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To stop fighting for DSC?

(46 Posts)
Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 14:35:10

Posting here for traffic and straight talking opinions.

DH & I together for 3.5 years. Two DC from previous marriages each plus two DC together. Going through court for his DC for 2.5 years. Lots of delays, lots of errors. Essentially DH has been asking for EOW and half holidays and now has this. Pays maintenance. I was not OW. Proceedings continue with mum wanting a variation. DH has had 3 final orders. Each time, mum finds fault and returns the matter to court. We have asked about an order to stop this and been told she hasn't applied enough yet.

DH has been accused of everything from being an alcoholic, domestic violence, neglecting DSC, physically abusing DSC, everything. I have been accused of being mentally unstable (her online stalking lead her to discover I had PND before I met DH). My DC have been accused of being violent. Obviously I don't know what happened in their relationship but DH has never had any kind of alcohol problem with me. He says he drank too much when he was at uni but don't a lot of students? DH has never been any kind of abusive to me. To the contrary, I constantly have to remind him that he is entitled to an opinion and that he doesn't have to give in to me all the time. I personally think his exW was emotionally abusive to him but as I said, I don't know this. DH is a good dad - he works full time, does housework, gets up in the night with the children if needed, plays with them, never shouts. Perhaps a little bit softer with some boundaries than I'd like but generally very good. None of the allegations have been found to be true by the court.

The DSC are massively affected by the fact that their mum cannot support contact. One is very good at acting okay but is overly eager to please, if you ask a question, you can see the cogs turning as to what answer they should give, rather than saying how they feel. Lies a lot about things that don't matter. Will pretend to be upset at handovers but has a big grin. Has some odd body language, like they are wearing a straight jacket. The other is more overtly distressed - screaming, wailing, begging for mum. Regularly makes comments that must have come from mum (adult language, subjects they haven't been told about etc). Settles down immediately after mum has left.

The court recently made a significant change - they had mum's surname on birth, they now have both. Except mum won't accept it. Where DH has put new labels on things, mum has removed or crossed out or cut them out. DSC were happy when told about this change by DH. Now several months on, they can't even say their own names with us or with mum but they can at school.

In the latter part of court proceedings, the judge and CAFCASS have talked about transferring residence or care proceedings if things don't improve. They are actually getting worse. Family counselling has taken place and resulted in mum becoming more fixed. She wants contact to reduce to the DSC seeing DH after the activity they do on a Saturday until before they do an activity on a Sunday, so not quite 24 hours, and no extra holiday contact (most so far is 10 days, we think it's been great, she thinks it's a disaster).

Every professional that has been involved has come to the conclusion that mum is not doing the right thing by the DSC and that they need her support and encouragement in having an easy relationship with DH which she can't seem to do. She was told to help the DSC buy DH a Christmas present as a gesture of goodwill. They bought a bag of star mix. She isn't remotely poor, so that wasn't why. She sends cards but signs them to DHs name and from her and the DSC, or leaves the name blank and DSC write "from x and y", no "love from", no kisses, and then one comments they didn't know that card was for DH. If DH writes in their homework books, she throws them away. One teacher has refused to issue new ones. DH can't send them back with any sign of our existence - clothes/toys we've bought, stickers or leaflets from days out, anything. They get hysterical and say mum will be angry and throw it in the bin.

DH & I are exhausted. We have used up all our money on various legal fees and associated costs, we are emotionally drained and this is impacting on all the children. I don't think I can carry on for much longer in our marriage, watching the fight for the DSC continue endlessly, negatively impacting them, us and our other DC. If we separate, I don't think it would change things for DH, he would still have to fight this much and then our DC together would have a "broken home". I don't want that.

We're at a cross roads now. DH either pushes on for transfer of residence (and all the trauma that will bring) though would not have have a lawyer as we have no money left or he gives in and DH effectively becomes little more than a friendly uncle they visit for a Saturday afternoon and night once a week. That doesn't feel like the right option either - it reduces conflict, which is good, but only until mum decides she's not happy with that either (she hasn't been happy at any stage, even when contact was 2 hours a week), and it puts the children at risk of feeling rejected (a common theme until recently was "Mummy says you left us, mummy says you don't love us, mummy says you love Four's children more than us" etc).

I literally don't know what to do for the best. I suspect there isn't a right answer or that the right answer can only be known with the benefit of hindsight. What I do know is that this isn't working sad

Beth2511 Wed 24-Feb-16 14:45:46

Omg how awful.

She wants you to g8ve up but please for those kids sakes dont. When they are older they will also understand. What a hprrid woman.

lalalalyra Wed 24-Feb-16 14:53:10

If your DH gives up and becomes a Saturday uncle how long do you think his ex will allow that for? I'd imagine that very quickly that will be eroded as well.

If you have the court onside and she has no intention of doing what is best for the children then he must keep fighting. I know it's soul destroying and I get that the finances are a huge issue, but he can't surrender his children to her. What will become of them then? How poisoned will they be? How damaging will it be for them if her words about him abandoning them suddenly appear to come true?

Good luck.

girlywhirly Wed 24-Feb-16 14:54:38

There is a name for what your DH's EXW is doing, look up Parental Alienation. The judge and CAFCASS may be aware of it but it's extremely difficult to deal with, unless the parent doing the alienating could be found to be harming the DC involved.

DontCareHowIWantItNow Wed 24-Feb-16 14:58:36

She wants you to g8ve up but please for those kids sakes dont. When they are older they will also understand. What a hprrid woman.

Please please stick with it. It isn't easy but for the DSC you need to keep going.

We have been through this. We now have residency of DSC.

lunar1 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:02:44

I think he should go for residency.

Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 15:09:46

Goodness, I wasn't expecting a unanimous response except maybe a chorus of "you knew what you were getting into".

Girly - I think I've read everything I can find on parental alienation. I didn't know if it could be called that because while she has breached the order 3 times in the past, she does send the DSC so there's no broken contact.

I am a bit scared of DH going for residence as the judge said she wasn't sure if DH's pushing was contributing to the problem, but I don't know what he can do other than push? If he doesn't push back against her demands, he loses what little ground he has.

DontCare - that is interesting to hear. It's so hard to find people in similar circumstances and even less so to find someone who has successfully got residence. Did it take a long time? Does mum have much contact with your DSC?

Thank you.

coffeeisnectar Wed 24-Feb-16 15:11:07

Those poor kids. Please don't give up. They need their dad and you fighting their corner. Their mum isn't interested in their welfare, only point scoring against their dad.

The dc need stability, the freedom to express their feelings and to be in a relaxed happy home. That is not with their mother.

IJustLostTheGame Wed 24-Feb-16 15:12:40

We've been through this.
We had to give up, we just didn't have the money.
We barely see dsd anymore. sad
He's hoping she is almost old enough to make her own decisions on things and see us more but I'm not sure she will.
It's very sad.
Your situation sounds far worse than ours. I would keep going. Your step children sound as though they're being damaged.
My dsd isn't apart from being told a pack of lies about DH.

DontCareHowIWantItNow Wed 24-Feb-16 15:14:27

Did it take a long time? Does mum have much contact with your DSC?

It did take a while yes.

It hasn't been easy on anyone but, the DSC are so much more settled and are doing a lot better at school.

The mother only has court ordered indirect contact, but that also has a lot to do with other things we have discovered since they have been living here.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:16:16

I think you need to keep fighting for the children to see their dad and step siblings. The thing I don't understand is why the court ordered a name change? Did your DP ask for that to happen? Did the children want it? It seems a very confrontational thing to do when you are dealing with someone who appears unable to put the needs of the children first.

But do keep on fighting for proper contact

LoveBoursin Wed 24-Feb-16 15:18:26

Well insure that your DH pushing back is making things worse but what is the judge expecting? Fur yotr DH to not see his dcs (because that's what will happen in the end)???
He wasn't asking for more. He was asking fur what has been a very normal arrangement between two parents.

I do, really do, feel fit the two dcs involved. I would say, is at all possible, reduce the stress experienced by them. Be it not having any toys from him back to their Mum's house or leaving labels with their Mum's name.

It's crap though. So much anxiety and stress for the dcs s d you as a family sad

LoveBoursin Wed 24-Feb-16 15:20:18

And YY to keep fighting as much as you can. Those children need to hear that their dad has tried everything he could to carry on seeing them.

Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 15:22:12

DontCare - thank you. I'm glad things are better for your DSC now. When my DSC are here, it's like they melt or come alive or something. And then before they go back, they freeze again. It's awful to watch.

Ijust - that's really sad. 6 months ago I would have been quite judgy about people that give up but I really get it now. I think we will give it a good shot at residence but I don't see how we can go on indefinitely with a new variation request every 6 months sad

Chrysanthemum - it was suggested by CAFCASS and then applied for by DH. The judge ordered it because the DSC were telling people they didn't have a dad (despite seeing him every week and being happy while with him) and because they were confused about their identity. It was supposed to be a clear way of showing the children they are half mum half dad but it's actually only increased their confusion and distress sad

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 24-Feb-16 15:23:12

Never give up the fight, that would hurt the DC unbearably. What's wrong with fighting just to keep the order you currently have, just not allowing her to mess with it?

Unless the children's needs dictate not living with her anymore, that is.

Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 15:27:05

That's what we've been doing, MyKingdom. We have had a court hearing on average every 8 weeks for the last 2.5 years. The stress is unimaginable. We also have four other children who need us to be happy and healthy, so my struggle is with that balance. I know the DSC need us to keep going.

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 24-Feb-16 15:30:35

It must be so so hard, I can't even imagine. You seem to be so close though. I would strongly emphasise at the next hearing the awful impact on the DC and all of you of this continued litigation, ask the judge to bar any further applications by her for a couple of years at least. You all really need a break.

I just meant it sounded like you felt you were facing a choice between going for full residence or giving up entirely, both of which sound much harder.

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:37:37

That makes sense. It sounds hard but maybe pushing for residence is what you have to do. Or ask the judge to put a hold on court application for a while to allow things to settle

cbigs Wed 24-Feb-16 15:37:48

Op were in a similar situation. It's appalling isn't it we've talked about giving up walking away etc people just do not understand the stress. I'm off work with it all at the moment. I think what is really positive is the children want to see you and enjoy it my dsd's get poisoned against us every time their mum is unhappy so she can use them as a weapon to get what she wants so they will then say they don't want to come . At 8 and 12 it's hard to then force them obviously even though we have done nothing at all wrong .
You sound in a much stronger position than us so do try to keep on. You have my sympathy and empathy good luck thanks

Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 16:02:04

MyKingdom - yes, they are, but staying in this seeming never ending cycle of defending the DSC's need to see their father at least for a full weekend EOW and half the holidays isn't really any easier.

I'm really grateful for everyone's comments and also for the kindness and patience - it is much needed at the moment.

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 24-Feb-16 16:02:08

I wouldn't walk away but I would be very mindful of this

am a bit scared of DH going for residence as the judge said she wasn't sure if DH's pushing was contributing to the problem, but I don't know what he can do other than push? If he doesn't push back against her demands, he loses what little ground he has

And I would reconsider and examine how I respond or comunicate because nobody is immune to their own conduct hugely contributing to an issue

peggyundercrackers Wed 24-Feb-16 16:02:23

It must be obvious to the court that the issue is the children's mother, why don't they do something about it? Why would any judge let someone go to court every 8 weeks for 2.5yrs - why wouldn't they put a stop to it and say enough is enough. If anyone was EA to their partner it wouldn't be allowed -I don't understand why a mother is allowed to be EA to her children and nothing is done. In this case it sounds like the mother needs locked up.

Keep fighting and go for residency.

Fourormore Wed 24-Feb-16 16:15:02

We are, Needs, to the point of twisting ourselves in knots. DH has done the SPIP which suggests the format of saying "I feel x when you do y, it would be helpful if you could z". It didn't make the slightest bit of difference. DH has repeatedly asked what he can do differently, nobody has been able to offer any feedback or specific criticism. He has tried being friendly, tried being firm but fair, tried being extremely brief, nothing changes anything. It's like communicating with a brick wall. He hasn't actually "pushed" for anything for 1.5 years (when he finally got EOW & holidays) - everything since then has been about holding onto that order with mum trying to claw things back. He only writes facts now. They don't communicate in person. I've recently been trying to find some kind of positive communication course but am struggling to find anything that isn't aimed at DV perpetrators or workplace communication.

We often question whether it's worth DH raising certain things but currently take the view that if we don't, it will just quietly continue in the background.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 24-Feb-16 16:20:32

Those poor children, your poor DH - poor you! I can't imagine how stressful this must be for you all.

I also think you need to continue and your DH should go for residency. I am so shocked that the judge ordered a name change on that basis - they don't know whether they're coming or going do they?

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 24-Feb-16 16:25:15

I understand what you are saying.

I know a mum and dad who have an incredibly difficult relationship what has helped make that easier is parallel parenting and given that mum has EOW contact mum backing down and agreeing to facilitate regular weekend activities (the time is still here's she just comits to taking the child).

In that situation both parties had got into a cycle they needed help breaking because the default setting for both was hostility and even when they weren't being actively hostile, hostility was behind the actions of both.
Their child is now a lot happy and no longer experancing emotional abuse caused by them both. And one party was able to put a stop to it, giving the other no real option but to be reasonable.

I am not saying that this is the situation with you just that sometimes it can be adventatious to consider how you may be contributing towards issues.and if a judge had ever indicated to me that they thought that could possibly be part of the problem then I would certainly see what I could do to fix it.

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