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Recently lost custody of my son, finding it hard
#1
hi guys, i'm a 36 year old man from the UK and i lost custody of my 6 year old son 5 months ago, back in July. He had lived with me since birth and when i split with his mum 3 years ago she left and left me to care for him alone as a single dad for 2 year.s In that entire time i heard nothing from her, no attempts to visit or see our son, just nothing Then she returned out of the blue wanting contact which i agreed to. She told me she had met another man and had another baby with him, a baby sister for our son. She told me that the new partner had a well paid job and they lived in a nice house. She expressed a desire to spend more time with our son and maybe share custody. I agreed to let her see him but i was reluctant to agree to shared custody as i felt it would unsettle him as he was so used to being with me.

Well anyway without warning she applied for custody and the case went to family court. At court she told the judge i was abusive and that i had driven her away from her son in the first place (a lie) that i was denying her access to him and denying him access to his sister. She said she and her new partner could give him a better life as he is a higher earner and i am in a low paid job. The judge asked me how i felt about shared custody and i was honest and said i didn't think it was a good idea, so the judge decided to punish me and grant her sole custody until he turns 18. Judge said he felt it was for the best and gave me very minimum contact.i am only allowed contact once a fortnight on Saturdays for the day and it breaks my heart having to take him back at the end of every contact day. i don't get enough time with my boy!. I miss him and its killing me, very bad today at Christmas time too. i had him with me for 6 years, saw him everyday, looked after him on my own as a single dad and now all i get it one day a fortnight with him, its painful and its proper punishment. this will be for the next 11 years now, i am wondering how i will cope.

Anyone got any advice? how can i cope with this? what can i do? everyday i think about him, miss him and i am  still in shock that i lost custody, sometimes it feels so unreal. sometimes i wake up and for a few seconds i forget and think he is still here with me. i miss him a lot and once a fortnight is so little time with him. i know my bitch of an ex did this to be vindictive, she wants to see me being punished as she blames me for out split and she correctly realised that the best way to make me suffer and to inflict punishment on me was to take my boy from me. i love him so much, he is my world and she knows it. one day a fortnight, please tell me how i can live with this pain? i feel so empty inside and helpless. also i feel people don't care cos i'm a man/father. i think if a woman loses custody of her child people are more sympathetic. i have friends who know what has happened but don't really understand how much it hurts, they encourage me to get over  it, move on. how am i supposed to do that?!
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#2
Hi,

From what I can see there is 2 key points you need to reflect on.

1. How the hell was an outcome like yours in the court arena possible? You had all the groundwork done and your child was living with you and now you say they have taken custody off you?

I am not really sure with what you mean by that but if they have taken parental responsibility off you you then you need to fight that back. It is highly unlawful to strip a parent of his parental responsibility unless there are founded concerns and proven facts that this will not be in the interest of your child. Have you been self representing or was a lawyer acting for you? Have you been told about your rights to appeal that decision?

How was the decision reached? Was there a fact find on the allegations of harm and did Cafcass made a S7 report, were there any other agencies involved? The court can't make a decision simply on income. A child needs stability and love. Both you can't exchange for money.

It may be too late for a appeal but from a legal point you would need to draw a line and see what you got at the moment and fight it back from there.

The order can not say that they will take custody away from you until your child turns 18 yrs. Again, I question that a wording like this is even legal. What happens if Mom dies in a accident (god forgive)? Child goes up for adoption even although the father is present? That can no be right!

What does minimum contact mean?

Look at what your legal standing is at the moment and review that.

If you have lost PR re-apply for this or appeal this decision. Same with contact, if you have more time to offer you should try to get your contact order amended accordingly.

2. Coping emotionally. You need to stop digging yourself a hole you never get out of. The situation is as it is and you always have done your best. Your child knows that because you spent 6 years together.

Write letters to your child and make the most out of your current contact times. The most important thing is that there is contact. You need to start to look how to increase that slowly again.

Do not accept it and fight it back. This is a tremendous painful experience and takes time but your child is still young.

Join the meet up in January to meet other Dads. You are not alone in this.

Keep yourself healthy and try to set yourself a goal for next year. Take little steps and never ever give up.

F.
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