• Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: A little help

A little help 2 weeks 4 days ago #96547

Hey again, I haven’t posted in a while. I instigated a non molestation order against my ex wife after she accosted my wife and verbally abused me back in 2018. It went to court and the judge basically said it would add too much pressure by granting it. Ex lied of course and said she would never do any of those things. Another hearing in December which she failed to turn up for and she has now been summoned to appear in February.

So with minimal contact it has been going relatively ok. However, the child arrangements order states “Mother is not to consume alcohol 24 hours prior to contact and during any contact with xxxx”
Since July 2017 our son has returned from each contact stating that Mother has been drinking. She has played a very clever game with him (7). She started hiding the drink and child questioned her. Then she started saying “it’s only 1 drink” to basically erase any fear from our son. Sadly and despite me sending letters after each contact asking, pleading in fact for the sake of our child’s well being to stop drinking she hasn’t. Son is extremely bothered by it. The last contact which was 1 week over Christmas he returned to state she had been drinking every day. We are caught between a barrel really because Cafcass said we need to weigh up if she is still drinking and if it’s still as much of a risk as before but son is still having difficulties and in my opinion is being psychologically damaged. What can be done about this? Can we demand a test? Can she just say that because she dyes her hair the test must be wrong? She will weasel her way out of it. Healthy minds have suggested getting in touch with children’s services and see what they say with a possible return to court? How do we prove it though? Will they take the word of a 7 year old?
She has moved her new partner in after 2 weeks of meeting and this is despite Cafcass stating she must be mindful of introducing new partners in to their relationship.
Son is due to go back tomorrow and yesterday she texted me stating I will not be able to collect xxx at normal time and it will be at this time. Now had she of asked I would have happily cooperated if I could. My wife’s mother is really ill in hospital and we are waiting for children to go before venturing down 2 hours to see her in hospital as children aren’t allowed in ward. Ex wife has stated under no circumstances can she collect at he normal time.
She has said that she is working and she has had the times since the beginning of May 2018 along with all dates for contact. My wife thinks I should go to her work and deliver son to her there so that we can get on our way but unsure?? Son said that he spent some time there over the Christmas period as she had no childcare so we know hat it’s not an issue for him to be there for long which in this case would be about an hour.
This woman has messed up so many plans and we only have 1 car which would be needed for both the handover and visiting my MIL. If we left any later we would miss visiting times.
This woman is driving me mad and I swear to the most faint hearted person she never fails to mess things up.

Thanks once again and happy new year

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 2 weeks 3 days ago #96559

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Online
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 7549
  • Thank you received: 1600
Really it’s up to her to organise some form of child minding if she can’t cover her allotted time with your son. Otherwise I would say that usually you could have been flexible, but you have made important plans that can’t be changed and if she can’t stick to the time the contact can’t go ahead. You would then have to take turns sittting outside the ward with him so that the visit could go ahead perhaps.

I would call Social Services, or even cafcass about the drinking, if it's upsetting your child I think it should be acted upon. Again, she is in breach of the order and you would be within your rights to stop contact until you return to court in February.

You could write to the judge that made the order and explain that she is breaching the order by drinking during contact with your child, and it’s upsetting him to the extent that you wish to suspend contact until the next hearing, when new directions can be considered.

You could suggest supervised contact and the introduction of testing with a breathalyser, to check that she has not been drinking prior to contact, Ive seen this method of monitoring used before.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sporadic

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

A little help 2 weeks 2 days ago #96568

  • actd
  • actd's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 10443
  • Thank you received: 1573
Is there any way you can accomodate your son when visiting your mother, or arrange some activity for him down there? Your obligation is to make your son available for contact, there is no requirement for her to actually take that up. However, if she can't make the required time, then I would say that you can cancel that day's contact and work around it yourself.

With regards to her drinking, I would at least go for a supervised handover at a contact centre - they can check if she's been drinking before or during her time with him, in which case you can stop contact and go back to court.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sporadic

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 2 weeks 1 day ago #96600

Thank you both of you. As an update, we did a letter to her highlighting that this is he last request of her to stop drinking and if my son returned home this weekend reporting she had been drinking then we would proceed further.
Evidently, he has returned home and said she has been drinking. He has also stated that his Mum discussed the content of the letter with him. She has told him that if we ask about her drinking he is to respond “I don’t want to talk about it”.
I suspect that maybe she feels the net is closing in again. I really don’t want to stop contact as feel that would be the final straw for my son. Contact is generally ‘ok’ but this alcohol usage is affecting him massively. He is angry, wanting to hurt himself or other people. He is psychologically damaged and the more she drinks with him knowing she is not allowed the more it triggers these bad feelings and fears that have lay with him since all of this first begun.
I am going to contact Children’s services tomorrow and will also be writing to the judge involved to seek guidance and advice. My only fear is that she will get away with it again and the order of her not drinking will be removed from the order not preventing a safeguard for my son. Evidently currently it is not having the wanton affect.

Thank you once again.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 2 weeks 1 day ago #96603

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Online
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 7549
  • Thank you received: 1600
Here’s an article by a judge that might be of interest to you, it could be useful when approaching the court about monitoring at hand overs.

www.lawgazette.co.uk/benchmarks/contact-...buse/5042912.article
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sporadic

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

A little help 2 weeks 1 day ago #96605

Thank you Mojo, i have had a read of that and its very helpful.
i will today compile an email to the judge who has requested that all future contact goes through him. I am not sure if I can suggest testing. I do suspect there be a problem with this though. Handovers take place on a friday & a Sunday along a busy High Street to minimise conflict. I would see it near on impossible for a breath test to be done especially on the Sunday as no contact centres are open then. Also, I don't think it wise to suggest that myself or wife would supervise the testing although this would be a way around it. The logistics and outcome are what we would desire but my son reports that Mum is drinking on a Friday & Saturday night so surely that alcohol would be gone come a Sunday evening? also, who would pay for this? Obviously if she had of complied with the court order we would not have been in this situation but equally I know she doesn't earn much and even this may cause a strain on her finances.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 2 weeks 21 hours ago #96608

  • Yoda
  • Yoda's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 2436
  • Thank you received: 397
Agree with mojo

The court won't advise you but you can ask them for new directions or inform them if you stop contact and why.

Children's Services are likely to refer you back to the court. Hopefully you will get a SW willing to give some support as an interim measure.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Sporadic

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DAD.info Moderator

I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

A little help 1 week 3 days ago #96685

Just as an update, My son had decided that he wanted a break from his mother. We has asserted the fact that contact is important and that if he would like a break then we would support that on the condition that we knew why. He said that mainly he is angry. He knows his Mum should not be drinking but she continues to do so. From what he says I do not 100% know that she getting 'drunk' but do believe that she is drinking more than 1 drink when he is there. It is hard because my son associates the word 'drunk' with alcohol independently without watching the progression of drunkness if that makes sense. Being the middle man & woman in my wife case. We have explained that if Mum drinks, yes she is doing something she shouldn't be doing but isn't necessarily drunk. He understood this but still maintains she has been drunk.
He has said "I don't know how much more of this I can deal with" and I'm sure you'll agree that at the age of 7, this was quite a blow to hear from someone with so little life experience.
He has said that when she drinks, he gets angry and wants to tell her she shouldn't be doing that but gets stuck and no words can come out which leaves him shaking and frightened. He is concerned that she will drink which will lead to self harm and then eventually death so it is a massive concern for him and rightly so considering the past incidents.
so, we supported his request for a break and told him that it would be for 1 weekend, we would send a letter to Mum outlining everything and go from there. In the meantime, myself and my wife have emailed the court for help on this matter and have asked for new directions.
We also contacted children's services, they have sent a letter today stating "You have shared worries that xxx has disclosed to you that mum is breaching the current court order in place not to consume alcohol during contact. If this is the case then we strongly advise that you temporarily stop contact and immediately seek legal advice as further assessment is likely to be required as a result of the current contact arrangements"
My first thought was do they know something we don't? Perhaps she has come to their attention further during the last year?
Anyhow, we have to act in the best interests of my son and so we will do as they say.
Obviously I need to let Mother know that contact is not going to be going ahead so how on earth do I go about that in a letter? We dont text, phone just send letters as conflict is too high.

Your help is appreciated :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 1 week 3 days ago #96687

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Online
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 7549
  • Thank you received: 1600
Hi there

That’s a positive response from Children’s Services, as they have strongly advised that contact is suspended, I think you’re right to follow their advice.

I would try not to involve your son any further, because of his young age... It’s pretty clear he is very distressed and apart from reassuring him that he can have a break from contact with his mum, it might be best to keep the more adult conversations with various agencies and his mum away from him and let things settle down.

It might be the case that Children’s Services have written to the mother too... if not I would suggest that you draft a brief letter, stating that xxxx is deeply distressed by her continued drinking whilst on contact with him and that after taking advice from children’s services you are suspending contact temporarily, so that legal advice can be sought for new directions, with the likelihood of further assessments. I don’t think you need to say any more than that really.

It might be worth talking to your sons school about how he is feeling and if you’re worried about him, you could also talk to the GP about some extra support or counselling... bless him, hes so young to be weighed down with such grown up worries.

All the best

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

A little help 1 week 3 days ago #96688

thanks Mojo, that's really helpful.
We haven't and will not discuss Children's services with him because it is inappropriate in my opinion and we have tried very hard to keep him as a child instead of the adultification he was subjected to in his early life.
your suggestions for the letter are helpful and I will do that, thank you. I wasn't aware that they would write to mother not that that should present as a problem at all.
I intend to speak with the school this afternoon.

Thank you once again

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

A little help 1 week 3 days ago #96690

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Online
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 7549
  • Thank you received: 1600
You’re welcome... children are so resilient, I’m sure once he is given some time and space to make sense of things, he will feel better. The fact that you have listened to him and acted upon his worries, will also help him I’m sure.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: Samantha Downes