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TOPIC: Controlling ex-wife.

Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16032

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Hi, I hope you are able to offer some advice.

Since seperation/divorce I have always been optomistic that contact would improve however it only seems to be deteriorating. Generally I am having no trouble with the general weekly routine but as soon as I request extra time ie holidays/extended weekends this always seems to present a problem. There are a variety of reasons for this however it is always presented to me in terms of whats best for the children. Non of these reasons are a problem in my or so many other peoples minds, just in my ex's. If what I ask for is not agreed I am then left with no option to agree otherwise I simply will not be able to arrange time with my kids. A recent example of this is the kids (6 & 8) not being allowed to spend time away with their grandparents. Again I saw no problem with this, in fact it should be encouraged but was told it was not in the boys best interest and the only way I could get agreement to collect the kids was I agreed for them not to go away. There have been many other examples,.

I can not allow this kind of control to continue. I have considered going for a contact order which is a last resort but will it remove the negotiation process out of holiday arrangements, will this take away the abilty for the mother to control the time I spend with my kids ? How can it be that the mother has so much control ? I have not got the energy or finances for a long drawn out process, mediatoin has been used before but I feel that mediation only works if I back down. This cannot be fair and reasonable. If there are any other suggestions comments I would appreciate it.

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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16036

Hi G-ster and welcome to the site!

The mother will be seen as the resident parent, meaning that your children live with her and she can currently determine what she feels to be an appropriate level of contact. However she is supposed to be reasonable about this and in the event that she's becoming obstructive you have the follwing options; you can try to work out the issue yourselves, or if that doesn't work you can try to come to an agreement through mediation with a trained third party and, as a last resort, you have the option of going to court for a contact order.

Could I ask what your current contact arrangements are? It seems to me that you do get fairly generous access to the kids, but your ex does appear to be controlling the situation and it's not unreasonable for you to expect to have contact with your children during the holidays.

I think if you threaten court action you run the risk of the mother reducing or stopping contact altogether. Gently tell her of the options open to both of you and make her aware that if you can't come to an agreement yourselves, you'll have to explore the possibility of using a mediation service. The only other alternative is court and, to be honest, it really is a last resort.

To arrange Mediation please go on the National Family Mediation website www.nfm.org.uk/home or contact them on 03004000636.

FM '70

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I've been where you are now. I'm here to share my experience and to support you through yours. I am not qualified in family law, or other areas of family matters. Any opinions I give are my own and any advice should be checked before acting on it.
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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16039

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Thank you. I have the kids every other weekend (Sat to Monday am)and wednesdays/thurs AM's to school. I would like to extend to Friday evenings as I feel two relaxed weekend mornings will benefit the kids. I try to have the kids 50% of holidays, however this is not always practical as I work full time and can of course only take a certain amount of holiday. Fortunatly/unfortunatly she has all school holidays off and I always find it a battle arranging time. ie her limiting time the boys are away from her to 10 days, yet contradicts herself by suggesting they are away from me for 14 days ! Suggesting that 1 day is too short a gap between hers and my holiday, not agreeing to the kids staying with my parents for 4 nights by the coast, there are many examples in addition to the nitty gritty coments/restrictions put on about the things I do with the kids. In my mind neither parent should now have the abilty to restrict the activities/arrangements made accepting that we both have different parenting styles that the kids will benefit from.

Mediation - been there before with the whole divorce arrangements... In the past the only way to reach an agreement is for me to back down and give her what she wants, I am not prepared to do this with her setting the time I spend with the kids as it always end up to my detriment. I fear it would be the same again, but I am not sure a contact order would solve this problem as to arrange things always requires negotiation. She wants to go to mediation again, I suggested an alternative mediator as I am not that confident with the last one (and that's not just because things didnt go my way !!). She is now threatening solicitors action.

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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16067

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hi what is she threatening the use of solicitors for? I can't see what she would achieve with this..

As she is suggesting mediation again, I would agree to this. Before you go, work out what you would like to achieve, and also what would be the minimum you would be prepared to accept. Go in asking for what you want, but if the mediation looks like it is going to be less than the minimum, then simply don't accept it, and then your next recourse is a contact order. When you have a contact order, your ex cannot determine who you see with your children as long as there are no welfare concerns for your children.

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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16072

Mediation can be a productive process, but you both need to be willing to give it a go. I personally don't think you're asking for anything unreasonable. Alternative weekends and an overnight during the week are a pretty standard contact arrangement for non-resident parents who live near their children. It is not unreasonable to expect to have generous contact over holidays and special occasions. Once you have the kids for your agreed period of contact it should be entirely up to you where they go and who they see. Obviously you can't take them out of the UK without the mothers written permission or a court order, but visiting grandparents by the coast is not an unreasonable expection. I can't see a court refusing a request like this, unless they had genuine welfare concerns and I doubt that's an issue here.

I'm pretty certain that you're not going to be any worse off by making an application for a contact order, but the court will expect you to have tried mediation before taking court action.

Is your ex adamant that she wants to use the same mediation service? One of the other dads who uses the site often suggests going straight to court to make an application and exploit the fact that they are likely to order mediation anyway. The difference with this approach is that, by agreeing to attend court appointed mediation, you can ask for any agreement that you arrive at to be brought back to the court and enshrined in a court order. If you can't come to an agreement then a court will look at your application and make a decision.

If you go to mediation now and come to an agreement, you run the risk that she may go back on it at some point and you'd be right back at square one. Maybe your strategy should be application first, citing that you can't agree on a mediation service to use, then agree to court appointed mediation and just see what happens?

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I've been where you are now. I'm here to share my experience and to support you through yours. I am not qualified in family law, or other areas of family matters. Any opinions I give are my own and any advice should be checked before acting on it.

Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16085

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Thanks once again for the advice.

I suggested using an alternative mediator, but that suggestion was refused and the threat of current holiday arrangements being withdrawn for this summer (in two weeks time !) and I will apparently be hearing from her solicitor. Quite what they will say I don't know.

Can it be written into a court order that holiday requests can only be refused on the grounds of being double booked and no other reason and also that I am entitled to do whatever I like when I have them(providing there are no welfare concerns or I am going overseas) ?

Thank you

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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16089

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I would say that a contact order for holidays should not even have to consider double booking, otherwise your ex is guaranteed to do just that. The order should be set out in a way that you get guaranteed time. It is assumed that you can take them to see who you wish unless the order states otherwise.
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Re: Controlling ex-wife. 7 years 10 months ago #16090

It's my understanding that once the children are in your care for the period of agreed contact you can pretty much take them to see whoever you want. As long as it's not out of the country and what you're doing doesn't pose any obvious welfare issues...

... and you can ask for this to be written into the contact order, so if your ex breaks the order you can go back to court and have it enforced.

If you don't currently have legal representation you can contact the Coram Children's Legal Centre (CCLC) for some free impartial legal advice. There's a link to their website at the foot of this page...

FM '70
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I've been where you are now. I'm here to share my experience and to support you through yours. I am not qualified in family law, or other areas of family matters. Any opinions I give are my own and any advice should be checked before acting on it.
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