Thank you Clare - I'm not sure we are up to much preparation and organising tonight but will try. Thank you for the form. I know there are a lot if issues that are serious, I thought hitting was the worst one (apart from the nastiness of course). What is it that is seen as most important in case I forget something - the stopping access, threatening to stop him coming here? We think it might bankrupt us actually and his Mum will probably get legal aid as she is a single Mum on benefits. She said something about she was working with OT's and Surestart to improve child's memory problems and if he has forgotten to do something she asked him to do he had to pay the consequences (I forgetting to bring a teddy back today). We are not too intimidated by that because it is contradictory.
Thank you very much. Partner is still having panics about saying some of these things as he thinks it looks like fighting dirty but I said we should just state the facts and our concerns. To be honest our heads have been reeling with it just recently as it all seems so unreal and we can't believe the medical professionals haven't picked something up because he has had so many medical appointments and assessments. Maybe he really does have mild dyspraxia, but I am concerned that if he has memory problems at school and at his Mum's house it could be due to the stress.
Partner is very anxious it could all go wrong and he either won't get to see child again either way. I think he is hoping she will back down in a couple of days, but then all the other issues wouldn't be resolved.
Thank you. I'll sign this off now. Best wishes.
Thank you. Unfortunately our Solicitor was quite anti us going for an emergency order and said we didn't have enough evidence to prove something. She said the only option was to go the normal route, get signed off at mediation and apply and it would take 2 to 4 weeks. She did say that if we took little boy to social services and he told them what he told us that yes they would do something. So, we couldn't do that unless he was with us and given the concerns we had about him we decided that getting the access back asap was a priority, so partner decided to try and talk to her, which he did and the upshot was access was back on but we couldn't see him for a week. We were very anxious about how he was so we decided to ring the school and say there were some issues and could they keep an eye out for him and call us if he had any problems. We couldn't give all the details and just said he was having some problems at home at the moment, although it was reassuring that the head teacher said we could tell them anything in confidence and it wouldn't get back to the other parent. We have since seen little boy and he is a bit 'closed' now and I think is too scared to say anything to anyone and his trust in us is a bit shaken because he said Mum told him he wouldn't see us for a very long time. All he said was 'why didn't you call the Police?' Hopefully he will start to feel more normal with us soon and then we can talk about how to deal with the problems. We have told him he can talk to someone at school if he has a big problem at home when he is not here, and reassured him it won't get back to his Mum (as we have been informed). He still doesn't trust this.
We felt very underconfident after seeing the Solicitor who wasn't that helpful and didn't seem to believe us. Little boy is not talking about what happened the night Mum went ballistic, except to say he was sent to bed with no tea and no supper again and was very hungry. Our heads are a bit done in as well, so we will just try and have a normal few days with him and see how it goes by next week and then think about taking him to social services.
Thank you. Yes we should have seen another Solicitor but couldn't get another appointment quickly at the time. In future we will use a different Solicitor. We are fairly sure Mum won't want to go to mediation and will see a request to do so as a threat of some kind. She clearly didn't want to go to court, so for now she might behave a bit, but that doesn't stop the issue of how the little boy is being treated. This week-end he will be here for 3 nights and will have chance to get back to normal a bit and maybe he will agree to go and talk to social services about what he has told us. But yes, if anything else happens (he might feel guilty and tell his Mum he has told us things), then we will try and start mediation.
Thank you. We are getting confused about what to do next now. We did encourage him to talk a teacher but he doesn't want to. I explained that it is 'private' and they don't tell his Mum, which he thought about. Yesterday we saw him for a few hours and he didn't want to go back. We told him it was just for one night and he would be here for 3 nights this week-end. Now tonight has been cancelled, and I am half expecting Sunday night to be cancelled too. Little boy is showing stress and has started punching us.
I am now trying to remember something - I think you said we couldn't go for an emergency order over the hitting and other things (like punishing him by not letting him see Dad or sending to his room without food etc), until she stopped access and then it was the case that we could go for the emergency order. Since then we negotiated access back, but is it now the case that because access isn't actually stopped completely, that we can't now go for an emergency order over the risk to the child, even if we went to social services and he told them what he told us?
Thank you. I think that maybe what we have to do. I will finish filling in the court forms as well so we can just take them in quickly if necessary. Thank you for your help.
Hello. Child is too scared to go home tomorrow - after a conversation between Mum and Dad in which child feels Dad slipped up and gave away 'one of his secrets' (ie that child had told us something about not liking being in nappies - a small thing, but to him he is scared because he feels his Mummy will know he has talked to us). He thinks he is in for a very bad time when he goes home tomorrow. He says he will talk to someone at the school if we go with him. My Partner doesn't want to do anything just yet and I think is too scared of things going wrong. Things are very tense between us and I want to protect our little boy and not wait any longer. I am thinking of going to the school myself and wondering if I can make an application to the court myself - either for a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order. I have been looking up trying to find out about this and I read something about if the child has lived with you for more than 3 years (I will have lived with him for 3 years by Christmas of this year and semi lived with him since he was 18 months old). I am not married to my Partner though.
Would I be able to do this please? It's not ideal but I don't feel right sending him back when he has talked to us and is scared to go back. Partner is being very logical and maybe a bit in denial I think.
I think he has decided that it could make things worse if social services were involved, in that they might decide not to do anything, Mum would stop contact and probably accuse us of something if social services investigate, and then things would be worse for little boy. He feels if we talk to the school, social services will become involved. He is taking the logical approach that we need to keep child here as much as possible and tell him he can tell a teacher if something bad happens when he isn't here. I called a Family Helpline today and they suggested we could call social services when child is here next time and they could come round and speak to him. But I guess we would still have to take him back as NSPCC said social services wouldn't do an emergency order unless something immediate and serious happened. I still think we should try for an emergency residency order and then get social services involved, but because the Solicitor we saw said he couldn't do this and wouldn't get it, that is what he believes and has made a decision to just keep an eye on things until after the Christmas holidays - child is supposed to be here for a week after Christmas.
Thank you. Partner won't talk about it any more and says he has decided there isn't really a problem and doing nothing is the best thing.
Right now I don't think anyone is sticking up for child and I feel a bit powerless.
Thank you. Partner had a general chat with little boy's Mum and suggested taking the pressure off him (re wetting pants). This seemed to work this last week, although he was smacked once for something minor. We also made sure little boy knew he could speak to his teacher in confidence. Partner wants to get Christmas holidays out of the way before considering anything else. He is only at his Mum's for 5 days over Christmas and I am just hoping this will be ok too. If anything bad does happen I will suggest we get social services to come and see him here to talk to him. I am a bit worried about the 5 days but hoping stepdad will be around more so he won't be on his own with his Mum. Best wishes and thank you.