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How Do I Make My Ex See What He's Doing to the Kids?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 27 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Kids Family Ex Financial Support Contact

Q.

I'm sure it's unusual for you to have a question from a mum, but I am at my wits end and I'm hoping you might be able to give me some advice from a dad's perspective. I split up with my kids' dad three years ago and at first things were ok. Hhe had access with his kids for 3 nights every 10 days, which had to be arranged every few months due to his shift work.

Over the years this arrangement has broken down, we have been through solicitors on two occasions and mediation but nothing seems to work.

We're at the point now where my children haven't seen their dad for four months. I do believe my ex wants access with his children but only on his terms, which has been detrimental to the children, and they have been extremely upset by some of his actions.

I really don't think he realises how much he's affecting them. Are there any organsations that can speak to him or is there something I can do?

(M.S, 13 October 2008)

A.

You’re right, this is a tough one. Obviously you’ve tried to work it out between the two of you and by including solicitors. There are no legal channels you can go through to insist on your ex seeing his kids. However, you seem to think he wants to see them, but only on his terms, although you don’t state what those are, or what actions of his have upset the kids – presumably not seeing them?

Your options are limited, really. You don’t mention it as a problem so it would seem that he Pays His Maintenance on time, which means you can’t complain about that to the CSA.

Odd as it might seem, your best bet might be to talk to a group like Families Need Fathers. Normally the type of problems they’d deal with would be fathers unable to get access to their children, but they might be able to offer some advice.

Another good thing to do is to find groups of divorced and separated parents in your area and ask them for advice. It’s possible others might have found themselves in the same situation and can offer strategies that might work.

Have you tried talking to his friends or family, if you’re still in contact with them? He might listen more to those who are closest to him. If you can explain the problem to them, they might be willing to work with you to help resolve it.

The crux of the problem would seem to be that your ex doesn’t understand how his lack of contact hurts his kids, who want to see him – and that you, too, want him to be involved with them, so there’s no conflict on that score. It can be impossible to convince someone who doesn’t want to see.

Ultimately, it could also be the case that your ex no longer wants to see his kids – a sad situation, but one that’s more common than you think. If that’s so, as long as he provides the agreed financial support, there’s very little you can do, other than prepare your kids for the worst and see them through it.

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Cass86 - Your Question:
Ever since we split (4 years ago) my ex has slowly reduced contact with my 5 year old son. He used to have him either Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday (every week) and any other time he wanted him. I've always made sure my ex got to spend Christmases, birthdays, Fathers days and all special occasions with our son. And have repeatedly told him he could see him/phone him whenever he liked as well as sent photos of milestones etc. Once it became apparent I wouldn't get back with him(I split up with him when our son was 6 months old) he slowly stopped making an effort. And now I don't text/ring him to see his son (I used to ALWAYS arrange contact) because I realised it was all me and it felt like I was having to force him to see our son.My ex now sees our son on average once every 5-7 weeks, usually for an afternoon or morning, never all day and hasn't had him over night for almost 2 years. He went 11 weeks without seeing our son, literally no texts/calls to see how he was, nothing. I've pulled him up on this several times, told him he needs to step up cos he's not doing enough (he told me he's doing a really good job and no one can say otherwise!) He has a daughter (7 months) and my son has met his sister twice! I don't know if his girlfriend knows the truth but I'd never have stayed with a man who'd ignore his child, and definitely not have a child with him too!My son for the last 2 years has been asking to call my husband daddy, which we've discouraged by telling him (kindly) that "he's not your daddy but he loves you very much" but it breaks my heart that my ex doesn't care, I've done everything I can to try and save their relationship and I'd never want to stop my son seeing his dad but he just doesn't care! Has anyone got any advice? Please?

Our Response:
I'm afraid in situations such as this, there really is little you can do to force your ex to step-up to the mark if he refuses. He may come around with time. However, until then a court wouldn't force the issue and there is no law in place that says a non-resident parent should see their child.
SeparatedDads - 28-Mar-17 @ 11:16 AM
Ever since we split (4 years ago) my ex has slowly reduced contact with my 5 year old son. He used to have him either Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday (every week) and any other time he wanted him. I'vealways made sure my ex got to spend Christmases, birthdays, Fathers days and all special occasions with our son. And have repeatedly told him he could see him/phone him whenever he liked as well as sent photos of milestones etc. Once it became apparent I wouldn't get back with him(I split up with him when our son was 6 months old) he slowly stopped making an effort. And now I don't text/ring him to see his son (I used to ALWAYS arrange contact) because I realised it was all me and it felt like I was having to force him to see our son. My ex now sees our son on average once every 5-7 weeks, usually for an afternoon or morning, never all day and hasn't had him over night for almost 2 years. He went 11 weeks without seeing our son, literally no texts/calls to see how he was, nothing. I've pulled him up on this several times, told him he needs to step up cos he's not doing enough (he told me he's doing a really good job and no one can say otherwise!) He has a daughter (7 months) and my son has met his sister twice! I don't know if his girlfriend knows the truth but I'd never have stayed with a man who'd ignore his child, and definitely not have a child with him too! My son for the last 2 years has been asking to call my husband daddy, which we've discouraged by telling him (kindly) that "he's not your daddy but he loves you very much" but it breaks my heart that my ex doesn't care, I've done everything I can to try and save their relationship and I'd never want to stop my son seeing his dad but he just doesn't care! Has anyone got any advice? Please?
Cass86 - 27-Mar-17 @ 1:38 PM
I'm a single mom recently divorced with two children. Girl 9 & boy 8. My ex-husband and I separated mainly because I was very unhappy and felt as though I was never appreciated in the marriage and was never going to be good enough for my husband. I finally decided that this was not how I wanted to live the rest of my life and after 4 months of counseling and no change ai was done!! My ex is very much self absorbed and very strict about his body and how he looks. Another reason I couldn't stay with him. He has always put himself first, even after we had our two children. Recently both my children have started showing and expressing self esteem and body image issues. My son says things like he's fat and he knows it. Daddy and Grandpa (my ex's father) even tell me I'm fat. My daughter has become obsessed with having a flat tummy and actually reads the fat and sugar contents on food boxes at the store and won't eat certain foods because of it being "unhealthy". I have expressed my concerns to my ex, only to have him shut me down and tear me apart instead of recognizing what both our families along with myself are seeing. I don't know what to do anymore because I truly fear both my children are being impacted by their fathers own body issues and are creating ones within themselves. My son doesn't even want to go to his house anymore and my daughter hasn't lived with me now for 3 months because he has brainwashed her into thinking I'm not a fit mother. I have never hurt nor ever would hurt my children and would never and have never said anything to my children then how amazing and beautiful they both are. Shoot I wasn't even aware of my body until Junior Year of High school, not at 8 & 9!!!! Etru373 - 2-Sep-16 @ 5:30 AM
Etru373 - 2-Sep-16 @ 5:38 AM
Hi dads, I'm a mum stuck with an ex who doesn't want to see his daughter and I'm looking for 'a bloke's perspective'... He cheated on me three years ago when our daughter was just four, the 'I want a separation' message on facebook came on her birthday. All the hurt led to divorce - he'd done it before and gotten her pregnant but I couldn't cope again. Three months later he'd moved out to London from our home in Yorkshire to live with 'a friend' who wasn't the woman he'd been with, but shortly thereafter he moved in with her when she was pregnant. He's still with her though he tells me occasionally he wants to leave and their daughter will be two any time. They live in Brighton now. He promised when he left that he'd see our daughter for half of the holidays - half the two week Christmas break, half the two-three week Easter break, and half the Summer break. She's seven now and she's spent two Christmases with him and two Summers. It's been three years. We used to ring him every other night and she'd talk nonsense down the phone to him and drive him nuts (a four year old on the phone, he's got some patience!) for ages. Then my contract changed so we'd Skype because I didn't have free minutes any more. Very quickly the Skype sessions went from nightly to weekly, weekly to monthly, and now he's never in touch. She last stayed with him Christmas 2014. He did something which upset her and she asked him to 'get mummy' so he got me to call. I called and the first thing she said was 'I'm always going to live with you mummy' before asking for my partner and crying on the phone to him. I don't know what to do. He doesn't bring her all the way home when he's had her - I've had to drive down to Brighton or the train station because he doesn't want to bring her home. He never calls or emails and when she was emailing (she's very literate) he insisted it was me. I'd turn the computer on and get her to the yahoo! page and leave her to it. He doesn't pay CSA and he lies to her about sending things in the post (he said he'd post up the presents which didn't fit in her suitcase and they never arrived so she's called him on it). She didn't want to go down and see him all last year because of something that happened last Christmas (which she refuses to talk about which is very unlike her) but he hasn't even tried to call let alone tried to visit. She loves my partner to pieces and seems happy in herself but whenever her father is mentioned or whenever it gets to a time of year when he should be in touch or she would be spending time with him (Easter, Summer, her birthday, Christmas) she wets the bed. I really don't know what to do. He tells me I'm horrible and being nasty when I've tried to find out what happened between them last Christmas to make things between them this bad. He won't reply to my emails when I try and get him to take an interest in his daughter's life. She's such a smart girl,
MsP - 9-Jan-16 @ 3:07 PM
Phantom - Your Question:
I have been in and out of court now for over three years my ex has used every little trick in the book,breaches,illness,phones off,no email replies everything..i am now at the contact center stage my children are 9 and 12 ive not seen my eldest for 6 months prior both for 10 mths no contact at all. now I am being messed about at the contact center supposedly every 3 weeks now being told 4 this will cut me out of seeing the girls at christmas two years running.the control is rife the manipulation,alienation too.my only option is to go back to courtthis will be the 6th time and get an enforcement order.it is an absolute joke I am at the mothers mercy!!!! in the 3 weeks interim no contact at all.

Our Response:
I know it seems difficult, but please keep persevering, the more your ex flouts the court order the better for you, as every time your ex does this, she is in contempt of court. If you can't afford the legal bills you can self-litigate, see page on How to Represent Yourself, here and the Bar Council has a very comprehensive guide via the link here. Also see our partner article, Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. You have every right to see your children, so keep fighting, so that you can prove to the courts the games that your ex is playing in order to stop you seeing your children. The courts and the government are cracking down on mothers who repeatedly ignore court orders giving fathers access to their children, see Telegraph link hereregarding the recent case of a mother being sent to prison for a similar offence. Hopefully, if you continue your fight, you'll get the access you deserve.
SeparatedDads - 13-Nov-15 @ 12:48 PM
I have been in and out of court now for over three years my ex has used every little trick in the book,breaches,illness,phones off,no email replies everything...........i am now at the contact center stage my children are 9 and 12 ive not seen my eldest for 6 months prior both for 10 mths no contact at all. now i am being messed about at the contact center supposedly every 3 weeks now being told 4 this will cut me out of seeing the girls at christmas two years running. the control is rife the manipulation,alienation too.....my only option is to go back to court this will be the 6th time and get an enforcement order......it is an absolute joke i am at the mothers mercy!!!! in the 3 weeks interim no contact at all.
Phantom - 12-Nov-15 @ 3:35 PM
i'd like some advice please. my kids keep coming home telling me stuff their dad has said about me which is all lies, what should i do, he was normally very good, and we stil get on ok, but just recently since i got a new boyfriend he's been doing this, what should i do?
Mia - 26-Nov-14 @ 10:35 AM
My husband has 3 children from a previous marriage. He has been paying child maintenance for his two daughters via the CSA (direct payment from his weekly wages) since 2009. His eldest child left full-time education at 16 so was never in the CSA calculation. In July 2010 we had a child, so I contacted the CSA providing a copy of our sons birth certificate & child benefit entitlement to enable them to recalculate the amount paid. A few weeks after providing this information my husband received a phone call from the CSA advising him that they were dealing with 'a change of circumstances' and had calculated that he was in arrears on the account by £110. My husband asked for clarification on how there could possibly be a shortfall as the change of circumstances were in our favour & within a few clicks on the system the caller advised that it wasn't £110 in arrears, it was in fact £1136 and asked if he would be willing to make payment over the phone!! Obviously he declined & as he was getting understandably frustrated I took the call over. I asked how we could be in arrears when the money is taken from his wages every week without fail and all I could get back was 'the amount you should of paid is X amount but the amount you've actually paid is X amount so you need to pay the shortfall'! She couldn't advise how this shortfall had occurred & suggested it may be arrears from prior to the CSA payments starting... I advised her that we had previously paid his ex direct (almost double the amount they had calculated) and they had taken this into consideration from the start as we had reduced payments for the first 6 months to reflect this shortfall. I was told to send in evidence of this (their own letters!) and obtain confirmation from the ex that the payments were for child maintenance & not just a weekly 'gift'... Which we did. I kept in regular contact with the CSA for a few months & they maintained that the shortfall was still there but no-one could clarify why... I was given a deadline in April 2011 for an official reply into their investigation and never heard anything so we carried on paying the initial amount (with no reduction for our child) and decided we'd rather overpay than deal with the stress & incompetence of dealing with the CSA! We had a second child in December 2012 and both agreed not to notify the CSA as any reduction we may be entitled to wasn't worth the stress of dealing with them. In September 2013 his eldest daughter started Uni. Whilst I was aware that this should have meant we no longer paid maintenance for her, the payments continued for both children. We received a letter 2 weeks ago (the eldest has just turned 20) advising that following a change of circumstances our payments would be reducing as it's now just the one child to pay for. I decided to ring them to confirm the date that the new payments would come into effect and was told the case was with the finance department & they would be in touch shortly.
Frustrated - 16-Oct-14 @ 12:20 PM
Hello, My ex and i separated over 3 years ago and for 1 year i have not seen my children because of a ficticious allegation. She has tried everyting in her power to try to stop me from seeing the children and has mentally affected them with negative comments trying to poison their minds against me. After 15 court dates in the 3 years i am now seeing them again but they are now different children from the way they were. My question is is there an organisation like a family liason officer that can deal with the parents issues rather than the childrens in a bid to diffuse the root of the problem. Many thanks.
Daz - 31-Aug-13 @ 12:30 PM
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