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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34911
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My husband and I are separated. We are both UK citizens but

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My husband and I are separated. We are both UK citizens but lived for a number of years in Australia. I now live back in the UK with our two young children 4 & 6. He continues to live in Australia. I arrange for him to have Skype sessions with the children every Sunday a.m. Also he makes the occasional visit to see them e.g. this Christmas period he had them for 10 days when he took them to Butlins and his parents. When he returned them he informed me that they had been accompanied by his girl-friend for the whole period. He did not inform me of this arrangement beforehand. This sort of deceptive behaviour is one of the main reasons for our separation and has caught me cold. I am not sure what action to take or am entitled to take. I would add that although he pays maintenance for the children he does so reluctantly and not the full amount that we agreed. I have always felt it's the right for the children to maintain contact with him but I feel his behaviour is underhand and am concerned at the information he might be feeding them in order to undermine me.
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 long have you been separated?
How did the children get on with contact?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. We have been separated since May 2013. The children are just back from their holiday. They seem happy enough but the elder child (daughter) was distraught when her father left. Both are reticent to talk about the holiday. I get the impression they had been instructed not to mention the girl friend. My husband only informed me that she had joined them for the holiday as he went out of my front door having dropped the children off. As she had come across from Australia it is obvious that it was well planned in advance and I feel he should have told me beforehand. Whilst I don't have a problem in him having a girlfriend, I do feel that I am entitled to know who he was introducing them to. It is all so underhanded and as previously mentioned typical of his tendency to devious behaviour.

You are of course correct - your ex has behaved badly and has unfairly put pressure on the children.
You o nly option is to talk openly about the fact that "sheila" was there and generally be positive about how nice that was. Don't ask questions about her - just make it clear that you know she was there and that it is fine and you are sure they did nice things together.
This is the reassurance that the children need and it is important in terms of them always feeling that they can tell you everything
With regard to your ex you need to write to him a calm email and ask that in future he is honest about who will be part of the contact to avoid the children being put in such a difficult position in the future
The next time that he is actually due to have them for overnight contact ask him to confirm exactly who will be there in writing - and if the girlfriend is a different one point out that it would be confusing for the children
i am sorry - i appreciate that none of this is what you were expecting to hear - but there is no legal action that you can take as such - this is about practicalities in dealing with a feckless father
Please ask if you need further details
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