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Access rights question - whats yr experience with emotionally abusive exps

(7 Posts)
northlondonmumma Sat 06-Jun-09 22:42:03

Recently split from boyfriend and we have 2 lovely boys - one 2.5 and other v little, only 4 months.
I kicked him out as he had become increasingly abusive - it descended to him being verbally but not v nice stuff, threats and I found him very intimidating as he is 6.4 and broke property, plus did this in front of kids.

I am delighted he has gone but now need to sort out what access he gets.

Legally I understand from a sol. as kids are with me as primary carer he cant automatically come and take them and its up to apply for a contact order if we do it formally. So in short I could really mess him about if I wanted, refuse access and drag it out til it got to court...

However, thats not v nice for anyone and the end of the day its about the kids, so I was letting him come around and see kids when he wanted, recognising that they are also his kids, plus didnt want to wind him up further. I have not felt comfortable letting him take older one out by himself cos of threats to take kids.
Now though he said cant stand being around me cos I wind him up so much that he has to shout at me!! (basically he doesnt like it if I tell him not to call our kids little "shits" even if done in a loving way or to jokingly say I will beat you, or ask him not to tickle our son before his naps.
Whatever it is, it is clear that it doesnt work and not good for our kids to see us together if it results in him getting angry.
He says he is going to a solicitor to ask for overnight stays at weekends.

I understand that it would not typically be given to the non primary carer at the age of my son (and clearly not the breastfed baby) and this is usually only awarded for 6 year plus.
My sol said rule is little and often so 2-3 hours a couple of times a week.
Whilst he has been a horrible person to me I do recognise he has something to offer as a father. He can be very loving and fun. He is very health and safe ty conscious so dont worry about the kids coming to harm with him. I dont like his language etc but feel it would be wrong to deny my kids access to their dad cos of this.

Wondering what access has been agreed with people with kids similar age and / or with similar partners, I dont want to have to stick around every weekend when he wants custody.

Any thoughts welcome

Thanks again

Ps sorry such a long post

Spero Sat 06-Jun-09 22:52:15

Think they are too young for overnights at the moment, but it really does all depend on how involved he was before, what kind of place he would be taking them too etc. There is no rule about a child needing to be over six, generally the courts are sympathetic if mother is concerned and child under three.

It helps if children can talk so can communicate likes/dislikes to parent during overnight stays. But if you are breastfeeding, obviously that will put brakes on any long stays away from you.

I never advise going down the 'mess him about route' - it often sounds quite tempting, but court proceedings are very emotionally draining for all involved and he will end up getting some kind of contact anyway.

you would not be unreasonable to suggest a contact centre while he gets some help with his emotional issues; he is NOT a 'good dad' if he abuses you in any way, you are the children's mother and he has to respect that.

lostdad Mon 08-Jun-09 13:08:46

There are all kinds of emotional ex! Try to find common ground. Talk to him. If that doesn't work, try professional mediation (google NFM, try shuttle mediation if you don't want to face him). Really try. Avoid court like the plague. If you've got causes for concern, tell him. And tell him what he could do to address your concerns. Do not say `until I am ready' - which can easily be interpreted as `indefinitely'.

Talk. To. Him.

Don't think the court route is a solution. Do not get dragged to court - do everything you can to avoid it. If you to a solicitor they will tell you they can sort it out - they're not going to tell you they can't help you and it's not worth hiring (paying!) them, are they?

My experience with an emotionally abusive ex? My ex has used my son as a weapon against me, moved across the country, moved my son in with someone I didn't know, moved halfway across the country without notice, cut my son off from his family (and them from him).

My ex has `messed' me around: We have been to court 8 times so far, have got CAFCASS involved, I moved halfway across the country when she took our ds there, spent over 10k (and that's representing myself without a solicitor), we're 2 years down the line and I'm worn out, but resigned to the fact that this is my (and her!) life pretty much, well, forever.

Believe me - don't go there. Don't do it. Mess him around/get a solicitor involved and there is an excellent chance you are pushing the `nuclear button'.

cestlavielife Mon 08-Jun-09 15:52:50

if you cannot talk and discuss reasonably (because teh ohter side does not want to - you only get abuse) then there is little choice but to go to court. mediation can be expensive and results in a non-binding agreement.

mediation is not recommended where there has been controlling/abusive behaviour. i dont think even shuttle mediation would work.

court is binding and if he/she breaks it you can take them back to court.

lostdad, presumably you tried the talking/mediation/shuttle mediation? yet it didnt work? why not?

with an abusive ex - taking to court is a last resort but puts things on an official footing.

i gave my abusive ex free access to the chidlren in my new flat when i moved out because of his abuse - "i am moving but you can see the children here"

subtext - but respect my property, behave.

he did not. he continued to abuse me and was violent and smashed things up in my new flat! what could i do except raise the stakes to a formal footing in court. "talking" didnt work. it was clear mediaiton would not -as we ahd laready been in a form of mediaiton - family therapy - where i had used the sessions to try and discuss practical issues over contact with the children. he would just storm out...

lostdad Mon 08-Jun-09 16:31:29

I wish I knew. wink

My ex left without warning and refused to discuss anything concerning our ds including how much time he would be spending both of us. She refused professional mediation, including shuttle mediation (which would have meant she wouldn't have had to face me).

The only option I had was to take the matter to court or to accept our ds wouldn't have a father around.

Even now I offer mediation on a regular basis to try to move the process on beyond court, but she steadfastly refuses each time.

cestlavielife Mon 08-Jun-09 16:50:44

and there you have it lostdad - she abuses you by refusing mediation, by refusing to set out what she proposes.

by their nature, abusive people are very difficult to deal with in any setting.

mediation wont work when one person refuses it, or when one person is so controlling they would use it to manipulate. my ex does from time to time say "go to mediation, take this out of court"

so - i email - what are your proposals?

i have tried talking to my ex - by email asking politely what is it he proposes? what does he want to disscuss in mediation outside court?

but he wont say - just ignores.

i cannot go to mediation with someone who refuses to put on the table what they want.

i was prepared to offer mediation and my solicitor wrote him a letter proposing very equal contact time. but he blew it because he smashed my house up and held us hostage. and told me in no uncertain terms he would "never go to mediation".

all i know from his friend is that he wants us to "all be together again" - and that is definitely NOT on the table!

lostdad Tue 09-Jun-09 09:17:40

I wish I knew what my ex's proposals are.

Although two years down the line of trying to find out what she thinks (via solicitors, emails, letters, etc.) I am beginning to think at this stage she isn't going to tell me. wink

She simply refuses to communicate with me. It's a classic example of passive aggression - and that's hard to deal with, but I am learning because the only alternative is to give up on our ds.

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