I’m in the sixth year now and it’s been a damaging time, especially for my daughter. It’s a story of compliance on my behalf, but also one of total obstruction, denial and abuse from my ex-wife, whose behaviour and will forced my daughter into threatening to take her own life three years ago.
After the split, I lived in my van and my workshop until I was fortunate to find a place to live, thanks to a kind customer. My ex-wife had insisted on mediation, but also that she had full control of when I was allowed to speak with my children – which was never. Even today I have no contact without it first going through my ex.
It was suggested that mediation be progressed as there was no ‘give’, just ‘take’. I was still paying for all the overheads in the marital home and the mediator advised this needed to stop so that I could take care of myself. I later found out that both children were told: “daddy has stopped paying for us and refuses to support us.”
Over weeks of mediation I capitulated to all her demands and constantly asked to review access with my children through the mediator, who assured me it would. I’d had no contact with my children for several weeks. I used to attend the mediation sessions early.
It was amicable much of the time. My ex-wife had achieved all she wanted, financially. The mediator moved to access and the ex refused to agree any proposals he put forward. The mediator advised her that should we go to court they would agree to access, but my ex still refused. I was fuming. I packed up my paperwork and left.
The in-laws had parked their car deliberately so that the children had a full view of their daddy. They were waving top their Daddy.
I was completely broken. I complained at the next and last meeting that this was damaging my mental health, and the children’s. My ex denied the incident had even occurred.
I elected to go to court and represent myself. Besides, I didn’t have the money to pay for a solicitor and could not get legal aid, unlike my ex, who did not disclose the continuing financial support I was supplying, which included paying the whole mortgage.
Access was allowed by my ex, but limited to just two hours on a Sunday. Even then, she kept ringing them whilst they were with me, further undermining their confidence.
They would scream when I collected them, saying they had to be kept safe, and my ex would follow me around the car as I tried to strap them in.
During this time my mental health was further challenged when it was alleged that I was a danger to my children. I was under huge pressure with the business, as well as paying all the bills on the house, whilst she continued to lie to the children. I still do not understand why there was a need to create this atmosphere.
My poor upbringing became a source of attack by her solicitor, to further prevent me from any contact with my children, as proposed to the court that I obtain a psychiatric report.
Still paying the overheads on the home, I advised the court that I was happy to do so but could not afford it because of the financial position. It was agreed for extra time for me to gather the money.
I booked an appointment through my doctor to see a psychiatrist for two hours, where it was established that I was suffering from PTSD. He stated in the report that although I had suffered trauma as a child, I was not the alleged ‘danger’ to my children as expressed in court by my ex’s solicitor. I kept my cool, complied with her demands, and the children became less agitated. I submitted a document to the parties involved. At the appearance date both the solicitor and the ex told the court, that my report was not independent as it was through my Doctor.
The magistrate became very angry at them both. Apologising to me for not making a decision in my favour, complimenting me for being in fully compliant with the court’s directions.
He did order that we appear at the families section of a crown court, explaining that the senior family court would make a decision that would be legally binding to all parties.
A month or so later, the ex’s solicitor had a meeting with my ex’s sister. She personally took the court paperwork from the solicitor which had the copy of my report. I was unaware of this at the time. She booked a day off and took my children out for the day, taking them to another solicitor together with all the paperwork. This was outside of the legal constraints placed on the use of the paperwork. My children were interviewed and asked to make statements against me. Both refused but this left them traumatised. It’s appalling how families get involved and cause problems.
Access began to die down. It was easier for the children not to see me as it caused so much trouble. I found out about another incident purely by chance. A solicitor friend had advised me along the way and she had phoned requesting I go to her office. It was here where the actions of my sister-in-law was revealed. The new solicitor had phoned my friend purely by chance. She realised it was me and this new guy had acted wrongly, even looking at the paperwork.
This same sister-in-law, who had been so instrumental in splitting up the family, now became a McKenzie friend to my ex. I objected over her involvement based on interference, to which the court agreed, and she was ejected. The court made a ruling in my favour that my son needed his father’s input and ordered regular contact be established. My daughter was old enough to make up her own mind.
However, at a major cost. My daughter had a full breakdown as a result, and I haven’t spoken with her for over four years. Every phone call has to be made through my ex, who listens into the calls. She also hides their mobile phones, or they have been permanently off.
She refuses any change in the circumstances, and is both objectionable and manipulative in putting me down to both children. Her family do the same. I have even experienced an awful time at school open days. I’ve seen my children’s confidence destroyed so that overnight stays agreed by the court were restricted to no more than five times in the last six years. Despite the court ruling, access at Christmas has been restricted to just three hours every year.
The major change is my daughters mental collapse and the blanket of secrecy that has occurred over her breakdown. I am not allowed any information. I don’t know how she is. I can’t speak with her and I’ve been told not to write. I’m good with my son but this painful situation continues year after year. I am allowed just 3 photos and that is all I have.
The damage caused is immeasurable. The poison still exists and the lengths the evil ex wife’s family has no boundaries and takes no prisoners. The victims are my children, who are not allowed to grow and be free, even now as teenagers. I am not bitter and have progressed to forgiveness. They believe their action is right, despite my daughter’s mental breakdown. Now its down to plain old waiting.
Never give up.
In confidence please. Thank you.