Newbie ! Suitable contact arrangement for a toddler ?
1 May 2018 at 4:03 pm #10938
hello all, I’m sure this has been asked many times before but upon searching the forum I can’t find anything..
here’s my situation just so you understand the background, I have a son who will be 2 in June, his Dad and I split up a little over a year ago. It has been a bumpy ride to say the least, at first my ex was very angry, abusive and difficult, he’d turn up unannounced, often shouting and demanding our son, one time he forced his way past me, take our son from his cot, and drove off with him ! The police were called but no action taken as he has parental Responsibility, I was just told to get a solicitor.
within a few months he was over the moods and was quite pleasant, we got on well for a while, until about October time when he found out I was seeing someone.
He reverted back to his angry abusive ways, often in front of our son and my older 2 children.
He has our son every other weekend, one overnight stay in the week and another evening in the week (from when he finishes work until about 7.30-8pm). He never tells me what time he’s coming, he could turn up at 4pm, it could be 6.30pm, if I ask for a time I’m ignored. If he turns up and I’ve not fed our son dinner he complains, so I find myself doing dinner at 3.30pm to save arguments. When he brings our son back after an overnight stay he’s often late, making me late for work. (He drops son to me, then I take son to childcare, then go to work)
In February this year I wasn’t home when he came to collect our son, I had a doctors appt, when I pulled up home after my appt he was as angry, abusive, he pushed me over onto the ground and spat at me. He took our son as planned and I called the police. He was arrested a few days later but never charged due to lack of witnesses.
Since then he’s been pleasant again, so I can’t complain but now we’re getting on again he’s asking to have our son overnight twice a week, plus his usual every other weekend. He says as he’s been behaving himself he should be allowed more time.
its very hard to say no to him as he can just switch on me if he doesn’t get his own way.
personally, I think one overnight stay and every other weekend is plenty of time but he doesn’t agree. He says as he’s 50% his parent, he should have 50% of the time with him (funnily enough he doesn’t want to pay 50% of his upbringing or anything towards childcare though, but that’s a whole different story haha)
I’m tempted to just get a court order but I can’t afford legal help so would have to go it alone, very daunting.
any advice as to what is a suitable arrangement for contact, and regarding representing myself in court much appreciated.
Sorry for the long winded post, and if you’ve got this far thanks for reading !1 May 2018 at 4:38 pm #10942
You don’t need legal help to go to court over a family matter, but in any case I think you need to look at mediation with a view to establishing a parenting plan. It’s not legally binding, but if agreed between the two of you with the help of a third party, you will both hopefully feel a beneficial result has come about. If either party then drifts, you can go to court to formalise the agreement using the parent plan as the basis evidencing you’ve tried to mediate an agreement by one party keeps flouting the agreement.1 May 2018 at 5:00 pm #10946
Thank you for your reply, I am aware of mediation but was told I wouldn’t need to go as there has been domestic abuse, if we could agree through mediation then that would be ideal but I’m a bit nervous of having to sit in a room with him, he’s very intimidating and has a habit of twisting everything I say to his own benefit. He’s a liar and manipulative.
i have filled in a parenting plan online but other than where our son lives and contact arrangements I’m struggling to think of anything to add to it.
If we did have to go to court, with me suggesting every other weekend plus one evening in the week, what are the chances of him being granted every other day overnight ?1 May 2018 at 5:45 pm #10952
Ok, first of all, PM me and I can provide a template for a much fitter, tighter Parenting Plan and can give you some advice on filling it out if you like.
Second, the idea of mediation is you will be in a better situation with someone monitoring. If he acts in any way improperly, that will really go against him.
Is there any record at all of abuse – you have some police involvement, but anything firmer?
From the way it sounds, he won’t get more than you are suggesting if it goes to court, and he may even get less. The issue will be safeguarding, and if that’s a concern, he may be reduced to a contact centre only in the short term.
Anyway, have a think and PM me if you think I can help further.1 May 2018 at 6:32 pm #10954
Maybe think of it the other way around? If you had the time he had, would you think that’s plenty of time? I realise these things are never easy but sometimes looking at it from a different perspective may help, maybe give a few concessions and things could be easier? Clearly when children are school age the arrangements you outlined seem fair enough but as a toddler I think it seems a bit one sided.1 May 2018 at 8:35 pm #10956
I disagree with Adam. If you went to Court, the max he would get is every other weekend and possibly some week day visits.
What I think is concerning is how your ex has behaved in front of your children. It’s not healthy nor right.
With regards to mediation, you don’t have to attend with him. You can attend separately. You will be able to explain how he has behaved towards you and your child. I think you wrote that he snatched your son? You will need to attend mediation before you can consider Court action.
Have you heard of women’s aid? They were fantastic when I was suffering from domestic abuse. Also, there’s a good forum.
Keep everything documented.
Take care of yourself
Jamiebear1 May 2018 at 9:20 pm #10957
Just a small tweak to Jamiebear’s otherwise excellent post – in some circumstances you can get your MIAM (I’ll explain in a PM if you’re not sure what this means) without necessarily going through mediation. I know cos that’s how I got mine – in my case she refused to come to mediation and because there was no movement from her on access it was signed off in 15 minutes! In your case, he may refuse mediation, or there may be concerns of violence, both of which would usually permit you to go straight ahead with a MIAM and not prevaricate any longer. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – first I would suggest as amicably as possible arrange boundaries through an agreed plan and trying mediation. If he won’t play ball or it gets worse, then go to stage two. At least you can say you tried everything which will make you look super good in court. And yes, document everything, especially to do with forced access (which is illegal), and physical, verbal, or mental abuse (ditto).1 May 2018 at 10:54 pm #10960
Thank you all for taking the time out to reply, Empty, I will give you a pm, thank you !
Adam- I really have tried to see it from the other side, and if he wasn’t so difficult at pick up and drop off time I’d maybe be more reluctant. I have bent over backwards to give him what he wants in the past, only for it to make him expect more, and often his demands are unreasonable and totally unrealistic.
Tbh i think he really only wants him more often as it’s a chance to either give me grief or, (if we’re getting on ok) ask me a million questions about every aspect of my life. It’s definitely a control thing for him. Also, the last 2 of his weekends he’s gone out all weekend and left our son with his girlfriend, surely if his time was that precious it’d be spent with his son….1 May 2018 at 11:29 pm #10961
*less reluctant5 May 2018 at 7:29 pm #11060
Hey, I’ve been in a similar kind of situation(sort of)although no abusive behaviour from my ex. But we split up when my boy was 2, was made to feel like I had no choice but to have 50/50 care as my ex and his mum were very controlling. His mum was terrified I was going to prevent my ex from seeing his son(which I had never implied, I had no reason to and I told them until I was blue in the face that I would never prevent my ex from seeing his son). However my ex’s mums fears caused her to call social services on me trying to make me out to be a bad mum. Luckily nothing came of it however it was a black mark on me which is what she was planning I guess. Anyway 50/50 care causes nothing but stress, complete lack of respect regarding sticking to drop off times on my ex’s part, over Christmas period 2015 I only got Christmas morning with my boy, my ex was supposed to bring him back to me the next day but decided to go to his mums and keep him for more days than we had arranged. It literally caused nothing g but grief for me despite me trying my damn best to be the mature one and comply with his wishes and obviously my boy needs his dad in his life I had monissues with that. But the total disrespect and constant lateness, threats of calling the police on me for having the cheek to get upset for them not bringing my son back to me. Caused me so much emotional distress and I should have done something a lot sooner. However the last straw was last summer, my ex, his mum and my ex’s brother went to my dads house where my boy was ( I was working as a home cared and had one lunchtime call so left him with my dad for an hour) whilst I was on that call, my dad rang me saying that they had taken him. They went to my dads pretended to be all nice got themselves into his house and took my boy and drive off, they didn’t even put my boy in a carseat said my dad. I was completely beside myself screaming down the phone to the police because they could do f all about it all they said was that I had to get a solicitor. My dad tried calling my ex but he refused to say where they were going or when they would be back . They were gone 10 days in the end as they had gone on holiday, oh and they kept him an extra day because it was my exs graduation. During those 10 days I was only allowed to speak to my boy on the phone once and only for 2 minutes because my ex hung up when I had the cheek to ask when they were coming back and said I was starting an argument on the phone (which I wasn’t, but apparently I was disgusting for even asking).
So arranged solicitor meeting immediately. She said it was an urgent case and that I didn’t have to prove that I had attended a mediation, but just in case I did arrange a sort of induction kind of mediation session. I wasn’t qualified for legal aid so had to pay 100£ even though I was on low income. But like I said I didn’t have to do that. So that was sorted during the time my boy was away so fairly quick and the C100 form was sent off. I had to inform my ex and that changed his tune immediately. It was a long process because the court organisation are shockingly bad, first court hearing was pointless, the next one I wasn’t even informed about so my ex turned up and I didn’t even get a letter so I didn’t turn up! The next hearing my name wasn’t even on their list as they’d made a mistake so had to be cancelled! During this waiting my ex had moved his new girlfriend and her daughter to the house we lived in together. But just before the hearing they broke up and at court he literally agreed to everything I wanted (I wanted main custody).i was completely shocked he agreed to that. Communication with him regarding that before hand was useless as he is a child. Also I was terrified him and his mum were planning on playing g dirty and coming up with lies about me so it really messed with my head the whole ordeal.
My reasons behind wanting main custody was that my boy was starting school September 2018 and needed more stability and more of a home base instead of being passed to and fro. Solicitor thought the agreement we had in place for 50/50 needed to be changed straight away. It was the only way I could figure out 50/50 to suit my ex and myself. If I’d have had my way it would have been like how it is now from the beginning but my ex was just so pig headed about it. So now my ex sees him every other weekend and two evening a week (5.30-7.15 both days) but he never turns up until 6.
anyway it’s all sorted now and working out great, no issues so I really properly urge you to get it sorted via court as long and stressful it was for myself, it’s for the best. The control people think they have on you is soul destroying and te courts will do whatever is best for the child first and foremost so if there’s violence or abuse from his part then that’s a major red flag for them.
I don’t think I had tonpay for the court hearing or the solicitor meeting, you fill out a form and you get lkme a reference number so that you dont have to pay. Only thing I had to pay for was the mediation but like I said I didn’t need to do that I guess I was desperate for proper advice and what to do.
Hope you get it sorted ASAP xx