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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33521
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My husband and I have just separated, we are both employed

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My husband and I have just separated, we are both employed doctors, working full resp part time. We are in the process of selling the family home and buying two smaller properties, but we are still formally living together and no divorce proceedings have yet started. We have 4 children (aged 5,9,10 and 12 yrs). Three or four weeks ago he has started a relationship with a work colleague. He spends most evenings with her and has already started to take the 5 and 9 year old over as she has a 3 year old girl herself. My youngest had had three sleepovers over the last two weekends. School has noticed the difficulties the children are experiencing, especially the 5 year old is torn between the exciting new family life and her usual routine and mummy. Both 10 and 12 year old will now start counselling as they are verbalising the sadness and trauma of the most recent separation. In my opinion, the introduction of the new partner is much too early and too traumatic for our children. My husband just sees how happy they are with him on the weekends and believes that they are coping well. As he asks each one if they want to join him for the weekend and the two younger ones want to go with him to her house, he feels they are managing fine. However, their teachers and I see a different side and their sadness and also aggression at school and at home. How can I prevent my husband from taking our children to his partner's home, especially overnight? If there is a way, would this also be possible once he has moved into his new home? (he wants to have the children every second weekend and all Mondays and Wednesdays - far too disruptive for the children in my opinion but he feels they can cope). I am trying to organise mediation locally as I do not believe we are able to resolve this matter between us, but would like to be able to tell him in an informed way not to take them over next weekend already. Many thanks, Pia

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How recent is the separation?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We decided that counselling di'd not help in August and the house went on the market end of August. We found a buyer and two houses for us quickly and hope to move out 4-6 weeks. Ee have separate bedrooms for good 18 months or more and the last sexual activities were on our 12th wedding anniversary in August 2013. However the decision to split up and us telling the children happened only thid year August with the house sale.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Are you certain that your ex's new relationship is only four weeks old?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I know that he has always respected her as a colleague and they have become friends over the summer. One of the issues discussed at counselling was as that he has no friends on his own, but only through my and I thought it was a very positive step on his behalf that he actively goes out to make new friends. He usually comes home every night and does not have any friends he goes out with. I have full access to his bank statements and there have been no unusual outgoings. he only ever goes out for work related business when he is doing a lecture or similar, but he hardly socialises.

Since our difficulties, he has behaved in a very depressed way - watching TV in the second lounge in the dark from early evening onwards, no or only little interaction with the children, poor food intake and early nights in his bedroom. This changed overnight when he gave a planned talk on a Wednesday 8th October and failed to come home. He stayed out again until midnight the following evening straight from work, but he clearly lied when he texted me that he had an unexpected talk that evening. He never has any unexpected talks and we have a calendar in the kitchen where all talks are documented. When I saw him at home the following Friday morning, he clearly had had sexual contacts as I know him very well and he had this glow and was in great humour. He spend the weekend during the day with Nicola again and took two of the children with him for the day. On Monday, he returned home again at midnight and on Tuesday morning, I asked him to stay at Nicola's overnight as this is easier for me than lying to the children that their dad was working late. He never denied that he has a new relationship and has come home some evenings and stays away on others during the week now.

I truly believe, they may have flirted but a proper relationship only started on 8th October.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes. Please See my reply below. Pia

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are of course correct - it is much too early for the children to be involved in sleep overs with his very new partner
It is also unlikely form what you say that he can cope with the children in the week as he is asking for - without either involving the new partner or relying on the older children for childcare.
Your younger children are too young to be asked what contact they wish to have - and even the older children are a little young given the recent nature of the separation.
You are entitled to say a firm no to further contact of this type until the children have adapted to the new reality - and moved into the new homes.
You can read more on this website
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
I hope that this is of assistance - do please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** very helpful. My husband is arguing though that they are also his children and when they are in his care, he can take them to wherever he wants. He appears to have accepted though that they should not stay overnight as long as we are still officially living in the family home. However, I actually believe that they should not see her at all while we still share the same address.

Am I able to refer to the Children's act as he is likely to dispute this?

Once we have our own new homes, will I still be able to insist that they should not stay overnight at her house (or in fact as it turns out, they have already stayed overnight at her parents' home!). I guess I will then not be able to avoid him taking the children to her place during the day anymore.

I have now a date for the initial meeting to start mediation (18th November). I hope that we will be able to sort out childcare arrangements in this process as we will not have moved by then, so in a way I do not have to discuss future visits to Nicola's place at this stage. My concern though is that he will not be able (or willing?) to attend the scheduled meetings as they are in working hours and he will find it difficult to take time off work. I guess, if he fails to attend and we cannot come to an agreement in a neutral place, I would have to involve a lawyer at that point? There are also financial issues I need to sort as we have a holiday house in joint names in France. He has given his verbal agreement to pay me £1500 per month for the children (I am paying all bills/school related bills/presents etc and he only ever covers around £150 per month for breakfast club), but I would like to get this in writing as I imagine that things can turn quite nasty between us.

I would appreciate advice on my legal rights so that I can argue with him in an informed way. many thanks,

Pia

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The issue is the needs of the children and nothing else.
It is not appropriate for ALL contact to take place with his new girlfriend - but since they have already met her there is no reason why they should not meet her agin.
Equally eventually after the move and in a couple of months overnight contact at her house will again be reasonable
You can fond more information on the Parent Connect site.
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33521
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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