Guest post by an alienated parent reflecting what they see as the confusing madness of the family law process and support services.
I’m expecting the Mad Hatter to pop out any moment and tell me it’s all been a great mistake. Or maybe the March Hare and the Queen of Hearts will appear and tell me I’ve been on a bad trip. I don’t know. Perhaps Alice herself will make an appearance and complain that she’s grown too big or too small?
But I know they won’t.
I’ve been in the parental alienation game long enough now – since 21st August 2015 – to know that today’s just another step along the road. And I know that the good will out, that truth will prevail, that lies will – one fine day – be seen for what they are.
Cafcass, judges and solicitors have been damning of my second wife (or, as I prefer to call it ‘mistake wife’) but the behaviour persists. Because nobody really cares, it’s just a job, my case and my son’s future don’t really matter to anyone…. Except me.
This is what happened.
In November, my son had 30 bruises on his legs. I was looking after him for the weekend when I undressed him and saw them. I was horrified. I sent a message to his mother expressing concerns of physical abuse. There was a photo attached.
She ignored it.
That’s one of the many reasons why I call her ‘mistake wife’.
Why would you ignore concerns that your own child had been abused?
If antipathy towards your ex-partner is so great that you pretend not to have received a photograph of a four-year-old with 30 bruises, then you’re doing something wrong.
I called his godmother. She told me to call the police. I did.
I asked my son how he’d got the bruises. “Mommy pinched me,” he said.
After a sleepless night, I spent a day with detective constables, police photographers and doctors. Then the police told me he was at risk and, rather than be returned to his mother at the end of a weekend with me, I should take him home.
Three days later, the court issued a prohibited steps order barring the mother from trying to take the boy from my care.
In the next two months it was bliss. Football, pantomimes, toy cars, dvds, hanging with girlfriend and being as happy as a four-year-old can be.
He made friends at nursery, came to work with me – I work on a newspaper, the Editor thought he was a great addition to the team and gave him a High Five.
Then today it was back to court to sort it all out. Oh, but I’ve rushed ahead and forgotten something.
At an interim hearing, the judge told me the boy should stay with me and that there would be no contact with the mother unless I agreed to it. That is to say, it was my choice and if I said no, he might not see the woman who might or might not have pinched him.
I said she should see him. I didn’t want to alienate them. And rather than the one day per week I get, she should have 2. Oh, and rather than the one phone call a week I get, she should have seven – one a day.
My solicitor thought I was a mug and soft. After today’s experience, I think she was right.
We returned to the family court to sort it all out. But they came armed with a new lie. It was this: “Dad encouraged son to make up an untruth about mom and then he refused to hand him back.”
They told Cafcass, who said this was ‘plausible’. And then, in the space of two hours, a weird conspiracy theory became ‘fact’. And by the time we went back into court, Cafcass were recommending that the boy who’d been sent to me under police orders, and who’d become the subject of a new court order for residence with me, should, in fact, be returned today because I was a dead-beat dad who’d been coaching him to lie about the mom.
Like I said: Alice in Wonderland. Bad trips.
The judge told them they could have the boy back – it turns out he’s got a blood condition that may or may not have been responsible for the bruises in November, which got the mother off the hook.
I was sanguine and suggested reversing the arrangements: That he live with her and I get the two days per week and daily phonecalls.
But they said no. Instead, they offered two hours per month in a contact centre. Weird. Abusive. Hateful.
I said no. He lives a 600-mile round-trip away, so I’d have spent 12 hours travelling for two hours of low-quality contact – even though he’d just been living with me for ten weeks.
The judge said he understood. Bless him.
Let’s cut to the chase. This is how the story ends. I’m the guy who is reasonable and who respects that a child has two parents and needs both: hence my actions of allowing contact when I could have said no.
She is deeply controlling and emotionally abusive and uses frequent deceit, manipulation and – let’s not dress it up in frilly writing – lies, to get her own way and deny the child his father.
Sperm donor and cash point. Nice work if you can get it. And just a lie away.
The kid loves us both, especially his dad – he has exceptional taste. We’ve always been closest.
So this is actually how the story ends.
At some point in the future, the four-year-old realises what has happened.
He is old enough and wise enough not to be abused or controlled.
And he comes home – again – and he stays.
Ding dong, the witch is dead.
Oh, hang on, that’s another story.
Q: What do you think?