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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33326
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Hi, I have been going through a very difficult divorce for

Customer Question

Hi,
I have been going through a very difficult divorce for the last 3 years, not seeing my children at times for extensive periods of time. I cannot really afford a solicitor anymore.
Despite court orders, my ex-wife dictates all contacts (overnight or phone) the way she wants, and I feel I have no recourse when she clearly abuses her position.
I am considering pressing charges for emotional abuse (as part of the legislation on domestic violence), since I cannot cope any more with the stress and anxiety. I have been recently in touch with my psychiatrist who made a new referral for CBT therapy. Although this may help as I am feeling depressed, I feel the victim of emotional cruelty from my ex-wife, which would continue indefinitely if it is not stopped soon.
How can I report such a criminal behaviour and be taken seriously? It is obviously more difficult for a man than for a woman. Should I go to the police first?
Thank you
Stefan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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 old are the children and what does the Order say regarding Contact?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,


 


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.


 


Stefan

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi Stefan
I am a little confused - are the alternate weekends not set in stone as in you know when they started and can follow the pattern through the year?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,


 


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.


 


Thank you


 


Stefan

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I an sorry whilst what she is doing is indeed abusive your answer is in the Family Courts and not the Criminal Ones
There is no basis on which your ex can be arrested let alone prosecuted based on this behaviour alone - indeed since you are no longer married and you do have other options (going back to court either for breach of the existing order or to tighten up the Order) it is unlikely that even if the latest round of consultations
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11044069/Domestic-violence-Controlling-behavior-is-abuse-and-its-time-we-criminalised-it.html
has finished it will be included.
Please do not think that this is fair - but I do have to be realistic in what I say to you - anything less is abusive in itself
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare

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