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Brother's messy divorce and child contact - to get involved ?

(23 Posts)
Kittylongpopping Sat 11-Feb-17 14:38:55

First time post and looking for other viewpoints on this situation.

My brother and his wife are getting divorced. I don't know the ins and outs of what's gone on and nor do i really want to, it was their marriage.

The problem i have is the wife/soon to be ex-wife has been contacting me and other family members giving me/us a completely different version of what my brother has said.Whilst my brother is saying that she won't let him see the child, she is saying he won't bother to go and see them and that our side of the family has cut her and the child off.

The child is still only very young (baby) and as it stands my brother hasn't had any contact since the split. I think solicitors are now involved.

I very much doubt it, but what if she is telling the truth and my brother has just walked away? Should i write her a letter to say that i can't get involved in the he said/she said nature of the split at the moment but i would like to send gifts on a regular basis for the child as their Auntie and leave it at that until the contact arrangements are sorted

I don't know what to do for the best

Many thanks

Berthatydfil Sat 11-Feb-17 14:46:05

Do you and/or your family want to maintain a relationship with the child?
It seems to me that ex is reaching out to your family in an attempt to maintain this realtionship. So if you want to why not take her up on it. ?
It will very quickly be clear if she is contacting you just to cause trouble or not. As she won't be encouraging contact if all she wants to do is upset you all.
If you do this you all won't be dependent on your brother to facilitate the relationship and that can't be a bad thing can it? .

ofudginghell Sat 11-Feb-17 14:55:06

A very hard situation however remember not everything may be as it always seems.
Not saying your brothers lying or exaggerating or anything but he could be tweaking info and so could she so what your getting will never be the whole story.
I think if it was me I would probably step back for a minute. Don't write any letters etc etc and just wait for the outcome.
If you see the baby maybe when you do go and if she does start saying anything g just politely say you don't want to be dragged into it and just want to maintain a relationship with the baby in a calm manner

thisismyfirsttime Sat 11-Feb-17 14:56:29

Do you want to have a relationship with the child? If you do I'd offer to 'mediate' and ask if the child could come to yours for an hour or so and db can see her there. You'll soon know who's telling the truth and if it's sil and db makes excuses you can have a relationship with the child separately. If sil agrees and db jumps at the chance to see his dc you could help them sort it out (but making it clear you're not willing to engage in 'he said this', 'she's done that' etc) and do what's best for the child until they can put their differences aside and sort contact themselves?

Kittylongpopping Sat 11-Feb-17 14:59:02

Thanks Berthatydfil, that's what i was thinking as she asked me if i can ensure that my nephew remains part of our side of the family and of course i want him to be part of my life and my children's lives as they are his cousins.

I just can't get my head round why my brother is saying the exact opposite and that she is just playing games

It's hard to know what to do for the best as i don't want to 'take sides' so to speakand for my brother to think i don't believe him (in case he is telling the truth)

I hope it all becomes more amicable for their son's sake

I think i will write a letter to her

Kittylongpopping Sat 11-Feb-17 15:07:05

I've offered to my db that my nephew can come here for visits if she'd be OK with that too but i don't know whether he has told her. I may say this to her directly and if she agrees let my brother know. The difficulty I have is that we live hundreds of miles away unfortunately!

Ellisandra Sat 11-Feb-17 15:08:15

I would say to my brother "I've had an email from your wife that suggests that she doesn't want to keep the baby from you. That's good isn't it? What shall I suggest - perhaps that she brings the baby here to my house to see you?"

If he grins from ear to ear and says "thank fuck there might be a way through this, I need to see my baby" then great.

If he offers up some bullshit excuse, you have an answer as to who is telling the truth.

Ellisandra Sat 11-Feb-17 15:11:49

Just re-read... she messaging other family members too.

Why aren't you getting him to call her bluff - and in so doing, calling his bluff, if he is the bluffer.

You all have it in writing that it's just him refusing to go. So - why isn't he writing to her to say of course he wants to see his child, and how about Saturday <insert appropriate details for a young baby visit>

lizzyj4 Sat 11-Feb-17 15:29:07

This is a really difficult one. My dc has absolutely no contact with my exh's family, beyond sending xmas gifts, even though I'd be happy to facilitate it, if they asked. Now 4 years and counting. My exh is a liar, always has been, always will be. I have no idea what he's told them, but I'm sure it's not flattering and that I have been blamed for the situation in some way. I've chosen not to contact them to try to explain the real situation because it's a lot easier just to let it slide. All credit to your SiL that she's made the effort and is trying to maintain contact for her ds. At the end of the day, you know your brother - would/could he be lying about this? Does he have previous form? If you've never known him to lie about anything, then fair enough. Re. my own exIL, I'm absolutely sure they know what my exh is like. He's been this way for the 26 years I've known him, so how can they not?

kittybiscuits Sat 11-Feb-17 15:31:23

There's a good chance your brother is lying to you. She wouldn't be contacting you if she just wanted to prevent contact.

Fidelia Sat 11-Feb-17 15:51:55

What your DB says doesn't ring true with your STBXSIL's actions.

I can't see someone who wants to keep the dc away from their dad, contacting the family asking for help like that. Her version fits with her actions.

I mean, it might be that he's into drugs/alcohol or something and she's said he needs not to drink/do drugs to see the dc. Or maybe he cheated and she's asked him to keep the OW away from the dc. Or maybe she's given some other condition that he doesn't want to do. Your DB could spin that as her refusing access.

But I really can't see her approaching you like this if she wants to keep him out of the dc's life.

PaterPower Sat 11-Feb-17 15:52:59

The most important person in all this is your nephew, so do what you think is best for him / his longer term relationship with your family. You can eventually patch up any misunderstandings with your brother.

DarklyDreamingDexter Sat 11-Feb-17 16:05:02

Blood may be thicker than water, but don't fall into the trap of believing your brother simply because he is your brother and for no other reason. He may have a whole different side to him you have no idea about. My ex told his entire family I was stopping him see the kids when they were younger. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wanted them to have a good relationship with him and his family but he made arrangements to see them then broke them at the last minute for some trivial reason, or wanted to see them at 24 hours notice when we already had long standing plans so couldn't do it. Somehow I was always the villain of the piece, when I actually he was the one causing the problems. He told his family a complete pack of lies and they believed him simply because he was their son/brother. No concept of the idea that there are two sides to every story. He has barely seen the kids (now teenagers) himself in the last few years and his family not at all. Your SIL is reaching out to you because she wants her kids to have a good relationship with your side of the family. Doesn't sound like the actions of someone who is blocking access. Two sides to every story, remember.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 11-Feb-17 16:10:18

"Whilst my brother is saying that she won't let him see the child, she is saying he won't bother to go and see them and that our side of the family has cut her and the child off."
You have no way of knowing who is telling the truth. And they're hundreds of miles away. Sheesh.

Personally, I would regard my relationship with their DC as independent of the parents, and behave accordingly. I would contact the resident parent (your SIL) and make arrangements for contact. I would assume she wanted her DC to have contact with their cousins, your DC. So maybe FB friends, messaging each other with how each of the children are doing. Her baby's progress, your DC's activities. Exchange photos. When baby is older, maybe Skype between the children. Or texting, email, phonecalls, letters, cards.

Your brother can have no objection to his sister maintaining contact with his child. And if he does - well, you'll know who's been lying.

Kittylongpopping Sat 11-Feb-17 19:46:27

Thank you to everyone for your posts and advice.

I totally agree that there are two sides to every story and I am a bit longer in the tooth than by db which is why, in all honesty, i had some doubts and posted on here for a bit of objectivity.

I have taken on board and actioned some of the advice given and the results have been rather telling

Thanks again

ChampagneCommunist Sat 11-Feb-17 19:55:25

From the info you have given, SIL seems to be the truthful one.

kittybiscuits Sat 11-Feb-17 21:46:14

That's good OP. It can be really awful being treated like a leper by a family you used to be part of because of a few pathetic lies. The story is pretty much standard fayre - she had an affair and now she won't let me see my children.

Atenco Sun 12-Feb-17 01:14:20

What a shame you are not closer. My dd has always been included by her father's family even though we weren't married and separated before I found out I was pregnant. It has been such a boon and support for us. I've never involved them in my problems with him though.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 12-Feb-17 09:39:58

"the results have been rather telling"

I'm hoping that means the baby will get to stay connected to the family whatever nonsense the adults are spouting. It's so sad when adults selfishness / desire to point score means the child ends up growing up without being part of their extended family.

Kittylongpopping Sun 12-Feb-17 14:45:03

Couldn't agree more miscellaneous, It has really angered me to be honest the whole situation particularly some family members' attitudes. There's a baby at the centre of all this that has done nothing wrong and deserves to have a family there who love and support him throughout his life from both sides of his parentage.

I've no doubt i'll get accused of meddling from some of my family but again it's not about them. They're not my concern as they're adults who can make their own decisions

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 12-Feb-17 15:05:16

A view that I am sure won't go down well, but she could be getting you and others involved to control your DB.

Meaning that she is blocking him from seeing the children by himself, but he can see them if they are at your house.

Kittylongpopping Sun 12-Feb-17 15:10:51

That's what i was worried about but i've suggested something to both of them that wouldn't involve that and whilst SIL has agreed , db has just ignored me completely

Atenco Sun 12-Feb-17 15:16:46

I'm so glad that you are reaching out, OP.

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