Ex taking me to court
8 April 2019 at 12:15 am #23204
I was single with one child (no father) for 9 years. Met X, married, child 1 called him dad and loved him, had child 2.
Child 2 diagnosed with cancer and spent almost a year in hospital undergoing horrific treatment. Child 2 seriously ill and withdrew, regressed – couldn’t speak for months, couldn’t eat so breastfeeding was ramped back up again and child 1 became more attached to me. I did ALL hospital stays and still do ALL hospital stays and appointments now. Difficult times caused X to get angry and verbal/psychological abuse towards me and child 1 in front of child 2 (his natural and legal child)
I tried to forgive his anger after the pain of almost losing child 2 but it became unforgivable when it started happening in front of the children.
I took both children and left after a couple of particularly nasty verbal attacks.
Have tried to maintain “normal” time for children with X but X wants nothing to do with child 1 (as he’s not his biological father) which hurt child 1 a lot. Child 2 he sees every weekday for an hour or two and one full day at the weekend.
X is taking me to court as he wants shared care for child 2, wants child 2 weaned off breast fully so he can sleep over at his house, and wants child 2 put into nursery “to assist social skills and SAL development” but it’s really just to take child 2 away from me without having to give up his job.
I am litigant in person as I cannot afford legal fees as I am carer for child 2 and on benefits. Have no proof of domestic abuse as not physical so not reported.
Have never said child 2 can’t sleep over at X house, just saying not yet as he’s only 2, still traumatised after this last year of hospital procedures, not talking yet and still needs me to sleep.
Nursery was never on the cards before break up but he’s now insisting- to pull child 2 away from me. Child 2 is immunosurpressed on chemo, chicken pox and measles are potentially fatal, and I’m trying to avoid large groups for risk of infection. Child 2 is socialised with my friends and family.
What is the likelihood of a family court agreeing to cause separation of siblings by ordering child 2 spend more time with X excluding child 1? I’m scared he’ll get what he wants – to hurt me by taking child 2 from me when I honestly don’t think it’s in child 2’s best interests. He sees him every day. Could they force sleepovers at X’s house? X can’t even get child 2 to have proper nap during day when he has him Saturday/Sunday.
X has solicitor who must think he stands a fair chance or he would surely have advised not to bother paying to take me to court.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Any ideas or thoughts please anyone I’m scared I don’t have enough legal knowledge to make this a fair fight.8 April 2019 at 2:57 am #23207
Sounds like you’ve been to hell and back.
You need legal advice yourself in this case, as you say this won’t be a fair “fight” but what you need to focus on is demonstrating you are doing your best in terms of the children’s welfare.
There are some links here but I’m sure the moderators will have more too. Sorry to hear you’ve been through all this.8 April 2019 at 7:51 am #23210
You cannot be forced to put him into nursery and gaha good reasons not to. However as parent ex could during his contact time. If he had days.
Has he actually applied? Because assuming you’re in England he needs to apply for mediation first. Have you been contacted about that from mediators? You can often get reduced charges if on benefits.
If it’s in the court system, my suggestion is to make an offer for reasonable contact. Daily cibtaco isnt appropriate as it brings disruption to your family unit.
My suggestion would be that given your child’s medical issues that you state:
- Ex obviously is not able to give child’s health I the importance they need, possibly due to him not being the primary caregiver who was in all hospital appointments, stayed there etc. And this is key to managing the situation moving forward.
- That daily contact needs to move to weekly contact outside of your home, you’re entitled to evenings without interruption.
- Weekly contact on one of weekend days remains .
- Overnights need to be at the child’s pace. Given the obvious impact of such a traumatic start nothing you’ve said sounds unexpected. Though maybe speak to health visitor, mention the abuse and your child’s needs, so they’re also on board.
- Without knowing the prognosis regarding future treatment it’s hard to say when to suggest that you’ll consider them. But if for example there’s unlikely to be anymore I’d say give the child six months to recuperate. Then work towards an every other weekend overnight. Initially Friday after work until brunch. Then when that works well until tea time. Progressing to Saturday morning until Sunday brunch. Increasing to all day Sunday with a view that over a year he’d eventually have Fri night to Sunday teatine, plus one midweek visit outside of your home. The increases being dependent on your child’s emotional well-being and health. If back in hospital longer-term then this would be delayed.
- I’d focus on you being the primary caregiver and meeting the child’s needs, if you have any examples of how ex doesn’t meet their needs including the abuse I’d cite that.
- A lawyer is only too keen to take money even if they believe there’s little or no chance of success. Remember they charge to send letters so they’re happy to send them, they charge to read communication sent to them. I actually know of one case that the other side kept inundating their ex’s solicitor with enaiem, letters etc that eventually the cost of this meant that the ex couldn’t continue with legal representation so in court had to compromise! It can be £25-125+ a time for a letter! So him having a solicitor means nothing!
Post respectively I also suggest thst you log the verbal attacks with police non emergency number. This is really important.
I’d also now stop daily contact. In email state that his daily visits are invasive and disturb the family unit, making your child unsettled. The one day weekend contact remains the same, and you offer one evening contact from 4-600 pm. Mention that he can apply for family flexible working to facilitate this and you’d consider an earlier start time if he is able to facilitate this.
Hth8 April 2019 at 8:04 am #23212
Have you discussed your concerns re nursery with your child’s paediatric/oncology team (nurses/consultant)? I’m sure they would write you a letter stating that child 2 is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and whilst the child may benefit from socialisation, nursery education is not mandatory and the risk to child would be high from a medical perspective and not something they would recommend.
On the other issues, clearly X doesn’t want to continue being part of child 1’s life. I wouldn’t force it. Child 1 is your responsibility, you are responsible for protecting him mentally, make times child 2 is with X special for the two of you.
The other thing that may change going forward is the daily contact between X and child 2. Not only does this expose child 1 to the X that has rejected him, I personally don’t think anyone benefits unless you’re on really good terms with other parent. I’m sure the court may look at less frequent but longer contact, it may include an overnight. The courts are keen to keep siblings together but where they have different fathers, the priority will be an opportunity of time with father. Im sure most family courts have mckenzie friends to support people through this process (for advice). I have a child arrangement order and hired a solicitor, however on reflection, I think I spent a lot of money on legal when it wasn’t necessary. I certainly wouldn’t do the same next time so don’t worry about self representation8 April 2019 at 8:28 am #23214
Hello I would not stress yourself about your ex having a fabulous team . These people are there to take your money.
I suggest mediation obviously it does not work for everyone but at least you tried and it’s much cheaper. I would suggest getting yourself a case worker ..every council has a children centre .they are a good source of free information..honestly this man sounds bonkers so don’t let it get you down because courts would be sympathetic and what is right for the child .8 April 2019 at 9:38 am #23216
Thanks everyone. Feeling a smidge less terrified.
Child 2 is technically in remission but on daily and weekly oral chemo given at home. Has weekly or 2 weekly check ups at hospital. If he doesn’t re-lapse this is his situation for another 30 months. Standard NHS guidelines say “continue with activities prior to diagnosis” as life must go on, but also “avoid crowds to reduce the risk of infection”. Chicken pox and measles are life threatening to him in his condition. All his immunisations have been wiped out. And every time child 2 gets a temperature it’s an emergency trip to the hospital for invasive testing and most likely a 2/3 day stay in hospital for treatment. More hospital trips means more trauma for child 2.
I don’t want to report the verbal attacks to the police as I’m sure that would anger him and his family. I’m really trying to keep a workable situation as we’re going to have to get along.
We had one mediation session, he believes it’s not fair that I’m the one making decisions on what is best for child 2. He’s stuck on 50% parental responsibility and so wants 50% of the child and thinks that as he’s capable of giving child meds that’s all there is to it. He refused to have any more sessions so applied for court.
Child 2’s consultant said if he is having interaction with other people (sibling, friends own age, cousin, grandparents etc) then no need for nursery. Health visitor said the same. MacMillan Specialist nurse said the same, Clic Sargent Support worker said the same. Every one of child 2’s nurses ive spoken to have all agreed with me. I’ve not asked anyone to give me written confirmation as they haven’t offered and I don’t want to put them in an awkward situation in the middle of a parenting dispute. Hopefully CAFCASS or the court will request that if it’s helpful in determining what’s best for child 2. I have to maintain as much faith in the family courts professionals as I can here don’t I.
I would love to reduce the daily visits as it is disruptive for me and child 1 but this is all about what’s best for child 2 right now. He used to spend time with him after work every day while I prepared the meal. Then it would be back to me again for bathing, nursing and getting him to sleep. That’s why I’m allowing him to visit every day around the same time, to keep child 2’s routine going.
When child 2 is a little older, no longer waking overnight and needing breast to get back to sleep and talking more so I can explain sleeping at X’s house will be fun and he’ll come back home after, then I’ll allow it.
X hates me for having power to say “allow” so is trying to hurt me and exercise his rights.8 April 2019 at 9:43 am #23217
Ps Health Visitor also agrees nursery not necessary for his development and would pose a high risk of infection.8 April 2019 at 11:29 am #23229
Its not putting health care professionals in an awkward position, literally they’ll state the facts in their correspondence and that is that your child is susceptible to infection, and some risks are not worth taking. The fact is that chemo is extremely potent, it saves lives but also puts people at risk. Ask the nurses to write you a letter, they would do this everyday over seeing your child put at increased risk. Genuinely they won’t mind at all. You can take charge of this as it will demonstrate to cafcass that you are well informed about your child’s illness. You have to be your child’s voice.8 April 2019 at 12:52 pm #23230
Your ex was abusive and paid no concern for the children. What’s to say that he won’t repeat this or worse? You cannot truly get the response that would be appropriate given this without reporting. And linger term if he was abusive to your child you’ve got no history to back up that it is a pattern.
The fact you would have reported the incident has no bearing on the future because believe me if he’s going to be an arse moving forward he will regardless of reporting or not and any excuse will suffice.11 April 2019 at 1:49 pm #23381
So what do you do when can’t afford legal representation, but feel you must to do the best to safeguard your child (more scared of not doing all can for them, than the rising debt of legal costs). X then doing all they can to increase your costs – system is broken especially where dv and child abuse concerned to litigate in person because can’t afford legal representation shouldnt be allowed and legal aid is very restrictive lots do not qualify