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He can't see his kids - what to do? - Page 2

post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
Well, you say that he has only ONE picture of his kids, and he doesn't write them letters or talk to them on the phone. It sounds to me like he is choosing this, not the other way around. I know that isn't what he is telling *you* but that is exactly what it sounds like. There is nothing, NOTHING that would stop me from writing/calling my kids. That is not normal behavior for an 'involved' parent.
Yes he clearly abandoned his kids, and it boggles the mind if one can't see that. I can see how this relationship will play out down the road.
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seie View Post
For the divorce issue then I bet that's all very simple if both agree to be divorced, but since she didnt it's a whole other story. It's simply another thing to fight over.
No. That's the point. He puts in the form saying that he wants to be divorced from her on grounds of unreasonable behaviour. Give five reasons. She can either say yes, she agrees to the divorce, or no, she contests. If this happens, the judge then looks at the paperwork and decides whether to grant the divorce anyhow (I was told this happens 90% of the time or more, the fact that your DP has a contact order in place WILL inform the judge's decision.) Did he even file?
For more info, google Jordan and Peter Andre, they just did this. The absolute worst case scenario is waiting five years for separation without mutual consent, and if it's been three years since he last saw her, he must be getting close to that point now.

Honestly, the system is not as difficult to navigate as you are being told.
post #23 of 63
To the original poster, I think you would be well advised to replace the phrase "he can't" with "he isn't willing." Your partner isn't willing to go through the legal hoops and/or expense to finalize his divorce. He isn't willing right now to remove his kids from their home. He isn't willing to battle with the mom over visitation. He isn't willing to go broke to fight a legal battle. I'm not saying this to demonize him...just to make it clear that he IS making choices here.

Your role as his girlfriend is to either accept his unwillingness to change this situation or to help him surmount the obstacles to his willingness. You can provide the funds so he doesn't go bankrupt. You can help him rebuild his self esteem. But in the end, he may just be unwilling to go through the emotional rollercoaster of a custody battle or even just the rollercoaster of joint parenting. These aren't small matters and your boyfriend isn't necessarily evil for not wanting to push the issue.

But sooner or later he will need to address the consequences of his choices. The kids will ask where he was all those years. Any kids you have together will wonder why they don't see their brothers and sisters. Other people will judge you without knowing all the facts. Life marches on but things don't disappear. Even if he just writes letters and calls that is something. If letters are returned, save them so one day when the child is an adult they can have them.

There's always two sides to the story but you will make yourself crazy if you don't accept that your boyfriend is making choices that have resulted in this situation--he isn't the innocent bystander who has no options.
post #24 of 63
Seie,

I don't have time to read all posts, so sorry if this is redundant.

My husband, too, received a lot of flack from people who assumed that if there's a court order for visitation, the only reason a man wouldn't exercise it is if he doesn't care to. And I can assure everyone that even where the letter of the law says visitation orders are enforceable, sometimes they still are not enforced - by the courts or by law enforcement officials. Sometimes even when the orders and laws are clear about a father's rights, school officials either won't bother to read the orders (or won't understand them) and will follow the instructions of the mother, who tells them to defy the orders and keep dad from school or keep him from picking up the child after school, for visitation. In some cases, even the school system attorney will support the confused school officials and will not advise them on what the orders mean and tell them to follow them. These things have happened in my own family, even though my husband does not shirk confrontation and conflict and is the most relentless s.o.b. in the world, if he thinks he's right and someone's keeping him away from his beloved child. So, I understand your frustration.

I also understand a father not forcing his ex to sell the marital residence so the kids don't have to move or downsize. Surely other people get that? But especially since he still has part ownership, there's no reason for him to forego an arrangement that would give him a fair share of the proceeds whenever Mom decides to sell or the kids grow up and move out.

Having been in your shoes, let me strenuously say two things, now that I've read a little more about your situation:

1- I agree with you that if a couple have been split up for several years, it is not the end of the world for either of them to begin a new relationship, or for someone to get involved with one of them...IF they are actively involved in divorce proceedings. When the courts allow a divorce to drag on for years and years because judges won't enforce their own orders and allow endless continuances, I don't think it's fair to expect that neither party will find someone new in the interim. But if this guy has decided - for whatever reason, be it financial or practical - not to pursue a divorce, then you are asking for a mess for yourself and your children, getting involved with him. If he wants a new wife, he needs to COMMIT to not being married to his old one. If he's not sure, then what can he offer you? Indefinite limbo. You don't need that, with 3 little kids in tow.

2- If children have 2 loving parents who both want relationships with them, if Parent A intentionally blocks the kids' contact and involvement with Parent B - and especially if A encourages the kids and other influential people in their life to believe that B "abandoned" the kids, doesn't want a relationship, or is too "bad" to parent them - that. is. child. abuse. Even if your BF's ex is sweet to the kids while they're around her, it is screwing them up to think that their father can get used to living without them. Kids want and deserve to think their parents would scale mountains to avoid being torn apart from them. Several of your comments suggest that your BF may have some additional options open to him and his failure to fight for his parental rights might have more to do with him not liking to fight and his ability to disregard how his ex is harming his children by denying them a relationship with him. IF that is true - if he just doesn't want to fight anymore, if it's just too upsetting to him to have to confront his ex - then shame on him and you need a better step-dad for your kids.
post #25 of 63
Speaking of redundancy...I do not know how my posts sometimes show up twice. Sorry!!!
post #26 of 63
Seie,

I remember you started to see your boyfriend about a few months after my stbdh and I got together! You were asking when is the right time to have him meet the DC! I am happy to see that you two are still together! I have no advice as I am in the US but still wanted to say Hi and that I am happy that you finally found someone to treat you right isn't it wonderful : I am sorry he is being denied contact with his children and hope that you two figure something out so he can see them
post #27 of 63
Thread Starter 
Goodness. Im speachless and that dont happen often.
On one hand I feel I should defend myself - and him - from the very wrong assumptions that have come up here. But really it isn't worth it. Could the responses here just stop please. Or could a moderator please delete the whole thing. I feel many responses are deliberately hurtful and very far from my original request.
As for his choices I know exactly what choices he has made and I support them. The reason I posted here in the first place was in order to be able to do that. I was not asking about your opinions about him or his choices. I have my own opinion about all that - and I am in quite a better place to have opinions about what he did or didn't do than anyone here so I am not going to debate that.
Goodness!

ETA: There really are a lot of assumptions - incorrect ones - in the posts above. Assumptions about what he told me, assumptions about his motives, assumptions about the legal steps he took or didnt take, assumptions about me. Those who like to label him (or me for that matter) and judge him only know a tiny fragment of the information I have. I dont blindly trust a man. Sure I checked his stories. What do you think Im stupid? I did my homework and I kind of assumed you would take my word that I did.

Thanks for the caring responses I have also gotten. I realise many of you do mean well and I appreciate that.
post #28 of 63
Sorry mama but you asked this question in a forum where almost all of us have BTDT with ex partners who we thought were OK for the first few month/years we were together but eventually realised were not what they first seemed to be.

This informs the kind of responses you get to this kind of question and our concern for you comes from a place of concern not meanness.

My ex is very charming and lovely but he is also a serial abuser and I don't want to think about how many more children he may have now or how many other women he has treated in the way he treated me.
post #29 of 63
Yup. That. I'd rather you hated me for warning you now when your escape routes are still open, you don't have kids together and your kids don't think of him as dad than two, three, five years down the line when the shit hits the fan.

You're asking what you can do to help. What you can do is to get him to get that divorce finalised and legal, with a proper statement of arrangements for the children and financial arrangements settled, with all relevant court orders for the kids in place. Then build on that once you know the paperwork is in line.
post #30 of 63
Thread Starter 
I dont know if I even dare open this up again. I request anyone who answers to be respectful - if you can't be respectful of my choices or my BFs choices please dont reply here. I dont need people judging me or him. The situation is hard enough as it is now.

I have had a very long talk with BF about all the above. I have taken your concerns seriously and have brought them up with him. I too assumed some options he could have chosen - such as fighting to have the house sold and use that money to pay lawyers and court fees. Well that is not an option as in the UK the wife usually gets to stay in the house at least till the kids are grown up. My BF already went to court a lot of times to resolve divorce, costudy etc.
He as mentioned before did get an order saying he could see his kids every other weekend. But she would do whatever to make sure he didn't. He would inform court and they sent out a warning and that happened several times. She didn't agree to the divorce - he tried to get divorce on grounds of unreasonable behavior - after he did this she stopped all contact he had with the kids. His company went bancrupt and he build up a debt that he will have to pay off for the next ten years - half of his salary. And the case was no closer to an end. At this point the bank wouldnt loan him anymore money. Even IF he could somehow come up woth the money and continue to fight there would be no guarantee that she would comply with visitation (she had told him she would never ever let him see them again) Even his lawyer (who would have made a lot of money if he had been able to keep at it) adviced him to quit.
After that he kept paying mortgage on the house (now payed in full) and he kept paying childsupport - and is as mentioned still paying childsupport.

I know on paper it looks easy but in real life things are quite a lot different. Even now to have a divorce seems pretty impossible. If she still contests (and she will just to spite him) it will have to be brought to trial again and he will have to pay expenses - not just for a lawyer but also all court fees.

I know the thought many of you will have is - he could be just telling you all this, dont trust him. But so far every single thing he has told me and I have double checked has proven true. He has never spoken badly about his ex. He always talk about her respectfully and fairly. A red flag to me would be if it was all badmouthing. But it is very far from it. He keeps his story down to facts and stays on his own court. I have no reason whatsoever not to trust him.
Just this responce to a question about contested divorce confirms the information I have from my BF. Contested divorce UKGoogle contested divorce UK to find out more. I have told him I expect him to try when he reaches the 5 year mark sometime come spring, but honestly - I want a life with him and if we are to start over - maybe get a little house or something - then he can't aquire even more debt. If I thought it would mean he would be able to see his kids, I would encourage him to go through the mill all over again. But from the information I have from him and his family (he has a great family - very responsible, sweet people) and from the stuff I have researched online about the UK court system in cases regarding custody and divorce, I dont belive he stands a snowballs chance in hell against her, so I trust the decisions he has made so far. But it sucks. For him more than me.

ETA: And to correct another misunderstanding then no, he doesn't just have one picture of his kids. He only has one UP. The rest are packed away for reasons mentioned earlier. Ofcourse he keeps drawings, pictures - all that stuff. It should go without saying.
post #31 of 63
It sounds like a tough situation. This may sound very naive, but what would happen if he just showed up at the house? No advance notice, just showed up to see his kids? I mean, it is half his house after all, I'm assuming he still has a key. Even if they weren't home at the time, he could just wait. He could even do it on a weekend that was technically "his".
Just a thought.
post #32 of 63
Seie, I'm not arguing that that's the procedure for divorce. That seems like a very fair and straightforward explanation of the process as I tried to explain it to you. At some point, your BF made the decision to walk away from a legal process that would have let him see his kids, though.
post #33 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Seie, I'm not arguing that that's the procedure for divorce. That seems like a very fair and straightforward explanation of the process as I tried to explain it to you. At some point, your BF made the decision to walk away from a legal process that would have let him see his kids, though.
How do you suggest he finance a case then? When you are out of options to lend money and you are bancrupt? A robbery? Selling drugs? Win the lottery? Sure on paper he still had the option to keep up, but in the real world I fail to see those options. And even if he did keep it up then according to his lawyer she would still be able to keep him from seeing his kids.

About showing up at the house she would likely call the police on him and say he is stalking her - something like that. Get him a restraining order - that kind of thing. I wouldnt expect her to play fair in any case.

For now we are researching what options he has from where we are now. It may be possible that he could somehow get the divorce through from here at least. Not sure about the kids though.
post #34 of 63
Quote:
About showing up at the house she would likely call the police on him and say he is stalking her - something like that. Get him a restraining order - that kind of thing. I wouldnt expect her to play fair in any case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seie View Post
He as mentioned before did get an order saying he could see his kids every other weekend.
If he has an order to see his kids every other weekend, then if she did get a restraining order/go to court -- I think it would look good for him.

The situation still does not seem right. Sorry, but it doesn't. I don't know the legal situation in his country but there must be a way to enforce a standing order, no?
post #35 of 63

i believe you because my sister is going through something very similar.

i live in canada and my sister has not seen her son for almost 4 years.

when she split up from her ex-husband, he ended up keeping their son. her ex has denied her every possible form of contact with her son. she has spent $30,000 on lawyers and has to represent herself now - she is still in court regularly (every couple of months) trying to get contact with her son. her ex has breached every single court order they have had, and the courts do nothing. at this point the courts indicate there is pretty much nothing they can do because it's been going on for so long

he even managed to have his son's school threaten her with trespassing charges if she came near the school. he calls the cops regularly and files bogus complaints against her.

the courts don't always help you and it is impossible to understand. my sister has done everything in her power to see her son and no one is helping her. when you are beaten down the way my sister has been, it is incredibly hard to keep going. my sister has lost 4 years of her son's life, with no end in sight.

all that just to say that it happens, even though it doesn't make logical sense.
post #36 of 63
Thread Starter 
Mandi: Thanks Im sorry your sister is going through this too Its always hard to play with people who don't follow the rules. (For instance my ex would sit in court and lie right up the judges face - how do you fight that when you are not willing to lie or cheat or bully to get your way?) Be it a former husband or wife. Also generally people assume that the judge/system has an interest in ending the case when in fact it is paying their salary.
However horrible your sisters situation is I am happy you replied
I asked my BF about representing himself and while it would cut his expenses a bit then he would still have to pay for court fees/case expenses and a lawyers salary is small in comparison to that so not much would be gained for him that way.

Sending thoughts your sisters way
post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandib50 View Post

i believe you because my sister is going through something very similar.

i live in canada and my sister has not seen her son for almost 4 years.

when she split up from her ex-husband, he ended up keeping their son. her ex has denied her every possible form of contact with her son. she has spent $30,000 on lawyers and has to represent herself now - she is still in court regularly (every couple of months) trying to get contact with her son. her ex has breached every single court order they have had, and the courts do nothing. at this point the courts indicate there is pretty much nothing they can do because it's been going on for so long

he even managed to have his son's school threaten her with trespassing charges if she came near the school. he calls the cops regularly and files bogus complaints against her.

the courts don't always help you and it is impossible to understand. my sister has done everything in her power to see her son and no one is helping her. when you are beaten down the way my sister has been, it is incredibly hard to keep going. my sister has lost 4 years of her son's life, with no end in sight.

all that just to say that it happens, even though it doesn't make logical sense.
I know someone who is about 30grand in debt in exactly the same way...they keep getting visitation, they go, ex wife says no, they can't get kid, back in court. Wife is on legal aid, hubby pays the lawyer out of pocket. If he had no money and no credit, he'd have to stop.

And my cousin's husband just reunited with his son whose mother did the same thing...the son came looking for his dad when he was older...the dad had spent $50grand until the money ran out...the kid was 14 the last time he saw his dad, he's 22 now.



This is a very common scenario. A vindictive spouse can completely block the visitation of a very concerned and involved co-parent this way.
post #38 of 63
This is the part I am getting stuck on,
Quote:
About showing up at the house she would likely call the police on him and say he is stalking her - something like that. Get him a restraining order - that kind of thing. I wouldnt expect her to play fair in any case.
Now not only is she not letting him see the kids, the entire police department is in on it too. You cannot just say someone is stalking you and get a restraining order. It doesn't work that way, not with a custody order.

How far would I go before I stopped? I could not stop. Like mandib said about her sister,
Quote:
she is still in court regularly (every couple of months) trying to get contact with her son.
That would be me.

Lastly, I used to work in the field of legal advocacy. I am familiar with how frustraing and unjust the system can be. However, I've also seen parents with very little resources stick with it until they finally, finally got to see their children again.
post #39 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
This is the part I am getting stuck on,

Now not only is she not letting him see the kids, the entire police department is in on it too. You cannot just say someone is stalking you and get a restraining order. It doesn't work that way, not with a custody order.

How far would I go before I stopped? I could not stop. Like mandib said about her sister, That would be me.

Lastly, I used to work in the field of legal advocacy. I am familiar with how frustraing and unjust the system can be. However, I've also seen parents with very little resources stick with it until they finally, finally got to see their children again.
I am unsure exactly what you are getting at? That you are a better parent than him? A better person? That he is not "good enough" ? For what? What is the point?
post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seie View Post
How do you suggest he finance a case then? When you are out of options to lend money and you are bancrupt? A robbery? Selling drugs? Win the lottery? Sure on paper he still had the option to keep up, but in the real world I fail to see those options. And even if he did keep it up then according to his lawyer she would still be able to keep him from seeing his kids.

About showing up at the house she would likely call the police on him and say he is stalking her - something like that. Get him a restraining order - that kind of thing. I wouldnt expect her to play fair in any case.

For now we are researching what options he has from where we are now. It may be possible that he could somehow get the divorce through from here at least. Not sure about the kids though.
I read this on Saturday and thought of you ;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...ents-law-deech

Keep going to the bottom and the paragraphs starting with "It is true..." That could work in his favour, and in particular, the bankruptcy is likely to work in his favour in terms of the financial settlement. There isn't the expectation here that wives get the family home, especially not in a situation like this. It is, generally, a 50/50 split of assets.

If you're serious about asking what he could do, I'd stop paying child support and put the money into a savings account in his child's name that he has access to for now: that's his slush fund for unexpected legal fees whether he tries again now or waits the five years. (Americans, don't shoot me for suggesting this. Basically, the welfare state will make sure that the kids don't starve. If she's claiming income support, all but £5 of that will be going to the treasury to offset the cost of her IS anyhow. Ask if you want the long-winded explanation, please) I'd be inclined to write to her lawyers explaining that this is what he has been forced to do, as she has stopped all contact with him, and all contact with his children.

Secondly, I'd talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau in England and the equivalent government agency in his country of origin and find out what his entitlement to Legal Aid is likely to be. Get the paperwork from the bankruptcy and everything else in order.

Third, I'd investigate the divorce laws in his country of origin, where you're living now, and see if there is an option there after, what, three, four, years of marriage? (eta: I don't mean marriage, I mean separation. Doh.)

Fourth, I would get the divorce petition sorted out NOW and file it at 9am on the day that the five years of separation is up, unless you like my third suggestion better. I'd suggest he handles the divorce itself himself and hires a solicitor ONLY for the purpose of drafting and subsequently negotiating the financial affairs and statement for the children, which will keep the cost down somewhat: it's what I did. It is possible for him to do the whole thing himself. Seriously, though, it would be worth him claiming legal aid if he qualifies, just because judges do have a reputation for getting legal aid divorces through quickly and not LETTING them drag on: and also, that will make damn sure that nobody is under the illusion that he has money to throw away.

Fifth, and do this first, I'd make damn sure that the house has full buildings insurance cover, contents if he has any stuff left there, JUST in case. I'd also contact his former local council and establish that there is no outstanding council tax on the property, and follow that phone call up every year. I don't know how to find out who is insuring a property, but I bet a good independent insurance broker does.

And lastly, I'd be careful of your own heart. At some point, he chose to walk away from the fight to see his kids. Things got tough and he chose the easy way out. It sounds like he's had a really tough few years, but what if the two of you have a tough time and he lets you down the way he let his kids down? I'd be a lot less worried if you were saying "yep, he filed for divorce, she said he couldn't see the kids any more so he withdrew the petition and now he's kicking himself" or "his solicitor sent her a letter letting her know that the divorce was coming and she went nuts and he was working flat out trying to save the business so he put things on hold for later, and now he wishes he hadn't." At some point, he made a conscious choice to walk away from the fight for his kids, and he might do that a second time. To you. Just be wary, honey. OK?
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