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What would happen if dd refused to go to contact?

(9 Posts)
questionedanswered Sun 26-Jan-14 15:36:52

Name changed

Exh has not bothered seeing dd or contacting in any way for 2 and a half years and now wants overnight, dd is refusing understandably. He is not mentally stable and not willing to build up a relationship first. I used to do all the running for access and he let her down constantly, he has done some horrid things and continues to let her down.

No court order, no contact order, no order in divorce other than noted to meet half way each fortnight. No argument over where dd lives.

DD does not want to see him at all.
He was abusive but I fled him so not reported, he has severe mental health problems. Would he get mediation because abuse was not reported or would they acknowledge his mental health problems being an issue to this? DD made a disclosure to school as to why she does not want to see him.

If dd still refused to go I presume he then would go to court, how long would that process take, would he get legal aid etc?

What would process be if it got to court, would cafcass assess both families as no residence concerns.

Presume they would start contact gradually, would it be supervised as he is under a mental health team and quite unstable etc and ultimately would she be MADE to go? She is 11.

Noregrets78 Sun 26-Jan-14 16:26:09

I'm no expert but have had a bit of personal experience. The main thing that will stand you in good stead is to look reasonable. That's not to say you should force her to go - instead offer what would be reasonable, in your opinion.

e.g. - suggest he should build contact more gradually. Offer him to have telephone contact, or write her letters to start with?
If she's raised concerns to school (similar to my case) - outline those concerns to him, and suggest actions he could take, to address them.

Ultimately courts would see is as perfecly sensible to build contact gradually, so a 'slowly slowly' approach from you is not unreasonable.

Given his previous track record, the most likely scenario is that he won't be willing to make this level of effort consistently. If he does then take it to court it will be very obvious how ridiculous he's being.

All of this takes time, and if he did go to court, that would take time. All the while your DD is getting older, and her views will be more and more taken into account. In terms of being made to go, if it's court ordered, it's your choice whether or not to comply. No-one would turn up to take her to him.

Hopefully someone with actual legal knowledge will also assist!

Good luck.

questionedanswered Mon 27-Jan-14 10:12:35

Many thanks noregrets, basically he wants us to train it up to him drop dd off overnight, me train back and then back again day after and I presume pay as no way would he have the money for the fare to do that (£100 plus), he was most cross when dd refused, she saw a picture of him yesterday and did not even recognise him!

I am not preventing access, if dd wants to see him as long as she is safe she can of course but she does not know him and does not want to.

babybarrister Mon 27-Jan-14 10:45:43

I agree - slow approach and perhaps also in a supervised setting depending on his MH issues

ItsDecisionTime Mon 27-Jan-14 12:40:52

I have some experience of this as my DD does not want to see her father either on the terms he suggests (long periods away from home). If he goes to court to gain an order, he won't get legal aid. He will have to pay for the court application and can represent himself, as can you.

One of the first steps the court will take is to ask CAFCASS to speak to your DD and undertake a wishes and feelings report which is basically documenting what your daughter feels and wants from the relationship with her dad. Whilst this won't determine the court's decision 100%, it will play a big part. They will probably suggest Skype or telephone contact for a period of time to try and build bridges between the two of them.

In my experience, the court process can go on for months, or in my case years. I have to say though that as much as I dislike my exP and believe him to be a deadbeat dad, I still think it is important to encourage some open lines of communication between the two of them so that when DD is an adult, she can look back at how much her father has put into the relationship and decide how she wants it to work in the future. Furthermore, if there is (and I'm not saying there is) any reluctance on your part to allow them to have a relationship now, this could have the affect of pushing her towards him in the future on the basis that you interfered too much in her past.

As a mum in this situation, it's extremely difficult. You can only do what's best for your daughter as both a child and as an adult.

questionedanswered Mon 27-Jan-14 12:51:03

Thanks.

I set up Skype and changed to a network that means he can call free of charge but he never uses it.

ItsDecisionTime Mon 27-Jan-14 13:53:14

Same here - same response too.

I hope it works out for your DD x

MooseBeTimeForSnow Mon 27-Jan-14 14:01:16

Age 11 is around the time when the Court will attach more weight to the wishes and feelings of the child, particularly if they are more mature in their attitudes and understanding.

I also believe the Court wouldn't accept you having to bring your daughter to him for contact. If he wants it, he has to travel for it. My local Judges used to say that anyway,

If Mediation is attempted, try and find a Mediator qualified to speak to children. Some are and it's very helpful to have them involved. Sometimes it can stop things going any further.

DelightedIAm Mon 27-Jan-14 14:05:47

If he is abusive and hasn't been bothering/hasn't tried to set up a relationship first, then I would go with what she says she wants. If he starts getting courts involved treat it as if she was school refusing you would have to send her in or find some paperwork to satisfy school why she should not attend.

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