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When separating would mean splitting up the children... I can't find a way forward.

(55 Posts)
ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:24:31

DH told me in May he wasn't happy, and in July that he wanted to split up (not for the first time sad ). However, for the first time, I took him at his word and saw a solicitor instead of begging him to change his mind. He had been telling me I would walk away with nothing, that he would kick me out of the house etc.

Solicitor filed a matrimonial home rights notice, DH took this very badly and threatened me physically. We had a very bad couple of weeks.

Since then he has changed his mind about separating (... again), I am once more the love of his life, he doesn't want to be the kind of man who treats me this way, I provoked him but that doesn't excuse his behaviour..... You have all heard this story arc before, as have I.

However. We live with two children, one of whom is his from a previous relationship. I have known DSC (9) since they were one, been a key carer since they were 3, DSC has lived with me as a SAHM since they were 4. Other child (OC) is 5, same sex as DSC, they have a fab relationship, living with DSC is all OC has ever known.

H has been very clear that if I leave the marriage he will take DSC and leave for good. He will not maintain contact with OC, he will not allow any contact between DSC/OC. I have no legal right to stop this happening. I love DSC, DSC loves OC, the whole thing is a total mess.

He has given me two weeks from today to make my choice and I feel like I'm stuck in glue. He is a bully but day-to-day life is good for the kids and okay for me (although interspersed with patches of horrific). Without kids in the picture I would leave tomorrow, but they are in the picture and I can't seem to find it in myself to deprive OC of DSC as well as DH.

What do I do? What can I do?

ThisFenceIsComfy Sat 27-Dec-14 20:26:13

Is OC your husbands child?

Stealthpolarbear Sat 27-Dec-14 20:27:22

That's hell I'm so sorry
What is your relationship like with the other parent?

RandomMess Sat 27-Dec-14 20:27:25

Actually he's wrong. You will have to make a statements of arrangements for the DC and if the judge/court aren't happy then they will not let you divorce.

Get CAFCASS involved, if you are still the main carer I do believe that you have rights - more than you think.

nuts2you Sat 27-Dec-14 20:28:13

Same question here.
So sorry OP, it sounds awful.

ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:28:18

Yes, OC is his bio child but not his 'preferred' child.

Stealthpolarbear Sat 27-Dec-14 20:29:47

Actually that's awful. He's willing to allow half siblings to have no contact?

meandjulio Sat 27-Dec-14 20:30:20

'I have no legal right to stop this happening'

Are you sure? The best interests of the children don't sound as if they include losing touch with their siblings? I would therefore have thought that the children have a legal right to stop this happening.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Sat 27-Dec-14 20:30:50

That's absolutely horrific. What a horrendous thing to inflict on your children. What an utter cunt!

OP I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Surely a judge wouldn't allow the permanent separation of siblings that have lived together for that long?

ThisFenceIsComfy Sat 27-Dec-14 20:31:26

Christ he sounds like a piece of work. He wants to cut out his child. I think he is probably bluffing in order to manipulate you. I would second explaining to him that the court will help decide the childcare arrangements.

tribpot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:32:05

You're surely not considering staying with a man who would threaten to sever all contact between step-siblings, and refuse all contact with (what I assume is) his own child?

Where will that end? If you don't empty the dishwasher quickly enough - I'm taking DSC and will never see you and OC again. If you don't agree with him on everything - I'm taking DSC and will never see you and OC again.

You can't negotiate with a blackmailer. If he loves you and OC so little he's willing to threaten this, you already have your answer.

ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:32:34

I am still the main carer for both children, however DSC has been told I am causing trouble and our previously great relationship is now precarious. Solicitor has told me that if DH leaves with DSC and establishes a life elsewhere before court hearing etc then it is unlikely a judge would order a return to home town. I might get a couple of weeks a year sad

tribpot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:33:02

Sorry, half- not step-siblings.

MrsSnail Sat 27-Dec-14 20:35:28

If oc and dsc are siblings the court can enforce their right to contact with each other. And if you have been a key/ main carer for six years you have rights too. He's trying to bully you. Fwiw a colleague of mine ended up with custody of his adopted son with the biological mother only getting access because he was the main carer from a young age

nicknack9510 Sat 27-Dec-14 20:37:05

As the primary carer you do have pretty much the same rights of acess as a biological parent. My DF had a legal right to see my SB's after his marriage broke down as he had been living with them and caring for them for so long.

Please discuss it with your solicitor as you have more rights than you think.

Mama1980 Sat 27-Dec-14 20:38:33

I'm sorry you find yourself in this position op, he sounds absolutely horrible to threaten to deprive his children of such a valuable relationship. angry
You need to seek specialist legal advice. It may not be as clear cut as he seems to think. Courts are always very keen to preserve existing relationships and If you are the main carer this is a huge factor for them. Is your dsc s other parent involved at all?
Collect evidence of their relationship and yours, note down a typical week etc. I have known courts order contact In this situation but you need to speak to someone in rl.

ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:39:14

DH is saying he would move closer to DSC's Mum. DSC would like that I guess, currently doesn't have much contact. She and I used to have a good relationship I thought, I was the main point of contact for a few years as they didn't get on well enough to talk. Recently she has been frosty, I'm aware he's talked to her about us splitting up (back when that was still his plan), according to him they both agreed that I should have no contact with DSC going forward. He has form for lying about things like this, so I don't know if that's true.

I do know if he wanted no contact and I got a court order saying otherwise, it would be a massive conflict for DSC emotionally. I don't know which would be less damaging sad

ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 20:40:58

Thanks for all the replies... Need to go, will be back later tonight and read/reply more then...

Mama1980 Sat 27-Dec-14 20:45:46

You sound absolutely lovely op, genuinely.
Fwiw as the child of a father who walked away without a backwards glance, your dsc, in future years will know how you fought to see them, to preserve their relationship with brother/sister. It will mean a lot even if it complicates things shorter term.
Have you seen someone specialised in family law? A lot has changed legally recently. The fact he has allowed his dsc to remain in your care will speak volumes.
Is direct speaking to dsc mum a possibility?

Quitelikely Sat 27-Dec-14 21:00:03

Going by what you have said this man is emotionally unstable. Realistically it doesn't look like you will last forever? So the question is, do you want to waste anymore time with him?

The issue with the children is terrible but sadly he uses them as a stick to beat you with. Please don't let him. You have obviously been a great part of their lives. Although it's hard don't hold on for their sake. Their father obviously doesn't have their best interests at heart and there are consequences due to that.

Please focus upon yourself and your little one.

Believe me with the right love and care children can overcome most things and I think this would be one of these things.

ImaFrayedKnot Sat 27-Dec-14 22:33:07

I have been tempted to ring DSC's Mum but as sad as it makes me sound I am a bit scared of his reaction sad I think I would have to be absolutely sure that splitting was the right thing to do before lighting that match!

I can't see how it would work if we stayed together... DSC has already been (in my view inappropriately) involved, all the better to play his favourite game of 'divide and rule' and the consequences of that choice have been profound. DSC had a lot of change/trauma in the first three years of life, and is not coping well with the prospect of more (and even worse for them I think is the uncertainty). DSC's primary relationship is with DH, they have a very strong bond which is fine when life is going well but is working against me now sad DH's relationship with OC is poor. He never puts them to bed, reads, plays etc... I find this hard as well as his amazing parenting was one of the things I found most attractive when we met, but I didn't realise it would only extend to one child.

We were in marriage counselling for over two years and his treatment of OC was one of my main issues... He has got better but I would say I treat the kids more equally than he does, even now. At the moment OC doesn't like him/want his attention so doesn't really notice, but it's still not healthy for them.

Isetan Sun 28-Dec-14 05:46:24

As difficult as a split would be for the children, living with this man would probably be worse long term for them. Both children will not be best served by living in an environment where their parents marriage is permanently teetering on the brink.

Your marriage is over, the unknown is naturally very scary but pretending that it isn't will create its own set of dynamics which could be even more damaging.

Given his threats and his appaling behaviour, this man will always be a negative/ destructive influence but not living with him will limit your exposure to it.

Even if your legal battles regarding child contact prove fruitless, it will be a permanent record of your attempt to maintain contact.

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 28-Dec-14 08:12:30

You can't stAy with this horrible man. See what a solicitor says- I feel he will eventually back down when challenged/before court but what a nasty, nasty git he is.

tribpot Sun 28-Dec-14 09:24:26

I can't think that it's the best thing for OC and DSC, but particularly OC, to live with a parent who plays golden child and scapegoat. Hugely damaging for OC's self-esteem.

I think you need to take the possibility of the marriage continuing off the table, and then focus on legal measures to ensure DSC and OC can continue to have a relationship. Unfortunately you can't save DSC from the fact neither of his/her parents are up to the mark (I'm assuming there's a reason why DSC has so little contact with mum). But you can do better for OC. I appreciate that you feel torn because life with you in it is better for DSC than life without your DH would be for OC, but your DH has burned the house down with his threats.

ImaFrayedKnot Sun 28-Dec-14 09:34:48

So it would be better for OC to lose both DH & DSC than continue as we are? That's my fear I think, that by choosing to leave I will be devastating OC on two different levels sad

Thanks for bearing with all my acronyms by the way, I can't even think about this without being in bits and it helps to compartmentalise (though at the moment it feels like emphasis is on the mental!)

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