Apologies in advance for the very long post. Please see summary below if you dont have time to read!
I'm feeling really fed up and let down by my daughters mother. To sit in a room with somebody and explain what has happened would take some doing but I will do my best. Just need to know where I stand and if anybody has any input as there is so much going on in my head its unreal!
Starting from the beginning..
- I had my daughter every weekend sat-sun with her brothers (I had to another woman)
Had her even more than this arrangement as she was dating a new guy, I was doing school runs extra nights etc. Everything's fine and we are getting on ok.
- 1 year later she contacts me to let me know the new guy will be introduced to my daughter. My daughter rejected him for some time and I tried along with her to get her to get along with him.
- About a year later they move in together. Gradually the ex is pulling away from me, as if we have had a falling out. She starts playing games regarding access arrangements on the odd weekend, also had started filling daughters head with stuff about myself and my family. One weekend I went to pick her up she says I want her back today by 2pm, to which I told her 'Erm, sorry ive already made plans so not this time' She threatens to remove my access. Which she did as I didnt do as I was told. Turns out this was so she could celebrate her new partners mothers birthday. Some advance notice wouldnt go amiss.
That year I missed her Xmas and her Birthday though myself and her brothers had to sneak and see her when I knew she would be pulling up at her home. May have came across weird but they were very depressing times for me to which I would have done anything to see her..
At this time though not a competition my daughter was really fighting to see me and given the choice would have loved to have spent any given amount of time with me. Her mum used to say youre not going to dads this weekend and she would pipe up and say yes i am . She used to cry when I dropped her home because she couldnt see me til next weekend. My solution for this was to let me tuck her in but I was not allowed in her home as things were so bitter behind the scenes
- We went to mediation and made an agreement. I agreed to anything as I just wanted to see her again. We agreed to me having her sat-sun and fri-sat alternating so that she could have the odd Sunday, I wasnt happy with that as it as it meant she was missing some family parties and other stuff but never mind its stable plus I get one on one time with all of them this way. Also made a mistake with logistics but she pointed at the paper and said thats that so there. Fair play. Myself and the boys mum have been working around her revised arrangement.
- As the months go by shes changing bits of the agreement and long story short shes manipulating my daughter. Shes making it very hard for us to have a parent / child relationship. Im anxious when i get her as her mood changes with the wind and I dont want to fight. Shes filling my daughters head with rubbish, arguing in front of her making her feel bad, everything I do for her from homework to advice to washing her clothes is wrong. My daughter is distancing from me, we no longer have the relationship we used to have.
Now her mother has had another baby and is changing the routine again, looking at taking another weekend away from me. Im in a position to say that this would be fair but she always wants more and more and doesnt give a damn about an agreement, my plans or her brothers shes explained that her brothers are not her real brothers, my plans are boring etc. She has put so much pressure on my daughter that she is now getting her to phone me to let me know that she doesnt want to come to see me on the odd weekend. She says that dads house is boring and that we only 'go to the park or see family'. We have so many memories together, have been to every place imaginable but the odd weekend we stay in and chill. Now she is being given a choice which is based on what she will be doing at dads this weekend. At this point I feel its easier just walking away or saying yes to everything which believe me ive tried!
Just a summary of problems and thoughts..
- Manipulating daughter, making her decisions for her. (Feel to explain this to her but shes still only very young!)
- Wont let me get involved with school life. Criticises for trying with teachers homework anything
- Spreads rumours about me being a terrible guy (Real Jeremy Kyle Moment!).
- Not allowed contact at Xmas Birthdays Fathers Day Special occasions
- Not being told when in hospital sick, parents evening, docs appointments
- Being pulled away. Given choices whether she wants to stay at Dads or not
- Ex says she hates me. Because new man treats her better simply put. Can no longer have adult relationship with me.
- Getting phone calls through the week. Paragraphs of texts about what ive done wrong on weekend, if I ignore the bait I get denied access the following weekend.
- Has called police on me for turning up at the usual pickup times due to the last bullet point. No further action was taken, this was just a front for my daughter.
- Making lots of major decisionsoverruling me as I cant afford maintenance. Not allowed to make choices until I can afford £200 per month. Ive offered £60 but CSA tell me to pay £6.5 per week as im on a low income. Been told im a rubbish dad and that I can afford this amount because i drive a nice car (company car).
- Informed daughter that they will be moving to Dubai for good.
So much so much more
Honestly ive had enough. I have my own business which is suffering because im constantly battling with my depression and anxiety. I also have 2 boys to look after, 1 of them full time, I really try not to teach them about hate but they hate my ex and show resentment towards her and I dont know how to change this. I love my daughter so much but the times I dont see her just seem so trouble free its like a weights been lifted off my shoulders. This girl is the only person ever able to bring my depression out full swing, my counsellor told me to leave her many years ago and its the best thing ive ever done. What can I do guys Im off at 8am to pick her up if shes allowed to come, i do hope.
As actd has said, your first step would be mediation to try and resolve this, this time having a defined goal of what you think would be fair and not agreeing to anything and everything, as this hasn't worked in the past.
If you can't agree through mediation, your next step would be to make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order for regular contact. You can use solicitors to achieve an order, or you can self represent, which many members have done with much success. There's lots of info on the process in the stickys at the top of the legal eagle section which you may find useful.
I can understand why your ex might think that you are not paying enough in maintenance. She sees you with your own business and driving a nice car, yet she is only receiving a very small amount... Perhaps you could also discuss this at mediation to try and get her understanding.
I have tried a second round at meditation, though she refused so have got the certificate to go to court. This time will be crossing every T to make sure. The only thing being is as the courts think about the welfare of my child and what she wants, if her mother is influencing her decisions heavily thats going to affect things? I just find it quite sick and refuse to retaliate / compete by playing with daughters head. That being the case I then feel that we could lose our relationship with my diplomatic approach..
Will be studying the posts closely as the application is going in this week, ive just been able to scramble the money to get it in..
I know what you mean mojo about the money side of things. Truth is im on a low income as I only pay myself a directors salary, outside of this I use benefits to top me up. Everythings above board but she is obviously assuming foul play.
Have been amicable for many years not an insult and not a problem. I've been swore at disrespected and generally just treated like dirt, while still saying please thank you and being as pleasant as possible throughout. This is so frustrating for it to now to end up here, just hope that someday things will change.
A lot depends on the age of the child, as to how much weight their wishes and feelings carry.
What you are talking about is parental alienation, courts are aware that this exists, but it will largely depend on where the judge stands on it, as to what action is taken, if any...they have a very loose mandate! However you can be assured that the courts priority is the rights of the child to have a relationship with both parents, unless there is evidence that a child is at serious risk the courts will encourage and promote regular contact.
If you are on low income and receiving benefits you may be entitled to a full or part refund of the court fee and you would need form EX160a to apply for this.
If you are concerned that they will be moving out of the country you can address this within the C100 form too, I would certainly highlight it on the application so that the court can look at it. You would be applying for a Prohibited Step Order to prevent removal, as well as a contact and can do it on the one form.
It's such a shame that your coparenting relationship has suffered, but hopefully your actions will send a strong message that your relationship with your daughter is non negotiable!