Seeing the wood from the trees?

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  • #15636 Report


    Sometimes you get so immersed in your own details of your own situation, you need to stand back and ask yourself are you really being fair about things.

    My wife is currently getting nowhere with an attempt to construct a voluntary written child arrangements agreement with her ex over her 8 year old son. We feel we have no option now but to head down legal routes for child arrangement order. We understand that mediation is first step but can confidently predict that will be pointless.

    We’ve become frustrated with his irregular/haphazard/short notice attempts at contact with his son. There is no consistency or regularity to contact and it often feels the child comes third place to arranging social life around his work. Once or twice a year he may have his son for more than 1 night a week but even then he will use my wife’s extended family for some of childcare. He claims to have little money but has spent 2.5months out of country visiting south asia on 2 occasions in last months. He will sometimes pick his son up from school and spend afternoon with him, returning him in early evening. His preference for overnight stays is school nights, picking him up, taking him home and taking him to school next day. When he does see his son at weekends there is no regular pattern at all. It may be Fri, Sat or Sunday and that makes arrangements for getting son to and from sports events difficult.

    He is resident in country on a visa based on role as parent but is still living in single room bedsit. He has been given a single mattress for the child but it seems they may still share bed on occasion. The house he lived in previously was owned by my wife and he had no legal interest in property. Her son remained resident with her when they separated. He has only ever paid the minimum financial contribution generated by online calculator and does not buy/keep and clothes/toys etc at his address. My wife still packs a bag each time her son visits.

    In 2016 my wife decided to rent out her house and relocate to mine, approxmately 30 miles (3/4hr car journey) away and son started school locally. Her ex has never accepted  this, even though child was resident with her. We help out taking his son to him when we can, but because he generally wants to see son on school nights, that doesn’t work for us. Sometimes we have taken his son to him at weekends as he claimed to have been working overnight the night before (Friday or Sat), only to discover he had actually been out with friends the night before. Equally he will cancel/curtail time spent with son and then be seen out with friends on same night/evening. We know and can evidence  a fair number of occasions when he has blatantly lied about working when he was due to spend time with his son.

    He complains constantly about having to travel to see his son but round trip there and back takes 1.5 hours and can only cost £4-5 in petrol in his economical car. He has no appreciation of the money spent on music lessons, sports clubs, after school clubs etc and thinks he is being persecuted by these travel costs. More worryingly my wife has some serious concerns about his parenting and what could happen to her son if anything happened to her. Her son has complained on occasions that he does not want to spend nights at his Dads and bored when he’s there, but when we have raised that it seems her ex takes that out on his son making him reluctant to share his concerns. We also have been recently been having problems with son’s bed-wetting and we’re unsure if that’s an emotional or physical issue.

    The route we are going down will likely have consequences for the father as we see no option but to head  to court for child arrangements and residence order with conditions on contact. It could possibly have an impact on his right to remain in country on his parental visa as that is based on having significant and meaningful parenting role.

    We feel the current arrangements (or lack of them) are not in interest of child I suppose we’re asking ourselves are we being reasonable going down this route? It feels like family and people we know will back us but they are  perhaps too close as well.

    Would appreciate thoughts? Thanks


    #15665 Report


    Thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts. Our motives are 100% guided by what the child tells us. Being the father of 2 children myself and having my sons resident with me, I am acutely aware of the part both parents should be playing in their child’s upbringing.

    #15716 Report


    In terms of your query, I would  have everything documented. I’m thinking longer term when the child may be older it’s worth referring to any evidence to show that the bloke is being completely unreasonable with seeing the kid. The last thing you want is the ex turning the kid against you by saying that you made it difficult (when in fact you’re being more than reasoanable),. Whatsapps, texts, letters etc, saved now may prevent a headache later when the child is older.

    Just my two pennies worth.

    #15731 Report


    Thanks, we have been saving all emails/txts etc to date and now probably good idea to document/catalogue incidents in a more organised way.

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