Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Abusive ex has reared his ugly head again :(. Need advice please!(86 Posts)
I ran away from dangerous h in 2003 when dds were 0 and 2. They have no direct experience of his abuse.
Since then, I have always made sure that any contact takes place in a contact centre (many reasons, one being that I don't trust him to safely return them, and he lives normally in Nigeria so it would be extremely hard to get them back to safety).
Apart from the contact centre, I have made no other stipulations or ever prevented him from seeing them or otherwise contacting them.
His last visit to them was about 6 years ago.
Very occasionally he calls them and has sent them money every so often (with gaps of literally years!)
He is still abusive towards me if he gets the tiniest chance so I have blocked his email and I refuse to deal directly with him - he needs to make arrangements via solicitor (no prob for him financially; he's loaded)
The thing now is that I have heard from sources that he is in the uk and wants to see the dds. He has stated that he will not use a contact centre.
The reason I know is that he called the minister of my church and sent an email. I was informed of this and I suggested that he be reminded (think broken record) that if he wants to arrange contact he needs to contact his solicitor.
About 5 years ago he took me to court about contact and the outcome was clear - he has to use a contact centre.
I hope you have made it this far...
Today I arrive home to find that I have missed a recorded delivery letter addressed to my dds (now 10 and 12). I know for certain what he will have written. He will be asking them if they want to see him not in a CC.
Now I don't know what to so for the best. I will have to fetch the letter and give it to them. They may well state that they do want to see him not in a CC. They have no experience of the truth about him because they've been protected all their lives.
However, if I insist on the CC, I look like the controlling one.
I know that ex wishes to paint me as a vengeful and bitter ex but my ONLY desire is to keep my dds safe.
What shall I do?
When I say they have no direct experience of his abuse, I mean they have no memory of it. Actually, they did experience it when they were small.
Give the letter to your children, but tell them that what he is asking is not something they can decide because a judge made the original decision, and a judge would have to "un-make it" ...at the moment it would be against the law. To give it a nicer gloss, you could explain that Daddy may not know this because he lives in Nigeria.
Then give the letter straight to your solicitor and ask for advice, and for the best response to you X, particularly relating to the potential for the children to be taken out of the country.
I would also advise school or church groups (or anywhere else that the children may be without you) that they are not to be released into anyone's care but your own....until further notice.
Why do you have to give the letter to your children? They are still minors, and you are their parent and guardian. I have no idea about the legalities involved, btw. I just would see you as doing your role as parent and guardian by shielding them from this.
You are not being "controlling" by insisting on contact in a CC, as stipulated by the courts. You are enforcing boundaries that must be respected for the good of your DC.
I think they have to see the letter because that way, Mum retains moral high ground. There can be no accusations later from children, or X, that she hid anything or with-held letters sent to them, and the X is almost certain to ask them directly at the next CC visitation.
Not allowing them the letter may seem only protective now but, in later years, decisions to withhold can come back to bite you if children become angry and resentful about contact issues. There is no reason to not allow -providing they are made aware (in simple terms) of why it is not an OK request to have made.
Plus - at the moment, OP is only assuming that she knows the content.
they are 10 and 12.
you are their guardian and carer and parent.
so you can
open the letter and read it before making decisions.
and then do as poster above said - solicitor and get advice.
he hasnt seen them for six years. you wouldnt send them off with someone else you didnt know. unless they were fully checked a teacher etcetc . it is supervised contact right now or none.
how can your 10 and 12 year possibly amke a decision about somenoe they last saw age six and four? they cannot. you will for them
Why do you have to fetch it and give it to them?
You can simply refuse delivery.
You can read it and never tell them.
You can give it to your solicitor and go back to court.
You have many options.
So, my options are:
1) Don't receive the letter (I am 99% certain I can guess the content)
2) give it to them and explain that contact outside the CC is not an option
3) read it and decide to protect them. Thing is, if they receive a letter and find out that he is in the country and then in the end they don't get to see him (highly possible), I will be the baddy. And more importantly, they will be immensely disappointed
They are desperate for him to show he loves them! They would jump at any chance to see him. Of course, they don't know him personally but they want 'a dad'
I would go for 1 or 3
You're the adult, they are children in your care. You have to protect them from all of this.
You're not being controlling by refusing to let the see him outside the CC, you are abiding by the court's judgement.
In order for them to make an informed choice as to whether to see him, you would have to tell them the whole history of his abuse & why the judge made that decision.
I don't think they're old enough yet to hear that. Therefore they are not old enough to make a decision about this themselves.
So you make the decision for them. You're not preventing them from seeing him, he is, by seeking contact outside the judge's ruling.
If he wants to see them, he goes to a CC.
I just feel so scared, knowing he's in the country
All the more reason to go straight to a solicitor and make plans.
it would be highly irresponsible to hand this decision over to children.
They are too young and not in possession of enough relevant information to be able to make a good choice.
He can see them. At the contact centre. As the court has decided.
If he chooses to not do that - he's clearly not that bothered about seeing them and it's more about control. Isn't it?
You don't need ambushing by your church so tell the minister at your church this man was abusive, was told he had to go through a contact centre and solicitors if he wants to see his children so not to pass you any more messages.
You missed collecting the recorded letter. You don't have to go and collect it.
If he really wants to see your children he can go to a solicitor and arrange a contact centre.
You can sit back and do nothing until then.
Refuse to collect it.
You don't want to let that poison into your life again.
Do you have the same solicitor? That's your point of contact.
No other method will be acceptable.
Go hard from the start!
This is your life.
YOU choose who's in it.
Your job is to protect the Peas.
If he wants to see them he has to comply with the judge's order.
Repeat this over and over. He can't hurt you, or your DC again. You're not letting him do this.
Be strong! We're not letting you go, you hear that? ((hug))
Don't collect the letter. See your solicitor again and stress that you are not prepared to allow contact unless it is in the contact centre.
Any problems with your children, you can explain the reasons for the judges decision and in turn their protection.
Would it be time to tell them in an age appropriate way, why they can't go with him?
E.g. Dad had trouble keeping his temper and used to hurt me and you when you were small. It would be good to see him but I need to make sure that you are safe which you may not be if you were alone with him.
If they won't listen you could ask a PCSO or social worker to tell them about what happened and the precautions you must, by law, take to safeguard them.
This sounds very frightening, op, so sorry.
You are their mother and know what is best for them. He has not seen them for six years and now writes directly to them to try, you assume, and encourage something which a judge has already ruled against.
As Hecsy says, he can see them. At the contact centre. And if he genuinely wants to see them, that is the only way. This about their rights to have contact with their father, even though he is dangerous. It is not about his rights. This is the only way they can see him.
They may want a daddy and they may want to know he loves them, but what they actually need is to be kept safe.
Strange he has got back in contact after so long.
Maybe he got remarried and wants his children with him there. (I was married to an African, so I know something of the culture).
Stick to the original plan and only have contact via a contact centre.
Cos if he has the money he also has the means to "forge" passports for your DC and take them to Nigeria.
Here's a UK organisation about this - better to have and not need than need and not have....
Thank you for replies. I will read through and respond in a little while. Just got back home from dinner at my parents and no Internet.
Grateful for all your messages!
The thing about ex is that all he really wants is control. He wants to control any contact he has with them and if he can't do that, he'd rather not bother.
We go for months and years in peace from him, then every so often he pops up again.
I hate that I'm put in this position. Whatever I choose to do could backfire! He knows that
He has remarried and has a dd. my girls would definitely love to meet her!
I have told them in what I think is an age appropriate way what he was like. They do know that we had to 'run away'.
And thank you for the reunite link. It scares me to even think about it. Ages ago I did receive a pack from them and took my dd's fingerprints as a precaution. Can't remember what else was in the info pack!
Another thing, I don't have a solicitor atm. I could get back in touch but I won't unless I really really need to as it is so expensive (and I don't qualify for legal aid any more). If his solicitor writes to me, I'll just suggest dates for a CC visit and call the CC myself.
His solicitor knows what was decided in court so hopefully will advise him against persisting in demanding unsupervised contact. That's prob why he tried to arrange through church.
Minister was very good. He just simply replied that all arrangements must be made through the proper channels. I just hope ex didn't respond to that with harmful abusive messages about me
...And then at the back of my mind, I dread him turning up here at our house
This set alarm bells ringing for me. you need to protect your kids. in my opinion you need to get and read the letter (you are only speculating at the moment) decide whether you a) share the letter with your children and then pass it to your solicitors or b) hand it straight to your solicitors.
I don't think under any circumstances you should let him see them anywhere but the contact centre. who knows what he could (or not) be planning.
if it were me I would rather be the baddy than desperately trying to retrieve my kids from Nigeria.
he hasnt seen them for 6 years. They were only little then. They are also too young to make these decisions for themselves.
good luck. keep us posted x
Call the police on the non emergency number and let them know everything so that they can get to you fast in an emergency!
Make sure all your windows and doors are secured. Get a chain/peep hole if you don't have one.
Don't open the door to him if he does turn up. Tell him to speak to his solicitor.
If he so much as raises his voice or argues call the police and get him removed!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.