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Controlling behaviour re child maintenance and contact **Title edited by MNHQ**(26 Posts)
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My exh of 4 years continues to control me and my daughter in many ways. When we first split I wasn't as strong as I am now and needed the help of WA, rape crisis and further counselling to escape.
At the start he had our daughter 6 nights a fortnight and paid £20 a week maintenance. He also changed our DD's address with the GP to prevent me from claiming child benefit, but did change it back and I do claim it now.
After 2 years he forced my DD(5) to write a letter to me saying she wanted 50:50 with us both (she has no recollection now) and I was devastated and stupidly said Ok. He continued to pay £20 a week, but then started going on 2 holidays a year a week at a time without her and leaving me to look after her and bare the childcare costs in his absence.
She is now 7 and has since also refused a few times to go to stay with him because he was abusive to her (putting her in a frightening and humiliating situations and bullying her over her school work).
I tried to get him to discuss this with her rationally, but she either ran away and hid from him (at my house) or clung to me and wouldn't let me leave (at his house).
She is showing signs of anxiety at home such as cutting the skin around her nails with scissors and picking and scratching herself until it bleeds.
He refuses to believe any of it.
I have spoken to children's services on the advice of the NSPCC, referred her to the school nurse, but they aren't able to do anything as the abuse hasn't reached their threshold for taking action yet.
The latest thing is he has decided to stop paying maintenance citing that he has our DD 50% of the time.
Due to his holidays without DD and her refusal to visit him in the past I spoke to the child maintenance services who have opened a case for 'official' child maintenance, but I'm now terrified of what his reaction will be.
Has anyone been in this situation?
Refuse ALL access. If he goes to court with it, you will have all the evidence of previous complaints you've made to Gp etc.
Tell him to piss off. Bullies thrive on fear. If he calls at your house, call the police and tell them he threatened you. Even if he didn't.
Repeat the same story "He said he was going to kill me"
Fucker doesn't deserve honesty.
So I opened a claim with the CMS and he is furious.
He is saying that if I continue with the claim he will start only having our DD from 6:30pm and drop her back with me at 6:45am (when I leave for work) the following morning even if she is supposed to stay with him 2 nights in a row. This is an example of his controlling abusive behaviour.
He also won't spend any time with her during the school holidays (so as to increase my childcare costs).
Does anyone have any further advice?
It genuinely does not sound like it's in your daughters best interest to see him, make sure your GP has got the self harm documented.
You won't really be financially any worse off by not allowing her to go, so put your big girl pants on and stand up to the bully and write to him at set it out plainly that he is not having her again as his behaviour is a form of abuse. Only communicate in writing going forward.
That will also show your DD a fantastic life lesson that one must stand up to a bully.
Good luck x
I meant to say, you'll probably get tax credits and childcare costs reimbursed if you're on your own anyway, go on the .gov calculator
Thanks gingersmammy unfortunately I don't qualify for tax credits and my daughter was born before 2013 and doesn't qualify for the tax fee childcare.
his idea of dropping DD back at my house at 6:45 and forcing me to arrange childcare for after school will prevent me from working full time as childcare providers finish at 5:30-6pm here.
For the past 3 years his mum has done school runs etc for him for free. Obviously I have arranged childcare for my days.
He's actually going to stop his mum from spending time with DD to punish me for going against his will.
My ex has been to the local mediation service and I've just received a letter offering me an appointment with them. It says that I don't have to attend an appointment but if we have to go to court a judge will have expected both sides to have already attended mediation except in exceptional circumstances.
Child maintenance options and Women's Aid have both advised me not to go to mediation with him. Does anyone know if that would count?
Yeah I collected evidence and went to court and got full custody. You need to do the same.
Thanks for replying irritated what kind of evidence did you collect and over what period of time? I have a spreadsheet covering the past 18 months. I'm seeing a solicitor (the same one who did my divorce) I'm much stronger now than I was then. Back then i didn't really understand the abuse that I'd been through. My biggest fear is not being believed and the cycle starting again for my dd.
I've asked to have this thread moved to relationships for more traffic.
Hi there longdays. We are moving this over for you now .
You need to go to court for court ordered access, but I would suggest you stop all contact until then. Get pictures of anything he does to her and keep a log.
Although people say not to go to counselling with a bully, I went to mediation with my abusive exH and it did work out. The mediator ( a solicitor I had not met before) saw through him and gave me the paperwork for court.
If you are sensible, not wound up, reasonable and repeatedly talk about what is best for your DC you may be ok.
Going at least once would show you are willing g to try anything and are not being "difficult", you don't want him to paint you like that in court.
Thanks teabay glad it went ok for you.
I have an appointment with my solicitor on Monday, I shall see what she says.
So I went to a solicitor for advice and she agreed with my course of action re CMS.
But today I've received a letter advising me that exh is taking me to court. he's claiming that I've lied about the time he spends with dd and that he now wants a court order as evidence to prove that he doesn't need to pay maintenance (his words) and that cafcass will be in contact soon.
Has anyone else been taken to court by an ex?
Has anyone else been to court?
Can your daughter write a statement with an independent adult?
I'm not sure that would help. He's also manipulating her. She wants to believe he's a brilliant daddy.
I know it's hard, but you need to separate out the issues of access and finance. The central question is whether it's good for your dd to spend time with him. If not, then being taken to court is a great opportunity to get a reduction in their contact - don't worry about the fact that he's taking you to court instead of the other way round. This doesn't give him any advantage. This is the chance to get informed outsiders to take an objective look and make a decision they intend to be in the best interests of your dcs.
Mediation - the first appointment will be just you and the mediator. Go to the appointment and explain the background. They can give you a letter saying that mediation would not be appropriate in your case, which will prevent the court looking on you with disfavour.
Tell CAFCASS about your dd's self-harm and anxiety. This is awful, particularly given how young she is. They are used to children not wanting to be disloyal to parents, so you will need to be her advocate. It is really useful that you have spoken to the school nurse and NSPCC and Women's Aid. Try to get letters from all the professionals you have spoken to. CAFCASS and the courts find "he said/she said" to be difficult, so the more evidence you have from third parties, the better.
I can't say much about the financial/childcare side of things, I'm afraid.
OP he sounds like an absolutely horrible abusive bully. Well done for getting away from him. Did you report him to the police for the abuse he caused when you were together (and after)? I agree with others that your dd would be much better off without contact with him. he sounds dangerous.
Thank you all for replying. I just feel sick. It really isn't about the money it's about him wanting control whatever the cost. He's now sending emails disagreeing with my plans for my family to visit- it's a further attempt to isolate me and dd.
I spoke to the school who have been fabulous in their support, I have a solicitor appointment next week and also an appointment with Women's Aid too to talk me through cafcass.
At the moment my dd still wants to visit her dad, but it's the affect on her mental health that worries me.
I have had all of this and been to court so many times.
IME the court will bend over backwards to facilitate access between DD and her Father even if you have evidence that he is abusive.
My ex is a massive bully and does not care less about DC and for the past few months i have ignored the court order and i am not sure what the court will do if he takes me back to court - what can they actually do?
In other words i would just do what is best for your DD and ignore what the court etc says??
Keep calm, keep polite and be icy cool even when you are crumbling inside. I've seen it called "the grey rock" technique on here.
Why is he party to your private plans about your family visits? Those days are over. Your only communication with him is about the DD and her best interests.
Financial matters are separate from child contact so leave the CMS to it but be aware they will accept both your stories as the truth so try to have evidence of times he has her.
Keep a diary. Essential. All the dates.
Keep all emails and texts from him and never ever send him anything you would not be happy for a Court to see.
Buy a really cheap pay as you go phone, you can buy for for about £10. Give him this number and block him from all others. Also do this with your email account. Set up a new one just for him and block him from your daily friends and family one. I'm speaking from experience here, not having that dreadful fear every time you get a message or log on is such a relief and starts to put you in control. I've also had a postbox fitted and no longer have a letter box so I choose when I see mail. No more Friday evil letters designed to worry and frighten you over the weekend. (A family member is a solicitor and this IS a tactic).
Above all be honest at all times and keep the focus on what is best for your child. Be truthful as Cafcass and Court will see straight through lies. At 7 they will want contact between father and daughter but if she is showing signs of anxiety then they must put her well being first.
It's a nightmare but you WILL get through it as many other women on here have. I used to pore over the wonderful advice from BabyBarrister and other over on the legal threads. So grateful for their generous contributions.
Keep strong and look after yourself - eat well, rest, preferably don't drink if you are stressed and try to find something to make you laugh at least once a day.
Thank you fancied that's very helpful.
He knows about family visiting because it's over 1/2 term and they were possibly going to help with 2 days childcare if my boss won't give me annual leave. My dd told him that they are visiting.
It's her birthday too (I will be off that and the following day) so he's asked her if she wants to stay with him and go out for her birthday instead.
Obviously being 7 a day out with dad sounds great and she now wants to do this.
He sent an email back in April telling me which school holidays he was going to cover and obviously his original list didn't include October, but because I've asked for family help he's taken the opportunity to further bully me.
Do cafcass and the courts really see through his manipulation?
In my limited experience. yes they do see through it. Ex took me to Court 12 times and revealed his true self a little more each time until finally a NC order was put in place.
Met several Cafcass officers of varying efficiency but as my DC and my stories were always the same (100% truthful) we were believed in the end.
If you have emails which prove this -" He is saying that if I continue with the claim he will start only having our DD from 6:30pm and drop her back with me at 6:45am (when I leave for work) the following morning even if she is supposed to stay with him 2 nights in a row."
then print them off and keep copies to show your solicitor and Cafcass and whoever asks. Get as much in writing as you can, perhaps ask the FLO at school if they have worries about your DD's well being.
Be seen to promote contact but always keeping DD's best interest at the forefront. Never bad mouth him to her (hard I know!) but on the other hand you don't have to pretend he is a hero when he is clearly an arse.
Above all do restrict as much contact between him and you as you can and keep it factual and focussed on the DD.
Best of luck it is the shittiest of times but life does move on and DC get older and things get easier.
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