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Breach of court order - 11 year old refusing contact - is this breaching the court order?

Posted by: Anonymous
Tue 28, Mar 2017 at 2:33pm
After Separation

Hi.. I'm not sure where to begin.
I divorced 6 years ago (ex went bankrupt leaving me with debts). My ex took me to court as he wanted the boys to live with him full time. He got contact, where I as the main carer are to make the children available to the father on his contact, being alternate weekends, Wednesday over night and half holidays. He has mainly lived with his parents for the past 6 years, and is always at work (undeclared income so therefore no child maintenance), so the day to day responsibilities of the children rest with his parents. My 11 year old is refusing to go as he never see's his dad and is "always with his grandma". My ex's parents have recently cash bought him a property, where he is purporting to rent this property in an attempt to keep his income low so that the CMS continue to award 'nil assessment'.
My 11 year old has not been on contact now for 3 weeks and makes his own way home from secondary school. An altercation took place between myself and the ex's mother when I parked three streets away from her home as I do not like confrontation with her, and my youngest child knocked on the door requesting his uniform which had not been returned. The ex's mother refused and my 8 year old ran back to the car followed by my ex's mother screaming and shouting with the clothes in a bag behind her back, antagonising me with them. The youngest child witnessed this and told her that he didn't want to see her and confirmed that he is never with his father and spends most of his time with her.
- This woman had previously broken into our home to help her son remove his items, although a time had been arranged for him to come, but they felt it necessary to break in whilst I was at work, leaving glass all over the floor, the house ransacked, tomato ketchup was left in my boots (found a week later) and re-gurgitated food in a plastic bag left in my kitchen drawer.
Following the altercation, my 8 year old went as far as pretending to be sick to avoid contact. He had told his teachers etc over a period of 2 weeks that he did not want contact, for them to tell him they don't want to be involved and to tell his mum. My youngest requested his older sister to pick him up from school on that Friday, for when she arrived my ex had already removed him from school an hour early to speak to him (school never informed me of this). When I attended the school to change my son's clothes, I was told that my ex had removed him from school early and could not give me a reason. After feeling worried all weekend, and the child refusing to speak to me on the Sunday (mothers day), I collected my youngest from school only to be told that everything was fine and that he had been to a theme park for the day. When I asked if he had spent the weekend at his dads house or his grandmas, he lied to me telling me that he had been with his dad and I had evidence otherwise. I don't know what events have proceeded on that weekend but I feel like I have lost my child, as the same child that left me on Friday has not returned, and is making threats to go and live with them. I have never discouraged contact, but if my children refuse then I will not force them. I cant possibly/physically force them. Although my 11 year old has refused contact, on the day that he is expected to be at his dads via the court order, I have contacted his dad so that he knows he is safe, although my ex has never asked me directly why he is refusing contact.
I feel that my 8 year old is making me look like a liar as I am in the middle of taking the matter back to court for a review and I am worried for all of us and our future. I cant afford legal representation so I will be alone at court as I have no family support, whilst my ex has his sister/solicitor, his mother, his father and his legal representative. At my wit's end, can anyone help or give me some advice? Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this?
Thank you

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Thank you for your post. Sorry you've had to wait for a reply. I've been giving some thought to what you've said.
    I don't want to appear to be dismissing your distress but my concerns are very much with your children and what all this is like for them. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that it is harmful to them emotionally to be caught up so directly in the conflict between their parents, as if they are being asked to choose.
    I'm sure you want to help both your sons and protect them from all this tension and distress. They will be picking up messages from both you and their dad and possibly feeling very caught in the middle and maybe even a bit responsible for the situation.
    So, if you haven't told them already, they both need to know that this is not their fault. They also need to know that you understand that they love both you and their dad and that it must be very difficult to feel that caring about one parent might make the other parent angry. Helping them to feel understood might help both of them to bel more settled - your younger son may not persist with his expressed wish to move to his Dad's and your older son may feel that you're not expecting him to make a choice between the two of you.
    I can understand that the prospect of going to court on your own feels very daunting. These days, lots of parents represent themselves and judges are experienced at making sure that parents in your position are treated fairly. Your ex's family may be around in the background but they won't be in the room with you when you go into court.
    Have you used mediation at all? Would you consider using it now? It does sound like you and your ex might find it useful to have a forum where you can speak to each other with another person present to help to make it feel 'safer' for both of you. This might be offered at court or you can suggest it and the case be put back for it to take place. Either way, each of you will have an opportunity to speak to a mediator on your own before meeting together.
    I hope this is helpful. Do let me know what you think of what I've said.

    Thu 30, Mar 2017 at 3:43pm