I have had a few messages over social media saying I’m an inspiration, the strength I have is amazing and more… I am greatly touched by these messages but I have not always been this way… Here’s my story.
Four years ago this April, I found out my Husband was not happy within the relationship. I was numb,sick feeling and lifeless… I live 300miles away from my family and friends and no real good friends around this area to gain support. My life was crumbling around me… What had I done wrong, was I a bad wife or mother. Had my decision to stay at home to bring up the children added extra strain on us as a couple… Two years earlier, I opted to leave my career as a deputy manager at a nursery and stay home to help work out my anxiety issues and bring up our daughter, within a year of that I was expecting our 2nd child and working part time around his shifts. Had all these changes affected us as a couple… Suppose I will never know the real answer apart from “I have fallen out of love with you”
Within a few months after trying to “fix” the relationship my husband moved out and I was financially forced back into full time work. Although at the point ex was helping financially, I knew things had to change. I had option to move back home too, back to Northumberland, where I actually would been able to go back to work, have family help with childcare and able to afford my own home on a wage. However I felt that this was not a option, the children living so far away from their dad, seeing him everyother weekend with a four hour commute just did not seem fair on them esp as Ava-May was loving and settling into school life really well.
I opted to stay in the family home and a friend managed to get me a job in a nursery she worked in, this was a godsend back into my career within childcare was great. However I was starting to struggling for childcare as worked in different town to daughters school, so a neighbour helped me out depending on my shifts. My ex wanted to see the children on his days off and weekend all worked around his line of work. This was great although a fiancial strain as I was having to pay full time childcare for youngest but only accessing part time place. I soon changed work to nursery my daughter sometimes attended after school, this eased a lot as was able to acces sn pay childcare around his shifts, saw both children more and sometimes able to take daughter to school.
The divorce was sorted and went though fast, although changes had happened and finances and children’s access was no longer sorted within the divorce all seperate. This when the challanges came.
The relationship with my ex and myself was becoming stressful. Plans were not see through, different family members were collecting the children when should been him. And demands were coming thick and fast over finances,and the children’s time with him. He wanted 50/50 access. And stopped all direct debits we agreed on at point of divorce.
Within a few month back and forth between us, I was faces with a letter from the family court (he really was taken me to court). I have a break down, my anxiety went sky high, my mind went to they will have the children off me. I was working full time as well as trying to set up my childminding business. I had been a stay home mum for 2years with him. Bringing up the children now, I was frighten to keep stability for them.
I got advice and support from the solicitor who helped me though the divorce. We put our case forward as to why i did not feel a 50/50 access with a 1yr old and 5 year old was suitable. We tried to reason outside of court via mediation but no help. He was strong on wanting 50/50. My solicitor supported us at the 1st hearing where’s believed it would be sorted but no CAFCASS services and the the judge forwarded the case higher.
I felt sick at the thought of our relationship was so strained that we could not be sorted outside of courts. That someone else would be deciding how the children should live. Someone else who did not know our lives, our children, our challanges etc. There was go getting out of it now. As my solicitor said he had nothing to loose if worse case for him things stay as they are.
I was struggling emotional with all this going on, and handed my notice into work with the aim of hoping my childminding would take off and with view of still being able to see and spend more time with the children. Work was very supportive of this and understood as theowners had expert es of single mum lifestyle…
The 2nd court day came, my solicitor instructed me a baraster as needed further help and support. My parents had traveled from the North East to support me. I was fed up and had several panic attacks in the morning. The children were dropped off at nursery and got load word of support from my colleagues. We all had great belief.
After a morning of my baraster trying to get to reason with my ex, offering alternate options he was still admit he wanted 50/50 only. The decision was with the judge….
I was shaking, tearful, stressed. I could not understand why he wanted the children off my after supporting my for 2years to be a stay at home mam. He works shifts, when we were together he could go days without seeing the children, so why all this now….
I had been a single mum, working full time for 18months with children and myself happy with the arrangement for access… Now 2young children lives were in the hands of a judge.
My parents, family, friends and barrister were a lot more positive than me. I had hope but not great hope… Want was I on paper but a single mum, low income no family close for physical support. He was financially better stable than me, living with his girlfriend and had family on hand to help… No brainier to me but was told never really happen esp not in courts, and defiantly not unless there was cause for concern, why they children should be taken from there mother….
We were called in, my heart sunk as it was not one judge but a panel of three… Three people total strangers were decisioning on two children’s lives they have never meet.
My barrister but forward my case, my ex represented himself with a makenzie friend… We were dismissed… For them to discuss…
Four hours dragged….I knew from a gut feeling was look looking hopeful for my side as I did not feel would take so long… My barrister discussed seperate with the judges and my ex to try resolve with out the need for this… Still no luck….
We were called back in…the decision had been made… I crumbled…
The panel felt children living between two homes would not have a negative impact on them.
It was decided from the following week the children would live between my home and their dads for 10 weeks then 11the week would be a split week due to their dad having to work a week of nights. That was printed black and white… All worked around his shifts…
I crumbled… We were dismissed… Within a couple of week I had to prepare for the children lives to change dramatically.
My parents waited outside… I saw them and that was it…I crumbled further… I was heart broken….I never stopped him seeing the children… I worked with him from day 1 of the breakdown and life was to totally change for us all…my babies would have to learnt olive between two homes.
My barrister was great, he was in shock too as to why it was decided, why the panel felt it was good for the children. I was told we could try to appeal but due it already been discussed via a panel would not be any success. But still a option to look at.
From that night life changed….
(to be continued..)