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dp's access issues

(86 Posts)
wheresthelight Thu 23-Oct-14 16:25:01

how easy folks is it to get access orders from court?

dp and his exw agreed via mediation that they didn't want access to be court ordered and would set up a similar agreement via the mediator. this states that we have the kids eow and every Wednesday plus 50% of holidays and every other Christmas and new year (exw was not happy but mediator told her tough shit essentially).

she has started pissing about with contact and getting nasty about it and is now refusing to allow us our 50% over half term. this is setting a worrying president as it is our turn for Christmas and new years this year. our access weekend falls between the two songs should have the kids from xmas eve through to the Sunday and then new years eve through to Friday am. I am fully expecting her to have a couple plate shit fit when she realises this and I am pretty certain she will try and change and or refuse access.

so I am wondering if taking it to court so there are repercussions to her actions in future might not be something to float with dp but how easy is it to do?

HeadDoctor Thu 23-Oct-14 19:44:37

Well you can't get an access order as they don't exist, they are Child Arrangements Orders now.

To be honest I would have thought you offering flexibility over Christmas week would be a good idea. My order for weekends sort of suspends for holidays and we have a set number of nights for each school holiday. I wouldn't be happy not seeing my DC from Xmas eve to Sunday and I consider myself pretty reasonable as far as contact issues go.

You'd need to go back to mediation before you could go to court but if she's messing about with the agreement I'd get yourself clued up about court. Avoid it if you can but if you can't, don't hang around - it's a slow process.

balia Thu 23-Oct-14 19:58:40

I don't think you'll have any difficulty getting an order for the agreed contact - it isn't in any way excessive and is the status quo. It's always worth mediating, even if this wasn't now required by the court - it might help get to the bottom of the problem if previous arrangements have been managed without going to court.

However - and I speak from bitter experience - the sort of person who would refuse DC's access to a parent (obvs excluding situations of abuse etc) is often the sort of person that you just can't mediate with. It does take a while to get a court date so get cracking if you are hoping to sort Christmas. Try here to get clued up.

wheresthelight Thu 23-Oct-14 20:22:47

She was massively against dp having any access over Christmas and tried to demand that she had them every year and he got nothing. the mediator was excellent and basically told her that she couldn't have that and every other year was the only acceptable solution. exw tried to threaten court and the mediator told her she could go but would be the same outcome.

if she wasn't being such a cow about access we would be more than happy to be flexible about Christmas however she forced us to have to cancel our holiday in the summer because in spite of having agreed to the dates for our 50% and then our holiday away she changed her mind 3 days before and threatened to not let us have them at all. we lost a fortune having to cancel and then rebook for a shorter time. she texts every Wednesday saying the kids don't want to come or she has plans for them to go out somewhere so they won't be coming. if dp tries to argue she gets shirty and threatens all sorts. she keeps saying that the Wednesday is "just extra" when it's in the mediation agreement so she thinks she doesn't have to allow it.

Dp is a committed dad and he adores his kids (tiny bit disney at times mind) and he is desperate to still be involved but she makes it so hard. I keep telling him not to speak to her and either do it all via emails or solicitors so that it is documented and when she is being an unreasonable cow there is an official record if it ever does go to court but he thinks she will get nastier and stop contact completely so won't do it (he's probably right).

I read so much on here from mum's who are desperate for dad to step up and parent in both marriages and step scenarios and then you get the sadistic power crazy exw who would want to destroy any relationship the kids could have with their dad. she gives exes a really bad name!!

if he had done anything to deserve it I could understand but he gave her everything she ever wanted but needed to work long hours in order to pay for it so she went off and dropped her knickers for the first and second blokes who looked at her twice. then kicked him out.

wheresthelight Thu 23-Oct-14 20:25:00

Head what makes her so much more special than dp?? we got the kids for 3 days over Christmas last year. our agrees weekend and no more as it was her year. why should dp get to spend Christmas with his kids? why does mum trump dad?

olgaga Thu 23-Oct-14 22:46:43

I think Xmas is a time when you really do have to be flexible. It doesn't sound right that Xmas and New Year can't be shared each year.

It sounds like a rather sad arrangement for the DC.

wheresthelight Fri 24-Oct-14 09:37:29

it was her refusing access to dp over Xmas not us!

olgaga Fri 24-Oct-14 10:16:19

The important thing is that the children have a good time. You're saying it was unfair last year and you want it to be equally unfair this year.

They have to sit down together, with a mediator or not, and try to agree some flexibility for the sake of the DC.

HeadDoctor Fri 24-Oct-14 10:25:49

Yep, agree with olgaga and if you're going to court you will very quickly need to get out of the mindset that you should be allowed to be inflexible because she has done xy or z.

The focus has to be on what is fair for the children (ie seeing both parents at Christmas) and not what is fair for either parent.

In theory neither parent should trump the other but that doesn't always happen in practice particularly in the lower level courts where, in my experience, magistrates are too nervous to make effective orders.

wheresthelight Fri 24-Oct-14 10:30:12

i am not saying last year was unfair at all, i am saying that the agreement was in place for last year and as a result dp had to miss out on time with his kids hence this year it is his year to have them and that is fair.

The kids are fully aware of when they are with us and that they won't see their mum and couldn't care less. In fact DSS said to dp on Wednesday that it was only fair as he didn't get to have them last year so they are quite happy. He is excited at seeing his newest cousin and having christmas with dd as they missed her first christmas as it wasn't our turn.

DP has told exw that he is happy to negotiate over new year and for her to have the kids if she/they want that but she has plans to go out so doesn't want them. she wants them Christmas Day every year and that simply isn't going to happen.

PackOff Fri 24-Oct-14 11:03:16

Has mum even asked what the children want or is she of the mind set of she decides?
It sounds like she agreed last year because it was "her turn" but because it's dad's "turn" this year she doesn't like it. She seems to agree in principal for an easy life but won't put in to practice.

If it's what the children want then surely their wishes should be respected. They have a sibling whom they haven't had a chance to spend Christmas with yet. Surely dad should get to spend time with them at Christmas too? Especially if he's fully involved.

Mum will get them next year.

PackOff Fri 24-Oct-14 11:06:17

Sorry, "get them" sounds like ownership. What I meant was Mum will get to have Christmas again with them next year. She could even have Christmas with them this year but on a date when they're at home with her.

loopylou9 Fri 24-Oct-14 11:06:54

How long has your DP and his ex been separated? It sounds like it's quite a new arrangement?

I have been on all sides of this kind of scenario - I have DS with my ex and DH has 2 DC to a nasty cow of an exw, I've also been the child stuck in the middle.

From the view point of the Mum - at first it can be hard to adjust to not having your children 24/7 and it can be a knee jerk reaction to say/think ''no they're mine, I'll decide what happens/when you have them etc'' but then when the emotions of the split subside it gets easier to see what is best for the kids. So if it is quite a recent split I'd just give it time and try and show that you are flexible and want what is best for the children.
I think what so many parents do wrong is they think that it is THEIR time to see THEIR children. I think you need to word things carefully to Mum. It's not about a Father's right to see their children, it's about the children's right to see their Father and it's about what is best for the kids.

Personally I'm not a fan of court orders unless they are really necessary. For a start they are difficult to enforce so you can spend thousands getting a court order for it to make no or little difference to the situation. In fact, it could make things worse as it would cause more animosity between the two parents.

Your DP's ex sounds very similar to my DH's ex, she's really hard work and everything has to be on her terms. I wish I could give some advise on how to handle that but I can't. I suppose you just have to try and be amicable and I think there needs to be a lot of give and take which is again why I think fixed arrangements and court orders aren't always the best way to go. There will be times when she'll want to swap contact days and there will be times when you want to, so I think flexibility and some give and take is a good idea.

How old are the children? What do they want to happen at Christmas?
When I was a kid I would have hated to not see my Mum on Christmas day and I would have hated to not have a say in what happens.
From being very young (about 5&8 ish) me and my brother decided between us that one year we would wake up at Mum's, open presents and then go to Dad's for xmas dinner and then the next year the other way round.
Looking back now I know there were years my Mum was on her own most of xmas day and I'm sure that was very upsetting for her but she went along with it because it was what me and my brother wanted.

Making decisions for the children only ends up with children being messed up because they felt like they didn't have any control or say over what was going on in their lives.
So if the kids want to spend christmas day with their Mum then respect that, don't try and force contact just because Christmas falls on your normal contact days, I think that is being totally selfish and not putting the kids first.

wheresthelight Fri 24-Oct-14 14:25:28

packoff that is exactly what it is, all ok when she is getting allotment "special" occasions but when it becomes dp's turn then she kicks off.

loupy it's been a few years but until the mediation happened last year she always got her own way. it was only because they had to sell their house that divorce etc finally happened and she was adamant in the mediation that she wasn't going to allow don't have them over Xmas that she wanted them for lunch every year. the mediators excellent and told her that no court would agree to that and that she had to be reasonable and that alternating years was the best way forward.

she hasn't and won't ask the kids. they are 11 and nearly 9, so we have asked them and they want to be with us and their sister. we have discussed the plans that we have ie fil coming for Xmas day, my parents for boxing day, my sister and niece coming over the weekend, it's my niece's first Christmas and they very much want to be part of it and see her. likewise it is my cousins baby's first Christmas and birthday so we are hoping to get down to London to see them and the kids desperately want to see them (again a baby is involved!).

I would love to avoid court and court ordered access but if she gets nasty about it I don't see that we will have any option.

she never asks the kids she just decides it's not in her favour so she refuses access. Dp has never been allowed to see the kids on their birthdays, wasn't allowed to see dss off to his prom etc etc it's like if it's a key event it's only her who is allowed to be part of it. dss was devastated that dp wasn't their for the prom!

HeadDoctor Fri 24-Oct-14 16:53:44

Think purely about court, I can't imagine them putting any weight on the children being able to see your family. We've found it hard enough to just put weight on them seeing their half sister let alone anyone else!

As for Christmas, again, the courts will expect it to be split and if you can't agree Id imagine you'd be looking at a Christmas Day/Boxing Day split every year and then possibly and NYE/New Years Day split as well. I would have thought it unlikely the court would order anything where you got them from Christmas Eve until three days after so ExW (or you on alternate years) doesn't get any of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

But consider the consequences. If she's difficult now you can bet your last tenner she will be significantly more difficult during and after court proceedings and even when it's done it's practically impossible and bloody expensive to have the order enforced if she doesn't follow it.

wheresthelight Fri 24-Oct-14 17:15:36

head I don't doubt it for a second! however the swapping of Christmas day and boxing day was what dp put forward in mediation and she point blank refused. she wanted them for all of it so the mediators basically said she either had all of it every other year or one has xmas day the other boxing day a d swap round every year. this was what she agreed to. I suspect knowing that it was her year and she would essentially get her way because dp wouldn't see them and nit really thinking about what would happen when it was dp's year.

I know the court won't care about my family however the kids do. my family have treated them as "one of us" since day one. even before they met the kids they sent xmas cards and presents etc so the kids felt included. my sister asked them to be flower girl and page boy at her wedding when she had never even met them because she wanted them to feel part of the day and the family.

If she wanted the kids for boxing day then I would happily bully dp into allowing it but she doesn't, she wants them Christmas day or not at all essentially. the kids don't want to be with her for Christmas. dss basically said that it wasn't fair that he always spent xmas day with his mum because daddy is his family too and mummy sees him almost every day. he is very down to earth and has quite a grown up outlook on things. he went on to say something along the lines of Christmas day happens at different times for different people because people are ill or away at war so his Christmas with his mum can be any other day of the year.

PackOff Fri 24-Oct-14 19:04:05

Watch, would she agree to letting you have them Christmas morning/afternoon (so you both get to see them on actually on the day itself?). Unfair as it is, that could be an option instead of going to court?

Parents who think they over ride the other and have the ultimate say really piss me off. If both parents are involved then each parent should be equal with regards to responsibility parenting and spending special occasions with the children. Their own feelings about what they want for Christmas shouldn't come in to it. Surely the children should get some say.

Understandably she doesn't want to be without them at Christmas but neither does dad. The situation is what it is and their own feelings shouldn't be brought in to it. Children deserve to spend Christmas with both parents if possible.

wheresthelight Fri 24-Oct-14 21:06:50

pack - that was what she offered at mediation, the mediator refused it as unfair. my family don't live here and with dp and I having dd the mediator agreed that stopping dd spending time with the rest of her family was unfair. and the kids hate doing it that way. they want to be able to have a lazy morning, open presents and get to enjoy them without having to rush everything to get back to which ever parent they are off to next. they did this the first year dp and I lived together and I had dsd I. tears because she didn't want to go as she wanted to play with her toys etc.

we could agree to it but next year when it is her turn she will refuse to do it because it's "her turn".

she is a genuine pain in the arse over contact. she has one set of rules for us that we have to adhere to and a completely different set for herself. what she fails to see is the damage she is doing to the kids!

I have had her kids sat on my lap on tears over things and when I then ring her to tell her what is going on ie bullying at school she just dismisses it as "kids being kids". dss got himself in a right two and eight over his year 6 sats because he was told that he wasn't doing as well in his comprehension exercises, it was discussed at parents evening and dp asked the teacher what we could do at home to help him and explained that I have an English degree and some teaching experience and was willing to help, exw dismissed it saying it wasn't hers or our job to help him that is why he went to school and asked the teacher what he was going to do to sort it. Dp made a separate appointment to see the teacher and took me so we could discuss and we followed the advice given my the teacher and dss improved leaps and bounds and got the grades in line with everything else instead of significantly below.

olgaga Sat 25-Oct-14 00:26:57

You do seem to have an enormous amount of hostility towards the ex. Is it possible that this is what makes her so reluctant to compromise?

You do realise that you and your extended family will have no role whatsoever in any court proceedings?

Personally it sounds like you are putting pressure on those children and making everything a lot more difficult for them.

Never forget that children in this situation will say what they think you, their DF and their DM want to hear.

wheresthelight Sat 25-Oct-14 05:52:46

olgaga there is a huge back story surrounding her neglectful behaviour towards the kids and deliberately trying to destroy dp's relationship within kids so yes I am hostile but never in front of the kids or her. mainly because I have very little to do with her these days.

the kids are smart and will do and say what they want. they aren't manipulated - at least not by us.

and if you actually read my comments I have already replies to head that I am perfectly aware my family is not a concern of the court but that the kids are very close to them and it's them who want to see them.

don't start having a go at me when you clearly can't be bothered to read

HeadDoctor Sat 25-Oct-14 06:43:26

They might not be manipulated by you but I'd agree with olgaga that children tend to say what the parent they are with wants to hear.

My ex husband and I get on really well, we've shared care for a long time but yesterday one of my DC spent all day telling me he didn't want to go on a trip with his dad, he hated it, it was boring etc etc. His dad arrived, asked if he was excited about the trip and DC gave an excited yes! First time in a long time I've seen it happen but gave me a clear reminder that children from divorced families can be conflicted in what they want.

And if they are that smart, they've probably picked up on your hostility towards her and if you're going to court or supporting your DP to go to court you'll need to get the hostility under control as the courts are not even slightly interested in he said she said.

loopylou9 Sat 25-Oct-14 09:22:30

I totally agree with HeadDoctor, children will say what they think the parent/adult wants to hear.
My DSC slag their Mum off to me on a regular basis, I never say anything back other than sometimes 'don't speak about your mum like that', I never join in, they have never seen me have an argument with their Mum but clearly they think it's what I want to hear.
I have no doubt that they love their Mum and I also know that even though they are always have a great time when they come to our house, they go home telling their Mum that it's rubbish at our house, we never do what they want to do and that I'm horrible to them.

From a Mother's perspective I would never allow a situation to arise when I wouldn't see my kids for the whole Christmas period. I'm hope that you don't get your own way because I think you are being very selfish about it. Your posts mostly talk about you and DP and your family.
Of course the kids want to see their Mum, open their presents and see their Mum's family over xmas, they also want to see their Dad and his side of the family.

I doubt that you'll ever 'win', how can you? She has the ultimate say over what happens and although that isn't fair it's a sad fact and the sooner you realise that the easier things will become.
You seem more focused on winning the fight and getting one over on their Mum than you are about doing what is best for the kids.

Your situation may not be perfect and maybe your DP doesn't get the amount of time with his DC as he would like and deserves but at least you have regular, consistent contact which is a lot more than a lot of absent parents do.
Do you really want to spend thousands of £££, go through the stress of court proceedings, drag the kids through it all....just because things aren't exactly how you want them?

wheresthelight Sat 25-Oct-14 09:35:09

it's not "my way" it was what she and dp agreed in mediation and she stuck rigidly to it last year but now it's not "her year" she has a problem with it.

my point is she created this situation herself, she sat in mediation and refused every scenario that made it for other than them spending a couple of hours with us at some point on Xmas day but with her for the majority of it. that wasn't a fair option for the kids never mind us and our dd. the kids want to be in one place for the whole day - it is what they have asked for.

I not trying to win anything or get one over on her. I just want it to be easy for the kids and for her to stick to what was arranged so that the kids know what is happening and have routine and so do we.

it is in no way for that just because the kids live with her that she gets to pick and choose what dp can be involved in or when he can share in their special occasions.

loopylou9 Sat 25-Oct-14 10:06:30

it is in no way for that just because the kids live with her that she gets to pick and choose what dp can be involved in or when he can share in their special occasions.

I agree that it isn't fair that resident parents do get to pick and choose but sadly that is the reality of it.

My DH NEVER gets Christmas with his DC, he gets them for Christmas lunch alternate years but they never get to wake up with us.
Is that fair? Not really. But would a court order make any difference? No. Because ultimately she has control over what happens and no piece of paper issued by a court would actually make an ounce of difference to what she does or says.
So we just make the best of what we get.

Yes she agreed to something in mediation, tbh she quite probably had no intention of going along with it and probably just wanted to say what she had to to get your dp to agree to her having DC last Christmas.

My point is, other than holding a gun to her head or snatching the children, you can't force her to hand over the children.

Just remember - you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

The more you fight her the more she will dig in her heals and she could always do what DH's ex did and move area so now it's impossible for DH to have the contact he wanted and was originally agreed.

wannabestressfree Sat 25-Oct-14 10:10:43

I am another mum who wouldn't go the whole holiday period without seeing my sons. I wouldn't expect my xh to either though. We split the day and the holiday.
I do think some people just are nasty and malicious though and I think both parents have a right to clear access. I have been divorced five years and we still clash over access related things eg he wanted me to agree two weeks holiday next year in the summer but is refusing to agree what days for Christmas this year. Not long ago this would have annoyed me, now I am not so bothered.
Children do play a role in different households. Like head doctor says they can pick up on subtle things and that can cause friction that's not necessary.
I think the key is flexibility as others have said. I don't think the wail of 'it's our turn' will help. I would email or text (whatever you do) some timings over holidays and offer an olive branch eg would you like them Christmas afternoon? Boxing Day? Etc

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