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Extra Access Help

Posted by: Anonymous
Sun 8, Jan 2017 at 8:30am
After Separation

Hi All,
Well heres the overview for your insight...Basically my husband and his ex wife have a 7 year old daughter together and have been separated for 6 years. The mother and daughter moved back home over 4 hours away for family support and my husband didn't contest this as he appreciated her desire to be back home albeit a hard decision. The divorce was amicable and no special circumstances just a broken down marriage very sad but these things happen. Initially access was granted as once a month where my husband agreed to drive the full distance to see his daughter from a Friday to sunday by driving 16 hours in a wkend in order for her to see my husbands family. However once school started the mother stopped this access and insisted that this would be too much travel for the child and it was agreed that only during school holidays access was granted, so this was very hard for our family to accept but we did so for the child. Since the child started school we have been desperately trying to find solutions and have come to the conclusion that having a second home near to the child would make things work. Therefore we have invested everything we have in doing this, and discussed it with the mother who initially was supportive, however now the sale has gone through and we have the property she is still restricting access, and not even agreeing to once a month or on any school nights unless its a holiday. The upsetting part here is that for the last three months we have had access from a Thursday to sunday when renting holiday lets to make sure that this set up could work and it has, meaning we have been much more integrated in the childs life, taking her to school, classes, etc and most importantly she has been seeing her sibling more frequently who is now 3 years old instead of every couple of months! however now we have the house she has retracted this and wont agree to anything additional. We are now taking steps to mediation as she is very unreasonable and clearly just wants to control the situation instead of thinking of what the childs needs are. Can anyone advise me on this or anyone know about the fathers rights, he is very distraught about everything and I am supporting him as best as I can. we feel the only solution might be to move down there however that is a huge step but we will do whatever it takes. the child gets up0set frequently as she misses her sibling tremendously and it is clear the animosity in the mother is affecting the child as her behaviour has changed drastically the last month, but that is another discussion. please help any advice completely welcome, I do also appreciate that the change is a lot for the mother by the way but my husband has supported what she wants from day one, we are not asking for joint access to be clear we are asking for one long wkend a month, we would of course ask for more but know this is definitely not something we can ask for at this time.

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Thank you for your very full account of how you have arrived at this point. It must be very hard to find that the efforts your husband has made on behalf of his daughter's relationship with him have not had the effect he was hoping for.
    There aren't 'rights' as such in these situations; the priority, if not the only consideration, is the needs and interests of the child, which you clearly understand.
    Approaching this through mediation is absolutely the right idea. Both your husband and his ex-wife will have the chance to talk to a mediator on their own initially. This means they will each have the opportunity to consider their positions without the pressure of the presence of the other person.
    It's also good that you're thinking in terms of small steps towards where your husband would ultimately like things to be. There's the opportunity for things to 'thaw' over time as trust improves.
    I hope this helps

    Tue 10, Jan 2017 at 9:20am
  • User-anonymous Taras123 Flag

    Hi and thank you for the advice...we have decided to go down the route of mediation however the mother refuses to do this...whats next?

    Tue 10, Jan 2017 at 9:28am
  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Has your husband approached the mediation service or merely proposed it to his ex-wife? If only the latter, then he could contact the mediation service anyway. They may then be able to approach her about going to see them.

    Tue 10, Jan 2017 at 10:19am
  • User-anonymous Taras123 Flag

    We have spoken to them today and are going to request it irrespective, however the mother states that she will now speak to the child and it will be for her to decide. I know the child would love to see us more as she cries most visits saying such as she loves her baby brother so much. However since the anger started on her part regarding all of this, the child has been behaving differently and has even stopped telling us she loves us and says its because she doesn't want to upset mummy. She is being manipulated and if it is true that the courts ask her I fear she will be too worried to speak her mind, shes 7 years old after all and its a lot for a little girl. Its all very distressing. How does the court process work? surely seeing us at least once a month for 3-4 days is better than only on school holidays!! please help

    Tue 10, Jan 2017 at 10:24am
  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    It's good to hear that you're following the mediation route. I guess my advice would be, don't try to think ahead too far - take things one step at a time. It may be that there will be a series of small improvements towards where your partner would like things to be.
    If, in the end, court proceedings are unavoidable, your step-daughter should be at the centre of any decisions that are made and both of her parents will have the opportunity to put their point of view across. Courts are aware that children can be manipulated and end up in an impossible position. This child has clearly picked up that this is difficult for her mother so, for now, she may feel she has to make the choice that is least 'risky' for her.

    Thu 12, Jan 2017 at 9:04am