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Advice pls contact application domestic violence

  • twilight59
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04 Aug 12 #347276 by twilight59
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I am hoping someone can help me.

My ex left over a year ago, and we are now divorced. Child contact is a point of huge conflict.

We live 1.5 hrs apart and to date he has insisted upon every weekend being given for contact. I have attempted to make suggestions for other patterns, lawyers were involved (until costs exploded and I am now broke), childrens services are also involved (he reported me to the police for denial of access after assulting me). All are met with fury, bar childrens services with whom he is lovely.

He has now applied to the court for contact. He is stating I am unreasonable. He has stated I have changed contact without his consent (which I have, from every weekend to alternate weekends and 2 evenings each week( + half of the school holidays, fathers day, his b-day, flexibilty for special occasions etc) - on the advice of childrens services - i.e they said to me just impose a new pattern), that I refuse to accept his need to have reasonable contact or consider his employment.

We both work full time. He has the benefit of a flexible working agreement, I do not. I work circa 70 hrs a week, he max 38. Over the last year I have adjusted my work to enable me to spend some time with oru child each morning and evening - she is in childcare the remainder of the time 8-5pm. I then work at night & weekends to compensate - which is fine, I prefer to do this as I would otherwise not see our child more than 2 hrs a week. Our child has missed family weddings, is unable to integrate locally (he threw us out of our home and we had to move to my familys home), is unable to participate in any extra-curricular activity (as contact takes place 1.5hrs away from where we live), or have play dates / go to parties ect. This, amongst other matters, is why I am wanting to change the contact pattern to alternate weekends. Am I unreasonable??

Secondly, violence began when I was pregnant. I have permanent damage to my spine and am in daily pain, I am saying this only to put in context the degree of violence. Since our seperation, he has only assulted me once (mainly due to the fact my father supervises handover of our child) - however, the financial, verbal, emotional, mental abuse remains daily.

Our child is struggling, not eating, sleeping, explosive in her behaviour. I am concerned by the things she says - given they are clearly repeated adult phrases. She witnesses him being verbally abusive to me, overruling parenting decisions (literally to the point where I say no and he will say to her, you can have this at my house etc). She is 3 - hugely confused.

I am scared to death that the court will label me as ''''vindictive'''' and force contact upon me, and also his continued right to SEE me. Most of the issues are down to the fact that he seems to want access to me as well as our child. All of this arguing over nothing in reality (when in actual fact pattern could be agreed and stuck to).

The advice I am looking for is one 2 points:

1. Do I tell the court about the abuse past and present? I do not want to be labelled one of these vindictive ex''s..

2. Do I need to file a reply to this contact application? (so far he has just emailed me a copy of the form he has submitted to the court). I have no idea how this ''''works''''.

Thanks in advance.

  • Fiona
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04 Aug 12 #347286 by Fiona
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I don''t think you should worry about going to court. When both parents have Parental Responsibility they have an equal say in arrangements for contact and if they can''t agree the court can deicide. Third party handovers and sharing the quality time at weekends and school holidays 50:50 aren''t unreasonable. Sometimes there is midweek contact or extra contact in lieu but above all arrangements need to be practical.

The respondent only needs to fill in any blank forms sent by the court. You should complete supplementary information in Form C1a when there is concern about DV or it''s effects on children and if the police or social services have been involved with the family for abuse/neglect/violence.

There are two court guides CB1 and CB3 that tell you about applications and service. You may also find the book "Family Courts Without a Lawyer" by Lucy Reed useful reading.

There''s an expectation that parents attend a mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before the court hear a case but mediation may not be appropriate when there has been DV.

Strictly speaking it isn''t necessary unless required by the court but you may find it helpful to set out your position in a statement of short numbered paragraphs (no more than one or two pages) to focus on the issues. Copies of position statements should be sent to the court and the other side before the hearing.

It''s common to meet with a court child welfare officer (CAFCASS) before seeing a judge at the first hearing to see if any agreement can be found. If not the judge will decide what further information is required in the form of reports and sets a timetable for future hearings. The court may make an interim order for contact but unless agreement is reached during proceedings no final decision will be made until later when all the evidence is heard and there is cross-examination.

Hope that helps. :)

  • zonked
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04 Aug 12 #347299 by zonked
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Twiggy -

It seems to me that the issues are more deep routed that just organising contact. The high level of conflict between you and your ex seems to be highly damaging to your dtr. Reducing parental conflict or at the least minimising your dtr''s exposure to it needs to be a priority in my view. How you achieve that is of course very hard. I think a first step might be to be candid about the problem and raising this as a child welfare issue at court.


In terms of the amount of contact, that''s a bit harder to comment on. On face value you have been more than reasonable. That said, if your working 70 hours a week perhaps its not unreasonable for dad to want to spend more time with his dtr if the alternative is a childminder?

  • twilight59
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04 Aug 12 #347309 by twilight59
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You are right the issues are much more deep rooted than contact alone.

I agree a he would be better than a childminder, which is exactly why I habe suggested to him that 2-3 nights a week (or less if he prefers) he would see our daughter and spend the evening with her. He is unwilling to do this. I work at the weekends because I have changed my hrs at work to allow me to spend time with my daughter this last year - so for example I used to work 8-7. Now I work 9-4/5 and spend the mornings and evening with our daughter. She would never see me otherwise. I make it up at night and the Weekend, because little one is with her dad. It would be nice to be able to spend weekends with her, engage her in family life, have play dates etc with the work week behind me. My ex will ONLY see her of a weekend, as he is unwilling to adjust his hours (even though he has flexible working already - always did - enabled his sport) and also feels that if he were to consider this is must be in my home (I work from home). I felt this was a bad idea given the high level of conflict, and the fact that I know how it escalates. The one positive of us living apart is that our child no longer witnesses violence, or arguments. If he were to agree with alternate weekends I would re-adjust my work again and have the weekends free (at least the ones our child is with me).


I think you are right in terms of reducing conflict and yes this is hard. I have agreed to everything he has asked that I can, I took less money, I have lived with my parents for a year whilst our home is lived in by his friend alone (he lives with his partner), I have encourage our child in her relationship with his new partner and her son (despite the fact they were having an affair long before he left me), I have accepted he takes no responsibility for our daughters care, health issues, childcare, education - and has all the fun only. I have smiled and been pleasant every time I have seen him, despite being subjected to verbal abuse in calls, being inundated by emails daily, had communications from his partner accusing me of all sorts, and his family...

Some of the things I said no to...

- moving to where his partner lives so he can have shared care
- Agreeing to reside in my parents home until our daughter is 16, so that I can be ''''supervised'''' (social services laughed at this one)
-Agreeing to bear all the debt of negative equity in our home so that he can sell it.
-Agreeing for his partner to be present at all contact handovers, and be welcomed into my and my family''s homes.
-When he feeds her food that makes her sick
-when he tells her Mummy is nasty to his partner (I have spoken to her twice, when she turned up at contact handover and I had no choice - I was polite and welcoming each time).
-agreeing to a 3 home contact pattern where our child would rotate between 3 houses every 72hrs
-That he and his partner raise our child, as ''''she is a better mother and cares more than I do''''

I am not sure how any of this can be resolved if I am honest, I have compromised everywhere I can. The view of childrens services was that there should be zero physical contact between us, and that he should only contact me for important matters. That his partner be kept out of handover.

The only real exposure DD has to the conflict is during his contact when he calls me and starts an argument, or does so on handover, or says things to her that are confusing.

So for example, she came home from contact once and started packing her toys up, saying she needed to pack them to take to Daddy''s house and that I am ''''not her family anymore''''.

I do not argue with him in front of DD, nor do I talk to him at all unless I have to - on contact handover, I try and exchange pleasantries and encourage DD to have fun with Daddy plus give him a bit of an update on her. The rest I write in a book that I pack in her bag for him to read.

  • zonked
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05 Aug 12 #347372 by zonked
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I struggle a little when trying to be empathetic, so will simply confine my supportive comments to saying it sounds a hellish experience and i hope your ok.

You mention that your dtr''s only exposure to parental conflict is during handovers, so perhaps one solution might be to look at third party handovers? Perhaps using a friend or relative, maybe a contact/family center? Problem with this of course is once you start this arrangment it becomes the status qou and any scope for positive improvements is drastically reduced.

Another option might be googling Family Assistance Orders. These are orders made by the court that require CAFCASS to provide parents with ongoing support. In your case you would argue that the high level of conflict made it necessary for some support to be offered to ensure contact ran smoothly and to protect the child from further exposure to parental conflict.

Your post describes a narrative that demonises your ex and paints you in a very positive light. For all I know that''s an accurate picture. However it is not unusual for separated parents to become polorised in their thinking; your ex may well genuinly feel that''s he''s the good guy too. You are in court not to establish ''the truth'' as to which narative reflects reality but to promote your dtr''s welfare. With this in mind I think it would be quite proper to refer to the history of conflict and effects this has on your dtr but with that comes a (thankless) duty to recognise the positves in your ex''s parenting as well.

On a positive note, you may well find that the court process moves things along and that a third party is able to see things more clearly.

  • twilight59
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05 Aug 12 #347399 by twilight59
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Zonked..thanks you

Your objectivity is refreshing & exactly what I was looking for. It is never, ever one persons ''fault'' indeed, it is not about fault in my mind. No person is perfect, least of all myself. Whilst my ex acts in a manner which shocks many people & often; this does not mean he is a bad person OR a bad Father. In fact he is neither. My ex had what I would call a difficult upbrining, and whilst this is no excuse for violence or any other form of abuse - it does help to understand him. My ex is a good Father, he adores our child, and she him. Ultimately, all things aside - there is one fundamental fact here - children need fathers. The goal here is not to ''''tell the truth'''' (beyond ensuring safety) but to acheive a means to co-parent that benefits our child. How this is possible, I do not know. My ex brings things to our daughter that I do not, he has built a ''''joie de vivre'''' in her, in that she has his sense of humour - which is infectious, he has built a love of the outdoors/physical play, taught her ''''fearless'''' playing - she is the little girl on the swing screaming ''''higher'''' and launching herself down slides.., she loves fun - and this is a wonderful dimension..he adores her (but just struggles to meet his own needs at the same time - which is another reason why our seperation is good - he has lots of time for himself & therefore is more focused on her in the periods she is with him) - these a just a few of the many good aspects - and I hope they outweigh the negatives.

My ex will not see our child in a contact centre, and I agree with him on this. And feel it should not be necessary. We had a 3rd party for a few months doing the handover, after his most recent assult (which DD witnessed at age 3...) - but as you say this leaves no room for improvement & my ex was very against this, he does not want a third party to do the handover, only me. So I started to do it again. Our child wants us to get on, she is desperate for it. My challenge is that there is only so much I can take. It is hard to stand and smile, be amicable when 12 hours before my ex has been explaining to me how he and his girlfriend will be spending the night in our former home, and she will sleep in my bed, cook in my kitchen, use my things (everything I own was still in the house - as I have not be allowed to remove it...) - why he does this, I do not know - it is needlessly spiteful and just makes it hard to deal with him...but I try and deal with this by being as nice as I am capable of being. However, to deal with this remains hard, I find it difficult to cope with the constant nastiness in my direction, lies spread about me, attacks from those he has recruited, inundation of emails, demands, etc. We are all human after all - and everyone has a threshold. I suppose mine has now been reached. But you are right, polarised view are common, and I try very hard to not become polarised - this is not about who is good/bad - it is about addressing the issue - and how to do this. I will be honest, I don''t know how to do it. I have asked him how I can change to limit conflict - the answer was ''''this would all be simpler if you just did as I ask''''. It is hard to know where to go from there.

You are right, none of this is about thanks. But, this is right. It shouldn''t be. The only important point is what is best for our child. In my view this is for her to spend quality time in both parts of her life, not experience conflcit or divided loyalities, and see that her parents can get along and resolve conflicts. I hope we can reach this. I will google Family assistance orders and see if this may help..

  • redroxy82
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06 Aug 12 #347645 by redroxy82
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Twiggy, firstly sending you hugs!!

I am in a very very similar situation. My ex did not see our girls from Jan-May after he assualted me in front of them, on the recommendation of the Police and Family Services, I have tried doing the handovers but he is just so volatile and abusive that it can no longer happen.

My girls go to nursery on a Monday and Friday and the changeovers happen then. He collects at 5.30 Friday and returns them at 9am on Monday morning and this works well. My eldest starts school in Sep and I think it will remain the same.

The problem I have is when he has them for an overnight stay midweek. He meets mym mum for the handover and returns them to nursery the following day.

Yes it is sad we cannot communicate or do the handover but the fact is that Family Services have 7 police reports from a 6 week period with regards to his violence and threats towards me.

On my side but very unfortunate is him "starting" on a father at nursery who had a go at him for nearly running over his child while driving and using his mobile with the girls in the car. My 3 year old and 18 month old witnessed this as did every other child and parent at the nursery!

I do not see a way forward where we will be in a position to meet but at present I''m happy to go with that. Who knows in the future it may change but we''ll just take it as it comes.

I have been to court and we have a contact order, my ex tries changing it every time but I''m now firm. These girls need stability, do not be afraid to say no. You are their mother and you know what is best for them xx

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