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DH wanting custody of DCs

(29 Posts)
runningforthehills Sat 29-Aug-09 20:40:08

namechanger as DH knows my MN name.

DH and I had a massive argument about something trivial. Escalated massively.

But he said that he would 'fight me for the kids' and that he 'wanted custody.' I said that this is unrealistic as I'm their primary carer, am at the moment a SAHM, and he works. He said that he would cut down his hours and put them in day care.

I said that my concern would be the best interests of the children; that he was trying to hurt me by threatening to take the children away.

We've managed to try and work out why our arguments spiral so quickly, although I've never been nasty to him nor ever threatened that he shouldn't see the kids.

He's an OK dad. Not great, but tries very hard.

We did agree that if we ever did split up, that we wouldn't go to court as ideally I would like to work things out amicably.

I'm not sure that I could trust him again after he said that he could fight me for the kids and that I would stay with him as I don't want to end up with a bitter battle. (am experienced in family law and know how horrible it can get)

Is it possible to forget nasty things?

manyhands Sat 29-Aug-09 21:34:25

Similar and worst has happened between DH and I. Thing detriorated really badly between us to the point where I could no longer live with him but simply couldn't afford to move out. During this time he went on an intensive anger management course and radically changed the way he behaved towards us. I wouldn't say you ever forget, I'm welling up writing this but I would say that slowly trust comes back again. Only you can decide your next step and had I been able to leave maybe that would have been it. Things do get better over time and I know that going to anger management has really changed my DH and the atmosphere in our house, I don't think he would want to go back to the way things were.

MadameCastafiore Sat 29-Aug-09 21:37:53

Sounds like there is a lot of respect in your relationship for him to say these things to you?????

I have been there - XH fought me for DD and he lost and no you end up hating them to the very core - even now if a meteor hit XH and wiped him and his cretinous family out I wouldn't be able not to have a secret smile to myself.

Am quite sure that unless there was something seriously wrong with your parenting that you would have joint residence with the child spending most of it's time with you and seeing him every other weekend and half the holidays - well unless you would live near each other and do week nights but I think personallythat that is a bit of a faff for a child especially once they start school.

mathanxiety Sat 29-Aug-09 21:43:40

Go to court, forget about amicably working things out. Threatening to take the kids away is out and out emotional abuse. You are not dealing with a man who is capable of working things out amicably. The reason things escalate when you argue is because he is incapable of compromise, wants to dominate, and treats relationships like a zero sum game. If he doesn't get his way and win, he loses. He is not a partner. Forget your prior agreement. Look out for yourself and your children. Find a solicitor. Learn your rights. You are a SAHM and the primary caretaker -- he can't take them away and put them in daycare.

This is how my now exH started out and he just got nastier. The fact that he is even talking about this kind of eventuality is a very bad sign for your relationship. I never forget the initial nastiness, and I wish I had acted sooner to end the whole charade. I was afraid of confrontation, and fearful for my prospects of getting work with small DCs to take care of, and I hoped by trying to keep a lid on arguments, trying to control the emotional environment, I could keep exH from getting angry. It didn't get better. You can't unsay the nasty things. They are said in order to intimidate -- that is no basis for a loving relationship.

PS why does DH know your MN name? This sounds like a controlling abuser to me.

runningforthehills Sat 29-Aug-09 22:01:03

Am not afraid of going to court, but don't like the idea of a judge making a decision about our children.

Yes, I take the point about threatening to take the kids away being emotional abuse, but I know that it isn't a game and any judge wouldn't grant DP a residential order as I am the primary carer. DP even says I'm a brilliant mum, so he's obviously making threats to hurt me.

he won't move out. I moved into his house when I was pregnant with DS, got my name on the deeds and then put lots and lots of money and work into the house.

Oh, yeah. And why does DH know my MN name? Because I left the PC once, and then he did a search.

OK, this is sounding worse and worse from an objective stance.

purpleduck Sat 29-Aug-09 22:22:12

running - I'm going through something very similar right now. My dh threatened to rack up loads of debt, quit his job, and take off. When I asked if he would really do that to the kids, he replied (with hatred in his eyes) " No, I would do that to you".

I never really thought of it as emotional abuse, but I have been left feeling very vulnerable. I wake up many many mornings wondering if this is the day that he just takes off and leaves me in a mess.

He also said that he knows every text, everything on mumsnet, every email.

My mind is reeling all the time, and I feel like I have a knot of anxiety that is constantly working away in my stomach.
I can't offer any insight, as I am in the middle of it all, but I just wanted to offer support

runningforthehills Sat 29-Aug-09 22:45:17

Thanks. I don't know what that answer is. Try and mend fences for the sake of the children or call his bluff and say, 'OK, take me to court...'

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 29-Aug-09 23:02:49


katiepea Sat 29-Aug-09 23:18:21

Call his bluff - I am just going through similar situation. Deciding to separate dh said he would fight for custody, (emotional blackmail to make me stay, he knows I would not give up on kids). After consulting solicitor, I was told the mum has to be a "bad mum" with problems for children to be taken away and given to the father. I stood my ground and he backed down. Divorce going through, and he has signed relevant forms giving me full custody.

mamas12 Sat 29-Aug-09 23:25:58

Always call the bluff of a bully because you will win.
He is nasty and you need to look after yourself and your dcs.

runningforthehills Sat 29-Aug-09 23:34:01

Katie, how was contact worked out? My fear is that DH will say that he will work less to accommodate the DCs as he works shifts and therefore will say that he can work around the DCs.

I don't mind him having contact. But would object to shared residency as it's disruptive for the DCs.

If it will be 50/50, I will stay in an unhappy relationship to spare the DCs the disruption.

GypsyMoth Sat 29-Aug-09 23:42:02

Don't stay in an unhappy relationship to spare DC!!!!
they always pick up on it and does more harm long term!!
They won't thank you!!

fuzzywuzzy Sat 29-Aug-09 23:42:33

purpleduck, if your 'd'h has threatened to rack up loads of debt, ensure you do not sign anything. Then I'd go to a solicitor and put a stop on the house to prevent him from selling it (if you own a home), but before that I would withdraw as much funds from the joint account as possible and then freeze any joint bank accounts so he cannot in fact run up a huge debt in your name!!!

katiepea Sat 29-Aug-09 23:45:44

We talked things through, very slowly, in between arguments! I agreed to give up many of my rights in the divorce procedure, foolishly or not. My dh also works shifts and I know he can't provide the stability or routine that my boys need, with school etc He has been there, but not there if you know what I mean???

I have tried an unhappy marriage for the last four years, and it hasn't worked for me!

purpleduck Sun 30-Aug-09 00:53:36

fuzzywuzzy - can I do that? What about credit cards? <<not knowing my rights emoticon>>

fuzzywuzzy Sun 30-Aug-09 03:49:31

When you freeze your bank account it does just that, credit cards tho are not effected, if you have joint credit cards, ask the company to remove your name on them, they might not do it if there is a significant debt on the credit cards tho, but ring up the company and try. Actually I went to the bank and explained what had happened, and the lovely lady there, immediately removed my name against the credit cards altho they still had a debit on them! So ask see what they say.

you most certainly can freeze bank accounts, which basically just stops your bank account, if you go down this route have another bank account ready in which your child benefit etc get paid as no money will come out of the bank account that is frozen, you'll also need a new account from which to pay bills etc.

I did it, when ex tried to run up a bigger debt than the massive one he initially ran up.... against my house!

mmrred Sun 30-Aug-09 11:08:25

Erm...just hang on, though. Is every Dad who doesn't want to become a fortnightly visitor abusive, then?

If someone told me that on splitting up me having 50/50 time with my kids was disruptive I'd fight them for custody, too.

I don't think you should stay in an unhappy relationship, either, But maybe he's making threats because he's terrified of loosing his kids?

BonsoirAnna Sun 30-Aug-09 11:12:05

You do not need to "go to court" in order to "bargain in the shadow of the law" through your solicitors and obtain a privately negotiated fair and reasonable shared parenting agreement.

edam Sun 30-Aug-09 11:21:12

Thing is, mmrred, if a relationship between parents breaks down, they ain't living together any more. Hence one parent - the one who has not been the primary carer - is going to see less of the children. That's inevitable.

50:50 is like the judgment of Soloman - more about the needs of the parent who is not the primary carer - who would see them less than the child. Children need a home and the security of coming home from school to the same place every night.

I speak as the child of divorced parents, btw. Apparently when our mother and father sat us down and explained they were separating, our questions were 1. Where will we live? 2. Will we still go to the same school? Once we knew the answers were 1. here and 2. yes, we were able to cope with the rest. Not fun, we were very sad, but it would have been far worse to have been expected to move around all the time.

If parents don't want to end up in this situation, they either have to make the effort to avoid divorce, or make the effort to share care while they are married. Put in 50% of the work before you get divorced. It's a bit bloody late to suddenly decide you want to spend 50% of the time with the child only when it suddenly suits you.

BonsoirAnna Sun 30-Aug-09 11:23:54

"Children need a home and the security of coming home from school to the same place every night."

I don't actually agree with this. I think it is very important for children to come home every night to at least one parent. But children can have two homes; and children can also come home but find no parent there, just a nanny or au pair.

edam Sun 30-Aug-09 11:28:31

Then we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I know it works for your family from previous posts, but your perspective is as a parent and a step-parent, not as a child who has been through divorce.

Children need a primary residence as much as a primary carer, IMO. If the parents have always shared care equally, I can see how it might possibly work, although I'd need to see research from adults who have been through it as children to be convinced. Having it suddenly thrust on children at a time of enormous upheaval and crisis anyway is just Not Good At All.

Divorce = insecurity for the child. Anything that adds even more insecurity is bad.

mmrred Sun 30-Aug-09 11:34:47

So going out to work to support your kids doesn't count? Everyone should just stay at home on benefits in order to earn the right to see their kids after divorce. Statistically, the majority of couples with kids both work, so there isn't a 'primary carer' in the form of a SAH parent.

I'm a working Mum - by your logic, edam, my mother should get residence!

And how was the judgement of Solomon about the needs of the parent who is not the primary carer?

BonsoirAnna Sun 30-Aug-09 11:35:29

edam - you are making the assumption that a parent will always be present for a child at whichever home becomes his/her primary residence. But, in our case as in many others, that just isn't the case, as both parents are working and are often out/travelling in the evening. Which is why shared care is a much better solution: it enables children to return home to a parent every night.

BonsoirAnna Sun 30-Aug-09 11:39:27

And, again, in our case as in many others, the DSSs were not returning home to two parents every night before their parents separated. Almost from birth both their parents travelled for work, they spent every Saturday night at their grandparents and most of the holidays.

I can see that it might be very difficult for children with one SAHP and another parent who was at home every evening and weekend to adjust to two homes, but not every child lives like that in the 21st century. I expect it was much more the norm when you were a child, edam, than it is today.

edam Sun 30-Aug-09 22:03:56

Actually, both my parents worked full time. Although my Dad was away overnight frequently (with work).

Didn't matter that we came home to Mother's Helps, the important thing was we came home.

Judgment of Soloman ref. was to do with trying to split children down the middle.

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