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Is saying "I'm going to go for full custody of the DC" just part of the script when you're seperating?

(43 Posts)
riverbank Sat 18-May-13 20:15:52

H has just announced this, he has a long, long list of reasons but basically he's maintaining that he is a better parent than I am. He's not a bad parent, he's perfectly adequate, but I'm not a good parent too so the chances of him getting the DC full-time are pretty low.

I've talked it over with some close friends and one of them thinks that it's just posturing, he has no control over me anymore because I'm the one who wants to separate and this is just a scare tactic to try to pull me into line or punish me. I'm hoping that once he's talked to a solicitor he will see that taking this to court will be pointless and expensive.

In your collective experience do men usually back down on this before it goes to court? I'm worried that it will all get a bit nasty and things will be said that can't be unsaid. I'm really trying hard to do all of this amicably as we have young DC so will have to co-operate on bringing them up for many years.

Succoria Sat 18-May-13 20:20:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChippingInIsMissingHerLatte Sat 18-May-13 20:21:09

Your friends are right.

Just say to him 'Fine, do what you have to'... he'll find that incredibly frustrating smile

Yes - very very few men go through with that after threatening it. Even if he does, he wont get it, so really - stop giving it headspace.

ChippingInIsMissingHerLatte Sat 18-May-13 20:21:51

Tell him you will be happy with 50/50 as you want time to 'get a life' as well smile

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 18-May-13 20:28:34

It is frequently threatened. Most men back down when they realise the cost. Does your ex have access to thousands of spare pounds?

MissAnnersley Sat 18-May-13 20:28:46

Yes. My ex did this.

However he didn't go through with the threat.

The best thing to do is to act unruffled and not fan the flames. Annoying but effective.

deleted203 Sat 18-May-13 20:29:08

It's part of the script, generally. It is to show how 'caring' they are and how much they love their children. It's also to threaten and upset you.

I'm sure there are cases where a man would love to have his children living with him 100% of the time, and be a single parent, juggling work and child care. I only know 2 men who do this - and in both cases it is because Mother walked out and did not want the children.

Agree with Chipping. Best thing is to say calmly, 'You must do as you wish. I was hoping we could come to an amicable arrangement for the sake of the DCs, rather than getting into an antagonistic battle.'

He won't get full custody, BTW.

Shybairns Sat 18-May-13 20:31:23

Yes he's just trying to sound important and powerful.

All these threats that he makes are based out of his fear for the future, now that he no longer controls you.

riverbank Sat 18-May-13 20:31:42

I've already told him that I'm happy for him to have the DC as much as he wants (and is able to) up to half the time because it's important for them to be parented by both of us. It's more the possibility of going through endless court cases that bothers me.

I have already decided to only talk about this issue in our counselling sessions as H has always had a tendency to talk about vague plans that he won't elaborate on but are phrased to make me anxious. Our counsellor is quite a firm, no-nonsense bloke and keeps pulling H back to explain himself before letting him move on to the next thing.

riverbank Sat 18-May-13 20:34:48

Oldlady, we are fairly wealthy. He keeps telling me cautionary tales of his divorced friends who spent six figures on legal fees because the wives were 'difficult'. Six figures would be the difference between me being able to buy another home (H won't leave the family home) and having to rent instead.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 18-May-13 20:43:50

You're not "being difficult" though, there's no need for court if the two of you can reach a mutual agreement. But even if he pressed for court, there is no way he'd be given residency unless you are regularly drunk/stoned on heroin/shagging in front of the dc with loads of different men. It just doesn't happen.

But make sure that if/when you leave the family home, you take the dc with you. Courts go with the status quo, so leaving them behind would not be wise.

Ginderella Sat 18-May-13 20:47:50

Absolutely part of the script. My Ex threatened this and I replied with a jolly "Don't bother going to court - you can come and get DS now - I'll pack his bag!" Ex waffled, made an excuse that he was too busy to come right away. The subject never came up again!!

Whilst I'm not suggesting you say this to your EX, I think it's an idle threat. Ignore.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sat 18-May-13 21:02:38

haha, my ex threatened this too

I said "you don't have to take me to court, if you want the children you can have them"

That shut him up

butterflymeadow Sat 18-May-13 21:08:51

Yy, got this too, though it was phrased slightly differently. I did stand up to him and say he would not have a chance given his lack of involvement, but I was sufficiently worried to check with my solicitor that it would not happen. Incidentally, he said it immediately after returning from a two week holiday when he obviously had not bothered about them at all.

Pandemoniaa Sat 18-May-13 21:09:55

It's part of the script. Mainly because it is the one thing that they know will really hit the spot.

My ex-h whose general lack of interest in taking any responsibility for his own children contributed significantly to us splitting up ran this past me. If it hadn't been worrying it'd have been utterly laughable since he'd have coped with full custody for about 5 minutes if he'd ever got it.

wordyBird Sat 18-May-13 21:21:48

I'd say it was definitely part of the script for a controlling and self centred man.

letseatgrandma Sat 18-May-13 21:33:34

Oldlady, we are fairly wealthy. He keeps telling me cautionary tales of his divorced friends who spent six figures on legal fees because the wives were 'difficult'. Six figures would be the difference between me being able to buy another home (H won't leave the family home) and having to rent instead.

Is this just an idle threat or would he rather lose £100,000 to the solicitors out of spite to stop you getting a house of your own?

Why will you have to leave the family home? Is it in both names? Can you afford the mortage alone?

overtheraenbow Sat 18-May-13 21:41:17

Yep, mine did this 2 weeks ago , when he'd got his knickers in a twist cos the kids refused to meet the OW and as he's promised to consult them first was spitting his dumm out.
I politely told him that was fine, I'd stop divorce proceedings on the Monday and contact the CSA and CAFCASS ( who I know he didn't even know existed as he's self representing an arrogant twat )and he could pay for the divorce as he wants to change arrangements .
Funnily enough I got a grovelling email back saying , I think we are being childish , things getting out of hand, lets be reasonable about this blah blah! shock I also said I was sure he'd consulted his gf to discuss this and if she was happy too....
The first time I was really upset and panicked but I Know it's just the one thing he knows will hurt me most ( well apart from all the other things he's done this year)
Play it cool and if he knows you are not worried will back down I'm sure.

ivykaty44 Sat 18-May-13 21:43:18

Oh gosh the wives were difficult - well you can't be difficult on your own it takes two.

Op courts really don't want to see you over children - they want you to sort it out yourselves and take a dim view of you turning up. If you have said 50-50 then he takes you to court the judge will make him feel as tall as a drawing pin.

Keep trying for a good balance between the two of you that gives the dc support, stability and well being.

a good run for him one week of thursday through till the following tuesday and then you have them through and enjoy the weekend - that way you both get weekends and both get time off to yourselves.

Though possibly in reality he will not want them that long and not want you having all that free time... I don't know?

ProphetOfDoom Sat 18-May-13 21:51:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wilkos Sat 18-May-13 22:02:07

I got this too, both when we first separated and I had an exclusively BF newborn (would have liked to see how he would have managed thatwink) and then when I finally pulled the plug on our marriage for real 18 months later.

It as a Friday night and he was screaming it to me on the phone from his mothers, scared the crap out of me for a whole weekend until I spoke to my solicitor at 9am on Monday morning and she reassured me he had not a hope in hell of getting custody.

It's a scare tactic in the hope of regaining control. Dismiss it.

Joy5 Sat 18-May-13 22:32:43

Mine did this too, he knew mentally how down i was, not coping at all with him ending our marriage, 3 years after the sudden death of our eldest son, and i got endless emails telling me he'd arranged with our 2 youngest sons specific days and dates when he'd be seeing them, that they both wanted to be with him not with me. That they'd be spending more time with him, then me.

At the time i believed everything he was telling me, i was so determined not to involve our two youngest sons in his arguments with me, i was too scared to say anything to them about it.

Turned out to be all bluff, he was mostly living with his new gf then anyway, spending his time with her 3 kids, rather then ours, but i didn't know it at the time.

Even the week after our middle son was 18, i was still getting emails telling me he was going for custody of him! At the same time this son was found on the verge of suicide, he was in such a state over his Dad's actions, and becoming the same age as his brother was when he died.

Eight months later when i finally received divorced papers, he'd completed the child access one for our youngest son, just putting 'informal access' aranged!

I'd take everyones advice above, learn from their experiences, he's just trying to continue putting you through the worse pain possible, and using your precious children as weapons to do so.

You shouldn't have to go through this, by the father of your children, but the more time i spend on MNs the more i'm realising its happening to everyone whose husband walks out on them, they really do follow 'the script' if you havn't read about it already, do so, its an eyeopener.

Sending hugs, from a mum whose already gone through this, and knows how much panic and worry it causes xxx

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 18-May-13 22:50:40

It doesn't happen to everyone whose relationship breaks down. But women who have happy contact arrangements with their exes are unlikely to be shouting about it. Honestly, decent men are in the majority, decent women, too, we mainly hear about the problems.

But yes, when there are problems, they're fairly predictable problems.

SoupDragon Sat 18-May-13 23:06:18

XH tried this. I laughed at him and made it quite clear that he was delusional. Funnily enough, it was never mentioned in the divorce proceedings etc.

I do let him see then children whenever it is convenient though and am completely flexible when there are no prior commitments.

Can I throw a curve ball into this conversation - what are you doing about finances? If you are a fairly wealthy couple please make sure you get that sorted as it will then give you financial freedom if you do need to fight further on the children. The threats are very stressful and some men really do mean it but it is about control.

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