Some advice needed!!(15 Posts)
I am a "step-parent" my partner has full custody of his little boy (2 years old) and has done for well over a year now. We've worked hard to get him into a routine and both juggle full time jobs to pay for the nursery bill.
His mum plays not much of a part in his life. She see's him every other weekend, for 1 or 2 nights, depending on how she feels. She constantly nags us for extra time with him but she has broken the court order from when it was put into place. We feel as a couple that we shouldn't give her this extra time as we've worked so hard to get him into a routine, that why take him out? And why risk taking him out of nursery for her to turn around a month down the line and say that she can't do it anymore!
We've had many of problems when she has him, asking us how to parent her own son and nearly every other weekend when she has him she will text us to start an argument when she should be spending time with her son.
I do worry a lot for his safety when he is with her, whether that's just me panicking I do not know. Me and my partner now want to try and go for full access but just want some advice on whether other mums think this is a fair thing to do? Not being a mum myself and just being a step parent I'm quite blinded by it all and just want to keep him to myself and out of harms way!!
Unless she's physically and emotionally abusive, no court will deny her access. Frankly, even if she was abusive a court would still insist on access. Denying her access because of a 'routine' won't fly either.
I get where you're coming from, you have the daily responsibility of raising a young child, but you're not his mother. You have managed to get him into a routine, which all children need, but you're not his mother. You need to do things your way, because the child lives most of the time with you, but again....you're not his mother!
As said above no court will deny her access to her child, because it affects your routine, so you have to think outside the box. Both of you need to refuse to engage in any online/text/reality rows or discussions with the DM, keep as much as possible to your own routines in your home, meal and bedtimes etc, stick to agreed drop off and pick up times, unless previously agreed! Good luck!
The courts and SS will always encourage doing anything for children to have contact with their biological parents unless there is obvious harm being done. Not being a great parent, or as close to good as the other parent/SP is not a good reason to stop contact.
The reason is because I think research/evidence supports the fact that a child is less likely to grow up with emotional/social/psychological issues when they do. Of course, it's not black and white, but they have to support what seems to apply to the majority of kids.
Don't discourage contact with his mum. Your SS might grow up never really bonding with her and substituting you as his mum by choice and if that's the case, then that's fine as he will know that it wasn't imposed on him. He might however grow up to want an emotional relationship with his mum, even if that means him being hurt over and over, and if that's the case, then he could grow to resent you or worse blame you for the state of his relationship with her.
There have been a lot of things that have happened though for us to want to go for full custody, not just the fact of a routine!
What annoys me is if this was a father that was to do the things that she has/is doing, his custody would get stopped straight away!
I wish I could put some of the stuff on here but I just can't. Even when she needed supervised contact but couldn't find anyone to be present with her for the weekend, I would try to find ways to go around it. Like offering to meet her at indoor play areas and that but nothing really seemed good enough.
When he's ill she makes us collect him, even though shes his mum, she doesn't want to look after him when he's ill.
Once again if a father was to do half of this stuff, the courts would take away his access.
"Once again if a father was to do half of this stuff, the courts would take away his access."
On what do you base this statement?
the courts won't stop a parent from seeing a child just because they don't want to look after them when they're unwell. Perhaps see it from her and the child's point of view - if the child spends most of their time with their father, when they are ill, it is likely that the child will be asking for and possibly crying for dad. It is not necessarily a reflection on mum at all - just a sense of hopelessness on her part that she can't seem to fix and therefore does what the child is asking - and returns him to dad. I suspect few people would bat an eyelid at a sick child being returned to their mother, so why is it different when the father is the main carer?
Can you imagine how difficult it might be to have to face your ex's partner with your child at a soft play centre? Knowing full well that your child might prefer to be with her than with you, particularly if he gets upset whilst there? I mean it would probably be better to swallow your pride and get on with it, but it's hard and perhaps beyond her.
The comment about research is right - it would seem to be the case that children grow up less fucked up knowing an imperfect parent than they do not knowing the imperfect parent. Probably because if they are able to make that judgement for themselves, it is easier to manage and cope with it. There will be no sense of 'what if'. And children love their parents - warts and all - which is why Social Services do everything they can to keep children with their biological parents and only remove them in the most dire of circumstances.
You are not this child's mother. Circumstances may be such that as he grows, he makes the choice for you to be his mum. He may do that at the expense of his biological mum, or he may not. He may well recognise how important you are in his life without ever diminishing what he feels for his mum.
If you really think that what she does is more harmful for her son than no contact with her would be, you should take the matter back to court. But nothing you've mentioned so far indicates that her losing all contact is likely.
It has nothing to do with whether he parent is a father or a mother - I have a friend whose husband beat her up and raped her on a regular basis. Their children have contact with him very regularly, upheld by the court.
It's hard to give advice because nothing you've mentioned so far would warrant a judge stopping contact, whether mother or father, but you say there is more going on that you can't disclose here.
I do feel for you and your OH because you say that you fear for his safety but don't know if you are being panicking or not. If you are being paranoid and stop contact on this basis, it becomes a selfish thing to do to relieve your anxiety, but not in the best interest of your child. If your instincts are right though and something were to happen to him, you would never forgive yourself. Are SS involved? What is their position?
What kind of court arrangement do you have now?
Courts, I thought, would usually be in favour of keeping the same arrangements if it is usual for the child. If there is a lot inconsistency from his mum, then sorting it out through a court seems like the best option? I wouldn't think they based it on gender, if you have concerns, raise them there.
She sounds very, very similar to my husband's ex... she has no contact with dss but it was her choice and she explained that to the judge. I doubt we would have been able to enforce that ourselves but I do see where you're coming from. Technically speaking she could see him twice a month but it's been about 4 years now.
There are people on here whose ex's have contact with the child despite violence against the mother (witnessed by the children) , emotional/financial abuse (witnessed by the kids) or class A drugs being involved. The bar for being prevented access is very low.
My XH battered me in front of my son, rarely turned up for access, never paid for him, brought God knows how many girlfriends to access visits, was abusive to me at pick up/drop off, physically flew for me at a mediation session while I was 8 months pregnant and I'm STILL court ordered to hand DS over to him once a fortnight. Believe me, it's not that easy to stop access, I've tried.
Oh and DS wasn't happy to go for contact visits, isn't fed properly, doesn't get a bath/shower/clean clothes and hates it, but because that bastard puts on a suit and does his best "super dad" act for the court, my hands are tied. I've even considered just doing the 28 days for contempt, but he'd still have to take him afterwards so it wouldn't change anything.
Ayeokthen - I feel your pain!
I understand the bar is high for access being stopped it just breaks my heart that's all! I understand where all of you are coming from and I didn't want to offend anyone by putting this if I did.
It's just when he comes back eating anything in sight, stinking of fags and craving attention. Some of the habits he comes back with as well are worrying but like you all say the bar for access being stopped is high.
It puts such a strain on our relationship sometimes.
I wish there was an easy answer to everything but this is my first time being involved in something like this and I hope that I never have to deal with any of this with my own children.
Thank you all for the advice xx
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