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TOPIC: Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ?

Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98181

  • LYG87
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Hello,

I am after a bit of advice following the break down of my relationship and child access..

Background. 3 Children – Not Married – Together 8 years. Own house together.

She works until 8.00PM on Tuesday and Friday.. 7.30PM on Wednesday. I have always put the children to bed on these nights.

She also has a very busy social life. She went out 19 Saturday nights in 2019, leaving me with the children, and to look after them when she was rough the day after.

Ex-partner started to message other men last year. 3 in total, and all inappropriate.

I ended the relationship in December and proceeded to buy her out of the house.

She purchased new house and moved out last week.

Her relationship with one of these guys became physical in January 2019..

Since then, I have been pretty much looked after the children for 5 nights a week, as went to meet her new lover.

On work nights, she would return after 11pm

Wednesday, she would call him after work and return after 9pm

She goes out with him most Saturdays and every Monday.

I was advised by a friend to make notes of all times when she stayed out – So I have a long list of the times I was the only with the children.

Even my eldest asked on 2 occasions “why does mummy keep going out”

We wrote up a separation agreement prior to the house transfer, but the solicitors advised that because we were not married, this was actually not enforceable,

I wanted a 50 / 50 split of custody, which was doable as I have a very reasonable employer.

She refused to agree to this, and to avoid mediation / court I settled on 3 nights a week, including every other weekend.

We discussed school holidays and said we would work between us to “make it work”…

It is the Easter half term this week and we agreed that I would have the children for 2 days, she would have them for 3..

It was agreed I would have them this Wednesday and Friday and next Tuesdays and Friday.

Next weekend also falls on my weekend with the children, hence I get them on Easter Sunday.

I had made plans already with the family for the Easter Sunday.

I insist on getting everything in writing ( since the affair, she has done nothing but lie and change her story to suit ) , and I have a clear breakdown on a message of what dates we agreed I would have the children over Easter hols.. Her reply to the summary is “superb”

Last Friday she decided that she wanted our Children on Easter Sunday.. I told my ex-partner that I have plans, and it falls on my weekend, so that’s not fair.

Her reply was simply, Fine: But you can no longer have them in the week..

Emotional Blackmail in my eyes, and totally expected, as she has used the threat of seperation / the kids against me for years, when when happily together.. ie in 2017 she wanted me to go Garantor on a breast enlargment... ( she couldnt get finance in her name ) - I refused and she told our children we were no longer going to Majorca ( booked and paid for ) because daddy was nasty to mummy..

After numerous messages yesterday she has now agreed that I can have them this Friday and next Friday, but not on the other days, and she will decide when I can see them in the school holidays.

I was looking into mediation / court options, but she has told me that she will apply for full custody if I go down this route, and I will only see them every other weekend.

Any advice.

Thanks ?

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98185

  • Mojo
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Hi there

To be honest, as it stands right now, she can do pretty much as she likes, there’s no court order and as you rightly said, the agreement isn’t legally binding.

With the amount of contact you have and the fact that she is capable of reducing it to control you, I would seriously think about your options before it happens, not after.

If you instigate mediation and a court application, you will be asking for 50/50 shared care and that the children live with both of you. You have plenty of evidence to show that you have the children a lot of the time, also that she works late on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and goes out every weekend. To argue that Yvan work flexibly and have been having the children to fit around her work before and since the split, you do have a good argument.

Custody isn’t used anymore, it’s the parent that the child lives with and the parent the child visits, but in shared care arrangements, the children live with both parents.

She can’t predict what will happen, she can ask the court to order in favour of what she wants, but there’s no guarantees ... so she is threatening you with reducing contact to maintain control, using your fear of losing your children, it’s not a good look.

We see this so often, she may well cave in at the mediation stage, she may get nasty and start making allegations to get her way. All you can do is to rise above it, don’t leave yourself open to any allegations and carry on being the best dad you can be.

Solicitors are very expensive, but doesn’t let that put you off, if you can’t afford their fees, you can self represent, or use a McKenzie Friend.. and of course we will do what we can to advise and support you.

All the best

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98187

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Many thanks for the reply.

I'm pretty new to this.

From what i understand, i need to go to mediation before i can apply for shared custody via the court ( if it got that far )

Do i need to speak to a solicitor before i attend mediation ? or can we just go to mediation without any legal advise ?

Does the outcome of mediation have any sway in the future.. ie if she agrees to the 2 days, but starts the blackmail in 6 months time again, will a court take into account that she has looked after them for the past 6 months, and i have only had them 3 nights a week..

To what degree do the court dig into these threats.. ie i have it in writing about the agreed dates, along with her chnaging her mind once i say that she cannot have them on the Sunday.

As it stands now, all this is fresh.. She only moved out last week, so for the past 3 months it has been me putting my children to bed for min 4, sometimes 5 nights a week.. If i leave to see how it settles, she will claim she has had them for 4 nights a week for them 6 months and that is the childrens familiar routine..

The other issue is that i am convinced my ex would lie even under oath to make out that she hasnt been out as much as she has, or would rope her sister / mum in to say she was with them, not with the new partner etc..

thanks again

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98194

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That’s right, mediation is a requirement before an application to court can be submitted. There’s no need to speak to a solicitor beforehand.

Anything agreed in mediation isn’t legally binding and she can renege on the agreement. Anything drawn up in mediation is confidential and can’t be shared with the court unless you both agree. However you can refer to the agreement in broad terms.

If she reduces the contact time and it becomes the schedule, it’s more likely that it might set a precedent, that’s why I suggested it might be better to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.

During court proceedings, when you are asked to provide a statement, you can attach evidence such as texts and emails to it and they will be taken account of, at the very least it will show the court why there is a need to have a defined order, rather than leaving it as a matter of agreeing between yourselves.

I wouldn’t concern yourself about what she might or might not say, statements from family and friends usually carry less weight... for obvious reasons.

You could ask the school to provide you with written confirmation that you are fully involved and do more than an equal share of taking them to school. It might be worth talking to the school about the changes as the children may be unsettled and need extra support.

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98212

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Mojo,

Many thanks for the advise.

I have called a mediation company today and am awaiting for them to call me back.

I think it will go to court. I wanted 4/3 , 3/4 but agreed in our seperation agreement to stick to 3 nights, to avoid this. But she ( verbally) always said she would work with me. This hasnt happened, and if i am going to pay £1000s in court fees, i will go back to the original 4/3 3/4.

Re the "statement".. Do i submit the evidence i have at this point ?

When i spoke to a solicitor originally ( 1 hours consultation ) she instructed me to keep evidence of all the times my ex partner left the children to go out to work, out with friends / drinking, or to meet the other man. The ex was also a social media addict, so she is tagged 19 times last year on her saturday nights out !

Do the courts take this into consideration? I dont want to come across as "partner bashing" but at the same time she has litterally left me to it for the past 3 months while she got on with her new life..

Same with the kids "interaction" - i have thousands of photos of doing "fun" things with our children. I take them to the park 7 times a week in the summer. My ex partner very rarely actually interacted with them... ie she would take them to "wacky warehouse" and just sit on her phone while they play...

Not sure whats relevant and whats not ?

thanks

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 1 week ago #98224

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Hi again

No you don’t submit evidence at this point, you can’t as you haven’t made an application. Once the proceedings are underway the court will give you the opportunity to file a statement which you can attach your evidence to.

There are ways of providing information to the court so that it doesn’t look like partner bashing. For instance you would just say that you have been completely happy with child arrangements that have been in place long term, even after the split. Your flexible working complemented her hours of work and meant there wasn’t a requirement for childminders, which the children benefited from. That your ex’s social life has always been accommodated without a problem, as you were happy to stay in and look after the children. Regarding spending time out with the children, you can say that it was just something that you and the children enjoyed doing on your time off, when your ex was busy... so your getting the points across in a positive way. The important thing is getting across how much time you spend with your children and that its has been that way for a long time.

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 2 months 6 days ago #98243

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Many thanks for the reply and your input.

I have booked mediation next week, so lets see how that goes..

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 1 month 3 weeks ago #98522

Very interesting read and I hope you get it sorted amicably.

I think it needs to be clear between two parents when it is and isn't their time with the kids. When it is you are a 100% parent and when it isn't, they are 100% parent. Both need (and deserve) time to themselves for their own private lives.

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Emotional Blackmail to see the children - do i have any rights ? 1 month 3 weeks ago #98541

hope it goes well for you. for me, as soon as my child contact times started changing from week to week and getting more restrictive, thats when i had enough and took the legal route. better to act early, before things escalate and you could possibly end up with mental health issues.

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