A District Court judge has accused two parents of using their son “as a pawn” and told they both have a “behavioural problem”.
The mother today/yesterday (FRI) told Judge Ann Ryan at the Dublin District Family Court she was requesting a safety order “basically to put a stop to all the abuse” she was receiving from her former partner.
She said her former partner lives abroad but returns home to Ireland twice a year to see their son.
She said herself and her son, who is in primary school, live together in the family home, and have always done so, while her former partner moved away a number of years ago. She said she always lets her former partner see their son whenever he is in Ireland.
But earlier this week, she said the father “gave her a fright” when he turned up unexpectedly at her back door, unannounced. He used the back door as the locks were changed on the other door.
A couple of days later, she received a phone call from the gardaí in the middle of the night. They told her that her former partner had reported their son as missing, and requested that she bring the boy into the garda station, so they could make sure he was alright.
“My son has lived with me all his life and I had to wake him up at 1am to take him to the garda station,” she said. “I’m not stopping [the father] from seeing my son. If he had sent me details [of his trip here] I could have arranged things.”
The mother said the abuse from her former partner “is verbal. It’s on message. Email. Social media. Viber messages”. The mother handed Judge Ryan a print-out of the messages she had received from the father.
During his evidence, the father said he had always paid the mortgage on the house he owns with the mother, but he no longer wished to, and had asked her to buy him out or make some other arrangement.
“I said you can’t expect me to pay for a mortgage when some other fella is sleeping in the bed that used to be mine,” he told the court.
He said he reported his son as missing to the gardai because he hadn’t seen the boy in two days, and he wanted to see him while he was in Ireland.
“I haven’t seen my son in three days. I’m home for two weeks,” he said. “Every email that’s been sent – I just want to see [our son].
“I left the country to pay for the house for him to stay in.”
He said his former partner brought her neighbour round to tell him he was “just a sperm donor”.
But Judge Ryan struck out the mother’s application for a safety order, telling both parents they were playing the boy off against each other.
“You two need to cop on to something – that you two have a small child and you are both using him as a pawn,” Judge Ryan told them.
Referring to the print out of messages from the father to the mother, Judge Ryan asked the father: “Would he like you to call his mother those words? That is no way to speak to someone. That’s appalling behaviour.”
Addressing the mother, Judge Ryan said, “And it’s appalling behaviour from your point of view.
“This is not a matter for these courts. You both have a behavioural problem. I would suggest the two of you sit back and think about your child.”