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pete360 06-20-2017 10:01 AM

Dealing with controlling and vengeful ex?
My ex and I have a separation agreement which is very vague pertaining to my access/visitation with my kids which DOES NOT reflect the status quo of the last 2-3 years; It reads:
“The husband shall have reasonable and liberal access to the child/ren on the following terms:
1. Each Tuesday evening from after school to bedtime
2. Each Saturday afternoon from 12pm to before/after dinner time.
3. During any extracurricular and/or school events
4. Additional time, including overnights, as agreed upon by both parties”.
(There is no additional mention of how to deal with conflicts, or anything about arbitration/mediation.)

At the time of the separation the kids were: D7 and S4 (4 years ago). Now, the kids are: D11 and S8

For the last 2-3 years our status quo has been:
1. Every Wednesday from 5PM to bedtime (she recently changed it without my consent to 6PM -8PM because I was coming late for my 5PM pick up; I work and live 75 KM from where the kids are, and even told her that I have no control over traffic day to day; that I'm not late because I want to piss her off, but because some days the traffic is much worse than on others. She didn't care and changed my pick up time on Wednesdays.)
2. Every other weekend – from Friday at 6PM to Sunday at 5PM. (She now "advised” me that I am not to have them on Fridays any more, without my consent).
3. Any time during holidays that ex "allows" me to get them (which turns into a war every holiday season) - I usually get the “left over days” after she takes the MAIN holiday for herself – for example: i get them on christmas day evening, boxing day, etc, while she gets christmas, new year’s, etc.
4. I get few days here and there over march break and summer holidays, that she will "allow" me to get, after she's booked them solid for their hobbies, activities, so I get left overs - only IF and WHEN I'm off work, and "ask nicely". And it's war for every holiday season.

I never know (from week to week) IF and WHEN i'll even get my kids, making it extremely difficult to make any plans with/for them.

Since last year I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to negotiate with her in order to amend the child access agreement to:
1. Reflect the current status quo (which I would use to enforce the access via court) – she refuses to change anything “in writing”.
2. Create a steady, consistent and set schedule - if changes are required, they're to be consented to and there has to be an appropriate notice for them.
3. Gain a little additional time with the kids (which the kids are asking for as well).

Not only did I get no additional time with the kids, my ex continues to arbitrarily change the visitation schedule on a whim and is now trying to take away "my" Friday night with the kids (every other weekend) because I have decided not to take them to their hobbies on "my" Saturday mornings (they do not want to go, and the hobbies are 75KM each way from where I have been living for over a year now). She also takes my days and weekends away from me (without my consent and on a whim), switches weekends (but fails to make up what i lost), makes me return them early if she makes plans for them on "my" time, makes me pick them up late when she schedules things on "my" Wednesdays and wants to enrol them into even more activities/hobbies on weekends (again, without my consent) which would further limit my visitation time with my kids.

There has been an email war for the last 6 months of me telling her that I do not give her consent or permission to impede into my time (without a discussion and proper notice), that she's not allowed to withhold access, that i don't give her consent for new/additional hobbies for the kids that would fall on "my" access time, etc, but at the end of the day she just attacks my character and tells me "how it's going to be" and goes and does what she wants.

How do I:
1. Legally amend and ENFORCE the status quo schedule so she can’t “punish” me every time i “misbehave”? (she does not agree to change it in writing, i only have the status quo in email format. I have suggested arbitration/mediation with our lawyers to come up with a fair and mutually agreeable addendum, to which she didn’t agree. I offered for both of us to sit down with the kids, talk and come up with a fair and mutually agreeable schedule "as a family", to which she said i'm crazy, i'm out of my mind, i'm putting the kids in the middle of "our mess", the kids have no say, etc.).
2. Gain a little additional time with the kids (they keep asking for this as well) and she will not allow me; Example: I asked for PA days and STAT holidays that fall on “my” weekends to be a part of “my” weekend. I asked to split march break and xmas holidays fairly (or alternate from year to year), to which she will allow only a few days here and there that SHE deems i can have, and only IF i take the time off work (she does not allow my fiancÚ to care for the children while i’m at work (the kids LOVE my fiancÚ), while my ex has a boyfriend who does (kids don't particularly like the boyfriend) - her boyfriend even stays alone overnight with the kids without my knowledge or consent, yet my fiancÚ is not allowed to care for them while i'm at work 10 minutes away from my home. I asked for a few extra weeks of time with the kids in the summer (again, same thing – only if i take the time off – which i only have 3 weeks per year, so that's not possible; for this summer i'm not even sure if i'll even get ANY time with the kids). I asked her to allow me to take them away on holidays once per year (out of the country: all inclusive vacation for example) – she flat out refused. Etc....
3. Be able to take them on a vacation once per year - she said she's worried i won't return, which is ridiculous. I have a job, home, car, life in Canada, there is no way that i wouldn't return.
4. Protect and liberate myself from her controlling every aspect of my life (with or without the kids), while constantly attacking my character, parental skills, etc.

I am terrified of a costly legal battle (I currently pay 33% of my salary for child support every month on time - it includes regular schedule amount + extra for "other expenses") and am barely left with enough to cover my basic living expenses (luckily i have a partner who contributes more than her share into our life and is also very generous to the kids too). She also threatened that if i do go to court, "she has a free lawyer".

Yes, I know I made a mistake at the time of separation when I trusted her to do the right and fair thing in the future by signing a "vague" separation agreement, but am I stuck now for the rest of my life paying for it or is there something I can do about this? All I want is to create a healthy and STABLE home life with my kids while they're with me, and get a little more time with them (kids keep asking for this too. They went as far as asking me and my fiancÚ to move closer to their home so they can spend half the time with mom and half the time with us - they do not realize how impossible that will be when dealing with their controlling mother).

Any advice and guidance would be very much appreciated!!!

freckles1234 06-20-2017 10:43 AM

Has your separation agreement been filed with the court?

If it has:

You need to file a motion to change based on the changed status quo. You need to find ways to prove you have had the time with the kids (hopefully your ex told you via text/email that you will no longer have Fridays or that she was changing the time on Wednesdays.)

You may not want a long legal battle but sometimes that is what we need to do. If you don't take it to court she will forever punish you. Once you have proven that the circumstances have changed since your agreement (i.e. you have the kids on a more regular schedule than provided for in the agreement) then you can request more time, 50/50, vacation time, etc.

I could not afford a lawyer so I hired my lawyer just to show up to court. I did all the paper work and research and prepared everything, he was just there so the other lawyer didn't try to bulldoze me. It was a lot of work and research on my part but completely worth it.

pete360 06-20-2017 11:04 AM

Hi Freckles1234,
Thank you for your quick reply, much appreciated.
No, the separation agreement has never been filed with the court. What now?

I have recorded one of our "live" conversations (she doesn't know) so that I have something to reflect on later.
I do have in email format that she confirmed our "status" quo. I also have it in an email format her saying "there will be no Friday nights".

Thanks again!

freckles1234 06-20-2017 11:12 AM

I believe you then just need to file as a new case in court and not have to prove any change in circumstance.

At that point, you can ask for whatever you want. I would file for 50/50 and state that while you should be getting equal parenting time the ex is unilaterally changing the times and that the separation agreement is voided as it has not been followed.

I luckily was not married to my kids mother and my wife and I are still together so I don't have a lot of experience with separation agreements.

pete360 06-20-2017 11:17 AM

Thanks again! You are lucky man.
Hopefully (or unfortunately!) someone else has gone through this and I can get more opinions.

rockscan 06-20-2017 12:36 PM

My partners ex changed their agreement and claimed it was because the kids were old enough to make their own decisions and didnt have time for him. What she failed to realize what that her obligation was to make the access happen.

There are a number of threads on here regarding changes to access and denial of access. You may want to start doing some searching on the forum and on canlii. This is a case of unilateral change in access schedule and denial of access.

Im not a lawyer but I believe freckles is right that you need to bring a motion to change the access schedule based on the change you both agreed to and the refusal to allow access now. Your kids are still young enough that she cant claim its their choice. She is not allowed to deny you time and is obligated to make face to face time happen.

May be worth talking to a lawyer about the paperwork but start with the research.

This will become an almost full time job if you self rep. Its worth the money though for a lawyer. Make sure you document everything. Keep sending emails requesting make up time. Keep enforcing your time. Keep everything even if she doesnt respond. You may also want to add "if I dont hear from you within 24 hours I will take that as your consent and pick the children up at x time".

She may think youre too afraid to battle and will continue to do this.

rockscan 06-20-2017 12:39 PM

I should also note that if you have the new schedule in a new order, when she denies you access, you can then file a contempt motion. You need the paperwork though to do this. Your old order isnt right anymore.

pete360 06-20-2017 01:00 PM

Thank you Rockscan!
i will definitely do more research on the forums. I'm all researched out on the internet.
I know she doesn't have the right, and i know this is very wrong. But trying to explain this to her doesn't get me anywhere.
I think that court is my only option at this point, but problem is that i'm worried of the financial implications.
This money will be much better spent ON the kids. But what can one do when dealing with an unreasonable ex?
Thanks all!

pete360 06-20-2017 01:04 PM

Does anyone know if I HAVE to take the kids to their hobbies during my access time? Considering that they do not want to go and hobbies involve 150KM of driving every other weekend? My ex will allow me to pick them up ONLY if i agree to take them to hobbies. Does she have the right to control what i do when the kids are with me less than 4 days per month? Do i have the legal right to make decisions for them while they're with me?

rockscan 06-20-2017 01:10 PM

Did she book the activities on your time with your permission? If she didnt get your permission then she would be hard pressed to defend her access facilitation. This is another tool of a controlling denier of access. She should not be booking ANYTHING on your designated time without your agreement.

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