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.

cheekybaubles Mon 19-Nov-12 14:55:01

Errr, Yanbu.
He will need to make other arrangements. Too soon and not a good idea.

I don't think YABU to object to your DC staying in a strange person's home at all. I think you should put a time limit on it and say that IF they are still together in another 3 months then your DC can meet them. I don't understand people who introduce their children to the latest partner after a very short period of time. 3 hours is also a long time for a 2 year old in a car.

Thank you! He is making out like I'm an evil cow who is just jealous of "their happiness"...

Floralnomad Mon 19-Nov-12 15:22:39

I would say no but only because he is not actually living with this woman . I think if and when he moves in it will be slightly different . Do you have agreed access , if not it may be worth sorting that out ,so that everybody knows exactly where they stand. Also if he fails to stick to the agreed access it gives you more leverage when he wants to do things that you consider unreasonable. You have my sympathy because it sounds like your ex is extremely fickle with regards to relationships.

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 15:25:13

You don't get to allow it or not though. He is her father, and equal parent. Where he chooses to go and who with during his contact time is his own affair, unless you want to take him to court to get legal measures put in place to control access.
You might not like what he wants, but you don't have any right to over rule him.

naturalbaby Mon 19-Nov-12 15:25:35

What about his dd's happiness?! Does he really think it's fair for your dd to be stuck in a car for 6hrs for a weekend? I'm reluctant to travel that far for a week away on holiday!

Where is he living? at his GF's?

ProcrastinatingPanda Mon 19-Nov-12 15:28:02

I don't actually think you can decide when he introduces gf's to his daughter sorry, just like he couldn't stop you from doing the same. Yabu.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 15:32:48

The girlfriend has nothing to do with it.

A father should be able to take his 2 year old away for the weekend.

But this douchebag isn't able to care for his child through his own choice, so he'll have to make do with jolly uncle contact until he learns how to be a parent.

no, he doesn't actually live there so it is 100% her (and her exH's) house. i have said things like "where would dd even sleep?" and he just answers with "we'll sort something out" which i don't think is good enough. he "lives" in digs near his work (unsuitable for her to stay there).

does anyone have experience of long-distance contact? would it be ruled in court that this is reasonable?

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 15:35:47

"He is her father, and equal parent."

On what planet is a man who visits his toddler occasionally and won't change her nappies equal to the mother who carried her, nourished her, houses her feeds her, cares for her and looks after her 100% of the time?

Man Planet, that's where.

Floralnomad Mon 19-Nov-12 15:37:44

I think that you need to get contact sorted out on a legal footing . It's very nice when you can all stay friends and do things amicably between you but when these sorts of issues arise you are better off knowing where you stand .

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 19-Nov-12 15:37:54

I am sympathetic to your situation. However, through my own situation I have had legal advice (I would suggest you get your own) to the effect that if he is on the birth certificate and therefore has parental responsability what happens when your DC has contact with him is up to him. As I was told courts are reactive not proactive. So if it goes wrong then they will make a ruling preventing it, but you have to allow the situation to play out.
Not what you wanted to hear I know and I feel your pain.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 15:38:36

Sorry OP, but if he has PR then you have no say in who he sees, who he introduces his daughter to, or where he takes her. She is just as much his as she is yours, and he can do what he wants (within reason).

You may not like it, and I'm sorry about that, but if you do try to stop him, then you risk coming across just as he described you.

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 15:39:01

On the planet of UK law, thats where.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 15:46:49


LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 15:48:42

Oh OP 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 Lovey I'm sorry, but it's not about you or your feelings. It is what is best for your DD, and if that is accepting that her father has moved on, and has a partner willing to help parent his daughter, then so be it.

You never know, this new partner might be absolutely lovely, and your DD happy to see her. Don't comdemn her just for existing.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 15:49:42

But even the sexist UK courts might think twice before sending a toddler off with a man she barely knows who is unable to attend to her most basic needs.

lubeybooby Mon 19-Nov-12 15:51:29

You don't get to allow or forbid it. Sorry, it's his choice.

My DD's dad was a student nurse in Leeds when we split - DD was 16 months.

I lived 2 hours away (he used to come to me for weekends when we were together)

He is a capable and trustworthy parent. That was that. What house they are in is irreelvant.

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 15:53:48

AThing, stop adding in info that isn't there. Barely knows him? They only split up a few months ago and has had contact since, of course she knows him.

Viviennemary Mon 19-Nov-12 15:55:29

Well I probably wouldn't like it myself. But on the other hand if you both have equal rights as parents I can't see why not.

mrsscoob Mon 19-Nov-12 15:57:44

In an ideal world it would be fine if people could be equal parents but if one parent is putting their own needs before the child and just saying "I'm an equal,parent it's my right" then that is wrong and sadly I guess it's up to the other parent to put their foot down. Say no. If he is that bothered he will take you to court, from what you have said he probably won't do that anyway and well if he does by the time it gets to court and IF a judge rules in his favour she will be older nd it won't be such an issue.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 15:57:58

"In the time since split he has seen dd every 2-3 weeks although has gone 4 weeks without seeing her at times."

"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."

That's the "equal parent" of a drunk who uses the TV as a babysitter.

lubeybooby Mon 19-Nov-12 16:01:05

It's never easy to let go of full control. But unless he has a history of absent mindledly leaving her in the middle of railway lines, or locking her in a cupboard and going out clubbing, the best thing for her is to see her dad.

It might not be the best the OP can offer care wise, but it's still for the best. He might not be perfect, but none of us are and we wouldn't want our exes breathing down our necks banning things and judging all the time.

During his contact with the child, he doesn't need permission to go anywhere or see anyone.

If this was OP with the genders reversed everyone would be saying the same as me.

lubeybooby Mon 19-Nov-12 16:02:46

Re: 'not able to handle it won't change nappies blah blah' has he ever tried without the OP standing over him and the child playing the 'I want mummy' card?

It's likely to be very different without OP around and when he has space to actually parent.

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 16:03:19

I've seen a solicitor a few times about similar.

Effectively if he is on the birth certificate then he has automatic parental responsibility (and even if he doesn't have this it would be granted by a court anyway) so in the eyes of the law he has as much right as you do to take your child wherever he likes and introduce them to whom he pleases etc etc.

If you have serious doubts about his parenting ability then you need to voice this to a solicitor but that is a separate issue and to be honest if he has had unsupervised visits until now a court would most likely be uninterested in changing anything.

I'm sorry. I know that's not what you wanted.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 16:03:54

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

I also hate changing nappies - but guess what, when I have no choice, I have to do it - so will he.

In the time since split he has seen dd every 2-3 weeks although has gone 4 weeks without seeing her at times

Re-word it - He saw her every day for 2 years whilst we were together. In the last 6 months (26 weeks) he has seen her 10-13 times. That's more than a deployed soldier would see his child in 6 months...children adjust.

That's the "equal parent" of a drunk who uses the TV as a babysitter

WTF? Are we reading the same OP? Do you always make up your own stories AThing?

VinegarTits Mon 19-Nov-12 16:04:39

nothing in your op suggests your dd would come to any harm and your agruments dont stand up and do make you look slightly bitter im afraid

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 16:06:14

OP hasn't mentioned any drinking at all. Please stop adding your own details to the story, AThing, it isn't helpful.

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 16:06:43

Also... sorry but a court would not be interested in the travel. I moved 250 miles away from my ex and we shared the travel for dd to go to see him every other weekend since she was 6 months old. She is now 9 years old and ironically enough he's moved to USA so that's even more long distance.. she sees him every holiday for a week or so.

AThing- you get what i mean, i wanted to say about the equal parent comment but was worried i would be flamed.

Ok, before we split he did not see her every day- he used to work away, coming home every 1/2 weekends.

My opinion: He doesn't know enough about her. I have suggested they build a relationship so that he can get to know her better but where she can still come home. We can then see how it goes and look at her staying with him in a few months. He is too impatient to do this, wants her to go and stay in a couple of weeks. He is lazy when it comes to parenting- anything hard like changing nappies, getting dressed- he will refuse to do it (so i know this girlfriend will end up doing it) He actually brought her back from the park to my house so I would change her nappy as she had pooed. I was actually in the bath and BELIEVE ME I refused to do it, he was capable etc etc. But in the end he forced me to as she had already been in the nappy 20 minutes and I couldn't let her suffer just because he is a selfish twat.

I am aware I come across bitter, I suppose I am. But I spend EVERY DAY with my baby girl and I only want the best for her and I genuinely believe this is a bad idea.

Also, I am not trying to prevent him being a father, I have fought with him to stay in her life when he decided "It's not worth it"(the hassle) I don't want her to ever have to think her daddy left her. I know the importance of their relationship and have made massive allowances (like letting him stay in my house! and lending him money for travel) to ensure he sees her.

So, in a court, a judge will rule that she can go and stay in a stranger's home?

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 16:44:33

But she is not a stranger is she? She is your exes partner.

That's how a court would see it I'm afraid.

The same way that if you met a new partner or boyfriend it would have nothing to do with your ex how youchoose to introduce him to your dc or when you decided to let him stay over or stay there. The court would say as her parent you should be able to make those decisions yourself and they would say the same for your ex.

Nandocushion Mon 19-Nov-12 16:47:06

So - how exactly do they "build a relationship" if you don't want him to have her for the weekend, and you won't let him come to yours?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 19-Nov-12 16:53:01

Why don't you ask your ex-P if you can meet his new partner before your daughter goes to stay with him. That way she wouldn't seem like such a faceless stranger. You never know she might be really nice.

Also, I know it's difficult when there is bad feeling after a break-up, but why don't you try to talk to him about your concerns rather than simply saying no to him and expecting him to go along with it. It might be there is a compromise to be had which doesn't involve him having no weekend contact for the next 6 months!

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 16:55:40

She is a stranger to the child.

Isn't that who we're pretending to be interested in here when we insist that her inadequate, neglectful father is "equal" to the only decent parent she has?

How can it possibly be in a toddler's interests to be taken away from everything that is familiar to her to be cared for by a woman she doesn't know?

If she had a proper father who looked after her like a father should, then a visit to his girlfriend would be fine.

But in this situation this little girl will be having her nappies changed by a woman she had never met.

I have a 2 year old. She would find that very distressing.

Just say no, OP. When he starts changing nappies, then you'll talk.

Lia87 Mon 19-Nov-12 17:08:04

The majority of repliers here have obviously never had any experience of how worryingly useless some fathers can be. Only some, but they still exist, not all dads want to be involved to care about the childs needs. It sounds like he's put these other women before her, moving away from his toddler for a fling, it would be understandable for a job etc but not a short term girlfriend
also if he can go a month not seeing her then suddenly want her its like he just wants to play family and act the good dad to this woman. I'd definitely meet her before you let her stay, for a start if this womans likely to be doing the care you want to make sure she seems a decent person and that your daughter is safe. Does she want to go to dads or not? I'd then base if you let him have her overnight or not on how your daughter feels as her needs and emotional happiness comes before his want to suddenly see her now the girlfriends involved

OverlyWordyHurdyGurdy Mon 19-Nov-12 17:17:05

I think YANBU at all. So silly to call her his partner after such a short time when this is the second relationship he's been in since he broke up with OP just a few months ago. How old is he, 15?

Unfortunately legally you have no say in where he takes her and who with. But I put stipulations on when my dcs could spend time with OW while with XH, and I never felt I was doing anything wrong, by putting them first. But XH and ow had done make up break up rubbish, and it wasn't fair on my children not knowing if she was going to be there or not. I said 3months of a stable relationship. After 2 months they moved in together and I agreed that it was time for the children to meet her again.

Legally I had no right but morally I thought I did what was best for my children.

4 years later and they are still together. But I still think I did the right thing.

I don't think YABU op but legally it's none of your business.

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 17:26:10

If you really think your coparent is unfit, you go to court to sort it out properly. What you can't do is unilaterally decide for them where they can and can't go with the child.

That is the reality of it. You don't have to like it, but you have to deal with it, or follow the correct procedure.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 17:29:02

But the OP cant "just say no" . Whether the OP (or MNers) like it or not, if he is on the birth certificate he has PR and if he has PR then the court will rule 50/50 shared parenting as a starting point. If the OP wants less then that she would have to come up with a lot better concerns than 'he doesn't change shitty nappies'

Remember the contact he is asking for is less than 50/50, so if the ex took this to court the OP could actually be 'worse off' than now. Is that worth the risk?

This is nothing to do with the girlfriend. Where dad takes child is irrelevant.

Unless OP can prove that dad is neglectful, then she cannot, by law lay down the rules regarding contact.

tisnottheseasonyet Mon 19-Nov-12 17:38:17

Uh, someone disagreed with athing, AND thinks a man should have some sort of say over his child, I'll await the cavalry.

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 17:43:25

Why should the OP go to court?

He can this to court if he wants to apply for his latest squeeze to have 50-50 shared care with his child's mother.

For now, as the little girl's only real parent, she needs to make sure her daughter isn't put in a frightening and degrading position for her "father"'s entertainment.

Refusing to change a nappy is neglect. There are no two ways about that.

MissCellania Mon 19-Nov-12 17:45:28

Children are not owned by their mothers AThing, and fathers have rights. So do children, the right to be involved with both of their parents.
You might want to remember that sometimes.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 17:50:35

AThing, if the OP lays conditions on whether the child's father can see his child, then the father can take the OP to court.

If the father takes this to court then the court will, as a starting point, allow for 50/50 shared contact - that is what the law changed to recently.

The 'latest squeeze' (what a horrible way to describe another female - shame) doesn't come into the equation at all.

Refusing to change a nappy may well be neglect - but how exactly is the OP going to prove that ever happened? "he said/she said" doesn't go down well in court.

Morally, you and the OP may have a point - but why get the OPs hopes up when legally she can't do anything. Support to the OP is one thing, but dont recommend a course of action that could get the OP into trouble.

Ok, I feel like I'm getting a bit of a battering from some people! Even if legally, he is within his rights, surely any mother would feel the same way??

Those of you who are just telling me to suck it up, I do wonder how you would react to the same news?

AThingInYourLife Mon 19-Nov-12 17:54:04

Children have never been owned by their mothers.

Just their fathers.

And clearly a lot of people liked it that way.

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.

Because 2 year olds are not people in their own right with their own feelings about their bodies and their privacy.

They are playthings for men who are "equal" to any woman no matter how much caring she does, just by virtue of having ejaculated once.

LtEveDallas Mon 19-Nov-12 17:59:59

Bloody hell, OP no-one is giving you a battering. They are trying to make you see that really, legally, you can't stop him seeing his child if he has PR.

It is something you have to face up to.

I would say exactly the same if you were a man, the law is the law. And that's that.

It's fine to feel bad about it, it's fine to be totally against it, it's crap, I get it. But you don't have much choice. Trust me, I've been there - and so have other posters on this thread.

AThing - it's postings like yours that give this site a bad name for being 'man haters' . That is nothing to be proud of.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 19-Nov-12 18:03:07

Whilst I see what you are saying AThing, until the op gets legal advice to change the situation, then the law is the law.

missymoomoomee Mon 19-Nov-12 18:03:38

If you only saw him every 1-2 weekends when you were with him he isn't actually seeing your daughter much less now, it was acceptable then, yet it isn't now.

Its hard to seperate feelings out when you split on bad terms but its in your daughters best interests to have a relationship with her father, and there isn't a lot you can do about who he introduces her to tbh. Would you like him to have a say on who you see fit to introduce to your daughter?

In all honesty I think your feelings about having another woman in your daughters life is clouding your judgement a bit, saying that, its totally understandable and I think I would feel the same, but in reality there isn't anything you can do about it as long as she is being looked after properly. sad it must be very hard for you. Have you got family or friends close by to support you, especially the first weekend he is away with her?

MistressIggi Mon 19-Nov-12 18:04:18

What is fair in legal terms may well not be what is fair in moral terms.
This man does not sound particularly deserving of his dd, does he? Let's hope the new girlfriend is nice and bonds with the child (and sticks around).

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."


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.

katiecubs Tue 20-Nov-12 09:57:59

If it was me then I would definatey want to meet the new girlfriend first - especially if she was the one doing a lot of the care.

Surely any sort of reasonable man would agree to that.

I would'nt worry too much about the nappies thing - he may have been crap in the past but between them they won't leave a 2 yr old sitting in a dirty nappy. And of course if there was any evidence that they did you could stop the contact on account of neglect.

Good luck OP I get this is a horrible situation and I hope it works out x

Thanks for all your responses. It does make me feel better to see so many people agreeing with my idea. And so many of you who have been through a similar mess and survived.

I still need to get over the whole break up. It happened a few weeks before we were due to get married so I was left both humiliated and heartbroken. I am thinking about seeking counselling.

I am going to speak to a solicitor. It probably would make me feel better to have firm arrangements in place so he can't keep moving the goalposts. He has been terrible at paying me money for dd, if I say something he doesn't like, he just doesn't pay to as "punishment". This is also something that I know the new gf has actually suggested as a strategy for him getting what he wants- refuse money. This sort of thing makes me worry about what she is really like.

Thanks for pointing out the positives smile

missymoomoomee Tue 20-Nov-12 11:26:48

As far as money is concerned if that is his attitude go to the CSA and get it taken off his wages. The only person he is punishing by not paying is his DD.

LtEveDallas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:50:39

This is also something that I know the new gf has actually suggested as a strategy for him getting what he wants- refuse money

How do you know that OP?

The next time he does this, remind him that children aren't "Pay Per View" - He's mixing up his responsibilities to his child and his Sky contract.

You definately need to go to the CSA as well as a solicitor in that case.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 20-Nov-12 12:18:50

Just to put another spin on this my ex was shite at contact etc. until a lovely woman came into his life and I can't thank her enough.

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