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Ex wants contact after 9 months.(20 Posts)
DS is 2, and his father has not seen him for 9 months now. In this time, he has asked to see DS that same day (out of the blue) twice, and proceeded to send abusive messages etc when he did not get his own way (both times due to DS and I bring out), which has led to the police being contacted (by me) 5 times. Last time the police could not trace him, his girlfriend lied and said he did not live at their address.
I have received a letter asking for me to contact mediation as he wants to see DS. Previous contact pattern (pre August) was he would have DS tea time Friday-teat time Sat. Would they go straight back to this? I would prefer that they start gradually and DS gets to build his relationship and bond with his father again. The only thing that terrifies me is that once he has DS he will take him away, which would be extremely distressing for both DS and myself, and also that he has admitted he will do his best to turn DS against me, tell him his mother is a slut (not true!) and a bad mother and that he should live with his dad. He is (or was?) a drug user (cannabis regularly and cocaine/mdma on nights out), obviously I do not want my son exposed to this.
As a side note he was mentally and physically abusive towards me when we were together, so I know exactly what he is capable of. However, DS has a right to make up his own mind when he is old enough, and I would do nothing to try and change whatever opinion he formed.
Naturally, and selfishly, I am absolutely devastated at the prospect of losing time with DS but all that matters in this situation is his wellbeing, both mental and physical. But I do have apprehensions about contact resuming quickly/full on right away, as I fear this would be unsettling for DS as he is so used to the routine he has now?
I think the most you should agree to, for now, is supported contact at a contact centre. If that: what is his excuse for the last 9 months?
Mediation may not be suitable in any case given his history of violence towards you. But there is no 'they' in mediation. Either you reach an agreement with him, or you don't, in which case it's up to him to take things on to court.
His excuse is that I was stopping him, which isn't the case. I can't stop something that he hasn't asked for.
Unless there are safeguarding issues (which there very well maybe, based on your post) a court would reinstate contact and likely it would be more than Friday to Saturday tea time.
I would suggest going to meditation and trying to agree something that you and your ex and both happy with. This could be building up contact slowly, testing your ex's reliability and ensuring your son's happiness.
I will call the mediation this morning.
Hand holding much needed. I don't want him to undo all the good work I've done raising DS. My heart is breaking at the thought of his father carrying out his threats to turn him against me and take him away from me.
A court wouldn't order a 2 year old to have overnight stays with a (to him) stranger, with issues of violence and drug use swirling around. Overnight contact is generally the goal, not the first arrangement.
If your drug concerns are genuine, rather than speculative, you should ask for hair strand tests.
OP, your son's love for you is unshakeable. If his father decides to try to shake it, he will end up alienating him. Don't let your ex destroy your confidence in the strength of that bond.
They are genuine. When we were together he was never left alone with DS/didn't deal with night waking a etc due to this. Meaning I never got to sleep/have a break but that's another story!
Will be phoning mediation soon. Just applying for a passport for DS now as that is another thing he has threatened.
Called them. Apparently he has already had his appointment and out across the access he wants, they wouldn't tell me what this was over the phone.
I have my appointment on 26th of this month. So scared.
Just another update. Have an appointment with the solicitor through the local domestic violence team tomorrow. Hopefully they will be able to shed more light on what to expect. Haven't stopped sobbing since I opened the letter.
Dont be scared of mediation. Nothing will be put in place if you do not agree to it, regardless of what he has asked for.
Go in prepared for him to have said that YOU stopped contact.. Mediator's will frown on this if this is/was the case and will try and instigate contact in his favour. As it's not and he hasn't actually asked for any contact then you just need to be clear with them on what the actual situation is. As long as you are prepared then you wont be blind sided by any accusations.
As you previously agreed to an arrangement that included an over night stay, they may suggest that this is the end goal, so also be prepared for that.
I think that contact would be reintroduced slowly as there hasnt been any for 9 months and your ex is technically a 'stranger' to your DS. It would not be unreasonable for you to request for supervised contact at first due to the history/threats/drug abuse.
Do you have physical evidence of;
1. Drug abuse
2. Past DV against you
3. Recent threats made regarding turning DS against you/taking him away
If you have this evidence then bring it to mediation to support your concerns.
Has he made threats to keep DS without your permission?
Is he on the birth certificate/ have PR?
You can apply for a prohibited steps order if you have genuine concerns about your ex keeping your DS or taking him abroad.
You can also apply for a non-molestation order if there is a documented past of DV.
Both orders will help you if you do come in to trouble with your ex and the police will be able to get involved, otherwise there is very little they can do regarding family law and you would have to apply to the courts.
You do need to be prepared for you DS to have unsupervised contact with your ex eventually. He has a right to have involvement in his life from both of his parents and if his dad is asking for contact then it shouldn't be denied. You just need to protect yourself and your DS if there are drugs involved and domestic abuse. As a PP said, do not doubt the bond you have with your DS.
I fully prepared of the fact that he will have lied to them about me. He is very manipulative.
I have screenshots of texts and emails from him, and police log numbers. I also receive ongoing support from the local domestic violence team which I was referred to by the police after one of his outbursts.
I know that previous contact will eventually be reinstated but we need to rebuild trust. Eventually I want to have a successful co parenting relationship with him. I can be strong for my DS. I just hope that he can be reasonable.
I'm petrified of him taking DS away.
Do you know if you are entitled legal aid?
I would strongly suggest having a prohibited steps order and non molestation order put in place for now. If he doesn't intend to carry out his threats then there shouldn't be a problem.. if he does, then you are putting the steps in place to help protect yourself and your DS. Once he has proven himself and rebuilt the trust with you then the orders can be taken down. You have grounds, real concerns and evidence to back up you claims. These orders are there to help people in your situation.
As you are showing that eventually your goal is to have a successful co parenting relationship and you have proof that you have sought help from the authorities and willing to accept help, the courts will be on your side. You are not being unnecessarily difficult.
As you have evidence to back up your claims, contact should initially be introduced with supervised visits. If I was you, I would go into mediation with the plan that you want to reintroduce contact and eventually increase the time.
Honestly, do not be scared of mediation. It helps that you do not have to have your appointments together so he will not be able to manipulate you. As MrsBertBibby said, if you do not reach an agreement, nothing will be put in place and he will have to take to court. As long as you are willing for contact to occur and then to eventually be increased (which you are) the judge will take into consideration your concerns and will more then likely rule in your favour.
I am so scared I'm going to lose DS. He is my whole entire world.
Maybe I am an over clingy mum but I cannot function when we aren't together. I have spent the day throwing up and sobbing at my desk at work.
I suffer with anxiety already and this has just pushed me to rock bottom, I feel like I cannot cope anymore I am losing my grip. I was doing so well, secured a job then within 6 months a promotion at work, got engaged to new DP. Now everything has fallen around me. He promised me that my 'perfect world' would come crashing down and it has.
It's sinking in that this is actually happening. I can't believe this is happening to me. I really can't cope with it I just keep holding DS and sobbing and he is so confused.
for you OP.
Take as much legal advice as you can, go to mediation with a clear idea of what you want to say. Think about how you might respond to anything that comes up (e.g. the accusation that you have refused contact).
I know it's easier said then done, but please try to not show your anxiety around your DS. It won't help at all.
I will respond to it with the truth, that's all I can do.
I'm just scared he will take DS. This is so hard. I shouldn't be going through this. I am only 24 and DS is only 2. We've been through so much already. He was my guiding light whilst I was still in a relationship with his father and he is the only thing that kept me strong throughout the abuse.
I have been so strong for months, and the minute that man crops up again I crumble. Shows how much damage he did.
oh take a bit of comfort in the process takes months! If you can't agree in mediation it then has to be referred to court, something he has to do. If you don't agree on the first hearing it will be adjourned and the courts will more than likely ask for a CAFCASS report to be done and that alone will show the police logs regarding the DV and his attitude towards the contact and you. and they make a note on whether that is a risk to the child. So if he sits there blaming you, you stopped contact ect ect they will pick up on it. You will of course be completely factual and say what you put here and that you haven't stopped contact and that you are more than happy for it to be slowly built up in a safe environment. All the while the courts would of adjourned the hearing until they have the report and a full hearing can be made They will then more than likely air on the side of caution and say supervised in a contact centre something you can ask for notes to be written whilst contact is being done so the court can see what he's like in the contact. This will then take a few months.
It's a slow process OP It won't happen over night
Feel a little better today. Have a meeting with the DV support people at 2:30 and a solicitor at 4.
Spoken to his mum (we're on very good terms, she and him don't speak because he treats her the same as he does me), she said he did mention mediation a few months ago but she didn't mention it to be because he's one of these that is usually all talk. Apparently all he wants is set days.
This still makes me anxious but is something I have to deal with for DS I guess.
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