I have a friend who's in a very sticky situation and I was wondering if you guys could give me some info and advice about access etc because she's scared to leave her relationship because she's frightened he will take her little boy away from her.
First let me start by saying her OH is not abusive, she has just fallen out of love with him (to be honest she has always said she was never really in love with him as she got preggers very quickly after getting together and tried to make it work for her baby). Anyway, they moved in together a few months ago (I tried to talk her out of it and tried to explain that getting a place of her own with her baby would be better because I picked up on the undertones of their relationship and just knew it wouldn't work). And it hasn't worked out. She says she is miserable with him, they don't talk, it's like they don't even know each other. They will sit on the couch all evening and not say a word to each other, he doesn't get her sense of humour, he's just not the one for her.
Moving on, I said he's not abusive to her in any way, but he is not a great, supportive partner. She's pretty sure he does cocaine when he goes out, but she can't prove it, and he goes out pretty much every night. The nights he stays in he goes to bed at 8pm as he's so burnt out from the other nights out he's had. His relationship with his LO is weird as well. It's like he hasn't got a bond with him at all because he was never there and never did anything with him, never volunteered to spend time with him or look after him etc. I've seen him with LO and it's weird to watch, it's like he's a stranger to him and the LO is bewildered by him. My friend has encouraged him to do things for LO but he's never there to put him to bed, play with him or anything.
So we're at the point now where she desperately wants to leave, is desperately unhappy with him, but is so frightened to go because his family have money and he threatens he'll take her LO away from her and she believes him and believes it could easily happen. I myself haven't a clue about these things, I told her I think in the first instance the child would stay with the mother until an agreement could be reached? What she's frightened of is the dad having him overnight, she says she can't bare to think of LO in what he thinks of as a strangers house and him being frightened etc because she's not there. I said I don't think he'd automatically get overnight visits, the baby is only 10 months old. He's not being BFd anymore so that's not an issue, it's the fact that he's not done a thing for the baby emotionally in 8 months and is threatening all things just to keep her there, it's not even about the baby which makes me angry. She's just text me saying she'd rather stay and be unhappy for the rest of her life than risk them taking her baby from her which is breaking my heart and so frustrating because I know that would never happen!
I keep trying to gently suggest to her that although he's a bit rubbish, her OH is the LO's dad and he does have a right to try and build up a relationship with LO, although if they split now it would be too soon for over night visits, he would eventually get them if that's what he wanted and he would have a right to that, but she is very attached to LO and can't ever see herself being OK with that. I do think that's wrong and she needs to open herself up to the possibility that it may happen in the future?
She needs to move out for her own sanity but she says because his family have loads of money they will take her to court and get more custody of LO than she is comfortable with.
What's the likely outcome initially if she did split and move out and they took her to court? Just so I can arm her with facts. I told her it's not healthy for her LO to grow up seeing such a dysfunctional relationship (literally there is no love there at all, they are like two strangers living in a house together).
Sorry for the essay - any advice greatly welcomed!
She would have the right to have residency of the child, as in her son would live with her. Unless there is something horrible about her [which Im sure there is not] no judge will take LO away from her to give to the father.
However we now live in a world where it doesn't matter if the FOB has been a right son of a bitch and not bothered. He will get rights even if he goes after them in a bitter attempt to make a point. With reference to my situation, FOB hasn't even been bothered and hasn't supported anything for the baby financially or otherwise but if he took me to court [which he will] he will get access every other week which doesn't seem fair at all.
Unfortunately there is no way round this situation as in he will get access as he is no direct harm to the child but... for overnight... he does have to prove he has suitable accommodation and I am guessing that because they have all lived together the judge wouldn't rule out overnight visits but again it would most likely be a night/2 tops every other weekend. It would appear that equal rights for men is a given regardless of whether it has been equal or not!!!
I'm sorry your friend is in this situation but I would strongly advise that if she is not happy she should leave the relationship. It is not good to stay with someone for the sake of a child, my parents did it and my sister and I knew they weren't happy and that didn't make us happy much either.
Hope something I have said helps and big hugs to your friend
Thanks ladies for the advice. Apparently they split when LO was only 8 weeks old (I met her through a baby group so didn't know her then) and he got very threatening and nasty saying he was gonna take her to court and she didn't want to get back with him but did so to stop the nastiness, silly really, she'd have been better off on her own.
With the overnight visits, would they be straight away? or would it have to go through court first and the judge award overnight visits say once a week?
The thing is, she is worried as her OH literally wouldn't know how to care for her LO, wouldn't know how to put him to bed, change his nappy, has no idea of his likes and dislikes etc. She knows what would happen is that his mum (her MIL) would set up a nursery (which she did last time they split) and have her LO with her on the weekends he was awarded overnight visits. She does not have a great relationship with her in-laws and would not be happy with this. Would she be able to do anything about that or would it be his choice where LO stays when he's with him? (I think it would be).
She's just texted saying she's been in the kitchen all evening crying her eyes out while he sits in the lounge completely ignoring her. I keep telling her they need to talk like adults so it doesn't descend into tit for tat but it's not happening. I feel so helpless, just want to make it all better for her
It REALLY depends where she lives, too. I know that where I live, he might first have to have supervised visits for certain hours of the week. And if she has a feeling he is doing drugs, she can raise those concerns and they will order a drug test on both parents to clear the air. In the are I live, too, if the dad isn't actually on the birth certificate (which is my case, although doesn't sound like the case with her) then he has to prove paternity before anything, then set a separate court date to ask for custody. Almost everywhere usually gives the mother primary custody unless the mother is horribly messed up with a criminal record or on drugs. As long as she can show that she can support herself and her baby, and she is clear of past charges or drugs, she should be fine. Ultimately, her best bet is to talk to a lawyer in her area to find out how things are handled locally. In the states, there are many lawyers that give free consultations (again, not sure where you're located at or where she is). She needs to talk to someone for legal advise about what is even possible.
Any opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed or made available on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com by users or third parties, including but not limited to bloggers, are solely those of the respective user or other third party. They do not reflect the opinions of BabyandBump.Momtastic.com and they have not been reviewed by a physician, psychologist or parenting expert or any member of the BabyandBump.Momtastic.com staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com. BabyandBump.Momtastic.com does not endorse any opinion, advice, statement, product, service or treatment made available on the website. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.