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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2010, 10:39 AM
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Default Poisoning the minds of our kids

Hello All

My ex and I have been separated since 2005 and divorced since 2008. We have joint custody of our 2 kids (9 and 7 yrs old) with me being the primary residential parent. She is to see the kids every other weekend and two nights per week, however she has never exercised her right to weekly access and only sees them every other weekend. I live in Kitchener and she in Mississauga. I waived the right to any support payments.

Lately she has been making noises to me about taking me back to court to change the custody arrangement and get the kids back living with her primarily. She is on welfare and has led me to believe she has a welfare lawyer lined up.

She keeps emailing me telling me that the kids want to live with her and that they "hate it at their dad's house". She says they always express how they want to go to school in her city and miss her terribly. All of this is untrue as the kids are very happy with me and tell me so all the time. Since they started living with me and going to school in our city their grades have improved tenfold, there is now structure and love in the home and they have made loads of friends in our neighbourhood. They do however express to me that they miss their mum. I understand why as she never comes to pick them up for her weekly access and so they only see her every other weekend.

She has now resorted to telling them they will be coming to live with her soon and promising them things when they do. Like video game consols, a new house with an indoor pool, new bikes etc. My younger son is convinced they will be living there soon and has expressed some excitement. This is natural because it is like a holiday over there. She lets them do whatever they want. All structure is thrown out of the window, bed times are not respected and the kids are noticably different when they come back from there.

My question is this. Will the courts put any weight on her claims that the kids want to live with her? She keeps saying she is going to "get a child psychologist to speak with the kids and show the courts where the kids want to live". Is this possible and should I get my own child psychologist? How can I get her to stop telling my kids these lies and grilling them about how "unhappy" they must be at dads.

Nevermind the fact that I have had custody for 3 years, there is now a bond with their two baby brothers, and she has not even lived up to her obligations for weekly access. She has no license (lost it due to DUI) and can barely afford her accomodations.

Am confused about my position.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:46 AM
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Parental Alienation it's called and the courts do NOT like it. Search the forums for it and you'll get lots of info, but you can certainly get OCL or a psychologist involved. If she's making the comments during phone conversations with the kids you can try monitoring the conversations either on speakerphone or record the conversations so you have prrof to back up your claims.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:55 AM
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You need to send an email/registered letter to you ex advising her that it is not in the children's best interests to be put in the middle of adult matters, and where they are to reside is an adult matter. Further, until a court has ordered that the children are to reside with her, it is not a matter of discussion as they are not of the age where the court would consider their preference.

From there, you also need to get the kids into counselling. You help them understand where they are in life and that it is ok to love both parents. They need to know that they have to happy homes and that is common with many kids these days.

Edit - and also, as Blink has mentioned, if you can record her saying such stuff, she would be in a bit of trouble as the courts don't like it when people play these games.
You should also look into issues regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome and hostile aggressive parenting. You need to understand what it is and how best to combat it.

If she should continue you could request that she be allowed supervised access at a local access centre as she is abusing the kids through her alienating activities. But for that you would need a bunch of experts on hand.

She really is a peach, and she doesn't stand much of a chance of winning and she is managing to get under your skin through her actions, which ultimately may be her goal. You need to relax about what she might do, and take action on what she is doing. Get your kids the help they need from school counsellors to other professionals. And keep the kids involved in the community. Girl scouts, boy scouts, local teams and community centres. Help further build roots.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:09 AM
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Thank you for the sound advice, Blink and Hammer. I will pickup a recorder today

We used to have a recorder and I've got files and files of her verbally abusing me and also some alienation of the kids, but because we settled we never got a chance to use this evidence at trial. Is it stale now? It is about 2yrs old.

I will however start to record the conversations again.

We have the kids in all kinds of community programs here which is good.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:00 PM
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Regarding those old recording, at 2 years, they'd do little for you other than establish that this behavior isn't anything new. I would definitely recommend that you get new recordings. (Check on whether they are admissible in ON).

If she attempts to play these games, send her an email to stop it, and if she still doesn't take her back to court to change access to supervised based on her alienation attempts. DON'T DROP THE MOTION, even if she suddenly wises up.

If you have to, get the OCL or a parenting assessor involved. (WARNING: Parenting assessments run anywhere from 2500-5000 and can take 6 months to a year to complete, they are VERY invasive and an absolute pain in the ass)

That being said, they are also INVALUABLE towards cementing custody.

Even if you chose NOT to go that route, I'd recommend you look into finding a counselor or something for your kids to talk to. You need something to combat her alienation, and it really depends on your situation as to what route you can afford to take.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:24 PM
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I echo what everyone else said.

I would especially book some counselling time for you before you get some for the kids so that you can get some impartial, objective, professional coping strategies for dealing with her behaviour and to provide some clarity that will allow you to move all your issues forward.

Re her threat to "get a child psychologist to speak with the kids and show the courts where the kids want to live" trump it ASAP by telling her that as the sole custodial parent, you appreciate her input and that will be choosing a counsellor that will meet the children's needs imminently. She has ZERO say in that and she will have to get a court to order it without your agreement, which will be virtually impossible in the circumstances. Nevertheless don't let it get that far. Get it done yourself.

Once you get those kids into counselling she will fall to pieces the truth will come out to an objective person. That's the last thing she wants, and she knows it.

Edit:Oops forgot to include this link to a great counselling resource: http://www.fsatoronto.com/programs/families.html

Finally, her threats are just threats. She's got no basis except her own opinion to support her position. Do not allow yourself to be engaged by her. That's her only leverage on you and if you ignore her she loses what little power she has. Easier said than done, I know.

Last edited by dadtotheend; 09-28-2010 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:25 PM
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Thanks to you also, Dadtotheend. You always have a hunch how you must behave in situations such as these but it's great to hear that hunch reinforced.

I wish I had found this forum sooner.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
Regarding those old recording, at 2 years, they'd do little for you other than establish that this behavior isn't anything new. I would definitely recommend that you get new recordings. (Check on whether they are admissible in ON).

If she attempts to play these games, send her an email to stop it, and if she still doesn't take her back to court to change access to supervised based on her alienation attempts. DON'T DROP THE MOTION, even if she suddenly wises up.

If you have to, get the OCL or a parenting assessor involved. (WARNING: Parenting assessments run anywhere from 2500-5000 and can take 6 months to a year to complete, they are VERY invasive and an absolute pain in the ass)

That being said, they are also INVALUABLE towards cementing custody.

Even if you chose NOT to go that route, I'd recommend you look into finding a counselor or something for your kids to talk to. You need something to combat her alienation, and it really depends on your situation as to what route you can afford to take.
Thanks to you NBdad - very informative.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
Regarding those old recording, at 2 years, they'd do little for you other than establish that this behavior isn't anything new. I would definitely recommend that you get new recordings. (Check on whether they are admissible in ON).
One-party consent is all that is required in Ontario. Also, if you are speaking with her on the telephone (not recommended, but heck, I know they call) inform her you are putting her on speakerphone and record it. Nobody on speakerphone has a right to privacy, and thus any conversation can be used in court.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:34 AM
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The key word here is "involving the kids in the adult conflict". Gently and very gingerly explain to OCL/CAS/ Your letter etc. that you are very concerned that the kids are being exposed to the "adult conflict".

This game is like the book 1984. You have to learn the 'double speak' and hit the key phrases. The key phrase here is "fear of exposure to the adult conflict". I wish I knew that before OCL got involved. They love that phrase. Don't use parental alienation. Everyone hates that word. Use the exposure tactic and in reality the kids should not be exposed to anything of Family Court stuff. It's so stressful for adults can you imagine the kids? Just the OCL investigation was brutal on my kids and my OCL lady was very gentle. Some are kind of nasty. In the end the children always lose.They get hurt the most. The system crushes them.
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