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To encourage my partner to seek full custody of his son?

(58 Posts)
DontPanicSir Wed 25-May-16 23:06:45

And how successful is he likely to be?

My partner and his ex share a 5-year-old child. They split when he was about 2, for detail I will add that she left him for another man. She currently lives with her mother, 2 sisters and her brother-in-law and every so often seems to move between there and her elderly father's home.

They shared 50/50 custody until recently, but now my partner only sees his son during the weekends and during holidays as he is in school full time. The issue has been up to now that the ex never seems to be around, for pick ups or drop offs, that she does not reply to texts, and nor do her extended family, even when they are acting in her place looking after him. She requests that my partner takes him pretty much every chance she can get, and has even asked that he take him during the week when he is supposed to be attending school, and my partner has to be at work!

Last weekend when my partner dropped his son off, he waited for an hour outside of the home, even though he arrived at the agreed time. Nobody answered the door, and when they did it was the brother in law. He claimed to have been sleeping. This is a typical occurrence.

Today there was an issue with his son being ill at school and my partner was contacted, as the school were unable to get a hold of his mother, her sisters, or his grandparents. My partner had to leave work early to go and get him, even though he is not due to pick him up until Friday. When he eventually got hold of someone (the aunt), she claimed to be sleeping. The ex is on holiday and won't be back until June. Although he has contacted her to say their son was sick and he currently has him, the ex has still not responded!

My partner's son has been displaying lots of emotional difficulties, and this has been picked up on by the school. He cries often, and isn't able to express himself well. My partner is pretty worried about him, but is frightened of rocking the boat I guess. This evening we have had a long in depth conversation about things and I have suggested to him that perhaps he ought to push for what he wants and that is full custody, but I'm afraid that his case will not only be long and drawn out, but also be rejected, as seems to be the case for so many fathers.

If anyone has any words of wisdom I would appreciate it.

EatShitDerek Wed 25-May-16 23:11:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Birdsgottafly Wed 25-May-16 23:11:50

He's more likely to be awarded 50/50 residency, in general.

He doesn't have to return him to anyone, whilst the Mum is away and it's upto him what happens when she's back.

He needs specialist legal advice.

AliceInUnderpants Wed 25-May-16 23:13:55

I think you ought to stay far, far away from the situation. It does not involve you. Support your partner, by all means, but don't make any suggestions.

Myusernameismyusername Wed 25-May-16 23:16:26

Don't let him read all that fathers for justice type stuff.
He should ask to meet with her and sit down and talk about all of this with her first.
I think it's a major decision to make and just dropping a court case on her seems unfair if he hasn't even approached her properly first

DontPanicSir Wed 25-May-16 23:19:42

Thanks, he has spoken to the ex on a few occasions prior to their son beginning school and she insisted that she wanted to have him full time, even though from her behaviour up to that point it seemed that she would behave as she does now...not taking him to school (it seems that his aunt does the daily school run), or 'disappearing' and being non-responsive. When he has spoken to her in the past she has become angry and defensive. I do think he is going to speak with her again when she returns from holiday, but it will probably fall on deaf ears as usual.

How would a 50/50 residence order work for a school age child? My partner and his ex live in opposite ends of London, so the commute is very awkward. I have spoken to him about getting legal advice, he is going to do that ASAP.

Myusernameismyusername Wed 25-May-16 23:21:43

Let hm get legal advice but IMO, if her family is helping her that isn't always a bad thing? If he is attending school regularly that's important.
Your DH would have to move or commute. It wouldn't surely be fair to remove him from his school where he just started

DontPanicSir Wed 25-May-16 23:26:21

I guess it's not a bad thing that they help, but no one really seems to be caring for him. Today if my partner had not been able to pick him up from school, who would have done so, and when? This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened, and it just seems so alarming that you could be so nonchalant about your child being unwell. He is constantly being passed from pillar to post. I'm a mother myself, so would never normally suggest such a thing, but I feel sorry for him and it seems to be showing in his behaviour.

Myusernameismyusername Wed 25-May-16 23:31:39

You really have to avoid your feelings against her becoming the biggest issue. Especially DH. It could look malicious. Just go through official routes and take their advice as to what is best for DS.

SocialDisaster Wed 25-May-16 23:31:43

Listen to Alice focus on your own life.

DontPanicSir Wed 25-May-16 23:36:46

Ok, I will take that on board. I tend to have a 'that's not my concern' attitude about things normally, but her erratic behaviour towards their son is beginning to have an impact on our relationship. This evening he broke down and cried over the situation as he is feeling torn with what to do for the best.

SarahM24 Wed 25-May-16 23:40:17

What is the problem with the father picking his sick child up from school? Why must it be the mother? Is a father not able/willing to collect his unwell child up from school if it happens to fall outside of his contact time?

Myusernameismyusername Wed 25-May-16 23:40:22

I can imagine it's tough.
At the same time we don't all parent the same way, what is right for some isn't for others and vice versa and we all have different circumstances to deal with as well.
Legally he needs to know his options and then maybe he will feel more focused on what he wants to do, and he can speak to her properly - or at least try

Marthacliffscumbag Thu 26-May-16 12:53:59

It's none of your business, you need to support your partner yes, but suggesting he goes for full custody, thus removing the child's mother from the scene is out of order.
So what if her family are helping her out? That's how it works in almost every culture except ours, so it seems.
You act like your partner is going above and beyond by picking his own sick son up from school and looking after him!! He SHOULD be picking him up, not grandparents, aunts etc. That's what parents do.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Thu 26-May-16 13:01:53

Martha and Sarah have it spot on. Family helping out isn't a bad thing, a good support network will be seen as favourable by the courts. He's hardly a hero for collecting his own child from school! Phones die, people fall asleep, it happens.Just because the school couldn't get hold of mum straight away doesn't mean she is neglectful confused

gonetoseeamanaboutadog Thu 26-May-16 13:09:03

It does sound like she might not be meeting her son's needs well enough, and like her family are trying to plug the gap but failing. In that context, it's natural that your partner would want to meet his son's needs for himself.

Since 50 50 custody isn't possible because of where you live and attending school, there seems to have been an assumption that your partner is the one who would see him less, rather than the child's mum. Usually I would support that as the mum is usually the prime carer, but on this occasion it seems reasonable to doubt that she is fulfilling her responsibilities adequately as the prime carer - in which case, your partner is reasonable to look at taking those responsibilities on himself.

The fact that school has picked up a problem would concern me, too.

If your partner can't move forward through talking things through with his ex, I think it would probably be in the child's best interests for the court to look into this thoroughly and decide where it is best for the child to be.

gentlydownthestreamm Thu 26-May-16 13:32:44

I think the situation patently does involve you and it is natural to be concerned about your partner's son and to want to support your partner as best you can with something so massively important.

How is the relationship between your DP and his ex? Are they civil or not?

I think if your partner is serious about feeling he needs to push to be resident parent, he does indeed need to talk to his ex again. I'd also want to talk more with the school about the concerns they raised. And while the boy us too young to be asked who we wants to live with or male that choice, I'd be looking out for signals re how he feels about it all and how much time he actually spends with his mum.

But you need to remain very objective and open minded about the whole thing,ID say. While what you've posted suggests the boy spends more time being looked after by family members than his mum, it's not as that is a massively bad thing either.

MaryMargaret Thu 26-May-16 13:56:51

I don't think OPis saying aunt doing sxhool run etc is a bad thing per se, it's that the child does not seem happy and school have noticed. The fact that mum seems to go uncontactable would concern me too.

op is not saying mum & her family should be excluded, just that there should be a clear 'chain of command' - which appears to be missing atm

SocialDisaster Thu 26-May-16 14:01:56

Mum and Dad don't live together, show me a child that is delighted by that?

Haven't you got a space to Kondo or a lawn to mow?

SoEverybodyDance Thu 26-May-16 15:00:31

It's your partners child so although you're right to be concerned, I hope he's doing more of the thinking and running around than you! Is your partner's ex from a different culture? Does that culture involve family members taking greater responsibility with the DS? If so his aunt taking him to school might not be considered a bad thing (you know what people say about it taking a village to bring up a child). That was the first thing I thought of when I read your post OP.

Nevertheless for her to go abroad without telling him is not okay. How long did she go for? To say until June makes it sound bad, but in reality that's only a few days away. Will she be with him over half term?

Also I would be worried about all the late drops offs and the adults sleeping during the day... it doesn't sound good.

Can you keep your partner's DS with you (if you can) until his mother comes back and see what he comes out with. You might find out quite a bit from him.

Good luck OP

DontPanicSir Thu 26-May-16 15:16:25

I'm not sure from some of the responses, that people understand where I'm coming from. My partner's ex has left the country with no notice for 2 weeks, and she is not returning until the Monday after half term, when her child will be back at school. My partner works full time in the opposite side of London to where the ex lives, and their son goes to school. Meanwhile a rotation of 3-4 extended family members are looking after him, with no communication between them, or to my partner.

In this situation there was an emergency and the aunt (who was responsible for him) was not only uncontactable, but didn't seem even the slightest bit concerned that her nephew had been picked up from school hours before without her knowledge. She also told my partner that he broke up for the holidays today when it is in fact tomorrow! It isn't simply a case of the ex's family 'helping out'. It's that no one seems to want to care for him when the mother isn't available - and that is often.

Thanks Mary, that was pretty much what I was trying to say!

Gently - They are civil-ish, but she tends to avoid him, for example not answering phone calls, or responding to texts and then saying she hasn't received them. He has said that when she returns from holiday he will try to speak to her face to face...whether he gets anywhere or not this time is a different story. This has been going on for years, and I am generally neutral about the situation, but now we are trying to move forward as a family it is becoming a snowballing issue. Hopefully it is something that can be resolved, but after nearly 6 years it seems that him taking over as the primary custodian is the only real choice he has. Her only reply to the text letting her know that their child was ill, no one was available to pick him up but my partner was "Oh no, thanks for telling me". Says it all really.

SocialDisaster Thu 26-May-16 15:36:36

If anyone looks at any other person looking for failings in their parenting they will find them.

She is entitled to a holiday in the same way a couple do. Sometimes a couple may think extended family will cate for the child when they are gone and return to discover it wasn't so.

DontPanicSir Thu 26-May-16 16:06:49

Thank you, SoEverybody, funnily enough she is (British born) Middle Eastern. I guess that could be a factor in why she behaves in the way she does. I don't think the aunt taking him to school is a problem at all really. It's more that she doesn't answer the phone, and there are issues with drop offs, (never pick ups) where no one is available to take him into his own home, no one answers the phone or responds. After over an hours drive to return him, it's a problem to then have to sit with him outside until someone answers. This has been going on for too long now. I have never really believed the "I'm sleeping" excuse either, not sure what they are actually doing.

The ex is only on holiday until the Monday that my partner's son goes back to school, although he was not aware of this (two weeks in total). He is supposed to bring him back on the Sunday afternoon - I'm guessing there will be trouble then too. He has mused over keeping him until his mother returns, but he has to work in a different part of the city, so there would be no one to take him to school.

Social - I've been a lone parent for years - who is a perfect parent?! My stance has always been up to now that she is entitled to do as she pleases, as many women would when they are on their 'own' time. The issue is now that it is affecting their son enough for the school to have concerns about his behaviour, it is causing my partner unhappiness and is also having an impact on our relationship. This is not the first time there has been no one to look after him when he has been ill, and not the first time she has gone 'missing' without anyone letting my partner know.

Buggers Thu 26-May-16 16:13:21

Did the little boy know his mum was going on holiday?

Buggers Thu 26-May-16 16:15:18

Why can't your partner take leave from work until the mum gets back if his that concerned? I don't think he would get full custody though.

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