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ExperiencedLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  I have 14+ years of experience as a family lawyer, advising people on all kinds of relationship and family law issues.
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My ex husband abandoned us and is now demanding contact. I

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My ex husband abandoned us and is now demanding contact. I have attempted chaperoned contact initially after 3 x skype sessions per week. He has not kept up with the arrangement and is now demanding face to face I chaperoned contact. I'm feeling harassed, where do I stand until I see a solicitor?
My name is ***** ***** I can help with your question. First I need to confirm the following:
1. How old are your children?
2. Has your ex actually had face to face contact with the children? If so, how many times?
3. Can you clarify what he is now asking for? (Sorry, but could you describe it again, with slightly more detail?)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My children are 2 year old twins.
Their father moved out when they were 9 months old. Prior to that he saw them about an hour a day. After that he visited a couple of times for a few hours and then spent their birthday with them. When they were 15months old I moved away to Germany with the children and he said he'd be following within a few weeks. Instead he decided to start a new relationship and cut all ties from September to the end of January where out of the blue he turned up to see them. I managed to arrange chaperoned visit with the welfare for his time here and then made and arrangement so he could get to know them via skype through 3 set skype calls per week. I said he had to give notice of 4 wks if he wanted to visit so I could check he wasn't disrupting plans and I could make arrangements for welfare to accommodate him and chaperone the visit. I said this would happen until I was confident he could be consistent and trustworthy and so as not to confuse the children. However, after less than a fortnight the calls stopped and he did not ask about the children again. He got back in touch and agreed again to the deal in June time and again this lasted a couple of weeks before he stopped. Now I'm in the uk visiting family. He is demanding I chaperoned access and to take them away. He says it is his right. He has been verbally abusive, was violent at time when we were together hence the chaperoned visits and I want to know where I stand. It would be irresponsible for me to hand over the children. I also don't feel it is my responsibility to ferry the children 3 hrs to see him which he wants. He does not and has not paid child maintenance either at all. Can I ignore his demands? Is there anyway I can stop his contact messaging and harassment?
Thanks for the extra information. Very useful.
So, do you live and the children now live in Germany (having moved there around 9 months ago)? Is that correct?
Commenting on your further information and questions, he does not have the right to demand to take the children away (and you should not feel compelled to do so). And you do not have to ferry the children anwywhere, certainly not for 3hrs, to see him.
Your approach so far has been fine.
Can you confirm re Germany above?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I moved to Germany a year ago on the 17th August. He was meant to join us in late September but didn't and cut all ties until contacting me again in late January.
Okay thanks.
In English law, the Courts take the view that it is not the father's (or mother's) rights, but the rights of the children that are the most important. You do not have to do anything that he asks, but only what you think is in the children's best interests.
However, perhaps even more important than that for you, as the children (and you) have lived in Germany for more than twelve months, it is now the German Courts that would have jurisdiction in matters relating to the children's welfare. So if your ex wanted to force something in particular, he would have to apply to the German Courts for it. From what you have said, that would seem fairly unlikely.
The most practical step that you can take to stop him from harrassing you is to give him a new telephone number and email address (blocking him from your old ones) and tell him that you will only reply to polite emails and messages. And that you intend to stick by your suggestions for contact but will not go further than that until he has proven he can stick to an agreed plan.
You certainly don't need to give into any of his demands.
I hope that is helpful.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I'm not on the German network... I work for the MOD so I am still classed as the UK not Germany for all law matters. So what does it mean with regards ***** ***** law? Is it the same?
If your posting is of a fixed period, then it may be that the English court retains jurisdiction, but if it is open-ended, then it is probably Germany for these purposes.
However, assuming it is England for the sake of your question - the power is still largely in your hands to do what you think is best. And what you've described you have done so far sounds quite reasonable, and I would expect an English judge to take the same view.
I recommend that you do not cave into his demands, but still to the suggestions you have already made as being best for your children. If he wants to try to force a change, he will first have to invite you to mediation, when you can discuss with the help of a third party whether there should be any alterations to the arrangements you have proposed (but only if you agree, you cannot be forced). If mediation didn't work for the two of you, then ultimately he could make an application to the Court, but it would take a long time to resolve and is likely to go along the kind of lines of your suggestions anyway.
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