How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Harris Your Own Question
Harris
Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
90234221
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Harris is online now

I separated from my husband 3 years ago and we are currently

Customer Question

I separated from my husband 3 years ago and we are currently divorcing. We have, up until this point, shared care of the kids in an informal arrangement where it has been 50/50.
Six months ago he moved his girlfriend into their home. Our children have found this tricky as he stopped making child centred decisions. As a result, they have expressed to their godfather that they would like to live full time with me and arrange to spend quality time with their father on a regular basis. Our children are 14 and 12. What is the best way of going about this. I want to protect my children from causing upset to their dad and I want them to be heard and their wishes respected. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Harris replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
Have you informed the father of this and obtained his views?
The most amicable way is to try and negotiate this arrangement directly with the father to reach an agreement, and if such agreement is made an application can be made to Court to reflect this in an enforceable order.
Harris and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No I haven't as the children are worried about his reaction ( they don't want to hurt his feelings and equally they don't want him to pressure them to change their minds) we are seeing a mediator on thursday together (their dad and I ) but the children have asked to see the mediator separately themselves so they can say their views. Their father has yet to give his permission for this) Even if they express their wishes to a mediator can my ex contest it based on how we have co parented through separation so far, we have had no formal arrangement for 3 years? They have also expressed that they would like me to have sole custody with regards ***** ***** decisions. I want to respect their wishes I also want to avoid them being in the eye of a storm. Advice please!
Expert:  Harris replied 2 years ago.
Glad to hear you have a mediation appointment arranged - hopefully matters can be progressed through there.
The father can contest any proposal you have made, such as for the children to live with you, but as your children are 12 and 14 their wishes and feelings have to be taken into account and their best interests have to be put first.
Expert:  Harris replied 2 years ago.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Expert:  Harris replied 2 years ago.
Apologies please ignore that last message requesting further information - it was sent by accident!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
More info on my situation: according to the children they are finding moving between two homes increasingly difficult. Logistically their father believes they should be wholly responsible for all their own kit and wont assist if they have forgotten anything at change over. He also refuses to contact me except via email and relies heavily on the children's electronic devices for making arrangements through them instead. It all leads to too much hassle and pressure for them both and they don't like it. He wants to set new boundaries and a new family with his girlfriend but seems to be unwittingly doing this at the expense of his relationship with his children. He and his girlfriend apparently argue a lot which upsets my youngest child in particular. Obviously I can't control what goes on in his house and it is none of my business how he conducts his relationship. My children are unhappy and that is my only concern. At the same time they adore him and don't want to hurt his feelings.
Expert:  Harris replied 2 years ago.
I would suggest that all these issues are raised in mediation. It would be helpful if you could propose to him some line of communication which does not involve the children in relation to arrangements, for example communication by text message instead of emails