[Solved] Returning son to mum - advice needed
I am a newbie to the forum and currently seeking help and advice regarding the situation I am in. Below I provide a description of my circumstances, tried to keep it as brief as possible but it did not quite work out.
Myself and my ex partner have a son, he is 7. She also has a daughter from her previous relationship, she is 13. We split in September 2017 after she accused me of domestic violence and abuse, all sort of except sexual. I was stopped from seeing my son and in order to regain contact I had to start legal proceedings and undergo supervised contact. Social Services and CAFCASS were involved. My ex also accused me of being an alcoholic and in actual fact it is her who had and still has issue with alcohol. As court proceeding started we both had to do 'hair strand test' for alcohol to cover the period of 3 months. My result came back negative whereas hers was 332. In the end Court Order was issued. It is based on 14-day period - 6 days with me and 8 days with mum during school term. Anything outside school term is split half and half. I wanted to go 50/50 from the beginning but my ex refused as she would lose benefits. In actual fact son spends more time with me that his mum no matter whether it is school term or not. Child Maintenance also in place.
It has been very long time since my son started saying that he would prefer to spend even more time with me. Not long after mum's new partner arrived my son started complaining about him and ever since he has not been happy with him in any way. 5 weeks ago he started disclosing information about abuse, mental and physical. The first one I believe has been going on for some time as this seems to be the reason why he has become so reluctant to go back to his mum, at least that is how I see it. I am strongly convinced that incident involving psychical abuse was the breaking point for my son and he decided to speak up despite being afraid of his mum and her actions afterwards. He often repeats his mum is very mean to him. Hence comments like 'I don't want to be picked on all the time' or 'I just want to have a happy life', 'I get shouted at for no reason', 'I have to stay in my room and I am not allowed to leave'. This is also the time when he literally refuses to go back to his mum. On top of that last Wednesday when I took him back his desperation of not staying with his sister, mum and her partner got to the point when he started screaming and shouting 'I don't want to go back, I want to be with Dad forever', 'Let me go, I don't want to be here'. My heart was broken at that stage but because of court order and bad experience with social services I thought it was not enough to take any further action as nobody would believe in my side of the story. In the end I managed to calm him down and he went with his mum. Me and my ex then agreed that I would pick him up again over the weekend possibly Friday or Saturday. On Friday afternoon I just dropped her a text to ask what the plan was but there was no reply. 30 minutes later I received a call from my ex's neighbour and was asked to come over to pick my son. His mum was completely drunk and he was waiting for me in the car park at the back of the house. Literally 5 minutes later I was there to pick him up. The neighbour also advised me that my son is called names on regular basis as well as treated more like a thing than a human.
Upon return to my place I wasn't sure whether to call the Police or Social Services as my ex's daughter was still in the house. I decided to call emergency duty team at Social Services and my report was treated promptly. 45 minutes later I received a call from Social Worker so they are now involved. During the call I expressed my concerns about returning my son to the mum. Social Worker replied that apart from court order I also have Parental Responsibility. I would like to be very clear on this and avoid any kind of misunderstandings - what are my options right now? Do I have to return him back to mum or due to safety concerns I do not have to hence Social Worker's comment regarding PR.
I would kindly appreciate your comments and advice on the above. Maybe some of you had similar experience.
Thank you all for help in advance and if more info is needed, please let me know.
You're in a very tricky situation - the summary is it will all come down to how this looks in front of a judge and SWs and their mood on the day.
I think what jumped out to me is that it is their neighbour who also raised concerns - have they reported it themselves?
If not, have them do this. Explain to them that there is a court order in place, and that their report will go a long way towards helping the child. They should report it to both police and SWs.
I would say if they do report it as a complete third party, then you're in a strong position to go back to court and negotiate sterner conditions. Be prepared to work with them - e.g. suggest increased residence, the ex goes through an alcohol dependency course, and perhaps this new fella doesn't stay around - this last will be difficult unless you really demonstrate and prove that he was involved.
Thanks very much for your reply and advice.
As far as I am aware the neighbour did not report it to the Police or Social Services. I am not sure if it helps but the Social Worker who got in touch with me last night said that most likely somebody from SS will want to speak to my son. She said she will confirm that on Monday afternoon.
As to my experience with Social Services, well it is very poor as I am convinced that there was so many mistakes made, mainly incompetence and very poor judgment. Based on their opinion, they recommended 5 nights with me over 14 days and as I mentioned before I got more than that without asking the judge. I suppose that what kind of confirms my theory was a sentence that my ex's solicitor said just before the second and final hearing 'she will be lucky if she doesn't lose both kids'. Even her own solicitor could see on what kind of thin ice she was on bearing in mind hair strand test result.
Also I will try to speak to the neighbour to report it to the Police and Social Services.
As to psychical abuse my son disclosed it was mum's partner who twisted his hands in wrists which he described as painful. He also told my partner about it. A week later my son confessed he was slapped on his head by mum's partner. As he described it 'one of his fingers', he meant nails, was sharp as there was a small scratch above his eye brow (I took a picture of it). All this plus lot more came from my son.
I want to protect my child and by the looks of things his mum does not seem to be doing anything to protect him because every time anything like this took place I ask my son if the told mum about it which he confirms that yes but mum did not do anything about it - that is neglect, isn't it? I believe it may be important to mention that in the past I was threatened by mum's partner which was reported to the Police.
I know for a fact that my son will get the brunt of it when I take him back hence my question about returning him. Not only that, my ex called me last night, she was still drunk (could hear that in her voice and by the way she was talking) and she gave me all sort of grief and started slagging the neighbours off. When I told her to call me back tomorrow she insisted to have a chat there and then. Half an hour later she sent me a text to say 'it's been all cleaned up for me and Social Worker is on the way to pay me a visit', that was around 9.30PM.
Is there anything else I can do to protect my child before returning him on Monday afternoon?
Not much I'm afraid - have the neighbour report it, and take it back to court.
Let your son speak of his own - don't go to SS and harp on what he was saying. You don't want them to be saying you've been seeding doubts and accusations in his mind. Let truth come out on its own and it will.
i think you have every right to keep your child with you for safety, as your ex was off her head and clueless about where your son was. look how so many ex's are keeping kids away from dad due to covid-19. would be better for you to keep child with you until social services get in touch and clear things up. tell your ex's neighbor to report stuff to social services. you will probably end up getting full custody, the way your ex is behaving.