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Unusual situation - legal advice poss needed(14 Posts)
Sorry, this may be long..
To begin with, please let me state that I have made mistakes. A lot of mistakes. I have not dealt with this situation particularly well. But I am floundering now and not sure who else to turn to.
I met exh in 2006. We married in 2008, and we had our ds in 2010.
My exh was always very controlling. He had his ideas about how our life was going to be, and that was that. He did not tolerate being questioned, or defied. He was always criticizing me. He once shouted at me for half an hour because I left a cupboard door open. I became very miserable in the marriage. It became even harder when ds was born. I suffered PND and exh didn't understand. He thought I was faking it. And he would be very angry when he'd come home after work and I wouldnt have dinner ready, or the place would be untidy. He didn't understand what an effort it was to just get myself and ds dressed for the day.
I'm telling you all this not because I am trying to justify what I did next. I am just stating what drove me to it.
I went back to work after having ds in March 2013. I moved to a new team within my company, and it was in this team, that I met someone else. He was so lovely, we had so much in common, and I began to feel like myself again. I told myself it was harmless flirtation, something to get me through the days at work. However, it progressed.. and then in Nov 13 we went on a work do which ended with me sleeping with him.
I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep this from exh, especially as I had developed feelings for my colleague. I wanted to be with him. So I told exh what I had done. He reacted by telling me that I would not be seeing him or my ds again. He left, taking my ds with him. I became very distressed and everything hit me all at once. I thought I'd lost everything. I couldnt see the woods from the trees. I took an overdose of painkillers and alcohol. I realised almost straight away how stupid I'd been and called my dm.. who called the an ambulance.. who called exh.
He told me that he wished I had died. That he was going to take me for everything I had. That he was going to ruin me.
I got the Prohibited steps order the next day. I didn't see my ds for 10 days. To cut a long story short, the court awarded full residency to my exh. I was allowed contact time. 24 hours a week, no overnight stays. This is what it remains today. During this part year, my exh continues to treat me terribly. He gives me no information regarding my ds. I had to send him 5 texts before he would even tell me what schools he'd put ds down for. He went away this week with his girlfriend. He didn't even tell me. He left ds with his mother. Ds was crying, begging me not to send him back to her, asking to stay with me. I asked if he could, and she said no, and if I tried to keep him she'd call the police. ds clinging onto me as I was forced to give him back to her is something I'll never forget.
I've changed a lot this year. I'm still with my colleague, we're engaged now. I am so much happier. But I am sick of being treated like this, having to beg whenever I want to see my son, missing out on his life and being threatened with police action any time I want to see him. My exh shouts at me and slams doors in my face in front of ds, and when I ask him to please not, not in front of him, he says he will do with me what he wishes, when he wishes.
I'm sorry this is so long, I am desperate now, I am losing my ds. I know that if I told exh that I wanted nothing more to do with it he'd throw a party. But I will never do this. Where should I go from here?
Thank you so much if you've read this far.
Have you got legal advice? I think you'll need it. You may be able to vary the contact order so that you get more time.
I don't have legal advice.. I can't afford it. I don't necessarily want the change the contact time.. just be able to vary it. For instance I got off work early one Tuesday and took ds to a soft play, when exh found out he threatened the police. I want to be able to take my son to soft play if I want to without having to worry about these things.
He is abusing you so surely Women's Aid can help you. And you would then get free legal advice. Which is what you most certainly will need.
I think you definitely need to seek legal advice in regards to a contact order. I'm afraid if there's no reasoning with your exh that it's the only way forward.
Ask for your thread to be moved to legal. Hopefully someone more qualified can give you the right advice on how to go about this.
Alternatively you could phone round local solicitors (some of whom can offer a free half hour - although not always) and ask their advice on how to go about gaining a contact order to see your son on a regular basis.
Get some legal advice, you can go back to the Family Court and ask for the current order to be reviewed as your circumstances have changed. I doubt they would be happy at your ex's abuse of you in front of your son. Before you see a solicitor specialising in Family Law write everything down or copy the opening to your thread and take it with you to your appointment.
A friend in almost exactly your situation got legal aid because of the domestic abuse (not physical for her either). This would also trigger a CAFCAS (sp?) assessment which would take your son's views into account.
I don't you think you will ever get him to agree to any kind of variation because it's all about control. Your best bet is to go to court and try for further days/ some overnights.
This charity were absolutely amazing with their advice so give them a call.
You would be eligible for legal aid because you have suffered domestic violence. There is legal aid available for family law in those circumstances. I hope this helps, OP
Thankyou all for the advice. Just bumping this in the hope of any more opinions
If he's inflexible, then you do need to go back to court, I'm afraid. There really isn't another way round it.
You won't be eligible for Legal Aid just because you've suffered domestic violence. You have to qualify on income and capital grounds as well.
Choose a solicitor local to you from the Resolution website, and have a no obligation chat about what they can do to help you and the likely cost. Make sure before you go there that you know whether the initial meeting will be free or how much it will cost.
The only way to resolve this is by going back to court.
Turning up when you shouldn't and sending multiple texts is not going to show you in a good light so I urge you to stop.
You need to comply with the order until you can change it.
Also please consider that having variable contact times is not necessarily a good idea for your DS, it might be better to focus on getting more contact/working towards overnights?
Sorry to hear about the problems you are going through (I am a McKenzie Friend and assist parents - mainly ones in your situation).
But take heart, there are things you can do.
Firstly school, etc. As a holder of PR you are entitled to be consulted about your DS' education, medical matters, etc. and that has no bearing on where your DS spends his time. It is something that doesn't change unless the court makes an order specifically limiting it.
With regard to you DS' school, medical matters, etc. you can and should contact them directly. If you don't know which school, doctor, etc. it will take a little investigation on your part - contacting education boards, community health councils, whatever. Once you have their details you can and ask that they put your contact details on your DS' records AND send you any information they send your ex. Don't be completely surprised if they do something like tell you this isn't possible (pick a variety of reasons...!) - the Children Act is very clear. As a holder of PR you have right to this.
All of the above can and should be done without the courts. Concentrate your time in court on contact...which I discuss below.
The sad truth is that unless your ex agrees to additional time you will need to move things forward by firstly proposing mediation. And then if that fails submit a C100 form. From what you've said I would guess you need to apply for a variation - but truth be told it makes little difference as the court has a wide ambit of discretion and what you apply for initially may not be appropriate in the final analysis.
Time is against you. The status quo is one of the most powerful arguments used in court so it is very much worth considering contacting the mediator immediately. It doesn't matter if you know your ex will refuse or won't negotiate - it is now a legal requirement before you make an application to the court.
In your case I would suggest you download the C100 as soon as possible and fill it in so it is good to go as soon as mediation ends. I would also recommend you keep a record of what is going on. When you have contacted your ex, what was said between you. Letters, emails, texts, anything.
If I were assisting you in your application I would be arguing amongst other things that the current arrangements aren't working, that your DS is being denied the benefits of having both parents involved in his health, education, etc. (and the texts you have clearly demonstrate that your ex is hostile). That his best interests are not being served by this ongoing hostility.
I would recommend you join Families Need Fathers (forget the name...it's a parenting organisation and there are an awful lot of mums in exactly the same boat as you - I know a few that run the branch meetings around the country). They have support meetings everywhere, a free telephone helpline, a support forum and other things to help. Website is at www.fnf.org.uk/.
It's also worth considering representing yourself in court. I work as a McKenzie Friend (there are lots of us) around the UK and can do a lot of the work (but not all...I am not a lawyer!) to make things easier - advice, paperwork, negotiations, etc. Some people use them simply because they are cheaper, others because they like being in control of their own cases.
Hope that helps and you don't feel too overloaded. But please don't worry. It's not hopeless. There is a LOT you can do. I assist many parents who feel they have no ability to change things but it IS possible.
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