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  1. #1
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    Default Coparenting concerns

    My ex partner and I are currently coparenting our children and lately I've had some concerns regarding his mental health and decision making. The kids are with me 6 nights a week and generally stay with him once a week however lately plans have changed last minute on a regular basis. My youngest also has started saying no to sleep overs at his Dad's and instead stays with me. Last night the youngest went but apparently was upset and asking for me. Ex also picks the kids up in the morning and takes them to school as I leave early for work.

    Ex swears incessantly and lately the kids have started doing the same, it's mortifying the stuff that comes out of my 2 year old's mouth. The kids rarely if ever brush their teeth when at their father's house (I have provided toothbrushes and paste) and of late have been left inside while Ex is in the shed drinking and smoking, watching interviews with murderers and serial killers. I have also picked them up a few times of late in the afternoon to find they hadn't been given lunch.

    Yesterday my eldest informed me that the other day his father had forgotten to put DS2's carseat in his car, so my 2 year old was strapped into a regular seat. Ex had told DS1 not to tell me and when DS1 told his father he had let me know what happened, Ex got angry at Ds1 for breaching the 'bro code'. DS1 has also told me about DS2 being left alone in the care of his grandma who has dementia, who Ex is the carer for.

    I have tried to get Ex to talk to someone as he is not well at all mental health wise but he refuses. Every time I raise a concern he goes crazy because I'm apparently having a go at him. He is currently painting a set list with his blood which he cut his wrist to obtain. I have been limiting contact with the kids as much as possible but I'm worried he will notice and retaliate. Does anyone know of any organisations I could talk to for advice? Or anyone been in a similar situation and can provide ideas for how to go toward to ensure the kids are safe?

  2. #2
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    Do you have court orders in place? and what is your relationship like? Can you talk to him? do you feel safe around him? Is he abusive? does he have a history of mental health issues?

    Just trying to get the full picture first.
    Last edited by SSecret Squirrel; 08-07-2019 at 19:15.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSecret Squirrel View Post
    Do you have court orders in place?
    No court orders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tainted View Post
    No court orders
    Honestly, without court orders, I would stop sending them. My ex was abusive towards me and turned on the kids while in his care. They no longer see him and in hindsight I wish I had just stopped sending them a lot earlier. I had court orders by consent in place (ie out of court and a result of lawyer mediation. I never should have signed them). A lot of damage was done by them spending time with him and the neglect and abuse they were subjected to.

    You could discuss your options with a lawyer. If you can't afford to see one, I would suggest a community legal service or Womens Legal Service. They can be okay. It really depends on who you see on the day.

    I can see a lot of red flags in you post. You may get some benefit from talking to 1800 RESPECT. It is a national number for domestic violence, and you many not feel you are in that category BUT I can see neglect in the way your ex is treating your children and forcing children to keep secrets from you is just not on.

    I'm reluctant to suggest mediation through relationships australia or similar. It should be a place where you can sit and discuss concerns with your ex. BUT the primary reason for going is mostly to obtain consent orders. If that is not your end goal, it may be a waste of time. HOWEVER, your exh sounds unstable, and part of their process is to interview both parties first. A friend of mine's ex was deemed unstable by them multiple times and it really worked in her favour, because they would not proceed with mediation due to his erratic behaviour and he was too lazy to take her to court for custody. NB this really was the best outcome for her children.

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  6. #5
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    Thanks for sharing your experience and advice @SSecret Squirrel. I had been wondering whether to I should touch base with a lawyer. Unfortunately I can't really talk to him about my concerns most of the time as he sees it as an attack. Some days everything is fine, others not so much. He is on antidepressants but has had depression and anxiety for years, and probably PTSD but as he won't talk to anyone he hasn't been diagnosed. He has had some really awful things happen to him and has really not been well since his father took his life almost two years ago.

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    no advice but couldn’t read and run. he sounds really not right, scary really. i’m so sorry you’re in a position where your kids are being left with him, i hope you’re able to limit/finish his custody as he really sounds not right. everything you’ve described sounds frightening, cutting himself and painting with his blood wtf?! the car seat thing just gives me goosebumps. that’s so bad. you just can’t conscionably leave them with him, it sounds as though anything could happen.

    i do hope you’re able to cut him out of your lives asap. that, or he gets help immediately and is able to become a better carer/dad.

    can you advise cps/docs? sorry if that’s a crap suggestion, i don’t know much about this area but just thought they’d remove a child where there’s risk?

    big hugs x

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    I’m a two time single mother, currently am to my 4 kids from my second failed marriage.
    Please do not send the kids to him alone any more!
    You will know how to speak to him so as to get around him because you know him.
    You are not obligated to give him this much care when he clearly has issues. If he can’t agree with what you ask for it’s up to him to take you to mediation. Then you can present your concerns.

    The father of my kids is also on anti depressants, has add/asd and issues he refuses to deal with. He is co operative with me about care. I do not trust him to be responsible for them. I allow one night sleep overs for one of my sons because he lives with his grandfather.
    That said he is no where near at the level of your ex.

    Seek legal aid if you need to but it’s not wrong for you to just change these arrangements. You’re the one ultimately taking care of them if they are mainly in your care. It’s then up to him to seek legal help.

    I would suggest family visits if you can be around him. Meeting at parks or beach etc.

    It sounds very unsafe for the kids. A 2 yr old can die if he has an accident and they aren’t in a seat.
    Best of luck I feel for you.

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  12. #8
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    Sorry you're in this really stressful situation, you must be worried sick when they're with him.
    I would definitely get a consultation with a lawyer asap, you need to know your options. I would also document everything that's happened so far, and everything that happens when they're with him. Details, dates - if it does go to court this will be of some benefit. Putting a 2yo in a car without a seat is reportable, certainly in some states, but you have to be very careful because child protection services going in cold don't know which way is up and in the absence of a paper trail or court orders it's your word against his.

    Only you know him well enough to know whether talking to him in the hope of getting through and appealing to him as a parent of children he presumably loves is possible. From what you've said he sounds a bit volatile though, if he's interpreting everything as an attack the risk is that it could drive him further into an imagined corner.

    Personally I don't think you can overreact if you feel your children are at risk. From what you've said I think it's just about figuring out how to keep them and yourself safe.

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    I agree with the previous poster. Get Court orders, because without them, not only do you not have to send them, HE doesnt have to return them to YOU and if he decided to do that, there is NOTHING you can do about it. People dont realise that. The police wont go get them for you, because there is nothing proving they are living with you. Even if you received Parenting Payment single, that is not enough to prove you have custody. I'd stop sending them and start the process to get court orders.

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    Default Coparenting concerns

    Also just wanted to weigh in as I’m a mandatory reporter (teacher) and if a child came at school to me and said that a parent wasn’t using a car seat, not providing supervision, leaving with an unfit career ( grandparent with dementia), not brushing teeth, etc etc, I would be making a report. Neglect is considered a form of child abuse in Australia. As in exposing a child to harmful behaviours ( a child seeing a parent cut for example).

    Now just because a report is made doesn’t mean an investigation would find for abuse but there is enough there to warrant a report. If a report is made by someone else (teacher, nurse, neighbour etc) you could be included in the investigation and the question could be asked why you didn’t lodge your own documents to protect the children. So I would start seeking legal support creating a paper trail to protect yourself too. You are clearly a loving and protective parent but having those documents will help if a report of neglect or abuse is made against your ex by a third party.

    If you have a good relationship with the student support staff at your local school they can be a great source of in formation as they can put you in touch with the appropriate people.



    Also it would pay to get In touch with your children’s teachers and explain briefly what’s happening because they can then make more informed actions in response to difficult behaviour and also make the teacher feel more comfortable coming to you with observations/concerns.

    Good luck and I hope this all resolved quickly and well for you and your kids

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