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Telephone Contact During separation.

Posted by: Anonymous
Wed 13, Sep 2017 at 2:20am

Posted by: Anonymous (me) Flag
Wed 13, Sep 2017 at 1:40am
After Separation
I am currently separated and have been involved with the court system for nearly 2 years. Our family is currently awaiting Trial, in the meantime I have a temporary shared parenting arrangement with the children's father, where we rotate on a one-week schedule. There are four children of the marriage, aged 8, 7, 5, and 3.

During my ex husbands parenting time, he refuses to answer my calls to the children and prohibits their contact to me. I have offered to purchase the children their own phone for use to contact either parent, (without having to use either parents personal phone). However, the Father will not permit the children to possess their own phone during his parenting time, so this has been unsuccessful. I typically make efforts to call twice weekly. The Father has recently told me that I am not permitted to contact his personal phone to speak with the children unless there is an emergency, otherwise, he will intentionally ignore my calls. He has stated that the only time the children will call me, is if they make the request themselves. Much of his parenting time, his phone is turned off or out of service.

He has had the children call me just once weekly for the passed several months. During the calls, he often has events planned for the children such as having friends over, family members over for dinners, new toys and games, plays movies, attending baseballs games, parks or other events etc. He often makes remarks to them during the call such as 'when you're done talking to mom we can have desert' or 'when you hang up the phone we can go for a bike ride'. I think these things are all excellent for the children to experience, but I can't help but feel like they are deliberate tactics to interfere with our contact. I've also heard him coaching the children in the background of our conversation to hang up on me in the middle of conversation.

When the children return to my care, they often make remarks that dad does not allow them to call me when they ask, and that dad makes 'deals' with them so they don't have to call me. On the contrary, I encourage and facilitate usually 2-3 calls weekly to their Father during my parenting time. In my experience, the children are too young of an age group to take on the full responsibility of remembering to contact the opposite parenting and they often require tonnes or reminding and encouragement to make the calls.

I've expressed my concerns directly to their Father, but it seems that he is not willing to consider my position and the views that the children are expressing to me during my parenting time. Does anyone have advice on how to deal with this situation? I'm often torn and made to feel that i am an overbearing parent and the Father is very verbally abusive when I raise these concerns, sometime to the point where I feel that I may be wrong. Does it sound like I am overreacting? I'd really appreciate some helpful advice and opinions from people 'outside' of the emotional bubble this has caused.

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Thank you for your post. We don't often see this issue raised but I know it can be a tricky one for parents in your situation. I'm sorry it's causing you distress.
    Maybe the first thing to consider is, who is telephone contact for? You haven't said how your children feel about it but you have mentioned them needing reminding to contact their dad during their time with you. I wonder if this tells us something about how much they need or want the contact by phone, either while they're with you or while they're with their dad. do you have any reason to think he may be stopping them calling you if they ask to?
    It's hard to say how many calls during their time away is the right number, every family is different. What may be the case here is that calling their other parent from the home of the parent they're currently with isn't entirely comfortable for a number of reasons (the ongoing court proceedings being one of them). Add to this the very normal indifference that young children often show to talking on the phone to anyone and it may be that one call a week is what works best for them.
    However, if you don't agree with that, see if you can raise this at the next hearing with some proposals that takes into account what your children my want and doesn't expose them to a lot of pressure or conflict.

    Fri 15, Sep 2017 at 1:18pm