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Court and mediation- at my wits end:/

(19 Posts)
allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 09:50:31

Hello - ive posted this in legal as well but feel so low and could do with some support to help me deal with how I'm feeling right now.

I really hope you can help me as my sol is in holiday and so I'm not able to get advice:/
My ex took me to court several months ago to change the contact arrangements. What he was asking for was pretty outrageous but on top of that, his application was really vile- full of lies about my failings as a mother and it was absolutely devastating to read. He wrote several letters to cafcass and ss trying to convince them of the same. Anyway were ordered to attend mediation ( something he refused over and over). The mediation process has been pretty horrible- he has lied repeatedly and I spent the whole time defending myself against him while the mediator took a back seat. Suddenly though, he has now decided he wants to pull out of the court process and have more mediation. He said he has realised that the family courts are useless and he thinks we can sort it ourselves.

Here's the thing though- I KNOW I should be elated. I would have given anything to hear this a few months ago because i was terrified of court, but I am not. I am furious that he has put me through this for nothing. The next hearing is days away and I think his reasons for pulling out are 1) financial and 2) he realised he would be cross examined over his lies and found to be nothing but malicious. He however, is painting himself to the mediator as the paragon of reason and is doing this for our child, when I know it's not.

My questions are: do I let him drop it? As he was the one who made the application do I even have a choice? Can I do anything to make all of this mean something ( ie demand a written apology for the allegations or negotiate a better deal for me in terms of contact?)

I am really raw today, and actually surprised at my own feelings about this. It's affected me more than when I first received the summons. In the last few months I have been on sleeping tablets, tranquilizers, beta blockers and been referred for CBT because if this man and the sheer fear of court. Now that he casually wants to walk away from it, I realise I will be living in fear that he'll do it again.

Sorry for my emotional outpouring. I guess I need to know if there are any 'balls' in my court or is it completely down to him where we go from here? I don't feel like im the same person I was anymore. Like he just keeps taking so much from me:/

TIA

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:25:20

i am not a solicitor. however have been through similar. he needs your agreement to drop it. My question to you is are you happy with the current contact arragngements? if so let him drop it. if theres no court order in place for contact you hold all the cards and cant be forced into anything you dont agree with. it would be up to him to reapply at court and pay the fees if he doesnt like it!!! Sounds to he like thes either angry over the separation or hes trying to control you. Very male traits!!. op how old are your children?

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 16:23:57

Only one child- 5yo.

He isn't angry over the separation- we have been split for a long time. He is just a bastard. Sorry, but that's true:/
I don't really want a court order but i am devastated that he dragged me through it all for nothing. All I get at the end of it is a huge bill, and a prescription for diazepam hmm

Dahlen Wed 20-Feb-13 16:38:01

Personally, I'd make it go to court and get it settled once and for all. You can quite legitimately claim that his persistence to this point makes you feel that you need a court-ordered solution because you think it very likely that he will take you to court the next time something isn't to his liking. You cannot live with that sword of damocles hanging over you.

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:03:27

yes but courts are all for the poor father just wants to see his kid and tbh ive been through this with three children over the last seven years with my ex constantly making court actions lies and lies. This can go on for many years yet. sorrysad however if he doesnt have an order for contact he cant have contact! he he gets a curt order for contact he could ( as mine has done) then keep taking it back for changes over and over again just cos he can! and mines a malious bastard too. Just cos you have an order for contact it dont mean he wont or cant take it back cos he wants to change the days amountof time etc. mine said hes doing it so i end up with no money and its cost me over 80,000 pounds in legal fees and i am now on legal aid cos i have run out of money to dfend myself at court.

babyhammock Wed 20-Feb-13 17:29:04

Kitty's right, I don't think a court order this time will make him go away at all sadly sad.
I'd accept mediation but not agree to any of his demands esp that ridiculous holiday one when he's not even there but you effectively pay for his childminder.

Also represent yourself. Its not as hard as you think and you know you're 100% on your side IYSWIM.

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:59:21

above all do what is in the best interest of your child. its them that will thank you in years to come. As much as your ex is a Bastard for doing this, try to remain focused on whats important and thats your child. if you do whats fair and whats right you will be okay. Two of my children dont see their dad anymore because they now see what he is like, its his loss in the end, and i ahve the love and respect of my children for being fair, reasonable ,and a good mother to them and they see that over their dads lies.

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:00:43

sending you a hug op!

He's just used mediation as yet another stick to beat you with; this has and always will be about power and control. This is what abuse is about; power and control. He still wants absolute over you, he does not give a toss for his child but wants revenge on you, what he did was one way of doing that and he played the system. He knew that the court would see his claims for what they are really i.e a lot of hot air and thrown it out but was more than happy to make you sweat buckets in the meantime.

You need to speak to your Solicitor asap after this person returns from holiday; is there no-one able to help in this person's absense?. Honestly you need a rottweiler of a Solicitor to scare him because any weakness shown to him will be seized on by him and used against you.

To use mediation is to subscribe to the mistaken idea that abuse is related to "misunderstandings" or lack of communication. If discussion and compromise, the mainstay of mediation, could help in any way most domestic violence situations would be long ago resolved because victims of abuse "discuss and compromise" constantly. Mediation assumes both parties will cooperate to make agreements work; the victim has always 'cooperated' with the abuser; the abuser never cooperates.

Mediation can be and is ordered by judges/courts, as can counselling and mental health evaluations. They are tools in the abuser's arsenal to be used against the victim as often as he chooses. In order for mediation to work and to not make situations worse the parties involved must have equal power and must share some common vision of resolution. This is clearly not present when domestic violence has taken place in a relationship.

Mediation practitioners must be alert to the need to interview partners separately with specially designed questions in order to determine if abuse is or has been present. Many domestic violence professionals can train others to screen safely for domestic violence. To not do so risks unsuccessful mediations, at best, and increasing the victim's danger by colluding with the abuser, at worst.

A person who has been terrorized by an abuser is not free to participate in a mediation process with him, even if the mediator(s) assume or believe that they "understand". Being truthful about any of her needs or experiences in the abuser's presence or proximity practically ensures that she is in more danger later.

The mediator is left with a no win: either the victim's danger is increased, or she is not fully or truthfully participating, or both. The well meaning mediator may actually encourage the victim to feel safe enough to share information that could seriously compromise her safety. In any case the whole intent of mediation is lost.

To engage an abuser and a victim in a process that implies equal responsibility is damaging to both. The victim is once again made to feel responsible for the abuser's behavior, and the abuser is allowed to continue to not accept full responsibility for his behaviour choices.

Spero Wed 20-Feb-13 19:04:11

I agree that he sounds like a bully and an abuser and has decided that mediation is a more fruitful forum for his bullying and abuse. You must have a crap mediator.

If he has submitted an application full of hurtful lies about your parenting then I would not agree to him simply not proceeding. He should formally withdraw all these allegations or he should be prepared to give evidence about them and be cross examined.

As a bully he won't like that at all because if he is full of hot air he will look very bad. But I think you are entitled for them to be withdrawn if they are rubbish. If they are not, he could bring them up again in the future.

If you can bear it, I would definitely go to court. Judges have seen this time and time again, they don't like bullies and they cannot be bullied. He may live to regret this. It is perfectly possible, although I understand a scarey process, to represent yourself. The judge is usually sympathetic if you want to bring someone to support you and take notes etc.

allfornothing Thu 21-Feb-13 11:20:30

Spero- the trouble I have is that most of his bullying is insidious, quiet ad done through the medium of 'concern' for our child. He was charming in front of the mediator, and does not present as a typical bully. The judge would be taken in by him as well, I'm sure of it.
Is there a chance I could get a formal retraction through mediation?

Spero Thu 21-Feb-13 13:36:57

As a matter of urgency, you must bring up his allegations with the mediator and point out that while these allegations remain on the table, you find it difficult to enter into positive and constructive discussions with someone who holds such a low and false belief about your parenting capacities and who presumably still wishes a court to make findings about them as he has not formally withdrawn them.

I am a trained mediator and I would not want to proceed with a mediation unless he withdrew the allegations or unless and until the court had heard evidence and found them proved or not.

This is a profoundly false basis on which to try and mediate. Mediation only works if you both want it, you can both agree on the issues and want genuinely to find a way forward.

In long professional dealings with these type of people I find that sadly, they are not really interested in what is best for their children. Rather, they get a kick out of being in control - turning on the charm when it suits them, bullying when they feel they can get away with it. They are quite capable of dragging things out for years and years and years because it gives them such a thrill.

So I would be very no nonsense and matter of fact. Say you are happy to continue mediation but IF and only if these allegations are withdrawn or adjudicated upon in court. If he won't withdraw, I would take him to court. Then hopefully you will get a clear judgment to put him back in this box and stop the allegations ever being repeated.

Good luck.

Spero Thu 21-Feb-13 13:38:14

As he has made these allegations in an application to the court, I think they have to be withdrawn formally via the court. I would be wary of just something he says in mediation. That may have little future force.

allfornothing Thu 21-Feb-13 15:28:51

Spero, thanks so much for the help, I really appreciate it- and to the others who have replied too.

My ex poo-pooed the idea that they were even 'allegations' to speak of and said it was merely 'solicitors speak' and that they worded it in that way. He then repeatedly threw it back at me, saying I had done the same/my letters to him were really hurtful etc. The mediator was jumping in saying that we both had to accept that we had sent each other hurtful letters and the solicitors are paid to use letters as a weapon. The massively overlooked factor is though- I never made any allegations whatsoever. Ex on the other hand made statements about being concerned about my care of her, that he cannot address anything about dd's care with me directly, that I cancel/break/frustrate contact, remove her from the jurisdiction without notice, leave her with various unknown people, am not even at home when he drops her back, don't exercise our child, or feed her properly. His application finishes by saying that in light of his concerns and my refusal to discuss them, he has no option but to apply for XXX

Am I over reacting? Are these not allegations? I was distraught when I read them yet he seems to believe he can write all that and simply say 'it's just solicitors speak' - now that he wants to drop it. He also wrote a separate letter to cafcass in attempt to convince them, but they refused to write a report.

Spero Thu 21-Feb-13 17:06:35

Bloody hell. No, no, no. Who are these solicitors? Any reputable firm who deals in family law signs up to a code of conduct - you do NOT send inflammatory letters, you do not say horrible things to gain some kind of advantage. If any of your solicitors are doing that sack them now, they will do terrible damage.

and regardless of whether this is 'solicitors games' he must either stand by the allegations or withdraw them. They sound like clear allegations to me. Ask him why he isn't applying for residence if he is so concerned. If he is not applying for residence, then the allegations are not of sufficient concern to get dragged up via the court. We all have different ways of parenting, some good, some not so good but your behaviour would have to be causing your child serious harm to justify it becoming part of a court battle

So I would tell him to put up or shut up.

I am sorry but this is bullshit, apparently being enabled by a mediator. You must both feel that you are in a safe neutral space, talking as equals. I cannot see how this kind of power game will do anything other than destabilise the whole process. and I am disapointed the mediator would say such a thing about solicitors. I think that is unfair and largely untrue. There are the odd loonies but most try hard to stay within their professional boundaries.

allfornothing Thu 21-Feb-13 17:59:42

Thanks Spero.

The mediator was careful enough to direct her comments at both of us, rather than just me- thereby giving the impression that we were both at fault, but I am furious that he put me through months of agony ( my mental health has really suffered- no previous problems) only to drop wave it all away as 'just words' and can't we just get on with sorting out a contact schedule that completely suits me? He is suddenly DESPERATE to drop proceedings, and if this is the case, then I want something out of it. The last months of hell can't have all been for nothing:/

I'm going to ask for a retraction. I'll likely get a large helping of 'f-you' but it's worth a shot.

Spero Thu 21-Feb-13 18:23:33

I certainly don't want you to think that I am upping the pressure or advocating that you go to court... BUT I feel very strongly that lines have to be drawn in these kind of cases, that should not be crossed. And making spurious allegations about your parenting is behaviour that has to be nipped in the bud, otherwise what is going to stop him trying this again in a few months, or years? And stuff like this can linger, solicitors have to keep the papers.

If he is prepared to concede that this was all the naughty solicitors making stuff up and his attitude improves mightily in mediation, I might be ok with the mediator recording this in memorandum of mediation and him agreeing that it could be disclosed as evidence in any future proceedings.

I just think this kind of twattery is simply not on. It causes - as you know full well - great emotional distress to the parent on the receiving end and clogs up courts and mediation services which need to be dealing with real issues of harm and abuse.

Doha Thu 21-Feb-13 21:20:13

Don't be stupid allfornothing.
Have your day in court, if only just to put a stop to all his fuckwittery once and for all.
He made the allegations via solicitor, they did not do it without instruction from him.

allfornothing Thu 21-Feb-13 22:37:04

You're right...all of you. I will let him have his day. Bring on round 2confused

Thanks for the support

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