Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

13 yr old dd suddenly wants to live with her dad and 'visit' me!

(18 Posts)
bella1968 Wed 24-Aug-16 19:06:07

Please can I have some legal advice. I have a court order, my dd and ds both 13 live alternate weeks with myself and their father. Suddenly after another violent outburst from my dd and her going to her fathers (on my week, which was fine as her and her brother needed space) she has decided not to come home until we sell the house and even then she wants to live with her dad full time and 'visit' me.

Can the police go and get her and bring her home, next friday? or do I have to go to court to enforce the order? / breach of order? which is pointless as she wants this? I, obviously don't agree, she needs her mom at this time, she's very hormonal and needs someone that is going to understand and help her. Her dad and I don't communicate, he's too abusive towards me and to be honest she's wanted to live with me permanently for a while now but was too afraid of what he'd do if she didn't go back to him. Her dad has a girlfriend and son, they offer a family unit whereas I choose to be single so that I can give my children all the attention they deserve, seems I've lost out somehow!

Can I have some advice legal or otherwise please. thanks.

babybarrister Thu 25-Aug-16 15:58:44

the court is going to place a lot of weight on her views I am afraid ,,,,

GeneralBobbit Thu 25-Aug-16 16:03:03

There's nothing to 'do', she's old enough to choose and forcing her will just get her back up

Just keep the communication open, go out for coffee, send funny texts, asks her how she is.

If her dads a twat she will eventually come home.

meowli Thu 25-Aug-16 16:25:55

I'm ill-qualified to comment, but since when does that stop anyone on MN?!

I would have thought the last thing a hormonal 13 year old would want or need was a double life, where she alternates her place of abode weekly. It sounds like an utter nightmare to me. Presumably you and her father live close enough to each other for her schooling not to be disrupted? Now she is a teenager, can't you leave it up to her a bit more and let her have a more fixed home base from where she can visit the other parent when she wants? It sounds to me as though she could do with her life being a little more relaxed, without the tug-of-war and constant moving home.

she's wanted to live with me permanently for a while now but was too afraid of what he'd do if she didn't go back to him.

What does she think he might do?

bella1968 Thu 25-Aug-16 16:50:12

Thanks to all,

Meowli, I totally agree with you, it was a nightmare in the making, my ds has made peace with it but as she's so hormonal she's always tried to change it. Most of the time from last September she has wanted to live with me full time and visit her Dad, now suddenly she won't come back and wants to 'visit' me and live with her dad.

Yes we both have to live near the schools otherwise the other gets full time with the child.

I just didn't think it was me that she would ever turn away from, I'm devastated!! wouldn't you be? she knows how horrid her father has been towards me and also towards her I just can't understand why she's doing this and yes I am aware that I sound selfish but I'm her Mom!! we are both female, I thought that I would be a better option to deal with her hormonal rages!? I just wanted to comfort and maybe advice on how to view this emotionally and mentally, how to make peace with it and be all light and flowery with her when all the time I want to scream, "why are you doing this to me!?!??!!" obviously I won't do that.

bella1968 Thu 25-Aug-16 16:51:35

but how can I put up with only seeing her Saturday and Sunday each weekend when I used to see her all the time and then it went down to half a year??

GeneralBobbit Thu 25-Aug-16 17:09:14

It might not be for very long, she might come round quite quick. The more you back off her, the more she might want to see you.

meowli Thu 25-Aug-16 17:19:01

I'm sorry, bella. If it were me, of course I'd be devastated. flowers It's easy to be objective when you're not going through something.

Can you get to the bottom of why all of a sudden she has changed her mind about who she wants to live with? What precipitated the 'violent outburst' prior to her leaving to go to her father's?

I don't know enough about the process to know, but when there are custody disputes when the child is your dd's age, is there any form of mediation or consultation, where someone would talk to her without her parents being present, to ascertain her real feelings about what she wants to do. What does she think her father might do, if she lives permanently with you? Is she afraid for your safety?

Presumably if she persists in this, you will need to go back to the Court for some sort of review?

meowli Thu 25-Aug-16 17:28:50

Another thought. My guess is she doesn't know how to keep everybody happy, (there is no way, really), and she is stressed and having major meltdowns over it (and the myriad other teenage stresses). Have you ever considered some counselling for her?

mypropertea Thu 25-Aug-16 18:36:39

The way I see it... She wanted to live in one place and chose your place. You didn't tell her dad what she wanted so she decided it was easier to change place and tell you as your less intimidating.

bella1968 Thu 25-Aug-16 19:20:21

sorry I didn't answer your question Meowli, my exh their father shouts and swears at them, he's always done it which is what I wanted to get them away from, only the court decided alternate weeks was the best thing, probably partly to shut him up and ensure we both had control over their upbringing, he's a control freak which my dd knows which is another reason why she thinks this is good and less pain for her, he doesn't like her contacting me or seeing me when it's his week, he scares them that's how he controls them, I don't know what she thinks that he'll do but his simply shouting and swearing at them scares them. She said to me, he likes to control me with homework etc so he can do that then I can come and have 'quality'/fun time with you!

Thing is it's not all about what the children want in an adult world, it is in an ideal world but there's so much more to this and so much more to accommodate. For one, having thought I'd settled them into this pattern I've signed up to do a law degree which I've wanted to do for years now, having been made redundant I thought I'd take the plunge, only part-time and I still need to find a full time job but obviously I would use the week and weekend that I don't have them to study, which now puts a spanner in the works! Also he will expect me to pay child maintenance which I know costs more than actually paying for your child to live with you. This means that I won't be able to save as much money and means that I will have to put off buying another property, it also means that I might not be able to at all because of that additional outgoing! I will only be allowed a smaller mortgage which won't purchase a property so I'll be renting for years and I'm 47!! whereas my exh will probably be buying with his girlfriend and they will all live happily ever after with my children and they will only be allowed to visit occassionally because my ex will make damn sure that there's something fun planned on the weekend which will mean she will want to stay and do that rather than see me. I absolutely catagorically know this will be the case, I know my ex and know that he will manipulate her now he's got his claws into her.

The other thing is, how on earth do I make plans to see her, she has to ask her father already, seek permission and he'll say there's no time, he'll organise things so she won't have time to 'fit' me in, I'll be left hanging around waiting to see her and it just won't happen. I can't run my life like that, it's unfair to my dd or me or my ds her twin brother!

Thing is without the court I really don't see how this is going to be arranged and what happens on school holidays? they have 5 more years left of school as they are in year 9.

To think that I'm not going to be part of my daughters life breaks my heart, yes I know I'll see her occasionally but really would that be enough for all you mothers out there?

sorry for the epilogue I'm just so hurt and I don't ever think this feeling will stop!

meowli Thu 25-Aug-16 20:50:55

I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. Do you have a solicitor you could go and talk to?

bella1968 Thu 25-Aug-16 23:52:22

mypropertea, dd has lived with me one week and her dad another week since the middle of September 2015. I don't think you've got the right end of the stick, probably me not explaining myself.

Her dad cannot communicate with me as he keeps dredging up the past about how I took him to court etc etc and broke up 'our' family which he played a major part in doing but he won't take responsibility for this he blames it all on me. Every email he dredges up the past so I cut off all communication, I couldn't stay strong for me let alone the children if I hadn't.

Meowli, I don't think that she thinks that he would physically do anything to me now, I have protected myself against that (long story), I understand why she's done what she's done. She is trying to exert control over her own life and she's chosen the path of least resistance. She's afraid of what her dad will do if she stays with me, whereas I'm the softer parent so she's not scared of me. He likes to control her whereas I don't, I am more about guiding them to make the right choices, make their own decisions and listen to them so she is giving him what he wants by giving him the control over her during the week with homework/school etc and then coming to me to have the 'fun' because she wants to have the fun with me. Thing is because she's only 13 she can't think of the bigger picture, she's not thinking straight that without a court order in place her dad won't enforce anything, if we do this without changing the court order then there's nothing to stop him organising fun things at the weekend and then tantalising her so that she doesn't see me. The longer she doesn't see me the worse it is for our relationship.

My friend just came round a little while ago, she said stop racing ahead with what may happen and do it in small stages, stage 1: call her tonight, say how do you fancy that milkshake tomorrow and if she says she's busy again say what about tomorrow morning and if she says she's busy again then say ok then I'll see you next week when you come home (court ordered) and when she says I'm not coming home I say you have to because we are bound by the order at least for now and then we can all try and discuss arrangements that will suit everyone. She said plan something nice for Friday evening or Saturday that she won't want to miss. My friend said that for the time being I will have to make extra effort in order to win her back and eventually she will miss me too much and will want to come back. I guess I have to hope for this and at least try.

bella1968 Fri 26-Aug-16 00:24:43

I have my old solicitor but she's not back till 6th September. However, I would rather not have to go back to court as it will take months and months, another CAFCASS report will be ordered and we will have to go to see her again. It doesn't matter because now she doesn't want to live with me so her wishes will be taken into consideration and this is good enough reason for the judge not to bother about him breeching the order.

To be honest, she took the only option that she could, she knew that her dad would create havoc if she decided to live here and visit him whereas somehow she thinks that I'm softer and won't create havoc.

I know that I'm being selfish in my attitude and probably looking at it all wrong, I totally understand why she's done this however she hasn't considered the effect or devastating upset she has caused me, my son has seen it this week, how much she's upset me. He says he wouldn't do that, he knows that if he decided to live with him his dad would be angry but if he decided to live with him then I would be heartbroken, as I am now with my daughter gone. I guess I liked the routine of week on week off, I had got used to it and planned accordingly and now all of a sudden we have to change again. I also don't like that her father will have more control over her, he will restrict her in ways that I would never, laying the law down whereas I parent differently, I'm not a dictator/controller like he is, I have bought her more clothes etc, he's always buying bare minimum and not even enough clothes for her for 1 week, she had to take clothes from herre for her holiday! she knows that he's like this and yet still she goes to him, I just don't understand it.

I guess this had to happen sooner rather than later though, she's never really been happy with moving back and forth, she hates thursday evening/Friday's being wrenched from each home. I just hate that it's me that she won't be living with, I already feel estranged from her and it will only get worse, my children should be with me, that's the kind of mother that I am, they are my life but it seems that I've cocked that up if she doesn't want to live with me. Also am I just supposed to wait around to see when she can fit me in? I don't think that that is how it's supposed to work, like I'm nothing, I'm not putting up with that and to be honest she needs to see that angle. If we change the arrangements then she needs to stick to them, otherwise I will have no choice but to go back to court and get it fixed, possibly with a police notice attached to the order so that her father has to comply because at the moment, the police can do nothing, I know because I've asked them. Besides, she's immovable, she's very stubborn but I don't think stubborn enough to tell her dad what she's going to do whether he likes it or not! I can only hope that he messes up and blames her for everything again and she wants to come home where she is accepted. Yes that's another thing she felt, that he didn't accept her the way she is, her teacher said she was a waste of space and when she told her dad, he agreed with her teacher!! what child would gravitate to such a nasty man! my son thinks he's an arse and hates him, he used to want to live with him but over the last 5-6 months has changed his mind and hates him.

Sorry I must stop ranting my messages are too long but I don't know who else to turn to, we've all been through so much since me and my ex split in June 2014 that I really thought things had settled down. I want to take my daughter to the doctors but if she lives with him permanently then I will have no say in this and won't be able to get her to take anything the doctor suggest unless her dad takes her also which he's done before with my son, we both took my son to the doctors on separate occassions because he won't believe me whatever I say, the whole situation is hopeless and I think that's why she's gone there, she thinks I will make it easier on her and just let her go. I guess I have to let her go now in the hope that she returns, hopefully believing that she did the wrong thing going in the first place. It's strange just me and my son, I have to adapt, he doesn't want to hear about his sister, he doesn't like her for doing this, I have to make sure that I organise things for him and friends and my friends to do together to mix things up, maybe she will be jealous who knows.

I may also have mentioned that I've enrolled to take a law degree before this all happened and so some weekends I will be studying which will seriously effect the time that I have with my daughter on the weekend. When I'm back at work this will be the only long amount of time that I have and so I won't be able to be with her all day each day every weekend. Whereas if she was living with me it wouldn't make so much of a difference. She also says she won't live here, it could take 3 months (depending on the chain) to move, does she think that not living with me for that amount of time will be ok? if she does then I've seriously been a bad mother and may as well sever the tie now? she doesn't need me obviously, if she thinks of a mother as 'visiting' then I'm not her mother, I'm a friend! I better go to bed before horrid thoughts come into my head, we live on a main road, I guess if I was stronger I would have walked into the road and let fate take its course, I've thought about it over the last few days.

sorry for long message.

Runningissimple Fri 26-Aug-16 00:32:37

Please don't do that. If you need to talk, call The Samaritans. Thirteen is a confusing age. Parenting is a marathon not a sprint. Have faith that your daughter will find her way back to you. You will always be her mum. Nothing will ever change that flowers

MakeMyWineADouble Fri 26-Aug-16 00:35:30

I might be completely off the mark please ignore me if I am but your Dd sounds a lot like me during my parents divorce. I can completely see how this is horrible for you and not something you want long term but if you can I would advise letting her see what it is like stay close texting and talking as you normally would fun girly bonding days when she's with you and really try to put no pressure on her. I think she will soon see it isn't what she thought and it will be fair nicer for everyone than going down the legal route

DollyTwat Mon 29-Aug-16 18:53:58

Bella my ds1 went to live with his dad last year, he's 14 now and still there. It was very hard to accept although his behaviour had got so out of control in some ways it had to happen.

There was no going back to court, at that age they can choose where to live. One thing my ex and I agreed on was that he shouldn't be allowed to change his mind constantly.

He knows he can come back if he wants to, but that he can't make that decision as a result of being told off for something, it has to be a calm decision. And he'd have to agree to behave himself, no hitting anyone etc

His dad is very controlling too, I honestly thought it would get on ds's nerves, but what happens in practice is that ex does everything for him. Lifts everywhere. Clothes put away. He literally does nothing

It's a bit different at mine, I expect ds2 to do jobs but he's also got more freedom, he can cook a meal for example

I'd advise that you just tell her that it's fine, if that's what she really wants, but to give it a trial period before any decisions are made and her address is changed permanently. Tel her that once it's official, it's hard to change back

I think kids need to feel they can live with whichever parent without feeling guilty, so if you are ok with it, but make it clear you do want her there, she may change her mind. She might not of course, my ds will stay at his dad's I think. And we get on much better now which can only be a good thing

I have had counselling by the way, which helped enormously, because I felt like the worse mother ever in the beginning

bella1968 Mon 29-Aug-16 19:37:29

Thanks Dolly

Well after her calling Wednesday morning and she said that we could meet Friday I called her Thursday evening, she said that she was going to call me which was really good to hear. We sorted out where to meet and a time for Friday and now we've met. She went from looking really cold to linking arms with me when we left, she came back to the house and played MSP, she'd spilt ice cream on her top and so I said I'd pop in to get her a top but she said it's ok I'll come in, she stayed for 30 minutes and then went back to her dad and his girlfriends house the street behind me.

We talked and talked, she brought it up and we ended up with a plan that she would spend alternate half terms with each of us and we would split the holidays for both her and her brother. It was based on her original idea last year when the order was created but I said it was too long and I believed that her relationship would suffer with either parent so we settled on 6 weeks with her seeing the other parent one evening a week to be flexible and handovers to be Saturday's not Friday as she now hated Friday's.

I told her that she should come home Friday and then spend the week with me, we would have a fun weekend to give her some happy memories at her home to wipe out the bad and then she'd start school and go to her dads for 6 weeks on the Friday. The problem is she said that she'd get her dad to communicate with me via email for this purpose and so I've emailed him but he has not responded so far. I said that I wanted to get this sorted within the 2 weeks otherwise her dad would be in breech of the court order and therefore this needed to be sorted before it was actioned.

I guess that come Friday I will have to ask her what has been agreed with her dad, although I can probably guess that as he wants her full time he'll push her to live with him full time and probably won't let her back after 6 weeks but I guess time will tell.

I'm not sure legally what we will have to do and whether this can be sorted out via a mediator with my daughter there but I shall ask my solicitor when she returns from holiday on the 6th September. Alternatively if anyone can legally advise in the meantime that would be helpful. thanks to everyone for messaging me. smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now