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Should I try collaborative law with abusive ex?

(6 Posts)
queenofdenial2009 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:56:32

A few weeks ago DD (4) and I left my emotionally abusive and controlling ex - note on the table, bags packed and disappeared. The reason I did it this way was because he is so controlling and I was very scared as to how he might react. Previously he's ranted and raved, not let me sleep, followed me round the house until I gave in and agreed with him. Some of you know my story and it culminated in me collapsing and spending a month in hospital with a stress-related condition.

I was expecting him to go nuts, really angry and genuinely wasn't sure if he'd be violent. But it was the opposite - two very polite text messages in the first week hoping I was OK. Second week he started seeing DD and my solicitor advised levels of contact. It's only been a handful of times, but he's been late or changed the times on virtually every visit and said I was over-reacting and being unreasonable when I asked him to be punctual. On yesterday's visit, he got a friend of hers round and went to his office to work.

Now he wants to try collaborative law - you and your solicitors sit round a table and mutually agree contact, property and finances. The benefits are it's quicker, a lot cheaper and less adverserial. My questions is should I do this or is it him playing more games?

mrsboogie Thu 13-Aug-09 18:50:36

I would be suspicious - the being late and messing with the times are subtle (ish) attempts at control. You have gotten out of his clutches so to speak so he probably thinks he will have to be a bit clever and play the long game if he is going to get one over on you. Especially if other people are involved and likely to hear about what he is up to.

Sorry - not very positive but I wouldn't let my guard down for a second and would always be on the lookout.

well done for getting out and giving your DD a chance of a better life. smile

Hassled Thu 13-Aug-09 19:03:36

If you try it and realise a bit down the line that he's playing games, are you able to withdraw and go the more conventional route? If it's quicker and cheaper etc it's worth considering, but you'd have to tread very carefully indeed. Would you be able to bring a tough-minded friend along to the sessions to view things objectively for you?

PerArduaThinksFucktheDM Thu 13-Aug-09 19:09:12

Approach with deep suspicion IMO - he's emotionally abusive and he's probably working out how best to twist things.

How adversarial would things be solicitor to solicitor anyway?

Been following your story btw - Well Done smile

queenofdenial2009 Fri 14-Aug-09 20:47:37

Thanks, and I am suspicious. I've been reading up about collaborative law and some recommend it in abusive relationships and some don't. The idea is that you act like adults and keep it factual; this part appeals to me and having a solicitor there would make me feel a bit stronger about the things that I think need to be said. I've realised that part of the reason I'm getting wound up is that he's telling me I'm unreasonable and over-reacting which is the game he's been playing for years. He may think that, but I don't need to know anymore, it's not relevant.

The advantage would be that it would be over quicker and I do want to limit the length of time he can keep contacting me and expecting me to engage.

You have an initial meeting with solicitors and then decide if you go ahead this way. It's only if it breaks down during the actual process that you have to get new solicitors. Mine specialise in domestic abuse and family law, so I would be loathe to start again.

I know his motives are ulterior, but I just wonder if I can also gain from doing it this way. I think I'll also find it easier to rebuild my self-esteem if I can stand up to him a bit now, which is something I've never really been able to do.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 15-Aug-09 01:31:13

I think this might be as bad an idea as couple-counselling when one partner is abusive. I think collaborative law is probably designed for separating couples who are both basically decent human beings who are just not suited to one another - it would probably work in cases of straightforward infidelity as well. What he's after is getting some Authority to agree with him that you are over-reacting, and a silly bitch with a stick up her arse, and he is ever so reasonable - look! He's offered to do the collaborative legal thing and the dreadful unreasonable whiny XW won't co-operate. Of course, it may backfire all over his arse if the professionals in charge of the proceedings have experience of dealing with abusers. I suggest you contact women's aid or refuge or a similar organisation for advice and support. Best of luck and well done for binning the knobber.

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