Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you have any serious legal concerns, we would suggest you consult a lawyer.

Need help regarding contact urgently please.

(22 Posts)
betterthanever Fri 12-Jul-13 12:33:43

Attachments, bonding with others and relationships are very important for children to experience when growing up, it enables them to build thier own confidence and sence of self and if they are not established correctly during childhood it can affect adulthood
- this howver does NOT mean that every child who does not see a parent will suffer in adulthood
- it is used incorrectly by many people to `make' children have contact with parents they have no attachment too nor a bond with - this is actually more harmful to the child as it is not natural nor right. They are in fact false or forced attachments and forced bonding or no bonding, it teaches bad lessons, makes a child lose confidence, feel they have no say in thier own lives, they start to question thier own thoughts and opinions..... this makes them insecure.
Stick to your guns OP.

HoldingHigh Fri 12-Jul-13 11:21:58

Leave him take you to court. He hasn't seen his DD for over a year and has cancelled or not turned up for his daughter when he's supposed to. That's not going to go down well with the court at all.

At the end of the day your DD doesn't want to go overnight due to his inconsistency. It's his fault their relationship is fractured and it's up to him to fix it by doing your what is best for your daughter and what she wants - not what he wants.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Fri 12-Jul-13 11:11:21

I did, he has not taken it well.

When we divorced the court said they did not need to step in as the arrangement we were both happy with was to meet half way.

Since then he has cancelled/not turned up and eventually did not come at all.

HoldingHigh Fri 12-Jul-13 10:52:33

I'd explain to him that your DD doesn't feel comfortable with staying overnight at present as it's been so long since she has seen her dad. Bridges need to be built. Once he's been more consistant maybe your DD will be open to an overnight visit.

Your DD's interests come first and foremost. If he doesn't like it, let him take you to court. I can't see any court immediately allowing overnight access when he's had no involvement in her life for over a year. They'll want to build the relationship back up first.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Fri 12-Jul-13 10:20:31

One of my biggest worries is he has no family near by or anyone that dd knows and if dd needed help she would be a bus and three trains away with no help.

Lots of people suffer mental health problems, I have no stigma to that at all.

I am not against him seeing her at all although dd is, I have ALWAYS made sure he saw her when he wanted to even though dd is against it now but I do not think he is being fair to expect a child who he has seen three times in four years to want to hop on a train and stop with him.

celestialsquirrels Fri 12-Jul-13 09:55:13

Ps counting clouds view does not reflect the law. The important thing is not the dad's rights. It is what is in the best interests of the child. Mental health issues can be safeguarding issues, particularly when someone has been a suicide risk and inpatient. They need to be looked into. It may be that they can be dealt with very quickly by a psychiatrist saying "he has no material mh issues currently" or "he is on x y z medication for this specified mh issue but in my opinion there are no reasons to believe he would put the child at risk" or whatever - but it is a factor to investigate when considering what is in the best interests of the child.

celestialsquirrels Fri 12-Jul-13 09:50:21

There are lots of reasons why he should not have overnight contact immediately
1. She doesn't want to. She is 11 and her views have some strength
2. He has been absent from her life for 17 months and currently has no relationship with her
3. There are safeguarding issues re his temper
4. There are safeguarding concerns around his previous mental health issues and some enquiry needs to be made of his current mental health.

If he was to take this to court I doubt that any judge would order immediate staying contact on those facts. They may well order contact supervised by a family member but that will depend on the previous violence and the current risks and the strength of your daughters feeling and your ex's attitudes to contact. I doubt any judge would order even supervised contact without a report from a Cafcass Officer particularly in light of your dds refusal to see him and the current complete lack of a relationship through no fault of your own. They might if they were satisfied about the quality of the supervision and his current mental health (which he could evidence by a doctors report). They would be more likely to order some form of indirect contact to begin with - Skype for example.

If I was you I would bear in mind the research which says that for a child any contact with a non resident parent, almost irrespective of the quality of that parent, is better than none and I would be encouraging a Skype relationship. I would probably then ask him to go to court for anything further.

You could decide to tell him that if Skype contact develops the relationship such that she is willing to see him you would be prepared to consider supervised contact if he can satisfy you as to his current mental health. Give him something to work towards. I don't think I would go any further than that tbh.

Best of luck.

Collaborate Fri 12-Jul-13 06:38:14

Social Services may be willing to undertake a risk assessment for you.

I agree with iheartdusty about what the issues are here. It's not about discriminating against his mental health issues, but you can't ignore them just because someone thinks it's not PC to take them in to account.

iheartdusty Thu 11-Jul-13 22:54:35

Very, very unlikely.

not without building up a proper relationship first.

she is not an item of his property.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 22:44:39

What in basically asking is if it went to court would they make an 11 year old who has not seen him in almost two years go overnight.

tittytittyhanghang Thu 11-Jul-13 22:42:04

How would you feel if at 18 your DC turns around and blames you for stopped her dad from seeing her? - Why would her dd do this if it is the dd herself not wanting to see her dad. And what ifs aren't a good enough reason to force someone to have a relationship if they dont want to.

I think it would be naive to totally ignore the issue of mental health altogether re contact . Surely it would have to be taken on a case by case basis.

And mental health has nothing to do with being a shit parent, (im pretty sure there are thousands of amazing parents who suffer from mental health problems), shit parenting usually constitutes lack of effort, consistently absent from childs life (for their own convenience) and no financial support. OPs ex seems to tick all the boxes.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 22:39:29

Their are issues that have affected dd but I stuck to facts and haven't listed them as my issue is with over night contact after no contact for 17 months rather than issue with her seeing him.

CountingClouds Thu 11-Jul-13 22:30:13

I think is is discrimination to say mental health has anything to do with whether or not a father (or mother) gets to see their child. What next, deny parents with HIV, ME, migraines, menopause, stress .. the Op doesn't say any issues have ever affected the child.

I am not defending the dad but even if an 11 yo densest want to see her dad, it might harm her for the rest of her life if you dont take this opportunity to build a relationship.

It has to be tried. What I can predict is that if lawyers, cafcas, etc etc are dragged into it, the child will end up being abused by the system.

Of course the child might be vulnerable but this person is her DAD. I think the OP is being very sensible and trying to do the best by her DC with a shit dad, you have to keep trying to make it work your DC's future is at stake.

How would you feel if at 18 your DC turns around and blames you for stopped her dad from seeing her? Every child deserves a father, they might be crap but lets be honest, you choose him!

tittytittyhanghang Thu 11-Jul-13 22:01:30

If your DD is 11 then imo is able to make her own mind up. Given the previous circumstances it is understandable that she does not want to see him. Pretty sure that your exdh does not have a 'right' to see your dd, rather that your dd has the right to see both her parents. If she doesn't want to see him, and the reasons are justified, personally i wouldn't push it. This is the price you pay if you are a shit parent imo.

iheartdusty Thu 11-Jul-13 21:44:52

I think you should stand firm and stick to what you have offered, it is reasonable in the circumstances.

let him do the running if he thinks he should apply to court , he will have to justify himself.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 21:41:11

I am more than happy to take her to see him, I am always friendly in front of dd, have bought him lunch/paid for his train to see her in past.

I have no issues with her seeing him.

iheartdusty Thu 11-Jul-13 21:34:43

I strongly disagree with countingclouds.

there are plenty of reasons why contact may not been in DD's best interests;

- safeguarding - "he has severe mental health problems" plus he also has a history of MH issues, and from the rest of the post he does not appear to have insight into the implications.

dd has learning difficulties so she may be younger than her years and vulnerable.

- DD does not want to to go, has not seen him for 15 months, and he has never looked after her nor even seen her on his own.

- he has not shown commitment - child support is only marginally relevant, but he has let your DD down with the money promises, and it does not augur well for reliable contact.

You do not have to agree to contact. The practical difficulties about travel make it harder, but they are not a reason to refuse contact. The other issues do justify it.

I think you have been reasonable by suggesting a meet up, but if there is tension and acrimony between you and ex then DD will be exposed to it if you are both there.

If you do not agree, and he takes you to court, you will be able to obtain a CAFCASS report which will include asking DD what she wants, and it is likely that ex will be ordered to get medical evidence about his health.

It is not often that I would say - don't negotiate, stand firm, let him take you to court - but in this case, I would say that.

You should certainly suggest a line of communication - letters, later on some phone calls, perhaps suitable online contact - because DD deserves to know her dad and to have some kind of link with him - but a safe one, and not just whatever he demands.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 21:03:28

My issue is not with him seeing her counting but with the fact he has asked for overnights straight away after one day visit after not seeing or speaking to her AT ALL in 17 months and only twice in the two years before that.

He has never looked after her alone. Ever

CountingClouds Thu 11-Jul-13 20:57:18

Sounds like he is a s**t dad, but he is her dad and like it or not he has a morale right to see his daughter. Doesn't sound like he has ever hurt his daughter so I dont think you have the right to say no.

However he should come and pick her up and pay for the travel.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 20:41:26

I should also add I changed phone networks so that he could call dd free and he has NEVER called.

He has had no phone/person contact for 17 months AT ALL.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 20:38:49

Sorry to add he is expecting to have her overnight after no contact at all for 17 months and only twice a year contact before that.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Thu 11-Jul-13 20:37:08

Will try just to put facts so not to drop feed.

Ex and I have been separated six years.

He has never paid maintenance.

The last year he did not send birthday or Xmas presents, infact he told me he was paying money into her account for her birthday, let her go to bank only for it not to be there.

He has not by his own choice seen dd since March 2012. Before that he saw her with me present.

He has severe mental health problems, has attempted suicide and spent some time as an inpatient.

DD made a disclosure to school last year that she remembers him punching through the door in temper.

He has now messaged me expecting dd to stay overnight, I told him he would have to take it slow especially as dd has learning difficulties.
His answer to this was that dd could come to his house and visit and then she would have to go overnight.

DD is 11 and absolutely adamant that she does not want to stay overnight, she does not want to go to his house. To be honest she does not want to see him at all but I am trying to be reasonable.

Not only that but an overnight visit would require a bus for half an hour, 3 trains and cost £56 x 2 and take up at least six hours of weekend with traveling only.

I am willing to take dd to a town nearby to him if she does not want to go to his house.

I was the one that moved away, I could not cope anymore with the situation and had to move to my parents.

Please Please advise.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now