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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
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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I left my husband 8 months ago due to his behaviour towards

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I left my husband 8 months ago due to his behaviour towards me, he refused to leave the family home and made out I would be doing the wrong thing for the kids by sleeping in the house whilst we were divorcing, so I left thinking of the kids and at the time worked horrific hours so it made sense for my ex to stay in the house with the kids. I have since jumped into a part time job, met someone new and we are trying to move close to the boys school. My ex initially had a go at me because I wasn't having the kids enough so I went part time at work and now after having the boys for just under 3 weeks in the holidays has said I should only have them every other weekend?? This seems ridiculous to me when he works all week and pays childminders to have them when I could be there picking them up from school etc it just feels like he is trying to control my access cause he can't control me anymore?? I have always paid more than csa website stated and I have always tried to be reasonable with him like agreeing to accept only 30k from our house which was valued at 210-220k with a remaining mortgage of 70k as I knew this is what he could afford to pay without selling the house. I now feel that if we move closer and my working hours that the children would be better suited living with me and seeing their dad regularly but do I have a chance as I was forced to leave them behind as I thought that was best for them at the time but now my circumstances have changed

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How old are the children and what time are they spending with you at the moment?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The boys are 7 and 9, I have been having them in between my shifts which are usually 2 or 3 shifts clumped together with about 4 days off in between. I have had them a lot and all of a sudden my ex is saying I should only have them every other weekend which I can't cope with as I know how much the boys love being with me. Whilst we were married he was a bit emotionally abusive and I think that's why I have been more than reasonable about everything As all that mattered to me was access to my kids. My partner earns enough money that I could actually stop working to be there all the time for my kids so they don't have to go to childminders at all but I just need to know what chance I have as court action is a last resort but if I know what the likelihood is then I can keep working with my ex to try to sort it. I put him and the boys first when I left as I thought if I took the boys he might do something stupid and also I never wanted to take the boys dad from them but now I'm feeling like I'm losing out

For clarity - have you had them overnight?

What do you think the children will actually want (without asking them of course)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeah I've had them overnight pretty much from the beginning and I know the kids want to see us equally, I just feel that if they had a choice of going to a childminder or being picked up by me they would choose me x
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My ex works Monday to Friday 8- 5 ish and I work shifts of either 5am - 1430 or lates of 1330- midnight, like I said I could give my job up tomorrow and be supported by my partner. It seems unreasonable to me to see the boys every other weekend and them go to childminders morning and night when I could be taking them and picking them up from school x
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are actively selling my partners house to move back to the area so I can be closer to the boys. If I'm honest my ex was emotionally abusive during our marriage and made me feel like I was always in the wrong hence why I have been so reasonable with everything else
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm only just beginning to stand up for myself now with him

I know - it is not unusual which is why I am glad that you have done nothing irrevocable (even with the house)

When will you be moving closer to their school?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As soon as we get an offer on my partners house we have seen several properties in the area including a house down the road from my ex which I've obviously said no too as I don't want to rub his nose in it x
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He also still tries to annoy me by not responding to my texts for days when I always respond within hours of not straight away
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My kids love my new partner and treat his house as their own, I know we could give them an incredibly stable and consistent life if I have to go to court but I don't want to have to do that as I want to be able to work it out on our own, if this can't happen I just want to know what my chances are of getting 50/50 shared custody or full residency x
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are my chances better if I stop working? My shifts don't land on the same days each week and could either be early a or lates? I just want to be prepared if I have to be x

Where you live now is after school contact feasible?

(I am off to a meeting so will be offline for about an hour and a half)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it is / I'm about 45 minutes away at the moment but my mum still lives in the area etc. I have been having the boys overnight on school nights, doing homework and taking them to school for several days on the trot and that has worked for them, I thought we were going to carry on the way we had been working it and all of a sudden he's saying every other weekend when I know he's been out all weekend drinking with friends which he's entitled to do so but then why not let me have my boys?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Plus it would save him money on childcare if I'm having them and they get the consistency of parents looking after them rather than third parties x

The first thing to do is to stop letting him make you feel guilty and bully you.

This will not be easy but it is essential!

There is no longer any concept of Custody and access or Residence and Contact - it is about how the Care of the children is hared between their parents

It is not for one parent to decide what the arrangements should be - it is for both parents to agree what is best for the children - and if they cannot do so then the court decides the matter.

Your starting point is to arrange to see a Family mediator as a matter of urgency

If your ex will agree to mediate and agree a proper shared care arrangement then well and good.

If not then you will be able to apply to the court to deal with the matter

You are correct the chidlren should be with you rather than a Child minder - and a fully shared care agreement is perfectly viable in the circumstances.

Changing your wording hours may be helpful so that you can have alternate weekends Friday to Monday plus maybe Tuesday to Thursday every week will give equal time with both of you - with you collecting from school on other days as appropriate.

He will object as it will mean no maintenance - but you must not let yourself be bullied!

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for all your help, definitely made me feel better about things. I will try to remain polite and positive towards him unless he tries to uphold the 'every other weekend ' scenario and then I will get a solicitor involved and mediator x

I would suggest mediation as soon as possible!

Clare and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will be contacting a solicitor tomorrow to speak, thanks for all your help and he's still not replying to my messages x

I hope all goes well

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have seen a solicitor today, she has told me to try mediation like yourself but also start the process of filling out c100 form. She has told me that as the abuse is only alleged by myself this would be seen as hearsay. It would be unlikely I would get the children living with me but asking for more than every other weekend is reasonable. Because I left the children in his care that me saying he abused me would not seem the case as I was happy to leave them in his care. I feel like everything I've done is wrong and that this is all going to go in his favour ��
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel completely lost and wondering if I am doing the right thing for my boys by fighting their father on his decisions

It is very easy for people who have never dealt with abusive partners to underestimate the insidious way that abuse can work - fortunately the legal system has rather more knowledge.

Your case is base don the fact that you have been having shared care until now - and asking for it to resume.

I disagree with her - and frankly she appears to be the wrong solicitor for you.

have faith in yourself - you knew he would not harm the children - that is why you left.

You are now realising that emotional abuse is still harmful - and are acting now

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just feel that none of my reasons for why I left them in his care or why I didn't take them with me will be considered, I never called the police I only ever talked to friend in recent years about it. Would his behaviour now be considered obstructive in not replying to my messages and not giving me good reason for changing the care set up?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would his situation in letting the children meet his girlfriend yet him not being exclusive to her and seeing other women show he is potentially not offering consistency and having women in and out of their lives have any effect or would it just be considered mud slinging? I removed myself from the situation so the children no longer had to witness it x
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I'm seeing a counsellor would this be evidence of the abuse I suffered?

Please please stop agonising.

This is NOT about why you left him it is about what has happened since then

It is clear that you have had a substantial share of the care of the children which your ex is now trying to change

THAT is why you are making the application - your are looking to protect the shared care

as i said

"alternate weekends Friday to Monday plus maybe Tuesday to Thursday every week will give equal time with both of you - with you collecting from school on other days as appropriate"

To start with it may be alternate weekends plus one night each week - and build from there - but it i snot about the abuse when you were together - it is about the care of the chidlren now

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for you're reply, I think i need help in filling out the c100 form so as not to do anything wrong or looking stupid x

Do not worry - we can sort it

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does him obstructing me seeing the boys if it's deemed not in the best interests of the boys get considered? Should I calmly approach him first if he still lets me see them this weekend, say when can I see the children again? If he replies every other weekend again should I then say the arrangements should be mutually agreed between us and as I feel I can't agree with this I feel we need to book in with a mediator? Does this seem reasonable? I just want to approach everything in the correct way
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Kind of give him a chance to turn this around before going further and taking it to court? I am worried that this sudden change in behaviour means he may already be in the process of court so should I still make the application regardless of him changing his tune if he allows me to see them this weekend?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for putting up with my long winded questions - I have zero self belief and feel everything will continue in his favour x

That is a perfect approach - I am just sorry you chose a bad solicitor