I going to have to give my daughter up, and I need some support.

Emma - posted on 02/19/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I divorced my husband four months ago, and moved back home to Edinburgh, Scotland (from Stockholm, Sweden) with my three years old daughter. But my daughter is being a nightmare.

For the first month of us living here, she spent at least six hours a day either screaming her head of or crying her eyes out. She would phone my ex-husband and just sob for about an hour on the phone to him, and refuse to eat anything that he said you couldn't get in Sweden. Someone suggested that if I enrolled her in nursery, she might calm down.

So I did, and she screamed and screamed for the entire of the first day, and the nursery teacher had to get me to home and get her only half way through the school day. She went in the next day and since then has refused to speak English to anyone except my mother despite the fact that her English is just as good as her Swedish.

I then introduced her to my boyfriend, and she screamed and screamed and scream for three hours without a break. She then phoned her Dad and told her my boyfriend had hit her, even though i never left him alone with her at all and he 100% didn't.

So, after two months of this constantly her Dad asked if he could look after her full time for a while, just to see if she'd be okay with just him. And she was! He acted just like she did before we got divorced. She stayed with him for 4 weeks and every weekend I went to see her, and 2 of them I even brought my boyfriend, and she didn't bother in the slightest. She cuddled us both and spoke in English and was completely normal. She even ate haggis!

Anyway, after four weeks I took her home again, and she was exactly how she had been before in Edinburgh. She's been back for a month now and there has been no improvement on her behaviour, so my ex-husband wants to have full custody of her, and he's said he will go to court for it.

Obviously, I don't want this to happen, so I went to my UK solicitor and spoke to my Swedish solicitor, and they both said I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of keeping her if it goes to court and then going to court would be a complete waste of time, energy and money. When I asked if it would be different if I moved to Sweden, my UK solicitor said he didn't know because it would go through Swedish law. My Swedish solicitor said it makes no difference, I've already proven that I am unable to look after her as well as my ex-husband can.

So, next week I'm having a meeting with my Swedish solicitor, ex-husband and his solicitor to write up an agreement that will mean that my ex-husband will have full custody and I will have unrestricted visiting rights. And so I went to my mother, sobbing my heart out about it, and she told me it was my fault for being such a slut, and getting married at 18. (I'm 23).

So I really need some support from someone. My boyfriend left me because he couldn't deal with my daughter, and my friends over here just don't understand.

I have nobody.

7 Comments

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Emma - posted on 02/20/2014

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Swedish law is very, very strict about the conditions in which you may live in Sweden, if you are not actually from Sweden. There are exceptions where it can be changed so a non-Swedish parent may stay in Sweden with their Swedish child with debt and insufficient funds to provide for the both of them, but the only apply if the mother is the widow of a Swedish man (or woman). They also prefer to give full custody to only one parent as they say having joint custody is 'disruptive' to the child. On top of that, the fact that my daughter only behaves how she does when she is living with me is apparently proof that I am 'unfit to look after a small child'. Also, the fact that my ex-husband is 36 and I'm only 23 sways 'the system' a lot.

My ex-husband is currently paying me a lot of child support, but if we were (by some miracle) to get joint custody he would be discouraged from paying any to me. When my daughter moves in with him, I will have to pay him child support.

I am utterly sure of this as I have a friend back in Sweden who is the equivalent of a QC and she says all of this is 100% true.

Cynthia - posted on 02/20/2014

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Okay, understood. It's just that I am from the US (and am an attorney) and unless the mom endangers the child or lives a destructive lifestyle it would be very rare for "the system" to deny a mother custody of a small child. I am surprised if there are no provisions in the immigration code (exceptions to the general rules) that allow a mother to remain with her child and corresponding provisions in family law code that would require your ex to pay you support. I query whether you are getting good legal advice from the Swedish solicitor who may or may not be an expert on international family law issues. If you sure you have good information I am quite appalled at the Swedish legal system.
In any event, I do understand that you must be in a pretty painful place and my heart goes out to you. Good luck!

Emma - posted on 02/20/2014

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@Cynthia; I do have a job, I have the highest paying job my qualifications will allow but I still cannot afford to live in Sweden! And because I'm not Swedish, the only way I can get a residence permit for Sweden is if I have no debt (and I have debt) and if I could live without needing any kind of financial support (which I couldn't) so I cannot live in Sweden. That's why I left in the first place!

My ex-husband if very strong willed, I would not be able to convince him of anything. His very close friend was brought up solely by his father; he reckons she will do just fine without me.

I really have no choice in what I'm doing here, I've looked at every possible avenue for getting some custody of my daughter, but there literally is none.

I just needed someone to talk to.

Cynthia - posted on 02/19/2014

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I would stop worrying about the courts and focus on your co-parenting relationship with your ex. He can agree to anything you can convince him to agree to in a parenting ageement. Your daughter is 3 and you are the grown up here. Own your mistakes, get a job, take charge of yourself. You are a mother and whether she knows it or not your daughter needs you. If your ex is a reasonable person and a caring father, then he'll have to acknowledge that. Now if you have endangered her in any way, or if you don't want the responsibility of being a parent, that is a different story. You are at the crossroads of making a decision that may haunt you for a long time to come.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/19/2014

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Well, it does sound like she's happier at her father's at this point, so perhaps that is where she needs to be.

I don't agree with your mother's assessment, but I do have to say that you having a boyfriend so close in proximity to the finalization of your divorce may not have been the best choice on your part. You should have been more focused on your daughter, and helping her adjust to her new, very different situation. She only reacted the way she did because she didn't understand why you tore her away from her father, moved to a whole different country, introduced her to a new 'daddy' figure, and she couldn't see/hear/touch the man that she knows is her daddy, and her comfort.

Your first responsibility is to that child. If you wish to present yourself as a favorable option for her, perhaps you could leave the boyfriend idea behind for a bit, work on regaining her trust of you (that you won't tear her away from her father), and your relationship with her. Then, maybe, within a couple of years, she'll be more willing to live with you in Edinburgh part time, and experience that part of her heritage.

Emma - posted on 02/19/2014

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I can't actually afford to live in Sweden by myself, and I've been told that there is no way Swedish courts would give my any form of custody.

My daughter doesn't care. She's so excited about moving in with her Dad again. I asked her if she was really happy knowing she wouldn't be able to see me very often and she said: "It's okay, I'll have Daddy." And I started crying in front of her, which I really really didn't want to do, and she said: "It's okay Mummy, I'll be happy with Daddy."

Cynthia - posted on 02/19/2014

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I am so sorry. I have a 2 1/2 year old, and I can't imagine having to give her up...it sounds like she probably needs both mom and dad ... Even if he wasn't threatening to take custody of her .... But he is and that limits your options. Under the circumstances, if I were in your situation, I would move back to Sweden and go for 50/50 custody. Good riddens to your boyfriend ...he is not worthy of you.

You do have somebody....your daughter ....

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