my friends ex is not letting her see her daughter - am trying to help her

(47 Posts)
WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:03:07

have posted in aibu for traffic but if this bothers anyone please report and have it moved

there is quite a long back story so please bear with me

my friend (DF) has 4 dc, the eldest, is a DD, who is 9. DF was in a relationship where she was suffering emotional and physical abuse. She finally left him last summer and fled their home. She was placed in a refuge and was in quite a bad place psychologically, the children were distressed so Her ex, her eldest DD's father (who is not the man she had fled from) offered to take her DD temporarily. This was on the understanding she would come back and live with DF once she was housed appropriately.

However, he lied to DF and now does not let DF see her DD, he is blocking contact by not answering his phone. She has not seen her DD for months now and is very distressed about it. When she last spoke to her DD, her DD said she wanted to come home, her ex, however, says that she doesn't. He has also moved house 50 miles away and won't disclose his new address to DF, she has no way of contacting her DD other than through her ex's mobile number which he doesn't answer. She does, however, know which school her DD attends. I cant believe he has done this as, up until she went to "temporarily" live with him, his contact with her was sporadic, he never paid maintenance and was not really interested in her.

She has been housed now and is settled with her other DCS, who are in school. But she is still quite vulnerable and doesn't know where to turn for help and tbh doesn't have much support, many of her family judge her for letting her DD dad take her in the first place, I agree tbh but she did it in good faith and it's done now and I think DF knows that she made a mistake in doing that.

I know its an unusual situation where it is a dad keeping a mum from a child, its more common the other way round sad but it would be great if I could get some advice for her as I want to help but honestly don't know how. I just feel so sorry for the child who is in the middle of all this.

FujimotosElixir Fri 01-May-15 17:04:55

could she contact police?

WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:06:06

I wondered that but as she is safe and with a parent, plus her mum gave initial consent, I am not sure they would do anything.

DorisLessingsCat Fri 01-May-15 17:06:40

If she has parental responsibility she can simply collect her daughter from school.

Is it a case of child abduction? Can she speak to the police?

FujimotosElixir Fri 01-May-15 17:09:23

but moving far away? refusing to give consent?

AuntyMag10 Fri 01-May-15 17:13:06

how did she let 'months' go by without seeing her daughter? Why hasn't she contacted the police in all that time.?
And she knows the school she's attending so why doesn't she just go see her child there??

MyLonelyChestHair Fri 01-May-15 17:13:08

Police won't do anything. It's not child abduction to move and withhold an address.

riverboat1 Fri 01-May-15 17:14:13

Could she get a 30m free consultation with a family lawyer?

Heels99 Fri 01-May-15 17:15:51

Has she been to see a lawyer in all,these months. They give half an hour free consultation. If she hasn't i would question why.

WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:15:54

AFAIK she does have parental responsibility

however, what concerns me is she signed over child benefit and child tax to her ex, so he could afford to look after her. needless to say he convinced her to do this when she was very vulnerable hmm

so privately I am a little concerned about this

WorraLiberty Fri 01-May-15 17:16:25

She needs legal advice.

Why has she not seen her in months if she knows where her school is, and has she tried ringing her ex from a different number?

riverboat1 Fri 01-May-15 17:17:02

It might be worth posting on stepparenting (I think there'll be posters who have experience of this from the other side, i.e. the mother having moved away with child) and also legal.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 01-May-15 17:17:25

I agree she should be able to pick her dd up from school, but practically it may not be possible. If he's told the school she has had her parental rights removed they may not check, and refuse to let her take her dd.

Can she afford to go to a lawyer? Or can she get advice from social services?

My friend lost her ds to her parents in similar circumstances. She has been told by social work, police and MP's that her only option to get back in contact with her son is through court, which she cannot afford.

I really hope things work out better for tour friend than they have for mine, she hasn't seen her child for four years sad.

AuntyMag10 Fri 01-May-15 17:18:38

It sounds like your friend could have done a lot instead of letting 'months' go by. Why hasn't she very, very simply gone to her ds school and seen her at least. She has PR after all. It doesn't sound like you know the full facts about your friends story.

WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:21:36

she has tried ringing from other numbers, he just doesn't answer.

I agree she should have done something before now sad

its so sad, she has 3 little siblings who miss their big sister and don't understand why she has gone.

she now has a consultation with a mediation service next week, but I am not sure how much they will be able to do considering the limited contact details they have for her ex.

and how awful for your friend coffeethrow

Reginafalangie Fri 01-May-15 17:22:09

Your friend can contact CAFCASS and she needs to look in to applying for a residency order. Your DF has parental rights too.

WorraLiberty Fri 01-May-15 17:27:19

however, what concerns me is she signed over child benefit and child tax to her ex, so he could afford to look after her. needless to say he convinced her to do this when she was very vulnerable hmm

See I don't know what the hmm face was for there?

Surely if he's looking after his DD then it makes sense? Nothing to do with her being vulnerable really.

I'm sure once she can get the ball rolling legally, all this can be sorted out.

Hopefully the DD will end up living wherever is best for her, whether that's with her Mum or her Dad.

But if she does stay with her Dad, she should obviously have regular contact with her Mum.

WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:35:10

I just think that signing over the benefits made her more vulnerable, not financially, as, I agree, why should she keep money for a child not in her care? I just mean in terms of her position as the primary carer.

I hope it gets sorted out, god it would be my worst nightmare

WorraLiberty Fri 01-May-15 17:41:34

It would be my worst nightmare too.

But I have to say, if a child of mine was being made to live in a house where emotional and physical abuse was going on, that would also be my worst nightmare too. So I can kind of see this from both sides. Although of course the Dad shouldn't be withholding access.

Perhaps it's going to take a long while for the Dad to trust her again.

Also, you describe her as still vulnerable. Are you sure she's mentally in a place to cope with 4 kids?

Welshmaenad Fri 01-May-15 17:43:40

If she was in refuge she can get legal aid if her income is low enough. There's a clause that exempts victims of domestic abuse from the recent cuts. The solicitor she sees for a free consult would just have to contact the organisation that assisted her. I used to work in DV support and helped with quite a few contact/custody cases via legal aid. She needs to file for a residence order. Once she has that, if it's granted (and cafcass would take her dd's wishes into consideration when making recommendations) if he doesn't return her after contact the police WILL get involved. Right now they won't if he has PR.

You're welcome to pm me if you'd like OP.

madreloco Fri 01-May-15 17:45:15

She wasn't the primary carer though, he was. You're making out he did something wrong by getting the money.

Look at it from the other side. He discovered his child was living with an abusive and violent person, that the childs mother took a long time to leave, was then living in a refuge with a mother with psychological problems.....it makes perfect sense that he became the primary carer.
She knows where the child goes to school and yet has made no attempt to see her in several months because he doesn't answer his phone?

For all you know the child is happy and does not want to see her mother. Or maybe not. But you're making a lot of assumptions without any actual information.

AuntyMag10 Fri 01-May-15 17:50:29

Op I do think your friend had given you half the story here. She could have seen her dd if she wanted to, at school at the very least. In the father's position I can really understand why he would feel be against having her live with her mother again.
The only thing I guess you can be doing is get your friend to seek legal advice about her situation which she should have done by now in any case. You say she's still quite vulnerable, maybe it isn't in the child's best interest to be with her mother .

riverboat1 Fri 01-May-15 17:54:45

If her DD is only 9, I don't think it's for her to decide whether she wants to see her mum or not, or who she should live with. She is too young to understand the implications of giving up a relationship with one of her parents. I can imagine she's been through the mill and I feel for her, it's possible she says to her mum that she wants to come home to hers and means it, and says to her dad she wants to stay at his and means that too.

You say that the dad never answers his phone, but then also that your DF has spoken to her daughter, just not seen her - so presumably there is some kind of contact there? I think she should start by saying she wants to see her for a short visit, which can be supervised by the child's father and take it from there. Rather than go in all guns blazing saying she wants her back to live with her permanently.

If the dad won't even agree to this, I don't think she has any option but to go through the courts.

WhiteConverseSkinnyJeans Fri 01-May-15 17:57:06

it's possible she says to her mum that she wants to come home to hers and means it, and says to her dad she wants to stay at his and means that too

I think that too sad

poor little girl.

WorraLiberty Fri 01-May-15 18:01:11

What has SS said about this?

Can they not help to get a mediation ball rolling?

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