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I dont know what to do from here

(15 Posts)
Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 09:21:37

This is a post about my ex and contact with my children.

To start, they are not keen on going to see him. I have 4, all under 9, my eldest is Autistic.

We have been split for nearly 4 years. And it has been rocky. The children have definitely suffered, and I have been trying to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.

When we first split, we had a family arrangement of £50 per week maintenance and he was meant to have the children every Sunday as he had nowhere for them to sleep.
A bit later, a few months or so, he stopped paying £50 and reduced it to £30. He also started having them overnight about once a fortnight.
Then an awful thing happened: his mother and stepfather had this horrid violent fight which resulted in my kids witnessing the following: exes Mother wetting herself, exes stepfather shouting, smashing a wine rack full of bottles to pieces, and hearing their Dad get punched in the face. He called me after to tell me and I demanded they come home. I didnt let them go back there to overnights, or day visits, and he didn't want to come to my home, so for 6 months he used to take them out for a Sunday. I soon started noticing him around the local town and realised he stayed outside all day, the 2 little ones confined to their pushchair for the duration... And winter was setting in. I managed to get him to make other arrangements, and he ended up taking them to his mothers cafe which also has a b & b room-which is where thry stayed. Eventually I was convinced that everything was calm, stepdad was now on meds, so I allowed the kids to go back to the house for visits.

He stopped paying anything soon after that. Was always late for pickups. The kids kept coming back filfthy. Ruined clothing. I started hearing they weren't having a good time.
Still no maintenance. Every time i tried to talk about concerns, he would get angry and accuse me of things which werent true, or tell me the children were lying.
Some weird stuff had happened with his mother too, she asked the kids odd questions like 'will you hold my hand when i die'

Contact changed again to an overnight weekend stay every 2 weeks.
Still no maintenance and things turned really sour because of all the stories i was hearing from the kids, the evidence for myself with their destroyed clothes and runny tummies, and bad behaviour when they were returned to me.
Then he moved to Sheffield and made the kids feel so sad about it, that my Autistic son was clinging onto him for dear life on the day he left.... This was just a ridiculous self gratifying move, after talking with my son I came to realise that there had been a massive build up to 'dad moving really really far away' and it had been made a massive deal out of to the point it had frightened the children. He would have seen them as normal 2 weeks later!! He started travelling around with no car seats for them. His Mother started encouraging my Autistic child to lie to me. About silly stuff.

Then we moved house. He got it into his head I was going to snatch them away so started getting quite nasty and even went to their school and demanded the Head tell him which new school they were going to attend. When i let him know all the details when everything was final and definite, he made appearances at school to make himself known. Put himself on the emergency contact, despite living in Sheffield at the time.
He started making everything so stressful when he came to pick them up that I requested he send his mother instead. She came, and for a bit it was ok. Then things turned bad again, she reacted the same way when i wanted to talk about basic care regarding the children... She started shouting on my doorstep "are you on drugs? You're on drugs... I can tell, tell me what you are taking so you'll never see those children again" for the record, i am not. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs.

I cut contact for a while after all that. The children seemed a mixture of relief and missed him and her. All the while i was agonising whether it was a good decision.
Meanwhile, me and my partner were having a rough time. It got rougher having to deal with all this. The relationship between him and I was bad anyway... And still is. (see other post)
After a bit, he left, and i was on my own. It was all wrong... We had moved house 5 months ago, masses of stress from that, masses of stress from my relationship, masses of stress continuously battling with my ex, masses of stress with the kids from school and at home... I suddenly wasn't coping. In a desperate moment I called their Dad and asked him to have them, i felt I just needed a day off to get my head straight... I was crying on my way home from school, unable to deal with the schools concerns and everything else.

I got myself straight fairly quickly, and the children resumed contact with their dad. They seemed pleased so I let it continue.

But things are going down the pan again. Ive had the no car seats again. Ive had the torn clothing... Well actually this time, their dog ate some shit covered pants. Nobody grown up bothered to tell me though. Still no money.
I demanded he buy them clothing and bring it for them to wear or they couldn't come because i wasn't willing to destroy more clothing. He did that after a tantrum. This weekend my autistic son didnt want to go. The clothes don't fit him and this is a massive deal for him due to the autism. Then hr glanced out the window and saw his dad tapping his phone and said "see? That's all he ever does, is play on his phone or message his friends" i had to placate him, then talk with his dad about it on his behalf, with my son next to me, which I think helped.
Then, last night at 9.15 i got a call from my son. He was very distressed. Agitated. Said he wanted to lash out at his dad. Said that all day has been hard, dad shouting at his brothers alot, one of the other kids really playing up more than the others, they've been inside all day, he wasn't looking forward to bedtime because his brothers will play up. He wanted to come home.
I talked him down and made him calm. After a chat about it not being his responsibility and to try not to worry, i spoke to his Dad. He immediately tried to play the situation down and my son overreacting. He blamed my other son for causing all the trouble by playing up too much.
I lost my temper then, how dare he blame the children!? Then when i started reeling off exactly why everything was going wrong, he obviously got defensive and started accusing me of nonsense again. This time, he accused my partner of hitting the children. My partner is alot of things, but he has never been violent towards anyone. I know it for a certainty because I'm always home when he is home, if nothing else.
When i told him to stop making stuff up, trying to bring the conversation back to what i had intended, he called my son to the phone and tried to get him involved, trying to get him to tell me that Daddy wasn't lying.
I don't understand this part myself. Either my son lied for some reason, or my ex bullied him into lying alongside him... Something? I know that it just isn't true.

I asked him to bring the children back sooner tomorrow (today) as he clearly wasnt coping but he refused. I could hear the kids getting agitated in the background, so I called the police. I felt really fearful tbh. It was now 9.45, all kids were up and active, youngest being 5 oldest being 9, oldest clearly distressed and ex clearly not behaving well. The police agreed to go and do a welfare check. I didn't hear anything. I called back this morning and they were apparently satisfied.
I text my ex and asked him again to bring them back early, but to please be on time if nothing else, but I'm getting no reply. Now I dont know what to do.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 09:28:06

I'd like to add, i dont drive so can't go there at will very easily.

RJnomore1 Sun 13-Dec-15 11:11:08

Sorry no one is replying. I don't have any answers but I thought I would bump for you and at least let you know someone is listening.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 13:38:20

Thank you. It always seem such a mess, and I don't know why. I'm beginning to think it IS me, given the problem I have with my partner and these problems. Not a very good day.
I have called the kids, and they sounded alright on the phone.

RJnomore1 Sun 13-Dec-15 16:41:55

Hopefully they will be home soon and at least you will know they are ok for now. I know that doesn't help longer term though.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 17:10:57

Yeah, one hour to go! I think my first step is legal advice

RJnomore1 Sun 13-Dec-15 18:20:05

That sounds like a really good idea. Hopefully they are back with you safe and sound for now.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 19:11:19

Yep they are, washed and in jammies. One of them was so hyper he smashed something in his room though, but they are settled now

Sparklycat Sun 13-Dec-15 19:21:19

Can you contact social services and tell them all this? Keep a diary of the state they come back home in etc etc and stop contact altogether? It sounds horrendous for you, I would hate to hand my children over to a potential unsafe situation.

Curlywurly4 Sun 13-Dec-15 20:28:04

If you have any DC's under 5 I would call the health visitor and explain the situation. Be explicit that you feel the children's needs are being neglected, no car seat, torn clothes etc.

It sounds awful and stressful fur you all.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 20:28:50

I have tried, Sparklycat. And they seemed supportive. Then i saw a solicitor. She told me it's all a bit borderline and there is no evidence. I tried to get the police to catch him without car seats, they missed him. Then he claimed social services said i was doing wrong not allowing contact, and that i could at least allow supervised visitation, but from family members or friends, seeing as there is no child protection issues.
Maybe i fall too quickly at the first hurdle he puts up. Last time it all got too much when he threatened legal action for full custody.

wannabestressfree Sun 13-Dec-15 20:35:11

Phone the cms tomorrow and get the ball rolling for Maintenace.

midsummabreak Sun 13-Dec-15 20:40:41

I don't know what can help either but I know you must be worried sick each time the children go to their Dad's, i would be too.
Not using a car seat when knowing this is risking their lives in an accident is frightening for you. the law is there to protect children's safety. So hard for you to be worrying about these things every time they go to their Dad's. Once they are of age (is it 16/18?) they may gradually decide not to go but it seems so wrong he can behave so irresponsibly in the meantime He does miss his children, and sound like he cares for them but is messed up? He seems to get it together when you remind him but then slips back? Is there a way to sit down with your x and write up some sort of routine for your children that is do-able. Would he listen if you sat together to talk? Maybe bring it up as worrying about how the two of you can help your son,because of not coping with routine changes? That way you have a common goal, to help your son cope?

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 21:09:13

I am willing to try anything. I could ask again if we can talk. But i feel like i have to Mother him, constantly monitoring everything.

I have been with the CMS for over a year. Almost 2. They dont seem to do much about it. But he didn't work for almost a year, had zero income. It wasn't true, but through the books it was, and i couldn't get evidence. Now, he is working, claims he hasn't been paid yet, and cms tell me there is a marker on his HMRC goings on, so they will know when he starts paying tax. Unless he is working cash in hand again, which I doubt because he told me about this job. The cash in hand work from before was through his family, he didn't tell me about it, i found out from other sources.

Dorsetmama Sun 13-Dec-15 21:11:17

We agreed on a week visit for Christmas this year, as its technically his turn, but i am loathe to send them now.

I also found out when thry got home, that they had lunch around 4pm on Saturday and dinner not until after I had spoken to my eldest on the phone, and I hung up at 9.45pm!

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