Feeling so frustrated and angry! (sorry bit of a rant)(13 Posts)
The situation with my DSCs is really getting me down.
Around a year ago (as I've posted before!) DP's ex suddenly cut DPs access with his DCs quite dramatically, not allowing us to have them on Saturdays at all (unless she needs childcare because of social engagements of course.) So the arrangement now is that DP picks tham up some time on a Sunday, when she tells him they are ready, could be 9am could be 3pm, we just have to wait for her to let us know.
THEN, because they've been up so late the night before they're always SO tired that we really can't do anything. Today all 3 of them fell asleep in the car, which is about a 20 minute trip. There's been tears, tantrums, sulking and none if it is their fault.
AND the reason they're so tired is that last night they spent most of last night in a neighbours garden with some other children and a bonfire with no adult supervision at all. DSD1 and DSS both got burnt, DSS quite badly. And DSD2 has a swolen ankle from a bag of bricks falling on her while they were playing in an alleyway by the neighbours house in the dark.
So now we are the bad ones as we have to deal with this in a sensible way, as well as get them to do their homework because of course they don't do it at their mothers, and their mother is the hero for letting them do what the hell they like.
It just makes me so angry - if it was us being so irrisponsible with the children she, and the court would cut the contact. But as we stand because she is the mother/ main carer - purely because DP was kind enough to let her receive the child benefit all rights to DP have gone.
There's another heated thread going on somewhere else on the boards about the minority (hopefully) of mums who use their kids as weapons and obstruct contact. The OP has had the predictable load of flack for daring to suggest that some mothers DO stand in the way of children maintaining a relationship with a perfectly normal and responsible dad, and that some mothers DO put their own feelings of bitterness and spite above what's best for the kids.
The people who are up in arms about this "slanderous" accusation really should read threads like this. Not only is a fair amount of contact cut without explanation (not fair on kids or dad), any contact they do have is at the whim of the mother who, I can only assume, enjoys wielding some "power" over her ex by leaving him and the children in limbo every weekend until she finally decides what's happening - which is obviously totally unnecessary and fully avoidable.
And then ........ even though this woman is so keen to keep the kids away from their dad, she can't even be bloody bothered to care for them properly and see they are safe when they're with her. The fact two of them were burnt is neglect IMO. What the hell was she doing while all this was going on ? One accident I can understand, but three all on the same night ? Seems to me she doesn't genuinely want to be with her kids (which, although not an excuse for obstructing contact with the other parent, is at least a bit more understandable) but simply wants to spite her ex.
Makes me mad. And I can totally understand why you and your DP are both worried and angry about the situation.
All you can do is try to instill some basic boundaries for these kids in the hope it will give them some security. Has your DP thought about applying for a contact order ?
I agree catsmother, well said.
What a difficult situation for you mummyno2, I can understand why you feel so angry. If she's the parent with care then it wasn't a case of him "being kind enough to let her have it", it's what she's entitled to and should get. It has no bearing on your dp's "rights", of course he has "rights" - or more to the point the children have a "right" to have a relationship with their father. He can go to Court and get a Court Order - has he considered this?
I understand what you're saying and how you must be feeling about it Jammi - I just posted on your other thread.
Our experience was slightly different - once the Court order was in place dh's x has never gone against it. She messed around with the weekly phone calls, not answering the phone, then when dh rang at a different time to the ordered time she'd say "it's not your day you aren't speaking to her". For a few years getting dates for holidays agreed was a complete nightmare. But the contact every 3rd weekend always happened.
Thanks guys. It really has been very stressful and upsetting for DP and I as well as my DSCs.
Surfermum - The issue with child benefit is that some time ago the arrangement was a 50:50 split between DP and his ex. He let her receive the child benefit and therefore child tax credits ect not knowing the implications of this would be that she became the parent with care. At that point DP wasn't paying her any maintenance as such as he had them 50% of the time, handed over the family house to her and paid for the majority of extra things such as childcare, dinner money, school trips ect. DPs ex also earns a fair amount of money herself so wasn't bad off.
About a year ago, DP's ex lied on a CSA assessment form about the amount of 'shared care' and he went through the farcical process of CSA appeal, (where both parties give their side of the story and they believe the mother). As a result she reduced the contact he could have with them.
We have talked to various solicitors in the past who have said that courts are very wary of 50:50 splits so it would be 'virtually impossible to regain that situation.' And as we already have what is deemed as satisfactory contact it would be fairly pointless to take it to court.
My DSCs also have a lot of pressure from their mother to do what she would like in regard to contact with DP. I think sometimes you need to weigh up the benefit of them being with us more with how putting them through the ordeal of court, cafcass etc. would affect them.
Although, if we thought we had even a slight chance we would try to become the main carers. But unless you can prove serious abuse or neglect (and not even necessarily then) there's pretty much zero chance.
Sorry surfermum, but the family court system in england is a joke. If the mother goes along with the court order then yes all may be fine, but if (as in dh's case) the mother blatantly ignores anything the court says, then there is no way to get the court to enforce its orders.
In dh's case, the result was that he had little regular contact with his children and virtually no say in their upbringing and really has grown apart from them. 9 years down the line the children are very clearly the losers in all of this.
Oh I know SofiaAmes. I am so glad that dsd's mum wasn't one of those that ignored the Court Orders.
We used to get frustrated that she would stick to the letter of the Court order and not agree anything additional, when the Court had very clearly told them both that what they were ordering was the MINIMUM and that additional contact was in dsd's best interests and that they should sort that out between them.
I was posting just to show that situations like Jammi's and yours isn't always what happens. I didn't want Mummyno2 to think it wasn't worth going to Court because in dsd's case it was.
I really cannot believe some of the BMs you have to put up with.
My ex turns up whenever he likes, and comes in to play with them! granted this is more frequently than I would like but I wouldn't DREAM of denying access.
Situations like this make me despair of the parenting of children by so-called "parents" be they male or female.
It's such a shame that you have decayed from a equal parenting time shared care arrangement to this farcical situation. The mothers care certainly sounds negligent from what you have described.
It's no surprise that you have had pretty poor advice and experience with a solicitor as IME most high-street family law solicitors are very poor value, offer terrible advice and are only out to line their own pockets. Don't use solicitors.
Sounds like your case is heading towards the family court system unless you and the ex can come to some sort of mutually agreeable parenting schedule at Family Mediation?
I've previously advised 'jojostar' and offered to help 'jammi' on mumsnet (see the "Am I being unreasonable"
Offer to go to Family Mediation, I've suggested draft letters in posts to jojostar, use them as templates.
If the ex won't agree to attend family mediation, then your options are;
- keep living as you are now with the ex pulling the strings and the children not experiencing a meaningful parenting relationship with their dad and extended paternal family
- offer the Mediation route
- if mediation works, wonderful
- if not, make an application to court on a C1 form for a defined contact order, 1/2 the school holidays, birthday arrangements to be resolved, xmas + new year arrangements to be resolved.
I suggest you also have a look at the Families Need Fathers website (www.fnf.org.uk), a national charity dedicated to offering advice and support, and promoting a child's relationship with both parents. You will have access to a huge amount of information and also shoudl get yourself along to local FNF branch meetings for advice. I'm the chair of a local FNF branch.
feel free to email me on 'email@example.com' if you want to discuss off-forum
Thanks Yerblurt, I've read a lot of your advice in the past and have very much appreciated it.
DP has tried to go down the mediation route before but she has point blank refused to do it on the basis that she is 'perfectly happy with the arrangements for the children.'
When we briefly mentioned court to DPs ex before she immediately bombarded DSCs with huge amounts of anti-dad propaganda, which we are still trying to work through with them. If cafacss were to get involved I fear it would be incredibly damaging for them and DP may end up becoming more estranged from them. Going to court is an option we haven't completly ruled out but after a huge amount of thought, advice, conversation we've agreed not to do it at this point.
Having said that I may give DP your email address.......
Smugcolditz- I do understand that DPs ex in in the minority and that most all reasonable/ caring mothers don't act like her.
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