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.
Do I pursue legal action with ex?(18 Posts)
Apologies for long post.
Split with my ex 3 years ago. 2 children, now aged 6 and 8. History of domestic abuse from ex during relationship, very traumatic split, (he had affair) his behaviour has been difficult, threatening, I had to report to police last summer re his aggression when collecting children. I have kept a full diary of events.
Nevertheless I have tried to facilitate good contact between children and him and a pattern has formed of him doing some school runs, collecting for tea 1 eve and collecting Sat eve and having overnight to Sun bedtime.
This needs to change, as my 8 year old has complained this week he has been physically aggressive, throwing dc on bed and pushing dc about. I believe my child, not least because this is exactly what my ex did to me when I was pregnant and this was reported to police, also my ex stated that dc had a tantrum so he "had one back". He has previously pushed my eldest around, causing marks which I photographed and reported to social services but they took no further action - the reporting stopped him being aggressive to DC for several months
I do not feel my children are safe with him. I have attempted to discuss this but he is verbally abusive and physically intimidating and refuses to engage with me. Furthermore, mutual associates have recently (in last 2 weeks) reported he has had similar outbursts at work. I suspect he is having some sort of mental health issue. My eldest didn't want to go with him this weekend and was upset by exes outburst at me when I told him this - this always follows the same pattern, shouting at me in front of children that I am a terrible parent, am emotionally abusing them and poisoning them against him. My 6 year old did go and reported on return that dad spent time crying and falling out with his girlfriend during contact.
Additionally he is not providing a decent environment for the children, he has a 1 bed flat, the dcs say it is dirty, they have to sleep in his bed and in morning he goes to bed and leaves my 8 year old to make breakfast for both children. He consistently forgets my 6 year olds medication. I know he has been a heavy cannabis user previously when with me. My eldest says he spends a lot of time telling them how awful I am. He certainly is not putting their needs first.
I feel completely downtrodden and anxious and need to be able to protect my children and ensure they have a good and happy childhood free from abuse. I need help. I went to mediation last year at his behest but due to history of domestic abuse I requested only shuttle mediation which he would not agree to. My 8 year old saw school nurse for several months due to anxiety caused by the acrimonious situation at home, she felt dc would benefit from less contact with ex but ex would not agree to this, he pushes constantly for more. I suspect this is because more overnights means he would have to pay less maintenance.
He pays the legal minimum for the dcs and refuses to contribute even a penny more, eg if I ask him to take them swimming he wants the cash from me, won't assist with shoes etc. I am in enormous debt and struggling. What he gives me doesn't even cover after school club costs.
I dread Xmas and birthdays when he causes huge rows about wanting to have the dcs as it is his turn. Basically I feel trapped by his wants and his intimidation.
I've put up with it all, tried to keep everything calm, smoothed stuff over for 3 years but when he kicked off again this weekend something snapped, I just thought I can't take another year of this shit. Going down legal route will cost money I don't have, but do I have any other option?
You could report what your children have told you to the police. Show them the previous photos of marks on your ds. In my experience they're more likely to act, and support you, than ss.
Similar here OP. I have had six years of this, but without any physical abuse. Throughout it all, I've accepted it and given in to his outrageous demands and put up with his emotional/psychological/financial abuse towards me as I felt I needed to protect the children's relationship with him. He's a shit to me, but they love him etc. Anyway, straws and camels backs and last week I saw a solicitor and I'm pursuing the legal route. I think you get to a point where there's just mo taking any more and you know what you've got to do, regardless of the consequences.
Thanks for the replies. I have told the police in the past makeitrain but not sure I have any specific offence this time to report?
Joel, how did you get on with solicitor? Were they surprised / did they comment on you leaving things that length of time?mis it harder without the impetus of it all bring new do you think? I'm worried that I will be seen to have been complicit almost in his behaviour so far, in fact I've just felt utterly powerless and trapped but people won't understand that. People say to me just stop him seeing the kids, but it's not that easy, if I say no he still turns up, making a scene on the doorstep, upsetting dcs even more, he could take them from school as he has PR and there isn't a court order, I worry if I say no he'll get them and not return them, it's so hard, scary.
There isn't a court order so you can stop contact. TBH I would be doing that in your situation. My ex did that to me in a vindictive way and I had to go down the court route to get contact back, not the other way round. You can and should stop contact if your DCs are suffering abuse. He needs to be the one seeking permission from courts and it's a time consuming process - months if not years.
I agree with the pp. Just stop contact. You can take the legal route without spending a fortune. Your child has been assaulted and this needs reporting to the police. Do this asap. I would also phone women's aid and ask for details of a local centre. They have specialized solicitors who will apply for a non molestation order. It won't cost you anything.
In the meantime change your number and call the police if he comes to your home. Every single time. This man is highly abusive and there is a real danger is that his attempts to alienate them from you will succeed. My adult child firmly believes his dad's poisonous lies.
Besides, it sounds like your ex doesn't have a pot to piss in. Unless he's got thousands stashed away, there isn't anything he can do.
You poor thing, that's an awful situation to be in. You have to stop contact. You have to report the assault to the police and you need to contact children's social care.
You have a duty to protect your children, they have told you the situation is bad, imagine how you would feel if one of them was harmed and you could have prevented it, social care will dim a really dim view if you aren't able to protect them.
Google a family solicitor in your area, most still offer a free 30 mins and their advice will be invaluable. It's brilliant that you've kept a diary.
Please protect your kids from this man
The solicitor I've become involved with is attached to the local domestic abuse organisation (found through women's aid). She specialises in DA and wasn't in the least bit surprised at the length of time or any of the circumstances. I imagine my tale is st the lower end of the spectrum of DA. I would recommend you going through women's aid and talking to their solicitors; I was always worried that a solicitor wouldn't get it...and when funds are limited, you need to know that they do!
I would go to Police over SS and I think it's really important that you say on record , and verbally say I want this noted down -
" I am in totally fear that he will kill my children in a fit of rage. I lived with this man for X years through domestic violence but this is the worst I have seen him be"
Once something like that is on record, they will Need to take some formal action. You
May need to keep doing the formal route like this. Good Luck just sounds terrible.
also my ex stated that dc had a tantrum so he "had one back".
The difference here being that your DC is a child and he is an adult so therefore should be able to control his behaviour.
But he's admitting it, so he obviously thinks there is no problem acting like a child.
The conditions for your children sound awful, and it sounds like it would be a lot more peaceful for all of you if you just cut contact.
So sorry for you and your DC op.
Thanks for your replies. I've contacted a solicitor via email as they were all closed yesterday. I texted him last night and told him not to knock on my door in the morning. 8.35 he is hammering down my door, kids inside, won't stop even when I threaten to. All police, when I open the door he says to DCs "see what mummy's trying to do, to stop you seeing me".
What the fuck do I do?
It's not as easy as just stop him seeing them, I'm not dealing with a person where I can say please stop coming and he will obey. How do I stop him seeing them?
Don't just threaten to call the police, do it. And don't open the door.
I know it's not easy, but you have to be so strong just now.
I've spoken to a solicitor and I'm going to see her tomorrow. She said she can send a letter straight out but he is likely to get worse once he gets it. I will ring the police from now on if he kicks off at me again, that was her advice too. She said I could leave things and say nothing until she can get it to court for a child arrangements order, that was other option, but I can't send them to him again this weekend can I? My poor kids. And they will be sad if they don't see him, despite everything I think they do love him. It's awful.
Well done on getting a solicitor's appointment. Follow her advice rather than mine, but I thought I'd outline one possible option: you can get your solicitor to write a letter saying that given safety concerns, you can only offer support through a child contact centre. Check your local situation, but where I am, it is possible to self-refer, although it's not free.
This helps to show that you're not hostile to contact, you're just trying to find ways to make it safe for the dcs.
Don't send the dc's this weekend.
If he kicks off, yes, call the police.
If he goes to court, CAFCASS will be involved and you have a forum to explain your safety concerns.
With luck, he may not get it together to go to court at all.
And yes, my dd loves her dad and wants to see him (kinda does, kinda doesn't). I have to remind myself that by limiting my dd's exposure to her father's problematic behaviour, I am doing their relationship a favour, long-term. This is hard stuff.
you can only offer contact, that should have said.
Thank you everyone 💐
Bibliomania that's a good idea re contact centre, I was thinking of only offering public contact, like to the park or swimming?
I've had a god awful day. School rang to say eldest was sad all day so been in for meeting with their safeguarding person. Had to tell work as well as we work together. It'll cause major problems.
I'm still feeling really scared about what he's going to do when he realises I'm taking action. I'm worried if he'll attack me, get in house etc. I can only imagine how scared an 8 year old feels.
Good luck with your solicitor today, Changed.
I know it's tough with school/safeguarding, but this will actually help a lot if you do go down the legal route. In my case, it was the school raising the alarm regarding dd's distress about her father's behaviour that helped me be seen as credible in court. It was clear that it wasn't just me making stuff up about him, because an objective third party was prepared to say "This child is suffering in this situation".
If you genuinely think he may attack, I'd suggest talking to your local Women's Aid (or google - there might be a local service with a different name). I haven't tried this myself, but I understand that it's possible to call the police on the non-emergency line and ask for your address to be flagged for priority attention if something does happen. Talk to your solicitor about this as well - you don't have to sit passively and wait for it to happen.
Join the discussion
Please login first.