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Help regarding a very possible child access case - v long sorry!(93 Posts)
I have DT who turn 13 this year. While pregnant with them the ex upped and left - leaving a note (no conversation or anything) saying sorry but he wasn't ready to be a dad. The DTs have contact with his parents - they're pretty good. Ex apparently moved to Ireland and has never asked about or had any contact with the twins - until recently. His parents told me he'd married, had a baby and wanted to meet the twins this summer. I've been up in the air about this but put my own feelings aside and agreed to it - if it's what the children wanted. When discussed one minute they want to and one minute they don't. I passed my number on to his parents to contact the twins via phone conversation first so I could gage how serious he was (past alcoholic, weed smoking fuckwit) and to go slowly-slowly.
When he phoned I tried being civil (believe me that was hard) I explained contact would be going at the twins pace, via phone first, leading up to a meeting this summer - if that's what they wanted - but supervised, then in a hope of unsupervised given time. I was met with a hurl of abuse of how I wasn't telling him what contact he could have with his children - certainly not supervised and if that's how I wanted to play it then to expect a solicitors letter.
So he seemed to back down and had one conversation with DT1 which ended up in him calling her a spoilt bitch who had no respect for her elders because she didn't call him dad but by his first name. Then went off in to a tirade of how she didn't know the background and had no right to judge. How I was a poisonous bitch because I'd poisoned their minds when he's trying to make amends.
So after a long background I'm wondering where do I stand if it does go to court. Is what I've offered unreasonable? I doubt DT1 will want anything to do with him now - and I don't blame her. Would she be forced to? His parents have stated that he will take it to court as his new baby deserves to know siblings. All we've seemed to have is abuse each time he's contacted. Personally I'd prefer if he never contacted again. I've claimed no CSA off him (despite being told to recently) as I don't want anything off him. We've got by fine without his input.
You have been very reasonable.
Your DT have no relationship with this person and it would be hard to achieve without what has just happened. The DT are at an age when court will take note of thier wishes and feelings. But non of this will make the court process any less stressful - from what he puts in his statements as to the reason why he is only making contact now to what he says happened during that phone call.
Solicitors are vital but very expensive but then he would have to pay those costs too but he could self rep as could you.
A relationship with a sibling later down the line (as too young now anyway) can be discussed then you have not said you would stop that. As with all family cases there are of course law issues but these have to be mixed in with moral and social issues. There is the legal protocol that has to be followed but he hasn't gone down that route yet. I think a letter from him to DT would be helpful but you have sight of it first. Do you still have the note he left you when he left?
I am shocked he would say that to DT1. How are things with his parents now? how often did they see DT? I feel for you all.
His parents see them quite regularly. They're actually a positive influence in the DTs lives. I've always had a good relationship with them despite the ex. However, since he's reared his ugly head things are a little strained between us. He is their son after all and they feel he deserves a chance. They actually asked if I didn't agree to his terms and demands would it be ok for DT to still meet their sibling sooner rather than later. I've told them no for the time being which hasn't gone down too well at all. They feel that the sibling is also an innocent party in all this. I completely agree but I don't think it's appropriate to do a meeting via the grandparents when they don't even know their own father. Things are confusing enough for them with him suddenly appearing without adding in his other child just yet.
Why can't grandparents be there when dts meet him? At 13 I don't really see the necessity for supervised contact tbh it really should be between him & his children. He was very wrong to say what he did BUT it does seem from your post as though you are being a bit controlling (understandably from your POV but obviously not from his.
RedHelen: The reason I want it supervised is because he is practically a stranger to them. I do not feel comfortable with him just taking them off alone when they don't know him. Even more so now when the only contact he has had has resulted in him being verbally abusive to DT1. I haven't ruled out him having unsupervised at all - after a period of commitment and consistency on his part.
I also have no problem with the grandparents being there. It is he who wants it his way or no way. I'd also prefer it to be DTs getting to know their dad before any other family members get introduced (wife and baby). He expects it to be one big happily family in one go and that's it. He's not willing to take it on go slow and think how all this is affecting the DTS. He's a selfish twat.
I'm in a similar position. I'd rather my ex took the time to get to know ds first; emails, letters, phone calls. He can't be arsed to do this though. It does take time to build bridges and there's not a lot you can do if he can't be reasonable and patient. Your children are old enough to decide whether they want to spend time with him, which is very unlikely if he doesn't make the effort.
I still don't really see the need for supervised contact, sorry. Different if they were younger. i totally get he's a prat but he is half of them & I am sure they are curious if nothing else about theiur father.
He sounds abusive, RedHelenB. He also doesn't know his children so it would be akin to leaving them with a bloke down the pub.
What is the alternative to non supervision, drop them off somewhere, like the local park and leave them with a total stranger? Regardless of who this man is, he is a stranger to the twins. How exactly would it be in the twins best interest to leave them with a stranger? The op obviously wants to protect her children.
What a bastard. Someone who would call a 13 year he's never met old a bitch over the phone is definitely not someone who should be allowed unsupervised access.
That said, I think you might want to reconsider the GP's idea of contact between the siblings. Obviously a new baby will have no ability to engage, but once this sibling is a toddler/3yo-ish then I think it's a great thing, and not unreasonable at all, for your Ts and the ex's toddler to have the opportunity to get to know each other by regularly both being at GPs house in the absence of either set of parents - the kids should be able to get to know each other without the twins having to get to know their git of a father.
Apologies I used "set of" incorrectly in the above...
You don't see why the OP wants supervised contact between an abusive stranger and her 13 year old children Helen? Really?
OP, you are doing so much to try and keep everyone happy and why? because you happen to be the children's mother and care for them deeply and have always done. You have caused non of this.
redhelen wow, if I had been faced with this at 13 and my mum sent me to meet some bloke calling himself `daddy' on my own, I would have thought she had gone crazy or it was a joke. I know children develop at different ages but at 13, they are children and need to feel as secure as possible as much as possible. I know people have different views on how to create strong, individuals but I think the OP is right to want supervision. Having a sense of security as a child is so important to enable you to grow up into a secure adult and that doesn't always require having had `daddy' around.
OP with regards the sibling, I agree with you, it is one step at a time - you have to facilitate all this and you do have blood in your veins as well. I really feel for you, you are doing so well.
It could be so amicable if they stepped up to the plate and just considered everything as you are doing - hope that is how it all woks out.
You are not controlling in any way, being able to offer other solutions and manage your children's best interest is just being a good mum. It can't have been easy with twins on your own all these years. They make me laugh thinking they can jump back in and after 13 years !!!! and any slight concern from you is seen as controlling...it's not the movies there are no guaranteed happy endings and when people are capable of leaving it all these years it says something, beware.
I often wonder why I come on here sometimes as the view in the `real world' often differers considerably. But I do like to see what rhetoric is being peddled as there are also some wonderful people who come up with much better rebuffs than I ever would.. and I store them up just in case
Well, I would have thought she would have told them what she knew about their father as they were growing up. Thirteen year olds meet new people every day without their mum there! OP hasn't suggested he is dangerous.
RedHelen, You would really leave your children with someone who had called one of them a "spoilt bitch" during the only contact they'd ever had? Really??
I don't think that starting with supervised contact is unreasonable at all.
I think the mistake made was that OP explained (or rather told!) the father what was going to happen. She very obviously doesn't want this man in her or her childrens lives BUT they do have a dad & a half sister & whatever they may say to the mother I am sure would want to meet him. I know it's hard but my ex for whatever reasons refused to discuss contact with me . it all went through the kids from them being very young - totally their own thing. But all kids want to know their fathers
"he is half of them"
No, he is not.
They are 13 year olds, not zygotes.
"But all kids want to know their fathers"
No, they don't.
I think the mistake made was that OP explained (or rather told!) the father what was going to happen
No, what she said would happen was perfectly sensible and reasonable. He has never been in their lives at all - he left when the OP was pregnant.
I can not imagine any sane person letting someone who is a verbally abusive stranger have unsupervised contact with their children.
BTW - courts rarely insist on supervised access.
Op knows this guy and obviously had reservations about them meeting him alone. All people are different and this guy sounds like a selfish idiot. Presumably op had an idea of that prior to speaking to him which is why she suggested supervised contact. She was right wasn't she? He's not about the children at all.
Having had extensive court experience with childrens matters, courts would suggest exactly as OP has suggested, indirect contact at first, leading to supported and then unsupervised.
Also the childrens wishes and feelings would be taken into account as they are thirteen years old.
OP write down exactly what happened at the first attempted indirect contact session in a diary, and diarise all future attempts too, if it goes to court you need something to back your version up.
If he wants contact again, email him your contact proposal, so again you have something in writing for court purposes, not sure how it would work out if he applied thro the Irish courts.
Also OP has maintained a relatiosihp with her ex IL's for the children, she is certainly not trying to cut off her ex at all, he's being a bully. He's not even able to be nice to his daughter over the phone after however many years, I would not want my thirteen year old going off alone with such a person father or not.
I think by supervised the op meant with the grandparents being there? Not an 'official' person.
This man is a stranger to them with a history of drug/alcohol use and the children are unsure about contact so the op is right to take things slowly. Ob
He can take it to court but at their ages he cant insist on contact if the twins refuse to go they cant be physically made to but it will be stressful for all.
Seeing sibling via grandparents seems fine, they wont have much of a relationship to begin with if sibling is a baby.
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