Child custody and finances

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  • #35385 Report


    I’m new to this forum, but going through a divorce, controlling husband, 2 kids and financial and children court proceedings going on.

    My ex wants shared custody of the kids, he has not been a very active, present father in their lives until I said I wanted a divorce and then he has upped his game. Which is great for the kids but I just can’t see it lasting. The other point to make is – this man does not like to lose.

    We are just about to have our first court hearing and I was wondering whether anyone had any experience of what happens at this stage? Is there any chance we might settle? Or will that have to have him agreeing to something other than what he wants? Has anyone had any experience of this type of divorce where there is a narcicst involved?

    I’m wondering whether to give in to him (even though I know its not in the childrens best interests) or carry on the fight and spend money which I haven’t got and will I still end up losing? I’m at a loss to know what the right thing to do is.


    #35388 Report


    Hmm. Having a good lawyer is essential. Of you already have one, have they said what they think your chances of success are? My lawyer is brilliant but in the end she basically said once it goes to court I am likely to lose. My situation sounds identical to yours but at a slightly earlier stage. There is no reason for my ex not to win shared custody of my daughter, even though I don’t believe it to be in her best interest. He also had little involvement in her life until I divorced him. Now he is like the model dad… which is what I always hoped for! Wish it hadn’t taken divorce to bring it out in him. I’m trying to avoid court by negotiating outside of it through the lawyers, but it’s taken like 8 months and he still won’t agree. I think if you’re already at the stage of court, you may as well fight with all you’ve got. You have nothing to lose except for money, which you would lose anyway trying to come to an agreement with him outside of court. It doesn’t sound like he’s the kind of guy to give up easily.
    Best of luck x

    #35390 Report


    Thanks for the reply!

    I’m not sure how great my lawyer is – trouble is you don’t really know until your paying them loads of money and not sure any other lawyer would have been any better. I feel your pain – 8 months? Why does compromise not seem to be  a word in peoples dictionaries? Or thinking of what is the best thing for the kids?  I would never try and stop them seeing him, but the practicalities of bringing up kids day to day he really has no idea and I’m pretty sure will just end up getting help in to sort it all out for him. Oooh the joys!

    Good Luck to you too!x

    #35394 Report


    Hi both, it’s worth remembering that controlling men “who don’t like to lose” will be aware of your financial situations so may be counting on the financial threat.

    Also just because they win 50% custody does not mean they want it. They may use it to initially claim they shouldn’t pay CMs, then when you prove that they’ve only done 50 nights in a year, they refuse to pay the backlog.

    My ex threatens me with taking son 50% of the time, whenever he is feeling aggressive or spiteful but it hasn’t happened yet. Son is nearly 12. Ex actually sees him 9 hours a week and overnights at half term.

    Good luck

    #35397 Report


    Hello there,

    Yes, I’ve experienced this, and yes, previous posters make very good points, although looking back at my divorce process in the main ex was counting on the fact that I would be too scared of him, and too busy with making a new home for myself and my DD that I would be unable to see that some of his threats, were just that, and he was trying to scare me, so that I wouldn’t have the space to think clearly. And indeed, people in the field of understanding domestic abuse are very aware of that psychological tactic which they call the FOG of abuse. It stands for Fear and Guilt. Forgotton what the O stands for, Oppression maybe

    so this is me, on a Sunday morning. slept okay, perhaps how I can help, now that I am mainly out of all that, is to help you think clearly.

    Divorce process is put simply in stages. This is important as it kind of means you can prepare yourself for each separate stage.

    1. Children’s matters

    2, Finance Hearing

    4. Actual divorce

    This process makes sense from a legal point of view as the kids and their wellbeing and security come first. Legal decisions are made with the Children’s Act. You might want to read it the act. Basically details what criteria they use to make decisions i.e. if the child is established and happy in a particular place, they don’t want to change it.

    It may be difficult, although not impossible to do it without a solicitor. I have known people who have. Quite successfully actually. Others haven’t found their solicitors helpful. Mine was okay, and I had legal aid. Which many don’t have now.

    The first barrister I had was aware of legal aid being cut and told me that if I genned up I would be quite capable of representing myself. Though I wasn’t in a space to at the time. However, what I did do was read up on the Family Court process and kind of transformed myself into an lay ‘expert’ as far as I could. I wanted to take the power back, and understand what the solicitor was doing.

    This was and is, I believe a good move. Even if you have a solicitor, it means that you are potentially armed with more knowledge, and can potentially save money with solicitor as you may not need to ask them to write a letter about every little thing. You can get this knowledge by looking at and talking to Rights of Women, Women’s Aid, Mackenzie Friends, and even Families Need Fathers. It is widely acknowledge that there is an inherent gender bias in the Family Court System (towards men) – even though this is disputed by such organisations.

    It is actually illegal to discuss details of the Family Court in public and you can go to prison for that. Whilst this appears to be in the benefit of the kids, it has negative knock on effects. It basically means that if you experience coercihve control in the courts or generally are upset by your ex’s behaviour then you have to be careful who you discuss it with. Would recommend a private  counsellor who is versed in DA. These are few and far between and some say get the court process over with first. If you find a person-centred counsellor you will be very lucky in my view. Tell them you would like support through the process and to do some work on your own needs for the future, and those of your kids. Dont’ expect every organisation to understand the process or the feelings, not many organisations are all have staff versed in coercive control.

    Re: mediation. General advice is it is inappropriate for DA. Reason being that it is too easy for a narcissist to manipulate the situation. You can ask to be sat in separate rooms. I did mediation though, mostly because I wanted to say I’d tried. When it came to children and finance matters looking back – ex showed usual dishonest behaviour, refusing to negotiate, ‘forgetting’ to bring financial disclosures along. So I was actually better off in court where the judge basically told him to sit down, stop being arrogant and shut up. (not in those words obviously).

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it it wasn’t an ‘education’ I would have ever wanted to have. But at least it means I can post on here and hopefully help someone else.

    Timescales’ when someone said divorce could take 2 years upwards – I thought it was wrong, but mine did and many of friends took longer.

    The hearing which will be coming up is probably a Directions Hearing, which basically means they want to set out a plan logistically as to when the next hearing will be, and where. So it won’t really be focussing so much on content. And then sooner or later you will have a residence and contact hearing – if mediation doesn’t work, which it probably won’t. And after that, as I said the finances.

    So at the moment it is all about for you and kids to take care of your own mental and financial wellbeing. Be careful about finances. There is something inhuman called the ‘starve-you-out; technique which narcissists do, meaning they will try to cut you off from financial support so that you can’t carry on mentally or physically. Yes, I never imagined someone could be so evil. But believe me, they can be.

    So getting all your ducks in a row means facing stark realities, I’m afraid, getting a support network for yourself built.

    There is light at the other end of the tunnel. Waking up in a calm household, even though we have our stressors now, nothing like it was before.

    all best and stay strong




    #35432 Report


    Well that’s my issue in that I think it is all for “show”, and once the “show” is over, he will so not be interested in the norm of daily life bringing up kids, listening to their troubles, helping them with homework, washing their clothes. Parenting is not easy/fun most of the time!

    Mediation didn’t work, he tried to bully/blackmail me – we were in separate rooms too!

    Finances he is already starving me! I’ve been struggling with that…but kind of accepting what it is for now and hoping to just get through this hell.

    I just can’t believe he’s putting the mother of his kids through this hell, but of course I don’t think he sees it like that – he is the one that is hurting! This week he got together with one of my best friends husband, and apparently he came back reporting what a terrible time my poor ex was having – grrr!

    I can’t wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, but scared now you have said 2 years! I just can’t bear seeing him anymore and living in the same house is just awful. I’m trying now to split our time with the kids (though he doesn’t see this as necessary) so we don’t have to spend time all together and reduce conflict for the kids and lower my anxiety levels a little! I feel like if I let him win the battle on the kids then he will move out – but then that seems selfish on my behalf as I know that wouldn’t be best for them.

    Thanks for all the advice I really appreciate it! Even just knowing there is other people out there who have had similar struggles makes me feel more positive and feel like I can get through this.


    #35444 Report


    I really hope you find another solution re living together. This will affect your ability to think clearly (and sorry if that sounds patronising, it is not meant to be). Check out also the women’s aid website and forum survivors forum.

    Yes, I think it makes a big difference knowing that you are not alone going through this. At the time when I did, years back, I didn’t know such organisations existed, and one of the worst things was thinking I was the only person on the planet going through this.

    You are right in thinking they often lose interest in the kids – despite the noises they make about shared parenting etc. But then it is usually in these situations not about the kids at all, and never was, it is just about attempts to control YOU.

    A long road and I dont’ envy you, but good to ‘speak’ this morning. Depending on where in the country you are, there are support groups available for women dealing with domestic abuse. And online things eg. the Freedom Programme.

    Good luck, keep in touch


    #35449 Report



    Sorry for jumping on this post (first time posting!), just wanted to say everything you explained Jessicajones is so helpful to me right now too. This is exactly what i’m just about to go through and had no clue how it all worked- every time i ask the lawyer a question i’m charged for the time so feel i can’t afford to have her sit and explain it all to me so at least this has given me some places to start reading up on myself thank you so much.

    I have moved out and have changed the days my ex sees our 2 kids – its taken me 6months to feel strong enough to push for him having them less days. Aswell as being emotionally abusive (or partly because of) he smokes cannabis daily. He’s so dependant on it that his change in mood doesn’t come when he has a smoke, but instead when he hasn’t had it, so when he gets up in the morning he is a nightmare until he has a smoke. I lived with him with my head in the sand sheltering the kids from it but it tears me up thinking that i’ve left the kids to deal with him now themselves when i’m not there and it’s his days… anyway my difficulty is now if i go for divorce and we get to the childrens custody etc will they take me seriously when i say about drugs- will they test him? will they look at evidence i have of this? im petrified of making things worse for the kids – on paper he has a good job, from a good family etc

    Anyone have experience of this?

    And to the original poster Beeches this sounds so like alot of what i’m going through, good luck with it all xxx


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