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Help! Residency nightmare!

(26 Posts)
SingleMama Wed 10-Apr-13 19:58:08

Hi everyone
Having a bad time in the court system. My ex was taking our children following our separation but wasn't looking after them properly- drinking heavily on nights when children unwell and requiring his care etc.
He denies all these things though and so far, it looks like he may get joint residency, which is what he is seeking. Feel totally powerless as noone seems to be listening to me- the children's mother. It seems to be all about him and what he wants. Not about what's best for the children at all!
Any wise words from ppl who have been through/ going through similar would be really appreciated!! Thanks

kittycat68 Wed 10-Apr-13 20:11:24

sorry you are going through such a hard time. However its your and your childrens word against him and the court is likely to see as it you being bitter and trying to stop contact. courts these days do push for contact with NRP no matter what. If he wants the contact with the children overnight the court is not going to stop him on these grounds. It would be better if you appear to be forgiving and bending over backwards to promote contact. I have been through much worse than this with my children and i cannot be postitive about the court process i am affariad it is about fathers rights above the interests of the children, but any leagal eagle or fathers rights group will tell you otherwise. Best advice i can give you is to pick your battles wisely and only go to court with independant hard evidence, not what your children are telling you or you could risk having the children snt to live with their dad . big hug to you though.

betterthanever Wed 10-Apr-13 21:49:29

How old are the DC? the guidelines say that they should have a say if able to do so, so that may be an angle. Your first responsibility as a parent is to protect your DC's welfare on every level which is what you are trying to do and no matter what the court or anyone says, makes that clear.

betterthanever Wed 10-Apr-13 21:50:36

Research strongly says that contact with parents is about the quality of the relationship not just for contact's sake.

SingleMama Wed 10-Apr-13 22:39:58

Thanks for the replies!
Well my kids are 3 and 6. The events that took place were witnessed only by members of his family. Apart from one event, which was his friends. I could ask them to come to court but that seems silly. The judge in question is exasperated at the moment. There is talk of alcohol testing, which I think is a waste of time. Their Daddy is a binge drinker and cannot be trusted. Furthermore- who is going to b around (if he did get joint residency) to even check up on him?
No one.
And I want to live my own life. Not be worrying about and checking up on him.
I just don't see why overnight is necessary and so far it hasn't got that far. A total of 8 hrs per week daytime contact at present. And that I don't mind (apart from him brainwashing them. This is YOUR house etc.). I just need to be tactical in order to avoid night times at all costs!

SingleMama Wed 10-Apr-13 22:44:39

Ps Kittycat. That is a scary thought- that the kids could end up being sent to their Dad!? I'd like to hear more please so I don't put any feet wrong.

kittycat68 Wed 10-Apr-13 23:01:53

my kids are older now and have been through hell and back with thier dad two of them being physically assulted by him etc. they no longer wish to see him or have anything to do with him. But at your childrens ages a court is likely to keep giving your ex untold amount of chances. It is extreamly rare for a court to stop contact. At three and six a court would expect you to force them to have contact. We have had some good cafcass officers and one particularly bad one who recommended to the court reverse the residency order and send them to live with thier dad, children all teenagers then! because they wanted nothing to do with him. The judge didnt change residency but a contact order was put in place needless to say they children refused to go.
I dont mean to scare you Op but as a mother iwanted to protect my children from their abusive father but a court is not interested in allegation or counter allegations from parties only hard proof from proffesionals ( mind u they dont always take notice of them either!)
The most important thing is you must appear in court to be reasonable and child focused whilst not imposing your own views on the situation, just must appear to be willing to try anything to promote contact between the NRP and the children. Courts dont see it as protecting your children but maliousness against the NRP. fathers rights groups promote parent allienation syndrome to courts saying you are trying to stop the father or NRP from seeing their children etc. Pick your battles carefully and remember your word against his at court isnt going to get you far. you are welcome to PM me if you want to Op.

cestlavielife Thu 11-Apr-13 10:31:33

as was said, unless there have been specific incidents reported and recorded by professionals as a child protection matter then you wont get very far.

so he drinks...but they came home more or less fed and clean ? then there is no issue from court point of view.

many adults drink when in charge of children... it all depends on level of "neglect" going on.

you need to define "cannot be trusted" and give concrete examples of incidents which have put the children at risk. you will need to keep sending them until you can report a specific and concrete incident which shows that it is unsafe.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 11:02:22

Thanks Kittycat & C'estlavie

Seriously though. Seeing as I have issues with his drinking, why can't they just award him more & more daytime contact? It's in the evenings that drinking takes place. And it was putting my children at risk. Thats why I stopped overnights last April. I'm really having trouble understanding the courts. They're bonkers! I think it's really important for my children to spend regular time with their Daddy- but during the day!!
Sigh.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 11:02:49

Thanks Kittycat & C'estlavie

Seriously though. Seeing as I have issues with his drinking, why can't they just award him more & more daytime contact? It's in the evenings that drinking takes place. And it was putting my children at risk. Thats why I stopped overnights last April. I'm really having trouble understanding the courts. They're bonkers! I think it's really important for my children to spend regular time with their Daddy- but during the day!!
Sigh.

cestlavielife Thu 11-Apr-13 11:10:02

if he drinks at night when they in bed and manages to get them up etc the next morning, then where is the risk? you need to spell it out more clearly?
what evidence do you have of them being neglected?

your say so versus his doesnt count... i am not saying you dont have valid concerns, but if he arrives at court sober well dressed and preenting well then they not going to believe you, are they ?

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 11:15:48

Put it this way:

The children's father put his children gravely at great risk because of his drinking on a few different occasions. The fact that he was so irresponsible and now is entirely unaccountable for his actions- lying to the courts- inspires no confidence at all and makes me scared of worse things happening were he to b granted overnight contact at some point in future.

titchy Thu 11-Apr-13 11:29:11

You need to be specific. Lots of parents drink in the evenings. That isn't a reason for their children to be removed from them.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 11:33:42

Yeah I have been specific. In my statement of evidence I have listed my concerns. Very heavy drinking when my daughter (2) sick with croup & needing urgent steam inhalation in the night. I mean very heavy drinking so that, when I phoned and called over to take her home, he answered the door totally smashed and barely able to hold himself upright. He denies this.

cestlavielife Thu 11-Apr-13 12:24:47

ok - so this happened.
but there is no evidence except your word.

reality is you have to wait for another such incident to occur and this time call police so they can record him being drunk. you cant stop overnights on what might occur; when you unfortunately have no proof of what did occur. that is the reality.

otherwise of couse he can deny and who should they believe ? it is hearsaY.

lostdad Thu 11-Apr-13 12:47:49

If you are convinced you have a good case here you need evidence. Document it. Make a child-focused case that demonstrates that the current situation is not in the best interests of your children and how what you want is. There is a strong presumption in court that children should have the involvement of both parents - and just because one doesn't like the way the other does things doesn't change much unless it is not safe, etc.

Once parents enter the court system things are out of their hands. What you think/does and what your ex thinks/does is irrelevant and a judge will be making a decision based on the balance of probabilities whilst acting in the best interests of the child.

People seem to forget this: If you or your ex refuses to negotiate or come to an agreement outside court you are effectively handing control of your kids over to strangers.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 12:48:21

Yeah thanks but no more incidents can occur as the children are with me 7 nights.
IF they went with their dad again overnight, there would be absolutely nobody there to check up on him :-(

lostdad Thu 11-Apr-13 13:13:11

Sorry? You have an open case and you've stopped overnight contact unilaterally? shock

Assuming I have got this right if the court has listened to your views on his drinking and still ordered overnight contact is it because it believes it to be in your childrens' best interests.

That's what court is: If you can't agree something with the other party you see a judge who decides the best course of action!

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 14:39:53

I stopped overnight contact in April 2012 due to neglect. The event above + irresponsible behaviour & not noticing when child v sick w tonsilitis 2 nights. The court hasn't ordered overnight contact but I fear it's heading that way. I just would like to know best way to stand up for what I believe is best for my children & prevent overnight contact. Daytime I don't mind. Nighttime is a big issue for me.

lostdad Thu 11-Apr-13 15:39:39

Unless there are good reasons to do otherwise the court will order overnight contact eventually.

It is not a question of `standing up for what you believe'. I don't want to be harsh here - but if you sincerely believe overnights are not in your (and your ex's...) children are not in their best interests you are going to have convince the court of this. Just because you `believe' it isn't going to count for much.

What is your long term plan here? To stop overnight contact ever happening? For a set period? Until you decide otherwise?

I strongly advise you speak to your ex in any way possible to resolve this. You are both going to need to compromise. If you both fail to do so it's going to be expensive, bitter and heartbreaking.

Believe me...I know.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 15:49:32

I have tried again and again to talk to him about this but he's so nasty and has been determined to go the court way all along. Addiction problems, lying and jeckyll & Hyde behaviour mean that he's simply not a reliable, responsible or trustworthy man. I've been advised to keep my distance from him!

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 15:53:23

I can see that he is choosing the route of continuing to drink and not being accountable for his actions or looking at his addiction. He is deep in denial. If I were to see a change in him for the better, a sign of a responsible attitude I would consider overnights but this is highly unlikely. He has his whole family egging him on.

lostdad Thu 11-Apr-13 16:00:05

If he's anything like me you're in for a long court case (my one was 15 hearings over 5 years and the end result was what I proposed right at the start while my ex refused to talk, mediate or discuss anything).

Seriously. You really don't want to do this.

SingleMama Thu 11-Apr-13 16:07:30

We've been to independent mediation and court mediation with a Court Children's officer. It will probably go to hearing quite soon.

What he wants (or says he wants) is joint residency, every other birthday and Christmas AND 2 weeks summer holidays. These are mainly periods when his family do heavy drinking.

He left the family because he was not willing to stop drinking and address his drinking problem for the good of the family (well I asked him to move out once he assured me that he would never stop drinking.)

It's ridiculous surely that he have the residential care of 2 young children after all (as I have written above) that has happened?

He is unaccountable for his actions and cannot be trusted!!

Have you hard evidence that he is an alcoholic, who is still drinking?

If you do, produce this to the court.

You could suggest (perhaps in mediation so that you are showing willingness to sort this out) that your ex takes Antabuse (or other similar drug if there is one) for all overnight stays.

My aunt had this written into her contact agreement for her alcoholic ex, for any overnights where he had their daughter. However, he agreed to it, having a long history of alcoholism, and having been in and out of AA and I think also psychiatric care. I don't know what position you would be in if you tried to enforce this without him agreeing that he has a problem.

In the end, my aunt's ex did NO overnights - because being able to have a drink was more important to him than having his child overnight.

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