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Access to violent parent

14 replies

ANTagony · 25/06/2008 17:16

My exhusband is pressuring to have our two DS (2&4) every other weekend for Christmas week and for a week in the holidays. He has a history of a violent temper for which the children and I have been worse off. Currently he has access for 2.5 hours on a Saturday that means he doesn't have to change clothes, deal with any real issues like food or naps. He made a name for himself as a parenting author whilst he never showed any real interest in the boys when he lived at home. He has a filthy temper and always denies events after they've happened apparently the boys bruise easily just like their mum. I can't help but feel its his media presence he misses rather than his children - he still writes for magazines and papers saying he lives with his Darling wife and boys.
He pays below the statutory maintenance (20%) not that money and access go together.

I really don't want to put the boys in danger and feel that with longer access sessions I will be. It was things like nappy changes, tired children and slow eating that used to make him loose it.

I really don't want to drag this through the courts as I'm already exhausted by the divorce - I didn't ask for anything off him, just want our lives back.

He left and lives with another women he wants to have the children stay with and she has a history of violence as well and had great difficulty with children of a previous partner that resulted in the partner separating from her.

The boys have good access to his parents as well I have no desire to deny where they come from - but want them safe

How do I keep everyones best interests at heart?

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AttillaTheHan · 25/06/2008 17:26

I feel for you in your situation. You say the kids have good contact with his parents. Are they aware of his violent behaviour? if so would they supervise a bit of extra contact so that the boys are kept safe and their dad gets a bit of extra contact?
just a thought...

ANTagony · 25/06/2008 17:35

They live 6 hours away and my parents have recently contacted to advise a bit more of what went on. They are bury your head in the sand keep everyone happy sorts.

They visit every other month which is far far more than in the previous 11 yrs we were married and have expressed that they don't want to see the children and him at the same time its too distressing.

It is a nice thought - if they were closer something could probably be arranged.

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AttillaTheHan · 25/06/2008 17:42

In that case I think it might be worth you reconsidering involving the courts. Unless there are any other family members who would be abl;e to support the contact. If you are concerned about his violent behviour and the potential behaviour of his partner then I think contact could do with being more formal in order to protect your children.It is a pain, especially if you have just gone through a difficult divorce but it would be well worth it if you are concerned about their safety.

BetteNoire · 25/06/2008 17:47

I agree with Atilla.
Perhaps the best way to move forwards is to get the arrangements formalised in the courts.

If you feel your children are at risk, perhaps a contact centre is an option, or a trustworthy friend or family member could be there at all times.

This must be so difficult for you - especially as he has created this literary world around him where he is a wonderful father.

oldcrock · 25/06/2008 17:49

I am in a similar situation with my exh. He was violent to me for several years (witnessed by dcs) and also neglectful towards the dcs which has been documented due to Social Services/police involvement. I have still got nowhere with getting access sorted out - like your ex, he wants access but I want to keep my children safe above all else. He would not agree to supervised contact and has left me with no option but to go via the court. The process is about to start if he makes an application.

Have you considered supervised contact centres? There's a website As your ex is so far away, this may be very tricky to arrange though.

with what you have said about his current partner as well, there seem to be definite concerns about their safety if he was to have unsupervised access. I understand what you say about being exhausted by courts - me too! But it's about keeping children safe. Personally I think your situation sounds like it might have to go via the court system... But is there a responsible family member somewhere who could supervise?

ANTagony · 25/06/2008 17:49

He wont consider my family being involved, I've tried that, its just court is so potentially aggressive and I want life to start again for us [throw toys out of pram]

I guess patience isn't something I feel able to demonstrate. Its such a major stumbling block on trying to have a life.

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ANTagony · 25/06/2008 17:51

My ex's family are far away but he is only around an hour away. I'd never heard of support centres - deffinately worth looking into. Thanks for the link.

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ANTagony · 25/06/2008 18:01

Old crock - I'm so sorry I'm not alone in this. I've been in denial for years - whats best for the kids and all that, maybe I am clumsy and do provoke. I just so want to move forwards and this could just drag on for years.

I really like the idea of the contact centers I've looked on the website and will see if I can get my solicitor to refer me - I think he thought I was bending the truth about things but sore rather more temper than he was expecting when the judge wouldn't let my XP talk in one on the informal divorce hearings so I think he will have confidence that I have a case.

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gillybean2 · 25/06/2008 18:24

I would suggest to him that he needs to attend an anger management course to show to you that he has this issue under control. You should also suggest mendiation to discuss the issues. If he refuses it won't look good in court should it come to it. Get it in writing, both your request and any response from him.

A court may ask why you are ok to allow him to have the children for a couple of hours if his temper is really as bad as you say and if you suspect him of being a little too physical with them.

You have to show you are being reasonable and have the children's welfare at heart. You also have to show that he is being difficult and refuing to take steps to resolve the issue. If he wants to have the children more surely he will do whatever it takes to see them...


oldcrock · 25/06/2008 18:24

Good luck - the contact centres sound good places - maybe we will end up there eventually! Hope our ex's see sense in both our cases...

ANTagony · 25/06/2008 18:34

Gilly I want them to have access to him they need to know that they have a father. We have a selection of local venues he can go with the children for short visits that they are familiar with. I don't think he's pure evil just that he wont/ has never acknowledged his temper and laughs it off. He isn't aware when hes reaching flash point and has no natural limits.
In 2.5hrs he doesn't have to deal with what i call the flash point issues. The boys are fed and watered and well rested before he collects them so are at their best and easiest.

I did try the mediation option with him and he refused which I have in writing. I'm a bit scared of saying about anger management to be honest - I think that would be a real flashpoint. Maybe an email just post a visit and he'd be calm by the next one. Thank you for your suggestions I need to try and be objective and if possible keep things out of court.

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snotbuster · 25/06/2008 20:56

Um, sorry but I have been through a very similar situation, and in my experience the courts really arn't very helpful. My XP has admitted he was violent to me but denied that DS was involved. As there were never any witnesses and DS did not sustain any injuries (thank god) I do not have any evidence and, therefore, the court will not deny/restrict his contact.

Having said that, there was an initial period of supervised contact. XP behaved like the proverbial perfect parent for the duration and then it was changed to unsupervised. The only good that has really come out of going through the court process (and spending thousands of pounds that I don't have) is that it has delayed overnight stays until DS is a little older and might therefore be able to tell me if something untoward is happening.

ANTagony · 25/06/2008 21:37

snotbuster sorry to hear you've had the pain of it all as well. You're right about the overnight stuff. When they're older it will be easier. DS2 is only 2 and a terrible sleeper. XP really doesn't do well if sleep interrupted. I would love the odd night to myself and a lie in but need to know they're safe. At present I don't feed they would be - but in a few years I think theres potential for overnights. If things can be stalled untill they're able to communicate we'll all be better off.

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snotbuster · 25/06/2008 22:43

That is exactly how I feel Ant. My XP sounds quite similar to yours in that he will fly off the handle at the slightest (often quite irrational) thing. I can't imagine how he'd cope with a sleepless night/tantrum/whingy tired child.
in your case it would be quite a leap for the DCs to go from spending 2.5 hrs a week with their Dad to spending whole weekends there. CAFCAS recommend that children under 3 years do not go to the non-resident parent overnight, unless both parties are happy with that arrangement.

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