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Ex turning up on non contact weekends

27 replies

marl · 16/10/2010 21:11

Just wondered if any of you know what the legal position might be on this. Have, for the first time in 10 years of difficult negotiation with my ex, agreed that we would enable our DD to join a sports group that runs on Sundays - ie we both need to take her on our respective weekends. He has now decided that he is also perfectly entitled to come and watch her on his non-contact weekend. I can't really accept this - I normally watch with my husband and our other child and am not keen to mix the two. He has been quite abusive and difficult in the past, and frankly I think this is yet another play by him to be awkward. We have very clearly defined 'contact' in an order but frankly I guess a judge would see this as a petty issue and I have little money or energy left to keep giving it to lawyers. I'm reluctant to stop her doing the activity, as of course it would be me being the bad guy, which is probably partly what he is baiting me with...but on the other hand I can't spend a couple of hours with him on my weekends - albeit not sitting together, but still I'm aware of him there in the group of parent audience - just not relaxing.Last week I just didn't turn up to watch, unlike most parents, so all this meant was he was 'with her' and I wasn't...on a weekend she spends with me. Any ideas? Have spoken to him about this but just got shouted down and told I was unreasonable.

OP posts:
TrappedinSuburbia · 16/10/2010 21:56

If he's genuinely taking an interest in this past time (and you'll know), then i'm afraid I can kind of see his point of view, unless you have a restraining order, I don't think you have a legal right to stop him being there.

I would just stay as far away as possible and ignore him to the best of your ability.

I don't know any of your back story, so sorry if this sounds insensitive.

JeezyPeeps · 17/10/2010 01:00

I think you are being a bit U.

If he is doing this to get at you, the best thing you can do is not let him see that it is. Turn up as normal and watch. You don't have to interact with him.

It may well be that he is interested, and wants to see a little more of his dd - I assume you have her through the week? In which case the chance to spend a couple of hours seeing how she is doing at the weekend in a public place isn't really a biggie.

If you had your daughter just every second weekend I suspect you'd want to take the chance to see more of her too.

Of course, if you have a 50/50 split with care then ignore what I said as it isn't relevant.

GhoulishNightsSpookyNights · 17/10/2010 01:10

Legally, as you asked, I can't see that you objecting to this would be seen as reasonable.

Unless there is reason in the past to make it inappropriate. But even then, if he is just watching his dd take part and not being a nuisance, I would imagine the courts would give him the benefit of the doubt

(some but limited experience of contact through family courts)

Personally I think you are being a bit unreasonable. You do not have to interact with him and i suspect your dd enjoys the extra time her dad is giving her.

My exh has contact every other saturday and often watches ds1 play football on a sunday. He does wander over and try to chat to me and dh but I keep that to a minimum. No difficult history though, he's just a twat Grin

I would love dss Mum to watch a sports day or school play for once, or have some interest in her son, but then she rarely has contact either so not really a comparison.....

NoelEdmondshair · 17/10/2010 07:16

You talk about your DD as if she were a possession.

Frrrrightattendant · 17/10/2010 07:29

I can see where you're coming from but it seems a bit different because of the situation, maybe he genuinely doesn't want to antagonise you but really wants to be there? Hard to tell. How does DD feel about it?

SolidButShamblingUndeadBrass · 17/10/2010 09:48

If he behaves aggressively towards you when he shows up then it's worth taking action, but if he just watches DD, even if you know he's coming along in order to wind you up, really the best option is to refuse to be bothered.

LadyLapsang · 17/10/2010 13:34

Either he genuinely wants to see his DD or he is trying to get to you. You've already argued about it so he knows he is getting to you. Try another track. Be civil but otherwise ignore him. Attend with your DH and speak with your friends. If his motivation is to annoy you, he'll soon give up.

Tippychoocks · 17/10/2010 13:43

It's difficult cos it is more than possible he is doing this to piss you off. But if you dig in your heels on this one, what happens if something you really want to see falls in "his" time?
I think you're going to have to ignore it and keep attending. If he's trying to piss you off he'll get bored soon enough and if not then it's lovely for your DD to have so much support.

maryz · 17/10/2010 13:57

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marl · 17/10/2010 14:52

Thanks all. Yep, I can see it might seem unreasonable. There is a history of abuse really but nothing physical recorded so no orders for him to keep away from me etc. And no, I certainly don't regard her as my possession, but DH and I do probably think that we can choose what we do at weekends who we spent it with!

It's really that while I recognise that 'rights of the child' etc have to take precedence, I do what I can to make sure she has contact but I have as little as possible - I kind of see it as my right to get on with my life away from my ex...and hope that my own weekend time when I'm not working is as stress free as poss. This will definitely make me feel awful in the pit of my stomach every other weekend... my problem yes, but not something as I was anticipating when we hadn't organised her doing activities that require every weekend attendance.

Also I really don't want my ex to have contact with DD2, who has never met him, and I would probably have to actively stop this or stop DD1 introducing DD2 to her dad etc. which doesn't feel good. So maybe the easiest thing to do is keep myself, partner and DD2 away from it until he gets bored or until she decides she doesn't want to do it any more...if. Maryz my DH and I don't go there or anywhere else where my ex would be on the weekends he has contact. We live in different places so that's not too difficult. All a bit of a mess really, but I do think there are times when we do have to think about our own adult needs and happiness and not solely 'what is ideal for our kids' etc. There are certainly a range of options of things to do at the weekend so it's not like this is DD1s only opportunity to pursue this interest. My ex is quite a domineering and aggressive guy who has failed for years to recognise what are appropriate boundaries when you have a. left him b/ divorced him and c. made a family with someone else! So there is lots of potential here for him to start blurring boundaries.

OP posts:
electra · 17/10/2010 15:04

But she's his child too so it's understandable that he wants to support her - at least he's not one of those who shows no interest. I don't know him or the background and I can see your pov if you know that he's doing it specifically to make things awkward for you. But I don't think you could do much unless he's been threatening you recently in which case you need to seek a restraining order. If he's just being irritating, perhaps ignoring him and letting him see that he's not getting a rise out of you will stop his determination.

houseproject · 17/10/2010 15:22

I can hear your comments about needing to feel relaxed but ONLY you can change how you feel about this. He's a dad who wants to support his child - honestly this is the best for her. Sadly the ex can't be erradicated from your life as you share a child. I have an ex and I know how difficult it is but I have to accept that I can't change the past. He is the father - and at one stage I did choose to be with him. All I can do is change how I feel about it. Imagine if you could change your feelings about this and go along relaxed - this really would be the best outcome for your child. I have managed to do this for my daughter and now that she's older she really appreciates it. If you get used to being in the same venue as him then you'll be able to handle the other signifcant events in her life where she will WANT both parents to be around. My MIL refused to meet with FIL after a breakup however soon a graduation was looming and it was a major step for her...sadly the event then became all about her needs and fears when really she should have addressed it years ago.

maryz · 17/10/2010 16:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vespasian · 17/10/2010 16:03

Many mothers, and more importantly their children, would be over the moon if their ex's showed this interest in their child.

You are looking after your dd, she is not a possession.

GhoulishNightsSpookyNights · 17/10/2010 16:28

I do see where you are coming from about not wanting your new dc to have to meet him but i'm afraid that is not realistic, there will be an occasion where your dd2 has some form of meeting and isn't it better for her to see you relaxed about it rather than ushering her away? DD1 will probably want to say " hey little sister, this is my Dad!" and there's nothing wrong with that, dc's shouldn't be aware of our feelings towards our ex's.

Dh and I have 5 dc's and 3 ex's between us, one of whom is a very unpleasant addict, the other two have has their moments but not quite in the same league.

But they are the dc's parents (however crap they may be) and however much I want to protect the others, when the dc's come home from contact, I'm all smiley and polite on the outside when dc's are there, letting the big ones show the little one's off to their other parent.

I take the dc's home and bleach them afterwards though Grin

Seriously though, it makes my skin crawl having them say hello to them and ask questions about my dear, dear innocent babies and I hate that they are being exposed to such people even in such a small way, but that's how our life is and everything is an education to us all.

But I have digressed.

One day, marl, there will be weddings, parties, christenings and although it seems a long way off, if you don't deal with it now you will still be struggling with it then.

My step Dad collapsed at my wedding because he couldn't cope with my Dad being there. He'd been married to my Mum for 15 years by then Hmm

GhoulishNightsSpookyNights · 17/10/2010 16:30

Little ones off bleedin' roaming apostrophe

electra · 17/10/2010 17:24

My ex and I had an acrimonious split and violence was involved but we do still go together to our children's parents evenings. The most important thing to me is that he is still a part of our daughter's lives as much as possible and I realise they need him now, will need him when they get older and I care most about how they feel. Your daughter will feel more secure and will have improved self-esteem if she can see her father cares about her enough to come and support her even when it isn't officially 'his' weekend.

TrappedinSuburbia · 17/10/2010 18:18

"I do see where you are coming from about not wanting your new dc to have to meet him but i'm afraid that is not realistic"

I agree with this, your denying your dd2 knowing a big part of her sister.

I think you really need to try and deal with this for your daughters sake.

gillybean2 · 17/10/2010 18:53

It's no different to sports day or a christmas play at school, or even parents evening. Your Ex is entitled to attend those whether they be in his time or not. If your daughter had an important match or was being presented with a prize would you not be there for her, even if it wasn't your weekend?

You don't have to sit with or even near your ex. You don't have to speak to him or acknowledge him.

Just like he doesn't have to ferry your dd to this sporting activity on his weekend if he didn't feel like it. He is supporting her, by making sure she attends and being there to support her every time she attends. He could easily refuse to take her at all or be busy or find something else for her to do on his weekends if you start being difficult about this. It is a public place presumably and there isn't any reason he shouldn't be there.

You may not like it, but as long as she is happy with it then that is all that should matter.
I know that is hard, but you have to suck it up and get on with it. Otherwise your dd will be the one loosing out here. You have your family there with you to support you through it after all. And if you simply ignore him and stay at opposite ends of the field you don't even have to acknowledge him.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern · 17/10/2010 19:22

I loathe my ex so i can 100% see where you are coming from. But i do agree with all the other posters who say you need to just deal with this and go with it. Neither my ex or i parted feeling friendly towards each other but we make a massive effort to put on a friendly united front for the childrens sake. I felt the same about him being near ds2 but did get over that as the older 2 were desperate to show him off. It does get easier with time to just be civil. Your dd will grow up and thank you for it.

marl · 17/10/2010 21:15

Thanks all. Much taken on board! Apart from the notion of mothers being grateful/'over the moon' for fathers' interest in their children which feels rather 1950s - single mothers who need the support of superman and fathers who are regarded as 'heroic' just for showing an interest. Not sure we'd hear these words used about mothers! Anyway, over and out all. Thanks for your help on this one.

OP posts:
electra · 17/10/2010 21:38

marl - I didn't mean to suggest that - I hope that's not how it came across. Of course you don't need your ex. But any for any child who has the support of both parents that's got to be good for their self-esteem imo.

marl · 17/10/2010 22:26

Ah sorry no electra, your post was really helpful. Earlier there was a comment about being over the moon about fathers showing an interest! It all made me think tho, so thank you! Finished my glass of wine so off to bed.

OP posts:
GhoulishNightsSpookyNights · 17/10/2010 22:59

Sorry marl but I would be 'over the moon' if dss's Mum showed any interest in him or ds's Dad paid him a little more attention.

I live through what not having that attention can do to a child, every single day and believe me it ain't pretty.

If that makes me sound 'rather 1950's' then so be it, but I would be over the moon on behalf of my child, not for my own sake.

follyfoot · 19/10/2010 10:47

My DH watches his sons play sports whether its his weekend or not. They are really pleased that he does and that is all that matters.

I imagine his exW hates it because she hates him, but tough, the boys love it.

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