thread: shared parenting

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Red face shared parenting

    Hi, I have recently moved to Brisbane from Newcastle with my gorgeous 11 month old son Dylan. I am orignally from the UK and unable to return to live there due to my child's Father not agreeing, thankfully he let me leave Newcastle. He is visiting at the moment after being made redundant and now says he is going to live here and wants overnight access every third night, he is also demanding this right now - even though he is just staying at friends at the moment.
    I am breastfeeding and Dylan has been sleeping in my bed since he was 4 weeks old, he goes down in his cot but around 11/12 he wakes then comes in with me.
    I am really concerned that to be taken away from me to a Father that he hasn't seen for 2 months will distress him on overnight visits. I am fine with day visits and have been really genourous with access during the day.
    He says I am been unreasonable, as do his friends who say they left their kids overnight at that age. When I refused the overnight access last week he sent me numerous abusive text messages saying he was going to take a contravention order on me and report me to DOCS cos Dylan had a couple of Mozzie bites, I have fed him chips and have shared meat pies with him! Ridiculous.
    My ex also smokes pot everyday although says he does not do it whilst Dylan is in his care, but the other day when he dropped him off I could tell he was stoned. Later that night he told me by text that our son had taken his first steps. I was very upset to be told that way.
    My ex was very verbally, emotionally abusive to me throughout our realtionship, very dismissive and belittling. I was seeing a DV counsellor for 1 year in NSW.
    I am concerned about the overnight access for a number of reasons, mainly cos I believe it should be done gradually, not just straight away, I feel it will be very distressing for our son, and I am worried that with my ex smoking pot he may sleep through his cries. The only way I can settle Dylan at night is with a feed, and I am very worried that he will get psychologically damaged by being away from me whilst I am still feeding him.
    We are attending mediation in Jan with Relationships Australia to try to agree on access.
    Currently the papers say he has access for 1 weekend a month at times agreed upon by both parties - he says that means overnight but I don't agree to that..
    I do not qualify for legal aid as I have jewellery worth $3000, despite having virtually no money in the bank!

    What is the likelhood for him getting him every third night overnight?
    Will I also have to give my son to him every weekend?

    Will my ex smoking pot be held against him? He is also taking anti depressants as well, which I do not think is a good mix.

    He has also fooled drug tests before, by getting information off the internet and drinking lots of gatorade. He really thinks he is above the law.

    A friend has suggested that I anomously report him to crimestoppers for having pot, but he will know it is me and I am scared of his temper and demands. I really feel bullied by him

    Has anyone any advice?

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Aug 2005

    Oh Vickyk,
    I so totally feel for you. I have just come back from court with my ex and the verdict wasn't what we hoped for. And we are only in the middle of things. I go back to the federal magistrates court in may for final hearings as my exhusband wants shared care. he also is extremely abusive and i have taken out and AVO in the past. He has a temper, a rifle,a car,drinks,takes e"s and does smoke dope. A very volatile and dangerous mix. Yet with all this against him he still got joint parenting responsibility and 10 nights amonth access which includes overnights. Half of all school holidays. I am sure that you would qualify for legal aid. Your first appointment is free of charge with most solicitors so they can here your story and assess your eligibility. i work part time and own all my furniture and nearly own my own car and i qualified. the whole process through the courts though is totally ****ed up. Dads are getting more and more priveledges now,which is great for the dads that deserve it-but not for the others. My ex has made no secret of the fact the only reason he wants more time with them is because he knows it will hurt me and also to lessen the amount of maintenance he pays for OUR children. He is bitter,resentful,vengefuland dangerous. he knows a lot of really nasty people. Whenever my kids come home after access i breathe a sigh of relief. Sure they have not showered in 3 days or brushed their teeth and lived on junk all weekend with little sleep-but they are home. i can undo all the mess he's made. shower them,feed them love them only to have him undo it all again. I have had many sleepless nights crying because my kids 8 and 10 do not want this and have told the courtt this and it is all still going ahead. I feel powerless to enforce what they want and they are very very scared of him.I am and have to remain strong for them but when with friends or alone in the shower the real truth comes out.I'm so very worried for thier welfare-they both see psychologists now. They are children. Children. Dealing with adult mistakes. For that i carry a lot of guilt. Darling make sure you find yourself some counselling(i did). it does help. If you can get yourself into a parenting post seperation course as court would want you to do this anyway but it will link you up with other mums in your area that are or have been through the same thing. I can only imagine how painful this is especially given that your little man is so dependant on you still ,but you need to prepare yourself for the worst. court rulings have changed since july this year and lots of dads are using it to their advantage. It is highly probable that he will get overnight access. I speak not only of my own personal experience but that of friends too. You have to evolve, adapt and try and adjust to this idea because it is highly likely going to be beyond your control and you will have no choice but to move with it. Please though,get legal aid I'm sure you will find help is there for you and you will qualify.Sorry my message is so long. but if i can help you in any way then at least i've been good for something. i would like to know that there is some benefit to the pain I've been through cause at the moment i'm not seeing any-other than being a bit more gutsy.All the best babe. If you need me I'm in here somewhere,most nights.

  3. #3
    mummycate Guest

    :hugs: I just left my partner too. I know how you feel. Perhaps ring your local police station and anonymously ask how much proof is needed to get you ex arrested re: the pot. Or perhaps in the mediation?

    My ex wanted 50-50 custody and El is Dylan's age but FF. She said that of an infant, they need to be with one parent most of the time. And if you're BF they can't take him overnight. Because they can't force you to express for that purpose. It sucks about needing permission to leave the state.

    I hope that we can meet up and be friends, I think we both need it. And Clayfield is like a spit from here. I'm sorry he's an @sswipe but we all need to move on to better things and make the best we can for our kids.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Follow Early Kids On Twitter

    Oct 2007
    Eastern Wheatbelt WA

    Just wanted to give you a hug :hugs:

    I hope you can work something out. I would look into as much as you can RE DOCS ect. find out what you have to and don't have to do. I am lucky in that my ex doesn't want Brendan overnight and is quite happy to have supervised visits, and when it suits me too!
    BTW, if Dylan comes back with a mark on him, take a pic for proof, just in case....Kepp a diary of everything that happens!

    Take care

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Thank you for your replies, Pollyanna I can't believe your kids still have to go to their Dad's when they have told the court they don't. This shared parenting thing is too general, it doesn't seem to have taken into account the kids wishes.
    I am still hoping that my ex will back off, he has to go back to Newi jan 6 for a couple of months, but in the meantime I will go to a separate mediation and counselling. Despite all this drama this is the strongest I've been in ages.
    I am happy for him to go overnight but nor for at least another 8 months or so, I just hope we can reach an effective agreement between us.
    Will keep you posted.
    Am already keeping a diary of access etc to show I am being reasonable
    He is seeing him today for 4 hours.
    Thanks for all your messages, it feels good to have this support.

  6. #6
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    MummyCate is right, that the current family law respects bfing so your DH will not be granted overnight visits while you are bfing. Also at that age they don't award joint parenting as the child needs one primary parent. I would get legal advice at this stage. Sell your jewellery if you have to. I am sure it will work out for you, although you will have to be prepared for overnight visits down the track (which it sounds like you are). Take care and I hope it works out for you.

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Thanks for that, he said that his lawyer said that bfeeding doesnt matter, although I do think that was intimidaton tactic. I saw him today and we had a (light) short chat about it and I said I am happy for him to have overnight but not until I have stopped feeding Dylan, and he did seem ok with that...... Will let you know what happens, mediation in Jan.

  8. #8
    paradise lost Guest

    I think you're right about the intimidation there - i don't think he even ASKED a lawyer about that issue. Fathers DO have rights but not irrespective of the actual situation.

    I just wanted to let you know that my exes pot smoking was one of the reasons i felt i couldn't stay with him and i too had major reservations about leaving DD with him overnight when i first left (she was 4 months old, i pumped my milk for the feeds she had at his and then gave him the milk to freeze), BUT he DID in fact fall in love with her and get his finger out and pull it together. He really doesn't smoke around her or before he's getting her and he never has anything remotely dangerous lying around either (another major fear of mine, that she'd find and eat his pot). He isn't breaking the law as the amount of pot he has counts as personal use and he would only be cautioned, tops, if i reported him.

    He has sole care of DD for 24 hours a week, which is as much as he seems to want just now (in fact i often feel i am fighting to get him to take responsibility - when i first left him he was all "she's MY child and i have rights" but once he realised that all the things he refused to help me with he had to do himself when i wasn't there he stopped being bothered). I gave him nothing to fight about so we didn't fight.

    He was a completely rubbish partner but he actually is quite a good father, so don't despair of him always being this way, for men as for women, parenting can force so much change.

    Best of luck


  9. #9
    Registered User

    Aug 2005

    Hey Vickyk,
    Hope things are going ok?I hope so... Great idea about giving the rdm a go.roundtable dispute management-mediation). You can get legal aid to give you a lawyer to take with you for this too. So youve got someone in your corner helping you. One thing i have learnt from all this is that lawyers will often blow a lot of smoke up their clients arse. I have seen many demonstrations of this from friends family and myself. They will often tell you what you want to hear rather than the actual truth. When i last spoke to my solicitor i actually said to her do whatever you want. I'm past caring and crying and fighting- i just want this to be over. Any any way it seems totally irrelevant to the court what me or the kids want or don't want;so why bother. Just let the father have what he wants.Yes i have legal aid but it just seems that his legal team works so much harder and are really winning... Yes its probably cost him $10,000 and me nothing but if i had those same financial resources i'd be fighting tooth and nail too. i am not and never have tried to stop him from seeing his children but because of a huge fight that we had last september he has decded he wants to cause me as much distress as possible.. I hope things go so much better for you and your little one. Have a very happy new year.

  10. #10
    mummycate Guest

    Stupid friggen mouse! I bumped a button and it went back a page and then I went forward and my post is gone.

    Anyway I was saying

    Pollyanna :hugs: Your kids don't seem to be noticed in this case. Perhaps you could see a social worker or a magistrate as your kids are not happy with the arrangement and custody is supposed to be all about the kids. Good luck with everything.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Pollyanna, I think your ex is a bit like mine, when they want something nothing stands in their way, hell or high water. My ex ix very determined. I feel like he has no respect for me for what I do for his son, him and his mother actually asked me to send Dylan back to NSW for 6 weeks while I found f/t job and childcare, this was when he was only 9 months old!!!!!!!! When we were getting separated he said to me ' I wish you were dead then I would get to see Dylan all the time' As you can see the mentality of him, there is no rational here. I feel like his son is a possession to him. Although it has brought out a really loving side to him but the energy is that of possessiveness if you know what I mean.
    I am a bit more positive and hopeful about the situation, like you I have no prob with him seeing him, but on a structured basis, I'm only just getting my son into routine.
    The ex is supposed to be going back to NSW Fri, but he has 2 job interviews here this week. I am hoping he won't get them..... If he came up in 6 months time that would be good, but I'm just getting back on my feet after a rough couple of years, its just too soon for him to come and barge in.. I've only just got Dylan into sleeping routine - although that is messed up now after seeing his dad almost everyday for the last 3 weeks..
    Anyway am keeping calm, detached and hopeful, not as stressed as I was a while ago... don't want to give him the satsifaction.
    How old do your kids have to be until they can decided for themselves, this shared parenting scheme is not what is cracked up to be, I wonder if they will review it?
    Very different to the law in the UK.
    Happy New Year to everyone

  12. #12
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    What's the law in the UK?

    Fingers crossed he doesn't get the job....

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Hi, it is not the 50/50 family law here in Oz, I think Oz is the only country to implement this??
    In Uk it is very difficult for Fathers to stop their ex partner relocating, and also they don't get as much access. There is a very famous fathers rights group in the UK, you might have seen them in the news, they do high profile stunts to gain attention such as one guy dressing as Batman and flying into Buckingham Palace on a handglider and having to be brought down off the balcony by police, another dressed as spiderman climbed a huge crane near tower bridge London and was there for a good day/night.
    Fathers do deserve access, but I really don't believe that this 50/50 is in the childs best interest, to be always going backwards and forwards to different houses for the next 16/18 years, is that really stabilty for the child? What about the long term effects?

  14. #14
    mummycate Guest

    I agree Vicky. And when they're an infant its so bad for them.

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    exactly, maybe when they get to 2 is not too bad at least they have some grasp of Mummy is going to come back, but before 1 50% is too much. your ex sounds as demanding and dismissive as mine! How could he think it would be ok to take your daughter to VIC for xmas without you when she is under 1 year old. Any major separation from the primary caregiver at this stage can be extremly damaging.
    Thing is we've got to deal with these ***** for the next 18 years so we have to form some kind of relationship with them....
    Keep strong, positive, look forward to catching up with you

  16. #16
    Senior Moderator

    Nov 2004

    I have done shared parenting since my sons were 13 months, and three years old. It CAN work, if you are both willing to be co-operative, and put the children's needs ahead of your own feelings.

    I'm a family law barrister, and have seen too many families that HAVEN'T put the children first. I'm NOT going to let that happen to my boys.

    It is conflict that affects children. Whether it's your body language, your words, or your mannerisms (or your X's), it is really important to avoid showing your children conflict between their parents. Age doesn't matter for conflict.

    Shared parenting CAN work. If both of you REALLY want it to work.

  17. #17
    mummycate Guest

    Well the plan was for both of us to go to VIC, despite the split as things were ok. But the proverbial hit the fan and I left and took my girl with me. That threw a spanner in the works, but he gave me a deadline I couldn't possibly meet so I did what I had to do.

    Divvy, I understand what you mean and I really want to make it work, but I know that El is having a hard time right now and swapping parents just will not be good for her. Also I'm in Brisbane and he is in Sydney. So that makes it harder too.

  18. #18
    paradise lost Guest

    I agree Div, though my Ex doesn't have 50% care due to his own choice (before we broke up we agreed that we wanted DD to be with one or other of us all the time and not in nursery and because i was BFing at first it ended up being me who gave up work and that is how it's stayed), we both work very hard to make sure the conflicts we have are resovled fast and away from DD and her needs are put first. At the moment i still have to pick up his slack sometimes but he is getting better all the time. Kids don't know what "normal" is. Normal is your life - if you grow up having 50% of your time with mum and 50% with dad that will be normal to you. I agree that conflict in the family situation whether it's between two households or two members of one household is the thing which causes damage.

    My DD has had time between this house and her daddy's since she was 4 months old. She is happy and secure and trusts us both, she is confident and outgoing and doesn't even notice if i'm in the room when i'm at toddler group. She has never been left with anyone but us and knows exactly who her family is. She has that "main-carer" closeness with us both, which is so precious to me, i am glad her daddy gets his share of it - when we lived together he hardly looked at her before we broke up. She might have lost the one-home-to-rely-on security but she has gained the two-calm-loving-homes-to-rely-on security. I have worried about all this in the past too, how it will affect her (especially as i'm so much stricter than her daddy can be about some things) but thus far she is thriving.

    The most difficult and important thing i think i did was to prove to my ex he could trust that i would genuinely act in what i believed to be DD's best interests and force myself to treat him as though he would do the same. WIthout the suspicion and second guessing we started to make real headway.



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