Contact for a baby(21 Posts)
Hi, I am separating from my partner.
We have a one year old baby.
I have been the primary carer since she was born - he spends a lot of time away so she has never spent much time with him.
Now talk has turned to contact and I would like to know what would be seen as reasonable.
I was thinking maybe a full day every other weekend and maybe an evening during the week.
I am very against overnight stays at this age and the foreseeable future as I think it would be upsetting for her to be away from me and her home / routine.
I am just wondering if it went to court -
1) how long does it take?
2) what's the likelihood that overnights would be ordered at this age?
I think you need to compromise alot with access arrangements, on both sides. He deserves at least a full weekend day a week and an evening during the week. He needs to keep regular contact and your baby still needs to see him regularly.
As for overnights, just take it week by week. Start off with a day a week and an evening mid week and see how it goes. You can do a weekend every other week in the future when you and your ex are ready for that.
I think sorting it out between you is always better than going to court.If you can.
Has your ex told you what he would like? He may not want overnights yet?
At a young age I would say little and often is better. So a full day every weekend, and at least one but preferably 2 week visits. Your baby is going to spend a significant amount of time with both of you so it needn't be disruptive to be away from you. Her dad's is home from now on too
He has said he does want overnights and also to take her away for weekends on occasion to visit family who live a couple of hours drive from our area.
I am against both right now.
Feel it is far too much too soon at her age and I'm wondering if a court would agree, if it went that far, or would they order it anyway?
Where I live, the normal pattern for under 5 is 3/4/4/3, then next nearest pattern is 2/2/2/2. The only time this doesn't happen is when a parent is violent and they have no contact or supervised contact, when a parent refuses to parent or when the mother is breastfeeding. A whole nation does this. Few parents refuse to parent and fathers take responsibility for child care. This pattern is increasing in the UK and maybe in 20 years will be finally the norm. I have never seen a baby, toddler or school age child "upset" here because both parents share care.
You are unfortunately going to have to compromise and you should offer overnights one night at a time you've got used to it.
When my son was a year old my DH would take him to visit MIL during school holidays while I was still at work.
So, i think you need to accept that overnight visits will happen. Obviously build up to it, little and often building up to weekends with her dad. Avoid court of you can and focus on a contact pattern that will build DD's relationship with her dad and retains your relationship with her.
The decisions you're about to make are not easy. Your daughter is only little and still needs both her mum and dad.
Unless there are genuine concerns over her safety and wellbeing, overnight stays with dad as well as weekends won't harm her at all especially if she is well prepared and knows what is happening, when, how and with whom and that this arrangement is consistent.
Regular and consistent contact with dad will help in maintaining a great relationship between her and dad as well as with you. She will also be able to continue knowing her extended family.
I would avoid court as much as possible as that is simply asking for someone to make a decision on how you're going to raise your child.
Long blocks of time away from either parent, without any form of contact (skype, facetime etc), isn't encouraged at this age.
If you and your STBX find it hard to agree on an age appropriate parenting plan, the do try mediation but avoid court, avoid court, avoid court if possible.
How would you feel if it was the other way around and your ex was avoiding allowing you overnight stays and fair equal access?
A day a fortnight and an evening a week is not fair or equal.
As long as there are no concerns for your child's welfare, you need to compromise for their sake.
Where does he live ? That will have a major bearing on whether overnight contact takes place. Put it this way my 5 year old could barely cope with a night away from me, wet the bed, was up crying in the night etc. The courts do listen if you make a case however you have to offer an alternative like all day once a weekend and an evening visit on a week day
And I disagree about avoiding court, they gave my ex the reality check he needed. Solicitors fill their heads with shit because the nastier it gets the more money they make. I've self represented twice in court, won both times and my ex has stfu and is getting on with what he should have done in the first place ie put the children first
I think if he is able to (considering work etc) he should have 50% access assuming there are no welfare issues. But life isn't as simple as that usually.
Basically you as parents should aim for equal (properly equal) access and work back from there to what is practical and in your daughters best interest. More access now including overnights will help your dd feel secure staying with her dad going forward.
Keep in mind that he will very likely parent differently to you but that doesn't mean he cannot parent well.
We are still unable to agree on this.
Just read my first post back and noticed that I didn't mention that we don't live together.
We never have done so I have always been the primary care giver.
She has never stayed at his or anywhere else without me.
Would this make a difference?
Does anyone know what sort of contact arrangements would be likely to be in order in a situation where mum & dad have never lived together.
I'm in similar position but with 20 month child. I don't think overnight visits are a good idea, but that may be cos I'm still breastfeeding and still doing night feeds. I don't think I'd be keen even if this wasn't a factor, they are too little to understand why mummy isn't there. I'm fortunate in that ex isn't pushing for more access. In fact I can't get ex to commit to an evening a week, he just pops in for half an hour when it suits him, which isn't very helpful. Good luck x
That's what is currently happening here at the moment because we can't agree on anything else - he's just popping round for an hour when it suits him and it's so upsetting.
I agree, they are too little to understand why Mummy isn't there.
I am dead set against overnights at this age.
We can't go on like this.
I feel like we need to put a proper schedule in place.
I will only agree to daytime contact but he wants overnights too.
I would like to know what his chances of getting it would be.
Im not sure his chances would actually be very high of getting overnights straight away through a court if as you say he is often away for long periods of time and has never lived with his child at all. I think they would probably suggest building it up over time to overnights? Does it not go to mediation over and over again first though? in that case he wouldnt get overnights any time soon.
"She has never stayed at his or anywhere else without me.
Would this make a difference?"
Yes, it means overnights need to start ASAP. Because young children are highly adaptable, and it's in her interests that a proper relationship with her father is underway from now.
As she's little, then EOW and one night plus a couple of days a week might be a suitable arrangement, moving towards full 50/50 over a the coming months.
"I would like to know what his chances of getting it would be."
High. He is her father, and she is entitled to a relationship with him.
And even very small children just fine in understanding that Mummy isn't there because they're with Daddy.
Yes, I think this does need to go to court. It is wrong for you to impede your DC's relationship with her parent by seeking to exclude a normal contact pattern from the very start.
What next - not adding overnights later, because she isn't used to them? It's a classic pattern which denies DC their fathers.
He might not be a good father, or always present, or used to putting her ahead of his work. But he's her father. And that's unique and it is in her interests for her to have a proper relationship with him.
Your baby is not your possession and what yoy have written if you repeat it in court a judge would conclude in seconds 50 50 to start asap building up from overnights.
Too young to understand why mum is treating them as a possession and on your own admission refusing more than an hour s access. Take some responsibility and share.
Why do some mums behave like this
As long as there are no welfare concerns then he should have equal contact.
Yes the first few overnights maybe unsettling for her but she will soon adapt.
She deserves to have a relationship with her dad.
My dd just turned one when we split. My exH had not had much contact with our dd and had never looked after her on his own and had no idea what her routine was.
No, I didn't want him to have a part in her life because he didn't deserve to because he's left me for another woman, but at the end of the day, my dd had a right to have a relationship with her dad.
We started off slowly and over the coming years it became 5/3 nights and then when she was about 3 it became 50/50. He has become the best father to my dd that I could ever wish for and I am proud of myself for putting my dd first, rather than wanting to use my dd as punishment for the hurt he caused me.
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