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Struggling to do hand overs & overnight access with kids(11 Posts)
Hi, can anyone give some advise, I was in a abusive relationship I left my ex partner just after my 2nd daughter was born, my two children are now 1yr & 3yrs old. Ex partner has taken me to family courts on several occasion's and seems to win every time over access. He was not interested in both children when I lived with him and shouted alot of the time and complained that he could not cope with them etc. Since I left him I had to take out an injuction as he was constantly abusive on handovers infront of children, he has threatened to hurt me and also burn my house down. I got the injuction but court are still making me meet him between every 4/5 days (judge says I have to fit in with his shift work) to handover children inside mcdonalds were there is camara's for my safety, this is because I have no one to do handovers for me and my sols has advised that a support center centre would be no good as my children are still very young and I would have to leave them there before he picks up (and he always late). It is a nightmare for me, I have very little faith in the justice system. He has also been told he can take both children abroad even though they are so young. I feel sick just thinking about it and I will be worried out of my mind when he takes them. I have a court order now to say I have to abide it or face a fine or prison. I feel unable to move on with my life and feel completely drained in every way emotionaly and finacially. I hate seeing him every week, my children are so unsettled and clingy when they come back from an overnight with their dad. On top of that the emergency legal aid I got to get the injuction said now they want paying back as I work part time they are asking for thousands. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Being a separated parent isn't easy. As you have found out the importance attached to contact means DV isn't an automatic bar to the courts ordering contact. It's a case of adopting coping strategies. Distraction when the children are away for contact may help. For example you can use the time to catch up with chores, socialise or take up a hobby.
Children can be unsettled and clingy after handovers and it can take some time for them to get used to new routines and settle. Longer term older children are often more settled when contact is for longer periods less frequently so there are fewer handovers. Also it does get easier when the children go to nursery or school and the handovers can take place there.
Thanks for your reply, but I don't think its will get easier when they go to school as my eldest daughter goes to school this Sept as she will be 4 yrs old and my other daughter will still be in nursery for 2 days week as I work p/time.My ex is taking me back to court for overnight contact through the school week. He does not live in same city as me and lives 1hr drive away he said he will wake them up at 5:30 am to get one daughter to school and the other to nursery because the nursery & school are not close to each other and he said they have to fit in with his work shift pattern (bare in mind also he is always late for handovers also). I just think it is cruel on the children waking them up at that time, and they are going to be very tired at school & nursery, I do not want their education affected. I have tried to say to the judge every other weekend and a mid week for tea contact, but judge has said no every time because of their age they want a lot of contact because they are so young. I do not feel it is in the best interest of the children to stay out overnight at this age, it is impossible to get them into a routine as they are both very unsettled, up through the night crying, they want to sleep next to me, and eldest daughter when she wakes asks were she is, its so confusing to them. I just hope it does not affect them mentally growing up and make them insecure.
When I said it gets easier once handovers take place at school or nursery what I meant it gets easier because any direct contact you have with your ex is minimal.
You are entitled to your opinion of course, but when parents can't agree arrangements for children the only opinion which is binding is that of the judge. Judges receive some training in child welfare and gain further knowledge and experience through public cases where they hear evidence from expert witnesses. Based on research child the child psychologists and psychiatrists usually tell the courts that it is in the interest of the child's welfare to develop and maintain attachments with both separated parents even if the behaviour of a parent leaves much to be desired by most peoples' standards. Parenting overnight helps develop the attachments. Children who are insecure about their natural parents and identity tend to grow up with low self esteem leading to problems later in life such as dysfunctional relationships in adulthood. That's why it important not to underestimate the importance courts attach to contact.
If arrangements are impractical often the quickest (and least harmful) way to sort is to try a trial run for 3-6 months and let the other parent work it out for themselves.
Contact orders do change when children get to school age. Mine was updated at that age to reflect school requirements, travelling needs etc. You'll find a judge will weigh up all this and find a workable solution, though it won't necessarily be a standard every other weekend etc. In my case, because it was too disruptive for ds to go mid week, then the judge gave every friday night instead of there being the mid week. Ex was also given extended periods in the school holidays. In your case a judge would most likely ask for your exes shift patterns, look at when school starts/finishes and how a pattern can be created. Judges have experience of managing this change and are aware of the needs of schools and of children of school age vs needs of very young children. As pp said, it may be that they trial an arrangement to see how it will work. I found at school age it became less about the child having loads of time in which contact could be arranged to how the time out of school could best be split. What is the pattern at the moment?
My ex has children between every 4/5 days for overnight and a full contact day until 6pm the following evening because of his work shift pattern.He has my elder daughter share her bed with his new partners daughter who is 2 half and my younger daughter who is only 1 yrs old if wakes up through night goes in their bed. As he has a 2 bedroom house and childrens room is a box room so no more space 4 another bed. I have brought this up in court as my daughter does not like sharing a bed, but ex partner just always denies it and says my daughter is lying. Just feel so drained with it all, I feel for him its just all about contol, as when he has his kids most of the time he passes them on to his parents, again he denies this in court, but my daughter always tells me when she does not see her dad and spends the time with her
grandparents, who also are not very nice people, his mother changes them both as soon as she gets them even down their underware & shoes hairclips, she will not put the clothes I provide on them, her clothes do not fit them and shoes are always tight & small they always tell her that her mummy bad and not nice and she should live with them. To be honest I have had that much trouble from him and his family I wish my girls did not have to go for contact with them. But I feel its a waiting game until the children decide for themselves. : (
Did you ever have any help from social services?
If so it may be worth getting back in touch and asking for a bit of support, they may not feel able to help with the contact situation but they if not they could do a referral to a children's DV support service
How late is he? It sounds like more games.... I would inform him you will wait 15 minutes with the children then will be leaving...You will have evidence you arrived for contact..My Ex was late it is very distressing for children at this age..
Also get some support from Womensa aid
I have had no help from social services, they do know about my situation but are not getting involved as there is a court order in place, and they said I was protecting the children when I stopped contact with their dad when he threatened to harm me and burn my house down! Basically if I would of still let my ex see children after threats he made, social services would be involved with case, it was the judge that has resumed contact so that is why they won't get involved. I do feel there is not much help out there for women in my situation, I feel we have to get on with it until the children make their own minds up. I do feel so stressed out with it all, I can't sleep always worrying about next contact, and having to see my abuser, I feel he is laughing at me because the court have basically gave him the control back he had in our relationship. He had no interest in the children when I lived with him. I have been to women aid org for help, they said I just have to keep notes of everything he does and how children come back from contact. I do this and I have showed evidence in statements etc in court, but I feel it is over looked and all judge wants to do is keep contact going. I have tried to keep myself busy when he has the children but I find it so hard as my children are very young at only 1 & 3. I just hope it gets easier!
Can you do handovers through a contact centre? Some offer a handover service where you drop off and leave and then exP arrives when you've got. Wouldn't solve all of your problems but seeing him often doesn't sound great, to say the least.
I'd also recommend looking at counselling/therapy. You sound quite distressed and children do pick up on that kind of thing.
I have asked my sols about contact centre, I also asked the judge but he was against it as my children are so young at one and three. It is so distressing for me to see him so often, he has also started bringing his mother on handovers, I have no one to take with me. His mother says in front of my children ' don't worry you will be back with us soon' they take ages handing the kids over to me. They try to drag handovers out to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible. I just feel victimized its a horrible situation. My eldest daughter just cries because she just wants me to hold her as soon as she see's me, and his mother blocks me from getting to her to pick her up. I have had councelling but its like they were trying to treat me for depression, and I have not got depression. They just kept giving modules to do each week, how to treat depression. I need a women's support centre really and help how to get through this horrible time.
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