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to object to ex taking 2 year old dd 3 hours away to stay at his girlfriend's house?

(80 Posts)

Background: split with ex 6 months ago- cheating bastard. In the time since split he has seen dd every 2-3 weeks although has gone 4 weeks without seeing her at times. He has chosen to move 200+ miles away (initially to be with OW but then they split up). Arrangements have been that he comes for the weekend, I was actually letting him stay at my house for a while, before he became unbearable.

So, now that he is settled in a "serious relationship" with another woman(!) who he has been seeing three months he wants to:

a) introduce her to dd (I'm fairly certain this has already happened last week behind my back but he won't admit to it)

b) take her to stay at new woman's house for weekends - he will come and pick her up, bring her back etc. (he has no proper home of his own, lives in digs)

AIBU to not want to allow this??

Firstly, the travelling is an issue for poor dd in the car for 3 hours each way. Also, I can't stress enough that he is nowhere near a hands-on dad. He won't even change nappies and as soon as dd starts saying "no" to him, he can't handle it. So I am concerned that his relationship with dd is not close enough yet that she will be fine with just daddy and a strange woman. I just can't cope with the thought of him letting this woman do everything for my baby, which I know is going to happen. And the thought of my lovely girl being sad or wondering where mummy is.

chocolateygoo Mon 19-Nov-12 18:04:37

A friend was in a similar situation, but from the other side. She met a guy, who happened to have a <6 months old DC from a previous relationship, and who looked after DC every other weekend. In reality, my friend looked after DC every other weekend, right from the start, until they eventually divorced 7 years later. Sadly she then lost all contact with DC despite having developed a huge relationship with her.

In fact, the reason for the divorce was that after they had their own DC, friend realised the truth - the guy was a total loser, who gave her no support in looking after their own DC at all. He hadn't changed one bit over the years.

Not really sure where I'm going with all this... maybe just to say, the new woman might be an unwilling victim in this too!

OP can you suggest that the first weekend you go along too, or would that be too weird? Then you can help settle DD in, and make sure the house is suitable for kids, and the new partner is ok, etc.

millie30 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:06:07

The law doesn't make an assumption of 50-50 actually, just that children should be entitled to maintain relationships with both parents after a split.

OP I understand you are unhappy with the situation. I am in a similar situation where I have legitimate concerns about my ex's ability to care for DS. The court shared these concerns and he had supervised contact only for nearly 4 years. However despite my objections it recently moved to unsupervised on the basis that my DS' need to forge a relationship with his father was the most important thing, and the judge actually used the phrase "warts and all."

I could have kept fighting but I made the decision to relinquish my control for a few hours a fortnight and accept that whilst his father doesn't have the same standards of parenting that I do, I know that he loves DS and wouldn't deliberately hurt him. Accepting this reality has allowed me to be alot calmer and less stressed about being in a permanent state of litigation. By all means discuss your worries with your ex and try to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement, but if you do go down the route of courts it is likely that he will continue to have unsupervised contact and you will not be able to stipulate who he visits during this time.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 19-Nov-12 18:08:28

I think anger is a very understandable emotion. as is the strong need to protect your child

ow ever, for the sake of your daughter, you do need to sort this out as amicably as possible. She needs a relationship with her father.

If he screws it up, that is his problem.

Do get legal advice.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 18:08:38

grin @ man haters

I couldn't give a shiny shite if misogynists think that a disdain for bad fathers and abusive men is "man hating".

No adequate father or decent bloke refuses to change their toddler's nappy.

A woman who refused to change her child's shitty nappies would get strips torn off her on here.

But it's fine to hand over a toddler to a man you know is going to outsource all the care to a woman the child has never met.

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 18:13:33

I think there's two issues here.

1. Whether he is actually a bad dad... if he won't change a nappy then yes he is a bad dad and op should go to a solicitor and say contact should only be under her supervision or at a contact centre until such time as he can prove he is a caring and hands-on father. However given the fact he has been having unsupervised contact thus far I can't see the court agreeing to change the scenario. Maybe I'm wrong.

2. The girlfriend issue. Nowt can be done about this. For all the reasons already explained. Even though the op is completely reasonable to feel upset and angry about the ex and his behaviour.

HildaOgden Mon 19-Nov-12 18:21:14

It's a horrible situation,and No,I wouldn't like it at all.

I think it might be an idea for you to meet with the GF,you might find she has more sense than him and will be more open to discussing it all with a view for whats best for your dd ....especially if you bite your tongue and show her your nicer side and undo the image of bitter shrew that he has probably painted of you

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 19-Nov-12 18:21:40

OP I know it must hurt but you know what hurts more a 5 yr old asking why his dad doesn't come over and why is he stuck in Jamaica. Count your blessings that your dd has a dad that wants to see her and is able to.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 19:02:21

Glad you find it funny AThing. Tell you what, when you've finished making up stories and purposely twisting other peoples words, maybe people will take you seriously. You're not helping here, just spewing out the same-old-same-old.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 19:10:50

Now come on Lt, what are you doing for MN's reputation amongst people who think it is full of humourless bossy bootses?

(The same ones who think we're all man haters, of course.)

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 19:14:56

Oh, so you weren't serious before then, just having a joke. Oh right, I get it now. Excellent (although you'd better explain that to the OP, because I think she thought you were serious).

Good one, you really had me going for a while grin

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 19-Nov-12 19:16:22

Yanbu op. I wouldn't have wanted that for my child at 2yrs old.

YANBU and I am shocked at some people's posts. You and your DD have been left by this man of his own volition, and whilst of course he has a right to see his daughter and she needs to have a relationship with him, you need to do it in such a way to minimise disruption to your DD. Taking her miles away to a strangers house (she is a total stranger to your DD) away from her mother for a whole weekend would, in my opinion, be very disruptive to her. A better idea is the one you have come up with, do it gradually over a few months until you know she is happy to go with her father. She is your daughter and her well being is both of your responsibilities. He must see that for her sake. You don't sound bitter to me, just a caring mum. You didn't choose this situation and nor did your DD. He needs to understand this needs to be done softly softly for the best overall outcome. Good luck OP.

babyboomersrock Mon 19-Nov-12 19:25:11

"If he screws it up, that is his problem" - but sadly, it will also be his little daughter's problem.

Poor baby. At two years old, and with no say in the matter, she's entitled to feel safe, surely? Not despatched on a long journey with a man who doesn't look after her properly, to stay at the house of someone she doesn't know.

In the OP's shoes, I'd be worrried sick. It may be "the law" - that neither makes it right, not any more tolerable.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 19-Nov-12 19:43:09

OP I think the very best thing that you can do is to see a solicitor.
I know for me this didn't solve my problems immediately, but it did give me knowledge and knowledge is power.
As I said I can sympathise with you my situation is slightly different in that my DD is nearly 9. She cries and says she feels she has to be in charge when ExH is with OW and OW'sDD. However, so far nothing concrete has actually occurred so the best I can do is listen.
However, on the advice of my solicitor I keep a diary of all these events.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 19-Nov-12 19:46:26

Baby...yes, you are right, there is a baby girl at the heart of this. There is a balance between protecting her but also allowing her to have a relationship with her father.

The only way of resolving 'the law' is to find out what 'the law' actually says.

ginnybag Mon 19-Nov-12 21:05:37

I'd second demanding to talk to the girlfriend. For a start, does sh know she'll be changing nappies all weekend?

This woman could be your greatest ally, OP. It's unlikely that she'd be willing to see a 2 yo suffer, so why not speak to her honestly and tell her your concerns? Don't whinge about your ex, just say that you're worried about your daughter, about her needs and how they'll be met. Perhaps volunteer to stay nearby in a hotel, for the first couple of visits.

You can't stop your DD's father seeking contact, including overnight, so try to make the best of it. Insist on meeting girlfriend and on your DD meeting her in a familiar environment, then a shared trip out, then them going on a day excursion first.

If your Ex (and the GF) are reasonable, they'll agree to a slow build up. If not, you'll have something solid to make note of. But it must be, honestly, what's right for you DD and that isn't necessarily, heartbreaking as it must be for you, always being with you.

HissyByName Mon 19-Nov-12 22:49:33

Looking at this from a logistical point of view, removing all sentiment etc, it's just not FAIR on the GF to have a 2yo to care for out of nowhere. He's a CRAP dad and it will scream that to his GF loud and clear, I'd be surprised if she didn't dump him before New Year.

I actually agree with some of what AThing says

"The OP wants her daughter to have a relationship with her father.

His distance from his daughter is a result of his choices and preferences.

My advice is that until he is happy to change his own toddler's nappy he shouldn't have her overnight, and apparently that is crazy lunacy because obviously it is great for a 2 year old to spend a weekend with a total stranger changing her nappy."

I think OP, that you would be best served by coolly telling that in principle of course he needs to take an equal role in looking after his DD, but that due to numerous different reasons, he is not quite ready to take over that total responsibility and that it's simply not fair on ANYONE, least of all his DD that it will fall to his new GF. It's not a jealousy/bitter thing, it's a sensible parenting decision thing.

Remind him of the park poo drive by nappy, not to have a go, but if he can't care for her yards from your home, what makes him think he can 300 miles away.

Tell him that you would be the first to encourage that he takes her and spends a great christmas with her, but that atm there is too much that he will struggle with. Tell him that this time next year, she will probably be pottytrained, so there won't be the issue that there is this year.

Suggest that THIS christmas is YOURS and that in the next 12m you will BOTH work towards HIM having her overnight, and ideally for christmas.

There is no rush, your DD is 2, next year she'll be 3 and it will be easier.

Say NO to the christmas visit this year, and state that he can have next year. If he feels strongly enough, he can take you to court... it won't make the court list before christmas I shouldn't think.... and if you are sensible, calm and pragmatic, no judge would ever rule in his favour when next year is offered instead.

Thanks for all the responses.

I do know that I need to come to terms with my dd going off to stay with him. It's so hard though, I still can't really believe we are in this situation. I never envisaged being a single mother.

I am taking advice and seeking a solicitor tomorrow. I just wish that he would be a bit more sensitive and reasonable.

Those saying to meet the gf are quite right, I know you are. Not sure if I am ready for that though...

maddening Tue 20-Nov-12 07:15:30

I wouldn't have thought he would get 50/50 contact or even overnight if he has nowhere for her to stay? While he is resident in digs?

I appreciate his gf has her own home but could a court rule her home being that she is not yet a long term partner nor have any responsibility in the dd's life?

I think that you would be fair to ask them to come down once a month/fortnight and stay either at his parents with dd or in a hotel/apartment with unlimited access to dd.

Eventually she will have to go to stay with him but surely a bit of stability and an arrangement that allows contact with minimal disruption so everyone can get used to each other etc would be for the best?

I realise he has rights but surely his responsibility as a parent is to ensure dd is happy and settled so playing it slowly and sensibly would be ideal?

HissyByName Tue 20-Nov-12 07:25:16

You are your dd's First protector, you make the decision initially, if he has a problem, let HIM seek legal advice.

There is no contact arrangement in place, no orders etc, so agreement has to be reached between yourselves.

You don't agree with his plans, with good reason. That's enough for you for now.

TheWombat Tue 20-Nov-12 07:33:59

Difficult situation OP. I agree with others that refusing to be a hands- on parent is the issue here, not the GF. But maybe meeting or talking to the GF is a good idea.

I think LtEve does speak sense re accepting your ex's new partner.

NorthernNobody Tue 20-Nov-12 07:36:27

I had legitimate concerns about ex (unstable acute mental health, not feeding them properly, chaotic lifestyle) but knew that he has a legal right to see the DC.

My version of what is the right way to bring up a child will differ from many on here and if I suggested you shouldn't have access to your DC you'd be incandescent.

You do have to accept that your DC will be experiencing things you don't want for her. Unless they are life threatening/dangerous/ illegal or abusive you do just have to accept.

My approach was to swallow my anger and bitterness and put DD first by suggesting alternatives to his barking mad plans. The alternatives inconvenienced me enormously. He accepted them. Sounds like access to her Dad for your DD is difficult because of distance. Get around that in a fair way for him and he might not feel the need to A&E her away?

AThingInYourLife Tue 20-Nov-12 07:44:44

"I think OP, that you would be best served by coolly telling that in principle of course he needs to take an equal role in looking after his DD, but that due to numerous different reasons, he is not quite ready to take over that total responsibility and that it's simply not fair on ANYONE, least of all his DD that it will fall to his new GF."

Exactly.

Or "until you are willing and able to change her nappies, or she is toilet trained, you can only have her between shites."

Mercury5000 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:57:17

Hi igotdaboobies. I fully see your concerns, my DS was 2 when I split up with his Dad and I would have hated the idea of him going away for weekends, to a Father who was nt hands on and a strange woman doing his intimate care. I ve just been to see a Lawyer over contact (my DS is older now) and it was very reassuring. You are right to go and see a Lawyer - many offer a free first visit. Although you both have equal parental responsibility, you are the Primary Care Giver and so do have more say in your DDs contact arrangements. The child`s right to have a relationship with her Father is important, but the childs welfare is paramount. Contact is for the Child`s benefit, first and foremost. It is all for her needs, not for his. I would talk solely about his abilities, during discussions with him and emphasize that she is his responsibility when in his care, no one else`s. Not his girlfriend`s, even if she is lovely - the point of contact is for DD to build a relationship with Dad. Setting a precedent is important too - it is harder to stop contact arrangements, once they have been set up by you both. So if it was me, I would think it would be much better for DD, for Dad to do the travelling, and just have her for periods during the day and not overnights until he is fully competent to care for her. Tell the Lawyer your whole story and full concerns. I m still going to avoid going to court just in case I got a Judge who did nt agree with my Lawyer, and not going to tell my ex I have been to see Lawyer, in case it speeds him down the road to court. However, I do feel calmer and able to speak sensibly with him about contact and placing first the mental stability and physical safety of my DS. I think a long journey away from you and a weekend with incompetent Father and strange woman would be confusing and distressing for your DD. Hope this works out for you and DD xx

LtEveDallas Tue 20-Nov-12 09:12:04

OP - Honey, you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel like that. Your world was turned upsaide down by his actions. It's bloody unfair and you are left picking up the pieces. How many women do expect to become single parents?

Would it help to look at the positives more? You have a wonderful DD that you adore. You have found out early that your partner is an unfaithful twunt - it's still not great but it's better than you finding out 5 years/2 more kids down the line. If he is as useless as you say, then you were a single parent before he left. You have one less child to look after!

Seeing a solicitor is the most important thing for you right now. I think it would help to get it straight in your head. I know the knee jerk reaction is not to let him take your DD away, but learn what the law says, and negotiate from there. The more reasonable you are, the less he can 'demand'.

Seeing the new partner is a good idea too. Maybe not yet, but when it is feeling less raw. Don't build her up to be the bogeyman - your issue is with your ex, not with whoever he chooses to be with now. She didn't cause the break-up of your family, he did that. If you can start and then remain on good terms with her it can only be good for your DD in the future.

Oh, and being 'reasonable, calm and collected' in front of her will help to negate any stories he may try to impress upon her. You don't need to be her friend, but if she is a decent person, if she intends to stay with your ex, it will save a lot of heartache.

Good luck.

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