Continued from Your Story.
Present day, well G has furthered his campaign to ruin my life by making an application to the court for shared access. It wouldnt be so bad but he has done it deliberately as he knows I dont qualify for legal aid due to my income as a full time student. He has also decided to make a whole issue out of my mental state (depression and anxiety) in order to "prove" I am incapable of being a good mother. God knows how but I am going to have to represent myself in court and somehow try to express that I am not that badly anxious (although just the court building makes me hyperventilate and thats before I am forced in to a room with HIM).
Total nightmare but as my baby is my life I will get through it - somehow.
Dear littleangel, I am so sorry to read your story, you have endured so much, whilst bringing up your daughter.
I am hoping that your partner does not feel intimidated by your ex and is able to be supportive to you and your daughter.
To start with why not get some free legal advice from our expert here on One Space to find out where you stand. I would have thought he wouldn't have a leg to stand on due to his previous violent episodes and contact centres.
Were the police ever involved, do you have records all of all incidents?
EVERYTHING he is doing is to continue to harrass and bother you. It has nothing to do with caring for his daughter. You have been a fantastic mum raising your daughter and protecting her from an abusive father.
Understandably just the thought of Court can make you feel weak at the knees, let alone having to face him. However you are a strong woman and like you say, you will get through it. I wonder if it will even get to court?
Do contact our legal advisor and find out what your rights are and what you can do in this situation.
Keep in touch with us as many have been through what you are experiencing and can empathise. Have you been in contact with Womens Aid?
Thanks for your kind words Anna.
I have sent the Legal advisors on here an email also and will await any advice from them.
Unfortunately, I never called the police on my ex when I was with him because he was on probation for assualting his ex partner (sounds crazy I know but he was very manipulative). I did report his harrassment after I left but he can really charm the birds from the trees and the police only "had a quiet word" with him.
I am pretty certain we will go to court because he is relentless. Miraculously, he took his ex partner to court 7 yrs ago and was awarded access 3 days a week every other week!!!! Again, he used the fact that she was a mental wreck to portray her as incapable of parenting on her own. (admittedly she was so worn down by him in the end that she practically gave up fighting) He has his son (now 14) Wednesday to Saturday every week now and it seems to work ok but I am never going to agree to anything like this because he has assaulted me in front of both his children and I would never let my daughter witness another assault in her life.
If anyone else has similar experience I would love to hear it? Also if anyone has any idea how the Courts view depression and anxiety in relation to parenting?
Hello little angel
Just been catching up with your story on the other thread,. Getting legal advice is a really great idea from Anna and I hope that you will make sure you have legal representation to go to court. I know you may not be entitled to Legal Aid but you do need to have someone there if he is what you say.
What about Women's Aid? Maybe they can give you some outreach support? Their number is 0808 2000 247.
No-one can tell you definitively about how the court may view your depression,.It seems unlikely to me that they would just take his word for it and CAFCASS will be talking to all concerned and making their report and recommendations,
You are doing great, little angel, stay strong and focused and remember that you are doing this for your daughter as well as yourself
I was in touch with Womens aid when I first left as I was a total nervous wreck they sorted me out with counselling etc and helped me move to my current address where he couldnt find me. They are a realy good organisation so I will give them a bell and see if they can help me with this current issue.
I cant believe how relentless a person can be!!! He just wont go away. I definately want someone to help me in court because I dont have a clue. I have done a little research and there is some kind of legal help for people who cant get legal aid but I will await advice from the legal advisors on here as to how I go about it.
I will keep you all updated on how I get on.
Good luck with it all. Some areas have an Advocacy service and you could also think about Mackenzie Friends.
LittleAngel, I just wanted to say hi and that i know how your feeling as my ex husband basically blackmailed me into a situation where i had to agree to shared access.
When we were splitting up, he was in the army, i was finishing off a part time contract 3 days a week away from home. He basically moved his girlfriend in evrytime i left the house to go to work, and then told me i had to find somewhere to move out to, and he would keep on the army house with all its contents. To be able to keep the army house on he had to prove to them he had sole custody and the army recognises this if you have the child benefit paid into your account! So, he watched me struggle to find a place for me and the kids on my own, then just as i was about to move out told me i had to sign over the child benefit to him or he wouldn't give me a penny in maintenance knowing full well i needed the money to survive. I signed it over. Then he told me we would be having the kids week and week about, and if i didn't agree he would go for full custody of them, and that he could provide for them a lot better than me, more money, bigger house, secure income etc. He also said he would try to prove me an unfit mother by portraying me as depressed and anxious etc I would like to see anyone who went through this whole thing i went through who isn't anxious or depressed!! Well stupidly i thought he'd have a case so gave in, and did week and week about with the kids. If anyone is reading this and thinking by now i'm an idiot that can't stand up for myself, ok maybe so at the time, but you have to undersand how manipulative people like this can run you into the ground until your not sure about even the ground you walk on anymore. I am in a rural place, and i tried to access some help, i went to the Army Welfare Service who told me to come back in weeks for an appointment - which was three weeks too late for me.
The only way out of the situation is to move. But obviously that incurrs costs that i didn't have. I am still waiting for the divorce settlement money he owes me to come through two years on. I have felt trapped for a long time in a situation i think is harmful for both my well being and that of the kids. They don't have any stability, they never know if they're coming or going and don't even know where their home is. My eldest is 12 and hates the situation too, my youngest two are swayed slightly by all the WII's and treats and holidays that go on round at dads, and I'm more like the poor relation!
I have no family or friends here, i am completely on my own, so when ever (and inevitably a fair amount of the time) my ex goes on tour or away on courses or exercises i am left with the children on my own with no support. He is due away agin in october for 6 months.
I have recently began to feel a bit stronger, and i have looked into moving towards my family in lincolshire, where i would have support with the children and for me too. It is an hour and a half from where i am now, so not a distance that would be a sow stopper from him ever seeing the kids, but too far for this arrangement to work any longer. I have always said i would never stop him seeing them, and was happy for him to have them every weekend if he wished, however this would mess his social life up no doubt, but the offer will always stand.
So currently i am trying to find work in the lincolshire area near my family, and have my mind set on moving in the school hols. I do not want to waste yet another year of my life suspended here until i'm released because he gets posted somewhere else. My children are growing up fast and i feel like their childhood is mared by the "sharing" that goes on, and that they need a stable home, and a place they know where their family is and some roots. I don't want them to think this is a normal family set up, and let it shape their relationships in the future also. I'm sure for some people who also share their kids custody it workds for them, but i think you have to agree to it, not be forced into it, and not have one parent drop the arrangment every few months cos they go away with work, and you have to be happy in the place you live, with family and friends around for both of you.
So LittleAngel, your not alone, even when your think you are, and if you need a shoulder to cry on, i have every sympathy for you x
Thanks amcg27. Your story is so heartbreaking. I have been lucky enough not to have had to spend even a night away from my daughter that I havent agreed to (and even that is hard and she only stays at my mums every now and then). I am really not sure what I will do if the courts try and tell me my ex is allowed overnight stays. I know its wrong but I think I will just outright disobey the courts and take the consequences becaus I just dont feel my daughter would be safe with him unsupervised. I am hoping to somehow get Parental responsibility for my mum and my sister because if I die I DO NOT want that man to have custody of my child. It is a horrible feeling to know you have to do something that you think is damaging for your children so I wish you every luck with the move closer to your family x
Louise, Thanks for mentioning Mackenzie Friends I have never heard of them so I will definately look them up.
I came across this brilliant woman Clare Murphy who lives in New Zealand, but has an excellent website encompassing all areas of Domestic Violence, have a read of Language Women Should Use In Family Court.
Although she doesn't give you an A-Z of what to say, she does give you some insight as to how to change YOUR thinking about the despair or depression that you may have been feeling.
This may help when going to Court and explaining the reasons behind why you are not happy with contact and how you have protected your child in the past.
Another group you might be interested in joining (this one is UK based) is on Facebook. Look up Stop Women being forced to give abusive men access to children
I am seriously hacked off now!!!!
I have the date for court hearing now (apr) and after checking out Mackenzie friends (thanks Louise) I felt they would be my best option but for peace of mind I decided to have a consultation with a solicitor just to see my likely outcomes.
The solicitor has advised me that it is very unlikely that the court will accept my proposal of no contact with her dad. She advised me that even in cases of domestic violence where the children have been directly affected by getting caught up in the violence Judges will generally still say that the child should see that absuive parent but in a supervised contact centre. My daughter has never been physically harmed by her dad (although he once punched me whilst I was nursing her, leading to me dropping her) but she has experienced emotional abuse by seeing him abusing me.
In fairness I did ask the solicitor to give it me straight and she was very sympathetic of my case but she told me that the judge will more than likely order the supervised contact that we already tried before - I am fuming.
I have just been doing some research online and it appears the solicitor is right, it seems almost impossible to get the courts to help you keep your children safe. So now I am wondering what is the point? the decision is practically made. I have spent weeks documenting his abuse and harrasment but I dont think it is worth me reliving all that hell in front of his smirking face in court whilst the court will just go ahead and dismiss it all and give him contact anyway. So unfair!
PS I see by that link on your post Anna there must be many other women as fuming as me, unfortunately I dont have facebook anymore (because somebody uses it to stalk my movements) so cant join or anything.
Hi little angel
It is best that the solicitor was straight with you, it may be infuriating but it is as well for you to know what you are dealing with. The Family Court system seems to frustrate so many people and I hear it from both sides of the question.
Thanks for your reply. I totally get that the court has to be fair to both parties and I know my ex will have given a completely conflicting account to mine but I just wish that they could see that I have already tried various levels of contact with him. I never said he couldnt see his daughter when I left him, even after all he did to me (and her), I even tackled my fear of him to take her round every weekend. But he abused it. Then we did phone contact and he abused it. Then we did contact centre and he abused it. I just hate that the power has been taken from me as her resident parent to make decisions in her best interests. He has had billions of chances already and I dont see why he should get another. My little girl is very clear she doesnt want to see him as he scares her (he doesnt hurt her but he asks her awkward questions about me). Even after my previous solicitor warned him to back off he continued but I know in court he will be the most charming concerned father there is.
I think The worst part for me is that I have documented all his abuse of me (including rape) to show how manipulative and abusive he is but now I think I may aswell just tear it up because the courts wont really take it in to account and he will again feel like he is unaccountable for any of his actions. The whole thing is so frustrating, because I know that if I would have stayed with him SS would be round claiming I am unable to protect my daughter from his abuse, but now I have left him the court will order me to subject her to more of his abuse.
Sorry for another rant just have to let it out.
Yes, little angel, that does feel like the ultimate irony. Hopefully the CAFCASS officers will listen to what you have to say when the court date comes.
Dear littleangel, I completely agree with you. If you stayed with him, then your daughter would have been taken away, however judges often try and ensure that a child sees their absent parent, regardless of violence of abuse that they may be witness to, so rule contact orders. It is ridiculous.
I understand your frustration when you have written everything down and now you think it won't be of any use. DO NOT throw it away. It may still come in handy and it also means that if ANYthing untoward happens in the future, you can document it, you are still building a case.You may not be able to provide this as evidence, but it will keep it all straight in your head and you can refer to it in court.
Will you be using this solicitor?
Thanks for your post x I am still deciding whether to fork out for a solicitor I cant afford if he is going to get contact anyway. I am thinking of trying to reach a compromise with him out of court via his solicitor. I dont know really what to do... I feel like he is making me lie down and take it all over again...
I still havent had a reply from legal expert to a mail set 22/23 feb? How long should it take?
Sorry to hear that, little angel, I will put out a chaser. You should normally hear within 5 working days. I should mention that there has been an Internet fault at the main office for the last couple of days (but you should have had a reply by now) Leave it with me.
cheers louise x
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