Don't know what do do(62 Posts)
I've been a SAHD for two years, my partner left without warning at the weekend, claiming she needed some space. Basically she took my DD for a walk and didn't come back. I haven't really been able to speak to her as she's had the phone switched off most of the time they've been away. She informed me this morning that she spent the night with her new man (presumably with my daughter there) and they plan to be together.
I'm in a state of complete shock/panic. I live in rented accomadation, have no money at all and after taking care of my daughter every day since she was born, apart from this time apart and I can't even get to speak to her. Things weren't great, I lost my job just before DD was born and money has been issue. This new man is much older than and quite wealthy and lives almost 200 miles away.
I feel bereaved, have no idea what to do, what rights I have regarding my daughter or how I can possibly cope without her.
So sorry to hear that
You must be heartbroken as a parent.
Have you sought legal aid?
I didn't think it would come to this. I'm planning on going to the CAB later and see what advice they can give me, and yes I am absolutely devastated.
That's good then. I have no advice on the legal side of things but didn't want to read and run. Hope they can give you some good advice.
Hopefully wiser MNers will be along soon.
As far as the law is concerned, your daughter has a right to a continuing relationship with you and the priority is her wellbeing rather than the 'rights' of her parents. Are you named on her birth certificate? As you refer to her mother as your partner rather than your wife, I take it you were not married (this doesn't affect your position as father as long as you were named on the birth certificate.)
However, there's obviously some sort of back story here. You say 'things haven't been good' - do you want to mend the relationship with your partner or just arrange plenty of access to your daughter? If your relationship has broken down, it's very very important to aim at a civil, amicable relationship with your ex-partner, because that is what is in your daughter's best interest. If you have had any issues of your own (not accusing you of anything) such as drinking/drug abuse/violence/gambling then it would be good to be able to demonstrate that you have overcome them and that you are a responsible loving parent who can behave in a civilised manner.
Also didn't want to read and run. What an awful situation to find yourself in. I'm sure with the help of mners you'll work out what you can and need to do.
Good luck. I hope you're able to speak with and see your DD very soon.
Yes, I'm on the birth certificate. As far as a backstory goes, my partner is a bit of a fantasist, before we got together she was living well beyond her means (huge debts having to be bailed out by parents regulalry) when we got together she was studying while I worked. There was no violence, no drug issues, or gambling with either of us. Yes, I did want to mend the relationship, even after she left at the weekend, and until this morning she told me there was a chance, but now that option is taken away from me, my priority, as it has always been is my daughter.
and I don't just want access to my daughter, I want my daughter back where she feels happy.
So sorry to hear this.. Can you get in contact with any of her family members at all?? A cruel situation. Hope you get the proper help you need.
OK. What has your XP said about you seeing your DD? If you have been her main carer, presumably XP works, and it would seem reasonable that you continue to look after DD while her mum is at work - or have they moved somewhere too far away for this to be possible?
Legal action is an option: as I said, the courts generally encourage the relationship between a child and the non-resident parent to continue but you're supposed to try to sort it all out amicably between yourselves, if you can.
I've spoken to her mother (yesterday) she initially went to her parents, but hadn't told them about her new man and they couldn't contact her either since she went to be with him.
Sorry x-post. You might have a case for getting custody of your DD if you have been her main carer, though it's the sort of thing that could get messy, expensive and be bad for your little girl to be fought over in court. Again: what is your XP saying about contact between you and DD?
She's said nothing about me seeing my DD, apart from a text 10 minutes ago saying she'll be round on Monday to pick up some of her stuff and I can see her then. She does work, but will be moving 200 miles away to live with her new man and I presume he will be supporting her.
Can she just do that? just take her and move my daughter in with a man she's only known for a couple of months?
Yes, she can live with whoever she likes; she is an adult. However, she cannot cut you out of your daughter's life unless she can prove that you are a really bad parent and a danger to your daughter. A court will award you access and your XP will be expected (given that she has chosen to move such a long distance away) to make efforts to maintain your contact with DD ie meeting you at a halfway point for handovers.
How old is your daughter, by the way?
Two years and 3 months. I don't think she could make the case that I'm a bad parent though, especially as she has been the one late back from work for the past two weeks while seeing her new man.
Really? she can move my daughter in with a man she hardly knows after a couple of months? All I know of him is that he's divorced, over 20 years older than us and has a child who doesn't live with him.
Do you have a local children's centre? They would know if you have a family mediation service in the area. Ours is free and will meet with you to discuss whether the plans for your dc are reasonable, even if the other parent won't attend.
I wouldnt bother with the CAB, you need to phone local solicitors and try and get a 30 minute free consultation asap.
thanks for that Withconfidence, just checked online and yes there is.
Thanks for the advice, I'm going out to see what on earth I can do.
Just seconding what SGB says. If you want a relationship with your daughter you might have to swallow all your grievances wrt the relationship with your partner. Put aside all your perceived ideas about this injustice or the other injustice and just aim for a calm, courteous, civil channel of communication.
Has your x left all her possessions at your house? That is quite unusual.
Is it a romantic relationship? I'm not defending or condoning as I don't know her but is it possible she needed to tell you it was over from behind a wall so to speak.
I am a mother who 'went for a walk with the children and didn't come back'. I did it because I had no income of my own, I was financially dependent on him and he made all the decisions and I had no voice. I had discussed splitting up and he wouldn't accept that.
You have a right to see your daughter but I'm just putting it out there (sorry) that leaving all your possessions behind is quite a hard thing to do and I know because I've done it. It's not usually something a person does unless they feel they can't cope with splitting up in a more conventional way. Perhaps she feels you wouldn't have heard her if she'd told you it was over. It must seem massively disrespectful that she walked off with your child, but ask yourself hand on heart if she'd told you she was leaving would you have obstructed her leaving?
I am not saying that you have no rights, and I'm not saying that this is the case. It's just a 'headsup' from somebody whose x (to this day) thinks I left on a whim.
Whatever communication you have with her now it's important that she doesn't fear you. It may be really hard for you to swallow your emotions but if you can successfully convince her that you agree that splitting up was the right decision, that you don't blame her for leaving when things weren't good and just generally act as though you assume you will be involved. Fake it til it's real.
If she gets a sniff of anger, or any sense that you intend to stay in your daughters life by bulldozing over her and "showing her" in court then there's a chance that she could be so afraid of the power you have over hers and your daughter's life that she might move further away or something. Maybe not. I don't know.
OP, I'm starting to suspect a big black hole in your story. Your XP moved out spontaneously and is living 200 miles away, yet she holds down a job? Has she transferred to another branch of the company or something? She went to her parents' house first, yet took very few of either her belongings or her daughter's? Women only usually leave like this when they are afraid that the man they are leaving may become dangerous.
I've just read that you believe she is a fantasist.
Can I just warn you that that is massively disrespectful and a huge warning bell to me.
It's so text book it's one of the things my x accused me of.
What does it mean to say that a woman is a fantasist? Does it means that she wants things and aspires to things that you don't support or approve of? Can you clarify what you mean by "she is a fantasist"
SGB. If you re-read what I've written, unclear as it may be given the mess I'm in at the moment. she left at weekend to go to her parents, then left there to go to his. On Monday she is coming for her stuff. She has a long history of what can most kindly be described as fecklessness, but I thought that was mostly behind us. Never in a million years would I have suspected her of being capable of doing this without any warning/discussion. She's only recently started a new job, which is where she met her new man (her company were working on a project for him) and leaving it for a life of relative comfort is something that would appeal to her.
I'm not in the least bit violent, or even aggressive and certainly not scary. We didn't even row, there was just a weight of circumstances weighing down on the relationship.. Obviously I'm a mix of emotions right now, stunned, upset, angry, hurt, panicked etc. and yes it might seem odd to you all, but the situation is a far more odd to me, it's a waking nightmare.
I missed the fantasist bit.
Is that just financially op ?
Ok well, I don't mean to rub salt in your wounds by accusing you of being a controlling type. So apologies. Just the fantasist comment struck me as odd. At best it sounds like you're unsupportive &/or obstructive to the things that matter to her.....
You do have rights so try to stay calm and go to see a solicitor. Maybe it'd be for the best to just advise her that you want to do things formally, not to be confrontational but because communication is bound to be hard.
If you are a SAHD, are you your DD's primary care giver? I agree you need legal advise ASAP.
Zoe - By fantasist, and this certainly isn't specific to women at all, I don't know where you get that idea from. I mean't, that even though we shared the same aspirations (or I thought we did) she has a tendency to borrow money, from parents, on cards etc to get what she wants now and beggar the consequences. I don't want to get drawn into slagging her off, that's just the way she is.
No Orchard, not just financially, but I really don't want to go into it.
quickquick - yes I am/was totally, I don't think she's ever had her on her own, not without either a friend or her parents being there.
Sorry this is happening to you. It must be terrifying. I recommend that you make contact with Families Need Fathers. They're not the same as Fathers 4 Justice and they can give you good advice.
You're doing the right thing to avoid slagging her off. No matter what you feel towards her (and some negative feelings are only natural!), the important thing is to stay calm. You're in this for the long haul, so you need to keep your relationship with her as positive as possible. It's going to take a bit of time to sort out the logistics, but work on to the longer term vision of positive co-parenting.
I really do feel for you, and I hope it can be worked out sooner rather than later. Hang in there, that's the important thing.
zoe - I don't think I'm controling, or unsupportive. I am overlyprotective with my DD, but well aware of that. I did support her through her studies, before we had my DD and I did move house and chage jobs so she could be near to her last job. Which is in part why I'm so lost right now, I hardly know anyone nearby, not that I could really speak to about anything.
I didn't make any assumptions namechanged007, you called her a fantasist and I told you that that sounded disrespectful and that I would wonder what that meant. I was warning you really that that label doesn't make you sound good. I still don't quite know what you mean but you are right not to get drawn into criticising her finances. Good decision and one that will stand you in good stead.
Thanks biblio, just had a quick look, I'd never heard of them, it's a shame that fathers 4 justice get the publicity instead.
Zoe why don't you stop digging the OP out and just give him the advice he has asked for, your feelings seem bitter somewhat and it's not helping him in the slightest!! he has lost his daughter and would like advice... So no advice? Then don't comment. God.
OP, I'm so sorry to hear your in this situation, understandably your head will be all over the place, best thing you could do is call around local solicitors and get a free 30 min consultation, good luck
So she's recently started a new job, yet she's moving 200 miles away? Is the job a long way away or something? And she left, saying she was 'going for a walk' and went to her parents' house with no luggage? At what point were you informed that she had left you?
This is still sounding a bit... gappy, to say the least. You may not be guilty of anything more than simply not having noticed how unhappy your partner was with the relationship and that she was planning to leave you, of course.
However, the best advice I can offer is that you try to remain calm and civil. Your DD has a right to a relationship with you, so when your XP arrives on Monday, be calm and polite, and say that you would like to sort out the contact arrangements and you hope it can be done amicably. If your XP is hostile or refuses to discuss the issue stay calm and consult a solicitor once she has left. Any angry or aggressive behaviour will count against you.
Catwoman u r mistaken. I gave him good advice. U maynot realise it but it will benefit him not to repeat his opinion that she is a fantasist and i commended his decision not to be drawn into criticising her. I am not bitter. I have been through this. I have a good relationship with my x now and that has been earnwd through careful handling / clear boundaries/ not criticising/ not discussing relationship. There is more to good advice than (metaphoric) passing tissues.
Forget families need fathers for now - you don't need that lot antagonising and making a difficult situation worse.
Difficult as it is, for now, I would take a few deep breaths and see what happens on Monday. IF she brings your daughter home and you get to see her for a decent period of time, then use that as the starting point for moving towards sorting out suitable arrangements for your child. I have been and still am in the middle of a horrendous split and can honestly tell you that acting impulsively will only make the situation worse.
Get some recommendations for a good family law solicitor. Book an appointment as soon as possible to discuss the options. 'Custody' is an outdated term and is no longer used. The terms are residency and contact. What you and your Ex need to do is agree on what is best for your DAUGHTER. You may be able to do that through family mediation, with or without the input of solicitors, or you may end up going down the court route, and that is best avoided for the sake of your own well being.
You can take out something called a Prohibited steps order to stop your Ex from moving your daughter so far away, but you would need legal advice about that.
I cannot stress enough how important it is, and no matter how much you are hurting to try and keep things as civil as you possibly can for your little girls sake.
Thanks for your responses. I went to CAB and they were really helpful, getting me an appointment with a solicitor next week. Family mediation don't have anything in my area until over a months time, so not very helpful to me at the moment.
FFs SGB, what part of she'll be leaving her job to move in with him? She met him at work, but he doesn't work there.
I don't think prohibited steps order would be issued on the grounds of a 200mile journey, if the mother is willing to meet the father halfway WRT contact.
Actually, OP, given that you say you have no job and no real network where you are living now, you might like to think about moving somewhere nearer where your DD will be living.
at the moment I don't know how calm or civil I can be, so I've asked my sister to be there when she arrives.My xp doesn't drive so I'm guessing her new man will be bringing her, not something I feel I can cope with alone. In fact at the moment I reall can't cope at all.
OP, this must be frightening and shocking for you.. Had my ExH done that I would have felt that he had stolen my child.
I second Biblio's recommendation to check out the Families Need Fathers website. They have a Talk Forum where you may be able to find more support than you have here.
if a mother was on here saying her partner had taken their child for a walk and disappeared 200 miles with child. i don't imagine the responces would be see him on monday to see how often he will let you see the child. this father is the stay at home prent and the childs primary career. surely the child should reside with him and have contact with mother as the starting point. as the child must be missing father and not understanding what has happend
Nobody has said anything of the sort Late. What would YOU suggest the OP do ? Show up at Exs door, beat it down, shout and yell whilst a 2 year old cowers inside ? And the Ex rings the police and has OP arrested for being threatening and abusive ? Yeah - that'll really help this little girl
The OP is being a bit cagey about what point he actually discovered that his XP had left him rather than just going out for a walk. So it sounds as though he was informed fairly quickly as he makes no mention of having called the police to report XP and DD missing. Most people whose partner and child do not return after a walk, with no contact, start worrying fairly quickly (within a few hours) and start ringing the police/the hospitals etc to try and find out what has happened.
Also, women leaving men who are emotionally abusive, or physically abusive but have not yet been charged, are often advised to have a word with the local police station once they have left, so that if the abuser calls the police and does the 'waa, waa, what's happened to my wife and kids?' the police will react differently if they have a record of the woman reporting that she has left her partner because of abuse, that she is in a safe place but wants no contact at present.
OP - If you have been a SAHD and have been the main carer for your daughter and she has never been in sole care of her mother then you'd have a very good case for residency at Court.
However, you need your daughter back, if you let time go by and the "norm" for her is to be with your ex partner then a Court may see it as more disruptive to move her back to primarily living with you.
With no Court orders in place and you on her Birth Cert you both have equal rights. She can take her and move 200 miles and no let you see her until a Court forces her to do so, but you can do the same too, if you wanted.
What I would do...
Can you convince your ex to bring your daughter to your home when she comes for her stuff on Monday? Be nice to her, agree to have her stuff packed etc and tell her you miss your daughter and would like to see her so could she bring her with her? Then once she is there refuse to let your daughter leave with her. YOU are her main carer and that is her home. Your ex would have no justification for removing her from your care / her home and in the absence of a Court order the Police are most likely (I believe) to say that the child is best at home with her main carer and her mother should take legal advice/action.
The OP absolutely would have received more support had he posted exactly the same, but as a woman.
I hope you're enjoying yourself SGB. I was informed that she wasn't returning that day, she said she needed time apart to think things through as she had "feelings" for somebody else. That was at the weekend, a brief conversation on the phone on Tuesday suggested she might be coming back at the weekend, when we were to discuss moving forward. This morning she told me that she wasn't coming back, had been at his place and they planned to be together. Despite what you appear to think, not every man is abusive, violent or controlling sometimes decent people get shat on by selfish people.
I asked for practical advice, much of which was very useful. What I didn't want to do was rake over something I still can't process properly. What I don't think I deserved was the suspicion and accusations levelled my way simply because of my gender. My role as primary carer has been essentially that of a traditional, outdated even, mother. I do all the child care, housework, shopping, etc and I had hoped for a bit more understanding. My focus has been entirely on my daughter, for her whole life and the most rewarding part of mine. If you could comprehend the devestation of what I'm going through, you'd have a long look at yourself before making snap-judgements about people in frighteningly vulnerable positions. I might be anonymous, but I can assure you I'm a real person, with real feelings and I've told you te absolute truth.
mumtobeallover - I did discuss this at the CAB and they suggested that it was indeed the case that the police would be unlikely to actually do anything as no crime would be committed. But, I can't see how I could practically stop her removing her, apart from physically holding onto her and as much as I want to hold her and not let go, I can't see it ending up in anything other than a horrible mess. I can't say for sure how I'll react, my emotions are swinging about all over the place and until we talk properly I don't know what she's truly planning.
I'm simply lost and can't process this at all rationally.
Well said OP, I also believe if you had written as a woman, you would not have received these posts accusing you of being something you are not.
I however see why your here, looking for advice, possibly a bit support and I hope you have found that in-between the rude comments. Good luck, please let us know how it goes!
FWIW, I would refuse to let my daughter go back with her mother on Monday if she does bring her... If a woman were to go to court as a primary carer, she would get residency, i have no doubt, just because you are a man doesn't mean you won't be treated the same! Go for it.
OP, if you try to prevent your XP leaving with your daughter on Monday, you will be making a great deal of trouble for both yourself and the child. Your XP will call the police immediately, and there is a good chance that they will take her side, which will lead to an official record of abusive behaviour from you (even if you are the child's main carer, with no court order in place awarding you residence, the police will see a man attempting to physically prevent a woman from leaving and a frightened, crying child...) Don't start trying to arrange an amicable level of shared custody by having a dust-up.
As I said earlier, the fact that your XP has moved 200 miles away might make shared residence difficult but why not look into moving closer to where she and your DD are now living? I wouldn't be suggesting this to everyone in your situation but you have mentioned that you don't much like your current location, have no job and no friends there and you are in rented accommodation rather than stuck with a mortgage. Your ultimate aim is to see plenty of your DD and you need to focus on the best way to do that.
(The reason people are reacting like this is because the majority of people who are abusive are men and the majority of people who need to escape from an abusive relationship are female. So it would have been different if op was a woman posting the same thing. Also deluded people do come on here and post nonesense, sometimes even in the hope their ex will see it.)
You need to get a formal contact agreement together. See it as a businesslike negotiation. What is she proposing? What are you proposing? And hopefully you can meet somewhere in the middle. Focus on what is in dd's best interest, taking into account her normal bedtime, playgroups, contact with extended family etc. Keep calm and don't rake over what she has done, just focus on the future.
Things have moved on somewhat and I'm no longer in a state of panic. For anyone else going through something similar, the CAB were fantastic initially and were afterwards too. The free consultation was also a great help and I think simply being armed with the knowledge of what could be done and what was likely helped greatly.
I found that focussing on practcal things, making sure we didn't didn't need to move, that our routine changed as little as possible - regarding childcare, nursery, play-dates and organising what benefits we could get, what our legal position was, and organising mediation to set everything out helped me get past the hurt.
My ex didn't move from her job, although she has moved about 30 miles away from here. I got a p/t job at the weekends and a day in the week, but it is flexible enough for me to work from home for some of it which means I get my DD all week, apart from the time she is at playgroup/childminder and the weekends when my ex is away with her NM.
Just wanted to say, even though you might feel completely at sea, get the practical help you need and just busy yourself through it.
Thank you for your update. I saw this in active convos & was shocked by the responses. I'm glad it's going ok & you kept your head.
So is your daughter living with you now? Glad to hear you're in a better place now either way
Yes, she's with me in the week and with her mother most weekends.
Read through most of that not realising it was an oldish thread, until the update. I have to say I was totally and utterly shocked at the level of abuse thrown at you, if it had been the other way round it would have been a different story and everyone would have fought your corner. I have friends in every state of relationship, single-mums, married couples with kids, married without, couples with, couples without, single dads etc etc etc. Glad your daughter is with you now. I would consider that at this age every weekend with her NR is ok, but once she gets to school you may want to reconsider - all the slog and no quality time is not as much fun. That's my tuppance!!!!
Good for you that you were able to get your daughter back. I'm sure it wasn't easy as you can see from some of the responses on this thread and probably more in real life.
Well done op although I'm sure it's all still difficult. Glad your DD is back with you. Shocked at some of the responses you got when you first posted.
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