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Legal advice re keeping my daughter.(43 Posts)
I wasn't sure where to post this, so I've opted for here in the hopes of getting a few replies.
To cut a very long story short (ish), I'm starting to make plans to leave my partner. We have a DD together who is still an infant.
I take antidepressants. Pre birth I suffered for years with anxiety / panic disorder but took no medication for it and eventually learnt to manage it(ish) with cbt techniques. Post birth I got a bad bout of PND. The antidepressants combat both issues. I now suffer the effects of neither of these disorders due to the meds.
At the moment my partner thinks I am staying. I'm not able to announce my plans to leave for the following reasons:
He says he will take me to court for full custody of DD, if necessary will lie to make sure I never see her again on the basis of being an unfit mother due to depression (even though I am her primary care giver as he works).
He threatened suicide of I leave and take DD.
Says if I leave I only have a week to go - seeing as I am financially dependent on him, only have money from him for household essentials (food, baby milk etc) and the only money I receive is CB which doesn't cover the short fall from the money he gives. I am heavily overdrawn. Leaving in a week is not possible and would leave me unable to take DD as I would be homeless. No friends /family to help.
Says if I leave I owe him thousands as since I was basically agrophobic whilst pregnant due to an increase in anxiety (hormones) I left my job and he's been covering bills etc since then.
What I really want to know is, if I manage to get social housing (a stable home) , will he be able to stop me from seeing my daughter or get full custody of her? For what it's worth, I'd never stop him seeing her, it's unfair to her. Until she hits school age he could have her every weekend if he wanted, when she's school age and I don't see her so much through the week he could happily have EOW.
Advice or experiences from anyone in or who has been in this situation would be great please. DD is my no 1 priority. I've tried to stay for her sake but that's just not possible anymore.
Well done on making a sensible plan to leave op, how brave of you and well done for doing this for you and your dd. Financially you will be able to claim housing and other allowances, have you looked into this and is this something you can do and get the ball rolling while you are making your plans. If he wants money back from you while you were looking after his child well tell him to get a solicitor how ridiculous. Counter sue him for all the childcare and housework costs you incurred by staying at home and enabling him to work and earn full time. Ignore this you owe him nothing. You are also not responsible for his mental health. If he is that unstable perhaps don’t be so quick to give him unsupervised access to your dd. Tell him to get it court ordered and preferably supervised. It sounds like you are doing the right thing for you and her. Best of luck op.
Sorry op I forgot to say that it sounds as if he has no chance of getting full custody of your dd based on there being no grounds for this. You may find it useful and get lots more replies if you move this to relationships. There are some really knowledgeable people on there who offer excellent advice and support.💐
Ummm so you are unfit mother but he is going to kill himself ?
Which is a better parent a dead one or one getting treatment for depression ?
If he is going to kill himself then he is a danger to your child.
Do you have that in writing ?
He is talking rubbish.
Get local real advice.
Get his threats in an email and go see a solicitor
Investigate housing options and housing benefit.
Firstly you owe him nothing, whilst you were a couple everything (including the bill money) belonged to both of you, besides he also needed a roof over his head and power / water etc. Once you do leave there will be benefits you can claim in your own right to see you through, although things will be tight you can do it. If you are able to stay a little longer to ‘get you ducks in a row’ then maybe try to put some money aside to cover expenses until benefits come through but if not I thing you can get a ‘crisis lone’ and a small repayment is taken from future benefits.
In terms of DD, the courts will look at what’s best for her regardless of anything he may say. No one is going to think that taking a baby away from the only carer she’s ever known is going to be in her best interest. Besides if he does try to make out you were incapable of caring for her due to your mental health the first thing they’re going to ask is why he thought it was ok to leave her with you whilst you were together. He can’t have it both ways either:
A (the truth) – You’re a perfectly capable mother rand he’s lying to the court, which will make them want to side with you.
B- He knowingly left his baby in the care of someone who was too ill to provide care, this will actually make him look worse than you as you are getting treatment to improve the situation but he has no mitigating factors for his decision.
Besides if he truly believes you can’t be a good parent with mental health issues then surly his suicidal tendencies would rule him out. He manipulating you, get any record you can of the threats he’s made (eg. text etc.) and get out, you won’t look back.
He won't get full custody.
Maybe post this in Legal as well.
He would have to prove, with very compelling evidence (which, as you are competent primary carer, he won't have) that you are unfit. This is very rare.
He is saying this to control you. Ignore him, if he demands money for supporting his pregnant wife, he'll be laughed out of court.
Please speak to Women's Aid and get their support and advice.
Thanks for the replies ladies, they're very reassuring.
For the PP who asked if I have evidence of his threats: I have what you would call a suicide note which I have hidden away for safe keeping and a recording of one of his rants. Although I don't know if the recording would be able to be used if it came to it as he wasn't aware it was being made?
I'm currently on the housing register but am trying to get my priority upped from a band C.
Being on benefits doesn't bother me (money wise, independence wise it does), I've had to work to a tight budget many times and I'm confident I'll manage just fine once I'm out of here.
Ive not much choice but to stay until I've somewhere concrete to go, months ago when I said I wanted to leave he threw me out with my suitcase knowing I had no money or nowhere to go to. I don't want to risk that again!
Thanks again guys. Feeling much more confident re: my DD now.
Both of these organisations should be able to help you. Women's aid can provide advice and support around leaving your abusive partner and may have space to accommodate you and your daughter in a refuge.
Shelter can help with your housing application. It may be possible for you to apply to the local authority as homeless (you don't need to be rough sleeping to do this) as it is not reasonable for you to be expected to remain in your current accommodation with your abuser.
Good luck OP
Forgot to say, homeless application would oblige the authority to find you accommodation much more quickly.
Women's aid should be able to get you and your child a place in a refuge if you just leave. Some women leave with only the clothes on their back and there are systems to support them.
Well done for planning this though, keep your nerve and ltb at the appropriate time.
Nothing practical to add but him going for full custody won’t really happen, men say it all time but the law will mostly want the child to remain with the main care provider - you
Is there emotional abuse/coercive control in your relationship? Has he ever been aggressive or threatened you? I’d be surprised if not from your post.
Go to your local councils housing dept and say you’re going to be made homeless due to domestic abuse and have a baby, they should make you priority for housing although you might have to take what you can get for now.
Also see your GP and get his behaviour and suicide threats logged. A paper trail will help a lot if it does end up in family court.
He is extremely unlikely to get full ‘custody’ (we have residency in the uk, not custody). ALL controlling men bandy this around, and the suicide rubbish. Pay no attention, you’re doing the right thing leaving the twonk.
I'm in the UK too, I've just always known it as custody!
He's not made threats against my person, like, threats to harm me, but he's kicked the front door off its hinges I'm a drunken rage whilst DD was in the house at 1am. I've a photograph of this.
He convinced me to move out of my home town with him back to his home town (which at the time seemed like a sensible idea) and as a result, I've grown estranged from friends and can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen my old friends in the past two years.
We also live (rent) his parents old house, with no tenancy, which leaves me without a leg to stand on really. If I'd of foreseen what was going to happen I don't think I would of made such stupid choices.
The problem I'm facing with the council at the minuite: although I'm on the housing list and have a bidding number, I need an assessment to be done to raise my priority status. I was told this could be done with the council I'm living in now then transferred to the council I want to return to, but apparently it can't according to my current local council.
I'm awaiting a reply from a housing officer in the council area I want to return to. He previously advised that I attend the main council building in that area, but, as DDs father has full financial control I cannot get the bus fare without explanation.
Hopefully the housing officer I have emailed will be able to offer a solution.
You can’t even get access to bus fare?! That is appalling and extreme financial abuse. Women’s Aid should be able to help you access benefits etc, might be best to go into a refuge first and they can help you with housing applications etc from there. Not ideal I know but would only be temporary.
Don’t beat yourself for the choices you made, you didn’t know how things would turn out when you moved in, I’m sure he was nice and pie at first they always are.
Our local CAB does a referral service to a one stop shop in town, where you can see a solicitor, benefits adviser, someone from Women's Aid, and the local authority housing officer. It runs once a week, most people don't know about it, you go and sit and queue up. Can you get to the CAB to ask? Or google whats in your area? Are you ok on line you don't suspect he looks at your phone etc?
might be best to go into a refuge first - to be honest OP your situation is so extreme I think that might be a real option.
I agree with the advice already given - particularly speaking to Women's Aid - but also wanted to add: don't offer something just to placate him that is more than you need to offer. Don't offer him every weekend. Once you do that it will be difficult to reverse. EOW and perhaps a couple of hours during the week is standard.
Once you leave you will be able to apply for maintenance and get some money from him on top of whatever benefits you will be entitled too.
I agree with many others. Please talk to Womans Aid. They might be able to help you and dc to relocate away from your current area.
Some good advice here, but a couple of little bits to be clear on.
- a refuge sounds best. You will be safe, but maybe miles and miles from home.
- Sometimes emergency housing is a b&b. These can be bleak.
Prepare yourself for either of these. I’ve seen women go back home because they weren’t prepared. It really is only temporary.
- he is financially and emotionally abusing you. A lot of people don’t recognise abuse when it’s happening to them. His controlling behaviour is not acceptable. Your baby doesn’t need to see this behaviour as acceptable.
- keep all evidence, and get a solicitor.
- make sure there is a residency order (I believe it is called) so he cannot refuse to return her when he has access.
I’m glad you’re making a plan. I wish you all the best
Going to a shelter is worth considering.
Not only because he sounds extremely controlling, but separating from him will enormously improve your finances.
Income Support, Child Benefit, and Child Tax Credit won't give you a life of luxury but you'll certainly be able to make bus fare.
Any further drunken rages call 999 have police come out
When I left my ex I was on anti depressants due to his abuse. I was worried he would say I was an unfit mother so talked to my lawyer about it who said that because I could show I was on medication and getting treatment the court wouldn't be interested. They worry about people who refuse help for mental health not those who are actively seeking treatment. Hope that helps ease your mind a little
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