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Separated parenting course but have restraining order(15 Posts)
We've been ordered to attend a separated parent course. Our marriage was abusive and he got out of prison a year ago. Still on probation for a further two years.
He has a police harassment warning in place and i also have an order banning him from my road or attempting to engage with me during handovers.
Am i going to have to grit my teeth through this course?
He has them every other weekend and half the school hols. I get no maintenance as he hides it in his 9 limited companies. I never ever speak badly of him despite all he's done. I'm not looking forward to being patronised if im honest.
Anyone been on one?
You don't do the course together, you'll attend separate ones.
I know that.
The point is I understand that I'm going to be told we need to work together for the sake of the children or somesuch. Which is great with a normal parent which he is not.
Just sit there and nod your head like everyone else does.
My sympathies - I was too was forced to attend a separated parenting course (escaped an abusive marriage, exH also made to attend separately) and yes, the course completely ignores abuse and is cruelly patronising to those who have escaped an abusive relationship. It point blank tells parents that they're being irresponsible and selfish if they don't have "open cooperative communication" with their ex - which if you are struggling to protect yourself from an abusive ex, is just awful, especially when that ex then uses the 'information' in the course to then berate you "the course says you're selfish" and mine attempted to frame me as a bad parent in court because I insisted on public handovers and text message communications (because he had history of lying, gas lighting and manipulation of events). There is a strong movement from abuse survivors charities to protest this very issue as the parenting course gives advice which is completely unsafe for dealing with abusive persons and situations and leaves the survivor vulnerable to further abuse and harm.
It's a generic course for all. It won't be specific to you, there maybe so pointers you can use but otherwise just complete it.
Sistersofmercy - you've hit my fear on the head there. He'll use it against me going forward.
I don't get it at all. You just sit there, what is the big deal? It's just something you have to do usually if you use the family court to establish child arrangements.
From what I remember it's just a series of scenarios that may or not be relevant to your situation.
The point of the course is that you both have to attend it. In many cases it can benefit both - even if just that you get to meet some other real people dealing with these situations. In some cases it is more one parent than the other that needs to hear the information. In this case maybe it is more him than you.
I would go with an open mind as far as possible. A generic course isn’t going to be a perfect fit for everyone’s circumstances as every family is different but I wouldn’t rule it out as a total waste of time.
As for him using what is in the course to berate you. You will know what has been said and you will have to be clear on what the boundaries of communication are based on his past and ongoing behaviour. He is going to have to accept that broken trust is slow to repair (in some cases impossible). He is not in the same position as other separated parents who haven’t been/aren’t abusive. So if he try’s to use that type of situation he’s going to need to think again. Fundamentally it’s not about what HE wants - it’s about what is in the children’s best interests. You both have responsibilities to promote those best interests. If you stick to that in everything you do/communicate you won’t go wrong.
I've done the course - under the same circumstances as you.
It's literally a box ticking exercise, to show willing. Just go and nod your head say the things they went you to say, get your certificate and leave.
It will show you in such a good light to the judge. My ex refused to do the course - three times - the judge was not impressed ... I did it, found it a complete waste of my time but my solicitor advised it so I sucked it up and spent the morning somewhere I didn't want to be
The difficulty is that this course preaches "getting along for the kids" in a way that places a victim of abuse at risk of continued abuse from the perpetrator, if they follow it. For instance it shows two parents doing contact handovers in a family home - completely unsuitable and probably unsafe in a situation that requires a restraining order!! So my advice OP is to remember the important fact "safety boundaries are not me causing conflict" and "this advice is irrelevant to a situation involving a domestic abuser who required a restraining order."
Do NOT allow your ex to guilt or pressure you using the advice in the course by saying "but the course said we have to get along for the kids" and attempting to insist on all sorts of unsafe arrangements like verbal agreements (mine would lie, twist, manipulate what had been said to his advantage) or handovers where I was vulnerable and alone etc. So text or email arrangements and third party handovers only (in my situation, because of his behaviour) and yes, he tries to manipulate this as me being high conflict and hostile - fortunately, I was able to clearly articulate in court that these measures were to AVOID confusion conflict and ambiguity and the third party handovers kept all emotional involvement calm and peaceful which is much better for the children's welfare... Hope this helps you OP. Good luck.
Thank you so much, so so helpful.
We in fact already have our order as well as court reasons saying he's a manipulative bullying controlling abuser (in writing annexed to the order!) As well as saying he's used the court process to abuse me and the children are NOT his priority.
He then in fact wrote to the court saying they had missed off referring us to this course which he understands is local policy (correct). They then wrote back adding it as a direction. The fact this has been done at his request worries me as to his motivation.
But thank you so much for the replies. You can certainly tell which posters understand abusive relationships and those who don't.
Just because you don't agree with people's replies doesn't justify writing snide comments about them. You don't know the first thing about others' circumstances or knowledge.
Just one other thought given your comment about him writing to the court after you got your order and re him abusing the court process as part of the abuse. If he makes applications in the future just to cause you grief then the court can impose a bar so that he would need the courts permission to apply in future (as opposed to him being able to fire in applications willy nilly and they automatically get listed).
If the children are not his priority and he wakes up to the fact he can’t get to you anymore then I do very much hope he leaves well alone but sadly not always the case. If he keeps on - stay strong, be robust in standing up for what you need (written communication only etc). You’ve been to court and had the abuse acknowledged. He is not in a good position to be critising you.
Try not to feel like you are only being dragged to the course because of him. It could have come up just as easily from the court and you would have had to go anyway. Besides it is more likely to backfire on him because if he attends the course he asked to go on and still acts like an absolute tosser then if anything does crop up in future (and I hope it doesn’t) it’s just a further example of him stirring up nonsense and being an arse while totally missing the point of what’s best for his kids. Meanwhile you can calmly show you’ve done all that’s been asked of you, and you are totally focused on the children in spite of all he has done.
I went on a separated parenting course voluntarily because I wanted to help my DDs come to terms with not wanting to see their alcoholic dad. There was one lady there whose presence was court ordered - her XH was very abusive and contact was affecting her DS. She learned a lot about how best to support her DS, was given a lot of tips about how to manage the legalities of future court cases and the possibilities for limiting contact to contact centre only. The parenting tips alone gave her DS a lot of calm and confidence.
These courses can be very useful even if you don't want to be there. Take what you can from it. I learned loads.
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