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Lockdown easing but ....
#1
Hello all hope to get some other opinions on here I'm literally feeling helpless . I've got a shared care order which is every other weekend and half hols . It's been going fairly well since it started just 6 months ago . Communication is extremely poor and handovers are done at school and in a coffee shop in holiday times. My child is 4 and I live with my parents at the moment and have a 50 mile journey to pick her up. As soon as the corona virus happened here and lockdown started I knew as many other dads did that this would play right into the ex partners hands. We are all healthy in my household but the ex has e mailed me with why contact cannot go ahead . She explained she was on her own with my child , had symptoms at the end of march and so isolated and I agreed that was best and I'd get in touch after three weeks to give time to completely recover if there was anything. My child told me on the phone that she was at her grandmother's who is apparently in the shielding group , and I also could see whre she was on one of the very few video calls that it was being filmed there too. When I questioned my ex on this if course she denied it . So also in the e mail she told me wont do a handover as the usual coffee shop is closed as is the school ( probably will be all different days when it does start ) . I wrote a very reasonable e mail explaining that we are able to come to an agreement between us and meet in a suitable venue somewhere else . Of course she wants cameras and a public area cos shes " vulnerable" . So I gave lots of different options and asked what she thought . Excuse after excuse ... cant do this, cant do that, making me feel like I'm not putting our child first , health and feelings . I've continued to ask on my weekends telling her how careful I will be , not go anywhere when I have our child here. It's been 11 weeks now , she tells me our little girl is not missing me at all , the messages are cruel and I think not true , we have such a close bond . Face time has been very rare and just a few phone calls which are monitored to what I can and cannot say it makes me so anxious as she threatens to disconnect if I say the wrong thing in her opinion. Lockdown has been difficult for alot of us I know it would of been easier if I could of at least seen our daughter. My weekend is here again now and I've said I'll be waiting outside a local supermarket where we can do the handover safely. She now tells me that she is in part quarantined, this is probably because she is staying with our daughter at the grandmother with the health issues. She now tells me that the date for this group has been pushed out to mid august and could be even longer after that. So no I wont be allowed to see our daughter until at least then or as she told me " when she decides it's time " Funny how they like to re write the order ? I've asked my solicitor to write her a letter giving her a nudge that the routine really needs to be resumed now for our daughters sake or unfortunately I may have to take things back to court. This looks probable now and I'm gutted that im back there so soon again . " Am I wrong ? Why do I feel so bad ?
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#2
Are you in Wales? Because lockdown hasn't been extended elsewhere.

I think you need to clarify what's going on here. Your ex self-isolated. She's not shielding. Her mother is not shielding. There are no COVID-19 reasons preventing contact.
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#3
Yes am in Wales. My ex refuses to do handovers and very rarely appears , grandmother or other family members do them . So she is using the fact that because the grandmother is isolating she wont be able to do the handovers . I've suggested that I stand on the pavement outside her gate while my daughter comes out to me also but she refuses that too. This shielding could be extended for months yet , so that would mean I cant see my daughter due to the handovers. Surely this is wrong , my little girl needs to see both of us , I already feel she is being alienated from me in the lack of calls given .
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#4
She isn't shielding.

You need to be careful about your language here. Shielding is for the extremely vulnerable (those with an underlying condition). She is only elderly so they're is nothing to stop you seeing your child.

Does either your ex or her mother have an underlying condition?
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#5
The grandmother is not elderly , she is in her fifties. She is very overweight and asthmatic but I dont know if she is in the extremely vulnerable category but I doubt it not sure and although I've asked she will not tell me . My ex just says her own health is poor , I do know she had pneumonia last summer but she hasn't said she is isolating herself. It just seems that she is throwing everything at it , handovers not do able , groups of more than two cant meet ( they can now I know ) me not being able to touch my daughter because of the two metre rule and now the grandmother isolating until god knows when . She wouldn't even allow me go up to see our daughter on her birthday as she said she would get upset , I dropped the presents off the night before on the grandmother's doorstep as requested and saw my little girl on face time sitting next to a public path outside granny's house. And yet still denying shes there , it's been frustrating and its breaking me .
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#6
Right now it's a breach of the court order.

What's the purpose of your child being at her gran's, because if looks as if your ex is doing it merely to be obstructive and use it as a reason to block access. If she was shielding - and there is no evidence she is - then telephone contact should be ongoing. If she is poor health, that is not a barrier to access. To have any kind of credible argument she would need to formally shielding and for her to have a letter to that effect.

There is specific and different advice for England and Wales but I think it needs to be put strongly to your ex thst contact needs to go ahead or the matter goes back to court.
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#7
I've said as much in my last message to her , I've said I really dont want to take this further but I have no choice . I'm going to wait at the supermarket carpark tomorrow for half hour as I said , she has threatened to call the police , but why would they be interested and I'll have the court order with me . It's going to be a long stressful time but either way if I leave it or take it to court I'd be looking at a long time anyway. Thanks Chi
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#8
I would wait as planned - and wait perhaps for up to 45 minutes, but I would also write to her. I would emphasise that.

1. Your ex has had coronavirus and that she has no underlying conditions and contact should go ahead.

2. Your ex's mother being in poor health is not a reason for stopping contact.

3. If your little one is not brought to contact and bo letter proving that your mother is shielding is not provided, then you will return the matter to court.

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Scratch that. 50 mile journey? No. Write to her and ask her if she is bringing your child. A 50 mile journey to turn up for no reason is not on.
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#9
Hi Chi , well still haven't seen my little girl , the ex told me not to waste my time she wouldn't be there and if I appeared anywhere near her property ( it's actually very close to the supermarket) she would call the police. 2nd time shes threatened this . I dont want any sort of police involvement at any stage but especially if this goes to court . So as soon as told me this I contacted my solicitor to get the ball rolling . It may be a long time now as the courts are backed up but the other alternative is I'm at the exes mercy who will draw this out and out at her will . I'm expecting to not have any further phone contact off my daughter now too . Also I see from another one of your posts on another thread that you mentioned a guardian during handovers. I would be very interested in this as handovers are a big deal and an extremely anxious time due to her and her family hostility . Could you tell me more about a guardian please ? Who and what are they exactly . Many thanks.
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#10
Hi. Sorry to hear that.

The guardian is not there at handovers but was there at one to observe. She is at the end of a phone if there are problems at handover and that has been very handy.

Unfortunately, you need to join the children to proceedings before you appoint a guardian and when you do they have their own solicitor and barrister. Before that japan's a judge will look at using CAFCASS to resolve pribkems. As you can imagine, all this will drag on for ages and get very expensive.

I think you need hate to have a very clear strategy. The solicitor needs a clear indication of why your ex is not willing for contact to take place, with proof of shielding (there will be an NHS letter). If true and provable x then she needs to allow extensive telephone contact.

If not, then he needs to apply to court, but honestly, if she is this obstructive, then you may want to think about applying for your little one to come live with you or shared care.
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