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Rant/support/advice.... not sure what really!! v v long story!

(17 Posts)
benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 18:59:17

Just other peoples views I suppose is what I am after.

My dp has 4 children from a previous marriage. One is 23 and has had nothing to do with me from day 1 - her choice. The middle two are 20 and almost 17, they visit us as regularly as "kids" that age want to visit their father! And the youngest is 9.

The ew and oldest dsd talks the youngest one out of coming to see us all the time. We used to see him every fortnight 10am-6pm saturdays and 10am-5pm on Sundays. He has Aspegers and when our ds was weaning he made a mess (as is usual!!) but dss didn't like it so stopped visiting. My ds is now 3.6 but we still do not see dss.

Last week dp took ew and dss to an appointment. Dss asked when could he come to our house. DP said whenever he wanted to. We go to a soft play evening especially for autistic children (our ds is autistic) and asked if dss wanted to come there with us this weekend. He said yes! Great we thought but as the week went on the questions started coming from ew, we didn;t tell her it was in the evening, dss was thinking about not going etc etc but dss was clearly heard in the background on the phone as saying "tell dadi i am definately going".

Dp phoned today, dss won't speak to him and guess what?? - ew says they are going out and won't be back in time for dss to come with us to soft play.

Ew will not speak to me - has never done so. Is there anything I/we can do without going back to court?? There is a court order re access but how do we enforce it?? Will it cost us to go back to court?

Sorry this is really long (believe it or not I've tried to give you a potted version of whats happening!!)

prettyfly1 Fri 24-Apr-09 19:04:21

The best person to help you I think may be yerblurt - he is really knowledgeable about access and court rights - hopefully he or his wife Er will be around soon and can point you in the right direction. Sorry to hear you are having such trouble - it cannot be pleasant for your dh to go through this - was there anything that triggered it?

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 19:12:44

From my (possibly biased) point of view she is using the children to try to get back at dp still!! We have been together for 6 years and she has always been difficult to say the least!

At first ew said I was not allowed to see the children until dp and I were together for 2 years but after about a year or so the middle two chilren wrote to their mother and asked to see me. As it was their decision she had no choice and said OK but wanted to meet me first. I had no problem with that but she then backed out of that and I met the two middle children. We got on well and still do. DP was only seeing the youngest one for an hour a fortnight at that point!!

I think ew is trying to keep her youngest baby close to her but its not right keeping him from dp and his parents too.

TBVH I don't really care if I see him or not as I've not built any sort of relationship with him (I haven't seen him since xmas and I don;t remember the last time before then!) but it is dp and his parents I really feel for.

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 19:21:22

THanks Pretty I'll hope that yerblurt is around somewhere!!

I've bored myself typing this, I don't blame you all for not reading it!!

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 20:10:01

Yerblurt - are you around??

ElenorRigby Fri 24-Apr-09 20:23:17

He's upstairs putting DSD to bed. I've already gave her a big kiss
He will be back soon

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 20:31:06

OK Thanks. I've been told he is the person to speak to as you can see!!

It's nice that your dsd enjoys big kisses from you!! I've been trying to type that sentence for a while but it always sounds like I am being bitter or something but I'm not, honest!!

yerblurt Fri 24-Apr-09 21:45:13

Tricky situation really, you have a young child who is being unduly influenced by the other child and by mum.

There is the potential for the situation to become more inflamed you realise I'm sure.

Could you re-iterate what the Court order is for, what the parenting schedule is (and for which children).

When was the Court order made and was it at magistrates/county court.

Did the ex have legal counsel (i.e. solicitor)

Any Court orders made after Dec 8 2008 automatically have a "warning notice" written into them at the bottom warning the parties about the consequences of breaching a court order and also the powers available to the Court to remedy a breach (i.e. ordering parenting activities/parenting courses to be attended, community service in the most extreme cases).

If your Court order was made after dec 8 then it is a simple matter to apply to Court to get it enforced - you complete a form C78 (available from the hmcourts website), complete it, file 4 copies at Court with the appropriate fee (£40). A warning is sent out to the other party about the consequences of breaching the order.

Hopefully they take notice - or they dig their heels in more.

Then you complete and file a C79 form (application for enforcement of an order) with again, the appropriate fee, the Court should indicate what course of action it proposes to take to enforce the order. This will usually be by listing a hearing - i.e. you have to attend Court.

... if your Court order is prior to dec 8 2008 then things are a bit more tricky as you have to either write to Court pointing out that the ex is consistently breaching the Court order and request that the Court attach a Penal Notice to the order (i.e. the equivalent of the warning notice that is automatically on all 'new' orders). Many courts for some reason are loath to do this and you may find them either refusing - in which case you will probably have to apply to Court for enforcement of the order, or the Court may list a hearing for both parties to attend.

... so no matter what you do it may end up at Court again. This is no small thing to do (having been through the family court system myself self-representing and no desire to do it again).

Is it possible to try and engage the ex somewhat? Maybe approaching your local family mediation service initially to get them to invite the ex to Mediation - this will at least show willing rather firing off to Court first.

Also, get yourself along to as many local family law solicitors (preferably those that are members of "Resolution") and get a free initial 1/2 hour consultation to gauge their opinion.

I wonder if the ex will hide behind the "It's not me, it's what the children want" mantra (forgetting that if you did everything a child would want they would eat chocolate all day and not go to school)

I would also recommend you get along to your local Families Need Fathers branch to get some practical face-to-face advice

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 22:04:59

Thank you very much for all that advice!! smile

Having just now read this to my dp who wasn't here earlier when I posted, he has just said that although it was drawn up in court he isn't totally sure that it was an actual court order that was made. This is something we will be looking at very quickly!!

Whatever it was, was made prior to Dec 08, in fact it was about 2005. And it has been breached.

At the time they tried mediation but the ew didn't turn up. DP has been to see a mediator recently as they are renegotiating the payments that he is making too now that there are only 2 dc's living at home and not 4. As yet ew hasn't attended.

I think you are right with her hiding behind "its what the children want" but we are very suspicious of that and think that it isn't actually what the youngest wants at all. Poor little fella is stuck between wanting to see his dadi and not wanting to go against his older sister and mum!

We will look into the Families Need Fathers too.

Thank you again, your advice has been helpful and appreciated!

PS I am not trying to text speak by typing dadi instead of daddy - it is Welsh!!

yerblurt Fri 24-Apr-09 22:07:35

no problem, feel free to give me an email off-forum if you or your partner want to discuss things;
jitsuka@hotmail.com

benfmsmum Fri 24-Apr-09 22:13:13

That's really good of you thanks! Can I ask, what do you do?? Are you a solicitor? How do you have so much knowledge on the subject?

yerblurt Sat 25-Apr-09 14:26:28

No I'm not a solicitor but have a certain amount of lay person knowledge, I went through the family court system when my ex-wife decided to try and alter the shared care arrangement for our daughter, applied to the Courts for sole residency, it went through the usual system (couple of hearings, cafcass report etc) and at the end of it all a shared residence order was made (mainly on the basis of the cafcass report which recognised the strength of the relationship between daughter and dad) - it must have cost my ex around 8k for all of this, what a waste of money!

I couldn't afford solicitors (the first one I used was absolutely useless so I sacked her) and self-represented as a Litigant In Person and used the help of an experienced McKenzie friend.

I found Families Need Fathers when I needed a lot of help and support, the local branch was invaluable to me, now I chair my local FNF branch and give back a little of what help they gave me. We run monthly meetings, provide advice and support and occasionally lay legal advice in the form of helping with paperwork, statements and attending Court as a McKenzie friend.

yerblurt Sat 25-Apr-09 15:02:32

Have a look through your files and find out exactly what happened last time at Court, if it went to Court then more than likely an order was made.

However, confusing there is something called the "No Order" principle in Children Act (1989) matters which means that an order (say for residence/contact etc) will only be made if it is in the child's best interests. If it would be better that no order is made then that is what happens (more often than not an Order is made).

So dig out that paperwork and find out what is written on it exactly.

You do have to balance this against the pressure the children will be under. It's not their fault, they are having to live and survive. It doesn't make it any easier I know. Parental Alienation / undue influence / implacable hostility, whatever you want to call it - it will be tricky to tackle and will no doubt require intervention from the Court to investigate the circumstances that are happening know. You will no doubt have cafcass ordered to make a report and you will also probably have to prepare statements for Court.

If you can afford legal representation then do consider it, but also get along to your local FNF branch, whereabouts do you live in teh country?

benfmsmum Sat 25-Apr-09 16:04:02

Hello! We have had a break through today!! Dss was actaully allowed to come here for the whole day (from 10am) and he can come to the soft play tonight and be dropped off after, at about 8.30pm!! He is having a lovely day and our ds is really enjoying having him here to play with too. Even though we only had about 50minutes notice to pick him up we obviously jumped at the chance to see him!!

We will dig out the paperwork. We live near Swansea. We do have a very good solicitor on board at the moment (from Bristol) to help deal with the money issue. He is very expensive so we have arranged what sounds like the same situation as you describe where dp represents himself but with advice. This is what he did before but it seems now that the advice was not very good - but that is a whole other story!!

Sounds like you've been through the mill in your situation!!

Can I ask, do you know if/when the children are asked their opinion/feelings if it all goes to court? Is there an age when that happens?

Must dash now as we are getting ready to go out - football in the park between showers I think!! grin

yerblurt Sat 25-Apr-09 17:57:33

Glad that this has happened - obviously the children will have a great time and I think it may advisable to be keeping a diary of EVERYTHING that has happened - phone calls, what happened, what was said, also take lots of photo's so that there is a visual record of things.

It's so much easier to pull out a load of photo's if, say CAFCASS are ordered to do a report, and show the evidence of child feeling at ease, enjoying a normal parent-child relationship... thus demonstrating there must be some other issue going on i.e. at mum's home.

I understand about costs, they are a big issue - let me guess, the ex is eligible for legal aid???? How did I guess!!

If you are in swansea, there is a new FNF branch that has opened recently, have a look here;
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/fnfswansea/

Mathew Mudge runs the cardiff FNF branch which is quite active.

I would recommend you get along to the Swansea branch, FNF are a gender-neutral branch and in fact about 1/3 of our membership are female. Go along with your partner and get some good advice, they meet here;

Last Thursday of each month
7.30 pm
The Vivian Arms Hotel, 104 Gower Rd, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BZ
Email: fnfSwansea@ntlworld.com
Tel: 01792 429695

keep strong!

benfmsmum Mon 27-Apr-09 15:59:29

Thanks for the FNF info - We are just waiting to find out about dp's work commitments that may mean he has to go to London on the last Thursday this month but will definately try to get along soon.

You are right about ew and legal aid!! Need I say more!!

We had a chat with dss on Saturday who said that he wanted to come again and asked if he still had a bed here (we've just had some major building work done in the house). We showed him where he would sleep and told him that he could come at any time he wanted to. Unfortunately he said he had a headache and wanted to go home before the softplay on Saturday but at least he knows that if he comes to us but then wants to go home then its OK and we won't make him stay! We'll see what happens in a fortnight when he is supposed to visit again!

I think knowing that support is there and that others are in the same boat is helping dp even if he hasn't actually spoken to anyone else yet!

Thank you yerblurt!

seeingclearly Wed 10-Jun-09 11:47:38

I've just been plunged into the world of a threatened Sole Residency Order with my ex-husband.

I have an autistic daughter who is emotionally immature for her age (she is aged 15, I think her emotional mental age is between 10-12 years.)

Will the courts take this into consideration, I am anticipating the involvement of CAFCASS. We have been referred to a child and adolescent psychotherapist by her psychiatrist. Will this be taken into consideration?

It really needs to be in my opinion...

I also strongly suspect Parental Alienation Syndrome - PAS - has been deployed by the other side and am hoping to ACTUALLY prove this

Any advice gratefully appreciated.

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