I just wondered if anyone could give me some advice regarding child custody.
The divorce is nearly through just waiting for the absolute but I am getting increasingly alarmed at the kids behaviour and the stories that they tell me. She even bit my 2 year old last week. I asked her why and she said it was to teach her a lesson as she has tried to bite her. In my eyes this is unacceptable behaviour. I have also other photos showing marks made on my kids by my ex.
They tell me of constantly being shouted at. They are very unhappy and I have real problems taking them back to their mothers. My kids are 5 and half and 2
The question is this: -
1) How old has a child got to be to make up their own mind where they actually live?
My ex has been very vindictive during the divorce process and I have had threats made against me by her, her new partner and her family. The marriage ended because of my ‘unreasonable behaviour’. The fact that she was having an affair has nothing to do with it. However, she is now blaming me for everything from the kids sleeping habits to their attitude even though I only have them 2 or 3 nights a week.
She has tried to blacken my name and I feel that her next step will be to deny me access to the children.
The question is this: -
2) I have had the children for a minimum of 2 nights per week for the last 9 months. Never missed. If she denied me this a) what would be my next step b) Whats the probable outcome.
I hope someone can help or advise me. I never wanted to be a weekend Dad but I feel that this is the way it will probably finish up. In my eyes the children will suffer.
When I split up with my first husband we could not agree on custody of the kids. Mainly due to he wanted them every weekend to offset the CSA claim he thought I would want to put in. I didnt want this as I work full time as well, plus I left him as he was abusive and I did not want the kids around him so much, he was messing with my boys head as well.
Anyway due to this the court welfare officers were appointed to our case, we were both assessed in our homes and interviewed, they also interviewed the kids asking them who they wanted to be with. My daughter of three was deemed to young to make a decision, but my son of eight was allowed to state who he wanted to be with.
You need to consider what was put in the statement of arrangements for the children that you have agreed to and perhaps you need to apply for a defined contact order now, but I think somebody who knows more about this subject should advise you.
I want to say several things in reply to what you have said.
I would not personally bite a 2 year old who had bitten me, but I know a lot of people who would go along with this train of thought, even some childcare experts. It has to be looked at in light of the bigger picture. Like you say, you have photographic evidence of other marks; the thing is I have 5 children and they do get bumps and bruises from everyday activities. If your children are active like most children their age are, then it is only to be expected.
I am not saying your concerns are not justified, believe me, I have just stopped my ex-husband-to-be from seeing our children apart from through a contact centre and am applying to the court for a defined contact order.
You need to do what you feel is right; but have to understand that you will both be looked at in great detail by CAFCASS officers. Your children are likely to be deemed too young to actually talk directly to the CAFCASS officers.
If you feel that your fears are justified, or that you purely want to ensure you get more time with your children; maybe shared residency for example you will need to apply to the court for a Contact Order. You need to understand that in most cases though the judge prefers not to grant an order because in reality they are either not worth anything because you cannot force someone to have contact or that they cause more tension between parties than if no Order is granted.
This is only my own opinion and experience so you should seek legal advise as to your position. You also need to consider the cost involved; but I am sure you would sell your soul if you knew your children were protected.
This sounds very familiar. My X2B applied for the divoce and is now dragging my name through the dirt, but this I can handle.
The big issue is the children, my 16 year old is keeping out of it, but my 11 year old is being brainwashed into believeing everything my X2B says. And even if she does not believe it she has to go along with it.
All accusations are now made infront of my 11 year old and letters etc.. are discussed by my X2B with my 11 year old.
Don't know what I can do about it. To date I have not got the children involved and allowed my X2B to play these games hoping the 11 year old will eventually understand, but so far its a down ward spiral for my daughter. But its my X2B's word against mine.
Not right to discuss things with an 11 yr old , they are far too immature to cope with this adult crap.I have a child the same age they think there all grown up but still a baby really.You have'nt said if you are having contact with your children as of their ages being 11 and 16 a court will listen to what they want , hopefully that is to be in contact with both parents.
You aren't responsible for your x2b's behaviour, only your own. The things you can do is always act the adult and try to put the children at ease so they enjoy spending time with you. They need constant reassurance that you still love them and your door is always open. It isn't easy but you need to avoid being preoccupied with your own interests and concerns so the children feel important to you. Don't react to things they tell you your x2b has said, just respond in a non committal way eg "Really?" or "did she say that?" Be consistent and if/when you have a new partner make sure you spend time with the children on your own. Never, ever denigrate your x2b in front of the children.