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Fighting shared residence request of extremely controlling husband - any advice (I have 5 days until the hearing)

(22 Posts)
Chipster39 Tue 12-Jul-11 08:53:23

My ex wants shared residence for my two children (3 and 7) and I am extremely concerned that he will abuse the order if he received it: He was incredibly controlling throughout our marriage and after 10 years of abuse, upon discovering his multiple affairs I took the opportunity to divorce him. That was a year ago and we are still not divorced and it has been a nightmare with him turning up when he wants to, ringing, sending photographs of himself on my phone (for the children apparently), texting, emailing. He has tried to prevent me going on holiday with the children, has harrassed my parents when they have looked after the children etc. etc.
I have never prevented him seeing the children and agreed contact from the day after I found him with another woman - I have struggled to get him to stick to contact on agreed days though. If he was a reasonable person I would have no problem with shared residence as I agree with the principle for the sake of the children - however, I have no doubt that he will use the order to continue his domination if he can.
I have to write a statement setting out my evidence for why I don't want him to get it and why I want full residence. Does anyone have any advice?
I have a solicitor and I understand that this may be an uphill struggle but I have to try as life is hell currently

cestlavielife Tue 12-Jul-11 11:13:28

you have to write it from the chidlrens point of view. everything has to eb about the chidlrens needs and wishes .

have they already stayed overnight with him?
aprt from inconsistency fo contact are there any other cocnrete issues?
what about getting to school form his place? is that an issue?

you may be hard pushed to find concrete reasons why shared residency could not work from chidlrens point of view...

Chipster39 Tue 12-Jul-11 11:22:41

Thanks. Yes I see your point. They have stayed overnight but it has been limited to one night per fortnight and more in the holidays. He lives a mile away from us so getting to school is not a problem.
I am concerned about the psychological damage he is doing to our 7 year old. As part of his controlling nature he seeks to blame me and paint me as the bad one and is telling her all sorts of lies. She is not happy about going to stay with him and I am worried about the affect he is having on her.

babybarrister Tue 12-Jul-11 12:14:13

as I am sure you have been advised, shared residence is a label and does not mean equal time. the concerns you have about ex behaviour would apply whether contact order or shared residence ..

Chipster39 Tue 12-Jul-11 12:56:02

Of course yes but I understand that if I had full residence then I would be able to make decisions like taking the children on a holiday without his consent. The reason it is pertinent is that his modus operandi is to object to anything that I want for the children to hurt me and recently tried to stop me going on holiday for a week - demanding our passports through his solicitor.
We were eventually permitted to go but had to agree to a number of conditions including asking his permission to go on a boat trip and / or bike ride, ringing him everyday, my not being more than 6 feet away from our three year old in the swimming pool (as if I would leave him anyway) etc.
Presumably it would be useful to point to this as an example of how difficult a shared residence order would be in practice?

babybarrister Tue 12-Jul-11 13:09:59

the only thing a residence order allows you to do is take children out of the country for 28 days - the "conditions" being placed on what happens on holiday would be in dispute regardless of whether shared residence or contact IME

susiesheep2 Tue 12-Jul-11 13:17:48

I have a similar court hearing coming up, my ex father of dd1 is extremely controlling and uses contact to control me and my family (we have another dd with my new partner)

My ex wants shared residence of dd1, I am fighting against this in court as I dont want the sisters spitting up. He has alternative weekend with dd1, but he wants to have her staying during the week too, which I have always refused as he lives an hour away and it means its too early for her at school.

I am dreading the court hearing though if he gets shared residence as it will just be used an another form of control sad and ids hate for dd1 and dd2 to be torn apart, which is what he wants, he wont even call dd2 her sister, and tells my little girl she isnt her real sister, he is pure evil.

susiesheep2 Tue 12-Jul-11 13:18:59

sorry to interupt, let me know how you get on, good luck xx

babybarrister Tue 12-Jul-11 13:19:05

shared residence is rightly or wrongly very in fashion with courts .... in Spain it is the starting point in many regions!

susiesheep2 Tue 12-Jul-11 13:40:57

babybarrister do you think they would allow shared residence for my oldest girl (ex partners daughter), but not the younger sister, new partner. He has has weekly visiting contact and fortnight 1 night stays since we spilt 3 years ago (when she was 2), but now he wants shared residence and midweek stays, but I dont want to seperate the girls even more as they already miss each other massively.

cestlavielife Tue 12-Jul-11 13:45:08

the conditions imposed for your holiday were surely not enforceable - ie unless he was there with you how was he going to ensure you did all those things? and what would happen if you did not?

but as was said, the issues over conditions etc would not be solved by a residency order ...as there no welfare issues he would presumably get good level fo contact anyway and probably shared reisdence order. but eh cant erally control what you do with them - just as you cannto control what eh does with them when in his care.

if DD is anxious/upset tho and enough to warrant talking to GP about it then tht is what you need to do - get ehr referred to family therapist and get profressional outside oipinion on any harm being done.

you could ask him to attend something like a parenting together course?
like www.tccr.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61&Itemid=113

Chipster39 Tue 12-Jul-11 18:18:06

Poor you SS2 - I am shocked and appalled at how common our experience is. There seem to be (though thankfully by no means the majority) a large number of very controlling and bullying men (no doubt there are women too but I have only heard about the men). It seems that you can behave in as egregious manner as you like and it makes no difference to how you are viewed as a father. Where is morality in this? Setting a positive role model to your children? It seems that the law and society are too permissive - far better to contact a journalist at The Sun and run your own PR campaign
Good luck with your hearing. Surely splitting up two sisters can't be deemed in the best interest of either child? Let me know how it goes
Thanks cestlavielife I had asked about child therapy but a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist said he thought she was too young at 7 to benefit - he said i was better to save my money and buy her some sessions for when she leaves university!
Like your idea of a parenting together course - although sceptical as my ex and I were attending couples therapy and all the way through he was having at least one affair - but the children are another matter and he may be persuaded
I will be up all night drafting my statement - my cortisol levels are through he roof!

STIDW Wed 13-Jul-11 12:59:40

I really wouldn't bother one way or the other about shared residence. Practically there isn't much difference between an order for shared residence or contact and what does matter is the time children spend with a parent. The court can attach conditions regulating holidays etc to any order.

A residence order determines where a child lives and can be in favour of one parent or both. It is actually Parental Responsibility that gives both parents equal responsibilities and rights to carry out those responsibilities. Shared residence doesn't have to be 50:50 it can be in other proportions. One father was recently awarded shared residence and the child now "lives" with him two hours alternate weekends in a contact centre.

cestlavielife Wed 13-Jul-11 14:13:27

if the child is truly anxious and it interering with her school work etc then of course there is therapy approrpriate to a child that age - play therapy, music therapy etc. it just depends on how much she actually being affected by it and whether you talking with her about it is not enough to allay any anxietiies or fears. point is that in conflict situaiton where she mnay be trying to please both aprents then a third party/counsellor trained in talking to children could find out herreal fears andreasons for emotional distress/anxiety - it all depends how much any distress is impacitng on her day to day life. and if goes beyond "typical" reaction...

but you can do a lot by talking to her and doing role play or getting her to draw pictures of her family, how she sees herself, asking open ended questions - jsut what do you want to do when you grow up? can be revealing - or where would you like to live? getting a box of male and female dolls and children and seeing how she plays with them - what she makes them do, where they live etc or how she plays "mums and dads" with her friends can be revealing too as to how she sees the situation at home....

babybarrister Wed 13-Jul-11 21:57:44

agree with STIDW

babybarrister Wed 13-Jul-11 21:58:07

agree with STIDW wholeheartedly

susiesheep2 Fri 15-Jul-11 12:52:07

The main issue I have with shared residence with exP is that he has on many occasions threatened to collect my DD1 from school without my consent, as he says he does not need my consent. He says the same with regards to holidays, I do not want me daughter who has never spent more than 1 night away from her mum or sister to be legally remove from the country without either for up to 28 days by her spiteful father, who would do this without a second thought to my DD1 emotional welfare, just to distress me should the courts give him shared residence I have no doubt he would use it as a form of mental tourture on me, just as he does with his "parental rights" which are used as a legal weapon to harass and intimidate me.

I do currently have an interim prohibitive steps order against him removing DD1 from my day to day care, however this is only until the residency hearing in a few weeks.

Chipster let me know how you get on......

babybarrister Fri 15-Jul-11 13:03:41

those issues which rightly concern you must be dealt with whether it is a contact order or a shared residence order ,...good luck

Chipster39 Fri 19-Aug-11 16:38:47

After an adjournment and thousands more pounds in Barrister's fees I had to concede Shared residence to Ex but negotiated contact for him consisting of 2 nights per fortnight and two hours after school on Monday and Wednesday term time and half holidays. Not as bad as it could have been but my welfare issues remain. I had to balance the risk to the children versus the damage of not having contact with their father. It would appear you can be a truly awful parent and still it is beneficial to have contact. I am coming to terms with my new World and have resigned myself to having to deal with whatever fall out there is from his care of the children. I hope his desire to control wanes now that he has "won."
Important learning for me is that it is almost impossible to obtain a result that runs counter to the current legal thinking. Better to work within shared residence and concentrate on obtaining the desired level of contact. Hope you have more success than me SS2

Tyr Fri 19-Aug-11 17:00:09

I think you should heed what STIDW and babybarrista have said. There are few advantages to SR and I'm frequently amazed by the lengths to which some parents will go to in order to gain or oppose them.
Some of the problems you have raised can be addressed by other orders or provisions within whatever order is made.
The ease with which SRO's are granted varies greatly from court to court
Without knowing the full facts, I'd suggest you do one of two things:
(1) Indicate to the court that his lack of consistency etc mean that a SRO would not be an accurate reflection of "the situation on the ground"
(2) Raise no objection to the SRO but ask to have certain provisions written into the order to address your concerns.
In short, I would stop worrying about it.

stickymits Fri 19-Aug-11 18:06:12

Does SR have any affect on RP tax credits, child benefit or maintenance?

Collaborate Fri 19-Aug-11 18:36:38

No

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