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Email to alcoholic exH re child contact - click send?

(12 Posts)
ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 04:45:08

Couldn't sleep for thinking about this so got up and typed it out. Click send? He's meant to be coming to see DD today so I want to make sure he reads before he gets on a train.

"I am deeply concerned about your heavy drinking both while you are looking after [DD] and in terms of the now shocking impact on your personal appearance and hygiene, your judgment and your propensity to draw negative attention from the police in [my hometown].

While with DD today you drank at least 4 cans of 5% beer and 1 glass of wine. I have no idea what you may have consumed before arriving or while you were "at the shops" and am not interested in personally policing your alcohol intake. I am only interested in the fact that this level of alcohol consumption, especially on a daily basis, renders you unfit to be left in sole charge of a child.

When you come to [hometown] for contact with DD, make sure that at least one of the following conditions is met:

1. Be sober, clean and presentable

2. Bring X, Y or another appropriate family member / friend with you

3. Arrange for contact to take place at an official contact centre (e.g. I believe [X Charity] run one in [home town]; the council can probably give you advice) under outside supervision

If you are unable to do this, I am unwilling to wait until the police stop you while you are out with DD and I end up having to come and collect her from social workers at a police station. If this happened, she may be put on some kind of register for further investigation, your contact with her would be taken out of either of our hands and regulated by a family court, and I would have serious questions to answer about why I left a small child in your care. I will seek a social services assessment / court order for supervised contact myself before I allow matters to get to that stage.

You should know that the UK standard for non-resident parents is to have contact with children every other weekend (i.e. for the whole weekend), one midweek day overnight, and half of all school holidays. This is the minimum you should be working towards at some point in the future. Many parents go far beyond this and automatically opt for a 50/50 split of contact/residence. At the moment, there is clearly no way that social services or a family court could recommend either of these normal options for DD.

I encourage you to independently consult and seek help from your family, friends, CAB and health professionals. There is nothing more I can do.

I believe that ultimately you do love DD. Think seriously about the consequences of your behaviour for her and take action to sort yourself out as her father."

ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 04:53:42

PS I don't actually know very much about family courts and contact orders and suspect he knows absolutely nothing at all. Advice and info welcomed.

ExH didn't realise that he legally retained parental responsibility after divorce until I told him recently... He has now been stopped by the police twice because he's in such a state (smelling, stained and ripped clothes, weird behaviour - at least at weekends).

My other current threads are here and here

pebblepots Sat 13-Jul-13 05:14:16

Hi, just one point, do you really want to be pointing out to him that most parents have more contact & he should be aiming for that? I assume you wouldn't want him to take you up in that right now! Realistically this would be years down the line & only if he decides to address his alcohol problem.

ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 05:29:27

I am too confident perhaps that he would never seek increased contact as he can't even cope with a few hours once a week. Maybe I should rephrase to make it even more clear that this is an ideal place I would expect him to reach in maybe 5 years time if he manages to sort himself out.

I guess I'm trying to point out to him that he is falling far, far below societal norms and expectations for a father. He currently acts as though it's a favour to me that he turns up drunk and disheveled and takes DD to the park for a few hours (with me in the background) once every week or two.

ExH lives in a shared house which is totally unsuitable for children and has no space for children. He has laughed at the idea of ever being able to offer a home to DD / have her stay overnight. He once didn't understand why I needed his signature on something for DD as he thought that after we divorced he was no longer responsible for her...

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Jul-13 05:58:23

Do you have formal contact arrangements agreed at the time of the divorce or have you been playing it by ear so far?

ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 06:01:21

Only very outline arrangements in the standard "arrangements for children" form along the lines that he will regularly take DD out to nearby parks, cafes etc.. at the weekends at mutually agreed times. No court order.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Jul-13 06:06:49

Then I would strip down your mail to saying you are unhappy with the amount of alcohol he drank at the previous visit, make your three points about your conditions of contact and finish with the advice that, should he fail to meet these conditions, you'll be talking to your solicitor about formalising the terms of (reduced) contact. Very simply.

- the problem
- the solution
- the consequence of non-compliance

ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 06:25:45

Thanks for simplifying Cogito. Will take your advice.

Think I've spent too much time tossing and turning and then just splurged it all out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Jul-13 06:37:40

Splurging is good for the soul smile But when you're dealing with an unreasonable person, don't give them any more ammo than is strictly necessary. Vet writer James Herriot once described his boss' system of letters to awkward customers as 'PNS'..... 'Polite', 'Nasty', 'Solicitors'. You've asked him politely, you're going to e-mail him 'nastily' (OK assertively) and your next step is legal.

Utterlyastoundedmum Sat 13-Jul-13 06:42:24

Hi Changing
Just wanted to say I think you are 110% right to send this ( with cogitos amendments) and you mst not under any circs let him have sole harge of your DC. It sounds like yes he has descended into full blown alcoholism and maybe has developed other MH issues as a result if he is now so see neglecting that the police are 'noticing' on a regular basis.
Not safe for your DC either physically or emotionally ad yes questions would be asked of you if anything went wrong.
My DF ( now deceased) was an alcoholic, a very cheerful likeable fellow and not self neglecting. However after my parents split up he did have sole charge of me at times and fortunately harm did come to me sad.

Good luck hope it gets sorted.

iamjustlurking Sat 13-Jul-13 10:56:27

Hi this is so close to my heart my exh was an alcoholic I say was as he dies suddenly 4 mnths ago through alcohol poisoning at 42.

You can say whatever you need to say to him 1000 times over none of will make a blind bit of difference until/if he sees he has to address the problem.

I my experience all you can do is make sure your DD is safe. In hindsight I'm glad I never stopped contact (the older 2 DC chose to cut contact themselves) as they have already been left with so many unanswered questions to cope with along side their grief.

I wish you and your DD all the best as hope you both don't have to tread such a sad path that alcoholics leave behind

ChangingWoman Sat 13-Jul-13 10:58:58

All sent. Should probably text too to make sure he reads before he sets off today.

It's a relief to get this kind of thing off your chest but I'm already now steeling myself for his possible reactions.

I bcc'd my SIL after replying to her earlier email re concerns about his behaviour and am going to copy to my parents too. Possibly unwise but I don't want family to get a secondhand interpretation from exH.

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