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DP threatens to take DS if we split

(19 Posts)
babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 10:17:48

DP and I have been together for 6 years and have a gorgeous 5 month old DS who we both dote on. We have always had quite a stormy relationship although things have calmed down a lot in the last few years. We still seem to bicker an awful lot though. DP thinks this is completely normal - I think he has very low expectations of a relationship which I think is sad. After 6 years of it I just find it very boring and draining and I worry what effect it will have on DS when he is a bit older.

Practically every time we have words about anything DP says ?well I?ll leave then?. To be honest he has said this so many times now, it just goes over my head. But since we have DS he also makes some comment about how he would take him if he left and this really gets to me. I know he is saying it to get at me and because I think he thinks it may make me think twice about leaving him ? I have tried to explain to him several times that it has quite the opposite effect. The fact that would even talk about using our precious little boy to get at me disgust me quite frankly. We both come from broken homes and know the damage that can be caused when children get caught in the middle.

Anyway this morning we had words again (can?t even remember what it was about now) and he again that he?ll leave and then says to DS ?and I?ll take you with me?. I know I should have ignored it but I said ?no you won?t?. He repeated again that he would and told me that I didn?t have any god given right to have custody of DS.

I know that but would hope that if we ever did split up, we would both be able to put our own feeling aside and do what is best for him and work out something where we could both get to see as much of DS as possible. However I suppose deep down I do myself as the primary carer but with DP to have as much access as possible/practical - not because I have a god given right but because of the following practicalities:

The house we live in is in my name ? it was never intended to be that way, but just before we bought it I found out DP had run up about £15k of debts behind my back and as a result his credit rating was shot. Since I went on maternity leave 5 months ago DP has paid half the bills (I pay the other half out of savings/maternity pay), but prior to that I have paid the majority of the bills (because of his debts and also because he has had several periods out of work). I have also bought absolutely everything in the house and everything for the baby. If we were to split realistically it would mean it is DP that would leave and I doubt he would be able to afford more than a rented room. He may be able to afford a small flat if I paid the deposit etc.

I am in the process of setting up my own business so that I can spend as much time as possible with DS while still earning. My aim is to work 3 days (plus evenings/weekends when he is asleep) during which time my mum or sister will have DS. DP would have to put him in childcare although I?m not sure that he earns enough to make this feasible?

Finally I have a great support network around me which I am very grateful for. DP on the other hand has very little to do with his family, and the friends he has are mainly single men who wouldn?t really be able to help with a small baby.

I hope that we can work things out for everyone?s sake but his comments have got me thinking ? I genuinely feel that if we did split it would be in DS best interests for me to be the primary career with DP to have unlimited access, not least of all because DS is so small at the moment and still breastfeeding. But now a tiny part of me is worried that if worse case and we ended up going to court than it would just come down to one persons judgement and that he/she may see things differently and award DP custody.

I know I am getting ahead of myself but would really welcome any thoughts?

AnyFuckerLikesItUpTheBum Mon 27-Jul-09 10:30:15

why do these men always threaten to take the kids ?

Because they know it is the one thing that will cut a woman to the quick, and get her questioning herself.

Throw him out love, for that threat alone there would be no going back for me.

He is deluding himself (and you) if he thinks he will get primary residence of your boy. There is absolutely no way.

Now go and get yourself some advice in RL, and stop listening to the poison this man is trying to bamboozle you with.

mumblechum Mon 27-Jul-09 10:35:14

I'm a divorce lawyer and have heard similar stories many times.

Your dh has absolutely no chance whatsoever of getting residence (custody) of a 5 month old baby in these circumstances.

The courts don't get involved in the arrangements for children unless one party files a formal application. This happens maybe 5% of the time. of those applications, I'd estimate 10% are fathers applying for residence, the rest are for contact.

Of those 10% of applications, almost all will be for children significantly older than 5 months, and frequently will be for shared residence.

Basically the chances of your h getting residence of a baby unless you abandon it, have serious drink/drug/mental health problems are so small as to be virtually nil.

Longtalljosie Mon 27-Jul-09 10:40:51

Well, yes, you probably are in a better position.

Perhaps he's aware of this and that's where the threats are coming from.

But the important question to ask is, do you actually want to leave him?

Bibelots Mon 27-Jul-09 10:49:32

Have you tried joint/separate counselling? If you are both from 'broken' homes then maybe neither of you has learned to communicate very well and have a good relationship. If you have feelings for him still it might be worth a shot. Though I agree that his threats to take your DS are disgusting.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 11:03:48

Thanks so much - I feel better already just 'talking' as such about this.

I think deep down DP knows it is unlikely that he would get custody of DS but you are quite right that he also knows DS is my absolute world and therefore my weak point. And even though I know it is unlikely for lots of reasons, a tiny bit of me is frightened just in case.

To be fair to him he does love DS very much -I think/hope that if it came to it he would do what was best for him. But I am disgusted that he would even threaten me with this. I wouldn;t dream of saying that to him.

He just phoned me to apolgised. I asked him what he was apologising for and he said because we rowed. I said I couldn;t care less that we rowed but that I thought it was unforgivable to threaten to use our baby in that way. He said that hadn;t meant it and was only joking and that he would never do anything to hurt DS. I have made it very clear that I don;t consider threats like this in the least bit funny, especially given both our backgrounds.

I really don;t know at this moment whether I want him to leave - but I think it is ironic that his attempts to stop me considering this have quite the opposite effect. I have told him this again, I really hope he takes it on board otherwise there is no hope.

We tried counselling a while back but it didn;t find it very helpful to be honest.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 11:10:06

Thanks mumblechum - that is very reassuring to hear.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 27-Jul-09 11:13:17

In my experience men say this because they don't WANT to leave, and want you to think that it's impossible and you should stay with them.

It is not a reason to stay with him, of course, as people have said.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 11:25:22

I think you are right and that is exactly why he says it (he denies this). Ironic that it has the opposite effect then

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 27-Jul-09 11:52:40

Maybe he will not say it again as you have made it so clear you will not tolerate it. I hope he doesn't.

expatinscotland Mon 27-Jul-09 11:58:00

I'd throw him out.

You're not married so at least you don't have to bother with divorce.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 13:24:16

Mumblechum - just a quick question if you don't mind. I don't think he would do this but is something I have occassionally wondered aabout.

From what you and others have said, I would stand a very good chance of getting custody if we did go to court but what would happen if he was to leave and just take DS with him? Of course I would take legal action immediately but as he has parental responsibility would he be allowed to keep DS until the case came to court.

Again I must stress I really don't think he would ever do this as he knows a 5 month old baby needs to be with his mum not least because of breastfeeding etc.

Ewe Mon 27-Jul-09 13:33:28

If your DS has a passport make sure you keep it on you/away from your DP, just to be on the safe side. The breakdown of a relationship can make people behave very irrationally.

Ewe Mon 27-Jul-09 13:35:29

Maybe call the Gingerbread/One Parent Family helpline, I am sure they will be able to answer your question.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Mon 27-Jul-09 13:41:22

Seems to me that the relationship is over as you have made plans in your head to leave and are asking about it.

ChocHobNob Mon 27-Jul-09 13:57:50

As far as I am aware, as he has parental responsibility, there is nothing stopping him "keeping your son" if he was to move out. You would have to apply to the courts for a custody order but obviously if a man kept a 5 month old from his mother, it's not going to look good to a court.

As much as I think it is horrible to use your child against you and threaten to take him, I do actually feel for men in situations where a relationship is looking shaky and there are children involved. They will normally be the one who will no longer have their children living with them. Knowing how awfully that would affect me, I can imagine it would be horrible for a loving father as well.

It does sound like counselling may benefit the both of you if you and him want to try and make it work.

mumblechum Mon 27-Jul-09 14:40:21

Hi BBM,

If your partner just took your ds away & you knew where they were you'd make an emergency application to the court that day without your ex knowing anything about it. He'd be ordered to return your ds & you'd go, with the police, to his house to get him back if he didn't return him on sight of the court order.

The court would, at the same time, make an order for everyone to come back to court asap (usually within a fortnight) to make a decision about interim residence. You'd get interim residence & he would have lowered his chances of long term residence by doing a snatch.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 15:58:19

Thanks everyone.

I have had a chance to calm down now, and I am sorry if I seem a bit dramatic.

FabBakerGirl - it is DP that always talks of leaving not me, but if he does actually do it one day, I am not taking any chances when it comes to DS. I guess what he said just really upset me this morning and the way I deal with things is to find out as much as possible so that if the worst was to happen I would be prepared. I've always been the same.

Things are not great bewteen us at the moment and in my heart of hearts I am not certain that things will work out in the long term but I am not ready to give up on us just yet - least of all because of our lovely little boy. The one thing we both agree on is our feelings for him.

Thank you all for your support. Thanks mumblechum for your advice - it is something that has crossed my mind from time to time so it is useful to know where I would stand legally.

babyboysmum Mon 27-Jul-09 16:00:32

Sorry meant to say that I agree completely ChocHobNob, which is why I would never threaten DP. If the worst was to happen I would do all I could to ensure DS and DP had a good relationship and saw as much as possible of each other.

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