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To think there must be something my brother can do?

23 replies

MaryPoppinsPenguins · 26/08/2015 22:33

I'm asking on behalf on my brother, who is really struggling with his ex over seeing his two DC.

They split a couple of years ago, and not amicably, but she let him see the kids occasionally and he just got on with it.

Now his DC are 6 and 10, and he is desperate to see more of them. He pays what she has asked for, as well as for extra things like his share of activities, and if they need a new bike or anything... He has a suitable place to live with a lovely GF and a bedroom for them, only a stones throw from their school...

He has asked his ex if he can have them one night a week and one night at the weekend, as he's like to be more involved with taking them to school, helping with homework etc, and as he always works one weekend night, he could see them the other one.

She has countered by saying 'you can have them every other weekend and that's it.' But with the following restrictions:

Not on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day
Not on Easter Sunday
Not on their birthdays
Not if they have a party to go to
Not if she has previous plans or a holiday booked and just as an added bonus...

Anytime she finds it inconvenient. Hmm

He's obviously devastated. Is there anything he can actually do?

OP posts:

MaryPoppinsPenguins · 26/08/2015 22:34

I should say, obviously he's accepted having them at the weekends, but because he has to work on of the nights, it means that for a large portion of the time he has them, he can't spend any time with them.

OP posts:

MidniteScribbler · 26/08/2015 22:36

That's what lawyers are for.


AcrossthePond55 · 26/08/2015 22:37

Sounds like his only option would be to take her to court for an access order. He needs to see a solicitor.


MaryPoppinsPenguins · 26/08/2015 22:38

So he should just get a solicitor? He's just heard a lot that even if he goes down that route, it won't mean anything and they don't usually enforce fathers rights? (I could be totally wrong!)

OP posts:

wannaBe · 26/08/2015 22:40

he needs a solicitor. They will certainly enforce the contact order - if she breaches it then he can take her back to court, etc.


MaryPoppinsPenguins · 26/08/2015 22:44

So is it acceptable for him to ask for this time?

OP posts:

happymummyone · 26/08/2015 22:45

She's not being fair. My exDP has my DD every other weekend, he used to have her on weds too but then he got a new job so he couldn't do it anymore. We alternate christmas, so one year he has her as eve and until tea time on as day and then I have her until new year and the next year it's the opposite. If either of us have holidays we are more than happy to swap weekends, give extra weekends to each other etc. we just try to be flexible when we need to be. The kids aren't her property, has she even asked them what they might want? He sounds like a very willing and loving father, what a shame she deprives them of that.


DisappointedOne · 26/08/2015 22:47

BIL has just been through it. Got every other weekend inc Sat night (wanted Fri too but was refused for now). Wanted every other Xmas eve but was refused by the court as mother claimed to be religious (she's not) and got mid-afternoon Xmas day till bedtime on 27th every year instead.


Macadaamia · 26/08/2015 22:47

It's very reasonable

He can get every other birthday/Xmas/half of hols etc v v easily. Judges will see what she's like quickly

She's in for a shock


happymummyone · 26/08/2015 22:48

Sorry there was no practical advice there, and I can't give you any. She's using her kids to upset him.


MaryPoppinsPenguins · 26/08/2015 22:51

Thank you, I know the idea of being able to share Christmas is amazing to him.

OP posts:

Radiatorvalves · 26/08/2015 22:56

My DB has kids jst under 50% of the time. All agreed through lawyers. She didn't fight that bit because she is extremely lazy and likes to have time with her bf. they've agreed every other Xmas, and I think it's a bit ad hoc over birthdays.

Your DBs ex is totally unreasonable and I would think she would lose big time if they went to court.


summerconfusion · 26/08/2015 22:56

There's absolutely something he can do and he should not settle because he assumes he has no rights. The children deserve time with their father especially Christmases/Birthdays. She sounds very unreasonable and like she thinks she holds all the cards. A solicitor is the way to go, they will probably be able to settle something out of court.


sonnyson12 · 26/08/2015 23:09

He doesn't need to see a solicitor, his first step would be to attempt mediation.

With a controlling ex that views 'her' children as property, this may be enough to rectify the situation but from what you have written, I very much doubt it.

He has to attempt mediation, if this request is refused by the other party or a suitable outcome cannot be reached through mediation, he will then be able to make a C100 application to the court for a Child Arrangement Order, which will cost £215 and he can represent himself.

My personal advice for him would be to keep his girlfriend very much out of it and for him not to engage in any further communication with his ex.

Without any doubt she will try and use anything against him and it probably won't be plain sailing but in the long run, he will be able to parent without being controlled by this woman.


sonnyson12 · 26/08/2015 23:18

If he has to work one of the weekend nights then I would suggest that he devises a plan to work around this, replacing that night with another during the week for example.

The 'standard' every other weekend plus one night during the week is by no means a standard.


Fatmomma99 · 27/08/2015 01:44

I'm not saying this to be mean, but - sadly- the world is full of men who just fuck off, pay as little as they can get away with and are not 'there' for their DC, so if your DB is different, then EVIDENCE it, because he will (very sadly) be the exception, and everyone in positions of responsibility will love him, because he will be so rare!


Lweji · 27/08/2015 02:11

Having a court order might make a difference, although I'd try and start with mediation regarding access.

If there is a possibility that contact is not maintained, would he be prepared to take up residency? Or at least ask for shared custody?

The important thing is that he keeps his children's interests at his heart. And that should always enter his discussions with her, or any requests to court.


wafflyversatile · 27/08/2015 02:41

Has she put in writing her amazingly generous offer to let her children see their father a little bit sometimes if it suits her?

Unless there are DV, safeguarding or other issues then I'd go for 50/50. It's a shame he hasn't done so sooner.

Unfortunately I agree that she will be obstructive or even make stuff up. But evidence of her saying he can never have xmas or birthdays or she'll not let him have them just because will not look good for her unless she has already documented good reason.


Cabrinha · 27/08/2015 04:25

I might not be popular with this, but can I throw in another viewpoint?

My split wasn't amicable although on the surface it was - as in, no arguing. But my XH is a lying cheating piece of shit.

From one side, you could say that there was a bad divorce and he hasn't bothered* with seeing his kids regularly for TWO YEARS. That's a lot of day to day childcare that's fallen to her.

*i say hasn't bothered - I'm not trying to insult your brother, I'm just saying how this could look - especially how she may have built it up in her own mind. The way you say it sounds like she offered little, and he took little.

And even now he has weekends, he's not changing his work pattern to see them. She may be awkward, or she may genuinely believe that midweeks are unsettling to routine. I don't think they are - but have reasonable friends who do!

With my ex, actually he has our child weekdays regularly because of my work. We have a non fixed pattern because my work location is variable. Weekends were always "on request" and no request ever turned down.

He never requested to see her at the weekend in EIGHT MONTHS.

Then along came a girlfriend. And (IMO) he wanted to look like Perfect Dad. I don't think I'm just bitter. He split up with her and stopped asking for daughter, got back together and instantly wanted her again.

So look - from her point of view, why SHOULD she give up Xmas, special times with her boys for a man who has been largely absent for 2 years, and (maybe from her point of view) just wants to play happy families now he has a lovely girlfriend?

Of course - she SHOULD (and the law will back him) because it's right for the CHILDREN.

But don't underestimate how hard I gritted my teeth when I offered Xmas Day because XH was going to have big family thing including new girlfriend and her child.

Imagine the XW posting "why do I have to sit on my own on Xmas Day now he decides that after barely seeing them for two years, he wants them?"

She'd be told to pull herself together - but she'd get sympathy too.

Even the kids party thing... Birthday parties are lovely for kids and part of their social life. I had a boyfriend who was gutted to see his son missing out because XW refused to take their son on her weekends. So I can see that could come from a reasonable place.

End of the day, yes for the kids sake he should have much more and more frequent access.

I just think, be careful without the facts not to vilify the ex.

And definitely think about changing the weekend night working.


MaryPoppinsPenguins · 27/08/2015 10:29

I should probably have worded it differently, he hasn't been absent, and he has always asked to see the children more, especially at Christmas etc, but has always been agreeable to what she wanted so as there weren't constantly arguments. There's no protection order, no DV and he has tried but cannot change his working pattern. In his field people have to work weekends, it's not something he can change (and it's been the same since they were together.

OP posts:

abbieanders · 27/08/2015 10:37

I don't want to sound how this will come across, but why hasn't he taken legal action already? He can't be unaware that the option exists. I don't really buy the cause no trouble excuse - has he a plausible reason?


Lweji · 27/08/2015 10:38

It will be best if he has it all in writing.
And he must be prepared to fight a little and stand his ground if he really wants regular and more frequent contact.
Does he live far from them?


scarlets · 27/08/2015 11:10

sonnyson12 seems to be on the ball OP. Copy and paste that advice in an email to your brother.

I think he should find evidence (bank/credit card statements and receipts) of the items he's bought for the children, to counter any false accusation of indifferent parenting.

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