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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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Hi, I have three children two girls and a boy - nearly 18,

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Hi, I have three children two girls and a boy - nearly 18, nearly 15 and 12. My childen really dislike my ex husbands new partner for many reasons and often choose not to go to contact because of her behaviour and volitility. She is mentally unstable having announced on FB that within the last 12 months she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, having had a stroke and having muscular dystrophy. She has also lied about her own son's disability claiming he has disorders that the GP and peads consultatnt deny he has. She is very unstable with her behaviour being fairly unsettling. The children feel she is often "on the edge" and that they have to tead on eggshells around her. Last night she threw my eldest daughter and her friends out of the house at midnight because she did not want a sleepover that had been aranged. My daughter and her friends arrived shocked and distressed at my house and half midnight. The row that ensued between my ex and the gilfriend was horible, lots of swearing and aggessive behaviour. I do ot want to deny my ex husband access to the children but feel that her behaviour is detrimental to the well being of my children on contact. Contact is one afternoon and night on the third weekend of every month at his house, a wednesday evening at my house when I go out and contact whenever the children ask to go - which they raely do beacuse of the GF. My eldest daughter ecently moved into the house to get her own room rather than stay in a shared room at my house. She is desperately unhappy there and says she lives in her room only but still opts to stay rather tahn come home despite her upset. What rights do I have if she is so unstable? As I say I do not want to stop contact wiuth their dad I jsut dont want her around them due to her unpredicatbility. She has had numerous outbursts of behaviour when they have been with her, one in a car when she nearly caused an accident. Please help
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first
Do the children wish to keep with the current contact if their father will not agree a change?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The only contact the two younger ones seem really happy about is the Wed night one when my ex husband comes to my house when I go out. They enjoy this one because he is there for them and them only. I steer very clear when I get home so as to give them time. In his house his new partner is always there with her son so it becomesimpossible for them to be with just their dad. They can take or leave the sat night stays and very often spend time with their friends before going. I dont want to stop the contact with their dad I just donet want them being with someone who has mental health problems and a voliatile temper. She has now had 4 massive blow ups in the presence of my children and I dont want this to happen any more. I am aware of numerous others also not directly involving my children. I dont feel she is safe. I have insisted that she never be left alone with the children so my ex husband has to take them with him whereever he goes when it is contact. My eldest is obviously out of this equation as she has chosen to live there but she now tells me that she lives in fear of the partner's behaviour and that she will spend as much time as she can away from the house or in her room. As a mum my main job is to protect my children and I feel this is not what I am currently able to do!

Just to check - is there actually a Court Order in place regarding Contact?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No. We went to mediation and agreed all the times, contact arrangements etc then just before it was due to go before the courts my ex husband refused to sign saying that if he signed he would have to pay and he wasnt pepared to do that. I paid for the divorce and the court costs just to get the divorce. The court demanded that he pay so I will need to take him through the small claims court to get the money. The financial settlement is agreed and signed but not the agreement involving the children. I was told that due to the ages of the childen this was acceptable beacuse they are an age to decide what they want to do. The mediator suggested the shortest possible contacts due to the behaviours of my ex husband and his partner that were very damaging to the childen. However the children have always known that they can go to their dads whenever they want to as long as we both know and are given a little warning for catering etc. This rarely happens. I still keep to the original plan as it suits the children and they seem happy with the arrangement.

It is your last statement that is the problem.
Given all that you have said there is little doubt that a Court would have concerns about contact involving your ex's new partner.
However the children are indeed of an age to decide what contact they want and on that basis there is little that you can do to change matters because if asked the children would prefer to see their father and her rather than not see him at all
The only other possibility is to try Mediation again and use a Mediator trained to work with children so that their voices can be heard.
I am sorry not to be able to be more positive for you.
In passing I should say that you do not need to go to the Small Claims Court to enforce the Order for costs - you do it through the existing Family Proceedings
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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