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Help regarding a very possible child access case - v long sorry!

(93 Posts)
TakingTimeOut Thu 23-May-13 11:00:44

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.

Collaborate Fri 24-May-13 07:47:00

If he's not prepared to take it at the pace of the children themselves then he's going to get nowhere. If he can't speak nicely to them on the phone, what chance he would be bothered to take it to court?

kittycat68 Fri 24-May-13 09:16:49

op, this is a forum and you are going to get alot of different personal views on here.
Some people have more knowlege than others as they work in this field.
Op you have done all the right things, let him apply to court if that is what he wants to do, but remain child focused through out.
He would not get unsupervised contact from day one , a court would rule for it to be supported contact ie the GP initally. Dont be bullied by your ex . ignore redhelens comments (clearly on an agenda)here.

betterthanever Fri 24-May-13 11:00:42

I think the mistake made was that OP explained (or rather told!) the father what was going to happen. .. the mistake the OP made...... how dare she, especially after 13 years of looking after DT on her own...... Red I really don't understand what you feel can be gained from saying all this to the OP.

I agree with kitty well put and explained fuzzy collabroate - well said.

Good luck OP. Hope your RL friends can support you, you are doing a lot, you are a strong lady, I wish I had half your strength.

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Fri 24-May-13 11:23:28

The OP is putting her children first. She isn't controlling at all. If the children's father wants to see them or be a part of their life then he needs to make an effort and start off slowly.

TakingTimeOut Fri 24-May-13 11:44:19

Red Leaving kids with virtual strangers may be ok with you but it's certainly not the case with me - and seems like everyone else too. The man may be their biological father but he is a complete stranger. If some passer by on the street asked you to take your kids for a while - would that be ok? In fact as it seems ok by you to leave kids with strangers should I pack them off to stay with him instead and just hope he's there to meet on the other end? At what point did I say I didn't want him having contact? I've never said he wouldn't be able to have them unsupervised eventually. Can you say he no longer drinks like a fish and smokes weed? I'd like evidence and a relationship to be built first. All I said was that I'd prefer he no longer contacts here because each time he has been verbally abusive to both dt1 and I. He can now go through his parents.

Unfortunately I don't think a relationship with the kids is important to him. He's not willing to work on it or accept any responsibility for his actions. He'd use the court route just to stir up stress and upset because he can - regardless of what the outcome.

RedHelenB Fri 24-May-13 13:13:19

He's not a stranger - he is someoney ou decided to have children with & the children's father! And at 13 they ARE old enough for MUm not to need to input in to their relationship with their dad. I am divorced, have friends who have divorced & i can categorically tell you that what the children say/think about their fathers & what the mothers think they think DO NOT match up!

betterthanever Fri 24-May-13 13:20:37

He's not a stranger.................. ??? WTF well red that is just it isn't it - he is to the children, OP was not alking about herself.....their welfare is what is important. You sound a very unsupportive parent to be honest but are entilted to parent however you see fit - as does the OP. They do not have a relationship with thier father at all, I would of thought you would agree for her to support her DT to have one was a good thing?

What a broad statement about how people think.... if you are such a good mind reader, you should also be able to tell what most people are too poliet to write back at you on this thread.

ladyMaryQuiteContrary Fri 24-May-13 13:41:52

He is a stranger to these children. A bit of DNA doesn't make a decent father. It takes time and effort. If the children's father can't be bothered to speak to them decently on the phone what do you think he's like in person? confused

You're doing the right thing, OP. I have done the same. My ex makes demands for ds to fly over to see him alone for a week, yet can't be bothered to contact him and take the time to get to know him. I've never with held contact but when one parent can't be arsed unless it's on their unrealistic terms what can you do?

fuzzywuzzy Fri 24-May-13 13:59:32

RedHelen, which part of "I have DT who turn 13 this year. While pregnant with them the ex upped and left"

I am also divorced, I do knwo what my childrens wishes and feelings are regarding contact withtheir father as they have told me, they have told their teachers, they have told CAFCASS and anyone else who asks them. My children can speak for themselves.

OP is trying to encourage a relationship to be built up between her children and their father at a pace that is comfortable for the children. But the ex is abusive to the children, of course no parent in their right mind would force a child who has never met the absent parent to go off on contact dictated by said absent parent for whatever amount of time in a different country, you of course may have different standards, but OP is not wrong. And no court would force her to hand her children over to a stranger which is what he is.

If he cannot be civil to his child over the phone after 13 years of absence, I would be very reluctant in forcing contact on my child too.

5madthings Fri 24-May-13 15:09:03

He is a stranger to the children, they have never met him!

The op has continued to have a gold relationship with his parents, which she didn't have to do, so clearly she has tried to maintain contact with their fathers side of the family.

is father has done nothing for thirteen years, not even paid maintenance or tried to have contact and now after thirteen years wants it all on his terms. It does t work like that, he needs to try and build a relationship with these children, not inside they call him 'dad' and swear at them over the phone. Their mother may know him, I would say knew him as their has been no contact for 13yrs. He is a stranger, related biologically but still a stranger.

MooseBeTimeForSpring Fri 24-May-13 15:14:27

Part of the checklist the court considers is "the wishes and feelings of the child in light of their age and understanding". In these cucumstances I don't think a judge would order contact if a 13 year old child is making it clear why they don't want contact.

RedHelenB Fri 24-May-13 16:40:02

I think we may have to agree to disagree but I know children who tell me great things about their time with their father - from their mothers it is a very different tale.

ihearsounds Fri 24-May-13 16:45:42

Oh my days. Of course he is a stranger. The dt's have never met him. The last time the op saw him she was pregnant with the twins....

I met my dad for the first time around their age. I was really scared and needed the support of someone I knew to help me through the process. I would have felt really let down if I had to face it alone.

Thankfully, for the most part, the family courts in this country do have common sense and realise the disaster waiting to happen putting them in such an uncomfortable situation.

This man is even a stranger to the op. She doesn't know what he has been up to for the past 13 years. She doesn't know the kind of person he is now. The person he was then is irrelevent because people change. He could have turned from the drinking weed smoker to someone with violent criminal convictions. He could have changed and be a really nice man, although don't know any nice men that shout and swear at children.

Carry on protecting your children op. Ignore the silly comments about leaving them alone with a stranger. Anyone that would leave their children with a stranger is imvho an utter fool.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 24-May-13 16:48:09

Did you miss the point where the OP said he walked out when she was pregnant and has 'never asked about or had any contact with' them until recently. So 13 years. While they have had contact with his parents.

He is a stranger to them. They've never met. The first time they spoke, EVER, he called one of them a 'spoilt bitch.'

Cloverer Fri 24-May-13 16:58:27

He's a stranger, and the only contact he has had with them is abusive. The OP has no idea what he is like with children, no idea if he is trustworthy, and no idea if he still abuses drugs and alcohol.

At 13 I would have found it very scary to be sent off to meet a family member I had never met before, who had been verbally abusive towards me. I don't think any mother would deliberately put their children in such a vulnerable situation confused

This is very different to parents splitting up when their children are 5, 10, 13 years old - when the father has had some parenting input before the split.

RedHelenB Fri 24-May-13 17:39:31

The fact is they DO know their grandparents so that would have been the obvious route to take.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 24-May-13 17:49:34

No. The obvious route to take would be having some contact through email/letters/telephone/Skype before meeting in person. Which is exactly what the OP did.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 24-May-13 17:50:36

That would be when he talked to his 13 year old for the first time in her life and chose to call her a 'spoilt bitch'.

mrsdinklage Fri 24-May-13 17:56:26

Red - the OP already suggested that - the x didn'twant to know

Cloverer Fri 24-May-13 18:19:23

That's what the OP suggested RedHelen, in her 3rd post directed at you - phonecalls first (that went well!), then supervised meetings with the GPs.

Concreteblonde Fri 24-May-13 20:35:57

You are doing all of the right things OP.
I would put your proposals for a gradual increase in indirect contact (letters, phone calls etc in worrying) if this is what your children want in writing. You can then use this as evidence that you have made perfectly reasonable proposals to him.

If he 'takes you to court' and demands immediate supervised contact with 2 13 year olds he has never ever seen, he would be laughed out of court. Your DD will be able to speak to court welfare/cafcass about he verbal abuse.

MooseBeTimeForSpring Fri 24-May-13 22:30:38

If the children are in England the application will have to be made here, not in Ireland.

Mediation would have to be attempted prior to proceedings being issued. Some Mediators are qualified to speak to children. It might be useful in this instance.

RedHelenB Sat 25-May-13 08:08:53

People are missing the point - from his POV it may well look like OP is dictating how things should be and how they should feel. At their age there is not the same need for OP to be involved as there would be if they were 3 or 4.

Bit puzzled as to why DT! didn't call him dad when he obviously is? Can see why he thinks OP has been badmouthing him.

Because you earn respect. At 13 they are old enough to realise that their biological father has not given a stuff about them since before they were born. A father is someone who raises a child, biological or otherwise, this man has not been a father to these children.

The courts will definitely have to take your DT's wishes into account with regard to contact.

burntoutteacher Sat 25-May-13 09:01:14

Red, you're puzzled as to why the child didn't call him dad after not seeing him for 13 years? You can't be serious?

Ive been on MN a long time and can see from your posts you're so entrenched in your views on fathers rights that you forget the child's completely. Mores the pity.

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