Ok, short story: STBXH has a long term drink problem and is being treated for severe depression. He finally left (was pushed) about 8 months ago. There've been all sorts of erratic and unstable behaviours. It's slowly become clear to me that he's been emotionally abusive towards me and I stupidly kept sleeping with him, looking after him, accomodating him and following an awful confrontation I'm refusing all contact except for emailed arrangements for the kids visits between him and me for my own protection.
I've always tried to put my feelings aside and encourage a relationship between him and our two kids. But our DS 8 has really struggled emotionally. He's having one to one family support sessions at school and sees the school nurse once a week.
Long story short she came to see me as she was concerned about DS's emotional state and has recommended that his visits to his father are supervised by a third party for the time being. She's spoken with social services about this and they seem to agree.
Here's the problem. 1)I'm exhausted, mentally from the lying and the manipulation and the stress and well, everything 2) the confrontation came about when I discovered that all of the times he was telling me he was too ill to cope with the children he was well enough to get on a bus to go see his new girlfriend, socialise, drink, pretty much live a normal life..
I'm concerned that with the divorce petition looming my refusing unsupervised contact, even in the short term is going to lead to escalating behavior or well, I don't know, be seen as retaliatory somehow. I mean I don't wish him sunshine and roses, I just have stopped pretending that he's a good dad
Obviously there's a much longer story but I really could do with some handholding please.
It is a hard situation but as you say a court case is something you should try to avoid.
It is unlikely to help, but try to sort it out before it comes to it. In short - mediation. Google National Family Mediation, call them and explain the situation. Assuming you both get there you will be able to tell him in plain terms what your concerns are.
I don't doubt it'll make any difference but if it has a small chance of working, it is worth trying. If it gives him the kick up the bum that he needs to sort himself out, great. I have known (and helped) people in this situation who have realised what is at stake when it comes to their children and turned things around.
Can you get it in writing from the school nurse and/or ss that they're recommending supervised contact only? If it does end up in court, it helps to show that you are doing this for the right motives (to protect your child) rather than out of spite.
If he can't be a good dad, this is your window of opportunity to get in place the best contact arrangements for your dc's sake, which may be supervised.
As for retaliation by him, I wish I could tell you it'll be fine, but obviously I can't. I've had years of retaliation from my ex and there are times when I want to scream. All I can say is that you will get through it. You've got to be the rock in the storm, and you will survive.