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Serious support needed for court

16 replies

worldgonemad · 05/10/2004 22:37

Hi, changed my name for this one just in case as you will see.
I really am hoping that some of you can share your experiences with children that have always had a sleep problem to show what disastrous effects changes to routine, unfamiliar and unsettling changes in their life have on their sleep and the consequences to you. This is why, I'll try to keep it brief!

DS is 3 1/2. Until he was 7 months old I couldn't lay him down and slept holding him upright in bed. He was so noise sensitive that you couldn't stroke him, move a blanket, tear off a piece of kitchen roll or click your toe bones without it waking him. He was in a sleep clinic for a week at a hospital, no success. I went back to work when he was 5 months old surviving on about 1 20mins sleep a night. Until he was a year old he slept for only 30 mins at a time day or night with at least 1 1/2 hours to get him off again. Until he was about two he was still taking 2 hrs to get to sleep in the evenings and would wake still, 6 times a night. I gradually got this down to 4 times. THEN, ex DP turned up in his life who hadn't seen him since 5 months old. What has ensued is now a lengthy court battle on my part to make sure that contact doesn't interfere with his sleep. He sleeps for at least 2 hours at lunchtime, mainly because he is only getting a broken 8 -9 hours a night and because I have to get him up at 6am because I work. The contact is being pushed through the courts at an alarming rate. Exdp lives about 2 1/2 hours away and so taking him to his house to sleep doesn't come into it, yet he wants to take him to a variety of "mates" houses to "have a kip there". DS just won't do this! The nursery he has been in since 18months have been fantastic at keeping to and establishing the routine. The contact itself is disastrous to the ectent that DS has progressively refused to be taken upstairs in the contact centre, despite the fact the court has granted him the right to take him out from there. He now has to come to my house but as yet we haven't had one of these visits. He comes three Saturdays out of four and DS is just a nightmare the night before, the morning of, and afterwards. I have no idea what he's like with ex DP although he insists they have a "Great" time. DS cries and says he doesn't like him and has told me some of the things ExDP has supposedly said to him about me. He's really upset because he says so many "nast things about mummy". I was also tucked away in a room in the contact centre when they were on their way out past the door and when DS said, "where's my mum", he just said, "she's gone", in the most horrible viscious tone imaginable. He then said, "is my mummy coming back?" and exdp just blanked it! DS is now even more of a nightmare to get to bed at night. He's gone incredibly clingy, waking 4 - 5 times a night again. won't let me out of his sight and just for no reason, comes out with "I don't like that stupid daddy man". I'm due at court again in 4 weeks and they are looking to increase the contact to a whole day. The judge just doesn't understand. Yes, DS was in a sleep clinic at 10 months but he's 3 1/2 now. They seem to think that to show sleep problems you have to be running to GP's and Health visitors once a week and should have loads of medical evidence but you just don't do you? You try every piece of advice imaginable and hope it all comes right in the end. The effect this is having on me is awful. I am back to no sleep yet have to go to work full time and then cope with a now, raging, stressed out, overtired child on my own every evening. Please mumsnetters what can I do to show the Judge that it's not just me it's a real problem that they should take into account. So far she is just overlooking it and keeps saying DS will grow out of it, get used to it etc etc. She's not had to struggle for the past 3 1/2 years. Can you lobby my Judge for me?! Seriously can anyone help with any advice, support, websites, even emails of support if your brave enough. I'm at my wits end and this is the only place where I know I'll get good advice. Yours very hopefully, Worlgonemad!

OP posts:
PuffTheMagicDragon · 05/10/2004 23:09

Worldgonemad, I wish I could offer some constructive advice, but I have none. I am sorry you and your ds are going through this.

MeanBean · 05/10/2004 23:17

Worldgonemad, you should start going to the GP all the time - get yourself written off sick because of stress caused by sleep deprivation. If it stops you working in the cash economy, the judge might take it seriously.

Keep a diary of the nasty comments your xp is making about you to your DS - at some stage, you might get a judge who considers that it is important for the parent with care and control to have proper support, not undermining, from the absent parent.

And finally, call the OneParentFamilies helpline 0800 018 5026. They may be able to help you, but if not, at least you can add your story to their dossier of just how undermining the courts are of lone parent's attempts to bring up their children in any sane fashion at all. It's amazing how people think parents have to present a united front to children when they live together, but as soon as they separate the mutual support ceases to be remotely important, or even relevant.

I sympathise with you so much, but tbh I don't think there's much you can do about it. The courts don't have much respect for lone mothers, they just think we're embittered bitches if we try to protect our children from the irresponsibility of fathers like your xp. They're happy to give sole contact to men with a history of violence as long as your arm, so a man who doesn't give a shit about his son's sleep needs isn't going to be top of their list of priorities. Sorry.

worlgonemad · 05/10/2004 23:28

Meanbean and Puff, you have stamina to get to the end of that!

I might actually call the helpline you gave. Was it you who gave the same org about the CSA questionaire? I e-mailed them in any case and the Press Officer responded wanting a contact number. I'm thinking it's time to go a bit public. I don't need to dress up in a batman suit to show what an awful effect the whole bloody system is having on decent single mums trying to fight these spiteful, egotistical males (alright, maybe not all of them). The problem is, I have to keep going to keep the roof over my head and I'm sure you know what I mean. I'm in so much debt because of solicitors fees etc I'm at the end of my tether. The pot is empty. I can't get legal aid and I don't know where to turn. Any altruistic family solicitors out there?!

PuffTheMagicDragon · 06/10/2004 00:06

This might be useful .

MeanBean · 06/10/2004 13:00

WGM, if you want to set up a group to counter all the crap in the media put about by the likes of Bob Geldof and F4F (oh really, you threatened to murder your ex-wife did you? and now she won't let you in the house every time you come round drunk wielding a machete, won't she, the unreasonable bitch?) I'll be the first to join! Won't be wearing a f catwoman suit though! Did you phone the helpline? Are you feeling a bit better today?

PuffTheMagicDragon · 06/10/2004 13:13

Yes, I was wondering how you are.

Freckle · 06/10/2004 14:01

I agree with Meanbean. If the courts demand some form of hard evidence, then you have to do something to provide it. Go to your GP as often as you can, get yourself signed off sick, get your Health Visitor involved. Get evidence from any witnesses, including people at the contact centre. Write down everything your DS says about his visits with his dad.

Exaggerate if you have to in order to get the evidence. At the end of the day, you are doing this for the wellbeing of your son and who cares if you have to elaborate a bit.

edam · 06/10/2004 14:11

will very strongly support a pro-mothers pressure group that counters all the propaganda from divorced/separated male activists. although am not a single mother myself.
your situation is appalling and I am very, very sorry to hear about it. second the advice about seeing your GP/HV; you need to convince the judge that these sleep problems are real, sounds as if she's being very old-fashioned with 'oh, he'll grow out of it' and doesn't understand the impact on ds and you.

pixiefish · 06/10/2004 14:20

Meanbean's right WGM. If the court wants evidence then go to your doctors every week to ask for advice/help etc... if they want evidence ffing give it to them. I am so cross for you WGM- having to go through this- why can't people be reasonable. Sending you loads of hugs {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} cos there's not a lot else I can do- but I am thinking about you adn wishing you luck.

Lasvegas · 07/10/2004 16:18

worldgonemad I am appaled at what has happened. Why do you bother complying with access given father is upsetting DS? I got the following advice from my solicitor who is also a part time judge. My husband left me and DD when she was few days old. 18 months on he sent me a solicitors letter saying he wanted weekend vistits. My sol said don't worry as even if the court give him a court order it is only a piece of paper and if I dont 'facilitate' access then he basically cannot see dd even in a contact centre. X is mentally ill and threatening btw but this would be the case even if he was normal. The courts may hold me in contempt if I don't comply with court order and in theory can fine me, put me in prison or make DD live with father. But in actual fact they won't do latter 2 sactions and probably not the fine either as not in DD best interests. I work full time so if I was in prison then no one would pay mortgage and dd would be in foster care. If you want to CAT me for further info do so.

I am intersted in setting up a lobby group for the rights of children to be protected from bad fathers.

ggglimpopo · 07/10/2004 16:38

Message withdrawn

MeanBean · 07/10/2004 17:22

Lasvegas - I'll join.

beansmum · 07/10/2004 20:58

lasvegas - me too

aloha · 07/10/2004 23:09

I would tend to agree wtih lasvegas. I'm on 'the other side' if you like, in that I am married to a man with a daughter from a previous relationship...but...I know my husband is a fantastic, amazing father, and his daughter adores him and misses him like crazy. He never left his daughter (his ex left him for another man) and phones her every single day etc. BUT in your case, I wouldn't hesitate to do what was in my child's best interests whatever it took. Go to your GP, involve your HV and nursery and anyone else you can think of. Get as many statements as you can. And if contact is still increased and your son remains disturbed, just refuse to cooperate. Good luck. I really feel for you.

aloha · 07/10/2004 23:09

And why not set up your own support group? As a journalist, I can tell you, it would make a fantastic story .

Lasvegas · 08/10/2004 10:19

sorry if I am highjacking thread but I am so cross that F4J get a load of media coverage and mothers/children don't. What about calling the group Children for Justice? Surely contact isn't about parents rights it is about Children's welfare both emotional and physical. If potential adopters have to be checked out by social services so should biological fathers. Why are they allowed to parent kids simply by virtue of the fact that they are the biological father. Why doesn't the media see that very often fathers don't actually want to seee kids they ask for it simply to have 'power and 'control' over their X. I would really like to set something up but my X doesn't know where I live if he did he would snatch DD. I am happy to do stuff behind the scenes but not on TV for fear that the X would find me. How can we get in touch with other potential activists? What about posting in the media section of this site?

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