Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Abusive ExP wants residency of one child and not the other - help please(28 Posts)
NC for this, though am more of a lurker usually. Sorry this is so long.
My emotionally abusive, controlling exP of 17 years is moving out at the end of this week, although we split last year (his idea, but I had been so so unhappy for years and was at the point of leaving myself by then). We have two sons - one is eight and the other is 19m old. I am currently a SAHM though I have worked FT for about four years of the last eight. The house is solely in my name as exP is self employed and literally cannot afford to pay himself (this has been the case for about ten years!). ExP left me for a woman he had an affair with about ten years ago, which is pretty galling, but tbh I am just glad he is going. He spent years screaming abuse at me, drinks way, way too much, has not contributed financially to the household and lived off my earnings, and tbh he frightens me due to his aggressive verbal attacks when he doesn't get his own way.
Until the last couple of months, I have pretty much done everything for both children. I have cooked, cleaned, done bedtimes, school runs, made book day costumes, parents nights, taken eldest to friends' playdates and parties... Lately exP has started doing the morning school run three times a week, as he has started walking a dog for a friend who lives near the school. He has also started doing DS1's bedtime story while I get DS2 to bed 4 times a week on average(would have been nice if he'd done that since DS2 was born as it was a nightmare dealing with both at once when DS2 was newborn, it's not so bad now). ExP will tell anyone who listens how much he does for/with DS1 but the reality is he only does it when it suits him and though he loves our children very much, he is very lazy and dumps most of the childcare on me (unless he is in public then he becomes superdad). He does bugger all for DS2 - has probably changed about 10 nappies since he was born and will occasionally take him for 5 mins for me.
DS2 is still breastfed, and wakes a couple of times a night, so overnight contact is going to be tricky for exP. However he has said he wants to see DS2 regularly throughout the week and as DS2 gets older he will do overnights building up to 50/50 with me.
ExP also says that he wants DS1 to spend time 50/50 with both of us, but that he feels that it is important for DS1 to have one 'main home' for stability. So he proposes that DS1 lives with him, and I have him overnight 2 nights a week and also see him often at exPs house when he is not in school! Obviously I am not happy with this - I think that 50/50 is best for DS1 as he does get on well with exP (when ex isn't shouting at him) and to split him from his little brother who he adores, and from me 5 nights a week will be awful for him. I also have no desire to spend time with exp ever again - I do not want to have to beg him for time with my son (I forsee he will withhold it if he feels I have not done what he wants) and to just see him when it suits exp and in his home!
ExP says he wants me to have DS1 for 50% of the nights, but given that he can't have DS2 overnight yet it isn't fair that I will get more nights with the kids overall if we do 50/50 for DS1 now. I think this is childish and I am so frustrated that he won't listen to me. Although we split last year, he has only announced this 'plan' when he found the new flat a couple of weeks ago.
I don't want to prevent contact (DS1 wants to see and stay with his dad) but how do I get exP to take on board what I am saying here? If I can't get him to listen he will be moving out with DS1 and most of DS1's belongings and furniture at the end of this week! I was very close to going to a refuge with DSs before we split, now I wish I had. Help!
Go to a solicitor, now.
As you are not married and the house is in your name, you can basically chuck him out - change the locks when he is at work, and report to the police should he try and break in and/or take any of you or your DS's things.
I can understand that this might be not what you want to do OR be the best thing long term - it really depends how forceful you think you can be and stay safe - if you are prepared to just say NO to his 'plan' and carry it through.
Do you have support?
Is any of his abuse documented?
As for what he wants, if you don't agree with it then you can make it not happen:
- you are primary carer
- he is abusive and has drink problems (is this documented at all?)
- he wants to split up the children
- he has no suitable place to take them.
A court will very likely decide that they should stay with you and he have visitation.
The best thing to do though is see a solicitor RIGHT NOW, TODAY - free half hour with as many sols as you can get to, see what they say.
You do have a say in this !!!
Tell him to fuck right off and that the children are staying with you.
Did you say its your house? If so get him out NOW, call the police if you have to, he has no right to be there if you don't want him to be.
Also to say, don't be afraid. You do have a HUGE amount of power here if you can just have the strength and backup to put it into practice. He has NO legal power here on ANYTHING - you can quite literally change the locks this morning, put his stuff in plastic bags and call 101 and explain that your ex, who has no legal right to be in your house, has threatened to steal you and your son's belongings and take your elder son without your agreement. And that would be THAT.
If you have backup in real life - dad, brother, hefty friend - this could really be the best way. Because he will see that he doesn't get to call the shots - and he might well lick his wounds, decide he doesn't want 50/50 after all and go off and frolic with his (poor) new woman instead.
Thank you for replying, I was in such a panic.
Things have been pretty amicable between us for the last few months, much better than before. I had thought we could actually coparent together and make it work for both DSs, until this. I will ring round and try and get in to see a solicitor today.
Exp's drink problems - he did speak to his GP about this and was signed off sick for a year with depression and alcohol being mentioned, however this was 10 or 11 years ago. He has a few convictions for being drunk and disorderly, but again, they were many years ago. So he could just deny it I suppose (though it's a small town and anyone who knows him would know this was bullshit). He doesn't drink when in sole charge of DS1, it's when he is in bed - I have always been in the home to look after DS1 though.
He DOES have a suitable place for the children - he is renting a flat about half a mile away with a spare bedroom. It is suitable for DS1 to stay overnight and is close to school.
I have mentioned that he is verbally abusive to my GP, but that was a long time ago. He isn't abusive to DS, just more of the shouty school of parenting iyswim.
My family are supportive but live far away. I have few friends here as I allowed myself to be isolated by exP. He will claim that he is and always has been DS1's primary carer (what a joke), but how do I refute this? He has had DS1's child benefit paid into his account since he was about a year old (along with all my wages as he was financially abusive - I literally had to ask him to buy my tampons FFS). I was so naive and stupid for so long.
I am so scared of doing this the hard 'fuck off out of my house' way. I really hoped this could be done with us remaining friendly, as this would be the best thing for DS1. There's no chance of that happening though, is there?
So even after separating he is continuing to abuse you by threatening to take the children. Please take legal advice now.
Does he really want to co-parent?
It sounds as though he has twigged that an 8 year old is much easier to look after than a 19 month old and he would like to spend some time with his 8 year old doing the kinds of thing an uncle or godparent might do.
I'm not saying that you should stop him from doing what he is honestly capable of doing, however, from your OP that seems a lot less than 50/50 childcare.
Does he cook, wash clothes, clean the house, supervise your DS's homework, organise playdates, sort out stuff he needs for school?
Make sure his nails and hair are cut, buy new school shoes, take him to the doctor, sort out threadworms/nits/verrucas?
To be perfectly honest, no - he hasn't done anything like 50/50 before. He THINKS he has though! He doesn't do haircuts but will ask DS1 to cut his own nails and bath himself. He has started cooking a couple of times a week recently (but they are always fancy meals which cost £25 and take 7 hours to make so are ready at 10pm, not quick after school teas). He takes DS1 out (though not as often as he promises) and drives him to his weekend class - though only since he refused to put me on his car insurance knowing I couldn't afford it. He does the school run half the week and reads to DS. But I do the homework and almost everything else I can think of that being a parent involves. Ex has always wanted to do more with DS1 but gets held up 'working' so lets him down often. He says this will be better after he moves out.
I asked him why he doesn't want to have DS2 there at the same time as DS1 (his suggestion - DS1 comes to me when DS2 goes to him). His answer? That wouldn't be fair! He couldn't give both children the attention they deserved if he had them both at once.
Plus if you still have one child with you he's still controlling you. You can't go out by yourself and do things you want to in your own time.
See a solicitor asap and tell him to go whistle! He's unlikely to get even 50/50 and it sounds like he's only doing it as a way of further manipulation and abuse which will be given short thrift in court. Don't be afraid of standing up to him, have zero tolerance for any verbal abuse and if he kicks off, call the police.
Its not in your children's best interests to be 'separated' like he seems to be suggesting - he can't have only one at a time.
You need to see a solicitor pdq - for your free half hour hopefully but get some very clear questions you need to ask sorted out and tell them at the outset you need to have help on these specific questions.
It sounds to me as though he might be angling to get maintenance from you for when your son is living with him (not that it will go on your son I'm sure).
Have you got your wages going into your own account now?
Right, I have managed to make an appointment with a solicitor, but not until tomorrow morning. I need to tell my family what is going on - they think he is the laziest abusive waste of space in the universe so will be happy to back me up from a distance. Face to face they would prob go very OTT with him which wouldn't help.
DS2 says that he wants to share time with us both. I worry though as when exP cancelled going on holiday with me, DSs and my parents last year, DS1 said 'Grandma can I tell you a secret? I'm glad Daddy isn't coming on holiday as he would just shout all the time and spoil it'.
I don't want a court to think I am being unfair or witholding contact but I don't want DS1 or DS2 to suffer either.
I have to go out now to a hospital appt, so may not be able to reply for a couple of hours. Thanks for all of your replies!
ps I don't have any wages now! Have been SAHP for nearly 3 years. We have survived on WTC, CTC and exPs very meagre earnings, plus my redundancy money (now long gone) and my pension pot cash out (also long gone). Prob why he is leaving, the gravy train ran out!
I'm so glad you've made the solicitors appointment, getting a court order in place will be really valuable for your peace of mind.
Proposing splitting up your two children is ridiculous (and something my ex did) and will make him look like a joke in court.
Emphasise to the court that you understand the importance of the children maintaining a relationship with their father, but that you feel it better for their base to be with you, maintains the status quo.
firstly, things are not amicable between you, he's being nice to you so he can get what he wants, and then he is going to use that against you.
Secondly, you own the house and you are not married, therefore he has no legal rights - none - and you are well within your rights to throw him out. Get a locksmith to change the locks today and tell him that you've decided that in the interests of everyone he will be moving out today and his clothes are on the driveway. You will contact him in the next day or two about contact with the dc once you've had a chance to speak to a solicitor.
You say the child benefit goes into his account, but whose name is it in? if it's in your name then get it changed to your account today. I don't know about changing it into a different name if he's the one on the claim...
Finally I would go and see a solicitor with a view to getting an emergency residence order and then ultimately a full residence order. I am usually at the front of people shouting for 50/50, but IMO this wouldn't be in the best interests of either dc, and tbh I wouldn't be allowing any overnights until you have something in place from the courts because I wouldn't trust your xp to bring ds1 back at this stage.
I realise you feel disempowered by years of his abuse, but you do actually have a lot of power here, and you hold all the cards. It's time to play those cards and take back control.
The children need to see EACH OTHER too!
So he has moved out to his flat? Have you changed the locks?
"He says this will be better after he moves out."
Because? How will he cope better without you helping?
"He couldn't give both children the attention they deserved if he had them both at once."
Complete and utter rubbish.
My impression is that he is trying to control you and hasn't given a second thought to how this would actually work in practice (probably you constantly and regularly stepping in at a moment's notice - so you are still at his beck and call).
Call me cynical but I think this is all to do with money. Given the fact he's always done so little actual parenting, do you think perhaps the reason he's suddenly wanting residancy may be to do with the child benefit and tax credits that will come with it?
I think this is to do with tax credits and maintenance. Stop letting him do the school run. Kick him out now. This is unlikely to be an a amicable split as he sounds like an unreasonable selfish person. So stop being amicable and remove him. Document drinking and with hv today prior to removing him.
I echo what 43 said above this is about money also housing benefit and possibly making a maintenance claim on you, he doesn't want you going to the CSA and I think he might get housed if he has a child in tow.
He wants to preserve the status quo and a child will grease the wheels for him, what a cock
I echo what the previous 2 posters have said. He is playing you at the moment. He is trying to use your DC to get benefits & to get out of paying maintenance. This has absolutely nothing to with wanting contact IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
Sorry for shouting but you are being far too reasonable with him at the moment. Do not let him separate your DCs.
He doesn't give a toss about the children's relationship with each other does he!
Hope you get things sorted. He sounds like a total self-absorbed twunt.
Join the discussion
Please login first.