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ExW changing custody arrangements again!!

(20 Posts)
sadandanxious Fri 20-Jan-17 12:46:22

We were due to have DSD this weekend as per what they agreed before Christmas. Their original arrangement was every saturday just in the day. Then they started introducing overnights but it got stressful for all as ExW kept changing the arrangements depending on her social life -often on the day we DP was due to pick her up. After a few months of this DP finally got fed up of the constant changes and no routine. They agreed that he would have DSD every other weekend from Friday night to Sunday night. This was agreed before Christmas and we thought all was good.

Now today out of nowhere ExW has text saying she doesn't want to do it any more and that they have to go back to every Saturday. We are supposed to be picking up DSD after work and we have plans this weekend with DSD and friends of ours who have DC of the same age! It's stressing both of us out this constant changing of things. Now we have no idea if we'll even see her at all this weekend.

Would going to court actually help with this? DP has had enough and tbh so have I even though I try to stay out of is as much as possible.

Bobochic Fri 20-Jan-17 12:51:38

Yes, you need to agree a fixed routine officially. Your DH's exW is pissing everyone around to fit in with her personal agenda. This is deeply unreasonable.

Wallywobbles Fri 20-Jan-17 13:00:29

Court is the answer IME. Its bollocks but you'll get more than now.

Lunar1 Fri 20-Jan-17 13:55:14

Can he try replying, sorry that doesn't work for me, I'll pick her up as planned.

It's worth a try!

sadandanxious Fri 20-Jan-17 13:56:05

wally you're right it is bollocks.

I guess we'll be spending some of out house deposit on something that shouldn't even be an issue for reasonable people angry

My concern with court is what happens if she changes her mind and doesn't want to stick to it? Can they actually force her?

sadandanxious Fri 20-Jan-17 13:56:34

Lunar he did reply with something like that but she's ignoring him

iogo Fri 20-Jan-17 14:01:18

It's a while since my experience as DSD is now a adult but IIRC you can ask for a Prohibited Steps order which prevents a certain action and so that if a party breaks the arrangement, they can be arrested. We had one regarding DSD's name and withholding of contact. We'd probably never have actually had her mother arrested but it was a good deterrent.

AdoraBell Fri 20-Jan-17 14:03:45

Definitely court. And if she refuses to stick to a court order you notify the court. It will cost money but the alternative is that you and DH, and the child, dance to her tune until said child finally asks -Dad, why the fuck didn't you grow a back bone and do something about it?

Lunar1 Fri 20-Jan-17 14:04:09

When you get to mediation or court request that the handover is done with him picking her up from school Friday and dropping off Monday. She'd be less able to manipulate things.

reallyanotherone Fri 20-Jan-17 14:08:58

My concern with court is what happens if she changes her mind and doesn't want to stick to it? Can they actually force her?

Ime, no.

Many people here bang on about how dads should "always fight" amd "never give up" , or they're shit dads.

But the reality is a mum with a dependant child will not be arrested or imprisoned for defying a contact order, as it would be too detrimental to the child.

You'd have to take her back to court every time she broke the order.

You could try a strongly worded solicitors letter forst and see where that gets you.

How old is dsd? Can she make her own decision on whether she wants to visit.

sadandanxious Fri 20-Jan-17 15:15:53

That's unfair Adora not everyone can afford court!

really see I agree with you and that's my concern. Unfortunately DSD is only 5 - so we have at least another 10 years of this rubbish.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 21-Jan-17 08:00:58

OP you really don't need lots of money for a Child Arrangement Order. It's £215 and the vast majority of people do not use a solicitor . You download a form C100 from HMCTS fill it in (3 copies) and send it off.
You will then be asked to attend mediation where both parties will have to pay about £200 . At mediation the lawyer in charge (not your or hers - an independent specially qualified mediator ) will try and get an agreement that the court can rubber stamp. This becomes binding. If you can't get an agreement then you go to the family court and have a hearing where the judge will listen to your side (your partner - you won't be allowed in, only the natural parents of the child concerned are allowed in court unless the judge says otherwise) he will listen to the mothers side and then make an order.
These days they start from 50/50 but most orders are still fairly traditional in that father can't have/doesn't want more than every other weekend and an evening in the week. Unless your partner poses a threat to the child's welfare in any way, then should have no problem at all in getting an order you can ask that the order has a 'power of arrest' attached. My DH order for his kids had this.

I completely disagree with the poster who said that they never enforce the order. We have been back to court 5 times in the last decade. £95 a time for enforcement hearing where the mother has been sentenced to over 100 hrs community service, a week in prison (the children came to stay with us) and finally two eldest voted with their feet and decided to come and live with us. Judge agreed and awarded residency. I won't deny it's hard work and you have to ask yourself if you are doing it for the children or to score points against ex (it did feel like that at times) but children always assured us that they wanted to see their dad - so we kept going. Over a decade in and youngest is 14 but she still tries to manipulate the youngest but she can now make her own decisions. At the end of it all, it has been a nonsense and only alienated ex from her own children which is very sad.

Chuffingchuff Sat 21-Jan-17 08:07:35

Hi OP, we had similar experiences years ago and went to a solicitor for advice. We managed to sort out agreed contact through letters from solicitors rather than having to go to court. Cost a couple of hundred pounds but has been a million times better for everyone involved since as we all know what we are doing and everyone has stuck to it.

sadandanxious Sat 21-Jan-17 08:08:35

That's reassuring to hear Marilyn

ExW will not attend mediation if she has to pay for it. Does legal aid still exist? What happens if one party refuses to attend?

I know I wouldn't be directly involved, I don't want to be. I just want to be able to support my DP as much as I can through this.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 21-Jan-17 08:14:08

The same for me OP, I didn't go into court. Just sat outside with him before he went in and provided general support . (I am also a demon form filler 😁).. and he is useless at it so was able to help that way.

If she refuses mediation then you don't do it ! But you can't decide it, she has to not engage with the mediator. Once she refuses to attend or contact etc then the mediator will sign the form to say mediation not affective and you can go straight to court.

If you need help with the form, PM me with any questions and I will help you complete it.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 21-Jan-17 08:16:01

Sorry - forgot to say, Legal Aid only exists where there has been demonstrable domestic abuse. This means it must be DA that was reported to police/gp/other agencies.

sadandanxious Sat 21-Jan-17 09:15:56

Hmm looking into it, it seems ExW may be able to get legal aid for mediation but not for court as she's on benefits. Is that right? If she gets legal aid then I think she'd engage.

Thanks for your offer Marilyn that's really kind and I may take you up on the offer when we come to fill in the form.

Marilynsbigsister Sat 21-Jan-17 13:39:50

Hi OP you are very welcome. However you need to be quite careful with the terms you use. The ex wife will not get 'legal aid' she may well get a 'fee reduction or waiver' based on low income. It's important distinction because 'legal aid' is only accessible to those who have been victims of 'demonstrable domestic abuse' i.e. Domestic abuse registered to the police/drs/social services. Saying she gets 'legal aid' will automatically paint your OH as a perpetrator of domestic abuse which is I am sure, not the situation and would paint him in a terrible light. !

ladydeedy Sat 21-Jan-17 17:01:55

Hi. First of all I really sympathise as I know from my own experience how really frustrating and annoying this is, especially when it keeps happening and it all feels out of your control.
I don't know your situation or the exw of course but I can tell you that a bit of reverse psychology worked in our dealings with DH's exw. Basically DH got so fed up of being messed around (and didn't want to have to go through the pain and expense of court), that he turned the tables on her and said, OK it seems very clear that you don't want/cant keep to a regular agreement and that actually suits me. Let's keep it fluid and I'll let you know which weekends I can do as and when. I'll be in touch.
Needless to say that put her into a major panic as there was no way she wanted to have the child(ren) all the time, not knowing when she could next go out without worrying about getting/paying for a babysitter. Within 10 days she was literally BEGGING him to agree to a fixed agreement so that she would know when she would be free and could plan her social life. I know this wont work for everyone but, depending on how contrary she is (and how desperate to have time to herself, childfree) then it might be worth a go.

sadandanxious Sat 21-Jan-17 19:02:27

Oh gosh, definitely don't want to paint that impression! Thanks! DP would never hurt a fly.

lady that may be worth a try actually especially as she only wants to change arrangements to suit her social life

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