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Handover at grandparents and calling the police.

(21 Posts)
Iburntthecakes Sat 13-Oct-12 00:51:57

Just talking with my friend who has been going through a difficult split with a rather controlling soon to be exDP. ExDP was bringing some things over for the children and tried to start an argument with my friend who wouldn't engage and went inside and shut the door (it was in front of their children and my friend believes the children should not have to witness their parents arguing). ExDP then banged loudly on the door a few times and called my friend a few offensive names through the letterbox before retreating. The children heard it all.

My friend certainly doesn't feel threatened in the slightest but doesn't want the children to be exposed to this sort of thing. They are currently considering arrangements for the children and my friend is considering asking for the handover to take place at the childrens grandparents. This may well be opposed by exDP who doesn't get on with my friends parents. ExDP is likely to argue there is no issue with direct handovers between the parents.

I have heard that the courts disregard any allegations of abusive behaviour between parents unless documented by the police. On the other hand this feels like too low level an incident to report. What should my friend have done/do?

Collaborate Sat 13-Oct-12 01:05:50

She should go ahead and change the pick up and drop off point. Even if for a temporary period, it's right that the children aren't exposed to that kind of behaviour.

If they still have some issues to resolve perhaps they could discuss them in mediation.

Iburntthecakes Sat 13-Oct-12 07:34:33

My friend is not the rp so can't just change it or would not see the children. This all happened on a contact night and mediation has already failed to sort out the issues so it is already likely to go to court. The children are 2 and 4 by the way. Sorry, didn't make it clear!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sat 13-Oct-12 07:36:58

Yeah id report.

olgaga Sat 13-Oct-12 19:11:51

When you say "ExDP was bringing some things over for the children and tried to start an argument with my friend" what do you mean exactly? What was the "argument" about?

I am interested to know whether it justified shutting the door in exDP's face - which is also not a very nice thing to do to their mother in front of the children. It seems unnecessarily provocative if he "didn't feel threatened at all".

At least, that's how I read it...given that the "ExDP" is the parent with care.

I'm not sure why she would be bothered about handover via his parents - she's only going to be picking them up and dropping them off.

peppapigpants Sat 13-Oct-12 19:42:21

Is your friend the children's father? The respondents so far have assumed your friend is the mother and the father was the one shouting abuse but I suspect it is the other way around.

cestlavielife Sat 13-Oct-12 21:34:59

It wasn't a handover tho was it ? She came to bring some things for the dc ? Dc were already handed over ?

Why would she do that ? Had he asked for something ? Or did she make up an excuse to go with things ?

I thnk saying Tks bye and shutting door is fine if it avoids more argument. Of she then pursued thru letterbox she was at fault. And se if she is harassing then call police

olgaga Sat 13-Oct-12 23:24:11

I somehow doubt that cakes is going to come back and tell us any details about her "friend", or what his ex wanted to discuss with him, or why he slammed the door in her face in front of their children.

Iburntthecakes Sun 14-Oct-12 00:19:42

Frankly, I don't think it matters either way if my friend is the father or the mother.

FWIW my friend is the mother. There are sometimes situations where the RP is the father.

Also, I feel I should slightly protest that I don't really see of what relevance the exact circumstances are - surely all debates/arguments should be conducted in a respectful fashion from each side and no one should be open to this kind of behaviour? I suppose I have a bit of a zero tolerance when it comes to this kind of thing though.

However, FWIW, I believe some clothes had been forgotten and they'd both agreed and both been quite happy that exDP would bring them around later.

The argument as I understand it was about the fact that my friend's (the mother's) exDP (the father) wanted to start discussing some of their ongoing debates about how they share care in the future and moved on to trying to discuss why they split up in the first place. It wasn't relevant to that day and could have been discussed at another time. In any event, my friend is sick of explaining and arguing with exDP about why she left him (he had an affair and she found she couldn't forgive him --no doubt someone will feel that is relevant too--). It was 7pm, the children were trying to go to bed and my friend (the mother) said calmly several times it wasn't a suitable topic of conversation in front of the children whilst exDP's voice got louder and louder. Shutting the door seemed to be the only option.

The thing is Celavielife - is it really harassment? Although they have had heated arguments in the past, this is just a one off although not one that anyone would want repeated. Doesn't there have to be a repeating pattern of behaviour? However, having someone shout abuse ('bitch' and 'cunt' I understand) through your door is obviously not pleasant, particularly in front of your children. The ideal would be for it not to be repeated and for them to be able to work on working together. My friend feels torn between not wanting to escalate things but equally wants a temporary period where handovers take place on neutral ground so things can cool off. Whilst logging this with the police may (or may not) make it more likely for handovers to take place elsewhere, it will equally have a detrimental effect in that it will make things even less amicable than they already are.

This is why I am pondering.

Hope that clarifies things somewhat.

olgaga Mon 15-Oct-12 00:09:09

Well I'm sorry if I misunderstood, Burnt. I don't see any problem at all with handovers at a neutral venue whether it be family or a contact centre.

Your more detailed post indicates that he is rather volatile, which doesn't bode well if she is the NRP. Perhaps your friend should suggest mediation if things are disintegrating - as arrangements which start off "amicably" often do - before things escalate.

olgaga Mon 15-Oct-12 00:12:45

Sorry I just noticed they have already tried mediation. It sounds like a very difficult situation indeed. She may have to go to court for an order. In the family courts it seems anything short of physical violence is considered par for the course - however the police may take a different view.

Perhaps she could telephone the police non-emergency number 101 and discuss the matter.

Collaborate Mon 15-Oct-12 08:03:02

Olgaga you have no/little experience of what is par for the course in the family courts other than what you have seen here. Trouble during handovers is something that is taken seriously by the courts and there are a number of mechanisms that can and will be put in place to reduce the chances of trouble.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Mon 15-Oct-12 08:09:58

Why isn't your friend the RP? Her ex has behaved in an untrustworthy manner, is by your account controlling and the children are very young.

EleanorBloodBathsket Mon 15-Oct-12 08:12:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EleanorBloodBathsket Mon 15-Oct-12 08:13:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cestlavielife Mon 15-Oct-12 11:06:36

well if it is "this is just a one off " then leave it at that... and hope it doesnt happen again. if handoves ahve acatually been wfine and a quick hre you are, bye see you tomorrow type thing then why rush into contact centres or neutral drop offs? jsut make handnovers/dropping off stuff simpler/quicker.

however there is no reason why your friend cant suggest they meet at a neutral place mediation to discuss handovers and other ways of makng things mpore plasant all round.

and also, if things are forgotten, unless absolutely essential then dont make contact. eg i would go and pick up some pyjamas from asda/tesco/sainsburys rather than call the ex to bring a pair round...

fwiw my ex to would try to discuss thing son doorstep adn shutting door was only way to stop it. it might take a few more shutting door on him to get the message across an maybe quicly move dc out of earshot?

but as you say one incident is one incident.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 15-Oct-12 11:39:54

Blimey! Its awful that he shouted that stuff in front of the kids!

olgaga Mon 15-Oct-12 22:49:54

you have no/little experience of what is par for the course in the family courts other than what you have seen here

The experience I have tends to be negative rather than positive in relation to what is and is not deemed to be worthy of mention in contact proceedings. A recent example I am aware of - and yes this is real life - was a respondent being told by her lawyer (listed as a Collaborative lawyer, no less) that her ex-husband's verbal aggression and threats, on more than one occasion, were not worth mentioning as the threats "had never been carried out and it won't help if you seem too hostile". Sadly my experience is not all from the pages of Mumsnet. If only it were.

Look at this recent case www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed97573 which involved "physical violence and harassment over a considerable period of time" which had to go all the way to the Court of Appeal to establish that the "approach had not been sufficient" in a decision to allow unsupervised interim contact. No doubt a slightly disappointing day for HHJ Yelton, untold stress and misery for the mother and child.

But whatever my experience, and however I come by it, I am entitled to voice it here. You might not like it, but you're wasting your time if you think I'm going to be put off by your attempts to disparage my contributions. It usually means I receive encouraging PMs, so I consider it's well worth tolerating your patronising jibes.

As Christina Blacklaws said, in her recent Q&A about the widening of the definition of domestic abuse:

"Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim."
"It is not a legal definition, but is to be used by government departments for the purposes of, for example, targeting support services. Nevertheless, it is likely that the widening of the definition will have an impact in Family Law in residence and contact proceedings, and will lead to a change in culture for lawyers and the judiciary."

I certainly hope she is right.

Iburntthecakes Tue 16-Oct-12 00:38:42

My friend has decided to let it go for the time being. It's all too easy to let things escalate and it was just a one off. She was so shocked it had happened at all and it becomes so easy to catastrophize. If it happens again then she'll push for handover at the grandparents.

In relation to all the side issues that this post appears to have attracted: my friend is the NRP because the father has been the main carer for the last year and a half and is a caring father despite his flaws as a partner. They aren't actually arguing about that.

The second issue is that I hid the gender in my op as it is unusual still for the mother to be the NRP and it might be too identifying as well as prompting a lot of sidetracking into why she isn't the RP. I am constantly amazed at how sexist MN is when it comes to these sort of issues and I still stand by the fact it shouldn't matter at all if my friend is the mother or the father. As someone who once was in an abusive relationship I have a very strict threshold now for how I feel people should treat each other. However, I dont feel this is purely about how men treat women as I also have a very lovely, compassionate and gentle male friend who many years ago finally left an abusive relationship when his girlfriend put him hospital by smashing a bottle over his head. I just hope he didn't get endless questions about whether he'd been 'unnecessarily provocative' and people assuming he must be the one at fault purely on the basis of being the man. To me this is rather reminiscent of the situation when the abusive husband tells his wife she deserved being punched as she hadn't got his dinner on the table in time.

Anyway, I too am sidetracking and my friend tells me the next handover went without incident so hopefully she's made the right decision. She also tells me her decision not to join MN seems to her to be the right one after reading some of the responses, although is appreciative of the sensible comments too.

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 08:12:38

I still stand by the fact it shouldn't matter at all if my friend is the mother or the father

No it shouldn't, but there's no denying that mothers who are apart from their children are stigmatised by society.

Please forward this link to your friend:
www.matchmothers.org/

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Tue 16-Oct-12 19:10:29

OP - I asked why your friend is the NRP because it seemed that the father was not fulfilling that role appropriately as evidenced by this thread. If that is not the case, fine. It has nothing to do with being 'sexist'. Rather I was thinking that if he was as he appeared in the OP she should be pushing for residency with her rather than worrying about the handover arrangements.

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