7th May 2021 at 10:16 am #125637
Hi everyone. This is my first post here, so please feel free to point me to a different area of the forum if it’d be more appropriate.
I’ve made the decision to split with my emotionally abusive partner of many years with whom I share a child. I have told him (several times) that I want him to move out of the house that I solely own, but as of yet he has taken no steps to do so (he is trying to be conciliatory but I know him well enough to know that it won’t last).
I’m aware of the legal procedure to evict him or get an occupation order, but I’m reluctant to do that while I’m living in the same place as it will surely provoke an angry reaction from him. So I’m now considering finding another place myself, leaving with our child, and then starting the eviction process.
My question is, if I do this – basically take our child away without notifying him – would this have any impact on future custody decisions if we end up in court? I’m not in fear for my physical safety (he’s been physically aggressive but not violent, and I don’t believe that he would become violent) but mentally I’m struggling to force a confrontation, and I’m worried that he’ll never leave if I wait for him to do it of his own accord.
If anyone has been in a similar position and has any information about factors that are likely to affect child custody, I would be grateful to hear about it. I’m aware that emotional abuse is very difficult to prove in court, so I’m trying to operate on the assumption that this won’t factor into a hypothetical judge’s decision.
Thanks & hope you’re all safe and well.
Edited to add that we are unmarried but he is named on our child’s birth certificate and so has parental responsibility.
7th May 2021 at 4:16 pm #125647
Hi, I was / am in the same situation. It’s my home , we are not married and we have a child. I spoke to a solicitor to ascertain he had no hold or right over anything. I felt it would have been easier for me to leave, but it’s my home, it’s my child’s home, he has not invested anything into it. I tried a couple of times to get him to go , amicably, for space for us to think etc he would never leave. Eventually one weekend some things he said really scared me, not physically, just psychologically and emotionally and I knew I had to do it. I put dog and child in car and went to school to drop him off for the day. I then spoke to the head teacher and asked if I could stay in the school grounds while I made phone calls etc as I was worried he would follow me. I then called woman’s aid who advised me to go and speak to the school as if they knew they could make it a safeguarding issue and I could get help / support quicker if needed than they could offer. I also phoned the police to tell them I was going to ask him to leave but wasn’t sure of his reaction- they came and did a risk assessment and logged my concerns and put a marker on the house so if he was difficult it would be high priority ( he has never been physical before but I am aware that can change). I wasn’t sure how to tell him, considered getting someone to be with me but as it transpired he drove past me and stopped so we had the conversation through open car windows. I just told him he needed to go as he frightened me. Of course he argued, was rude to me etc etc but I just kept repeating it and then drove off. He went home and thought about it and wouldn’t go, not for hours and hours. He wouldn’t leave till he’d seen our child, I eventually relinquished on that, probably unwisely, but then he did actually go. It’s all been pretty difficult since then as I am so bad with my boundaries but, having had the locks changed, I at least feel safe in my own home and whilst this situation is up and down and ongoing at least it feels like my house again. Sorry for the ramble, it is possible for sure but just make sure you put support in place. School have been amazing at the support shown to me and my child .
Also we have not sorted contact/ custody officially yet. I’m worried about how to proceed with that but have an appointment with woman’s aid next week. I don’t want to do it face to face as for some reason whilst everyone else I know believes me to be eloquent, intelligent reasonable and rational the minute I’m with him I feel terrible and unreasonable and slightly unhinged! I don’t think mediation is advisable when there is abuse involved though I could have got that wrong so I’m not sure of my next step, and I’m also very worried he will get 50/50 which is what he says he wants. But he doesn’t think hes done anything wrong……
I am glad you posted as it has pushed me to respond, I wanted to write something about the fact I had managed to get him to go as the support on here when I originally posted last year was brilliant and so helpful, but I hadn’t been able to get in the head space to write. I hope maybe some of this helps, speak to woman’s aid and solicitors etc – for me having information was really important. I have not got a non molestaion order but know how to, the police have my information logged as a ‘ non crime’ but I know that if anything escalates then I have already spoken to them. School know so therefore it’s another place I have reported it.
7th May 2021 at 11:02 pm #125664ISOPeaceParticipant
Wow Seaglass, well done for getting out. Anybody who understands abuse will understand that your abuser can have a huge impact. Women’s Aid don’t recommend mediation for that reason. If you get legal advice from someone who understands abuse I’m sure there’s a way to proceed that doesn’t involve you having to have direct contact with him.
I don’t know whether you’re familiar with how abuse affects us. Everything you’ve said about how you feel and what you’re worried about is totally normal for someone who has been abused. You aren’t bad with boundaries, you have had years of your abuser violating them and convincing you that it was ok. We start to believe that we don’t have the right to assert boundaries so it takes time to learn how to do it again.
You got out, and that’s a huge step. You’ve got this and you’ll get loads of support on here. Sending love xxxx
10th May 2021 at 11:48 am #125773
@ISOPeace thank you! Can i ask – do you know regarding legal stuff, can you just get a solicitors letter outlining what contact/ access you think is in your childs best interest without actually going to court? I don’t want to discuss face to face as I know he will just push and shove for what he wants and i will feel powerless and unreasonable . But i don’t know how to go about it? I see mentioned a lot on here to make sure you are the resident parent, but how do you do that? My solicitor originally told me that as my childs address is my address and therefore the one at the doctors, school etc that i didn’t need to do anything else. I have people telling me I’m obviously the main carer and always have been, but that in itself won’t stop him believing he should have him 50% of the time and he also does not think he has done anything wrong! I find that hard to get my head around as it make me feel worried that I can not prove anything and therefore I don’t have any greater right than he to say what is best for our child.
7th May 2021 at 7:24 pm #125650
Seaglass, thank you for responding. Your description sounds so much like my situation, so it gives me hope that I may get him to go. I hadn’t thought about registering the situation with the school or police so that is really helpful.
I hope your custody works out. That is by far the most stressful thing – I’m so worried about doing something that could jeopardize keeping my child with me (I’ve always been the primary parent, so it would be super disruptive to do 50-50, let alone the fact that the emotional manipulation has started to be aimed at our child as well, which is what prompted my decision finally.
7th May 2021 at 10:39 pm #125662ISOPeaceParticipant
Hi usrunner, well done for making such a brave decision. I know it’s the right thing to do, but it’s not easy so it is still a brave decision.
I wasn’t in quite the same position, as I jointly own a house with my ex, but I had the same concern about taking the kids without telling him. My solicitor said it was fine. It’s well known that leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time and you will not be penalised for doing something to keep you and your children safe. Even if he’s never been violent, there’s no guarantee that it won’t start if you try to leave with him present. Abuse is all about control and you leaving him is the ultimate loss of control so things could really escalate. I’ve heard stories on here of it being ok to leave while the abuser was there, but I don’t think anyone would recommend it if you can avoid it, especially if he kicks of while your child is there.
I would recommend getting legal advice. You can get free legal advice from places like Rights of Women. Also lots of solicitors offer an hour free and in my area there is a solicitor linked to women’s aid who offer a few hours a week when phone lines are open for free advice. In the meantime, gather evidence of his behaviour e.g. keep a journal of what happened and when, if your child is in childcare/school ask if they have said anything to teachers, even calls to the national domestic abuse helpline and speaking to your GP count as evidence.
I knew that my ex would get contact if it went to court, so I’m not sure if this info/advice is helpful for you. My solicitor advised that I have an email/letter ready, making clear that I wasn’t trying to keep the children from him. If it looks like you’re trying to stop him seeing your child, he could apply for an emergency court order on the grounds of parental alienation. This all assumes you don’t think there is a risk to your child of him seeing them, because you have a right to protect your children. Assuming you don’t think he’s a risk to them, make it clear that you are supportive of their relationship with him and you will be fine.
I haven’t needed to go to court yet, but I’m told they like to maintain the status quo. If you currently do the majority of the child care, you are likely to be granted that if it went to court. Sending love xxxx
9th May 2021 at 5:02 pm #125742
Thank you for your reply ISOPeace and for sharing your experience. That is really reassuring. I’ve spoken to a solicitor but keep coming up with new concerns.
I worry a bit about abuse being directed to my child but on balance I think it will be better to support their relationship. He can be a good dad, and probably will be better at staying calm when he has limited time to spend with his child.
9th May 2021 at 6:42 pm #125745Freedom @Participant
I’m sorry for butting in. I’m in a very similar situation. Just a quickbqueation @isopeace. You said your solicitor advised to keep a letter/ email stating g your not trying to keep the kids away. Is that letter to send your exs solicitor if he kicks offoff? Hope my question makes sense. ❤
11th May 2021 at 12:07 pm #125803Living WarriorParticipant
hi folks, i am out of my dv relationship. Thought i would just put a bit of my experience down-
I have a prohibited steps order in place- stoping him from removing children from school or any child care i have left them with (friends/family) it states the children live with me, as i have always been their primary care giver. I left his house and got my own place with kids, i have a non molestation order in place stating he isnt allowed to the property or surrounding streets.
He isnt allowed to contact me directly (due to past issues) which was stated by a letter from my solicitor to him. As contact was detrimental to my mental health and the childrens.
I have always stated his family members can message to enquire bout the children- they never have, also my solicitor stated he could contact her directly via phone or email to enquire about the children, if he was worried or interested in any way and she would act as a go between, whilst we wait court hearings for contact. (he hasnt took up the offer)
In the beginning i set up an email address souley for him, i emailed stating contact dates times etc, names times and days he could call or whatever. ( this was proof that i was being resonable, and i was showing the best interests of the kids) i stopped contact due to problems. but my advice is to keep a written record. email/texts etc dont agree anything over the phone or face to face, and if you do back it up with an email stating
for example: (as we discussed early today when you called at 9.30am the children will be able to go to your nephews birthday party at his house on the 12th june 2021 at 10am, you can collect the children from ******* at 9.30 and return them by 5pm.
if there are any issues please reply and we can discuss further)
keep things blunt but respectful 🙂
if you are allowing contact, i would advise you keep a “log” of days times of collection and drop off and any issues that occur- It is a fact that SOME people use contact to inflict more abuse, contact times can be a dangerous time for us, usually quick and painless is key- dont stand talking to him.
also have a prohibited steps order in place as he has parental rights he doesnt have to bring the kids back and the police cannot intervene unless you have prohibited steps order or other court order in place.
dont want to scare or worry you further- but it is something u need to know before you proceed 🙂
I had to explain why i kept contact going after i left- and why it had to stop- if you have “Logs” of behaviour, witnesses or proof of behaviour this is easier to do. 🙂 keep all texts etc.
i hope this helps.
15th May 2021 at 5:26 am #125929
@living warrior thank you so much for this information – really helpful as it lays it out very clearly. I think, for me having this kind of information is really valuable. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a prohibited steps order.
I understand now, as I had a chat with woman’s aid last week that as it is my house I’m automatically the parent in residence so I can lay out what access he has. This in itself feels odd as I’m not sure how confident I am telling him what I think is best. But they advised I write it in an email so this is my starting point. Thanks again.
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