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My son is going to live with his father and I am grieving

(52 Posts)
Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 04:54:43

Hi, I would like to know if anyone has been through the same situation as me and if they can help me with any advice on how to feel better or what I can do. My son is now 11 and his father called social services vendictively on us this year. We had social in and out until they made their enquiries and rightly so, closed the case in July. They spoke to my son at school and he said he wanted to live with us but still wanted to see his father (who has contact alternate weekends and alternate wednesdays). Following this the father has taken me to court for sole custody (he has been unemployed for 20 years and claims full benefits and is fully legally aided whereas my husband and I work so we don't get legal aid. He also smokes cannabis heavily and has done for years which I believe has caused paranoia, sleeps all day and is not responsible). We split up when my son was 2 and I remarried when he was 4. I now have two other children and my husband and I are doing our very best for my son always. The father made false allegations against us and took me to court for sole custody following the social closing the case. He has not paid any maintenance since my son was born. My son had to be seen by a Cafcass court reporter today and he told the reporter that he wanted to live with his father but that he was worried about how I would feel. I don't want to stop him doing what he wants to so I made the painful decision today that he can live with his father and he moves there on Friday. My son is distraught and said that he was forced to tell the Cafcass reporter this as she was wording things in a way and on the father's side. She had spoken to the father before me and he is an amazing talker and manipulator. I am so sad because my son has never told me he wanted to live with his father and I feel that the father is not a good role model for him and is manupulating him. My son has always said that he wants to live with us but he is afraid of his father's reaction. I feel sad and am grieving. I have tried to give him the best possible chance in life and he is in a stable family home but when he goes to his father's house I feel his father manipulates him into thinking that his life will be better with him. He told him he has taken out £400 for Christmas presents for him (he has never provided anything for him before) and he has done up his room for him just recently (he never had a room for him in all these years before and my son slept in his room). We have tried so hard to make him feel a part of the family but his father does not want him to feel in a family. My son has his chores to do at home and we do have a routine for him. When he goes to his father's house his father sleeps alot so my son is free to do what he wants with no rules. His father has no girlfriend, is not re-married and has no other children, no job and lives in a council flat (which he was at risk of losing apparently at the beginning of this year). I do feel that I am up against a brick wall when I speak to the authorities about his father as I feel that because social services were involved (because the father called them) they are not listening to me. Any advice greatly appreciated at this so very difficult time.

SuperBunny Wed 10-Dec-08 05:05:17

I'm so sorry

I think your DS sounds very confused. I think you have to support him and his decision. Is there anyway he can change his mind if he wants to?

And, if he does change his mind or goes ahead with the move and wants to come back to you later, make him feel at home as much as he always has done.

No advice but (hugs)

SuperBunny Wed 10-Dec-08 05:07:25

ps, my DS did spend some time with his father a while ago but circumstances were rather different and he was much younger than yours. It was so incredibly difficult for me so I know how hard this must be for you.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 05:07:26

I need to find out how he can come home if he wants to. He has asked me this question tonight. I will call my solicitor in the morning to ask her.

SuperBunny Wed 10-Dec-08 05:10:15


Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 05:11:15

I really feel so terrible SuperBunny. I can't sleep, I can't stop crying. We have all been crying tonight. It is such an important time for him now, going to secondary school in September and I can't help but feel that I have failed somewhere along the line. I love him so much and life is going to be so difficult without him here.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 05:15:59

We had a family holiday booked in January so I asked his father's solicitor if he would authorise the holiday and his father told me that he won't allow my son to come with us as I have never asked him if we can take him on holiday before and he has parental responsibility also. He told my son that we are going to "kidnap" him and that is why he is not allowing him to go. Its so ridiculous

SuperBunny Wed 10-Dec-08 05:18:28

No. You have NOT failed him. Quite the opposite.

I know this feels like such a kick in the teeth and it is so terribly unfair for you. How far away is he moving? Can you make sure he has a door key and knows he can come back whenever he wants?

Of course you are crying. This is your baby. And his whole world is just about to change. And yours too.

I'm really sorry sad

SuperBunny Wed 10-Dec-08 05:20:09

It is ridiculous. Totally. I am not allowed to take me DS away either, for exactly the same reason.

Try not to be too hard on yourself - none of this is your fault.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 05:39:01

Thank you so much for talking. I have just looked up on the web that there is a mothers for justice website.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 05:39:42

I would be worried to give him a doorkey in case his father uses it.

maamajullah Wed 10-Dec-08 05:52:11

ISawMumiKissingSantaClaus Wed 10-Dec-08 06:27:53

Excuse me while I repeat some of what you've just told us:

Your X wants sole custody: presumably he gets all the "perks" that come with it - child benefit, child tax credit, child maintenance from you - on top of his full benefits and legal aid, does he?

He also smokes cannabis heavily which you believe is causing mental health problems. You should not allow your DS to live with anyone like that - whether it is his father is by the by.
Coupled with the lack of maintenance thus far it is clear he does not have your DS's best interests at heart.

Yes, his father is manipulating him into thinking life will be better at his. You know it won't be and I'm afraid it's your responsibility as his mother to put your foot down and say no.

Your son seems to care about your feelings a great deal and yes, admittedly if he did try it, it may be the antidote, but if you let this become a permanent arrangement at the age of only 11, frankly it's highly likely he'll end up like him.

I know this wasn't what you were asking for, but you still have the right to fight for what is best for your son, which I believe is the stable environment you have created at home with you.

ABudafulSightWereHappyTonight Wed 10-Dec-08 06:31:42

I am so sorry for you. How awful.

It sounds like your DS doesn't really want to go but is not wanting to hurt either of you.

Can you speak to your solicitor and ask can your son speak to someone else totally on his own, someone totally objective?

maamajullah Wed 10-Dec-08 06:42:44

i totally agree with isawmumkissingsantaclaus.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 06:57:29

Unfortunately the people dealing with the residency order are believing what his father says and yes you are totally right, his father will get all the financial benefits. I am trying to put my foot down but no one seems to believe me when I say he is an addict etc. as he is so manipulating and when I asked them to ask his father why he hasn't worked for 20 years one woman said to me "a child loves his parents whether they are working or not!" I am going to ring my solicitor this morning to talk to her about it but we have been through so much this year and my son told Cafcass that he would go and live with his father so I feel that this is perhaps really what he wants and he doesn't want to upset me. It is so hard fighting a battle when no one is helping me, even my solicitor doesn't contact me much because she knows we cannot get legal aid and is worried probably that I can't pay her bill if she speaks to me too much and runs the bill up...

leoleomakingalist Wed 10-Dec-08 07:17:18

Can you go back to the Cafcass stage with a different person?
No experience of this just trying to help.

TinySocks Wed 10-Dec-08 07:42:31

My goodness, this is all so unfair. Sorry I have no experience but just wanted to say strength and please don't give up. Can your son not contact the cafcass after sometime and tell them that he regrets his decision and wants to go back to you? Sorry, I have no idea how this works, but surely there must be a way for your son to leave?

Have you thought of maybe going to the press?

Don't give up.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 07:46:30

Thanks for your support. I will contact my solicitor and see what she says.

Tortington Wed 10-Dec-08 08:32:21

he will be back. you must tell him you want him and he is always welcome that your home is his home.

think i would be writing some letters, and it wouldnt matter what my son wanted , becuae as a parent my reason for being it to provide the best for him - with his dad isn't thebest for him.

i would be writing to the various agencies, using their coomplaints procedures.

do that today.

Claudia6251 Wed 10-Dec-08 11:09:25

I will thank you all for your support. I just phoned my solicitor and she is out of the office today so I am seeing her tomorrow at 10am to see what she suggests we do.

Malkuth Wed 10-Dec-08 11:11:52

Can you ask for a drug test before your son goes to live with him as you have concerns about drug use?

lulu41 Wed 10-Dec-08 12:14:19

Claudia I hope you are OK and that you manage to work things out - my dcs father often threatens to take my ds when he feels that he is not getting on with his sister - its bizarre but that alone makes me so sad and scared - he has never done it but not sure that he wouldnt and it would be a real fight to get him back !!!

QueenTinselShadow Wed 10-Dec-08 12:22:37

How come you have let it come this far? Why on earth did you agree to this?

If Social Services closed the case, how come they deem it better for your son to be uprooted from his mum and siblings, and the man who has been like a father for him since he was 4, to go and live with a single man who is doing drugs?

I agree, that you have to be firm and say NO.

And, you have to stop whining and being confused, it is is clouding the issue.

Your son is a child, he has never lived with his father full time, how can he know it will be better for him? YOU have to take control over the situation.

ISawMumiKissingSantaClaus Wed 10-Dec-08 13:19:14

Thank you QTS (et al)!
I know I was up early/late hmm but I was beginning to think that maybe this was the norm shock and that I was just rocking the boat! hmm

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