About 4 years ago, my wife left me for the 1st time. Prior to that for about 1 year, I turned to liquor to blanket out the conflict with her and was bordering on alcoholism. We went through counseling and she came back and all was fine unto we had another child (No 3).
The marriage went down hill soon after that as she did not re-engage with me, leading to our current separation. My wife and I separated about two months ago.
She agreed to shared care with a 1 week turn around. This has worked so far and the children identified immediately that this was their wish and so far they have been happy with the arrangement.
All was fine until yesterday. My daughter (13) and son (3) were with me for a 1 week stay. My daughter and I had a difference of opinion (Said something that hurt my feelings as I am very sensitive at the moment due to the recency of the marriage breakdown). As a result I rang the ex to collect the children, as my feelings had been hurt and I needed a night to myself.
There had been no harsh words spoken or yelling or abuse of any type.
Over the space of 6 hours from mid afternoon, I had slowly consumed a bottle of wine to simply relax...consumed at a very casual pace and I was not anywhere near drunk.
The ex came and picked the kids up then had a go at me because of my previous alcohol history 4 years before. BTW...I have been a suffer of Anxiety for several years and prone to panic attacks.....although this does not happen much due to medication (Low dose 2.5mg Diazepam).
The next morning the ex advised me that the shared care arrangement was over and that she would not allow further contact with the children until further notice. She later said that she may allow visits of only a couple of hours and see how it goes but that the shared care was over.
Mind you I had spoken to my daughter and she was fine about the whole thing after I explained to her why I had asked her mother to collect her. She told me that she wanted to come back but her mother would not let her.
I'm now in a situation where for the simple sake of daring to have several glasses of wine to relax...(not becoming drunk), that my wife is trying to punish me. I also suspect that she is motivated by the financial ramifications of this situation. Both me and my daughters want 50/50 shared care and were happy with it.
Where do I stand?
What I want is shared care of my children. I'm worried due to drinking history years ago that this may effect any applications in court as my wife will try to paint me as some sort of abusive father.........although I've never done anything towards the children. There were times in the past when I was drunk and on one occasion fell down a flight of stairs in the house....but many years ago.
After EXhad picked them up. I was very upset and sent some SMS to her telling her things like "OK you've got what you want 100% custody,etc", but later sent another SMS stating:"I was obviously upset and didn't mean any of it...just hot air in the moment".
I would prefer no to go to court, so ......are there any other solutions. I need definitive advice which I can rely upon.
I did actually beg her to reconsider as I don't want this matter to deteriorate into the family court. She said "Go ahead". Later she softened her stance slightly....about overnight stays but said she wanted 85/15 care. A huge difference in many ways....which I can not accept and the children do not want.
What do I need to do, how much will it cost, etc ?
We had a written agreement about child care. If my wife refuses to return children, how will this effect my child maintenance? ...since she is breaching a written agreement between us?
Finally, in an effort to try to appease her I told her that for this week the kids can stay with her although it is against the wishes of me and my children, but next cycle I wanted them back with me. She has major anger issues with me and this is driven by her rage towards me from previous alcohol issues.
Do I wait to see what happens or should I act..is there a time limit, etc.
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