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Anyone any experience of contact (in person or letterbox) with a seriously mentally ill parent(12 Posts)
OK name changed for obvious reasons. I am trying to not go into massive details which could out us.
Ex is extremely mentally ill. He had alcohol problems while with him, assuming he still does judging by the photos I see. He has been an inpatient, under a psychiatrist, he has attempted suicide on several occasions, rang me telling me he doesn't know what he might do and that he wants to die and was aggressive in the home and caused damage to property. I was unaware one of the children had witnessed damage to the property until they disclosed something to school years after we had left ex which triggered me being called in to school.
I am in an difficult situation where ex has so many issues that he doesn't see the children because he doesn't feel up to doing so and doesn't phone them or anything although he does text them once every year or so usually with demands and the kids don't want to see him. To be honest they do not remember him apart from the bad stuff and don't want him to know where they live. One child is at secondary in year 10 and one is in college but he wants this information.
I don't actually know what to do.
What exactly does he want to know?
Do you feel under physical threat? It's such a worry with his suicidal thoughts - have you ever worried about the safety of your children if they were to see him?
Do you live in your original home? Is that how he gets in touch?
I worry about his mental state and would be worried sick tbh if they were there unsupervised although less now they are older and able to get help or help themselves but he doesn't want to see them anyway at the moment.
He did demand over night access out of the blue about four months ago despite the fact that he had not seen either child for several years or even spoken to them by phone and he was very angry with them when they both refused and said they would see him for day visits but did not want to stay overnight.
I set up loads of free contact methods for him (Face time, Skype, same phone network etc so he has various contact methods to get in touch including email, social media, phone numbers etc but he doesn't use them other than the very rare text.
He wants to know where we live (not in original home) and where they go to school and college. I get that and I would hate not knowing where my kids where but the kids don't want him to know. The younger one hates him although I have tried to protect him from that. I have sent him both children's school reports with the college and school name not showing so he knows they are doing well.
When he did used to know where we were before he became very poorly he did not send the kids cards or presents or maintenance or anything like that and he has bank account details for both kids so could still send presents that way but doesn't so it isn't as though he needs the address and school just that he wants them so he can tell his girlfriend and friends he has said.
I appreciate he is a very troubled person, but he emotionally abused them. They don't want him in their lives, and that is their right. If he has their phone numbers (you mention him texting them) then can they not simply get new phones? Is there an existing court order in place which means he has to have their number?
I'd call the Coram Children's Legal Centre for free advice if there is an existing court order, and ask what they recommend. But I would respect the children's right to decide who they want in their lives. His psychiatric problems are tragic but they should not be the children's tragedy.
If the youngest child is almost 15 and the other 16 or older, and there is no existing contact order in place, then surely you don't have to do anything? They are old enough to have decided, with what sounds excellent reason, that they do not feel safe with him knowing where they live and that they don't want contact with him. He could always try a court route but given their ages I can't see any judge forcing contact - and in fact given it takes several months to ever reach a hearing the chances are surely high that they will be old enough that the court no longer has jurisdiction over contact, either.
Okay, just saw the update: as nicely as possible, I'd butt out. I get that you loved him once, and that you feel very sad about how his life has gone, and that is hugely to your credit, but the kids are telling you what they want, and he is abusing them. I would support them in removing a harmful and needy and damaging person from their lives, which is what and who he is. Their needs are more important than his - much more - and he has not done a single thing, from this account, that earns him any right to contact of any sort. They are old enough to know what they want, and young enough to deserve to be protected. Please just let them cut him off. He's done enough damage already.
for you. It has to have been hell. I am so very sorry that you have been forced to deal with such circumstances, and it's so much to your credit that the kids are thriving now.
It doesn't sound as though he'd even recognise them in the street. You have to prioritise your children's desires over his. They don't want to see him, so they don't have to see him.
Do you have any idea who his doctor is? I think he/she should be informed.
Youngest is just 14 as summer baby and about to go into year 10 oldest starts college in September.
No existing court order of any kind.
I am less worried about a court order and more wondering if seeing he knows the city we live in if he was to ring the city LA they wouldn't give him the college details given he has PR although I am assuming seeing they would be unaware if any court order protecting this information was in place for some families they wouldn't?
They wouldn't give info over the phone to anyone claiming to be someone's parent - how could they check that, for a start, it's data protection 101, especially with minors. And I can't imagine they would even if he turned up in person and proved it in some way, because they'd have no way of knowing if there were any orders against him. It's basic safeguarding, surely?
They wouldn't give out that information, either in writing, on the phone or in person. It goes against all their training. Schools and colleges are used to people trying to get in touch with people they shouldn't (eg fostered or adopted children, violent parents etc) and would deal with any request properly, don't worry.
Is he listed as a parent on school and college paperwork ?
Assuming not then
I would do nothing and tell him nothing.
If he goes to court then react then.
Given that school were involved pvsly you could make school aware.
I have a teen living with me who is not mine and we have similar situation with her mum. In our case, mum knows where she is, and does have school access, but we do regularly seek legal or helpline advice on behalf of the teen. Things are often quiet, but can flare up unexpectedly <mum is alcoholic, bpd, has made several suicide attempts, also threatens suicide if the dd doesn't go home/ visit. History of emotional abuse.>
I would take legal advice, especially as he has PR? No one is going to force contact for kids of this age, however they may suggest that he should be kept informed of whereabouts etc, unless you have arranged protection order due to the abuse? Merely being mentally ill is not generally an acceptable reason <legally> to withhold information, however good your intentions to protect your kids. You could wait for him to take legal advice <knowing that he may not bother> or you could take advice yourself to see if the situation warrants formalizing your secrecy.
With my exp and no contact dd (her choice various reasons) he knew where she was at school .
with my ok,. School arranged appointments for him to go in and be updated on her progress, so they dealt with him. They knew background and were under instruction not to allow him to bump Into dd at school.
At 14 school were v clear it was dd choice over contact and supported that. Speak to school.
As he has pr he has right to know but you can get around it and not involve contact.
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