Ex has complete control over contact

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  • #43618 Report


    My son is 3 years old, I left his mother 1 year ago.

    Since I left, she has had complete control over the contact I have with him. She has regularly changed the goalposts, from originally only allowing me to see him at her house an hour a day, to letting me take him on random days during daytime only, to now where I see my son 2 days out of 10. I have never agreed to any of the arrangements she has proposed however if I disagree she has threatened to reduce contact even further.


    I have my son for 2 overnights during my days off (I work a shift pattern over 10 days). He is completely settled coming to me now and always has a great time. There is no reason that I cannot have my son for all of my days off (3-4 days) plus some time midway through my shift pattern. She has refused this saying that he needs routine, which I agree with but my proposal is always routine.


    Essentially she just doesn’t want me to see him as much as I’d like because she’s still very upset that I left her. She hates my current partner and accuses me of leaving her and my son for my partner.


    I have bent over backwards in the past year to keep things amicable, gone along with her ridiculous plans and dealt with her constant mood swings where one week she wants to talk and the next is threatening to call the Police if I contact her again.

    Recently, she has booked him into childcare during her days in work. The problem is that these days of the week are often my only 2 days of contact with my son. She demands I take my son to childcare otherwise she does not receive her childcare benefits.

    What right do I have to refuse to take him? The childcare arrangement is for her when she has him and is in work – when he is with me there is no reason for him to be in childcare. She argues that it is “good for him” but I argue that seeing his dad more than 4 hours in 20 days is more beneficial for him at his age.

    She has refused mediation. I’m at a loss of what to do. All I want is to see my son on my days off and for a couple of hours or a day in between before my night shifts. To me, this seems perfectly reasonable – especially since my days with him would often fall on days he’d be in childcare if he were to be with her anyway.


    Please help. I have no idea what I’m entitled to or if I’d get completely shut down and end up with less if I went to court.


    I miss my son, going 10 days between seeing him and then barely seeing him during my contact with him is destroying me and I am terrified it will ruin our relationship. I know this is what she wants.

    #43633 Report



    The first question is, are you on the birth certificate? If so, you have the same rights as her in theory. You can initiate mediation yourself and then see what happens. It is needed for court proceedings anyway. Get the right of first refusal. That is very handy.

    #43653 Report




    Yes I am on his birth certificate. I plan to ask my solicitor to initiate mediation. I just don’t know if what I’m asking for is justified. As far as I’ve read on other posts on here, unless it’s education, I don’t need to take him to childcare that she’s arranged during my time with him. Is that the case?



    #43654 Report


    Hello himalayin,

    Every case is different and you might be in a different situation but from what you have posted it seems a lot like what happened in my case.

    Their mother booked little one into childcare as well and tried everything in the book just so he couldn’t be with me, asking friends to take care of him when I was available, booking him into activities when it was my day and generally swapping everything around just to make a mess. She was always late and it was all about being in control.

    So the only thing you can do is make a schedule, keep it up and refuse any change as long as you are unhappy with it. I started like you, with every other weekend and one night per week. With the right of first refusal you get the child when she isn’t available and she just can’t dump it somewhere else. You can go for 50:50 if you are able to do so. Just don’t bite more than you can chew. The child needs to be the centre of attention. His or her wellbeing.

    Start mediation and go from there. She will need to come up with a plan and she has to commit. Once you are there, then it all depends on your ability to do, what is best for the child. Be patient and avoid all warfare where unnecessary.better to lose a battle than endangering the child. Just get on with your schedule and be constant.

    I picked up little one from wherever she had dumped him, when it was my day. Just don’t bother with it. You are in control of your days. It is a bit embarrassing but most people working in the sector know how it works.


    #43667 Report


    Thanks so much for your reply. It sounds like a similar situation.


    She gets her childcare paid through universal credit so has told me that if he doesn’t go then she is committing fraud. Surely she should just stop claiming for the days he can be with me.


    I have considered just not taking him or picking him up from his childcare however I’m worried this will look bad on my part if we do end up in court. Would this appear as unreasonable behaviour, although it’s actually her being unreasonable?

    She did originally tell me that if my days with him fall on childcare days we could sort out me having more time with him but since then something else has pissed her off and she’s changed her mind about that and basically said tough.

    #43671 Report


    My ex has her childcare paid for by her employer. I did just pick little one up five minutes after he registered. So nothing bad was done and everyone was happy.

    It doesn’t look bad if you stand your ground. Don’t start that thinking. If you are within your rights and you are not doing harm, everything is fine. Sometimes you will have to wait a little bit, not to take him out of something he is just doing. But I always enjoyed watching him play. If she booked him into something good, I usually went along with it and just made it my thing. Mad science for example during my holidays. I still wear the wristband after three years and booked him in the years after.

    Just do what is right for the child.


    #43692 Report


    Have they ever made an issue if she’s had it paid for but your little one hasn’t actually been? It shouldn’t really be my problem as far as I’m concerned, she can sort that side of things out.


    Thank you. I’m just not sure if that is within my right. It’s not school it is literally just childcare.

    #43695 Report


    The problem of fraud would only arise if you keep the money yourself. Or if you do pay for services you don’t receive. As you have to pay anyway even if your child is IL, just to secure the place, there is no fraud. You do not have any advantage or enriched yourself. Maybe they will question her decision and refuse to pay but that can easily be avoided by better communication.

    Of course there have been problems at the start as she told a bunch of lies everywhere she went. I took the mediation protocol and the birth certificate to school and after school club and from then on I was granted access to the child each time I showed up and they refused to hand the child over to any third party she would send. You are not alone in this. They know the game and there are a lot of people in the same situation as I was and you are in now.


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