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I need advice, please help.....

(7 Posts)
anon2212 Sun 02-Mar-14 23:04:00

My son is 13. There is a very strict contact order in place for his father to see him. We live over 300 miles away from his father. His father is an alcoholic and basically i survived extreme domestic violence. I left him when my son was born 13 years ago. But life got so much worse when i left. I spent 7-8 years in and out of court. We've had full social services and cafcass involvement, but nothing currently. The problem is that now my son is a teenager he doesn't want to see his dad so much. He is scared of his dad and his dads family and wants to keep the peace. I don't think he's ready to instruct his own solicitor to amend the order, he's too scared.
Alongside this his dad threatened to kill me last year and i got an harassment notice out against him so he can no longer contact me. He then decided he's going bankrupt and stopped all maintenance payments. Because that money was through court I cannot go to CSA. I am now really broke. My car has just died and I cannot afford to take son to handover location which costs me £80 in fuel each time.
So he wants our son to do a 3 hour train journey alone to get to see him (and thats only on weekend contact, when its holidays he's suggesting that son makes a nearly 7 hour journey alone.)
My question is, what do others think about 13 year old having to do these length of train journeys alone? I think he's too young and son doesn't want to do it himself but am getting to a point where I don't see I have much option. Ex has told my son today that if I don't put him on a train and I breech the order he will try and get me sent to prison. Son is beside himself with worry now.
I'm so tired of the whole thing, its been going on for so many years I just want it all to go away.
Would love to hear from anyone who's been in similar situation to this or what people think about train journeys and 13 year olds.
Thanks

artiface Mon 03-Mar-14 11:01:08

Could you contact the rail companies and find out if they 'escort' minors like the airlines sometimes do? Or ask if you don't exit the station if you could escort him yourself and not have to pay a ticket (as you're only on the train). Having said that I think him travelling on his own is very much down to his own maturity and he may be saying he doesn't want to do it as he may either be picking up your won reticence, or he feels its a why eh can still get out of doing something unpleasant. But I would think you need legal advice as your ex's behaviour could be seen as intimidating your son (even if indirectly)

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Mon 03-Mar-14 12:50:13

I have no legal knowledge of this subject but I would be doing everything to stop my son from continuing contact with his father. He threatened to kill you FGS!

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along soon.

anon2212 Mon 03-Mar-14 13:15:34

Thanks both. have just rung social services for advice and they say no to a child alone on a train under the age of 16.
I wish I could cease contact but I do honestly think he'd have penal notice attached and he'd do everything to put me in prison. Despite his claims of bankruptcy he has access to a lot of money through his father

Does anyone know anyone who's ever gone to prison over breeching a contact order?

monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 13:39:51

I don't think it's unreasonable for a 13 yr old to do a long train journey by themselves.

However, YOUR 13 yr old clearly doesn't feel comfortable doing this themselves. I think it would be very upsetting for him to have to do this when he has clearly said he doesn't want to do it himself

monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 13:45:36

You say there is a "very strict contact order in place" I assume this order states that your son is taken to the handover location. But now your car is out of service so you can't take your son there as per the order.

I think you need to try and keep to the order as much as possible. Can someone else give him a lift for you whilst you wait for your car to be fixed? Can you hire a car for the day to enable you to stick to the order?

Or perhaps you could travel by train with your son the first time or two? You get to practice the route with him and he learns where to change trains/get on and off. He might decide he likes his new independence and that we comfortable doing it by himself. Could you appeals to your ex's better nature and explain to your ex that he is reluctant to travel by train alone and perhaps your ex will agree to meet him at a change point or be there to meet him at the station?

IDontDoIroning Mon 03-Mar-14 13:55:31

Your son is 13. Contact is supposed to be for his benefit.
If he doesn't want to go to a man who threatened to kill mix mother who could blame him?
You have no car so cannot drive him to contact.
He doesn't feel happy about going on a train.
His father is not providing any child support and you cannot afford to take him to contact by an alternative route.

What is he getting out of the contact with is father?
Can you honestly say it is benefitting him or in his best interests.

At his age I'm sure that the courts would take his opinion into account. Can you self rep and put in a variation to the contact order taking into account his feelings?

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