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At what point do you decide that it's better for dc NOT to have contact with the NRP

(17 Posts)
PoppetyPoppet Sun 24-Jan-16 18:49:30

I've posted before about my XH. most recently because I had a bizarre, but short lived reaction to him getting with a new woman. I listed some of his behaviour re the dc then. Some of the advice given was that this new 'love of his life' as opposed to the several other women he has been sleeping with since we divorced but deemed appropriate to introduce to our dc including drug and alcohol abusers might actually make him a better father but already he's proving she is more important.

To give a short overview; he was EA towards me and continues to be so on any contact we have which I try to keep about the dc. He basically leaves all the shit work to me as its womens work, he lets them down regularly, introduces them to new GF's all the time, even if they've only been seeing each other a short time and some all have had substance abuse issues, he regularly screams and shouts at me in front of the DC, he will often refuse to have only one of them if the other is ill. You get the picture. Whilst I don't doubt that he loves them, he is a very selfish man and uses his dc to show himself as a good father but then only does the bare minimum with them and mostly only fun stuff. He does have them more or less regularly and pays the minimum amount of maintenance although it's based on a conservative estimate of his income and discounts things like rent he receives from properties he owns although I think the DC (5&7) get very bored when they stay at his EOW.

What has pushed me over the edge today was this: it was his weekend to have them. He text me earlier to tell me what time he would drop them home then 'accidentally' text 'missing you loads xx' which I'm guessing was meant for his gf. Half an hour later my dc showed up at my door, he had dropped them off several hours early. He had apparently taken them out and dropped them off on the way back. They had none of their things, including school shoes and coats that they will obviously need for tomorrow. But even worse, he returned our youngest wearing dirty clothes that absolutely stank of piss. They'd clearly been taken out of the laundry basket that contained a piss soaked item of clothing.

I'm livid that he could neglect them in this way. I have had to tell him several times to bath them when he has them because he doesnt otherwise. He's also refusing to return their shoes until the morning but that means 6am because of when he goes to work and I can't cope with getting up that early (I have an illness that causes chronic exhaustion). He obviously dropped them off early because he wanted to see his gf. It's starting to make me realise just how little he actually cares about the DC. Or it could be because he knows that I will pick up his slack regardless and so doesn't even consider his effort necessary.

Anyway, I'm fast approaching the point where I've had enough and I'm also questioning his ability to look after them properly. What would you do in these circumstances?

lostinmiddlemarch Sun 24-Jan-16 19:15:40

What a nightmare. Sorry, that's not very helpful. But seriously, he sounds like mediocre at best.

Newbrummie Sun 24-Jan-16 19:24:17

What I am doing to withdrawing contact until he takes me to court for it which will be the 12th of never.
Push the onus back onto them and see how badly he wants it, then get it documented to the letter, times for pick up, drop offs etc and don't answer the door if he comes back early

goddessofsmallthings Sun 24-Jan-16 19:25:36

Do your dc look forward to seeing him and do they enjoy the contact they have with him?

PoppetyPoppet Sun 24-Jan-16 19:32:19

lost, he is a nightmare. Thank you for replying.

New, this is what I'm considering saying to him but I don't want to be too hasty in my decision. I change my mind all the time. Plus, I have an older dc who hasn't seen his dad since he was a baby. I'm obviously not wanting the same for my youngest but equally I question whether he has their best interests at heart. Incidentally, my DS(16) knew my XH as a father figure since he was 4 but when we separated, he chose not to see him again. He went once but spent the whole time looking after his younger sisters. Says it all really.

goddess, yes and no and it goes in phases. Eldest DD went through a phase last year of crying whenever she had to see him and spent most of their contact calling me begging to come home. She says they don't do very much when they're with him so they get board and he shouts at them a lot. They've also witnessed a lot of his abuse of me. But I don't doubt that they love him and most of the time go to his without protest or problem.

Homely1 Sun 24-Jan-16 19:32:47

Poor kids, I'd be livid too. What I keep reading though is that he will get contact. Though I really would feel the same as you. I would document everything.

Please correct me if I'm wrong anyone.

Fourormore Sun 24-Jan-16 19:32:54

I wouldn't stop contact in those circumstances. I would document what was happening. I would contact him about the clothes that smell and say that if it happens again you will seek legal advice.

The lack of commitment from him, you can't do anything about that. No it isn't great for the kids but better that they have some relationship with him and come to realise his failings than grow up without a father and could end up blaming you if they end up idolising him (because they won't have experienced his failings).

Fourormore Sun 24-Jan-16 19:34:22

I also wouldn't give him the opportunity to shout at you in front of the children. He returns them to your door, you close the door. Same for collections, they're ready to go, you say goodbye and close the door.

Newbrummie Sun 24-Jan-16 19:37:01

He will get contact once it goes to court if you honestly think he will spend the £20,000 fighting for it, I suspect he won't.
My mum was exactly the same forced my dad to have a relationship he didn't really want with me and my sister and tbh it would have been less damaging to both parents if she had just left it and let us get to know him as an adult

Fourormore Sun 24-Jan-16 19:41:23

It doesn't cost anything like £20k to go to court. It costs £215 to apply and he could represent himself, it's not hard.

Newbrummie Sun 24-Jan-16 19:49:26

Whether it's hard I guess is a matter of opinion, it's certainly time consuming and if you don't know what you're doing well you've no chance have you.

Fourormore Sun 24-Jan-16 19:52:05

There are plenty of guides out there if he is bothered. In any case, based on the behaviour above, withholding contact is not in the children's best interests.

HandyWoman Sun 24-Jan-16 20:06:41

In these circs I'm sure court would still allow unsupervised contact.

But obviously given his abuse of you and the utter heartache involved in seeing your Dec 'cared for' in this paltry way I would really struggle. I'd find it so hard. I really think you could benefit from preventing the abuse when he collects them. Any chance you could do third party handovers?

Be kind to yourself.

Newbrummie Sun 24-Jan-16 20:16:52

Withholding until it gets documented is in everyone's best interests as far as I can see. And that's the million dollar question isn't it .... Can he be bothered

usedagain Sun 24-Jan-16 20:41:10

I think four has it. Contact, however difficult for the parent, is for the benefit of the children.

You should take all possible steps to minimise the opportunity he has to be unpleasant to you (eg handover at the end of the road/ front door step / front gate - NOT in your home) other than that, document, but let the rest wash over you

intothebreach Sun 24-Jan-16 21:56:09

Well, I'm only an armchair expert at best, and I've never been to court about contact. Still, I do know that contact is supposed to be "safe and beneficial" for the children. If you honestly believe that it is neither, then your clear duty is to stop contact until you can be assured that the physical and emotional needs of your children are being met. I know this is an unusual and possibly unpopular view on mumsnet and in the wider world, but the welfare of the child is paramount.

What you are describing is abuse and neglect. They are witnessing his emotional and verbal abuse of you (now legally classed as domestic violence), they are being exposed to substance misuse, and their needs are not being met.

I am on my phone, so can't provide actual links right now, but in 2000 there was an expert Court report which argued against the presumption that contact was always good for children, particularly following domestic violence. (It is referred to in cafcass' s own guidelines for assessing whether or not contact should take place, and whether this should be at a contact centre, indirect or whatever. ) The full recommendations are not always followed in family court, but judges are required to follow the practice directions 12 j (2014) and if they order contact then they must specifically say how all the safety concerns in paragraphs 36 &37 are being met.

I realise you may not have much of a leg to stand on as there are maybe no actual police reports of the emotional and verbal abuse. However, if you have serious safety concerns, and assuming the re I'd no court order already in place, then you are perfectly entitled to stop contact and let him take you to court. (It would be a good idea to call social services and tell them you are doing this). If he does go through the family courts, this will trigger a cafcass report, during which you can raise your concerns. If you ask for contact to be in a supported contact centre, this is likely to be granted, at least until further investigation has taken place.

I'm sorry this is patchy information, and you could probably do with proper legal advice. Really, you must do what you honestly believe is the best thing for the children. Don't let anybody browbeat you into compromising their safety. Obviously, it would be best if they were able to have really good and happy times with their dad on a regular basis, but as a protective and capable parent you are responsible for ensuring they are okay.

If you do decide to stop contact, get your ducks in a row. Involve all the agencies you are able to, and keep good records. You should only stop contact add an absolute last resort.

I'm so sorry you and your children are going through this.

ToothlessAndPointless Sun 24-Jan-16 22:09:53

Having been through the court process more than once re access, in my experience it takes a LOT for a Family Court to rule a father should not see his children. The examples you use in this thread would not be sufficient (but I totally agree with you. It's bad and neglectful).

It wouldn't cost a lot for him to take you to court. Whether he'd bother...well, you just don't know.

Document everything. Try to talk to him, set firm boundaries and go from there.

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