Hi everyone, I could use some input as to what I should now be aiming for.
My son lives with my ex for the majority of the time. I have previously raised concerns about her violent personality and mental health issues. When proceedings started (she moved out and took my son with no notice) I was concerned about these issues but the solicitor that I saw told me that the best way to ensure my son''s safety was to make sure I see him regularly. I had almost no hope of sole residence at the time. I was advised to go for shared residence.
That''s what I''ve been aiming for so far. My ex has been trying to get in the way of that by limiting contact, enforcing supervised contact and her latest attempt was to move house 60 miles away, making shared residence impossible. She wanted me to accept alternate weekends.
Before we went to court I was prepared to agree to a contact arrangement of Thursday - Saturday morning / Thursday to Sunday evening alternate weeks (unsupervised contact, parties to meet half way). I would then move to her area when my tenancy ends in time for my son to start proper school.
She wasn''t prepared to negotiate on anything, and as a result she got soundly beaten in court. She was not permitted to move. At this point I would have happily presented my offer for contact again to allow her to move, increase the contact that I currently get and remove the (frankly BS) requirement for supervision.
But then she threw a spanner in the works. She threatened to kill my son under her breath as we left the court room. It was reported to the barristers and magistrates and noted in the court records. She of course denied everything. Police were called later on to do a safe and well check, and social services were informed too (though they couldn''t care less).
So now what do I aim for? Is shared residence the only reasonable option or is sole residence with her having contact reasonable or likely?
I am now convinced that her mental health problems are a lot worse than I previously thought. I have been angry at her, I have prayed during a thunderstorm, I have hated her for what she did to our family but I could never ever even think of the idea of killing my son to spite my ex. I understand anger, but is someone who could threaten this sane and safe to look after a child?
How can I now accept shared residence? I don''t believe her to be a capable mother, I can''t very well present the argument that she is crazy and then agree to her having 50% of the care. My own conscience leads me to think that I have to aim for sole residence.
But if there is no likelihood of that, then I might be making the situation worse. If sole residence is refused then I may be in a position where she has residence and I have fortnightly contact. By trying to keep my son safe I am scared that I will actually be making him less safe.
I could probably settle this whole contact dispute right now by writing to her solicitor and restating my Thu-Sat/Thu-sun offer, getting her agreement and letting her move house, but how can I reconcile this with my obligation to keep my son safe? I didn''t trust her to keep my son safe before, now I think she is a real danger to him.
There have been other occasions too. Just before she moved out with my son we had a conversation at great length (at 2.00 am) about the situation. She said some extremely unpleasant things about my son like that he was an inconvenient mistake, that she didn''t love him as much as her other son (my step son) and that he got in the way of her life.
I have no evidence of this conversation, but later in a recorded telephone call I asked her about what she had said and she just said that she was having mood swings.
I have always had a general feeling that she is in some ways dissociated from both children. She has very little empathy for other people.
It was a result of that long conversation that I started court proceedings. I don''t trust her to be the full time parent. I don''t think that she can take care of the children''s emotions.
None of this is provable though. I believe that there is something mentally wrong with her, but she is a very good liar. If she was sent for a psych evaluation she would just lie her way through it (she has done exactly this in the past).
So my concerns are absolutely genuine. I''ve already tried Social Services who didn''t care at all. In fact the officer suggested that I was only reporting this because I was bitter about the court result. I won! I''m not the bitter one.
I had felt up until now that the best way to keep him safe was to share the care. I have tried my best to also look after my step son but there''s nothing more I can do on that front. If I had him for half of every week then I could minimise the lack of emotional involvement from her.
Unfortunately now I''m scared that''s not good enough. I always thought that the risk she posed was by not being emotionally available to my son. Now I''m more scared that she might do something insane and stupid suddenly, and then it''s too late. No amount of shared parenting can stop her from doing that.