I have 3 daughters (14, 10 and 8).
There have been various orders over time, but at present it says I have alternate weekends and half of the school holidays. My ex-wife had the children from 13 August and they returned from holiday on 29 August. She refused I had contact last weekend (claiming it was still her holiday, although it is not stated in the latest court order), and has again refused contact this coming weekend (despite my proposed schedule of alternate weekends for September and October). Since I am not available to see them next weekend, I won't be able to see them before the weekend of 19-21 September, so about 5 weeks from my previous contacts. My ex-wife says she makes the decisions, claiming to give some proper reasons, but they are just her opinions ("I think it is better..."), not legitimate facts. She rarely makes a constructive counter-proposal to reach a compromise. It is always her opinion that matters.
I am supposed to have regular telephone contacts (which I never abuse of, since I only call 2 or 3 times a week). But she regularly prevents me from speaking to my children for several days in a row, as a form of punishment if she has been dissatisfied with something. She would then ignore my texts in which I politely request to speak with my children.
A previous court order stated I was to be informed about the children's health, medical appointments and medical reports, but she never updates me at all, and I am left to find out what's going on.
Finally, regarding education and choice of secondary schools, she does not involve me in any discussions and does not take into account my questions and my concerns. She takes usually a month to respond to my emails, generally with vague answers.
This is morally harassing and I need to deploy a huge amount of energy and time to try getting something, but most of the time I get very little. Her behaviour is tormenting me considerably, increasing my stress and anxiety given the permanent uncertainty I am left to deal with.
I believe this kind of hidden violence is a criminal abuse that has significantly lowered my self-esteem as a father. I feel sidelined and even ostracised from my own family. It has to be stopped before it is too late for me to cope with.
No they are not set in stone. When you don't have solicitors, court orders are poorly drafted and sometimes confusing and subject to interpretation. Parents have to agree on alternate weekend dates, but in reality she does not take my wishes into consideration and because she has the children with her, she always gets the final say. For the whole month of August she did not reply to my emails, leaving me in the dark. She then refused me the weekend of 29-31 August, consequently I am supposed to have the following weekend, which she also refused.
My question is not really about contacts, the above being just an example of her behaviour, it is about emotional abuse and the way to press charges. If it is a civil case (which a divorce is), the police does not care and would not intervene. For me, it has become a form of criminal behaviour (very subtle of course), like any other form of domestic violence. She pushes me into depression and I have to go through therapy as recommended by a psychiatrist.