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Child contact split when there has been emotional abuse

(19 Posts)
NeedSleepNow Wed 20-Jun-18 10:39:53

My marriage is at breaking point due to my husband's EA, bullying, shouting and financial abuse.

The thing that is stopping me ending things is the fear that he would get 50/50 care of the children. I am a sahm and do 99% of things with them compared to his 1%. I do the school runs, make sure they are fed, clothed, bathed, help with homework, get up with them at night, take them to school events, parties, trips out etc. He has a poor relationship with them a lot of the time and can't seem to cope with family life (doesn't like the noise, mess, financial strains and particularly dislikes that the kids have their own opinions). They are frequently in tears or telling me they don't think daddy loves them because he shouts so much, is rude to them etc. I've tried talking to him about it but he refuses and just tells me no one listens to him and it's my fault he shouts. He is impossible to communicate with and completley unwilling to discuss any aspects of parenting.

I would expect him to ask for 50/50 care if I ended things (not because he wanted the time with them but as another control for him) but given the EA and bullying the kids have experienced I think this would be terrible for them. Is 50/50 really the usual nowadays and would emotional abuse be a valid reason to not want 50/50 care, given that it is so hard to prove. I think if we split, him having EOW with extra time in school holidays would work well for everyone but I don't think he'd agree to it. How much weight does EA have as it's not something I can really prove is it?

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Doyoumind Wed 20-Jun-18 10:46:03

I'm going to be honest with you. Because there hasn't been police involvement and it's all hearsay, the court won't care. This is based on my experience.

How old are the DC because if they are old enough their views could be taken into account?

I think you will have a strong case if you propose an arrangement that is EOW, plus a day midweek, plus a share of the holidays.

It's about what's in the children's best interests and if you can show you take on 99% of childcare and it would be disruptive to them for things to change too much, you could be OK.

It is definitely better for you to get out of this relationship than stay in it.

NeedSleepNow Wed 20-Jun-18 11:36:52

Thank you for your reply. I thought that would probably be the case as there's no evidence of EA. The children range in age from 8 to 1.

I'm sure I would be better out off the relationship but my big worry is that the children would be worse off if 50/50 care is a realistic outcome. I can already see the negative impact it is having on the eldest two sad

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namechanged77 Wed 20-Jun-18 14:06:17

OP - please speak to Women's Aid. They offer advice about EA as well as physical abuse and are very good at helping people in your situation. They also offer a free session of legal advice on separating and on other legal measures you can put in place.

waterSpider Wed 20-Jun-18 15:52:05

Alas it is hard to be sure, and courts don't really publish evidence on what is happening with child arrangements -- and, indeed, it tends to be parents rather than courts who decide most cases.
It is NOT the case that 50/50 is the routine outcome. However, it may be more common with some judges/areas (if requested, in a court).
The children's interests trump the parents'. In your favour you can certainly argue for continuity of practice -- maybe keep a diary of arrangements. If kids are older, like 12+ (or a bit younger but mature), their views should also be considered.
On the other hand, 50/50 can work well for some families, and the days of it automatically being rejected are also over.

anappleadaykeeps Wed 20-Jun-18 18:30:54

Definitely ask Women's Aid for advice.

If he thinks you don't want him to have 50/50, then from your description I would expect him to fight hard to get it.

He also is likely to want to make you go back to work as near full time as he can arrange. Again, because he will think you want the opposite.

In the meantime, if anything escalated that could be reported, do make sure you do so. I personally would also get advice from the GP and - if approachable - your school.

anappleadaykeeps Wed 20-Jun-18 18:32:38

What was the financial abuse you referred to?

anappleadaykeeps Wed 20-Jun-18 18:48:05

Keep a diary of incidents - handwritten notebook is fine - plus any time you ask him to help with child logistics and he declines. I know you are SAHM so do 99% of school run etc, but what happens if one child has one-off hospital appointment or something similar. Does he manage to do a school run as a one off, or is he not able to accommodate it?

NeedSleepNow Wed 20-Jun-18 19:46:55

In terms of finances he's very controlling and secretive. He's always been like it to ab extend but it got so much worse when I stopped working. I now just have the small amount of tax credits/child benefit to pay for absolutely everything for the kids, run my car and buy anything I need (in reality it means I have nothing to spend on me so don't ever get my hair cut or buy new clothes etc.). He pays exact money needed into joint account for household bills and the rest of his wages is entirely his to do what he wants with. I don't know exactly how much as he won't tell me what he clears each month or what bonuses are, but there is a few hundred a month over. If I ask for money towards things like a school trip or petrol he moans and then often shouts and swears telling me I have no concept of the value of money. I have now got problems with tax credit over payments as he had been so secretive about it so I will have even less manage on.

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NeedSleepNow Wed 20-Jun-18 19:48:44

If one of the kids have one off appointments I usually put the other into before school/after school club or ask griefs/family to help and would take baby with me to the appointment.

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somuchbetter Wed 20-Jun-18 23:12:11

I would go along with Doyoumind 's assessment of the situation. Courts don't care all that much if it has not been police involvement, and most who are supposed to help( doctors, teachers, etc) won't back you up when they hear the word court. If you stick to your guns you will get a 35-65 time share, courts don't insist on 50-50.
On the other hand you might want not to show your stbx tat you fear losing the children, if he can't use them as a weapon against you he won't necessarily go for 50-50.

RandomMess Thu 21-Jun-18 10:03:04

Definitely speak to WA and if you go into a refuge you and the DC will be more protected and they can help you remain as main carer, the DC sound young thanks

NeedSleepNow Thu 21-Jun-18 10:23:27

Thanks all. It's the unknown that makes it such a scarey process. I also don't know how my DD would cope with overnight stays yet. She is very emotional and clingy to me but overnights are I suspose completely unavoidable regardless

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lifebegins50 Thu 21-Jun-18 11:06:18

Based on my experience and obviously those on here if you leave he will try to punish you by insisting on 50:50 plus no financial support.It still isn't a reason to stay as my dc are away from the abusive dad more than with him and his behaviour seems even more extreme because it is no longer normalised.

In your favour the baby is young but until your children are 10 they are unlikely to listen to them.
At least you are aware and friend even had physical allegations yet he still had overnights. It is getting less and less as the children refuse to go.

Do all your prep work on advance, keep it secret as he will use everything against you.
I know it seems scary but once you are out you will feel better, from afar Ex's behaviour is more volatile and everyone of my friends and family now know how abusive he has been...despite the charming facade.

Do you have family support?

helpimgoingcrazyhere Sun 24-Jun-18 00:06:49

Do you have the financial means to cover legal fees if he takes you to court? It might also be worth bearing in mind that if he is abusive and you wish to try and seek legal aid to help, you will need evidence of the abuse to help qualify. This can be more difficult if there are no police records/involvement of third parties. It's worth looking into further and start seeking support if you have not done so already.

helpimgoingcrazyhere Sun 24-Jun-18 00:15:40

Sorry I realise that didn't answer your question. I am going through a similar process, though our child is 2. He is fighting for 50/50, I have been advised that the court doesn't really take into account abuse unless it's a safeguarding issue. We have a contested hearing in September. I will put forward every other weekend and one or two nights during the week. He will put forward alternate weeks. Despite me working only 3 days a week. I have no idea how it will go. Try WA or the Domestic Violence Helpline. Rightsofwomen also give free over the phone legal advice. Good luck OP!

somuchbetter Sun 24-Jun-18 12:36:53

Having been through the process already I have a few comments, based on my experience but it's not necessarily the only good way:

1 keep low key on allegations unless you have solid proof ans focus on the interest of the child only. Allegations are listened to but not necessarily welcome, particularly if you focus on making the other parent look just bad.

2. focus on your maternal role being beneficial for the child, particularly is you have always been the main carer. Show that you believe your child will benefit from the routine of being with you as a main carer (especially if children are very young) .You care deeply for your child and will not agree to anything that unless you feel it's in your child's interest.

3 state clearly that while you are in agreement that the dad should be involved in the child's life (unless he's a direct threat to the child and you can prove it take the cue from the existing law and treat this as accepted ).

4. The law makes no presumption of 50-50 time share. agree to time share but not in the proportion requested by the father, treat 50-50 as one of the possible options but one you do not believe it suits your child.

5. give good reason why you don't find 50-50 acceptable such as
-child is very young
-who was the main carer prior and how it would affect the child if suddenly separated from the main carer for so much of the time
- if parental conflict is high it is better for the child and there is no cooperation, the child will be affected by being placed in the middle of a conflict. Reed some recommendations for shared parenting and high conflict and use the arguments
- distance of travel / school proximity / routine that may be in favor of your proposed schedule.

6 - Always offer less than what you are willing to give, the pressure will be high to agree to a schedule so you want to be seen as willing to compromise but also stick to your views of what is best for your child. For example Offer one weekend and 1 afternoons if you aim for one weekend and one or two overnights.

NeedSleepNow Wed 27-Jun-18 11:23:50

No I don't have any access to finances for legal fees helpimgoingcrazyhere. I have no savings and the only money I have access to each month is child benefit and a small amount of tax credits

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lifebegins50 Wed 27-Jun-18 18:12:01

Talk to womens aid or a solicitor.They can often defer fees until you have a settlement.

What family support do you have?

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