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child residence chances of mother winning over father whos on drugs

(13 Posts)
roxy19781980 Sat 11-Sep-10 21:13:31

Hi my name is claire,n lm currently in custody battle with my estranged husband (soon to be ex husband) over my 3 daughters.my eldest tho is my step-daughter which lve classed as my own and still do have been bringin up for the last 7yrs.At the moment my eldest who is nearly 13 is livin with her dad which is at her grandparents (his parents)and the two younger ones who are 5yrs and 4yrs are with me.The main reason why l filed for this divorce is l found out early in may this year that hes been doin drugs which l was absolutley mortified and totally shocked as lm totally anti drug...lve had n still got the domestic violence people,the police and also the victim support on my side...which they all have been a massive support for me n my girls.....and now in the last fortnight hes took me to court for to try and get custody of my two youngest girls....lm goin to represent myself in court and wondered if theres any1 whos gone thro this situation or who knows about this situation and that can give me any tips and advice and what are the chances of my druggie ex of gettin custody.l wantin to relocate to another town which is 80miles away with my current boyfriend and we already have house sorted out and my ex is tryin to stop me moving with the kids by doin all of this....any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated..thanx claire xx

ilove Sat 11-Sep-10 21:24:38

So you split up from your husband 3 months ago, and are moving away and in with another man?

freedomfrom Sat 11-Sep-10 21:39:53

When you say domestic violence people are on your side has he been violent towards you?

What drugs is it if you dont mind me asking?

STIDW Sat 11-Sep-10 22:21:03

Without hearing the facts and evidence from both sides of a particular case the outcome is always difficult to call. I assume your husband has applied for residence because he heard of your plans to move away from the area and is worried about difficulties seeing the children as often.

It's uncommon for courts to disrupt children's sense of security and established relationships unless there is evidence children are not surviving satisfactorily. Generally the courts have made it clear it's inappropriate to prevent a parent with the majority of care from moving in the UK.

However, when children live with parents in equal, or almost equal, proportions sometimes it is deemed less disruptive for them to remain at the existing school and maintain existing relationships with friends and any extended family. Also there are a few cases when the proposed move was somewhere inaccessible or there was a poor contact history and the courts concluded the motivation for the move was to frustrate contact.

In children cases there are no winners or losers. From your husband's POV there is no point opposing the move unless he can offer the children a home and if his application for sole residence is refused there is still the possibility of an order for shared residence and/or to ensure adequate arrangements are in place before you relocate.

Changing the status quo is always an uphill struggle and if there is evidence that the children are at risk of harm then your husband stands little chance of sole residence, particularly if control is the motivation for his application. That has to be balanced against how well established your relationship is with the new boyfriend; your plans for education, accommodation, work etc; the motives for moving; contact history; how accessible the area where you propose to move to is and what contact arrangements you propose.

At the hearing I think you need to be prepared to demonstrate well thought out plans and, as long as it is safe, a willingness to compromise about contact arrangements. Drug abuse can be monitored through testing and isn't on it's own a reason for no contact. You need to think about sharing travel for contact and who is going to pay the costs.

roxy19781980 Sat 11-Sep-10 22:26:48

yes l am movin in with another man, back to live in my hometown were most of my friends are & were i grew up. lve known this new guy for 12yrs & went to school with him even!, my ex husband i met in an internet chatroom & ive known for 7years. The new b/f totally treats me like a total princess which l think l deserve after my bad luck so far.

Anyway, the abuse was mental abuse, he made fun of my medical condition in front of friends and was basicly like a bully towards me. never was violent physically towards me, although he did threaten it once... The drugs he was cannabis & hes been using it 26 yrs, he cant hold a job down n been spending the kids money on this crap..

STIDW Sat 11-Sep-10 22:59:56

Ok, but don't underestimate the importance courts attach to contact. The presumption is that when children live with one parent they have the right to see and know the other parent, warts and all.

As far as abuse is concerned the court has to consider the conduct of both parties towards each other and towards the child, the effect upon the child and on the parent with the majority of care, and the motivation for the parent seeking an order (ie is it a desire to promote the best interests of the child or a means by which to continue intimidation or harassment of the parent with the majority of care.) When DV is proven there is no presumption that there should be no contact.

cestlavielife Sun 12-Sep-10 22:00:04

it seems a bit odd that he has been using cannabis for 26 years and you have two dc with him - but you only realised in may he uses cannabis?

also as STIDW said - it isnt about winners and losers - it is about the dc and their right to contact with their dad. if he hasnt proved to be a risk to them then you need to think carefully and be showing you planning how they wil maintain contact with him.

Tanga Mon 13-Sep-10 19:45:18

Another voice of support for STIDW's point about winning and losing. Have you considered that it is unlikely that the court would award you sole Residence of the eldest when you are not the biological parent? And thus your plan would probably mean separating the siblings still further?

nelladean Thu 20-Oct-11 21:39:51

I have boys aged 3 and 4. Three days before Christmas my husband threw us out for the fifth time (he put my clothes in bin bags and threw them down the stairs) and we went to my parents. We have been there ever since while my husband remains in the three bedroom family home (which is in our joint names)

My husband has the children every other weekend (and for much of the time following our split he had them one night a week too-that stopped because the children were being upset)

During our marriage (of 4 years) he frequently screamed and swore, told me I was mad, controlled all the money, refused to let me keep in touch with family and friends, pushed me over several times, locked me in the house, took away the car keys and hit me once when I 'pushed him too far', again. After I left, he returned most of my personal belongings in bin bags outside the school gates in front of the children) entered (and refused to leave) my car, stole my mobile phone, spread rumours, said vicious things (again in front of the children)

He has now applied to the court for sole residency on the grounds that I am mentally ill (I did have post-natal depression and took anti-depressants, there was never any concerns about the children or my ability to care for them) and because of this he will decide when and if I see the children. He has also applied for an interim ruling which will divide the children's time equally between us while I want to keep things as they are so (alternate weekends) so the children can feel settled.

The proccess began in June. CAFCASS have not been involved yet, my husband keeps delaying things and has now failed to submit his statement on the grounds that he hasn't yet gathered the evidence he needs yet. All our medical records have been examined, my husband has raised 'concerns' with the boys' school, nursery and health visitor but the boys have great reports and their health visitor has offered to stand up in court and testify that I am a 'wonderful mother'.

My husband will never stop until he has regained control over the children and me. I'm scared and would be so grateful for any advice/ suggestions/ tips anyone can offer as to how to survive the next months.

Thank you and best wishes to all.

STIDW Thu 20-Oct-11 23:37:28

Sounds a charming man! As long as children are surviving satisfactorily the courts aren't in the habit of disrupting their security and changing the status quo. Even if someone does have mental health problems any risks are weighed against strengths, including measures that might be put in place, to determine whether parenting is "good enough." An exception to this is sometimes the court will make an order to equalise the power between parents when there is a history of contact being frustrated.

When you say CAFCASS haven't been involved yet do you mean they have been asked to do a report and haven't carried it out or the judge hasn't given any directions yet?

yummymumsie Fri 21-Oct-11 11:33:27

Ilove, what right do you have to post a message like that? You have no idea until you have lived the life that Roxy and nelladean have. I had similar experiences and it destroys your life, your self esteem confidence, everything. These women have every right to grab some happiness. I wish them all the luck and love in the world x

ZillionChocolate Sat 22-Oct-11 20:24:08

Nelladean, although delay may be hard for you personally, it won't do your case any harm. Think of this as an opportunity to settle into an arrangement which can be ensuring.

I think that Ilove's question was a fair one. OP's children will need stability. A court is not likely to be thrilled at them moving house, area and in with a new man so suddenly. Nobody would say that she's not entitled to happiness and a chance to move on, but from an outside perspective it all seems quite quick (notwithstanding how long she's known the new man). At least she might be prepared now that she'll need to explain, if not defend, her plans.

ZillionChocolate Sat 22-Oct-11 20:24:55

Enduring, not ensuring (stupid phone keyboard angry)

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