need desperate advice regarding custody battle in UK

Jade-Michelle - posted on 03/26/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My ex has recently got himself a new girlfriend (no I don't hate her etc) they've been together 2 days, met each other for the first time 3 days ago and only spoke via facebook and text for 2 days prior to that. He told me about the relationship yesterday and said he wants to make it work cos he needs to get over me. This has somewhat deteriorated our relationship, I think he's moving too fast and already she wants him to change our visitation arrangement. For the past 8 months, he has visited our daughter at my home. We've got on really well. Now he wants to change this. He thinks it will upset her. I refuse to take our child to his parents house, where he lives, as they are heavy drinkers with a tendency for violence. I cannot see why he is putting his new girlfriends needs before our child. He barely knows this girl. I said to arrange a meeting with her so I could get to know her vice versa but he won't cos he doesn't want to risk he finding out he actually only asked her out cos I wanted to wait til I was ready to get back into a relationship with him. Now he has said he will go through the courts. I've suggested we go to Citizens Advice and organise mediation. No reply. Tomorrow is his usual visiting day but he said he won't be coming as he has made plans with his girlfriend. They've been together 2 days and already he's blowing off visits! I am desperate to resolve this. He has become very aggressive and so I feel like it's going to be a very nasty custody battle. Will the courts find it unacceptable that he is prioritising his sex life before our child? I'm going to fight for sole custody and then allow him contact at a distance until he can get his priorities straight. Please help me. I am so scared that if he's granted custody that he will introduce my daughter to his violent parents and also this new girlfriend. He is unemployed and lives with his parents if this makes any difference. My daughter doesn't have a really strong bond with him, he isn't very hands-on even when he is here.

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[deleted account]

If he's wanting to use your depression against you, then you could in the same line, use the two missed planned visits against him.



Certainly I suffered from depression when I split up from my ex, but I still got my daughters to school on time etc.. If it is brought up that you've got depression, at least you should be able to get a note from the doctor to show that you're getting treatment for it.



Talk to your solicitor tomorrow and raise the point about the added stress etc., reducing your quality of life for you and your daughter. If there's enough cause for concern, then you may be able to stop all contact between your ex and your daughter. Your solicitor will be able to advise you better. Certainly I was advised that I could stop visitation rights from my ex if I felt the girls' health and wellbeing was at risk from their Dad (meaning mental, emotional and physical well being/health).



Remember to take notes and keep records of what's happened so that it can be used at a later date should you need to. Like your solicitor said, you're doing everything right and now it's time for your ex to step up and show that he can carry out his Dad duties or not.



Good luck.

[deleted account]

I live in Wales. Certainly the first thing you can do is for the safety of your daughter is say that you're not willing to allow her to go to her paternal grandparents house for her own safety. (You've got a good reason - heavy drinkers with a tendancy of violence). Also you can say that for her own mental, physical and emotional health that the visits have to be in a suitable place.



Strongly recommend that you go and see a solicitor and/or Citizens advice as well - with or without him and go from there. See what advice they give you for your individual case. As long as they see that you are putting your daughter's welfare first then it will be up to your ex to prove you wrong. Keep a record of what's gone on and your concerns about your daughter's paternal grandparents - especially history about what's happened with their drinking and violence.



Another point - if he's becoming very aggressive towards you and/or your daughter, then it's probably best that any and all contact is taken slowly and carefully. It needs to be done on your terms and not his. If there is a history of violence then it is unlikely that the court will hand over custody of your daughter to your ex. They may set up supervised visits in a centre so that your ex can see your daughter - so that it's controlled and he can prove that he is OK to have visits with your daughter or prove that there is an issue that he isn't OK to see your daughter.



I couldn't spot how old your daughter is, but I think it's about 8 when a child in the UK can say whether or not they want to see the absent parent. It could be a bit younger. I know that when my ex threatened to take me to court over visits (still waiting for the letters) that my two eldest at the time could say whether or not they wanted to see him and wasn't sure if my youngest could. My girls are now aged 7 and over and have little or no interest in their Dad. (He managed to write letters to them for about 5 months (tops) before he lost interest because they wouldn't write back - they did once and my eldest had done something for Father's Day which he never picked up. Since then they've lost what remaining interest they have. Saying that my eldest will occasionally ask after her Dad, but it's becoming more infrequent.



I've stopped contact with my ex and girls because of his behaviour. (Been informed/advised by the police and solicitor not to let my ex have visitation without supervision because of his behaviour - domestic violence). Also when my ex decided to come back into their lives I gave him a whole lot of rules/boundaries which he didn't like, but he didn't last very long with his contact.

Lisa - posted on 03/26/2012

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Make an appointment to see a family solicitor immediately. Dont wait. If you cant find someone to watch your child while ur there, then take her with you. They can tell you want ur both entitled to and advice you want steps to take now.

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[deleted account]

To the best of my knowledge in England and Wales (think the rules are different in Scotland), children are allowed to voice their opinion and have it 'recognised' at age 7/8. I know that if my ex took me to CAFCASS/court and my girls were asked if they wanted to see their Dad then their wishes would be respected. If they all said no then there's little that my ex could do, especially as my youngest turns 8 this month and the two others are slightly older.



Certainly when I spoke to a solicitor a couple of years ago, he reminded me to keep writing down text/phone messages, saving messages that came over fb etc.. Also keep a paper trail of all the visitations he wanted and then cancelled, as well as the threats and allegations he's also made (latter have been proven to be false). Certainly if my ex took me to court the chances of getting visitations would be small (even if the girls' views weren't taken into account). I've lost count of the number times he's threatened to do something or made an allegation.

Carrie - posted on 09/01/2012

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I'm glad you and the girls are doing well. Him being wrapped up in his girlfriend will be showing the courts that he isn't interested in them. Keep a paper trail of everything. Maybe even send him letters or texts when he should have a visitation and either write down his response and record the time and date or Print out everything. You can even get phone records proving you call him to see the children. If he decides to take you to court then you will have everything you need. They may even let the child speak for themselves and they can account for his absence. I'm not sure of the laws in the UK. But keep a paper trail of everything. That is prefo of any history in any part of the world. Hope this helps and good luck. I am going though a similar thing with my ex. He has even less interest I'm my children. Just remain strong and do whats best for you and the children.

[deleted account]

Hope things are getting easier for you. With my ex he is full of hot air. He's threatened me with CAFCASS two years and also over the last few years I've supposedly been sent several letters from solicitors about visitations. I've yet to get any of the letters so either they have all got lost in the post and/or were never sent or another is that the letters were sent to the wrong address.



When he threatened me with CAFCASS, I just turned around and said 'OK then, take me to court', that was the last I have heard about it. I know that I am in the right and he is in the wrong. The chances of him getting any contact with my girls is low. Main reasons - when he was last allowed contact (over 2.5 years ago), it lasted 4.5-5 months. He stopped writing to the girls, instead of me stopping it, 8 months after his last letter he wanted to see the girls and said that he had to start right from the beginning again (which he didn't like). He wanted to send them emails, said no the letters had to be on paper and posted/dropped off to the girls - answer to that 'lol'. Am I being awkward - probably yes, but am I making it impossible - no. Learnt that standing my ground has helped. My ex doesn't like me for it, but that's his choice. I made it very clear that the last lot of contact was against my better judgement, but was going to let it happen. Also under my rules and the girls' interests had to be taken first and at their speed. Unfortunately for him his idea of speed didn't match up with the girls' idea of speed. The girls were told that if they wanted to write to their Dad, that was OK and if they didn't want to write to their Dad again that was OK with me. If my ex had got his way, he would have seen them within the first week of saying he wanted to have contact again after three years of nothing. He's always had my parents address and he was aware of where I'm now living (even though I hadn't told him).



I'm aware that he now has a new partner (in the last 18 months or so) so his interest in the girls has gone down to the usual low levels of interest (barely detectable). Though it may flair up again when this relationship finishes and/or if he spots one or more of the girls in the local newspaper (through winning competitions etc).

Carrie - posted on 08/31/2012

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The courts usually side with the mother on these circumstances. He has to prove he can provide for the child and child services will investigate his parents home if it is suitable for the child. Tell them you think your child will be unsafe and you are concerned for your child's welfare. You most definately will get custody. Especially if you weren't ever married. If you were married then he would get partial custody like weekends and or vacations. But he has no job and lives with his parents and is worried about a chick more than his own child. Don't let this hurt you. Do what's best for your child and keep them apart. When he decides that his child is number one then work with him. Until then protect your child from his childish father.

Jade-Michelle - posted on 04/01/2012

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He hasn't showed up today either, as he is hungover at his girlfriends house and says he completely forgot he was meant to see DD today. It's really pushed me to breaking point. I don't see what he offers my daughter, except disappointment. Sometimes I feel his attitude is aimed more at me, like he does something simply to make my life difficult. I have counselling at the moment to deal with depression that I've struggles with since pregnancy, he is now saying he will use that against me, to imply I'm not a fit parent. This really upsets me, I don't see what is so hard about showing up the right day and time. Like I said, we got on really well before he began this relationship so I don't know whether to think she is behind all the drama and stress or if he's doing this to make her think there is nothing between us. She is really young but I still expect her to understand he can be friendly with me for the sake of our daughter without it meaning anything romantic is going on. Tomorrow I'm meeting my solicitor as this whole situation is deteriorating mine and my daughters quality of life due to all the grief it's causing. I think it's best for her to be raised solely by me until he gets his head in order and learns to prioritise his daughter before his social life. I think you are so right in sticking to your guns. As far as I'm concerned I shouldn't have to sit around waiting for him to show up. We had an arrangement that worked for 8months, if it isn't working for him now then he can have the embarrassment of explaining to a court that he wants those times to spend with his gf and go out drinking with friends. My solicitor thinks I have done everything the right way and it is my ex causing the problems.

[deleted account]

Certainly think it's worth making sure that you have some agreement on paper, if you can't do it verbally.



Like you said, it's worth going to see mediation at the same time so that you and both discuss what needs to be discussed then and there, rather than dragging it out - one attending at the time. Certainly if he's not willing to be co-operative, then it's worth considering going down the court route. Talk to your solicitor again and see what options are open to you. Sounds like you're trying to be as reasonable as you can with him and his new girlfriend.



Also worth making sure he knows that you're not prepared to be messed around with visits - for your daughter's sake. Certainly as she grows up she'll work him out. For all he knows, you could have planned/cancelled other things to make sure that he could come and see your daughter. On one of the occasions when my ex cancelled a visit and wanted to move it back 24 hours, said no as I'd already made plans for the Sunday as he'd planned to come on the Saturday and wasn't prepared to change/cancel them. He wasn't happy, but I stuck to my guns.

Jade-Michelle - posted on 03/27/2012

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My daughter is 8months old, so just a baby. I suggested that we go to mediation to come to a civil agreement. We were getting along fine until this new girlfriend of his came into his life. She's 17 so maybe she is making ludicrous demands but if I'm honest, I think this is all him. I even asked to meet her (without baby of course) so she gets to know me and vice versa but he has refused because he doesn't want her to find out that he asked me to be with him the day before he got with her. He is being verbally aggressive towards me, there's no history of violence - in fact we got on so well prior to this. He even agreed ages ago to keep his family away. He has skipped his visit today cos he decided to spend time with his gf. This irks me alot as he could always see her after visiting DD. It's clearly done out of spite. His response to going to citizens advice was that he won't go with me, he'll go alone. As for mediation, he refuses to talk to me. He just wants to drag me through the court system. I feel like I've been hit by a tonne of bricks, I was so willing to deal with this civilly but he's suddenly turned on me and won't do anything I suggest just ignores me and is putting me through emotional hell whilst ditching visits. I sought advice from a lawyer this morning and they said court cases can drag on for 6 months, even longer. What's the point, why doesn't he just work with me so we can resolve this quickly and maturely?

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