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How to renegotiate contact arrangements

109 replies

harman · 25/09/2007 18:46

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Anna8888 · 26/09/2007 15:21

I've emailed you.

harman · 26/09/2007 15:59

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Surfermum · 26/09/2007 16:02

He sounds an idiot, and you are being perfectly reasonable. Do you think the school would have a word with him so it comes from them and not you?

I'm happy to have a look at the email too. I will email you.

I don't necessarily agree with Anna about handovers though. If things are so bad between the two parties that they can't be in the same space then a third party or neutral meeting point is a good idea, but I know from our experience, dsd is so much happier now that dh goes to pick her up, and she sees her mum and dad being civil to each other and having a chat. Far better than the bad old days when dh used to get screamed at or the door slammed in his face.

Surfermum · 26/09/2007 16:40

I am in the middle of replying - but have just discovered dd has paint all over her face (and it's not face paint) and in her hair. I thought she'd gone quiet. Just need to sort her out!

Surfermum · 26/09/2007 19:49

Ok, Harman - tis done and pinging its way back to you. Feel free to ignore my comments as you wish, I won't be offended!

harman · 26/09/2007 20:30

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harman · 26/09/2007 21:25

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Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 08:39


On the pick-up time - over the past two years I have got it to the stage now where all regular pick-up times are set in stone (holidays are different and have to be negotiated ad hoc). Much, much easier for all concerned.

TBH, I think that asking your ex-husband on a Tuesday to pick the children up early the following Saturday is not reasonable given that your ex is at work that day. Sorry

Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 08:40

Wednesday, even

bozza · 27/09/2007 08:42

Does he work every Saturday harman? Because if so I am not sure your new plans are going to be all that feasible?

Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 08:46

Bozza - Harman says in an earlier post re Saturdays "even when he isn't at work he doesn't come earlier" so I presume her ex doesn't work every Saturday.

But you are right to raise the point. If Harman's ex regularly works Saturdays, that could make having contact time on Saturdays difficult to negotiate.

We are having quite a major renegotiation at present on contact time and I just wish I could sit down with my partner and his ex and talk it through with them . They were always crap at negotiating their joint lifestyle, hence divorce, and he is only slowly getting better at negotiating with her... with an awful lot of coaching from me in the background. Hard work.

bozza · 27/09/2007 08:51

It sounds to me like the ex is being rather cagey with harman about exactly what hours he works in order to have a ready made valid excuse for when his plans don't fit in with hers. Or am I being too cynical?

Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 08:56

Bozza - yes, you are I think.

Personally I don't think that when people are divorced they have to reveal details of their agendas to their ex-es. That's what divorce is - the separation of two lives that were once one.

I therefore think that contact arrangements need to be fixed, with pick-up/drop-off times that every party (including the children, if they are old enough) agree too, and not changed. Though I do think it is good to plan to have an annual review of arrangements - every September, in our case, when we learn what our stepsons' school timetable for the year will be.

Lorayn · 27/09/2007 09:15

Harman, I think what you need to realise here is that these arrangements are not being altered just because it is best for you.
Firstly, children's bedtimes are extremely important, so it is not really feasible for him to be having them for an evening during the week. Secondly, if your counsellor believes that you aren't having much control because of this issue, it will benefit your children to get it sorted, I'm sure, like me, you have seen a million and one programmes where parents are not in control and it is the children that suffer.
Being in control is part of being a good parent, and if he isnt allowing you to be able to do this then of course you have to make changes.
Thirdly, you are the one bringing these children up, sadly it is not always the resident parent that behaves the most responsibly (look at annas case where she seems more worried about the stepsons sleep than the mother) but it is the resident parent who has to deal with getting children to school etc so it is often that they are the ones who can see what effect it is having and therefore should be the one in control of when visitation is acceptable.
Did you get a reply from him last night?

harman · 27/09/2007 09:38

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Lorayn · 27/09/2007 09:51

My exdp also used work as an excuse all the time.
Once he texted me after we had left to take the kids 40 miles to drop them at his mums, saying he was 'working away in kent' so couldnt have the kids for the weekend.
As I was already on the way, I decided I had had enough of it and took the kids to his mums anyway, pretending I hadnt read the text. His mum said 'oh, I thought he said you didnt want him to have the kids this weekend as you were busy with them'
Obviously he was telling me one story and her another, i later found out from DD he came home (he lived with his mum at this time) about an hour later from the pub and got a right royal rollicking about lying.

Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 09:59

Lorayn - LOL Good for you

Harman - are you absolutely sure that your ex can work when he wants to? Most people that have their own businesses are tied down by their clients, suppliers etc and aren't free agents.

bozza · 27/09/2007 10:02

Lorayn well done you. Harman I have read some of your previous posts regarding your ex and his maintenance payments (or lack of them) so have developed some sort of an opinion of him based on that IYSWIM.

harman · 27/09/2007 10:11

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harman · 27/09/2007 10:12

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Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 10:14

Harman - why don't you get a court order determining contact arrangements?

Informal arrangements (albeit confirmed by solicitor's letter) are OK when parents play by the rules, but as soon as they don't it's better to get justice involved IMO.

harman · 27/09/2007 10:19

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Anna8888 · 27/09/2007 12:04

Your solicitor probably wouldn't have been taking into account issues you may have had asserting your own needs and those of your children versus your ex-husband.

Obviously I understand that these things cost money.

Perhaps you could ask a CAB for some advice on this? If you are feeling walked all over by your ex (and even your children) they may be able to help you assert your rights - just as the counsellor helps you assert your own needs within your family and relationships.

chipkid · 27/09/2007 12:08


You are the resident parent. There is no Court Order. The normal course of things is for you to alter the existing arrangements having given your ex fair warning with the email. If he is unhappy about this it is for him to take you to Court in order to obtain an Order for contact in line with what he wants.

You have taken the first step-with very good motives and reasons-the ball is now in his Court so to speak!

You may end up in Court-but see if you can resolve this between yourselves first. Solicitors are expensive and I would not advise you to seek legal advice until it is clear that you cannot resolve this between yourselves.

The very least your ex should do is communicate what he wants and to see if there is any middle ground between you.

Lorayn · 27/09/2007 12:32

Alos, talking of solicitors, he would hae to take you to court, do you think he would be likely to spend that amount of money over this?/
I know my exdp certainly wouldn't.

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