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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33306
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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my ex continues to run down me and my current partner in front

Customer Question

my ex continues to run down me and my current partner in front of my children mainly because we will not agree to have the children at certain times to suit her lifestyle requirements.This is causing great difficulty in my current relationship such that it is under threat, and also mine and her(my current partner's) relationship with my children is strained.my current partner believes I need to get an agreement from my ex to stop this and that I should refuse to see my children until this is in place...however I know that such an agreement is worthless as it cannot be enforced and refuse to use my time with my children as ammunition.There are other co parenting issues too and I have suggested mediation with my ex but she will not necessarily agree to it.Any advice?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first
How old are the children and is there a contact order in place regarding the pattern of contact?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi.my daughter is 14 and son 11.I have been separated from their mother for ten years.No there is no contact order.When we separated we signed a deed of separation which stated that the children reside with her but I shall have "reasonable contact".It is not clear who drafted this deed as I was mentally unwell at the time but my ex recently said it came from my solicitor.I am increasingly feeling that this was skewed against me and left me with little power or authority but had no one to question it at the time.The children under current arrangements are with me nearly half the time ,every other weekend Fri-Mon and 2-3nights in between.my ex would prefer I saw them all in one block so that she can spend time with her partner at his house some 3 hours away...I and especially my current partner think this is not my concern and should have time evenly integrated ..
I hope this sheds a bit more light on the situation.Will.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
So how are the two or three nights "in between" spread out?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi.What has been happening is that they both come to me on the Monday and Tuesday nights(therefore effectively in the same week as the Friday of the weekend.)and one of them usually on the Thursday of the previous week.so there has been a week where I don t see one of them at all.However, I have just this evening had a text from my ex simply stating "Joan and Robin not coming to you Mon/Tue anymore".This is basically saying that I only see them every other weekend and would be angling towards me having them for a longer period in one block over that weekend.this was what she was insisting on a year or so ago when she was threatening to move them all away to the vicinity of her partner's house if I did not oblige.Under this threat I compromised for a period but under pressure from my partner I took it back to the more integrated pattern I have described.. I am rather caught in the middle and it is hard to find my needs and wishes amongst it.But clearly me seeing them for three nights and then not for 11 days as has arisen today I would not think to be" reasonable contact".look forward to your response...this is obviously an evolving story.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Forgetting the wishes of your partner and your ex - what would work for the children and you?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Just typed a rather lenghthy response and just as I was sending it seemed to disappear.did you get it? W

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


apparently not as that brief message has just appeared at b ottom of this page.Damn! Will try again later.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I am afraid it didn't get through!
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



That is indeed a pertinent question...and it is easy to lose sight of the children's interests amongst all the other dynamics going on.As regards what would work for the children , this is a difficult question to answer on a number of counts:In many ways they are caught in the middle quite literally at times as my ex often refuses to communicate directly with me but does so through the children (which I consider to be wrong except for basic arrangements)and they are forced to take on more than they should.They are prone to agree with whatever parent they happen to be with at the time and thus at the moment since I am being denied access on her terms(as per the weekend's text) I am not in a position to explain the point of view of myself and my partner..Beyond that I cannot communicate in any way except text with them as their mobile signal is poor and I have been not been allowed their landline number by their mother..I have texted them both today to encourage them to question that their mother is necessarily right in everything she says and does..only my son has replied by text that “I agree with mum's decision.see you Friday”.This again brings up the original question I had of how to stop my ex from conditioning the children against .me and my partner.And also why indeed is it ok for them in her eyes to come on Friday but not today.?..strange that is when my ex is probably due to go off to her partner s house in Cornwall


As regards what would work for me ,again this is a thorny issue.When I was under the threat of them moving away last year I made it clear to the children that they would be welcome to live with me as an alternative to moving schools etc to make it clear that they were wanted.This however would not be acceptable to my partner and would mean the end of that 5year relationship.My adult priority has to be my current partner over the needs of the lifestyle of my ex and likewise she would not tolerate me having the children for longer at a time than what she considers to be normal reasonable contact for a dad without custody and the benefits and tax credits that come with that ,which she considers to be Fri-Mon every other weekend with days in between which could be Wed/Thurs nights and Mon/Tue nights to ensure that each party has an equal weekend withor without children.Beyond this there are reasons which are probably not relevant legally but nonetheless shed light on the dynamic.A few months before my ex left she suggested and was witness to me having a vasectomy.My partner Gemma would like children and so two and a half years ago I had a reversal which was fairly successful but so far we have not conceived for whatever reason.She therefore finds it “a kick in the teeth “to be around my children at times and also sees no reason why I should be obligated to my ex s lifestyle needs when she and our relationship has been so impacted by what went on ten years ago..


This leads to the final point for now...that it seems that my ex s possible conditioning of the children against Gemma and myself, which is putting strain on what has at times been a difficult relationship between her and them,is purposely designed to drive a wedge in our relationship...It may sound a little paranoid but my ex in a way seems determined that I should not have another relationship to distract from my children with her and God forbid that I should have any more children either....Also any communication from my ex is always timed when the children are with her and so impacts on my childfree time...the text on Saturday withdrawing them from Monday and Tuesdays coming on Saturday in the middle of my childfree weekend being a case in point.When the children are with me she makes herself completely unavailable..another imbalance in what goes on.


So there is a lot to take in here and I m afraid that this version which I have been saving in Open Office as I ve been going along, has not been nearly so eloquent and free flowing as the earlier effort that I lost..so I do apologise.W.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My concern is simple - what you are saying is that you will prioritise the needs of your current partner over those of the children.
If I can pick this up the I am afraid that it is certain that the children are equally aware of this and in the event that you go to court your ex will use this against you
The children are at an age where it is their wishes that will determine what contact they have with you
If you wish to resolve the current issues then the way forward is to offer to use a Family Mediator who can also work with children so that their true views - untainted by either parent - can be heard.
You can also find assistance on the website here
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
I hope that this is of assistance please ask if you need further details
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


thankyou for your answer.I did not say that I would put my current partner's needs a priority over my children's but as an adult priority over the needs of my ex....which I can see would impact on how this would be seen legally..that the children would not be seen as my priority..It is tricky to get the balance between it all as I m sure you appreciate.It seems today that it has been settled that I see the children every other weekend Fri_-Mon and as individuals to be arranged with them in between...thanks for advice re mediation..

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
It is impossible to get the balance beleive me - but it is an example of how careful you have to be so that your position is not misunderstood - and it is likely that for your children they see it as your choosing your partner over them - which allows their mother free reign
I hope all goes well
Claire

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