Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.
Will I be accused of parental alienation?(4 Posts)
I separated from my ex about 20 months ago. He didn't see the children at all for the first four months, as he refused to get in touch with the local contact centre. Then I got a solicitors letter asking for contact supervised by his mother (I refused this for very good reasons), and I think the solicitor must have advised him to go through the contact centre. He saw the children twice, then breached the non-molestation order, so the contact centre refused to take him any more.
I found a contact centre ten miles away which was not then part of the naccc and didn't have the same policies. They rang him for me, and he saw the children four or five times there. I felt much less safe using this contact centre, as they were pushing me towards mediation and unsupervised contact. They seemed to feel that my ex was lovely and I was the difficult one, and minimised the abuse and the risk to the children. On one occasion, having asked me to wait in the hallway so they could discuss mediation again, they left the screens down so that I could see my ex through the glass, and he made a horrible face at me, but when I said that mediation was not going to work because I could see he was very angry with me, I was told I had imagined it. The journey there and back was awful too as I don't drive and the children were tired and cranky with walking and waiting for buses.
One week I called to say the children couldn't go because the youngest had d&v. The next week we were ten minutes late because a bus had been held up in traffic. After this, my ex started ringing the contact centre regularly to mess around with the dates, and giving them various messages for me. One day, after the bank froze a joint account he had refused to stop using, he called and told them he was suicidal, so the children and I had police officers sat with us in our house all afternoon until he was found. Two days later the contact centre called me again to say that he would like to change the dates for contact, and I said that I didn't think contact was emotionally safe for the children or for me, so I was stopping contact until I had a cafcass report or a report from a dvpp. He says he is not able to go on a dvpp. I called cafcass myself, but they are not able to do anything without going through the family courts, and my ex says he can't afford to take this to court.
He has continued to call the contact centre regularly, and I've asked them not to pass his messages on, but they still do sometimes.
He breached the non-molestation order so many times by calling me, and I reported this each time so eventually he gave up. When it ran out, he called me about ten times in one day, and I panicked that he was going to turn up at the house, so I called the police and they said they would warn him off and do him for harassment if necessary. I've now got another non-molestation order in place.
Sorry this is long, but the new non molestation order must have made him very angry because the next development is that he made an anonymous call to social services, with concerns about my parenting. It was so stressful! I think they understand that it was a malicious call, but seemed surprised and a bit shocked that I had stopped contact.
I feel on dodgy ground with this. There are so many threads in which I read about children having contact ordered with abusive fathers. I'm pretty sure I've done the right thing for the children at the moment (he doesn't give a monkeys about the children and contact is not safe or beneficial), but I'm scared that cafcass and the family courts won't see it the same as me, particularly if my ex is being attractive and convincing. Ideally, I would like him to step up and be a good father, and the children would still like to see him.
Does anyone have any experience of this kind of situation? If he does ever take this to family court (instead of ringing members of my family and telling them about parental alienation), what is likely to happen?
PA isn't well recognised in the family courts. It categorically isn't a case of PA if the parent that doesn't have contact is abusive.
That said, the courts are obliged to find a way to make contact work before resorting to a no contact order. This can mean having proper supervised contact (some contact centres are only supported contact) or it may be that he has to do a DV course first.
The difficulty is that the is a difference in being abusive to you and being abusive to the children and it may be that social services sounded surprised because the abuse has been to you rather than the children?
Womens Aid should be able to provide some support for you if he goes down the legal route. I'd also recommend getting a solicitor who specialises in DV. Keep everything child focused and factual.
Gosh my life was similar to yours right down to the contact centre a million miles away and I can't drive either we used to take three buses there and I would buy my DC hot chocolate and a biscuit and occasionally a book on payday. Was god awful.
Twatface tried to accuse me of parental alienation it didn't wash with the courts, as he had been so incredibly abusive and lied so much he have different stories to everyone.
Keep a diary of contact, and his behaviour. Keep an observation of how DC are after contact, liaise with DC school to get feedback on how they are after contact. My DD developed psychosomatic symptoms due to contact and ended up in CBT. school were wonderful tho and the school senco wrote a letter on behalf of DD explaining her fears and symptoms GP also helped in that they referred DD to a paediatrician who diagnosed the symptoms as psychosomatic after a shed load of tests.
Was a very harrowing time for us all.
I did also end up dragged to court repeatedly and CAFCASS were involved they recommended ex do a DVIP course before contact could move forward he failed to get on every single on twice over one he finally managed to get on after trying a second time he failed it spectacularly.
The final CAFCASS officer was wholly looking out for the interest of DC and we were very very lucky in that we were referred to a DV specialist judge. Who finally removed all direct contact.
It took me years to get anyone to listen tho years and a lot of money.
Thank you for replying. I know it all has to be focused on what the children need, and that in a way is what frightens me, because the children do want to see him, and it's me that has decided they are too young and vulnerable to put in the firing line so that he can use them to get at me.
I have kept some records of things they said about contact (e.g. once I told the eldest that his dad would never shout at him in the contact centre, and he replied, "he will eventually, you know he will"). The children were subject to a lot of emotional abuse along with me, and they witnessed physical abuse on one occasion.
Fuzzy, I'm so sorry that you've been through all this. I'm glad you got some really good help - that gives me hope.
Join the discussion
Please login first.