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Help me please - I am done
#1
About to tear my hair out. Received the most nuttiest solicitors letter from me ex today and I’m scared this will wash in court. Court order is constantly messed around and not followed or cut short - ex totally blames 13 year daughter for changing arrangements without her consent or knowledge apparently (i always get texts from daughters phone about weekend arrangement never ex’s). Meant to get daughter 2 nights every alternative weekend but get her 1 night at best if that. Apparently daughter just wants all her time with friends now and excuses given (eg text saying I’m going shopping with my mum instead of coming over) is just lies made up by my daughter and she isn’t actually spending time with her mum, it’s just excuses so she doesn’t have to see me and mum encourages her to see me. Daughter WANTED 2 nights every 2 weeks back in January and holidays. And my ex says my daughter doesn’t want holidays with me at all anymore because of the distress of taking her mum to court and having a court order. I have evidence of ex slagging me by text to daughter and some may remember her taking my holiday off me. She is really putting my daughter under pressure and putting it all on her and I’m scared it’ll wash. Would appreciate thoughts and advice, I’ll need to go back to court but it’s how I’ll play this. She makes me out to be a monster for having a court order and not letting daughter just see her friends now instead of me.
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#2
Has she breached the order? If so, apply for enforcement. I doubt that letter would wash with the court and they will see exactly what she's doing by her hostile, unco-operative attitude. It is clear she is imposing her wishes on daughter. I would also ask the court to comment on her conduct and get a Judgement.
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#3
Thank you Charlie. Can I ask what a judgement is? I’m in Scotland so slightly different court process. What I’m wondering here is if my daughter is truly so defiant (she’s not) can ex’s parenting skills be called into question and how she has refused to mediation and then wanted to but danced around it and ultimately refused? Yes I understand she is 13 but the letter reads as if my daughter is just so out of control and in charge.
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#4
Sorry. Don't know about Scotland. A Judgement is the bit at the end of a case where the Judge makes comments on someone's conduct, if it has been bad and their opinion of what that person is doing. For example in my recent case I had actually had a text (supposedly from son) that she had psyched him up to send (or sent herself) refusing to come because I had upset his Mum. This changed the case and my lawyer said it was clear the Mother was involving the child in adult matters and asked the Judge to comment on her conduct. In the Judgement the Judge made it clear that any hostility in the case was solely caused by the Mother who was putting her own wishes before the child's.

You can then get a transcription of that Judgement afterwards (you do need to pay for it but it should be less than £100 if it's short) and that is useful for any future court cases - especially when Cafcass are involved.

So yes I think the argument is that if she child is refusing to come to court ordered times, that is a failure of parenting by your ex, who is encouraging it. Another argument would be - if your daughter had issues over court ordered times she would have discussed it with you in a normal way. You would then have discussed with ex some flexibility in scheduling if daughter had something she wanted to do - but if it was on your time it would still be you taking her and dropping her off wherever she wanted to go.

I would be concerned about the pressure your daughter is under, which must be a huge amount as she has loyalty to both parents and her Mother is tryig to stop her coming to you.

Your ex has refused mediation (do you have that in writing?).

Reading your post again it sounds very similar to what happened with me. Text from son refusing to come saying it was because I had taken his Mum to court again. This was 2 days before a hearing so the text got used in the hearing as evidence of her "facilitating or encouraging" child in her hostility.

If you have an order I would suggest applying to enforce it. List the breaches and write a carefully worded statement that clearly shows a Judge that your ex is involving daughter in ex's wishes and hostilities against her natural feelings and wishes. Making the argument that if daughter really felt like that she would have discussed this with you, but she can't if she doesn't see you, and if she wanted to do something there is no reason why you can't take her when she's in your care. Use the text message from daughter and any texts or emails from ex as evidence saying ex is not supportive of daughter coming to you and seems to wish to have a "normal" full time family for herself. That you do not think daughter sent the text herself, or if she did she was "encouraged" or manipulated into sending it.
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#5
Thank you. I have emails from ex where she is giving me the merry dance about mediation, saying she would rather talk in person with daughter there (!!) and she can’t financially afford mediation. Yet she can afford hundreds of pounds on a solicitors letter!?

I have kept a table - actually read Karen Woodall’s parental alienation book and using her suggestions for a chronological table with incidents and evidence etc.

The funny thing is, my ex absolves herself of all responsibility. She claims to know nothing my daughter does and says daughter plans stuff with her friends without her knowledge and consent and - get this - I should allow her into my weekly FaceTime conversations with daughter so she can see what daughter is doing and saying.

I’m just worried because the judge last time accepted that my daughter would only start attending contact IF court action ended. It was accepted and I couldn’t believe it - what 12/13 year old says this? Now ex is using it as an excuse to say I’ve permanently f’d my relationship up with my daughter by taking her to court and caused my daughter so much distress that she doesn’t want to even see me much anymore and never wants to go on holiday with me again because she is so uncomfortable with my actions of seeking a court order. I’m made to look like the bad guy and it truly scares me. How do judges generally look on parents showing children solicitors letters? And would a bold claim like “daughter doesn’t want holidays anymore because dad took mum to court” wash? I have evidence ex wanted same time as me in holidays and ex also claims I should just know that she wants the same 2 weeks every year and I should be fully aware as that’s what she has ALWAYS taken every year without fail - thing is I had the same 2 weeks of the summer holidays prior to this year and could prove that this is a total lie through historic holiday bookings in 2018 & 2016.

So sorry for this never ending saga.

Oh and ex claims I cause my daughter mega anxiety because when she comes back from contact, she sleeps in her mum’s bed. I have messages between mum and daughter where daughter asks to sleep in mum’s bed (no reason given) and ex uses this as an excuse to berate me saying “this is because you’ve just seen your dad and he’s got you pent up”. And the messages sometimes don’t even coincide with contact dates - one message is on a week I wasn’t even meant to see my daughter.
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#6
If someone told me "daughter doesn’t want holidays anymore because dad took mum to court”

My first question is - why does daughter know you are in court?
Why does daughter know who took who to court?
And why is" taking someone to court" which isn't a fair description, something bad?

Daughter doesn't need to know and shouldn't know. She only knows if someone, ie ex, tells her. Yes she's 13 and not dumb, but you're not dragging ex to court with a machevelian plan, you are going there to resolve issues since you can't come to agreement. So even if daughter has to be interviewed and "involved" and needs an explanation why, she could be told that mom and dad are trying to resolve some issues and want some professional help so it's best for daughter and fair to everyone involved. That's it. No need to make drama that you're punishing mother forcing her to court. This is what all exes do, play victim, like we are punishing them with this horrible place called court when they have been such angelic mothers. Delusional is what it is.

Also if you have all those things you say in writing you have quite good evidence, in my layman's opinion, and I'm with Charlie on the enforcement application. but I don't know anything about Scotland. Get a free solicitors consultation and ask what the best step is. I think you might have a good chance.
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#7
What Tigre said. Your ex is manipulating, alienating and derogating you. Keep those messages where daughter asks to sleep in her Mum's bed and Mum replies "that's because your Dad's got you all pent up".

Do you get to see her at all, because she is old enough to talk to and explain some things without going into a lot of detail about court orders. It is reasonable to be able to say "It isn't a case of me "taking Mum to court" - that makes it sound like a bad or criminal thing. The court is a family court and they help decide what is best for children. The court decided it is best for you to spend regular time with both parents. It is Mum's responsibility to follow what the court decided as she is the adult. You can still have lots of activities, but the way it works is - if they are on days you're with me then I take you to them and if they're on days you're with Mum then she takes you."

She probably knows all this (although ex may be successfully manipulating her and telling her rubbish so it's worth explaining).

So then onto next conversation asking if there is anything that upsets or worries her. And going on to say you know she is under pressure, and that Mum doesn't like her coming to you, and is she coping ok? She will feel understood then.

The best thing you can do for her is ensure she comes, via the court order as it gets her off the hook with her Mum. At the moment she is powerless to defy her Mum without risking rejection and anger. These kids have loyalties to both parents and try and keep everyone happy.

Incidentally you have plenty of evidence that ex is encouraging daughter to ignore court orders, adultifying her and also babyfying her at the same time. The last two are typical traits of alienation - not that a court would understand that PA terminology probably. But "manipulation" and turning daughter against you are phrases that can be used.

I am getting this a lot at the moment as well. Ex keeps saying son is older and can decide for himself - as a way to get out of sticking to the court order. But it's simple. Daughter is in your care sometimes and that is none of ex's business.

It is not appropriate to talk in person with daughter there as that puts her in the middle (more evidence for you).

You could maybe start by sending ex a brief, formal, polite email, maybe:

Dear Ex Name

We have a court order for daughter's arrangements to determine when she spends time with both of us. Even though she is 13 and has various activities, this does not affect her spending time with both families. If she has an activity when she is in my care, then I will take her and pick her up and vice versa when she is in your care.

I am not in agreement with your assertions that daughter does not wish to see me and request you cease derogating me to daughter or pressurising her not to come. I understand that you are not keen on her enjoying time with both parents and both families, regularly, but it is in her interests, as decided by the courts.

It would not be appropriate to discuss matters in front of daughter as that will put her in the middle. If she has any concerns she can talk to me directly when I see her. I do not interfere with her time with you when she is in your care and request you do not interfere with her time with me when she is in my care.

I have taken advice on the matter and have to advise you that if daughter does not come as per the court ordered schedule, this will be considered a breach as you, as the adult, will be seen to have encouraged and facilitated her not coming. As opposed to encouraging her.

I am happy to discuss any concerns you have further, but the court order in place must be kept to - it is in daughter's best interests as decided by the courts, because she has two parents.

Regards,you"
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#8
When I started court action, my daughter didn’t attend for 4 months and when daughter was spoken to, daughter said she would ONLY start seeing me once court action stopped and judge accepted this as a good reason not to see me! My ex acts like she is just representing my daughter’s views in court and spotlight is off her. The difference is, this time I have messages between daughter and ex where ex slates me. One example is where ex says to daughter “I’ll never trust or forgive or forget what your dad has done and all he put us through, he could’ve had you removed from the house” and “it’s your dad so it’s different for you” [referring to the ways in which my daughter feels about me is wrong and tries to attempt to get daughter to feel her way]. Daughter and ex also regularly text each other when in their company and daughter will ask to sleep in her mums bed (daughter still has a habit of sleeping in my bed too, she’s not fully grown out of it) and that’s where mum will hit out with “that’s because you’ve seen your dad recently and he’s got you pent up”. Then there’s a few messages where daughter comes back from weekends at mine and ex messages daughter to say “you are so nasty to me when you come back from your dads stop the attitude”. She is trying to get in daughter’s head and make daughter think she is horrible and stressed because of me. Now daughter is recently saying she is uncomfortable around me and doesn’t want to see me much and I can only attribute it to her mother and these messages. I really hope a court will see this pressure and inappropriate behaviour and not believe the crap my ex hits out with. My daughter is under so much pressure that if anyone speaks to her, she will back up her mother for sheer fear. I just really need to get it across to the court that ex is alienating me but in a way that the judge doesn’t think I’m being controversial on the topic of PA.

I plan on talking to my daughter at some point and also will write back to ex as more evidence. I’m just really worried, I have no option to go back to court. I have a mountain of evidence and ex only has her lies and daughter to manipulate. The voice of the child I understand, but daughter has changed her mind so much in the last year (contact has gone from extremely frequent to nothing at all) that there’s a drastic change - ex says it’s because she is 12/13 now and no longer a little girl. I’m sorry but as children we become more independent but in less than 12 months we don’t totally disregard them from our lives.

Thank you for reading my rant, I’m just fed up and done. My ex is disgusting and can obviously live with herself emotionally abusing my daughter.
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#9
Would it be possible to go for a variation so that pickups etc are done from school, removing the possibility for your ex to meddle?
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#10
My ex works for my daughter’s school and lives close by school. Daughter walks home so can easily manipulate daughter to walk home instead of going with me.
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