found out today DSS mum may end up with prison sentence

(25 Posts)
Stepmooster Tue 05-Mar-13 21:07:09

Hi, long story but DH ex has been trying to blackmail DH so she doesn't have to comply with consent order from FDR. DH solicitor is preparing to take matter to court and in their consent order it states applicant wife faces prison sentence if fails to comply with order. We just assumed courts don't send mothers to prison but solicitor advises DH that may not be case.

My concern now is that if she does end up in prison I assume DH will get full custody of DSS (at least until mum is released), who will be pulled away from his half sister to live with us over an hours drive away. Its either that or he goes into care, unless anyone can advise differently?

I have an 8 month old baby and I am pregnant again. I couldnt face having to cope with an 11yo boy who no doubt will be going through a whole host of emotions and bring up 2 babies.

I know this may never happen but it might, I don't know anyone who has gone through similar to ask for advice on how to deal with step children whose mothers are in prison. DH says not to worry and wait and see, I would rather not wait to learn on the job with a newborn and a 14 month old baby. As anyone been through similar and survived?

mumandboys123 Tue 05-Mar-13 21:26:17

it's just a penal notice - a threat more than anything. It would be very, very rare for a judge to order an actual prison sentence and if he/she did, it would likely be no more than a few days. I would suggest your husband focuses on getting things sorted with the ex - suggest mediation immediately if he hasn't already done so - and be seen to be 'whiter than white' if it goes to court. And no matter how bad her behaviour, an ex who pushes for a prison sentence won't look 'good'. Far better to be reasonable and be seen to be reasonable.

mummytime Tue 05-Mar-13 21:29:14

You are in real danger of being flamed for your attitude.

I know a step mum (quite young) who found herself in a very similar situation, having to parent her step son when he was about 11 while his Mother underwent treatment for breast cancer. It was a hard learning curve (she also had babies), but she took all the help and support she could get, including from schools. I think she did a very good job.

Stepmooster Wed 06-Mar-13 03:29:31

Hi, I just want to make this clear, my DH and I do not want his ex to go to prison. There is no way he or I will be pushing for that. I also want to make it clear that I would never want my DSS to end up in care. I just worry about my own strength to cope if it were for a long time. But it seems we are talking days and not weeks and DSS would probably never even have to know about it.

Also this whole mess is to do with DHex remarrying and not complying with mesher order and not a contact order.

theredhen Wed 06-Mar-13 06:58:22

I completely understand where you're coming from. None of this is your "choice" and yet the consequences could affect you massively.

I also agree that a prison sentence is unlikely but if so, would only be for a few days anyway.

flurp Thu 07-Mar-13 12:49:01

I doubt she will go to prison.
It states on DP's contact order that if either of them breach it a prison sentence could be the outcome.
DP called the police once when his ex refused to let him have his dc at the agreed time to see what his options were as he obviously didn't want to see his dc's Mum dragged off to prison, whatever she had done, and they told him that it is highly unlikely to happen.
BUT you must accept the fact that if anything happens to his ex (for whatever reason) your DH will get custody and you will have to deal with it. That's the joy of step-parenting.

lunar1 Thu 07-Mar-13 13:06:29

When you live with a man with children there is always the possibility they will live with him. your attitude is not very nice, its not the child's fault his dad has gone on to have more children. maybe your partner should be the main carer for all his children if this should happen.

Fleecyslippers Thu 07-Mar-13 17:23:25

What would happen if the childs mother became seriously ill or worse?

Stepmooster Fri 08-Mar-13 06:23:19

To answer questions abt what would happen if DSS had to come live with us. TBH its a minefield and I am trying to see what an 11yo boy would want and not what my DH wants.

My DSS lives with his mum, and half sister who has always lived with. He has also lived with a SF for last 4 years but he has no PR. DH has no contact with his former SD, and we live over an hours drive away. Although my DH is only other person with PR if DSS had to come live here at short notice he would be away from family, friends and school as well as mum. Yes he comes here EOW, but his life is at his mums. Surely keeping some order in his life would be best for him?

Is it possible in such a circumstance that despite only my DH having PR that DSS could remain with his SF? With my DH having contact EW and not EOW? Although to suggest same to DH would make him feel cold.

My DH and I do want to move closer to DSS but we can't move until we know where DH ex is intending to rehome. One minute she has no plans to move, next minute she is moving counties to live in her DH house. This is one reason DH is going to court, FMH has a buyer but the ex refuses to communicate about the sale, instructing estate agent etc to not contact my DH.

So if mum gets ill or goes to prison and DSS comes here he not only loses mum he loses his sister. I am sorry if I am also being honest enough to worry how I'd cope, or to ask for advice in advance of a seemingly unlikely event according to MINUTE. I would much rather over think it and prepare than have a complete nervous breakdown and all the children go into care.

Does anyone know what happens when mums go to prison do the authorities just want people with PR to take the kids or is their scope for thinking outside the box a bit?

Stepmooster Fri 08-Mar-13 06:25:36

Minute should read mumsnet

flurp Fri 08-Mar-13 12:55:39

You may be overthinking this a little.
If (and it is a big if) she goes to prison, then it will only be for a short time so DSS will most likely be left in his own home with his SF and sister.
If anything ever happened to his Mum then presumably everyone around him would act in his best interests to cause him as little disruption as possible, which would either mean you and your DH moving near him or letting his SF care for him - who knows?
Being totally honest (and I will probably get roasted for this) my DH having full custody of his dc is my worst nightmare. I would struggle to cope with them permanently for a variety of reasons but I guess if I had to I would just get on with it and do my best as that is what I took on when I moved in with him.

Stepmooster Fri 08-Mar-13 22:22:12

Thanks Flurp, I appreciate your honesty and I won't roast you for it. How often as stepmums are we preached at, 'you are not their mum!' So for me I had to build an inner wall not to get too close.

I know DH would love DSS to live with us and one day he may choose to, but I can't pretend that I share any enthusiasm for the idea.

I do think some step mums beat themselves up trying to be perfect. We aren't going to be and I think we are allowed to be worried and frightened about a stepchild coming to live with us either planned or not.

flurp Sat 09-Mar-13 21:56:22

Of course. When I first met DSC I beat myself up because I couldn't love them as I do my own. I felt like a failure. DP was quite a Disney dad and their behaviour was awful and I did dislike them. I felt terrible because I have always loved children, just couldn't love these two.
Now further down the line I am fond of them and care about them and I like having them here when they come but all day every day - no thank you!!!
I am always quite happy to see them go home to their mum on a Sunday grin

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 09-Mar-13 22:27:45

I think it's the inference that you'd consider putting him in care as part of your first post that is making people reply in this way. I hope that was just you panicking, but really? Please tell me that would not be a consideration.

If you were serious then you are being, well, lets put it this way, youre worried about how you & 'your' family would be affected so although this little little boy (yes 11 is still little!), has a daddy and siblings and another home, youd decide to give him away to strangers and deprive him of everything? And you'd try & justify this by dramatics & 'what if they all end up in care' which is a bit ridiculous.

Now, if you were saying that as a panic driven 'arrrgh' to show how worried you are... And would never really think of doing something so cruel, then... Poor you! Sounds awful and it's alot to get thrown at you. But you'd cope you know, cos people do cope with so much life throws at them in the twists and turns of life. People cope when dreadful things happen, but they wouldn't want to have had to cope given the choice, but they do. You'd make him feel welcome, into his family, and not as some random 11yr old cuckoo in the nest. You'd be a united front with your dh, you wouldn't be alone, there are two adults in your house. You would try & reach out to him, talk to him, ask him about how he'd like certain things to be... And you'd make him feel welcome. And yes, it might be hard, and tricky and more complicated than living in your baby bubble, but im sure you'd cope for a while!

Then add to that the fact that it doesn't seem likely it would be for long anyhow... And really, aren't you reassured now?

Stepmooster Mon 11-Mar-13 18:41:43

Double life, the way this was presented to me when DH got back from his solicitor is that if mum goes to prison we have to have DSS or DH assumed social services take him into care. I don't want him to go into care!? I am just trying ascertain if that is genuinely the options.

As DSS does live with his half sister and SF I don't know why if its just for a few days why he couldn't just stay at home.

But if we are talking longer than that, then DH is talking about going for full custody. He is jumping ahead without really thinking about what is best for DSS and his life/school/family. I can't see he would thank his dad for doing that to him. But DH can be so blind and I think putting his own desire to have his boy with him, over what is best for DSS, DSS elder sister, our baby and impending arrival and my sanity. Because if DSS did come here who would be faced with the brunt of it? Not DH! So I don't apologise for panicking and yes I will be in a baby bubble because I only have 1 pair of hands.

ratbagcatbag Mon 11-Mar-13 18:48:47

Sorry but I think your DH going for full custody is the right thing to do if above case happened which is unlikely, can you imagine if your DH split with you and you went to prison and instead of stepping up, his new partner was concerned about her family so let your two go into care?!?!?! He's his dad and if he can't be with his mum he's with his dad, it's quite simple really.

Stepmooster Mon 11-Mar-13 22:45:05

Ratbag, is that the case though? That children of mothers in prison have to live with a parent with PR? Please can people stop assuming DSS will end up in care, and that I would even push for that. I wonder if there is a 3rd way that DSS stay at home with his SF? I have asked DH to find out and think about it. For the final time I do not want him going into care, he will of course come here if that is how it has to be. I am not convinced DSS would be happier here though than at home. I can make no promises to how I will cope. I have been depressed in the past so I do worry what would happen to my children if I got depressed again. Midwife has already read my notes from GP and has told me the mental health team may want to talk to me. Its like the label of having had depression taints you forever, and everyone from GPs, midwives and health visitors have this extra eye watching you all the time. This is why I worry about my children going into care. I have no family locally who can support me. DH works to support 2 families, how can he look after the children if I became depressed again?

Its interesting that you would go for custody. Does the nature of the 'crime' and length of sentence not figure into it? From what I have read so far is that we are talking about a few days at most for contempt of court. I do not want to be one of those SM who comes between a mother and her children, so I don't think I would feel comfortable dragging DSS away from his family for something that is really a civil court matter.

purpleroses Mon 11-Mar-13 23:20:41

There's no way your DSS would end up in care I he had a stepdad who was willing to look after him. I think you're absolutely right that your DSS's interests from what you say, would be best served by him staying at home with stepdad and sister, and your DH just having him as he does at present, or maybe a little more to help out. It would only be sensible even to consider him moving to you if his mum was unable to look after him for a long period of time - several month at least - otherwise he'd have to move school, and then move back again.

I think your DH's enthusiasm for having his son with him is possibly blinding him to what is actually best for him. He's presumably frustrated by his ex withholding contact and probably enjoying a fantasy about her having to go to prison for it, and DS coming to live with him, and it may be a useful threat to make his ex comply with the contact order. But you're not a bad person for admitting to yourself, and to him that you don't share his happy family fantasy.

Try to take care of your own health, and your own DCs and try not to worry about your DSS. Grandparents or friends can help out for the odd bit of time too, if it really comes to that - but most likely it won't.

I think you nee to be very honest with your dh that you do not see his son as a resident part of your family.

ratbagcatbag Wed 13-Mar-13 13:10:59

I suppose our situation is different as its a 50/50 split between parents so if anything was to happen to DSS mum then DSS would automatically come here, it would never even be considered he stay with his stepdad. I think it comes across that you would push for step dad option rather than consider having him with you.

Stepmooster Wed 13-Mar-13 16:08:26

Hi ratbag, I am trying to be pratical and consider things from DSS point of view. Why would he want to move here with us? He would be away from the sibling he has lived with all his life and he would have to go to a new school and share a bedroom with 2 babies. Although the 2nd room is decorated to his tastes and is plastered in space posters, it is not practical for our babies to share our room in travel cots for a long period so he would have to either sleep with them or on the sofa.

If DSS rocked up saturday and said dad I want to live with you. Then brilliant full steam ahead with those plans, but seriously do you expect an 11yo boy whose mum suddenly gets jailed to be thrilled with the idea of moving home and schools at same time?

Its great you have 50/50 contact but DH has only just managed to agree 2nights EOW and 5 weeks holiday with his ex. He is rebuilding a relationship with his son, I don't think he can force it.

So yes I am pushing for Stepdad option as I don't think poor DSS needs his parents going into a custody war for sake of his mothers silly attempts to re-write a consent order to her financial advantage.

The ex may hate my DH for not agreeing to hand over his charge so she can pay her debts but it doesn't necessarily make her a bad mum.

Delayingtactic Wed 13-Mar-13 16:26:39

I think it would be more sensible for dss to stay with sf rather than uproot his life for a short period of time. I don't think a child would cope well with all those changes all together and it sounds like you do have his best interests at heart.

And anyway I thought the threat of jail sentence was just for repeat severe offenders, rather than minor infractions, plus don't the courts suspend them? So that if you keep to the order you don't go to jail, but if you break it again then you go straight to jail.

Jan45 Thu 14-Mar-13 16:27:03

I don't think it will happen but just wanted to say, you sound lovely and you are quite right to be a little concerned, you are human after all, I can't believe someone above has posted you're not nice, what a stupid comment to make, laughable.

Just because you are with someone who has children, that doesn't automatically mean you've signed up for them to live with you! Even in today's society, it's very unusual for a child not to be with the monther.

colditz Fri 15-Mar-13 18:56:09

Hmmmm. It would be very disruptive indeed for him to have to change schools, move away, leave his sister and move in with two babies. I agree that if his step father is willing to have him, and happy to have him, then this should be the arrangement, with every weekend contact instead of every other.

I am both a step parent and a resident parent, both ds1 and dss are nearly ten and would both be better off living where they currently live in the situation you describe. I would love dss to live here if, IF, he wanted to. But to basically steal him from his home to satisfy biological links and his dads fantasy is mean.

Stepmooster Sat 16-Mar-13 22:21:34

Thank you ladies, I have spoken with DH and told him, a) prison is unlikely b) that he should support his DSS by listening to what he wants to do if such a scenario were to happen.

He had a bit of a sulk, probably thought I was going to support him wholeheartedly, but has now realised he can't force his son to live with him if he doesn't want to.

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