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Contact with ex

(6 Posts)
Elizabeth88 Sat 05-Sep-15 09:11:06

My ex has never really had contact with my son Who is now 8.

He was violent, abusive and used drugs, niavely for the first 4yrs I thought he'd change and my son was better off with him around until one night he witnessed the violence and we walked and never looked back.
Up until then he saw him when we were together and sporadically in between, mostly when my ex was attempting to reconcile things. However we did 18 months with no contact at all from him.
My ex met a new partner 3 years ago, they have 2 children (one hers from a previous relationship) and recently lost a son (stillborn) which although heartbreaking is perhaps the reason why I received this letter demanding contact from a solicitor.
Since we split he has seen him less than 10 times, turning up with arms full of toys and empty promises to do everything which never happen. despite saying he can phone or txt to speak to Our son or ask how he's doing he never does we hear from him around Christmas and birthdays and that's it. I've asked if he'll come n spend even 10 mins with him n watch him open his presents n he always says no he'll have him at his house for the day or not at all. We have family plans Christmas and birthdays it's not possible even if I wanted to allow that. The last time he saw him was a year ago when his mum asked to have my son and then invited him round and they asked my son not to tell me about it.
His new gf seems nice, I haven't really met her but I know her ex husband and from what I'm told she's okay, considering how close we live I never see them. I'm not sure if he is still taking drugs or drinking excessively, it's not of my concern if he isn't seeing our son.
I've maintained the same thing each time we spoke of contact, he can take him out for a few hours, swimming, food, bowling whatever but alone for now I want him to build up a relationship with his son, then work from there. Which after 2 times is enough to warrant full access for him, I say no he becomes abusive and we don't hear from him again from another 6 months.
He's never paid, actually refused and ignored csa but I figured it was worth managing alone to keep my son safe and happy.
He doesn't mention his dad but on the few occasions he's seen him his behaviour changes, he gets angry, clingy, won't sleep bed wetting starts, school have commented on the dramatic change in him but weren't aware why it takes weeks to settle back down. He has mixed feelings about his dad, I've always told him he's busy with work but that's no longer washing with him now he's older, he remembers the violence all to well but loves him because he's his dad. Reality is he doesn't know him having spent so little time with him. I'm not sure how he'll react to him having a new family although he is aware of them.
I met a new partner also, he's wonderful and has taken my son as his own, does everything for him, it's them against me most of the time. we had a baby a year ago and I'm pregnant again. He's really happy and has recently started calling him "dad" since the birth of his sister, I made sure we had the "not your real dad" conversation over it but if he wanted to he could and in all honesty he has been what I call a real dad to him. I'm worried what reinstating contact will do to my son and in turn the impact on the rest of us. It's heart breaking to see him so upset and confused and angry. He's happy and settled and doing well at school I don't want to send him down that path for him to get hurt again which he always has. I just want to protect him from it.
On to the letter, again no consideration of my sons best interest, letter demands 1 one night a week, and all weekend alternate weekends. No slow unforced introductions, building a relationship after so long which is all I've ever asked for plus consistency and for him to take an active interest in being his dad. But no in the way of my ex it's my way or not at all.
Above that Although I don't think his new girlfriend would allow it, I'm not happy with overnight till I'm certain he's no longer drinking etc, I do not want my son exposed to anything more, I let him down in the first 4 years enough by staying and trying to hide it from him.
I just want to cry, I know this will be hard on my son n I don't want him hurt. He's never cared about his son, he does it because it's "his right" and when it suits him, what's a £50 toy shop voucher at Christmas not to mention he completely forgot about him at Easter. If he cared about him he'd have txt rang tried to make it work but unless it's on his terms no. My goal posts haven't moved And I'm not being unreasonable or blocked contact as such just unless it's all his way he won't grace us with his presence. In reality I just want to tell him where to stick his demands but for my sons sake I need to figure out what to do for the best.

horsewalksintoabar Sat 05-Sep-15 09:15:14

God this is hard because whatever you do OP, you'll end up with contact happening... IF this goes to court. A letter from a solicitor means NOTHING. I will write more. Just wanted to get this out there. You have to do nothing! Don't reply. Now if you get a court summons for a hearing, then you have to appear...

Elizabeth88 Sat 05-Sep-15 09:31:49

Thank you horsewalksintoabar it's so hard I'm torn between wanting that relationship for my son and his dad and knowing that it's likely going to end in tears. He doesn't care about our sons best interests, I wish he would, I'd love to have had the support from him and the time to myself but not at the expense of my sons welfare.
Like you say the legal systems an a*se, contact is awarded regardless of circumstances and the child's welfare. Last thing I want is to be forced into something x

horsewalksintoabar Sat 05-Sep-15 09:49:44

I had a similar situation years and years ago... Ex left when DS was 6 months old and when he was age 3 1/2, asked for contact which eventually happened at age 4 1/2 via the courts. Initially he saw son in a contact centre which was very useful because it was just about dad and son getting to know one another. Well fast forward 10 years on and its pretty much panned out the way most thought it would: not great. He's brought more angst and stress into our son's life than joy...when he can be bothered to be in it. He can hardly remember the name of son's school, doesn't know what interests him, has NEVER supported him financially. I don't fight him for anything. I don't communicate unless I must. I just feel for our son. Dad's not a bad guy. He's just an embarrassment. My son's friends don't even know about his bio dad. Sad, eh? But dad earned his reputation on his own. If you're a deadbeat parent how on earth can you expect respect?

Now your ex at least has moved on. He sounds more promising. At least he's with a nice partner. That says something. I reckon your having a baby while he's lost one has instigated a sense of unacknowledged envy and perhaps competition. Your DC will now have two bio siblings through you and none, thus far through dad. It IS a dad. Guys get weird about this stuff. When I went on to have my first baby (DC 2)with my now husband, ex had me back in court like a to to for more contact. This time, his family wrote letters petitioning to have DC1 removed from my care. It was unbelievable.
Anyway I could go on but this is about you not me. smile I think the stillbirth has everything to do with your ex's request. If you seek legal advice, you will be steered in the direction of regular contact. Whether or not you were abused or given financial support is a moot point, legally speaking. All they care about is a) making contact happen without a thought to future consequences. They don't care if the child is emotionally confused by hanging out with a dad who dumped them when they didn't feel like being responsible. They just want to order contact. But there's the thing: a solicitor's letter warrants no reply. A solicitor is not the law. A solicitor us a mediator, an expensive messenger, a go between. But the court executed the law. It is the law. So unless you have a court order to appear at a hearing regarding contact, then you really don't need to reply to the letter, threatening as it sounds and oh how I know too sell how threatening those letters are. But solicitors are paid bullies.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I have lived it out... I have never been able to go home to my country to live, never can take a holiday without my ex's permission, etc., etc. I hate the guy. He's brought so little happiness to DC's life. I hope your ex is at least a nice man. That counts for a lot- in case this eventually goes to court and your child must begin regular contact. PM me anytime. I self represented in court for years! I even miscarried in court! I have all the badges. sad

horsewalksintoabar Sat 05-Sep-15 09:53:04

God my typos are horrendous OP! Sorry. The court executes the law, not executed.hmm

Elizabeth88 Sat 05-Sep-15 10:25:53

Your story's heartbreaking and all too similar to mine, last time I agreed to over night contact with my son was 5 years ago, when I turned up to drop him off there was a lots of plants and bright lights in the spare room if you understand. Needless to say we I left and phoned the police, they did nothing and he removed them quickly after I left. There's so much I could say but other than not putting his son first in anything he's never directly hurt him despite drinking heavily when left alone with him when I worked in till late in a pub.

His girlfriend is nice, I'm assuming he's changed but I honestly wouldn't know I always said it was the drink and drugs that made him abusive, he was okay mostly sober.

I can't begin to imagine how hard this has all been for you, the courts have placed no value on the impact upon your son, yourself or your family. it must have been devastating to deal with all this and I imagine the stress was a large factor in causing your miscarriage. The system needs to change, I can't image the judge putting his/her own children through this. I sought legal advice years ago when we split I was told they allow even those convicted of child abuse contact within centres the majority of the time. It's horrific.

How old does the child have to be before they can refuse contact legally so if it doesn't work he can Walk away from his dad? If your sons a teenager can he not make his own choice?

will ignoring the solictors count against me in the long run? I don't no if I should ignore it, attempt to drag it out, run away?? I know that until the court orders in place they can't do anything so then does it become a game of avoiding court??
I agree the solicitors are intimidating, he's done it purposely for that effect rather than contacting me directly he thought he'd bully me, some things never change. I guess it works for the majority of those uneducated on their rights (which appear to be none anyway). What do you suggest other than a hit man wink?? X

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