another access question(8 Posts)
(Originally posted in Relationships but it fits better over here - thanks for the tip, cestlavie).
I separated from an emotionally abusive x just over three months ago. We have a dd aged nearly 2. There is a temporary court order granting residence to me. DD spends Mon, Fri and every second Sat with her dad. No overnights so far. We were using a contact centre for a while but now it's unsupervised.
In a few weeks we'll be going back to court for a new court order. X wants as much access as he can and is arguing for joint residence. I don't want that (don't want him to be allowed to take her out of the country as he's not from the UK and I worry about him not bringing her back). I am contemplating allowing her to stay with him for every second weekend, including overnights.
She adores him. He adores her. I find him rather too controlling of her but he's fine with the feeding/dressing/looking after her when she's sick. One of the major things that drove us apart was him thinking my relationship with her was too strong and trying to weaken it, eg. for hours on end he wouldn't let me touch her (he would cuddle her instead). She once fell off the bed when I should have been there to catch her and he told her "Poor you, your mother doesn't care about you".
So I'm asking for opinions - what kind of access arrangement would you find healthy? Obviously it's not entirely up to me, as CAFCASS are involved (the SW told me that I was right to leave the relationship and they rarely encountered men as controlling as x). I just want her to get the good parts of a father/daughter relationship without him driving a wedge between us.
I have the possibility of going away this weekend and leaving her with him for a full weekend (in fact, 4 full days: Fri-Mon incl. 3 overnights). It's a pure jaunt on my part and I don't have to go at all. Would this be a good dress rehearsal so that I'll know if the overnights are distressing for her and I can negotiate in court in an informed way? Or am I making a concession that I'll find it hard to pull back from?
This is already appallingly long, but as I don't want to drip-feed, I should add some of the other reasons why I have concerns - he's said a couple of times that he wished dd would die in an accident so he could tell the world how bad I am. He's also said that as her father he has the power to throw her out of the window. But if you saw him in public playing with her, you'd think he's the best father ever.
His behaviour does sound rather erratic. However, unless you can prove he's going to be a risk to DD or CAFCASS take a complete disliking to him you may be forced to go along with what they suggest and review at a later date.
It doesn't sound like you do actually think he's a real risk. Otherwise you would never consider a full weekend with her. I don't think one weekend would affect the outcome of any court order.
Who has your DD's passport? If you have it then it should put your mind at rest over him leaving the country with her.
Its not really for anyone here to suggest what access arrangements would be healthy for your situation. It all depends on what you can both agree to and live with.
Was contact centre court ordered? If it's out of there now then overnights are next natural progression.
I'd sooner leave her in the care of a drug addicted giraffe than a man who has stated on seperate occasions that he has the 'right' to end her life.
re the taking her abroad issue, as you have residence order you an ask the passport office to put a warnign on her passport. this would mean he wouldnt be able to apply for a new passport. if you ring them they will ask you to put it in writing and send a photocopy of passport.
this is a good idea ... even if you have the passport if he has pr he can state that it has been lost/stolen/damaged and get a new 1 without u knowing!
Thanks for the replies. Floatyjo, yes, I did get a warning put on her file in the passport office.
colditz, I have gone through some sleepless nights wondering about what he might do to dd. I can't believe that he could ever say such things. But now that things have calmed down a bit, I see it as an unpleasant strategy to control me with fear, but not a seriously-intended threat. Niceguy and ILoveTiffany are right, overnights are the next step and I'm (mostly) okay with that. Hope to God I'm not wrong.
Reading through the lone parents section has been an eye-opener. Sympathies to everyone suffering from a spiteful ex-partner. Incredible that someone you once loved and thrusted can behave so badly.
For added peace of mind, you could leave her passport with a trusted family member. You should be ok then.
As for spiteful ex's, i believe its because they also knew us the best. Its a lot easier to hurt someone when you know exactly what buttons to push.
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