Advice on courts and CAFCAS needed(2 Posts)
I recently left my partner and took our two children (6 and 7) to live at my parents' home. I'd wanted separation for some years, due to his controlling and emotionally abusive nature. It took time to return to the workplace, get myself established in a part-time job, and build up a new network of friends in a new area (we relocated for ex's job and knew no-one here at first).
As our first directions hearing in the family court approaches, I'd be really glad to hear from anyone who's been through this. I feel worried that courts are now heavily in favour of fathers' rights and am concerned that by leaving the family home I may have left the door open to my ex having the children live mainly with him.
My ex is demanding that he has the children for three nights a week. I propose that they live with me, but spend one evening each week with him and that we alternate weekends. I've been their primary carer - I stayed at home with them for almost five years, I've put them to bed every night, I've done the cuddles, the caring, the phonics, the reading, the spelling and homework. I've done all their health and educational administration. He's been pretty hands off (until the split).
I feel that my ex has failed to bond with our eldest child and has begun to control and abuse him emotionally in much the same way as he has me. He tells him he is "lazy and selfish, just like your mother"; has told him that his behaviour has caused us to argue. He has smashed up his lego creations in front of him to punish him, and has cut the tv cable in front of us with a knife to stop us watching it.
Our youngest child is undergoing assessment for autism spectrum disorder and my ex does not want him labelled, and so resists a formal diagnosis. My ex causes me of favouring our eldest child, while he believes he must fight for 'the underdog'.
I feel that he has created a terrible family dynamic, and for all the years with him, I have tried to offset this by heaping on affection and unconditional love for the children to give them a solid foundation. For the most part they are well-behaved, loving and funny children - although the youngest is struggling to conform to the demands of school (and now thankfully has a one-to-one TA).
My worry is that if I tell every tiny detail of how I feel my ex has behaved towards the children to the CAFCAS worker, they will feel I'm mud slinging to minimize contact with their father/ get even with him for years of control and emotional abuse towards me. I don't know how seriously they will feel stability is needed for a child on the spectrum (our youngest is anxious and upset each time he has to leave the former family home... but I had to get out to make the break).
But if I don't tell it as it is, I'm not protecting my children from a father who is controlling, volatile, makes them cry by shouting, would like to hit them and will most likely get worse in their teen years.
Can anyone who has been through the courts and CAFCAS family study/observation give advice? Thanks for reading.
Dear Lady. Sorry to hear of woes. I haven't got cafcass experience but do have controlling emotionally abusive ex.
Been through mediation and have an agreement but still the abuse (emotional) keeps coming. Be honest. Be clear to cafcass. Have a diary /chronology of events. Be consistent. And whilst you might not be adverse to some contact have a gradual increase over time. Child led. Try and extract yourself. Be only child focussed. Let instinct guide you but be Miss Reasonable even though you want to hit the roof. Good luck x
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