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Contact Order/Agreement Not Being Followed by Mother of Children...


Carlitos172
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I could do with some advice from anyone who has been through anything similar to this. My pockets aren't bottomless and the solicitor's clock is an expensive one to allow to tick away so any constructive advice would be greatly welcomed.

 

My situation spans around 12 years now after separating with my daughters' mother in August 2003. She soon started to stop contact which culminated in me losing an entire Christmas of 2004 as well as being physically attacked by her then partner resulting in him breaking my finger which required surgery, finger cast and an arm brace. In december of 2004 I applied to the courts for an emergency hearing and subsequently obtained one in March 2005 where a contact order was issued for a minimum contact at that time, to be reviewed again in October 2005 where a new contact order was raised.

 

Since then my ex partner has routinely (albeit intermittently as her whims suit her) withdrawn contact in order to increase CSA contributions (e.g. withdraw contact, call CSA advising of a change in circumstances, I'm honest and state that currently only have a single night every two weeks) only then to agree to reinstating the contact at which time the CSA's calculation has been made and I have to wait before another calculation can be made at some point further on down the line. I only reference this as context as to how manipulative and devious this woman is. I have always paid for my children and have provided for them above and beyond my legal obligations. They are my angels, why wouldn't I?!?

 

Last year I began legal proceedings against her on the long standing request of my daughters to have equal time with their parents, which, being honest is what I've wanted all along but didn't want to put our daughters in the middle of a legal battle. This involved a lot of posturing between our solicitors, proposals and offers from my, lies and arguments from hers. Mediation was a non-starter as she lied through her teeth whilst there, it was truly a pointless exercise. I did manage to get her to agree in writing via email to a rolling rotating Thursdays - Mondays every other week schedule which has been working ok for the most part. My daughters arrive from school on a Thursday afternoon and return to their mother's on Monday after school. This changes during holidays from 8:30am on Thursday and 6pm on Monday. I usually have more time with my daughters during holidays in any case.

 

Christmas is the hardest time for me and our daughters as they are always stuck in the middle of a petty squabble between their mother and I and although I try to keep them out of the firing line she is insistent on using them for leverage at every opportunity. We have always had the following rotating Christmas agreement which was proposed by me after the court action in 2005;

 

Christmas Eve 10am - Christmas Day 10am

Back again Boxing Day around midday.

Rotate year on year

 

The purpose of this agreement was to stabilise Christmas contact making it beneficial for our daughters to wake up and be able to unwrap their presents and then make their way to the others' house to enjoy the entirety of Christmas Day. This way our daughters get Christmas at both residences and we get to enjoy Christmas with them every year.

 

A couple of years ago their mother decided that she fancied having the whole of Christmas Day! As the children were already with her during this time I was denied contact. This year she has decided to go one step further and is insistent that she is having our daughters from 7pm Christmas Eve until Boxing Day, because it suits her. It just so happens that this year Christmas is as follows;

 

Christmas Eve = Thursday

Christmas Day = Friday

Boxing Day = Saturday

27th = Sunday

28th = Monday

 

As per our agreement I have the right to see my children during all of these days without exception, however I have taken their need to spend Christmas at both residences into account and confirmed the above earlier stated existing historic agreement of Christmas Eve at 11am to Christmas Day at 11am. Times adjusted for the benefit our our daughters as they are lazy teens at present. This has been met with the usual hostile response as always, I suspect because she's already made plans with my time, and we are at a stalemate. I am forced to either withhold our children and prevent them from spending Christmas Day with their mother in fear that she will not return them, which she has done on several occasions, or return them earlier than agreed and risk not having our girls returned to me at all. This is more problematic due to our youngest's birthday being 28th December!

 

I have spoken with my solicitor today however as my case was closed from the previous time they are reviewing it with a view to sitting with me on Monday 23rd November.

 

I would like to go directly to court however as mediation took place more than 4 months ago we need to go through it all over again! To what end I ask.

 

I'm lost, at the end of my tether, stressed and entirely drained by all this. My partner who has kept herself out of any of this fiasco other than to be a voice of reason for me is also being affected by this turmoil not to mention the impact that this has had on our daughters over the years! It's much harder to hide this nonsense from them at their present ages as they pick up everything now and have a more grown up understanding about matters, so it needs to end.

 

Can you offer any words of wisdom please?

 

Thank you,

 

Carlos.

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Unfortunately no words of wisdom, been in the family court system for the last 18months and ive still no idea what to expect each time i arrive. All i can say is keep your argument ' in the best interests of the children' do not use it as a opportunity to slag the mother of now matter how hard it is. What you are proposing seems perfectly acceptable and it is not acceptable for the mother to keep changing arrangements as it suits her. One lesson to learn is that if you want to change anything in regards to contact to get it court ordered then if she tries to play silly buggers its much easier for you to deal with. You can also LIP in the family court to avoid the cost of a solicitor or just pay your solicitor to represent you on the day and avoid having to pay a retainer each month you just deal with any paper work yourself. Depending on the age of your children it may be possible for them to voice their opinion on what they would like, after all it is important they spend quality time with both parents.

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Thanks Haven, when you say that you've "been in the family courts system for the last 18 months" is that as a parent or solicitor?

 

I've been supremely accommodating solely for the benefit and well being of our daughters and she has abused this and taken advantage of my kindness at every opportunity. I have also maintained a policy of not speaking badly of their mother to them or when they are in earshot of any such conversation. I can honestly say that I can hold my head up high and be proud of how I have conducted myself when it comes to my children.

 

Being Spanish by heritage I have personal knowledge of how it's done over there and neither parent gets more contact, it's strictly 50/50 from day one unless a parent puts an application to increase or reduce that time for whatever reason. Such a common sense approach which takes all this stupidity out of the equation.

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Im a parent, mine is a long and complicated story though and ive been LIP for most of that time as unable to access legal aid even tho abuse was involved. The courts will always try and act in the best interests of the child, im sure you solicitor will state a good case for you so sit back and let them do all the work.

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You should record all contact with the mother, & present it to court that way you'll have proof positive, you're being denied access to your kids.

 

You can buy a great pair of glasses with discrete recording inside the frame of the glasses, as well as a small microsim to record everything on. They cost around £30 on ebay for a hi res 1080p.

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What existing court orders are there? Carlos, you say you're 'separated' so am presuming you have never married. You can, as the poster above, says essentially represent yourself. You need to have some formal legal document from the court (an Order, judgement), and you can do this by motioning the court/ judge (formal speaking for making contact with the judge. Any person who is of kin/ or guardian can either claim existing family rights or ask the court for certain orders where the rights pertain to relationships with children. My advice if you do not have one already is motion the relevant judge and tell him you recommend certain contact terms, and for this to be put in writing so everyone is on alert to their rights and obligations (ie sharing contact). If you can represent yourself in person do it as it will save you paying for expensive lawyers. Once you have an order from the court and the other party refuses to follow, go back to court and say judge this person is defying your order and is essentially mocking the judicial system by not adhering to your legal authority or the courts. The judge has the power to hold a party in contempt.

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The extra terms are a great idea, but the terms should always be backed by positive proof, a discrete camera recording all contact with the mother should always be present.

 

Most courts are lenient towards the mother, & unless you have a discrete camera proving you're being denied access to your children, you're not going to have an easy time getting a fair shared custody in the courts.

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Actually filming a person on public property is permissible. Also any altercations or acts of abuse, or violations of court orders, are all admissible as long as theyre declared as evidence, before the hearing.

 

Otherwise CCTV camera's & police body cams would be useless in a hearing.

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