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Scared my ex and his mother are trying to get residency of our son?

(103 Posts)
sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:03:31

Hi I lurk a lot on these boards and did when I was going through my break-up with ex P. I have 2 children, the youngest is biologically his. I broke with him because of what I think was verbal and emotional abuse, although I realise I did escalate arguments a bit when I probably should have remained calm. But how calm can you remain when your P is calling you names and saying he will be "watching" you just for giving the children toast for breakfast (not a proper breakfast he said). there were many many incidences like this. He was lovely as long as no-one challenged him and everyone agreed with him on issues like childrearing etc, although he never tried to control me and did help in house etc and work ft he did try to control every aspect of childrearing and certain things and is very overbearing in general. His mum is hysterical at times (not just saying that) - she can be sickly sweet but hits out with things like "You care about money more than your children" "you are trying to steal money from my son" on no provocation once when I explained that childcare tax credits could not be halved and paid half to him as they are paid to the main carer that's just the way it works and what difference does it make as long as the childminder is being paid? also none of her business anyway.

Anyhow, I have left now.

On a few occasions since youngest was born (he is 2) ex-P (while we were together) during arguments threatened to take my son away, that I'm an unfit mother (not true), that "the boy would be better off with me, you can visit or see him when he is 16" and this terrifies me now that we have recently split that he may try to actually do this. He lives with his batty mother and between them they could have him full-time, as only he works f/t.

Here is the practicalities -

* DS 'officially' lives with me ie address, docs etc
* I get child benefit for him
* Initially I returned to work p/t when d/s 6 months and used childminder but when he was 9 months I went f/t and mother-in-law has him Monday to Friday 9-5 while I work.
* Both children go there every other Saturday lunchtime to Sunday night
* He has toys and clothes and personal items in both houses
* Both houses would be deemed suitable and are only 5 mins apart

What has been worrying me is that it used to be that DS would be dropped off at 5.30pm to me for dinner and play/bath etc and picked up the next morning at 8-ish before my work. But now mother-in-law has recently been DECIDING (with ex-P who is the only driver and probably can't be bothered stopping work to do drop off) on around 2 weeknights per week that she will just keep him overnight as she is too tired to collect him in morning. Sometimes they will give me the courtesy of asking, sometimes they will leave a text 'informing' me and sometimes they will just wait until I phone at 6 wondering where they are. Last Thursday this happened - I called because no-one had let me know (not confrontational) and MIL snapped "He's in bed now, if you want to come and take him out of bed you can. At least he will get a good breakfast". ex-P condoned it when I called him angry "she didn't mean it, I'm sick of you" etc.

I was livid, it seems they are trying to 'take over' in a way and because of his previous threats to get lawyers and take him, I am very wary of letting him stay but I strongly suspect all hell would break loose if I actually objected. I have said after Thursday that I can pick him up at 5.30pm if ex-P busy at work and also I will drop him off in morning if she is "too tired" so they don't have these excuses but I don't think they will listen at all.

Sorry that turned really long! If anyone has any advice or knowledge of what would be likely to happen if they did try it (there are no child protection issues either side) considering DS is there quite a lot? I am even willing to quit work or get other childcare if it comes to it, but don't want to unless necessary. Scared of the fallout from them as they can both be extremely nasty to me, although both kids love them. I'm still getting periodic snipes from ex-P about how bad as mother I am etc )-:

Thanks and any advice much appreciated. x x

aleene Mon 05-Sep-11 00:12:29

I am no expert at all but I do not think any judge will grant him custody just because he wants it. You are the mother and have rights - your ex and his mother cannot just demand full custody. He sounds like a bully saying this to you to frighten you.
I would look at other childcare arrangements if that would make things easier by giving them less of a vested interest. Do not be intimidated by them. Do you have a separation agreement?

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:23:40

"I would look at other childcare arrangements if that would make things easier by giving them less of a vested interest"

I was thinking that, yes, maybe cut hours and hopefully still receive ok tax credits etc. Struggling financially as I don't have a great job and I am repaying debt. But like any mother I'd walk across fire if anyone tried to take my son from me. I have never asked exP to contribute since they buy all his nappies and food etc for when he is at theirs.
To be honest, I'm scared to rock the boat as they really are vicious at times. I'm sooo much more relaxed now I'm single (apart from this continuing issue), but I am a bit lonely (working on it) and have hardly any support except from exP and MIL (not emotional support i mean, but practical ie when i had to go into hospital etc). But perhaps I should mention casually I'm thinking of cutting hours so I can spend more time a home with DD AND DS and see what reception or body language i get.

A couple of friends at work have commented things like "be careful" etc when i spoke about it and they seemed to think exP and MIL have sinister motives.

I am happy with joint residency (ie - half and half) and would like this formalised (no separation order - didn't know they existed!) but in all serious both exP and his mother just sort of ignore me like I'm invisible and ignore what I say if they don't like it.

aleene Mon 05-Sep-11 00:28:09

Sounds like you could do with some legal advice. I think some lawyers will do a half hour consulation for free. Perhaps try asking in your Citizens Advice Bureau if they know of lawyers near you who do this or if you qualify for legal aid.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 00:31:10

Your XP is abusive right? so basically NOT good person to have care of your DC. his mother undermines you and has no respect for you, So again, NOT a good trustworthy person for you to leave your DS with.

Change your child care arrangements immediately.

Get CAB advice pronto as to your rights, their rights. I'd scale back all visits for a while. Don't allow them to have you running in circles.

Oh and your X works FT? GET some blooming maintenance money from him for goodness sake! He should be contributing to his upkeep at your house too! CSA all over him, it'll help pay for the child care he and his mother have bullied you into needing.

Kayano Mon 05-Sep-11 00:38:10

But is there any proof he is abusive bar OPs word?
That might go against er if there are no past incidences of abuse but OP suddenly starts 'he was abusive' etc
Not saying it's not true but obv MIL and xh will deny this and OP has been happy to leave child there mon- Friday and overnights on occasion, so it might leave people skeptical iyswim?

Get legal advice IMO, maybe cut your hours down at work?

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:44:30

Yes, I would say he is abusive and they both have a very unhealthy dynamic and outlook and sense of entitlement. But I have found it hard to change things as the childcare arrangements all started when we were still together (and custody etc was not so much of a problem as now although he did threaten), and both children adore both of them. He has never been abusive to the children at all, although his mother has said inappropriate things in front of them. and have not changed since. I will go for an appointment at CAB or a family lawyer though.

I am not trying to stop him seeing his father, just to protect my own rights as they do not seem to think DS needs a mother in his life. It's very strange and unsettling and scary the way they act. But it is [i]just[/i] mild enough and vague enough to sound like it [i]could[/i] be misunderstandings or overprotective father/grandmother. But it's not . Although it's subtle, it's not entirely harmless I don't think . x

aleene Mon 05-Sep-11 00:47:25

yes, trust your instincts.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 00:48:15

A man who is abusive of a child's mother is exposing the child to abuse. You don't treat the mother of your children like that, what do you think they are learning from him and his mother?

Change the child care to what suits YOU. If he doesn't like it, he can take you to court, and you can take him to the CSA.

Trust your instinct, they seem to be trying to phase you out.
Get advice. CAB are awesome!

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:49:45

Kayano, he is abusive. I have text messages etc where he states that he was "fair and justified to say those things {that I'd see my son when 16}" and "only i know how a boys mind works, no-one is more important than me in his life" "you do not care for your son" and lots of diatribes about how I am an unfit mother etc. Although no concrete evidence as it's just verbal etc.

But yes, I have left him there on those times. As I don't feel DS himself is at risk at all. and frankly I'm scared of the fallout if I were to restrict access. Mostly I'm scared that by restricting access it would get their backs up and they would then try for full residency. But if I leave things as they are then hopefully they won't try anything legal.

solidgoldbrass Mon 05-Sep-11 00:50:40

Rule one of dealing with abusive men: do not bother treating them as reasonable people. Consult a lawyer, get a legally-binding arrangement in place so they cannot just muck about with it (and if they do not return your DS to you the police can go and fetch him). Things have changed in that these abusive people are threatening to take your child away; there is nothing wrong with putting legal structures in place because you want to do so.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 00:51:38

What I mean is that we are not even talking about legal arguments wrt the abuse, I am merely establishing the foundation here, that OP needs to understand the principles at play. i.e that ultimately exposing the DC to flawed individuals is at best not ideal.

I don't think a man that threatens to take the DC from their mother IS a good father. I don't think he should have unfettered access to be honest.

GypsyMoth Mon 05-Sep-11 00:52:10

You don't have rights, only responsibilities, as does their father. The ones with the rights are the children. You certainly don't have anymore rights 'as a mother' as aleene suggests!

So, what's best for them? The sniping/comments/digs you are going to have to start ignoring

The childcare has always been good enough, your claims won't look good or come across well if this went to court! However, as far as residency goes ( no such thing as 'custody' it's residency) you have a sibling to consider, and judges rarely split siblings or change the status quo for such petty reasons as toast for breakfast not being substantial enough!

Kayano Mon 05-Sep-11 00:53:33

If you have texts that's really good - keep them!
The way I read it was that he is / was abusive (I do believe you ) but there was no evidence to support that claim if they do try anything funny like take you to court etc. They will deny it and I was worried if he is abusive the fact that they have had so much contact up til now might seem strange

Therefore... Limit contact if you can

I'm very often bad at expressing what I mean

GypsyMoth Mon 05-Sep-11 00:53:58

Posted too soon

So, I think you have little to worry about

Csa may be a good idea, but then I guess mil could start charging for childcare, so you would have to deal with that

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:56:07

Trust your instinct, they seem to be trying to phase you out

This. Phase me out is exactly how I feel. I have contemplated begging him to come back (although the thought is sickening) for the SOLE REASON that it would stop the immediate worries of him trying to phase me out and if he thought we were a couple, he was a bit less likely to side and gang up with his mother. And obviously DS would live with both of us together so no custody issues (unless he decided to leave that is). It seems crazy to contemplate but I keep thinking that we could avoid each other as much as possible. BUT it is a crazy idea as the thought of being intimate with him or him being affectionate makes me feel sick. Not being deliberately nasty, just how I feel. he is no friend to me, took me a while to realise that, and going back to try and alleviate this worry would destroy me emotionally for years and ruin any chance of me finding someone.

CardyMow Mon 05-Sep-11 00:57:51

Find a childminder and stop relying on your MIL for childcare, as if the case went to court, THEY would be deemed as being the main carers.

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 00:59:29

SGB, a legal agreement sounds perfect. But how do I go about getting one when I'm almost certain they won't co-operate and me petitioning them (if it's called that) will surely drive them to plot further against me?

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 01:00:02

Oh shit Loudlass. )-: )-:

aleene Mon 05-Sep-11 01:01:18

ILoveTiffany - I said the OP is the mother and has rights. I did not say she had more rights.

The reason I said this was to help empower the OP because her ex seems to be doing a good job of marginalising her.

GypsyMoth Mon 05-Sep-11 01:03:24

That's because op is letting them marginalise her( and I mean well with that, I have been there and it's hard. People had to point out to me I was pandering to my ex too)

sadandmoresad Mon 05-Sep-11 01:06:29

I do think I'm pandering to them yes, but it is only out of fear of the repercussions and what challenging them may involve/start. That's the only reason. Otherwise I hate them. I'm actually quite shocked I can now say that as I was unhappy but still in love with him not that long ago (split up a few months ago)

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 01:08:04

Read what solidgoldbrass says, all of it.

You can, and must protect yourself. Don't ignore these arse-wipe comments, don't tolerate them.

he bitches at you verbally, hang up, leave the room. REFUSE to be treated like that, every single time. WHO gave these people the right to disrespect you to your face, or in front of your DC? WHO? No-one! Take back your life, take back control. Oh and don't ask permission to do less hours to spend time with your DC! DO IT, if that suits YOU and the DC!

Your comment "he is no friend to me" YES! that! He is the opposite of friend. NOT to be listened to, NOT to be trusted. He has an agenda, can you see that?

Don't think you are talking to normal people when you talk to those that abuse, they are not normal, they are poison, they pollute everyone and everything they come into contact with.

aleene Mon 05-Sep-11 01:08:15

OP your post at 00.56 please do not think that getting back with this person would ever be the best thing for you or your DC. If he was already abusive then he would become ten times worse. There is help out there for you, try to access it asap.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 01:10:11

Repercussions? Bring em on! They have no right to demand you do anything you don't want to do! Who the hell do they think they are?

Stop treating them like humans, they are not! grin

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