[Solved] Change of Access
I am divorced for 2 years and have typical access agreement where i see my sons (now aged 9&13) every other weekend and Tuesdays for evening tea plus 20 days holiday. My okder son has been having problems eith his mum for over a year now. Many of the same issues which lead to iur divorce with her anger, screaming, bullying, insulting and at times physical abuse (note my son is bigger than his mim so she is not able to really harm him).
He also has not been reacting well to her and reaorts to also calling her names. This has spilled over into behavioral issues at school. He wants to live with me and over recent school term breaka she has allowed it resulting in him calming down. He has also been seening a school counselour.
He wants to stay with me and change our access which she will not agreed to as she is afraid of loosing her child maintenance although i told her I would not deduct from her payments. Me and her are finally getting along but ahe was hostile to me after our divorce as i had to get a court order to even get the current access and US passports for the boys (i am dual cutizen).
She won’t discuss changing the access and i fear i may have to go back to court especially given his age, the courts will take his wishes into account. She i just continue with current agreement ir go through the courts. I have explained this option to my son and he wants me to go to court. Im just not sure its a great option.
Before you can return to court you would need to attempt mediation to see if you can reach agreement. Sometimes this is enough to make the other party realise that it isn’t going away. If she is clear that you will return to court to settle this, she may give in.... its in your child’s best interests to do so.
The fact is that in another 3 years he can choose where and with whom he lives with, if she drags this on she is in danger be damaging their relationship beyond repair, if she agrees, it’s possible that they can repair the rift between them.
If she won’t relent, I think court is the way to go, leaving this situation to fester and get worse is hurting your son. In the next couple of years his education will take centre stage and its important that he is settled, this is another point that you should make to the mother.
Success at court isn’t guaranteed, but as you mention, at his age his wishes will count a lot more. Are the school aware of why he is having behavioural problems? That would also strengthen your case.
I think the mother needs to be reminded of the strain that court can cause and the implications if she fights it, in your sons eyes, she would also be fighting him... it’s a no win situation for her, even if court falls in her favour.
At mediation you can make all of these points, some mediators offer child inclusive sessions, perhaps it might help him if he is included in the discussions
All the best
Thanks for the advice. I am more then happy to mediate and am already exploring that option. Unfortunately I think it will be similar to when we first got divorced. When she refused to talk, I suggested mediator and when the mediator contacted her she hurled verbal abuse at her.
The school counsellor is certainly aware of her behaviour and has told my son that the school is considering contacting her in light of the physical abuse. I’ve been documenting everything and confident I would win but know she will then spend the next few years “getting back at me” as she did with the first court case.
She also did try private counseling with my son but on the first appointment at the start when they asked her to share her feelings, she reacted violently hurling abuse at the counsellor and left. She did the same when I attempted to visit Relate with her. Within 5 minutes when the counsellor asked about her, she threw a chair across the room and stormed out. Based on that 5 minutes, the Relate counsellor recommended I seek a divorce.
And of course their is the concern about my other son who is only 9. Her anger is currently vented to the older one when I left the household by no doubt when the older son is away, the other son will be the target of her rage.
You do have a further option in the case of physical abuse that’s provable....it’s a criminal offence, you would have to report it to the police, who would want to speak to your son and take a statement from him.
As a parent it’s your duty to protect him from harm, when there’s a serious risk like this, you can keep hold of your son and make an urgent ex parte application for a Prohibited Steps Order and a variariation of the existing order to state that he lives with you.
I’m surprised the school hasn’t contacted Social Services about the abuse as it’s a serious welfare issue. You can speak to them of your own back, about the issues of abuse, although from others experiences, their reactions can be mixed. I would speak to the school about involving them.
The situation for your younger child is a worry, even though he’s not the subject of her abuse, he is witnessing it and this in itself is emotional abuse. Have you approached his school about what is happening with his brother, does he show any signs of being affected by it?
Your son can also speak to NYAS about what’s happening to him. They are advocates for young people and may offer him further support.