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Contact with the Ex when Shared Parenting

Emails, Phone calls and Communication Books

Hello all, usually I'm on here for my either half's issue with his ex but recently, my ex went "bung" (I suspect his new partner and her trust issues are at play).

DeH (Darling ex Husband) used to be approachable on most matters regarding the children and our parenting of them.

Recently, I got him to increase time with them and we altered his payments to me accordingly (the split is 5/9 plus 1/2 hols from 4/10 regardless of hols). Unfortunately, the only way I got him to do this was out of a stoush via CSA over the pathetically small payments he was giving me. The knock on effect of this is that he's become difficult to communicate with.

He seriously believes that the children are old enough (6 and 10) to tell them what's going on with them (parties, school events and so on) and that he can contact the school himself as he needs to and that he does not have to talk to me at all unless it's a major issue.

What do I do? I've already had an issue where the youngest forgot to pack something and directions for medication were not followed properly. He's had one child, frustrated on the phone, acting as intemediary. I told him I would end phone calls if that happened again and he threatened to come "knocking" on my door if I did that. Seriously, I feel like getting an AVO out if that's the way he's going to behave.

Would a good result be had if I approached an FRC and asked for mediation between all the partners? We have never been to court, have nothing in writing and have (until now) been able to sort everything out to a reasonable outcome to all.

Last edit: by Artemis

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Sorry to hear Artemis - all I can offer is my experience and advice.
I have a really awful ex who has been a victim for 13 years - hence all communication in person is simple not possible because of her 'fears'. I too want nothing to do with the woman and really want to limit any contact because:

1) It raises her fears and emotional responses (affects others - including children)

2) Better things to do with my life

She too values the non-communication.

We are a living example of parents who simple don't need or want to communicate much - even though the children were 5 & 3 when we split.

So what differences does this make to children's matters? Not much. I refute the Court idea that parents need to have a sort of friendly relationship - its a bizarre concept - especially someone is going out of their way to lie, cheat, steal, damage you and the children etc.

1)Medicine - children go to doctors when with either parent - write a not about what the doctor said and put it with the medicine in the child's school bag.

2) Appointments - don't make appointments in other persons' time

3) Request for variations - in writing with a simple yes no (or assumed no if no response) - as letter with children

4) We used to phone - don't do it - no need to engage with a person this way.

5) Take control of what you can do and don't try to control what you can't do.

6) Don't Use email or SMS or phone - use only letters (short) or notes

7) Tie down all changeovers to easy  periods at 3rd party place - eg school, child care - no need to see each other at all.

8) Stick to agreed (ordered) times and dates as much as possible - do not vary (if at all possible) - keep the routine going for everyone's sake.

I used to worry about what the children told me they did at her house - the best I could do was just give them the skills to survive (without putting anyone down) - as if they were going to visit someone else, or go to school. e.g. How to use the phone, write down telephone numbers, teach them how to do things, uses buses, understand stranger issues, road rules etc.

Choice of schools -  no move unless other person agrees by orders. I now have full call but would not seek to move them away from their mother anyway.

So A simple passive note saying that You don't want to talk about anything , realisation that the children WILL generally be fine, No response to abuse (not even a reaction WITHIN YOURSELF), deflate, deflect, ignore, simplify and reduce communication to the bare necessities.

School issues can be done separately - get them to arrange a meeting FOR EACH OF YOU with your child - e.g. issues can be handled by one parent each week - simple note to other or copy of school note. Where the issue requires 2 parents to agree on plan with school - allow school to help the process - they will offer a PLAN - the options is a simple yes no response from parents.

Once each parent knows that the other has taken the view that communication is absolutely reduced - it helps everyone , parents and children. Is this helping?:)

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough


Thanks for your advice, Jon. I do value it.

I guess I'm grieving for what we had, for about 3 years, which was a workable parenting relationship. It wasn't a friendship, it was more like business partners. We would go weeks without contact, but if something cropped up, it was no biggie to jump on the phone and sort it.

I was happy for him to call the kids and he did once or twice between visits. I never felt he was interrogating them (now he is). It was very good for the kids to feel he was a part of things.

I just don't know how to communicate without a communication book, when I get "in trouble" for using email or phoning.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Well it sounds like something is going on - 3 years is still quite a short time from separation for some people to have adjusted or moved on. He may be resenting a few things - including CSA , grieving the relationship, having trouble with the current relationship, custody concerns, personal problems,etc. None of anyone else's business really except in the practical matters with looking after the kids.

Using kids as messengers is a bit bad but OK as they get older for some things - messengers for school things, parties, doctors, medicines, sports,(wow I had a great time doing xxx) - but not things about arrangements or variations.

Maybe offers to vary to adjust to his circumstances, recognition that you are both involved with children for a long time to come, want to work out how best to arrange things so the children can know you both and you can both get on with your lives - if he ever needed more time with or extra holidays a Note to say its no problem and you would be happy to consider that sort of thing (on the basis that there was nothing else on) if he was able to write a note - you could respond. That way that shows you as :

1) using simple notes - no history or 'weight'

2) offering to be approachable or adjust - with discussion

3) Modelling the communication behavior you would like to continue

If there is a real problem with whatever is going on the other side then maybe he could take up your offer or be interested in mediation to change circumstances to a new agreed arrangement  (stability).

I always had the view that I was willing to adjust to the others requirements - no matter how many times she denied my change requests . You can't force people to behave well.All you can do is behave the best you can no matter what they do.

Given I have no idea what I am talking about - all I can do is provide my thoughts and experience. :thumbs:

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Hi Jon, I like the idea of a note. (I could still keep a copy in my own communication book).

My problem in the past is that I have been too accomodating. I have had too many experiences where I have had the kids "extra" on the proviso that this would be taken up when I needed it - never happened. In the early days, I used up most of my sick leave because he refused to take them when they were sick.  My kind nature was used against me, I think that was the attraction when we married - my easygoingness. Well, sadly, I've hardened up since then.

We never went through the court system - there are no orders to vary.

We have a private agreement >$100 a fortnight that has only just been registered with CSA this year.

Notes are good. I think I will try emailing again as he wont read the communication book. I'll just have to nip email wars in the bud.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Artemis I am glad you are sharing this experience in a public forum. A respected phycologist I know describes this as male PDS (Post Divorce Syndrome).

After an adjustment period and perhaps problems with a new partner the male begins to yearn for the happier pre separation years. Rather than be constructive, a nit picking exercise starts in earnest. This is not quite the 'victim' mentality by many ex wives but is similar, as it only creates problems that need not exist.

Keep your cool and post in the Exec area - you need some orders.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Maybe these two documents would be of interest:

Australian Psychological Society
"Parenting After Separation"

Australian Family Relationship Clearinghouse
"Child inclusion as a principle and as evidence-based practice:
Applications to family law services and related sectors"

Have any of you read this, by Dr J McIntosh, it is 23 pages and to some pie in the sky thinking but why not?

Last time I took this approach with a Child Rep she turned on me claiming I was trying to manipulate what the children said, the truth was the children were contradicting the mother and Child Rep.
The ex appears to have settled down. Out of the blue, we are communicating as if nothing happened - and by phone - as if nothing happened???

My ex is a control freak and gets very insecure, very easily. I'd say he had trouble with the new partner at home (probably telling her some rose-coloured story about me) and getting opposition from me, just sent him over the edge.

If the behaviour persists or worsens, I will look into orders. But for now, I could use less complication in my life.

Thankyou for the reading No Justice. I will get to it when I have time. I read an awful lot before, during and after my divorce. I'm the sort of person who works on a basis of lots of research before action. I am not the person having a problem with shared parenting. When it's one sided, there's only so much you can do.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
You're welcome Artemis.  Have a merry christmas.

Perhaps your ex is visiting the site? and putting two and two together, realizes what he has been doing and now sits in shock and awe at what you could do?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
No, Agog. My ex doesn't "do" the internet or much reading. So I feel pretty safe.

Seriously, I was tidying up some relationships aust stuff and found the writer of some of the counselling inserts is the lady mentioned above.

Apparently, the ex and I don't "co-parent" we "parallell parent" anyhoo…..

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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