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AIBU to think that my ex has a chance to take my daughter away

(52 Posts)
snailsandslugs Fri 15-Jul-11 22:06:58

I don't know who to ask and just need some facts - hopefully to reassure me so that I can get some sleep.

He has just texted me that he is contacting a lawyer and all communication will be through him and that he is flighting for custody.

He lives in France - he is French, me, here in London.

I left him when I was pregnant because I thought he was emotionally abusive. He used to shout a lot/get angry/critisice me constantly/constantly picking faults/controlling. I loved him and still do which I know sounds bizarre. he has 2 sides to him. But I left him to have a baby. After I had her it was really diffiuclt, alone and with no money and so for 2 years we talked about me going back - it was like I wanted him and didn't want him. When I tried to go back to him, I was deeply miserable/homesick/felt trapped/felt worthless etc.

There's so much of he story. I know i should have stopped it, instead of being indecisiveHe kept giving em chances but I would never go back.

He calls me a pathalogical liar/mentally unstable and therefore unfit mother. I am worried that he may get custody becasue
1. He is a doctor - a very charming one- most would never believe the way he was with me. he is pushign this idea that i am mentally unstable
2. He can get a very good lawyer - I can not - I struggle financially (he gave me no money for her since she was born and he made very few efforts to visit her)
3. I have been seeing a counsellor mainly because of my low self-esteem froim him - she thinks I had PND.
4. I did lie to him. There were 100s of times I said I would go back and never turned up. WHen I did, I invented big lies to get away - it was like escaping includig my father being very ill. Sick, I know, but I was desperate to get away. SO, yes, i lied a lot.
5. Maybe it seems that I was mentally unstable - when he was moving on and looking to date, I would beg him back - I didn't want to lose him and then when he accepted me back, I didn't go! I used to invent stories.
6. for the first 4 months i found it diffiuclt with DD - i was on my own and I didnt reallybond with her. I wanted him back - to help me - i felt v alone and lost - I might have written (evidence) in emails to him that I didn't want her - that I wanted him., etc. I didnt bond with her straightaway - I looked after her as best as possible and i thought she was beautiful etc., but i did at tiems wish to have my old life back. i might have written that to him. since after that i fell completely in love with her. she is the best thing in my life and without her i would not want to exist.

Should I start worrying a lot? I am feeling sick.

niceguy2 Fri 15-Jul-11 22:21:07

You'll be fine. Honestly you will be.

The law in this country is very much in favour of the mother. Assuming you are sane and not a drug riddled whore with dodgy friends then there's little chance of a judge granting him full residence. At best he'll get some regular contact which you should insist is in the UK.

Guard her passport with your life. Leave it with your parents if it makes you feel safer.

Most of the above could be explained by you suffering from PND and suffering a lot of stress as a result of his emotional abuse, the gradual breakdown of the relationship and the stress of a new child.

The important thing now is that you have bonded. You do love her and taking good care of her.

His status and his ability to hire a good lawyer will mean very little.

Sharney Fri 15-Jul-11 22:22:42

O.k breath. The past is not something you can change so try hard not to worry about it. 1st thing, what's your support system like? Family? Friends? You are going to need something, people to talk to. Also, and not being funny but it's time to toughen up! To keep your daughter! You need a lawyer. Try the big law firms.Google to find out the best and find out names. Write and phone, to ask for help. Worst case scenario they ignore you and you never know one of them may take you on. It has happened before.If that doesn't work, legal aid. At least ash. Keep all contact with him to a minimum and pref via letter or text and above all be honest in all your future dealings with him. And make sure he knows you'll fight heaven, hell and everything in-between for your child. Good luck and keep us posted.

AgentZigzag Fri 15-Jul-11 22:25:02

I'm afraid I don't know anything about the legal side of your situation, but maybe posting in another section of MN might get more experienced posters answering?

It sounds an awful threat to have hanging over your head though.

You got through the terrible time when your DD was first born and now look at how you feel about her smile

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 22:25:32

very unlikely he will get custody.

You are the established primary carer, you are clearly not abusive or unfit, and he has never been part of her life.

He may however get contact with her. British courts are very hot on that. I am not sure how this would work but I'm pretty sure he could not command you to bring her to France for this; he would have to come to you. As Sharney says, you need a lawyer, who will also allay your fears regarding having dd taken away.

mumsiepie Fri 15-Jul-11 22:26:40

Don't know snails about the law, can you talk to a lawyer? Can you post this on the legal forum? Someone might help you.

I think the fact he has never financially supported you and your baby must be in your favour. I can't imagine he would get custody after this time.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. xx

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 22:27:04

amend my previous reply- impossible for him to get custody at all in these circumstances. I very much doubt a court would order contact any more often than he has already been doing- how often does he see her?

HerHissyness Fri 15-Jul-11 22:30:40

Honey, you will be OK. You have been through hell and back and are still being affected by his bullying.

You need some support and advice from places like Women's Aid and also the CAB. Everything said by others before me is true, you will be OK.

Is this man on DDs birth certificate? If not, that makes it 10x harder for him.

Get some proper legal advice, and perhaps drop by our Emotional Abuse Support thread - we might be able to help with the day to day arrrggghh moments.

It'll be OK, I promise. Try not to fret. (((HUGS)))

Here's a link to the support thread

snailsandslugs Fri 15-Jul-11 22:33:03

thanks to everyone.
He sees her rarely, only when I have taken her over there. I am wondering how it works if he is in a different country - whether it will be French courts to decide.....

Will find a lawyer on Monday but I think I will need legal aid - I work 3 days a week and don't have many savings

glassescase Fri 15-Jul-11 22:35:32

Have a friend who is French, living in England, and her ex husband is English, also living here. She is not allowed to take their child to live in France. I doubt your husband would be allowed to either. Good luck.

wotabouttheworkers Fri 15-Jul-11 22:38:33

Make sure your passport is out of your house, somewhere very safe - in a safe deposit box at the bank if necessary. Someone suggested you keep it at your parents' house but I would advise against that - your ex sounds very manipulative. If your daughter was born in the UK and you are a Brit, that will make your case very strong. If you think he might try to take your daughter, just be very watchful and careful when you are out and about. Sorry, I do not want to make you feel worse, just don the belt and braces. Get a good lawyer, fast so you can be proactive rather than reactive! Sending hugs too.

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 22:39:49

no ss, the British courts will decide this. You are clearly her primary caregiver and have residence of dd here.

He hasn't got a hope of anything but contact, and he won't be able to force you to bring her to France for it. His previous behaviour will go against him completely and he's wasting his money, frankly.

Yama Fri 15-Jul-11 22:40:30

Have no knowledge or experience in matters like this but please do not worry. I very much doubt a British court would take him seriously.

Agree that you have to toughen up and make him realise that you will not allow him custody.

Lovely post from Niceguy2.

niceguy2 Fri 15-Jul-11 22:43:57

Since you both (you & DD) live in the UK, it will be decided in a UK court.

For that reason it's probably not a good idea for either of you to travel to France until the case is resolved.

If he wants contact then he can come to the UK.

If he wants to take you to court then it's his right to. But it'll cost him! So unless he has incredibly deep pockets then there's a good chance he'll back down once he realises actually how much money it will cost and his chances of success (ie. slim to none).

Often what the other person wants is not to win custody but simply to show others he's put up a bit of a fight (and lost). Ie. a face saving solution

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 22:47:15

what niceguy says- facesaving and also a way of trying to 'show you who's boss'- he's an idiot tbh, and as soon as he has proper legal advice as to the bill and the fact that he'll have to be in the UK to pursue this, will probably back right down.

TidyDancer Fri 15-Jul-11 22:48:33

Sorry, no additional advice I can offer, except to reiterate the point about her passport. Put it somewhere your ex will never be able to get his hands on it. And do not even think about going to France. No matter what he says, you mustn't leave the UK for his country.

TidyDancer Fri 15-Jul-11 22:49:13

Good luck btw, I hope you and DD have a lovely weekend despite all this. smile

snailsandslugs Fri 15-Jul-11 22:50:09

Thanks again.

Agreed re toughening up - believe I have come along way and confidence is getting better

relieved about british courts

he is very rich - surgeon in private practice,on about 100 k

Feeling much better. Breathing more regular.

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 22:58:21

ss really don't worry. I am not a solicitor but teach family law and he doesn't have a hope in hell. He'll just waste his money, piss you and himself off a bit and eff off back to France.

A contact order is the only likely outcome of this, and to facilitate that properly he'd need to be travelling to the UK far more than I expect he can with his busy job. There is simply no way he can command you to bring dd to France for it.

snailsandslugs Fri 15-Jul-11 22:59:13

btw, he is not on birth certificate.

snailsandslugs Fri 15-Jul-11 23:00:33

he is doing it on the basis that I am a pathological liar. He could have evidence to suggest that, being a doctor too, IF it was proven that I was - is that a jestification for me taking away DD?

TidyDancer Fri 15-Jul-11 23:01:21

Even better, no parental responsibility. He doesn't have a chance of winning. He's employing scare tactics and hopes he can intimidate you.


But you can sleep easy tonight, DD is going nowhere without you. smile

survivor12 Fri 15-Jul-11 23:02:50

Agree with all that is said above, especially advice about storing you DD passport in safe place and not going over to France for visits until this is legally sorted out - I would also add that if you need to meet with him or he comes to vist you IN THE UK ONLY then you should try to have a third party with you (mum, friend etc) so that he doesn't try to manipulate you further - please try not to worry but I know its easier said than done. My ex threatened me with a lawyer to gain custody of my DS despite never paying a penny towards maintenance, once I called his bluff and said that I would be consulting a lawyer too and that the first thing we would be discussing is regular child maintenance from him, he backed right off hmm!! Please get a lawyer asap , and then call his bluff, bet you he backs right off once he sees that you mean buisness. Good luck with everything but I know all will be fine

allegrageller Fri 15-Jul-11 23:05:57

'lying' (as attested to only by him, etc) is absolutely not a reason for a transfer of residence, let alone to a different country!

OP- you would have to be a violent abuser and dd already being considered for local authority care, for him to have even the slightest chance of getting residence. And even then the courts would be very wary of removing her from other family in her country of birth, etc. Not that it's even on the cards!!

He is an emotional abuser and just trying to frighten you with his big medical qualifications. More fool him...

bringinghomethebacon Fri 15-Jul-11 23:06:39

No chance in hell unless he can prove very serious defects with your care of your child. Prove, mind you. Nothing you have written even gives rise to the slightest hint of concern.
Check to see if you are eligible for legal aid here:-

and then look at the Resolution website to find a local solicitor to you

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