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Looking for other non-resident mums. How do I protect my parental rights?

(58 Posts)
dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 19:58:05

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I'm looking for other non-resident mums who might have struggled with keeping their parental rights. There's loads of help for non-resident dads; however I don't know if that applies to mums because we have parental rights enshrined in law.

To cut a very long story short, I separated from my husband about 20 months ago. We decided at the time the kids (3 of them; now 16, 13 and 8) should stay with him so they weren't separated from their friends. Shortly after I left, I stopped being informed of problems they were having at school, medical issues and the such.

Now, almost two years later, my contact with them has been eroded to just 26 hours twice a month and I am no longer informed of some pretty serious and life changing decisions concerning the middle child's health until he's made them and there's nothing I can do about it.

What can I do? Things are hideously tense between us anyway and I don't want to make it worse, but I also feel like I've totally been cut out of their life other than to provide a babysitting service for him twice a month...that's not how I see the time with them, it's how he sees it.

Any other mums got a similar experience? Is my only recourse a legal one? And, what good will that do if I'd have to go to court every time he breaches the agreement?

I've not had access removed and there's no reason, other than I don't want to move them away from friends, that I couldn't take custody...so there's no reason he could have to erode my rights...other than he's still taking joy in controlling me and watching me break.

TIA
J

OP’s posts: |
Quartz2208 Wed 05-Feb-20 19:59:57

Yes I think your only course is a legal one and get a proper agreement but be aware that he may have poisoned them against you

slipperywhensparticus Wed 05-Feb-20 20:00:03

Have you got a child arrangements order? What do the kids think? do they want to see more of you?

dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 20:36:57

Thanks for your replies.

I should have mentioned, I'm in Scotland and I don't think we have such a thing as child arrangements orders here. I think we do still have contact orders, but I think that only binds the informal agreements we have about contact times. I plan to see my solicitor about this next week.

They seem happy with the amount of contact with me. I live a considerable distance (around 2 hours) from them so it's a real event to come stay with me and we make it fun but they also have their lives to live.

I guess my major concern is the decisions that are being taken without consulting me first and going directly against my wishes because he can.

A friend advised me that if I talk to the school and GP and they get wind that we're fragmented with respect to these life changing decisions, they will involve social services. I guess I've really scared myself about making their life's worse by exercising my rights sad

OP’s posts: |
Bythebeach Wed 05-Feb-20 21:36:43

First and foremost, your children have rights. You have responsibilities. Where did you move to? As nice as it was of you to not remove them from their schools and friends, it sounds like you removed yourself from proximity to your kids and thus deprioritised your having primary responsibility and involvement in their day to day care. If you only see them twice a month, do you know what’s best for them? From the perspective of the other side, it is pretty hard to believe a parent who thinks it best to move a significant distance away from a 6 year old is in the best position to know the best interests of their child.

You can pursue making joint decisions through a legal process. Is that best for your children though? Is the parent with care making decisions that worry you? Are they causing harm?

If you care enough, can you move back and see your kids more regularly and be involved in their normal lives?

Butterflyflower1234 Wed 05-Feb-20 21:42:45

I can't possibly understand how a mother walks away from her children.

You've left them and moved two hours away and now you're deciding you should have a right to have a say in their lives?!

Go to court if you wish but expect a judge to be asking you some harsh questions.

Bythebeach Wed 05-Feb-20 21:46:52

By the way, it’s not that I think you shouldn’t be involved in decisions. I just think conflict is damaging.....so only worth it to improve outcomes for your kids.

Starlight456 Wed 05-Feb-20 21:48:31

As Rp does everything except for 26 hours a month ultimately they deal with every problem , medical issue, sick day when unwell. So unless it’s a major decision yes it should be the rp that gets the say.

If you don’t want to be so removed you need to move closer and be more involved. I would say this regardless if sex.

Clangus00 Wed 05-Feb-20 21:51:39

At 13 (and 16) they have the right to choose not to have you informed of things in their lives. Maybe your middle child has made some medical decisions on his own and doesn’t want you to know?

ddraigygoch Wed 05-Feb-20 21:56:00

So the child is making their own decisions regarding their health that you don't agree with?

I'm assuming that these are with their father and medical team.

What is it that you think should happen?

dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 22:00:30

He moved the whole family to the middle of nowhere (no, I didn't have a choice) and I rented an apartment close to work (2 hours away) to avoid a 4 hour a day commute. Since I had already that apartment, when he threw me across the room and pushed me down the stairs I grabbed the keys and drove there. After that I couldn't go back.

As for how could I leave my kids...I was in danger, they weren't and he wouldn't let them come with me or spend more time with me. Maybe things aren't always black and white when relationships break down?

It is major..as I said life changing.

OP’s posts: |
dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 22:01:46

When parental consent is required, which it is in this case, I think I have the right to be consulted. Don't I?

OP’s posts: |
Clangus00 Wed 05-Feb-20 22:02:33

Did you report the violence to the police?
Have you begun divorce proceedings?
Do you pay proper maintenance?
Have you had good, sound legal advice during the court hearings for custody/ visitation?

dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 22:05:31

Didn't report to the police, although I have evidence in the form of emails from him.
Not yet begun divorce proceedings.
I pay more maintenance than required by law and way more than it costs to run the house and look after the kids.
I have a very good lawyer and I've been advised not to discuss the contact with him at this point.

OP’s posts: |
ddraigygoch Wed 05-Feb-20 22:08:08

Does the child want to discuss their medical procedures or decision with you?
What is your relationship like?

ddraigygoch Wed 05-Feb-20 22:10:42

Not Necessarily. If Parental consent is required that only requires one parent two isn't mandatory.

stophuggingme Wed 05-Feb-20 22:10:53

I am with @Butterflyflower1234
I fought tooth and nail to keep my children living with me I just don’t understand
But in any event you need to do something about this. But by moving two hours away you have in effect abdicated day to day involvement in their lives.

Whynosnowyet Wed 05-Feb-20 22:12:05

My exh kept me from my dc. Despite a court order he didn't adhere to my access. Told their school I was dead. Told all the dps at their school I had mh issues and was a prostitute...
At 12 +14 my dc finally saw him for who he was and went nc with him. Live ft with me now.. I feel for you op. Contact the school. Remind them legally they have to send you exactly the same info as their df. Suggest your solicitor reminds them that.

Quartz2208 Wed 05-Feb-20 22:12:49

OP you need to listen to your lawyer and get the ball rolling to get your children out of their and go to the police.

You abandoned them and have no idea what their day to day life is now you are gone. Please fight fo them

NatashaAlianovaRomanova Wed 05-Feb-20 22:14:47

When parental consent is required, which it is in this case, I think I have the right to be consulted. Don't I?

Yes.. however educational/medical/religious professionals don't generally consider this in the day to day & expect that parents have discussed the issue prior to the decision being relayed to them unless advised otherwise.

You can contact the children's schools & request that you are added to the communications list - they should send you copies of all letters, details of school events etc & you can request a separate parents night.

You can do the same with the GP & should be sent copies of all official communication such as hospital appointments, results of tests etc but they won't inform you of a regular gp appointment.

Ignore the "how could a mother leave her children" comments - I'm non-resident mother who is still very involved in DS's life & have a good relationship with ex & his new wife (decision made by me, ex & DS) and I still get them!

stophuggingme Wed 05-Feb-20 22:17:14

@NatashaAlianovaRomanova
How dare you tell the OP to ignore the NRP comments.

It is an unusual woman who can do this and tbh I’m not sure I want to know how you or they can or do.

dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 22:21:36

OK, I'm not going to defend myself. None of you know my situation and I wasn't asking to be torn apart for not living with my kids. They are safe and well, thank you, and I certainly haven't abandoned them. I was asking if there are any other non-resident mums on this forum who may have experienced similar and know how the system works for us.

@Whynosnowyet thanks for replying. Yes, I think it needs a solicitor letter. I'm unclear of my rights. I know once she's 13, she can request her medical records be closed to us; however this procedure does require parental consent, which is why I was confused. All of this behaviour leads me to wonder about the youngest too, who clearly is still young enough for us to be involved in every decision about her health and wellbeing.

OP’s posts: |
dilmum Wed 05-Feb-20 22:23:15

thanks @NatashaAlianovaRomanova, that's really helpful. I guess we're not popular around these parts!

OP’s posts: |
NatashaAlianovaRomanova Wed 05-Feb-20 22:24:28

@stophuggingme I told OP to ignore them because they are not helpful & don't worry I won't be telling you how I can & do allow DS to live with his father & his stepmother because it's fuck all to do with you & the 4 people it has anything to do with are quite happy with the decision!

stophuggingme Wed 05-Feb-20 22:30:36

@NatashaAlianovaRomanova

Bollocks

I will never understand or empathise or agree with a woman walking away from her child for whatever spurious reasons exist that mean it works for the adults.

Don’t waste your breath trying to tell me how outmoded and tragic I am. If you think this to be the case I am delighted that you think so.

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