Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.
Ex threatening to go to court for access after I stopped overnights due to DD's distress(8 Posts)
I posted about this already before so will try to keep short - just over 2 weeks a go my ex dropped off our 2 year old DD off at my house the morning after an overnight stay at his - they were both in tears. She then told me after he had gone that he had whacked her. She said because he was upset he needed to whack her and said a bunch of other stuff that was very worrying such as Daddy's arms are too strong, he always hurts me, It will happen again so I will never ever stay at Daddy's ever ever again, Didn't want to be with Daddy etc. Then after month of being dry, that morning she wet herself in my bed, and again whilst eating lunch at home. And she didn't want to go anywhere or do anything eg. park..which is very unusual. She just wanted to stay at home. Then she started having raging tantrums when I tried to get her dressed. I then spoke to Ex that evening on phone and didn't yet tell him what she had said but I said about the wetting and tantrums etc and that she didn't seem herself. He said he felt really bad, and was calling me to try and come and say sorry to her, because he had shouted at her that morning whilst getting her dressed and felt really bad.
This was very worrying because she usually adores him...He was DV with me though and that is why I left him mainly. He told me he stopped smoking weed after we separated and seemed to be pretty reasonable and calm and we were communicating ok etc...and so after months of only supervised contact I did start to let him have her overnight 1 night a week which he wanted, which then increased to 2 just before her 2nd birthday. I said we will see how it goes as I had reservations that she was too young etc. But I have never tried to stop him seeing her, just been cautious because of our history and his temper.
Not long after this 2nd overnight was introduced, she started wetting herself, seemingly on purpose, constantly sometimes, only when with me, when previously she was totally in control of her bladder etc. Then that was resolved after a lot praise for using potty and being dry etc...Then few weeks later she stopped sleeping through the night and started waking 2-4 times a night needing settling with nightmares, asking for cuddles, screaming for me, asking to come in my bed (we don't co sleep and never have unless she's been ill) She seemed stressed and unsettled. Nothing had changed at all in her routine...or in our personal lives except Ex has recently about a 2 months ago split up with his girlfriend who he was just about to into DD too...Don't know why.
Anyway...I was so worried about DD and so sad... told what she said and her behaviour to a friend of a friend who is a Child Psychotherapist and she said she was very very concerned and said it sounds as if whatever happened DD does not feel safe with her Dad right now and especially with DV history, she would support my decision to stop overnights, which I had already done after that morning she came back and said that. She said I needed to report to HV which I did, I have a meeting with them next week to properly discuss in person. They also said stopping overnights was the best thing to do. So 2.5 weeks just at my house overnight DD started sleeping through the night again after about 5 nights....raging tantrums stopped...Said she felt alright about seeing Daddy because "It won't happen again the whacking" ...which made me think she feels settled and safe again. She has continued to see him 2 x a week and once at the weekend, but only with his Mum there too.
He has accepted the no overnights so that DD can settle but want to go back to overnights eventually, soon. I said no not for foreseeable because I don't trust him and I need advice from professionals and DD is very settled and happy now. He has said that I have made up everything I said that DD said. Even though he admitted that an incident of shouting did happen that morning, and he has since further admitted to shoving her roughly into her clothes, and restraining her during the night when she wouldn't settle that night. I have been very careful to never say a bad word about him in front of her so there is no way she could have gotten any of that from me. She has very advanced speech and memory - absolutely amazing in fact. And when she was 18 months she told me about an incident where he whacked the boiler in front of her because he was frustrated with hot water not running...and then put her in a cold a bath. And that turned out to be 100% true. There is no doubt in my mind that something has happened and I believe her.
He asked me to talk with a therapist present and I agreed, hoping maybe he had something to say along the lines of he was going to get help etc etc...But no..Just a lot of denial and basically making it out as if I was making it up...and still bitter about us ending (even though I ended things) and saying I was demonising him and turning DD against him.
He has now said (after the first session of therapy didn't go his way...) that if I don't keep going to the therapy sessions and we don't manage to resolve things "between us" (even when from my point of view..things are resolved between us and this isn't a communication issue with us..this is about DD and HER feelings and what has happened) then he will have no choice but to go to court as he said it is unworkable for him to not be allowed to have her on his own. I have never said he can't EVER have her on his own again...I just need to wait for advice, wait until DD is settled, wait until I have some confidence in him etc. The therapist said we need to rebuild trust..But he has lied so so so so many times and gone back on promises so many times in the past..not to mention seems completely on the defence and in denial, and not overly concerned about DD's feelings on this matter.... I am so stressed and actually I am holding it together for DD and she seems so happy but if he drags me through court I don't think I can handle it. I am trying to study for a Post Grad...and already stressed about £ as it is as a young single Mum. He is a lot older and doesn't mind getting himself into loads of debt to pay for stuff so he may well decide to go through the courts, even though it will be awful for everyone, including DD.
I would love some advice on what will happen if he does 'go through courts'...I am terrified and need to continue to be strong for DD. I have been really strong and detached from him for months and we were communicating fine about DD ...but now he is dragging me into talks about our communication and trying to get things back to how they were when actually how can they after what poor DD has said/experienced and his denial of it all? He still is in denial about extent of DV to me.... It just so saddening and I don't know what to expect will happen next.
This sounds incredibly difficult, I think you've done exactly the right thing by stopping the overnights and not giving in. I would be very worried and I really don't think she sounds safe when she is with him. I absolutely would not go the therapy with him, he abused you, you cannot rebuild trust.
Was the DV reported to the police or witnessed by anyone else? Do you have text messages photos etc? I would also make sure you make a detailed note of what happened when your DD came back from the overnight, what she said, how she behaved, why it worried you and what your ex said. Sure someone will be along soon with more experience of this than I do but I do think they "I'll take you to court" threat is often bandied about as a bullying tactic but not followed through, particularly by someone who might find it uncomfortable to have their own behaviour examined in detail. I would also try and see a solicitor experienced in this type of law as soon as possible if you can possibly afford it. Good luck
I wouldn't send a dog to stay with him.
Your daughter im has verbally expressed worry, recounted concerning experiences, stated he hurts her, is acting out with tantrums and has wet herself.
Very, very worrying indeed.
I agree he is v v v unlikely to go to court over this given it would expose some of the concerns you daughter has directly expressed and some working experiences (shoving, shouting, cold bath WTF!)
I say take the time to get the advice. Don't be hassled. This sort of damage will take far longer to undo than the time it takes to get some support and advice.
Good luck OP.
You did the right thing. If it does go to court they will see that too.
Thanks so much for your responses so far.. DV was reported only Women's Aid at the time. All other incidences were lower level (eg I denied them and made excuses for him at the time & never even thought about reporting at that stage) eg verbal abuse, putting hand over my mouth whilst arguing, grabbing my head, pinning me to the bed. I knew it wasn't ok but just kept hoping he'd change and we had s small baby & I didn't know what to do. When he finally grabbed me and threw me, twice. That was final straw/ wake up call for me. I called Women's Aid & left him. He still said / says it was my fault for going on at him & even in therapy yesterday he referred to it as "when I had to move her from the doorway onto the bed" ....., !!!! Insane denial & lying to himself almost... Also a mutual friend of mine saw fingertip bruises on my arm a day or two after and she has told him she saw these bruises. He said I just bruise easily. Which is true but beside the point and horrific excuse to make. Obviously.
I think that you need to stop now. You have done the right things up to now to try and keep contact but this is not right. What would he do if you just stopped contact?
I've had issues with my ex and when I raised them recently with caffcass, they said the risk can't be that high if I've allowed access to continue. Theres an order already in place and was worried to stop access otherwise I'm breaching it. Can't do right for doing wrong x
Since the incident he has only seen her at his Mum's house and has not been in sole charge of her.. His Mum is the person mainly looking after DD on those days. He has at least said he will read a parenting book on how to deal with tantrums and supports your child's emotional wellbeing.. But that's not enough. I have spoken in person to HV now and reported it all... awaiting their advice. There were 2 women there taking notes and they seemed to have opened up the clinic especially on that day so that they could see me and DD. Spent almost 2 hours with them. Glad to be able to talk with them and for them to take it seriously as I am. I am still considering seriously moving back to Somerset to be close to MY family rather than only around ex's fam. My DD seems so much more settled now.. She is sleeping through the night again and that was after 5 nights just with me, so immediately, not staying at his made a difference to her. The HV said I have made the right decision re stopping overnight contact and only supervised contact. When DD goes to nursery or if we move, the contact will be even less.. Every other weekend or something .. Not sure. I am sure that if I stopped contact he would fight it.. Take me to court. I suppose. Kick up a big fuss. I am going to one more therapy session to say my piece about what DD said & how she's been.. Tell him what I need to see him doing in order to even think about rebuilding trust.. And be honest there is a very slim chance of am the trust being rebuilt. I do not think he can control himself & I think he's in denial, heavily which means he lies to me but also to himself. And I will not put DD in that position anymore where I am giving him the benefit of the doubt or trying to believe he was "good guy" deep down but just about troubled.. In starting to accept maybe he'll just never change and any semblance of change over this last year has been a sham as he is still unable to control his temper & he still uses bullying and intimidation when someone won't shut up when he wants them to or won't do what he wants
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.