.

Every other week Fri-Mon plus a week night is probably best, but not knowng your daughter, I couldn't say for sure. What i would say though is that I don't think hte current arrangement is good, particularly as your ex is clearly not happy with it. It is likely that when your daughter gets older, she may feel (egged on by dad) that you held her back from having a relationship with her Dad. Have I missed why you feel that you don't want your DD to see her dad a bit more?

Good luck with it all. What a nightmare.

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 15:27:29

madeline - thanks for the reply.

I didn't want dd to only spend one night with ex - she always went a night in the week as well as one at the weekend. What I meant was that when dd was still 3.9, and her half-sibling was born, he suddenly insisted on it being one fixed night in the week, as opposed a different one each week. There was nothing wrong with that at all, and I agreed instantly. However, I had to change the fixed night on TWO occassions ( one when dd was ill, and once when she was sceduled for her final injections) and he went crazy, threatning with me legal, saying I was sabotaging their family life etc. His dw became involved, saying I was obstructive, et etc. I could not convince them that the nights would occassionally have to be changed in dd's interests. They agreed by email that they would agree to occassional changes, but the reality is very different, they simply go nuts at the slightest suggestion of a change, so I just don't bother. There is literally no other ocassion where mid-week contact has changed from the fixed one.

I have always been happy for 2 nights week. That is clear. He has never actually requested more and he seemed happy with the arrangement. The first I knew he wasnt happy with it, was when a month ago he asked me to swap to every sat and sun night as the 'mid-week' driving was a pain. I said I would think about it. I offered to do one of the journeys. He said 'that wasn't what he was getting at and it didnt matter', and the conversation was dropped.

I am most surprised therefore, that he has now gone for he jugular. Nothing in his court application sounds like its for dd's interests, depsite how he has tried to paint it. It is such a shame as well, that rather than say that he wants to change her routine because he misses her, he made his case by saying I was an inadequate parent, dd needs stability, she misses him and feels left out, I leave her with strangers, blah blah.

sad

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 16:19:41

It must feel like a big insult after you e basically raised her on your own thus far.

However, best put all that behind you and try to forgive all that to be able to move on for your daughters sake.

So what your solicitor said is that your ex will get shared residency, which he will - there's no question of that. But that doesn't mean he'll get the stupid every weekend thing. So because he doesn't want to drive during the week, he expects you to do all the boring stuff - after school clubs, dentist etc (and pay for the childcare I assume) then have his shiny faced off spring delivered to him for weekends of fun and japes. angryangryangry

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:32:32

yes a big insult and a lot more besides. There is obviously some back story ( isn't there always?!), however, this is the crux of it. Horrible situation tbh, I just want a fair situation for my dd, and the rest of us.
Part of me thinks he must know this is a crazy idea. He can't possibly think its ok to make a demad like this

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:37:14

btw, ex states in the court application that I moved 15miles away and therefore have placed terrible financial and emotional barriers on his current family as well as dd, given all the driving.

What he failed to mention is that I actually only moved 9 miles away and that he moved first, to be with dw - 6 miles from where we used to live. When you total the difference, he has to travel 15 miles to see dd, but that some of this was down to him. I offered to do one of the journeys, but he wasn't having it, so it seems this was his agenda all along.

Do you think a court will berate me for moving 9 miles. We moved from an area of deprivation to a lovely village and great schools. Ex himself commended me on it at the time, saying it was great for dd. Now its in the court app like I did it for my own selfish reasons. 9 miles!

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 16:46:34

Oh for fucks sake no. Get the evidence you need for the dates each of you moved. It sounds like he moved the same distance as you!

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 16:48:55

I think he's asking for the ridiculous so that when a compromise is reached, it is what he actually wants.

Which I imagine is the EOW arrangement and maybe a day in the week. You need to make peace with that arrangement I think.

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:59:44

It had crossed my mind that he was asking for something so stupid in order to negotiate something akin to what he wants, however what confuses me, is if he has refused mediation and is dragging it straight to court- where is this compromise supposed to take place? In the court room?

In terms of the actual contact itself, EOW and a midweek is pretty much what he has now, and i have no issue with it, so why drag it to court? It crazy.

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 17:03:03

Madeline- he moved when dd was 6mo, i moved when she was 2.5.
He wrote on the court app that we 'lived very near each other until recently, when the mother decided to move 15 miles across the city without notice or consideration for father"

I moved almost 3 years ago, not very recently! Seems like he ( or his DW) actually are scraping the barrel with accusations tbh

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 20:37:23

Definitely. Gather your proof ASAP. Although its only half a day more a week, I think it would help your DD to have a proper relationship with him tbh.

pinguthepenguin Thu 18-Oct-12 20:56:22

Will a judge want to see the proof at the first hearing do you think? I've not had the court papers yet, so no idea when all this will happen

madelineashton Thu 18-Oct-12 21:44:55

Maybe not, but best knock it on the head from the off I guess

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Oct-12 22:17:49

It's unlikely that a judge will ask for this though - your solicitor/barrister would present it to the court to undermine the statement made by your ex- it may even feature as part of your own statement when one is required.

My DPs statement wasn't written until after the first two hearings - by which time, his ex had shown her hand and my DPs solicitor was able to write a statement that focused on the issues that they knew his ex would bring up in order to support her case (which was that the DCs should have no contact with DP) - DPs statement effectively neutralised any of her accusations and arguments.

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