We have had a court order in place for a number of years. The children have never missed a contact; however they are now 16 and 15 and have made it clear to me that they are "fed up" with spending their time with someone who – apparently – has little to say to them, and makes nasty comments to the kids all the time when he does open his mouth.
It is almost as if the contact order is just being observed to serve his need to control them – it doesn't seem to be about spending quality time with two kids who are brilliant company. The kids have said that once the younger son gets to 16, they "are done" – I have told them things will get better, but after six years of this contact and support from me, encouragement and assurances it will get better, it just hasn't.
It breaks my heart to see how angry they get when they come back and have had an unsuccessful contact. I am at a loss, and my ex will not speak to me (only via solicitors and hasn't spoken to me for over eight years). If they tell him they no longer wish to go, can I be dragged back to court? Should this come from them to him? I doubt he will listen as they have asked before for things to improve with him and he just laughs at them and says they are idiots.
One time my elder son was poorly during contact and had asked to go home earlier; he refused and made them stay until the appointed time. My eldest is about to turn 17 and will be driving soon. He wishes to get a Saturday job, and this will prove impossible – the Court Order clearly states a Saturday, and we have persistently re-jigged our lives to make sure they attend (which we do because I want them to have a positive male role model).
I am also bitterly disappointed that this could have been seen as a chance for my ex to build a lovely relationship with his kids, but seems to have used it as a controlling mechanism instead. I would have expected them to say they were having a great time and ask that they have extra time - which would have been great, but it just hasn't happened. I see other kids who have a great time with their dads and my heart bleeds for them. I never badmouth or speak ill of my ex – it was a shame it didn't work out, but the kids did not need to suffer the way that they have been subjected to such nastiness from someone who is supposed to love them unconditionally (regardless of the fact he hates my guts – I appreciate I am 50% DNA of the kids and I think that may be the issue).
If they turn round and refuse to go once the youngest is 16, can I force them? Can I physically drag them to contact? My eldest son is a strapping lad now and this may prove difficult. If I get taken back to court if they refuse, will the court listen to the kids as they will be 16 and 17? I am worrying now that after all these years of being compliant and supportive, I may get jailed.