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Head vs Heart - Please Help

(6 Posts)
ilovecoffee Sat 04-Dec-10 11:45:34

Hi everyone,

I'm posting on here regarding my SD (5 years old), and her living situation, so i'll explain. (It's long, sorry)

SD stays with her Dad and I...
week 1 - Friday teatime til Sunday teatime
week 2 - Wednesday afternoon for 2 hours
- various weeks of school holidays/half terms throughout the year (5 in total). This is set in a contact order.

When SD is not with us she is supposed to live with her Mum. Mum claims to live at her parents 3 bed house, with her Mother, Father, Sister, SD and her 1 year old daughter.

SD tells us that she lives at Nanny's house with Nanny, Grandad and Auntie. She sleeps in the same bedroom as Nanny and Grandad, her Auntie has her own bedroom and the 3rd bedroom is "Nanny's office". She says her Mum used to sleep at Nanny's a long time ago on the chair in the living room but now has her own flat very close to Nanny's house, where Mum, new partner and 1 year old sister live.

SD says she doesn't see Mum very much, and that she sees Dad more than Mum. She says she'd like to see Mum and baby sister more (she absolutely adores her sister ). SD says Nanny looks after her, and Mum comes over to visit sometimes but normally it's to drop off or pick up baby sister as sometimes baby sister sleeps over at Nannys House.

She's been saying this since she was around 3 years old but is talking about this more and more as she's getting older. We are inclined to believe SD as she does have a very close relationship with Nanny.

Mum is very rarely present at handovers and doesn't speak to us, or have contact with us at all, therefore all handovers are done by SD's Nanny. Once Mum was there and said goodbye to SD, SD didn't say anything, just looked at the ground all shy like she does when meeting new people.

SD got upset talking to us recently, saying that Nanny told her that she loves her the most, more than Mum and Dad, and that Nanny said SD was not allowed to love anyone more than Nanny . She got upset and said that she loves everyone the same, but Nanny doesn't want her to. She also said that the two homes are not the same, there are good and not so good things at both houses. Nanny is always telling SD how her home is better but SD said she likes them both the same. She also said that she didn't want to live with us, because Nanny told her that if she did, SD would not see Nanny, Grandad, Auntie, Mum or baby sister

How dare she try to force SD into loving one home more than the other! The poor girl is already confused because her baby sister lives with her Mum and she doesn't!

The school are aware of the situation but won't do anything because SD is happy at school, she's very bright and content. We went and explaned the situation to the school nurse when SD got upset and she said she would have a chat with SD, to see if there was anything she wanted to talk about.

SD was very chatty and told the school nurse everything I've mentioned above. She also said the reason she lives at Nanny's house is because Mum and Nanny told SD that she loves Nanny the most, so she lives at Nanny's. She then expressed to the nurse many times that she doesn't love Nanny more, she loves Nanny, Mummy and Daddy all the same.

The nurse rang and told us about the conversation and said that SD seemed happy in herself at the moment. She didn't get upset and is doing well at school so they have no real concerns. She said it is up to us to take any action if we feel we should (such as going for residency), but is it worth putting SD through it all as she is settled at Nanny's house and school (apart from the one time she got upset). Nurse said she felt it would be in SD's best interest to leave things as they are and wait until SD is old enough to decide where she wants to be. Putting her through a court case so young could be traumatic and a CAFCASS officer would ask her to choose where she wanted to go, a big decision to make at 5 years old. She also said that it would create difficulties for us also because we both work full time.

My Husband and I just don't know what to do. We had a chat and our hearts say SD should live with one of her parents, yet our heads say SD is settled at Nanny's house (despite the comments by Nanny).

I said should we go for residency but my Husband thinks they will not grant it to us, even with the evidence from the school nurse because SD is settled and it would be a waste of money (that we don't have) and effort.

I suggested perhaps going for shared residency, if Mum isn't looking after SD then at least Dad is half the time. He said again, it is our word against theres and how could we when we both work full time and daughter lives 10 miles away. I said we could move closer but he doesn't want to live in that town as it is "rough" (which is true).

I then said what about extending the contact order we have now because it was made in february we could get it amended with a bit more access and tie up the loopholes (eg - to have replacement contact when SD is ill etc). He said would it be worth it, as he is CONVINCED SD will want to live with us when she is older. He believes she will realise what Mum and Nanny are really like (even with all the lies she tells SD) because she has regular contact with a "normal and stable" home with us. He thinks that will be the best time to go for residency, because SD will want it.

He's right in some ways because we simply cannot afford to go to court at the moment unless we get a loan. He also thinks that if we tried to represent ourselves, we would fail, as SD's Mum is on benefits and would get legal aid again so would be in a better position than us.

He said that of course he wants SD to live with us, but NO-ONE is concerned that she lives with Nanny except us, so why would the courts be any different. The time they will listen to us is when SD wants to live with us.

My head is so messed up right now, I want whats best for SD, but can't decide what that is. Please can you give your unbiased views on our situation and advise. I just feel so helpless and useless So sorry it's long, just needed to tell someone who can give me an honest answer, even if it's not what I want to hear.

mjinsparklystockings Sat 04-Dec-10 15:44:08

Message withdrawn

CarGirl Sat 04-Dec-10 15:59:24

I agree that you should self-represent to increase contact. It is absurd that her gp have more contact than her Dad when her Dad would happily have her full time.

I would continue to tell your dsd the truth that the more people you love the more love you have in your heart and it's too much love to measure, or words along that line. If you feel like you can say it without putting down Nanny then something along the lines of "silly nanny she's forgotton that you can't measure how much you love all the special people in your life".

Very difficult situation all around. Does the order you have say that she resides with her Mum hmm

ilovecoffee Sat 04-Dec-10 17:13:04

Hi, thanks for your responses.

We were thinking of saying something along the lines of "your love cannot be divided, only shared with everyone who is special to you." So she does not feel pressured to love Nanny more.

I have a feeling they will refuse our request of asking for more contact. They don't make up time if SD is ill or has a school club to go to, so I doubt they will agree to this and it will drag out in court again.

Does anyone know how amending a contact order works? What do we have to do and any costs involved (other than solicitor fees)

In the current order, it doesn't say where the child resides, but that Mum makes the child available on ....... It also says that pick up and drop up will primarily take place at the respondents Mothers address or any other agreed address between the two parties.

Thanks for your support

AllOverIt Sat 04-Dec-10 17:21:55

Have absolutely no experience or detailed advice, but read your post and wanted to say that you sound so lovely, and your SD is so lucky to you two as a stable example.

If it was me, I'd definitely go for a tightening up of the loopholes and to try and get a bit more contact.

mjinsparklystockings Sat 04-Dec-10 17:53:21

Message withdrawn

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