Recently divorced Dad in need of advice
17 June 2021 at 10:06 am #55391
New here and looking for some advice as to what I should do to protect my relationship with my two sons who live with their mum.
A bit of background (short version), I was married in February 2017 and we had our first son in February 2018, both of us were so happy and to start with everything was great. My wife’s maternity package was basically 13 months fully paid so we didn’t have any major financial worries. For whatever reason, despite loving our son, our personal relationship started deteriorate after becoming parents, I can’t put my finger on what drove it, I admit struggled to come to terms with being a parent, maybe that caused some of it but I think maybe in her eyes, my wife felt I wasn’t a good dad and wasn’t helping as much as I could (particularly in the night). Anyway things changed between us slowly and there was definitely less intimidate moments lets say. I still loved her but was getting frustrated with her attitude that only her mum was good enough to look after our son and my family was starting to be left out a bit (I let that happen which I regret but I was trying please her however I could).
Anyway we managed to get pregnant again during that first summer and had our second son in April 2019, and by then she was starting to make noises that she did not love me anymore etc, but again we were really happy to have another boy.
I think I have waffled enough. Long story short, she decided to leave me during lockdown and spend time at her mothers in Norfolk with the kids for childcare reasons to start with as nurseries shut etc, and naively I let her do this and over time she made it clear she wanted this to be a permaently and I wanted to keep the peace as I was desperate to make sure she didn’t try to deny me access to my boys.
We did a cheap divorce and consent order, sold house, I moved to my Mums in Essex and she went to Norfolk. I current see my sons every other weekend and I pay her maintenance which we agreed in the consent order.
She is always keen to keep arrangements informal but over the last few months she is cagey about where she lives and will not tell me the address (we meet a car park when I collect boys) and I know she is living with another man now and the boys live there. I have been really upset about this and feel like I am becoming just the bloke they see at the weekend.
I need some advice as to what do to next, and what are my legal rights as their father. Do I have any without applying for legal joint custody? If she marries this guy, does that change anything?
I am keen to keep a good relationship with my ex for the sake of the boys, but I feel like everything so far has been to her benefit and not mine but I think I go along with it to keep the peace.
I am trying to move to Norfolk but I can’t afford to give them what they have with their mother as obviously they had 2 good salaries and have a nice 4 bed detached house so I am struggling to deal with that as I can only stretch to a small 3 bed and still be 30 mins from them as I cant afford the area they live in.
Anyway, I am really not sure what to do next, should I keep things informal to keep the peace, depending on what my rights are, or do I apply for joint custody, what does that give me that I dont already have? She does not involve me in any key decisions like school choices etc and I am worried that the boys will prefer being with the other guy rather than me.
I hope I have make some sense in this and look forward to hearing from anyone with advice.
Thanks17 June 2021 at 11:36 am #55405
I would suggest that as long your not being denied access to your children, then to keep the peace. going to court will make things worse and more hostile between both of you. also if you went to court for custody issues, its unlikely they will grant you more time with kids, if you live far away from them and not able to take them to school/nursery. you could look at moving closer to them if it means you can have the children more than just every other weekend.