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Contact with kids
#1
Hi,

I'm feel as though I'm in a difficult situation.

Around 2 and a half years ago my now ex-wife and I separated after being together for 5/6 years (haven't started divorce yet). She has a daughter(11) from a previous relationship and we I have a daughter together(5). From the age of 4, I brought up her daughter as if she were my own, as her relationship with her own father at the time was a bit rocky but has since gotten better. My relationship with the step daughter has been up and down over the years although I love her to bits. 
I also have a really close relationship with my own daughter. 
Since separating, I have always seen them both pretty regularly both at weekends and some weekday evenings purely on a mutual agreement without any court orders. My ex-wife can be pretty hot headed and can make life pretty awkward. Suffice to say we don't get on particularly well but I've been nothing but reasonable through for the sake of the kids as well as paying maintenance for both. 

Just over a year ago I started seeing someone new and a couple of months ago we moved in together with enough space for all the kids as I was previously in a house share with a couple of friends where there wasn't room for the girls to stay over. My new partner also has daughter from a previous marriage. I introduced both girls relatively early to my new partner and things seemed to be alright.

My step daughter for a number of years has been quite sensitive and emotional about lots of things often resulting in angry outbursts at myself and now my new partner. A few weeks ago this escalated so much, it resulted in my new partner giving the 11 year old a smack on the bum. Clothed, not very hard and no injury or physical marks left. She then of course reported back to her mum and since then things have gotten pretty sour. 

My ex-wife is stopping me from seeing her and my own daughter. Whilst I understand my step daughter might not want to come around, I don't think my ex can stop me seeing my own daughter. 
Both me and my partner met with my ex and step daughters father to discuss the situation and while she has said I can resume seeing my own daughter (as per mutually agreed schedule) for the time being, I'm really worried about her restricting access again in the future. 

Is it worth going to court over this to get something set in stone so there's no backtracking? 

Any advice or help for my situation would be great.

Thanks,
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#2
No at this stage it is not worth going to court. I would resume your contact with your daughter that has been in place. As regards to your exs other daughter where you played a huge part in her life , if she doesnt wish you to see her anymore then there isnt much you can do i am afraid.

I would consider though during school term you use the school as much as possible as you would avoid conflict. You could for example have your daughter every other weekend from fri pm until sunday pm ( drop off at mums) and every tues/wed pick up from school 1 overnight stay returning to school in morning. If your ex partner agrees you could even do every other weekend fri pm - mon am (drop off at school)

Whilst you are seeing your own daughter you definitely dont want to be going court and mediation must also be attempted as well. At moment i would concentrate on reducing conflict/hostility
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#3
Thanks for the advice.

The contact proposal I put together was pretty much exactly that. To have my daughter every other weekend from after school on a Fri and drop her off on Mon at school. Then have her one or two week nights in between again, picking up/dropping off at school.

It's just pretty stressful having step child not want to come around after being a big part of her life. When we separated, I made a big effort to carry one seeing her as I thought that would be the best thing to do. I guess she isn't adapting to the change that well but I really resent my ex using that as an excuse to try and restrict me seeing my own daughter.
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#4
I think now you found a new partner and moved into your new home that is probably the last you may see of your ex partners daughter.
I would concentrate now on keeping contact going with your daughter going and if you do see the older one that she is still welcome to keep in contact or pop round if she choses to. Lets hope your contact continues and you dont need to visit courts
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