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ex single dad looking for advice.
#1
I'm really not sure if i am posting in the right place here but my problem seems to involve more than one of the sub-forums in here. 

I am a dad who gave up his job and put his career on hold to stay at home and look after his son. I was not wanting him in a nursery so young and was happy to be the one to spend so much time with him. His mum was pretty clear early on she wouldn't be quitting her job. I was happy enough, i am a graphic designer so i could still work from home when i had time... in theory. (Turns out from the moment they can crawl they'll put a stop to that.)

Anyway in august 2015, before our son was a year old, I was in the local housing dept of our local council with our son looking for somewhere to live as me and my partner had split up. They were brilliant, we had a family room in a B+B that day and within a month we were in a house. Since then i have been the single dad of my son with mum having him a night or two each week. I even looked after her daughter for a year because her nursery had raised concerns that not knowing where she would be living that night was having a obvious effect on her so i insisted she could come live with me...  until i put my foot in it and tried to claim non biological parent child benefits for her. It turned out she had been claiming child benefits for her the entire time and this sent her into a panic that she may be caught out. I have barely seen her since despite her thinking i am her dad and begging to come stay with me any time i drop my son off or pick him up. 

Well things took a sour turn at the beginning of the year. I do not know the exact reasoning behind everything but on the 1st of January i was watching both the kids and loving it as i hadn't had them both together for months. we were watching films, my phone was on silent as my parents and grandparents were constantly phoning to talk me into going down for a new years meal i really couldn't be bothered with. I was planning on playing the "oh were you? i didn't notice until it was too late." game but our day was brought to an end when my ex turned up in a taxi with her sister screaming at her daughter through the letterbox to unlock the door. My son was sleeping on me so it took me a little minute to gently slide him off and get up to see what the fuss was but as soon as i unlocked the door and opened it they just burst in saying they were here to pick up the kids because i haven't been answering the phone. this sounded crazy to me, i looked at my phone and there was 14 missed calls... most of them from her. she had only dropped them off 3 hours earlier when she was on her way to work. Unfortunately i was so baffled by what could she have been thinking was happening in less than 3 hours that she had to get her sister to meet her at work, leave work early in a taxi and come start screaming through my letterbox that by the time i could even think what to say my son had been woken up and was now being dragged into a taxi.

This was the beginning of the circus that has become my life in the past month. I started to get worried after a couple of days when i hadn't heard from her, she wouldn't explain to me why she was in such a state on the first and wouldn't believe that i had my phone on silent and was ignoring it in a ploy to get out of new years dinner. When i asked when she would be bringing my son back she said "he's gone for a holiday to my mums for two weeks." this was when i started to get really worried. I have never been away from him for that long and that isn't something that should be done without speaking to me. i was going to London on the 9th and insisted that i had to see him before i left. This was when she started selectively ignoring me. When i got back from London a week later i then insisted it's time for him to come see me. At this point she started arguing that she had not seem him in over two weeks and that it was my choice to go to London but she had to work so i agreed he could stay with her a couple of days then he'd come back to me. 

Finally he was back and i picked him up at 5pm, we went for a meal with friends and got back pretty late. it had already been agreed that as she was off the Saturday and Sunday that i'd drop him back off at hers on Saturday night and he'd be brought back on the Sunday but she showed up early at around 10am to my shock as the whole point was that she was off work and she'd actually be able to spend time with them. Anyway she came in and saw all the mess from the presents. They had both got in the night garden and paw patrol dinner sets from my friends, there was wrapping paper everywhere, my nan bought them mugs. She was screaming about there being plates on the living room floor. she didn't care if they were brand new or not and she just left. Again i was left stumped, i knew it wasn't the real reason, she was off in a shot. I grabbed my jacket and ran after her. when i caught up i noticed her little sister waiting there... so this had been planned. She told me our son was going back out to her mums for another week and i argued that she didn't have a right and she was coming home with me. by this point there hadn't been shouting and it was just a normal discussion. I then started pushing the buggy back to my house 30 seconds up the road but then my ex started screaming at me and trying to grab the buggy and pull it off me. I quickly grabbed my son out of the buggy and started trying to walk away with my ex grabbing and pushing at me. 

At this point her sister was already on the phone to the police and really screaming and carrying on and acting like a man was stealing their baby. It turned out the police were on the parallel street pulling over vehicles for check so literally within a minute of the phone call beginning the police were there and i had a sense of relief because in my mind the scene could come to an end now and in my mind i had just as much right as the mother, the child lived with me and her plans were to send him to her little sisters who in this situation had no rights. At first it seemed the police were with me. We were chatting away but then when a female officer who had been speaking to my ex came over and tried to take my son off me to give to my ex i started to sense what was really going on. at the time my son started screaming and demanding to come back to me, i had to put him back into his buggy and i was told i was being detained for breach of the peace. It turned out that while i was talking with one officer the other two were taking statements from my ex and her sister who were getting creative. Now normally this sort of creative story telling would pretty quickly unveil itself as what it is = story telling. Because the normally people are separated and statements taken individually, however...

the police took their statements together as a team. they were not separated for their statements. this meant they were allowed to make up whatever they wanted and, as the police later told me, it only takes two witnesses for the police to press charges. These two bitter girls were happily considered by the police as witnesses to the incident. They told the police i was making threats and i kept pushing them away and they even said that the children social work had visited me and decided it wasn't a fit state for a child. This was the opposite of the truth. The children social work department paid me a a surprise visit and told me i was doing an amazing job and to keep it up and started advising me that i should be getting money from the mother for raising both children and it was even them that advised me to claim the non biological parent child benefit for the girl, who it turned out my ex was already claiming for which ended her staying with me. Now, even at this point being handcuffed, i wasn't really all that worried. The police were telling me their hands were tied and it all seemed really friendly but as this is Scotland and the girl had said she felt threatened the police then had to keep me in until the next lawful day. They were acting to me like they knew the whole thing was a joke. the officer in charge at the station kept expressing that they HAD to do it due to new legislation in Scotland. 

***** I actually knew this all too well because this wasn't the first time my ex had done this to me. last year me ex owed me a lot of money and she had contacted me to go to her work to pick up what she had agreed to pay at that point. I had turned up 15 mins late, not even thinking that it would matter but she was very angry about this and refusing to pay me the money she had told me to come and collect. i had both the kids with me as this was back when i still raised her daughter and i was trying to argue my case that "this is serious, i have two kids to look after and we need that money. in fact i've already promised them we are going to the cinema." it was at this point she said she was going to call the police and stormed off. I truly didn't believe her, i listened in and actually overheard her talking on the phone so i decided to leave. as i was leaving the co-op store she worked in 3 police cars came in with the lights and sirens and flew past me. I simply thought that couldn't be for me and walked off with the kids. I still thought there was no way she'd phone the police over such a minor argument. 30 mins later the police were at my house asking me if there was anyone who could come and collect the kids because they needed to talk with me. i spent Friday to Monday in the police holding cells. She had told the police that i was kicking and screaming, being violent and threatening her. i had the balifs in my cell on the Monday morning having a giggle at my expense because they had already heard the judge didn't want to see me. it turned out the whole thing was on cctv and it could be seen i was not even raising my voice or acting aggressively in any way. *****

So now i am in the police station for the second time in my life because of the same bitter ex partner getting creative with her version of events. this time im a little more experienced so i say i want a solicitor appointed before i talk to them (fool me once, shame on you...). At this point my solicitor tells me the police are planning on charging you regardless of anything said in this interview and you are to reply with only two words. We even had a practice run where he asked me what the weather was like and i had to reply "No comment." i had a short interview with police i was charged with breach of the peace and taken back to my cell. In the morning i spoke to my solicitor who made it clear that what was important was getting my home so we were just going to make no plea and i was going to sign the bail conditions agreement which was simply i could not contact my ex or her sister and had to use 3rd parties to get in touch about our son. Seemed to make sense to me and after a quick court appearance i was reading the bail papers. 

it turned out that as i slept the police had decided to charge me with assault and aggravated assault. I asked the bailifs why it said assault on these papers. I was charged with breach of the peace. The bailifs said that it was something to do with me pushing her and them him and his female co worker went on to tell me that there was no way i was winning in this court system against a female, it's just not how things are done around here in the Shetland Islands. 

before i could even get home this story was in the national news on the Press and Journal website. It was on the local news too but at least they had the decency to leave in the part where i am the childs father. This was how i found out exactly what i had been accused of... by reading about it on the Press and Journal website. 



Press and Journal take on the incident.


Now im in a position where i can't contact her directly so my big idea was to get in contact with the childrens social work department. i thought i was in luck because the man i spoke to said he'd been aware of the case and they were already planning on sending someone to talk with me and to help me see my son. according to him someone was going to be in contact with me possibly even the same day. it was over a week and 2-3 phone calls later someone showed up. They didn't seem bothered that my son was living wherever it suited my ex on that day being passed from friend to relation to friend. The worker didn't bat an eyelid when i told her my ex had told the police that social work had been along and decided it wasn't a fit state for a child but she actually remembered that her colleagues had been along and said i was doing an amazing job. she said she had to go talk to her superior before she could contact my ex but made it clear she had no reason to believe there was a problem with my son staying with me or being in my home or anything of the like. 

today was supposed to be the day that they were going to contact her on my behalf but when i called them after hearing nothing i was told that the case had been passed onto someone else and that their diary was full for today but hopefully tomorrow or sometime later in the week yet i'm still sitting here and i don't even know where my son is or who is looking after him. 

i feel completely lost and helpless in this whole situation. surely if i was the female in this situation he would be back with me by now. i've still not even talked to my solicitor and im back up in court next Wednesday. it's like i cant even think about anything else until i know whats going on and i'm going to be able to see him. 

who should i go to? who is there to speak to in these situations? how can someone be charged with something just based on what two people say especially when the main culprit has tried to do it to me before and failed? could this actually be on my record for life? 

assault by pushing to the body. If i did do any pushing it could only have been at the time i was trying to walk away and they were grabbing me. 

maybe it is worth mentioning that this is the Shetland Islands and the police don't have a lot to do around here. maybe that's part of this whole shambles... they were too eager to take on board what they had to say and make something out of nothing.
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#2
well finally heard back from social and they had actually been in contact with my ex. they were telling me that she is being stubborn and is willing to let me see him one day a week. either monday or tuesday and it has to be at my parents house. social advised me to go along with it until after im in court on wednesday for that insane assault charge.

wow. how did she obtain these powers? what would happen if i just went home with my son after picking him up from my parents? would the police actually get involved?
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#3
Hi,

unfortunately it seems that you have all the odds against you at the moment.

I would not believe that just taking your child and not returning him to his mother will do you any favour in your situation.

It is a shit situation but I would think you need to play this by the rules which means to get first the assault out of the way.

Once this is settled start to fight to have your child back and apply for a residency order.

Your ex does not seem to be able to get herself and the child organised if she passes your child on and on to other people. There seems no stability for your child.

What I don't understand is that you hand over your child to your ex when he is living with you and when she just turns up and makes a fuzz at the beginning of January.

It then takes weeks and weeks until you actually re-establish a contact with your child.

This is were it had gone wrong for you I believe.

It is as it is now and you would need to fight it back from here I am afraid.

Do not give up or doubt yourself.

F.
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#4
yeh it was on the first that she took him and sent him to her mums. this was not abnormal. he would often go out there for a couple pf days but this time just went on and on. i had to go away for a funeral on the 6th or 7th and wasn't back until over a week later and when i was speaking to her she was clearly annoyed i had gone making out like i had just gona off on holiday without making sure it was alright with her.

but what i dont get is how can she just come and take him from me but if i was to do it to her now on monday that would be a bad idea.

surely to god i cant be charged for multiple assault of pushing to the body simply because two pissed off girls said it happened. does that really happen? i would of thought they would need more than this to slap a charge on you especially considering she has tried to do it to me before. even without that fact it's just a she says situation that the police have. she said he pushed her on the body lets charge him.

you would just expect the courts to have no interest in it without at least an impartial witness or some other form of evidence.
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#5
Hi,

As I say, I would not encourage you to do this but on the other hand I don't know what would actually happen if you were not to return your child.

She would most likely call the Police and because they don't know any better would -I believe- try to re-establish status quo.

You have also allegations for assault against you which are not sorted yet.

You will break headlines again and your situation will become worse.

My feeling on it....sorry, but it's not about fairness.

F.
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#6
(02-08-2017, 07:18 AM)BaffledDad Wrote: yeh it was on the first that she took him and sent him to her mums. this was not abnormal. he would often go out there for a couple pf days but this time just went on and on. i had to go away for a funeral on the 6th or 7th and wasn't back until over a week later and when i was speaking to her she was clearly annoyed i had gone making out like i had just gona off on holiday without making sure it was alright with her.

but what i dont get is how can she just come and take him from me but if i was to do it to her now on monday that would be a bad idea.

surely to god i cant be charged for multiple assault of pushing to the body simply because two pissed off girls said it happened. does that really happen? i would of thought they would need more than this to slap a charge on you especially considering she has tried to do it to me before. even without that fact it's just a she says situation that the police have. she said he pushed her on the body lets charge him.

you would just expect the courts to have no interest in it without at least an impartial witness or some other form of evidence.

This may go against the grain of some advice here but I had a similar situation, with the press and journal reporting willy nilly, bail being set to not contact my ex etc.

One of your problems is the bail conditions, your court appearance could be a year away.  By the time you have that done and dusted and potentially applied for legal aid and gone to court to gain residency, the court may well turn round and say "Child is happy and settled at the mothers" If your ex decides to, you could end up wth contact center access and years of trying to gain proper access to your child.

So my advice, which people will not like. If you had residency before, then when you get your child on that Monday at your parents, go back to yours, do not hand the child back and when the police come a calling there is nothing they can do. It is a civil matter and your child previously resided with yourself and is simply in their own home.   She will need to take you to court for residency and by the sounds of her is very unlikely to win.  If you reply on the courts to sorts this out (or her good nature) then you will be in for a shock, lengths of time will go by and that time will work heavily against you.  You had residency before this so reclaim it within a reasonable time frame...... I am really not sure there are any repercussions to this.


EDIT: If you plead not guilty at court the bail conditions will continue unless charges are dropped, in Scotland domestic abuse (everything here is domestic abuse) charges are very unlikely to be dropped. If you do manage to regain residency via whatever means (taking your child home) then seek a family solicitor and look to gain an agreement with your ex partner where they have agreed you are the resident parent and they agree to collect and drop off at specific times and days. This shows you have been following the correct path should it ever need to go to court. Thankfully in Scotland you can still get legal aid and by the sounds of it you will be entitled to it assuming you are still doing part time graphic design work.
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#7
hey.

so the social worker actually came along me today and kind of cleared things up. She is saying all sorts of things now to the social workers but the one who was along today basically said they dont believe her but they didn't want to say anything they thought might cause her to cease contact with them so they just kind of played along with her. my good friends mum is also actually a social worker here in shetland and although she was acting like she knew nothing of this case (probably not allowed to talk about it.) she said they were well aware of what she (my ex) was like.

one of the strange things about Lerwick is there's only a few thousand of us so everyone knows everyone.

she said it would be best if i just played along until after court next week and then the bail conditions will be no more and things will be a lot easier.

but i still have a few questions. what should my next steps be? should i first find a family solicitor or are there things i should do first to save money. i dont have a lot because i was the one to quit job and put career on hold so any information i can get that im not paying £200 an hour for would be so much help.

(02-08-2017, 10:04 PM)JackDempsey Wrote:
(02-08-2017, 07:18 AM)BaffledDad Wrote: yeh it was on the first that she took him and sent him to her mums. this was not abnormal. he would often go out there for a couple pf days but this time just went on and on. i had to go away for a funeral on the 6th or 7th and wasn't back until over a week later and when i was speaking to her she was clearly annoyed i had gone making out like i had just gona off on holiday without making sure it was alright with her.

but what i dont get is how can she just come and take him from me but if i was to do it to her now on monday that would be a bad idea.

surely to god i cant be charged for multiple assault of pushing to the body simply because two pissed off girls said it happened. does that really happen? i would of thought they would need more than this to slap a charge on you especially considering she has tried to do it to me before. even without that fact it's just a she says situation that the police have. she said he pushed her on the body lets charge him.

you would just expect the courts to have no interest in it without at least an impartial witness or some other form of evidence.



This may go against the grain of some advice here but I had a similar situation, with the press and journal reporting willy nilly, bail being set to not contact my ex etc.

One of your problems is the bail conditions, your court appearance could be a year away.  By the time you have that done and dusted and potentially applied for legal aid and gone to court to gain residency, the court may well turn round and say "Child is happy and settled at the mothers" If your ex decides to, you could end up wth contact center access and years of trying to gain proper access to your child.

So my advice, which people will not like. If you had residency before, then when you get your child on that Monday at your parents, go back to yours, do not hand the child back and when the police come a calling there is nothing they can do. It is a civil matter and your child previously resided with yourself and is simply in their own home.   She will need to take you to court for residency and by the sounds of her is very unlikely to win.  If you reply on the courts to sorts this out (or her good nature) then you will be in for a shock, lengths of time will go by and that time will work heavily against you.  You had residency before this so reclaim it within a reasonable time frame...... I am really not sure there are any repercussions to this.


hi

these were my exact thoughts on the matter at first and believe me it is so tempting. 

i guess i am lucky that my court day is so close (wednesday) so i can afford to wait till after. the social workers have convinced her to let me see him two days a week now on monday and tuesday. 

so i guess i can see him all day monday and tuesday then in court on wednesday and then i can speak to a family solicitor and see what they think. if all looks bleek then i guess i can just take him home the following monday. she might have more interest in a lengthy process however. 

im going to lose my mind thinking about all this.

edit: legal aid for family court?
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#8
(02-08-2017, 10:10 PM)BaffledDad Wrote: hey.

so the social worker actually came along me today and kind of cleared things up. She is saying all sorts of things now to the social workers but the one who was along today basically said they dont believe her but they didn't want to say anything they thought might cause her to cease contact with them so they just kind of played along with her. my good friends mum is also actually a social worker here in shetland and although she was acting like she knew nothing of this case (probably not allowed to talk about it.) she said they were well aware of what she (my ex) was like.

one of the strange things about Lerwick is there's only a few thousand of us so everyone knows everyone.

she said it would be best if i just played along until after court next week and then the bail conditions will be no more and things will be a lot easier.

but i still have a few questions. what should my next steps be? should i first find a family solicitor or are there things i should do first to save money. i dont have a lot because i was the one to quit job and put career on hold so any information i can get that im not paying £200 an hour for would be so much help.

(02-08-2017, 10:04 PM)JackDempsey Wrote:
(02-08-2017, 07:18 AM)BaffledDad Wrote: yeh it was on the first that she took him and sent him to her mums. this was not abnormal. he would often go out there for a couple pf days but this time just went on and on. i had to go away for a funeral on the 6th or 7th and wasn't back until over a week later and when i was speaking to her she was clearly annoyed i had gone making out like i had just gona off on holiday without making sure it was alright with her.

but what i dont get is how can she just come and take him from me but if i was to do it to her now on monday that would be a bad idea.

surely to god i cant be charged for multiple assault of pushing to the body simply because two pissed off girls said it happened. does that really happen? i would of thought they would need more than this to slap a charge on you especially considering she has tried to do it to me before. even without that fact it's just a she says situation that the police have. she said he pushed her on the body lets charge him.

you would just expect the courts to have no interest in it without at least an impartial witness or some other form of evidence.



This may go against the grain of some advice here but I had a similar situation, with the press and journal reporting willy nilly, bail being set to not contact my ex etc.

One of your problems is the bail conditions, your court appearance could be a year away.  By the time you have that done and dusted and potentially applied for legal aid and gone to court to gain residency, the court may well turn round and say "Child is happy and settled at the mothers" If your ex decides to, you could end up wth contact center access and years of trying to gain proper access to your child.

So my advice, which people will not like. If you had residency before, then when you get your child on that Monday at your parents, go back to yours, do not hand the child back and when the police come a calling there is nothing they can do. It is a civil matter and your child previously resided with yourself and is simply in their own home.   She will need to take you to court for residency and by the sounds of her is very unlikely to win.  If you reply on the courts to sorts this out (or her good nature) then you will be in for a shock, lengths of time will go by and that time will work heavily against you.  You had residency before this so reclaim it within a reasonable time frame...... I am really not sure there are any repercussions to this.


hi

these were my exact thoughts on the matter at first and believe me it is so tempting. 

i guess i am lucky that my court day is so close (wednesday) so i can afford to wait till after. the social workers have convinced her to let me see him two days a week now on monday and tuesday. 

so i guess i can see him all day monday and tuesday then in court on wednesday and then i can speak to a family solicitor and see what they think. if all looks bleek then i guess i can just take him home the following monday. she might have more interest in a lengthy process however. 

im going to lose my mind thinking about all this.

edit: legal aid for family court?

Yes you will get legal aid for family court so do not worry about that. It takes several months to be granted though and most solicitors will not begin court proceedings until they have it confirmed which causes a delay.  You will also have to give her a few months for any solicitors letters to be replied to and will only be able to go to court assuming you have exhausted reasonable means of communications.  This all takes time and if she denies access in the meantime this causes you problems as there will have been a gap in contact, she can shout "Contact Centre Only" and she can pretend the child is settled with her. The system can be used in her favour if she chooses.

she said it would be best if i just played along until after court next week and then the bail conditions will be no more and things will be a lot easier. 

If you please not guilty then trial date will be a long long time away and the bail conditions will remain.  Those bail conditions, as I found out, are hell and cause so many issues. You are technically breaching if even a social worker passes a message along to your ex from you about access.  I waved to my children in the park having not seen them in 8 months, i was taken into custody overnight and released without charge the next day but in Scotland they are stupidly strict on this.

If the child resided with you before then your place is their place of residence and you are perfectly entitled to simply go home and let her go and see solicitors to arrange access.  I regret not doing this myself and relying on the courts and solicitors, unknown to me was the length of time that all took and how detrimental time was to my case.

One more bit of advice. As much as you feel you are losing your mind, and I 100% understand why, you have to keep it together no matter what happens. Do everything by the book (even taking your child if you have to, I mean, she took him from you, is she in any trouble?)

Communicate only via solicitors, especially if there are bail conditions, if you think she will always be unreasonable then cease all contact unless it can be done civily on both sides. Never ever be drawn into an argument, record as much as you can in a diary and never say anything silly in text or email (or anywhere else but particularly where it can be recorded and used later) Should the SHTF you want to be squeaky clean, and as you already have one pending court case you really do not want any more (breaches of bail, harrasment, breach of telecommunications act etc) Her Solicitor if it goes that far WILL use the criminal case against you at every opportunity and at the beginning of each hearing and you will be starting off from a bad footing.

Things will eventually come good, just remind yourself of that. however bad it is, something will prevail.
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#9
im going to have to think hard about it and i will speak to a solicitor first for sure just for the reassurance.

the bail conditions allow me to make contact via any 3rd party so that's how social work are trying to negotiate for me. i wouldn't try to pass on any messages or anything regarding the case.

the craziest thing about all this is i dont want to keep him away from her. i want him to be able to see his mum. it seems so vicious to deny contact but that is what it might have to come to for a while. i guess i can just keep telling myself it's her own fault.
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#10
i thought i'd just update this as it's still ongoing.

i spoke to my criminal solicitor and he seems to think these charges will amount to nothing as the evidence doesn't make sense with what they are saying but it's just making everything else with my son complicated.

my ex bottled the meeting this monday and i never saw my son. she had found out that social work were not really taking her side and is now refusing contact with them and my entire family and friends. turns out she was logging into my facebook and reading my messages and probably didn't realize you can check times of all log ins and even what operating system was used.

i did have a family lawyer but it was almost like when legal aid was mentioned they kinda backed out saying they didn't think they had the time to give this their full attention or something along those lines so i contacted another today and said basically i've been on benefits looking after my son but have a well off family who say dont worry about any bills and now seem to be making progress. the lady i spoke to today had also said there isn't a family lawyers in shetland who work with legal aid so now really sounding like thats why i wasted a week with the last ones.

jackdempsy you were spot on. in scotland they have a (insert name here) act in which the amount of time she has stolen him for will be considered in her favour more and more the longer it goes on so this is possibly something worth taking note of for any future posters who mention scotland. also in scotland the fathers have the same parental rights as mothers so long as they are on the birth certificate. i dont know if this is the same in the rest of the UK but this lawyer made it at least sound like not all of the UK follow this path.

i will post another update later down the line incase someone who ends up in the same situation as me stumbles upon it and finds it useful.
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