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Divorce: overnight custody???

(14 Posts)
Rebe Fri 10-Jul-09 21:25:06

My ex husband says he has a right to have our daughter overnight every other weekend. The court order states that he can see her regularly and can only have her overnight once he has a safe place to take her and is free of drugs.

My daughter is 2 and half. I applied for divorce 12 months ago due to my ex husband's drugs habits (coke, grass and pills), him going out every night, subscribing to dating sites and getting into serious debt without my knowledge. We were divorced in March this year.I have full custody and have an arrangement that he has our daughter every other weekend during the day only and that he fetches her from nursery twice a week.

He pays her nursery fees as maintenance. This will go down to half when we sell the marital home (I hope in a couple of weeks).

At the beginning of this month he refused to pay the nursery fees because I am not allowing him to have our daughter overnight.

He currently lives in a shared house with 2 men I do not know. Our daughter has no room or bed there and no toys. The men smoke and do not have children of their own.

The last time (12 months ago) I allowed my (then) husband to childmind our daughter I came home to find coke in lines on the cofee table and him in bed having had friends round.

I feel bad for him and he blames me for everything.


DLI Fri 10-Jul-09 21:32:53

i would not let her stay overnight as you do not feel she will be safe. let him go back to court if he wants but it sounds to me like he has a reasonable contact order rather than a defined one. he will have to prove to the court he is drug free and has somewhere to reside that is adequate for your daughter. As the child's welfare would be at stake a court welfare officer will probably do an assessment. i would also ask him what he does when he has her for the day because i wouldnt let him take her to the house. if he is then i would stop contact and seek your solicitors advice!

dittany Fri 10-Jul-09 21:35:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rebe Fri 10-Jul-09 21:35:42

Thanks DLI for your advice X

pollyblue Fri 10-Jul-09 21:37:11

Why do you feel bad for him? He's an adult and makes his own choices and if those choices have led to the breakdown of your marriage and him not seeing his daughter as much as he would like that's tough. Given the circumstances it sounds like the current access arrangements are quite generous.

In your shoes and given his current living arrangements I wouldn't let him have her overnight either, and if part of the current agreement is that that will only happen when he has a safe place to stay then stick to your guns. Your daughters wellbeing is paramount.

Sorry to be blunt but he needs to grow up. And if he's witholding maintenance then go straight back to the legal bods and get that sorted out.

Best of luck smile

Rebe Fri 10-Jul-09 21:38:56

I wonder if I should change solicitor beacuse she dealt with our divorce and financial matters very well but tells me it is not advisable to go to court specifically ref custody as she says the court doesn't look favourably on you if you can't agree custody issues between you. I find it really confusing!

Rebe Fri 10-Jul-09 21:40:23

Being blunt is the best way! Thanks

DLI Fri 10-Jul-09 21:45:25

court's prefer parents to sort it out themselves but if you have real concerns then you should stop contact and go back to court. within court proceedings you can ask him to undetake a drug test and prove his is living somewhere adequate for dd to stay overnight.

slowreadingprogress Fri 10-Jul-09 21:47:46

I would certainly approach another solicitor if this was me. Clearly unsupervised, overnight contact should not be happening here! Your daughter needs protecting; you already have a court order, he wants to vary that, and is witholding an agreed payment in order to try to force you to go against the court order; surely a good solicitor would be dealing with this VERY firmly.

MissSunny Sat 11-Jul-09 01:27:52

Message withdrawn

Rebe Sat 11-Jul-09 17:48:22

Thanks for messages.

The problem is I don't know how much he uses any more. He says he still smokes joints but since he moved out in November I have no idea what he does socially or whether there are drugs in the house.

To be honest I would have thought better of him last time when it happened in our family home. So it's hard to tell.

It's the not knowing that's eating me up and him begging me one minute and threatening me the next. It's really stressing me out X

monkeyfacegrace Sat 11-Jul-09 18:00:34

Its really hard isnt it. Im kind of going through a similar thing, its the not knowing whats going to come next that drives you mad! Can you get CSA to arrange maint? Ive just been forced to do this cuz of my ex messing around, and as it happens, due to arrears they are now taking 40% of his wages!As far as overnight access, in your situation it would be over my dead body. Imagine if she ingested coke/pills by accident. Not to mention you dont know who these other men are. Id put my foot down and allow him to take you back to court. Then you can explain your concerns, and maybe suggest that overnights can start when he has set up a bedroom for her(this will delay things for a bit but is a reasonable request), and is it possible for him to have a night at yours so he knows her bedtime routine/morning routine? Thats not always poss though, Id rather stick hot pins in my eyes have have my fuckwit ex anywhere near my house!

6inchnipples Mon 13-Jul-09 14:58:19

I HAVE BEEN TO COURT OVER CUSTODY OF A CHILD. Its not a pleasant experience at all but in your circumstances i'd say it was essential. As your ex has a drug problem i'd say they're likely to be sympathetic towards you.

In my experience it completely depends on which sheriff is sitting that day. I have met some who are reasonable and those who are not. One time it was all i could do not to reach across the table and slap the idiot i was faced with, who sadly was in a position to decide what my childs fate was to be.

Sadly ime it also weighs heavily if you look and sound the part. My exh is very clever and articulate and wears expensive suits, they loved him, but then they didn't see him with a few drinks down his neck.

I would be very surprised if the court didn't make a very sensible decision re your situation however also ime the money side of things does not relate to custody issues, they are completely seperate. My ex was paying me way below what the csa recommend for maintenance but as far as i know even men who pay nothing for their child get visits and overnight stays.

However it is still emotionally exhausting going to court. if i were you i'd let him do that bit and at the moment you call the shots. Tell him he needs to pay maintenance. Don't let him have your child unless you are there to supervise or are 100% confident that they will be safe with him.

Its a horrible sad situation and i really sympathise. Going to court cost me thousands of pounds too which is worth remembering. At the end of the day the court urges parents to make the decisions themselves which is for the best. You may have little left in common with your ex but you both love your child and care for her more than some stranger. It makes sense that the best outcome would be based on a decision made by you both. Unfortunately (as i know from my own experience) it is very hard to get to this place where you can both sit down and be reasonable and rational about the needs of your child, esp when your ex has other big issues. I'd say in the circumstances you are well within your rights to take the decisions into your own hands. While its an option (ie before HE summons YOU to court to let a stanger decide) you call the shots, be fair and be reasonable it'll give you the upper hand but you decide what is right for your child.

Good luck.

Rebe Mon 13-Jul-09 16:17:56

Thanks for your advice guys - really appreciate it.

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