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My Ex has stopped unsupervised contact - is she being unreasonable?
#1
Hi,

I have a 2-year old child with my ex of 9 years and whilst our break-up was very difficult and messy. We have tried to maintain a working relationship for the benefit of our son. 

Initially I began with seeing my son three times a week during the week and also every Sunday (after church). I also began paying £280.00 maintenance by way of a mutual agreement with my son's mother. 

By the time my son was 5 months old, an argument had ensued regarding missing funds from my ex's account in which she accused me of stealing (I hadn't). As a result, I refused to pay her maintenance by bank transfer and reverted to cash payment in the bank. Following this, one month came where the date she was due to receive payment had fallen on a weekend and I did not make it to the bank in time - therefore, I informed her I would make payment the following Monday. A massive argument ensued which ultimately resulted in me receiving a CMS application from her.

The CMS then calculated and concluded that I was to pay her £191.50 per month. Another massive argument ensued where her family also got involved and again I was accused of being a fraud and 'rigging the system'. After much thought and in an attempt to try and move forward, I decided to offer her payments of £350.00 per month (so £191.50 by CMS and the remainder under mutual agreement) 

Time went on and as my son got older I began to request unsupervised contact with my son on Sundays. Initially, she refused - noting that I was not familiar with his 'morning routine' and she said that I had to come to the house in time for when he wakes up so I could get accustomed to his routine. So, as a result, I begun to miss church and arrive at her house at around 6:30am-7:00am in order to see his routine. This mainly just consisted of getting him ready, brushing his teeth and giving him breakfast. 

Some further time elapsed, say maybe a few months or so and I requested again about having unsupervised contact. Shortly after he turned 1 - beginning of this year; she allowed me to have unsupervised contact with him on Sundays on the proviso that I did not go out with him and stayed in my house - so I agreed. As this continued, I begun to request taking my son to local places such as the park and to visit nearby family and did so when she approved. 

By March of this year, we discussed putting my son into nursery. This was for two reasons:

1) To allow him to interact with more children and get more stimulation
2) To allow his mum to go back to work 

Having found a nursery, we agreed he would attend two days a week and the cost came to £550.00 per month. Our agreement was that I would pay until she found a job and then she would contribute based on her earnings. Within three to four weeks of our son being in nursery, his Mum was able to get part-time employment. I then said she could have a couple of months to re-integrate herself into earning money and sort out any outstanding bills she may have had after which we would sit down and discuss a fair and proportional share we would each pay. 

By July, she had still not made any contribution and she then came and asked me to continue paying solely until our son turned 2 (his birthday is in November). This was for two reasons: 

1) She was now paying rent to her mother (whom she was living with at the time) and assisting with bills
2) Our son would then receive his government-funding of 15 free hours which she would then use to account for his two days' attendance.

I agreed to this and continued paying. In the same month, his Mum mentioned that she wanted to introduce our son to her new partner and would be looking to do so in the forthcoming months. In discussion, I noted that I didn't have a problem with this, however, raised the point that it was important for our son to spend unsupervised overnight contact with me at home in order to establish a stronger connection for him at my house and with my family. My reasoning was that ultimately, her partner would end up seeing more of my son than I would as a result of her relationship and so it was, therefore, important he needed to know that 'this was Daddy's house' and who his Dad exactly is to prevent confusion. 

Initially, she was not happy with allowing overnight contact with me as she felt that our son was still too young and was not ready. However, in a matter of weeks she then allowed for me to have him from Saturday morning through to Sunday evening - again, this was on the proviso that I did not allow certain mutual friends that she had now fallen out (but I still maintained friendship with) with to come and visit him. I agreed and we then continued in this fashion. 

His mum then began having issues at her home with her Mother and noted concerns at the relationship between the two of them - stating that our son was appearing unhappy. Her mother was also doing the nursery pick-ups and I would attend their house to give my son his dinner, milk, bath and bed as per usual. My son's mum then noted that her mother was not happy with continuing to pick him up from nursery - as a result, I agreed to leave work earlier (I work outside of London) in order to collect him and take him back to their house. This meant I needed to cut my hours in order to do so. 

By October, my son's Mum decided to move out and found a flat under social housing. After this point, I was collecting my son from nursery and taking him to her house to follow his same evening routine. His mum had also cut her hours to ensure she would be able to arrive home in time for when I arrived at her house from nursery. 

Our son then turned 2 and I requested confirmation from his Mum as to how much she would be able to contribute towards his nursery costs, by this point the costs had increased to £586.00 per month due to annual price review. She then argued that the agreement was not that I would pay until he turns 2, but until he received his funding (nursery funding is given when a child turns two but we then discovered that it is only applied to the following term). This meant that I was to continue paying until January 2020. I disagreed with this and noted that it was until he turned 2 and could not have been until funding because we did not know when that would be at the time. 

I then requested that she contributed funds towards the nursery as I was struggling to afford paying these fees on top of paying the child maintenance, to which she said she would review her finances and come back to me - but never officially confirmed. As a result, I've continued to pay. 

Bringing this now to my current predicament - our son has now begun to display behaviour where when I take him to his Mum's house from nursery, there are times where when interacting with him to have a bath or have his dinner or anything else - he begins to cry, throw tantrums and will only go to his Mum or his Grandma (when she is there). This seems to be intermittent as for some stages of the evening he will be crying, and for others he will interact with me and we will be playing. This has now gone on for two weeks. However, when I am with our son on my own or when I pick him up from nursery - he does not display this sort of behaviour at all. Also, on the weekend he was due to stay at mine in between these two weeks, he beckoned for his Mum to come with us, but when he ultimately said bye and we left - he was fine. 

Last week, I had a discussion with his Mum where she noted that she now wished to 'temporarily' stop his overnight contact as she believed that the relationship between my son and I had broken down and she felt that he had become scared of me. She then said she wanted for our son to remain at her house and on the weekends I would usually have him overnight - I was to go to her house and spend the day there with him. This was so she could see that there was not an issue between us. 

In response, I noted that it was an unreasonable move to cut my overnight contact with him as he didnt display this behaviour when he was with me or when I picked him up from nursery. I mentioned that this behaviour was likely down to the "Terrible Two's" stage and that he is likely going through a phase where he has more of an attachment to her than me. I also put this down to a new resistance he had been showing to going to bed and that as I am always the one to put him to bed on those days - when I interact with him, he now knows that he has to go to sleep. 

I further noted that this was not a reason to cut his overnight contact as there is no evidence of this behaviour when he is with me. She responded that she could not prove this because I was not giving her information as to what I was doing, where I was going and who I was with when I had him for the weekend. At this point, I then offered her to spend the day with us at my house so she could review and see that there was no issue. She then noted that this wasn't acceptable as the issue was in her house and not mine. So I then said that I would commit to extra evenings during the week in order to see whether there was an issue - again she noted that it wasn't acceptable because the amount of time was insufficient (this is despite the fact the our son only displays this behavior in the evening. 

I maintained my position that this was unacceptable and she then noted that as our son lived with her and she is his sole caregiver, she would ultimately decide what is best for our son in terms of his safety and that if I now wanted to see him, the only time I could do so was at her house. 

I am bitterly disappointed and frustrated at this as I feel I have done everything I can to support her and play a role in my son's life. On top of the child maintenance and nursery fees I pay - I have given additional funds in times where she has needed it, taken impromptu half days and unpaid days from work to look after our son when she has needed and given other support as and when required. I feel she is now just doing this for control because I am spending my own independent time with him and not reporting back to her. 

I ultimately want to know if my son's Mum is justified in her actions and if I should look at applying for joint custody to prevent this happening in the future. 

Would appreciate any advice anyone can give.
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#2
Firstly she sounds like she wants everything for nothing.

Is she doing these part time hours during when your sons in nursery? Or when he is under the care of yourself or her mum?
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#3
I would file a C100 to get the contact restarted, your ex has already had you having overnight unsupervised stays, and this is something she will have to explain to the court WHY they have stopped.

You should be looking at Fri - Sunday every other weekend and one day in the week, you should not be paying CMS for days in which the child is living at your place.
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#4
(12-03-2019, 09:34 AM)Tom_W88 Wrote: Firstly she sounds like she wants everything for nothing.

Is she doing these part time hours during when your sons in nursery?  Or when he is under the care of yourself or her mum?

Hi,

Thanks so much for your response - much appreciated. 

Yes she is working part time hours whilst he is in nursery and also on Sundays whilst under my care.
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#5
(12-03-2019, 10:29 AM)invisibleintellectual Wrote: I would file a C100 to get the contact restarted, your ex has already had you having overnight unsupervised stays, and this is something she will have to explain to the court WHY they have stopped.

You should be looking at Fri - Sunday every other weekend and one day in the week, you should not be paying CMS for days in which the child is living at your place.

Hi - thanks so much for your response.

I have completed a C100 form, just haven't pushed the green button on it yet. Those arrangements would be great if I could get them. How long roughly would it take to get a court order finalised?

Thanks,
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#6
I think your too reasonable and getting taken for a ride.

File your C100 and stop any payments bar the CMS demand stating you would review it again upon contact resuming.

Its amazing how quickly they agree when the lure of money is there.
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