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Invasion of privacy or am I being paranoid?
#1
Two years on since splitting up with my ex involving solicitors, mediation and lots in-between without the involvement of going to court for a Child arrangements order which I cannot afford, we are back to square one again with very little achieved.

As of late, my ex has stopped me from seeing or even speaking to my children unless I do something that she wants me to do which I am very reluctant to do more than principal of the matter which is to provide her, from my work, a copy of my roster showing all my days that I am working and all my days that I have off. As well as that, she wants to know every week that I have booked off for my annual leave.

Now, this may sound reasonable to some but I just want an opinion of other father's who may be in the same position as me and any suggestions/alternatives they can offer.

Just as a general idea of my situation, I work full time but I do shift work which involves me starting work either very early in the morning or finishing very late at night and even night shifts. Also, because it is a 'rolling roster', which means that all my shifts are different from one week to the next and my days off are not always the same and I could have maybe 2 days off one week but 5 days off the next, likewise I could work 4 days on then 2 off or 7 days on then 2 off and 7 days on again, so there is a very varied pattern to my roster.

In the past, I used to text/email my ex with my work pattern and then she would tell me which days/nights I could see my children which did work quite well at one time until my ex somehow realised that I was not being completely truthful about my shifts as I did not declare every day that I had off and said that I was working (afterall, I am entitled to a day off to myself aren't I?) and that's' when things broke down again and she did not trust me which yes, maybe in hindsight I shouldn't have done that.

Now, I am not saying by any means that I do not want to see my children so please do not think that, of course I do. But there are obviously going to be some days when I want those to myself to catch up on things like shopping, appointments and socialize. Likewise the same applies to my annual leave, maybe I want a week or two to myself to be on my own or even go away with friends or a partner.

Now briefly onto my ex, she does not work therefore has lots of time on her hands although I know that when the children are home (we have 3) it can be hard work, although she does have help from her mother who lives virtually next door. She is also very controlling (but then again aren't most ex's?!) and likes to keep tabs on what I am doing and even checks up on me (I have seen her deliberately drive past my house which is out of her way).

I have been to see a solicitor who said that I should show her and be truthful about my work roster and also my annual leave weeks but I am quite reluctant to do so as I feel that once she has got that then she will be forever controlling me like a puppet on a string and I will have no time to myself to do what I need to do. The same applies to my annual leave weeks, am I allowed to have any of those weeks by myself or just because it's my time off I am obliged to have my children with me, even if I want to go away with friends which I obviously would not be able to do.

As far as I am concerned which obviously does not seem to be the view of my solicitor, my ex does not need to know what shifts and which days I am working but more so which days that I am available to see/have my children. or is that me being selfish?

I will also point out that I do pay over £300 per month for child maintenance.

I am intrigued to know what other fathers do and how they work it out with their ex's so it's done fairly...
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#2
In your case i would be looking at trying to have the same amout of time weekly or over the course of a month consistently. I would as you not been to court just give her your work rota and what weeks you have off and then you can amicably organise set times and dates you can have children. In court it is about your availability and obviously u dont have to provide her details. But you are wanting to sort it out of court and yes you are entitled to your days off or holiday time to be able to spend by yourself if you choose to. I guess if your contact is inconsistent then she may have issues but when u provide rota you can make arrangements amicably.

If you put your latest hours on here maybe members of forum will make some suggestions before u give it to your ex partner
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#3
Thank you for your reply, yes I will post on here a copy of my roster for others to make suggestions (as long as my ex does not see this!). A couple of things that I forgot to mention is that when I saw my solicitor she did say that to remember that I am doing this for the children and not her which is very very true, although I know that my ex will be gloating that she will have sight of my roster and no doubt rubbing her hands with glee knowing that she 'has one over on me'.

So as a key to my roster, I will not list every single time that I am working, just if it is an early shift (0600 to 1445), middle shift (1100-1945) or a late shift which can be varied times but let's just say it's about 1345-2230. I also have a spare week which can be used as anything to cover absences and holidays and I do not know what that will be until a few days beforehand.

So, here goes... (EARLY 0600-1445) MIDDLE (1100-1945) LATE (1345-2230) TBA (SPARE)

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat

Week 1 OFF MID MID MID MID OFF OFF
Week 2 OFF OFF OFF LATE LATE LATE LATE
Week 3 LATE LATE LATE OFF OFF LATE LATE
Week 4 OFF EARLY EARLY OFF OFF EARLY EARLY
Week 5 EARLY LATE LATE OFF OFF EARLY EARLY
Week 6 OFF EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY OFF OFF
Week 7 OFF OFF OFF LATE LATE LATE LATE
Week 8 MID LATE LATE OFF OFF MID MID
Week 9 EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY OFF OFF
Week 10 OFF OFF OFF EARLY EARLY EARLY EARLY
Week 11 TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

Then it goes back to the top line again and so forth. As you can see my roster is very higgledy piggledy as some weeks I have more days off than others and work longer days on the run than others.

I am open to suggestions guys...!
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#4
Would a compromise be to give her your roster just one or two weeks in advance and not in one go for the entire year?
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#5
I used to give her my roster for the whole month but now she wants it for 3 months in advance and also all my annual leave weeks so she would definitely not want just a week or 2 in advance!

Would it be fair of me to say which days I would like the children rather than my ex telling me?

What do other dad's do who work shifts like me?
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#6
You are perfectly entitled to have some of your days off to yourself if you want. It all goes on your availability which doesn’t mean you have to have them every day you are off.

Don’t let her dictate your life.
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#7
Thanks Hazy, what about my annual leave weeks? How should that be split up or is it or to me when I want my children with all week?
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#8
week 1 you could do Saturday morning drop off to school monday
week 2 pick up from school wednesday drop off at school thursday
week 3 pick up from school thursday drop off mums midday
week 4 pick up from school thursday drop bk to school friday
week 5 pick up from school wednesday drop bk to school thursday
week 6 pick up from school friday drop off to school monday
week 7 pick up from school tuesday drop bk to school wednesday ( is close to week 6 contact though)
week 8 pick up from school wednesday drop bk to school thursday
week 9 pick up from school friday drop bk to school monday

hopefully your children are both at school, you could make some of these midweek overnights play + supper only but would be better if you had them overnight as would bode well for future contact arrangements.. holidays you would arrange with ex to have earlier specially if you are off work. i think 2 months in advance work schedule is good enough to work with

If things arent too hostile with your ex and you are comfortable going round there you could return them sunday 6pm when you have weekends instead of school monday morning whichever would suit yourself
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#9
As Hazy says, its when your available to spend QUALITY TIME, with them not just time... i wouldn't be dictated by the ex either, as she's the main carer and you pay the maintenance to her, i'd give her a rota on when you'd like to have your kids.... hope you sort something amicable, nothing worse than arguing about when you can see your own kids.
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#10
It’s up to you when you have your kids when on annual leave not her.

However if you want say a one or two week (or 10 day) period in the summer or something you could give her those dates in advance.
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