Sophie & Carl

My husband, Carl, and his Ex (‘G’), split up in 2010. They have two children – a son aged 3 at the time and a daughter who was 1. Carl also has an older son, now aged 16. The relationship with his older son’s mother ended nine years ago, and throughout this time there have been no problems with regards to contact with his son. Carl has joint parental responsibility for all three of his children.

G packed up her and their children’s things and left, moving back to Cardiff, a 40 minute drive from where they lived together.

Initially, when Carl told G that we’d got together, she was fine. However, it soon became clear that this was actually a serious issue for her. She started accusing Carl of things, trying to cause trouble between him and me, turning their mutual friends and also family members, against him.

At one point, a police officer called to our house to inform Carl that she’d made a complaint against him, accusing him of a verbal and physical assault, and advised him to maintain a distance as far as possible in order to avoid any further ‘domestic incidents’. Nothing ever came of the accusation, and the police officer was extremely understanding about the whole thing.

Over the next five years, G stopped us from seeing the children for periods ranging from 3 weeks to 6 months. We used a solicitor when we could afford to but when we received a letter stating that her solicitor was no longer acting for her, we had no means of contacting anyone with regards to access to the children. I sent a letter via the children’s maternal grandparents stating that we were stepping back from the situation to allow everyone time to think and assess things. I said that, should we not hear anything from them in the future, we would contact them again at some point to find out if things could be resolved. Within a couple of months, we were informed that we could start seeing the children again. more

During these periods of no contact, we always ensured that Christmas and birthday presents and cards have been sent to the children via the maternal grandparents’ home and once via G’s solicitor. We have no address for the children, and due to historical accusations involving stalking, would rather keep things as they are.

G’s parents have been very involved throughout, fluctuating between supporting Carl and then siding with G whenever she decides we can’t see the children.

Every time she has denied us access, she has quoted that ‘it’s not in the children’s best interests’ for them to have contact with their dad. She has continued to bad-mouth Carl to anyone who’ll listen, including posting comments on social media websites accusing him of, among other things, stalking her, attempting to abduct their son from school, being violent and unpredictable, and taking drugs. G has always maintained that she is scared of Carl, and has told people that he used to hit her. She has also been overheard telling their son that he doesn’t have a father. more

In August 2012, Carl received a photocopy of some documents in the post, detailing that G had changed the children’s surnames from Carl’s to hers. We only received partial copies of the forms, and to this day don’t know whether Carl’s signature was forged, or left out entirely (apparently there are certain circumstances which allow a parent to change a child’s name without the consent of the other parent). When we dared to query how it had been possible for her to do this without Carl’s consent, contact with the children was again denied.

Our most recent contact with the children has all been arranged between myself and G’s mother. We communicated via text and phone calls, and handovers on weekends were done via G’s mother and father. On the odd occasions they were unable to assist in the handover, generally Carl’s mother would step in. However, there have been a couple of instances when other members of G’s family were supposed to do the handover from the maternal grandparents’ home. Upon arriving at the house, we have been dismayed to find that G herself was doing the handover. On these occasions my step-son became very distressed at having to leave his mother, which never happened when anyone else was dealing with the handover. Thankfully, he always settled down within minutes of driving away. more

Both children have always been fine when they were with us, although my step-son always required confirmation of the next day’s activities at bedtime. This always included ‘and then we go back to Bampy’s and Bampy will take us home to Mummy’ at the end.

Currently, we haven’t seen the children since 8 February 2015. Ultimately we feel that we have been put in the position where we are going to be unable to have direct contact until both children are adults. This is a decision that has not been reached lightly, and is a direct result of complete parental alienation.

The circumstances surrounding this most recent denial of access have astounded us, showing the lengths the children’s mother is prepared to go to just to alienate their father. She has somehow convinced the children to lie to, amongst others, Social Services and the police. The last weekend we saw the children, the handover was done by Carl’s mother, as G’s parents were away on holiday. There were no issues when we dropped the children off at Carl’s mother’s house on the Sunday, and both children were looking forward to coming to stay the following weekend.

Carl’s mother suddenly advised us that we wouldn’t be able to have my step-son on the coming weekend as he’d had an asthma attack and his mother wanted to keep him at home, however we could pick my step-daughter up as normal. On the Saturday morning, we were again contacted by Carl’s mother to tell us that we weren’t able to have my step-daughter either, as she didn’t want to come and stay without her brother. We accepted this at face value.

Carl’s mother also told us that G’s mother had lost her mobile phone and was therefore unable to contact me regarding future arrangements for the children. I made several attempts to give her my mobile number again without success. Finally, I put a note through their letterbox with my mobile number asking them to please contact me to let me know the arrangements for the weekend. I then received a text message which stated that the children wouldn’t be coming to stay with us for the foreseeable future ‘pending an authoritative review which was triggered when one of the children got really upset in school about their weekend visits’. We were told that all parties concerned would receive a letter explaining things, and that we weren’t to contact them again as they were unable to discuss events.

To date, we have never received a letter from anyone. Carl contacted the school to be told that that they were unaware of any issues occurring during school time, and had no knowledge of any reviews being undertaken. They advised Carl to contact Cardiff Social Services who confirmed that an investigation was currently being carried out, but that they weren’t obliged to tell him anything. They said that a letter had been sent out, and agreed to send another as they had the wrong address on file for him. To date, we have received no communication from them. Carl rang periodically for updates, but was told every time that he had no right to any information, in spite of having joint parental responsibility. The last time he spoke to them, he was told that they had concluded their investigation and handed it over to the police. After several failed attempts, over a period of a couple of weeks, Carl finally got hold of the investigating officer and was advised that he needed to attend the police station the following morning for questioning regarding ‘an incident involving his son which happened at our house a few weeks previously’, otherwise they would issue a warrant for his arrest.

Carl attended the police station with a solicitor, and was interviewed under caution, at the same time as I was summoned by our local Social Services (RCT) for an emergency meeting regarding the ‘welfare’ of my three children. Social services refused to tell me what their investigation was regarding, as at that point Carl hadn’t been charged with anything.

I was told that Carl was to have no unsupervised contact with my children, and that he wasn’t allowed to live at our house until everything had been resolved. If he couldn’t find somewhere else to stay, my children would be placed in the care of the local authority, due to the fact that their father would be unable to have them living with him as he would be unable to get them to and from school. They proceeded to ask questions about Carl and his relationship with his children, and then said that they had to have a meeting with other professionals, before interviewing my children. They were however surprised when I told them that the maternal grandparents had informed us that this all stemmed from an incident at the children’s school – apparently the school had had no involvement at all up to that point.

At the same time as I was being interviewed by Social Services, Carl was at the police station being told that he was accused of punching his son in the face. The alleged incident took place on a date when we didn’t have the children but the police officer wasn’t concerned with the date. Carl was bailed for 6 weeks pending being charged, while they completed their investigation, which would apparently involve speaking to myself and my children, and also Carl’s mother and her husband. When they discovered Carl has another son, they took his and his mother’s details so that they could interview his eldest son as well. Carl’s bail conditions stated that he was unable to have unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, he wasn’t allowed to live at our home address, and he was to have no direct/indirect contact with his two youngest children or their mother.

The police went to interview Carl’s eldest son at his home with his mother, but immediately decided that there was no point in interviewing him as he hadn’t been to stay overnight with us since Christmas.

RCT Social Services interviewed my two sons (who are aged 12 and 13) at home, and said that they would interview my 17 year old daughter at her father’s house (where she has had to go and live) at another time. I rang Social Services to query when they would be likely to speak with my daughter, and was told that they’d completed their investigation and that they had no issues with Carl being allowed to live with us. They also advised me to tell him to contact the police himself, which he attempted to do without success.

On 5 May, Carl attended the police station to find that the investigating officer was on annual leave, and his solicitor hadn’t turned up as they’d been advised that the bail conditions were being renewed for another six weeks, and Carl was to return on 16 June. He then rang the sergeant to query whether it would be possible to change the bail conditions so that he could at least come home (it is costing us £300 a month in rent for him to be able to stay somewhere where there are no children under 18), but was told that due to the nature of the allegation this was impossible. He was also told that the reason the bail conditions had been extended was due to the fact that they were still awaiting reports from Cardiff Social Services, and also needed to have a meeting with them. more

We are now wondering whether the date has anything to do with the hold-up but find ourselves in a state of limbo. The lack of information is cruel and insensitive! Add to this that RCT Social Services weren’t sure whether we lived at number 64 or 65, so posted handwritten notes through the letterboxes of both addresses, notifying me that Social Services needed to speak to me urgently about the welfare of my children, and that those notes weren’t even in envelopes so anyone could read the contents.

We have had no further communication from anyone and it is very difficult to get on with our lives while this is hanging over us. It is bad enough knowing that we can’t see the children for at least the next 10-12 years, but it’s made even harder by having our whole lives completely turned upside down while the system goes through the motions (painfully slowly, and with zero compassion).

Since we got together five years ago, we have been proud to tell people that we have six children. It is heart-breaking to know that we will be unable to see two of our children over the coming years, knowing that the more time passes the more poison will be spoon-fed to them. We can only hope that when they are 18 they will come looking for us, looking for the truth.

Carl’s ex has already spent five years sabotaging his relationship with the children, and the levels of sabotage have steadily escalated over the years. When this latest stunt fails, what will she try next? She has already lied to the police and Social Services, and more worryingly convinced the children to lie. Our biggest fear is that she will possibly accuse one of my sons of something far worse – and judging from the lengths the system is going to as a result of the current allegation, we are not prepared to put anyone else through all of this, especially if it could result in a child having to grow up with some sort of record hanging over them for something they haven’t done.

So you see, mission accomplished – parental alienation 100% complete.

Update

We have spent months being investigated by the police and Social Services, and my husband has received three court dates. The hearing was adjourned twice due to a lack of, and conflicting evidence. The third time, the case was thrown out of court, and my husband was cleared of all charges. The bail conditions remained in place throughout the investigation, in spite of our local Social Services team (RCT) confirming that they had no issues with my husband being at home with my three children (aged 12, 13 and 17).

Obviously we are very happy that he has been cleared of all charges, however this is a hollow victory in light of the fact that we are still unable to have any contact with our two youngest children. Their mother is maintaining that Social Services have said it is not in the children’s best interests to have contact with their father. To this date we have had no communication from Cardiff Social Services, other than when my husband has rung them for information, which was refused every time.

We have written to the youngest children’s school to remind them that they assured my husband back in March that they would send him copies of school reports etc. – to date we have received nothing at all. Also, we have written to Social Services requesting a meeting with regards to the investigation, and with a view to hopefully setting up some form of contact going forwards, even if this has to be in the form of supervised visits in a contact centre.

My husband feels as though he has let his children down – he feels that he should be protecting them, and has been put in a situation whereby he is unable to do so. He is not the man he was, and this has had an effect on our whole lives, and that of our other four children. more

He is suffering from depression (which he acknowledges to a point, but refuses to seek help with – he feels that this would make him a failure, although he recognises that no-one else would view it that way). I have made him appointments with a view to getting help, but he has refused to attend them. Hopefully he will feel ready to accept help in the near future.

We can only imagine how the two youngest children are feeling, and the effects that all of this is having on them.

2nd Update

Carl has been prescribed anti-depressants. He does seem to be coping slightly better on a daily basis now, so hopefully the tablets will give him the extra lift to try and get back to some sort of normality.

We have heard back from the children’s school, who have sent copies of the children’s most recent reports and said that they would be happy for Carl to make an appointment to discuss the children’s progress with their teachers.

Cardiff Social Services have also responded to my letter, stating that the only person stopping Carl from having contact with the children is their mother. As such, they have advised us that this now constitutes a civil law case and recommended that we seek legal advice.