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Father stopping access "until he can have her alone"

(54 Posts)
HopAndSkip Mon 31-Dec-12 17:23:23

My DD is 5 months, my ex and i have not been together since early pregnancy, but we get on reasonably well considering (ie. he was with me for the birth, we can have conversations about general topics fine etc)

He wanted to have her overnight alone when she was a week old, which i said couldn't happen yet due to breast feeding, but i offered him to stay over/us to go to his which he wasn't interested in.
Other than this he hasn't however shown much interest in DD at all, seeing her for an hour or 2 every 2-3 weeks, cancelling multiple visits he's arranged between each visit etc. He only lives 10 minutes away.

He last visited 4 weeks ago, during which he said "I can't be bothered with this if I can't have her alone. I'll start seeing her again once I can have her around my house and get on with things at the same time." and asked what age i was going to stop breast feeding.
I said i didn't know yet, but that this wouldn't be practical as by that point they wouldn't know each other anymore and so she wouldn't be alone straight away anyway.
He got very annoyed at that and said he would just get a court order once i didn't "have the breast feeding excuse" as we have "equal rights to have her"

I was wondering what access would be given if he actually doesn't see her until i stop breast feeding?
I'm assuming they would agree that it would start out with me there, and gradually build up, but just slightly concerned that because of him having PR that they might just order her to go alone straight away?

fuzzywuzzy Mon 31-Dec-12 17:27:30

It would have to be supervised till she's comfortable with him.

Do you really think he will, or just disappear altogether from your lives?

I'd guess he hasn't had much experience of small children if he thinks he can just "get on with things at the same time" any time soon.

But if he only lives 10 minutes away is there any reason he couldn't have her round for an hour or so without you? Maybe you'd have to work up to that, but if you could give him a schedule for a few weeks, showing how the time could build up then he might see where things can progress.
So you could start with you and her visiting, then you letting him look after her while you read a magazine, then you leave her there for 10 minutes at a strecth etc, workin up to him having her there for an hour.

I know that's not what he's asking for, but if he believed you had seriously thoguht through how it could increase then he might be more amenable.

NewYearNewNagoo Mon 31-Dec-12 17:39:44

'can't be bothered' is quite telling here, sadly.

There's no way I would agree to his terms, she won't know him.

AmberLeaf Mon 31-Dec-12 17:42:28

Do you really think he will, or just disappear altogether from your lives?

Thats what I was wondering too.

Not having seen her for 4 weeks doesn't sound good.

SugarPasteSnowflake Mon 31-Dec-12 22:18:58

He's mixed up: your DD is the one with rights. You and he have responsibilities

Continue to offer contact but do it via email so there is a written record. If he can't be arsed to step up and be a parent, then in the event that he did go to court, it would be difficult for him to explain why he should be given increased contact.

Pickles77 Mon 31-Dec-12 22:29:12

Sorry I've no advice but I could have written a very similar thread so if you don't mind I'd like to watch with interest smile

wavesgoodbye Mon 31-Dec-12 22:34:56

Let him try for a court order, you are allowing him open access to your home, he lives local enough for him to come and he isn't , you haven't done anything wrong.

If he didnt see her till you stopped breastfeeding then courts would expect him to get to know her again gradually over time before he was allowed to take her home.

MrsTomHardy Mon 31-Dec-12 23:14:20

What is wrong with these men!!!!

NewYearNewNagoo Tue 01-Jan-13 08:26:18

The email advice is very good from sugarpaste smile

They haven't worked out that the most important person in their relationship with their child isn't them, MrsTH.

Finallygotaroundtoit Tue 01-Jan-13 08:32:18

He wants to see her without you - which given that you two are no longer in a relationship seems reasonable.

However, what he doesn't realise is that at this stage she can't be away from you for more than an hour.

Just explain that to him. Ignore any requests to express, if he's local an hour now building up gradually should be workable

Chopstheduck Tue 01-Jan-13 08:41:29

she is 5 months though, if you were thinking of going back to work soon, she would have to be apart from you for several hours at a time at least confused

I do think you are being a bit unreasonable. I was bf mine, but had to still let the father have access, from very early on. Certainly well before 5 months.

He obviously does want to be part of her life, or he wouldn't be considering a court order.

Chopstheduck Tue 01-Jan-13 08:42:12

oh and he will soon learn that he can't just get on with things with a baby around!

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Jan-13 11:05:52

chopstheduck, is the OP being unreasonable? the father hasnt even bothered to see the baby for the last 4 weeks!

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 11:23:49

Thanks for the advice everyone. I've been recording everything on health visitors advice from the start luckily.

chops and Amum I've gone out of the room before, once he called me back in because he was bored, another time i came back in because she'd been crying for a while, and he was watching tv with her lying in her moses basket, so i don't really see the point of "leaving him to it", DD gets more from visits when i'm there as he actually has to pay some attention to her then.

I wouldn't be completely surprised if he disappears, but he made a huge deal about getting himself on the birth certificate (made me change the date 3 times as he kept deciding he couldn't make it anymore) and he likes "playing daddy" to friends on facebook, so i think he might still want some contact.

It's good to know he will have to make an effort to get to know her though, Thanks guys.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 11:26:58

I think OP you are being a little unreasonable to not allow him to have unsupervised access to your dd. at 5 months there is no reason why she can't be away from you for at least 3 hours. If not over night, even if you are bf.

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Jan-13 11:29:34

Did you miss the OPs most recent post MrsSham?

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 11:32:20

Yes, I still think that OP is also being a little unreasonable aswell as the exp.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 11:35:42

It sounds to me like OP has maybe backed him into a corner on this due to being very controlling around access, and he maybe has not managed things well but not everyone has the same perseverance to fight.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Tue 01-Jan-13 11:36:08

Overnight is ridiculous at 5 months, but you could probably do a few hours if you gave him some EBM.

Although he sounds like a twat, so I'm not sure I'd be prepared to express and introduce a bottle just so he can play at being a Daddy.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 11:38:04

MrsSham I seriously doubt you would leave your 5 month old with someone who generally ignores her and has seen her for a matter of hours week's apart. Failing to see how you're expecting her to go all night without a feed too. So I'm going to go ahead and ignore that post as i take it you just fancy disagreeing with people today.

Northernlebkuchen Tue 01-Jan-13 11:39:21

I don't think the OP is being unreasonable at all. She is breastfeeding her baby and doesn't want to be apart from this very young child in any case. The father has been offered repeated access but can't be arsed because it doesn't allow him to carry on his life as he wishes. I would actually be quite suspcious of why he wishes to exclude her primary care giver at these times.
Just out of interest OP - has he paid to sipport his child at all?

I agree with others - offer access in writing and keep everything but don't do anything you wouldn't be doing anyway - such as stopping breastfeeding for example.

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Jan-13 11:39:30

Other than this he hasn't however shown much interest in DD at all, seeing her for an hour or 2 every 2-3 weeks, cancelling multiple visits he's arranged between each visit etc. He only lives 10 minutes away

He last visited 4 weeks ago, during which he said "I can't be bothered with this if I can't have her alone

He sounds totally unreasonable and uninterested.

I think the OP has been more than accommodating in the face of his disinterest.

Meglet Tue 01-Jan-13 11:44:55

I know it's no AIBI, but I think you are being too reasonable with him. He clearly isn't serious about seeing his child and is happy to chop and change your plans to suit him. If he hasn't figured out how to be responsible by now then I'd guess he never will.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 11:47:56

We only have your side of things, maybe he has not felt confident with You around all of the time to parent naturally. Maybe he sees that he was not ignoring her but that she would settle back to sleep, wouldn't be the first and wouldn't be the last to allow a baby to self settle, I think also that if he was restricted to your home, it is natural he would feel bored and somewhat resentful. As I said not everyone has the same perseverance to fight.

On the feed front my dd regularly fed through out the night at 5 months old, I'm not sure she needed it however and around that age my dd was having overnights with her dad, I would feed at night he would take her after bath and feed, and bring her back for am feed and they would be off out.

I do not fancy disagreeing with people today, I just happened to see your post from another possible point of view and quite frankly what's the point of posting if you are going to be so aggressive when someone looks at things differently.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 12:16:02

northern, no he hasn't paid anything, I've only asked twice to be fair though. He's insisting he's in debt, which seems unlikely as he has a full time job, but I don't want to rush to CSA straight away incase he is genuinly struggling as we are still getting by ok at the moment.

MrsSham Not sure if you're think you're on AIBU forum? I wasn't asking for opinons i wanted to know what process there would be to re-establish contact if he stops it now. That's nice that that contact arrangement worked for you, and that you're daughter went without a feed overnight, but mine doesn't, and i am assuming our DD's fathers are different people so I don't really see the relevance.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 12:25:19

Well how about trying to see him in the middle somewhere and it may not get as far as contact stopping. I do have similar experience actually where my exp stopped contact. When he came back into dds life we just took it slowly but he did have unsupervised contact. However I think in matters like this it is important to consider if you are being totally reasonable your self.

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Jan-13 12:38:09

Can you not see the relevance of his disinterest though?

I think the OP is being reasonable to a fault.

Pickles77 Tue 01-Jan-13 12:42:25

Op YANBU I know just how you feel and I can guess exactly how he is smile

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 12:49:15

I don't see it as currently that relevant, I not think the child is at risk in any way. Ultimately the child has a right to develop a relationship with her father on her own, that's why it's important to meet in the middle.

IDontDoIroning Tue 01-Jan-13 12:51:04

Go to the CSA why should he shirk his financial obligations. It doesn't matter if you can get by or not.

It's not like she's a newborn and an hour or so in your place int the most exciting for either of them.
At 5 months she should be able to go a while between feeds and should be starting solids soon. She may also take a bottle of ebm from him if she knows you aren't around.

Why can't he take her for a stroll in the buggy, feed the ducks or just look at the world?

He should be building up contact by having longer periods with her and working up to overnight when you feel she is ready for it.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 12:58:51

MrsSham feel free to come and leave your DD with him if you think he sounds responsible enough, and we can see how that goes.
As for my DD I'm not prepared to put her in a situation where she will be ignored and not cared for. PFB or whatever but as far as I'm concerned he isn't the priority in this situation.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 13:02:53

Well he isn't my dds father so no thanks. But I can assure you the based on what you have posted if this where a court order situation, you my find you would be forced into allowing him unsupervised contact.

jellybeans Tue 01-Jan-13 13:05:12

Can't help legally but I would feel the same as you and think you are right to be concerned. Too many aggressive fathers rights groups have pushed for fathers equal rights (which is a good thing in itself) but without thinking of the baby's needs first.

Pickles77 Tue 01-Jan-13 13:12:25

Judging by what my solicitor said to me I think you'd be looking at supervised access in a contact centre with a court order that could be regularly reviewed.
Document all your evidence, I even save emails and voicemails and screen shot texts now because that will help you and help your evidence. As I sometimes feel my ex would try to ' pull the wool' over people's eyes so to speak.
Your not trying to stop him having a relationship I can see that, but your putting your dd first.
I let my ex have dd alone for 3 hours once. I got back she was in another room, laid on a sofa, no heating on, no blanket. With a leaking nappy, wearing only a vest as she's been sick and he hasn't bothered to change her. He knew where the clothes were but he was 'tired' and 'she needed to learn'.
She was 8 weeks.
So I understand!

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 13:12:30

MrsSham (yet again....) other posters have already said it would be supervised until DD knows him. Unless you're a lawyer in which case I'll bear that comment in mind?

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 13:15:06

Well I won't post anymore then. Good luck and with a bit of hope you may unwind your self slightly to help your dd and her dad build a relationship.

BertieBotts Tue 01-Jan-13 13:34:33

If it goes through court they would expect contact to build up slowly, not sudden overnights. I think if you are going purely by her age she would be fine for 2-4 hour visits depending on how happy she is with either bottles or gaps between feeds,bur not overnight.

However because of your concerns about how he cares for her and also his attitude in general I'd be less happy to go with that, ultimately you have to do what you feel is best for your DD.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 13:36:16

Thank you Bertie smile

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Jan-13 13:36:23

Agree with pickles.

A friend in a similar situation was advised that using a contact centre would be recommended.

The OP has offered him fair access, he just can't be bothered with it.

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 01-Jan-13 13:37:30

Couldn't you let him take her for a walk in the buggy or a short trip to the park? If he only lives 10 minutes away then even a short trip to his house? I don't think you're being particularly reasonable tbh, he isn't just 'somebody' as you say, he is her father.

tribpot Tue 01-Jan-13 13:41:02

I think he wants the photo op for Facebook - of her with him at his house.

I'd be tempted to agree to take her round and leave her there for an hour, whilst you pop out to the shops or whatever, and see if he asks again.

And I see no reason to delay involving the CSA. He does want to be involved as her father, after all ...

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 13:48:39

He's never asked me to take her to his. He asked me to meet him at a cafe for one visit (which he was 45 minutes late to), other than that he says "can i come over".
And she's never going to get to know him stuck in a buggy where she can't see him, again that seems more for his benefit than for hers IMO.

MrsSham Tue 01-Jan-13 13:53:19

I though he said...he will see her when he can have her at his own house and get on with things at the same time. That's what you put in your OP confused

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 13:55:49

"have her" as in alone.

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 01-Jan-13 14:02:35

she's never going to get to know him stuck in a buggy where she can't see him

But surely as her father he should have the chance to find that out himself? It seems like you're not even trying to meet him half way.

Thumbwitch Tue 01-Jan-13 14:03:51

Quite obviously the ex doesn't want the OP at his house. So he won't allow her to take the DD over to his house, he only wants the DD at his house when he can take her alone.
I wonder why?

MOSagain Tue 01-Jan-13 14:04:33

OP, I think you've been more than reasonable and don't believe for one moment that if he issued an application for a Contact Order he would get unsupervised contact at this time.
As other posters have said, contact should be built up over a period of time and he needs to illustrate he can be a responsible parent. You also have to remember, as I think someone else has pointed out, contact is the right of the child, not the parents.

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 01-Jan-13 14:10:55

thumb he could pick her up and take her to his house though, the op doesnt have to be there. It's only 10 minutes away and it would give the OP a bit of a break too.

HopAndSkip Tue 01-Jan-13 14:12:33

as her father he should have managed to find more time than 1-3 hours a month for 4 months.
You wouldn't send a toddler on a day trip with a stranger, yet a baby should have to go just because her father can't be bothered to get to know her for a couple of weeks first? Really?

Thumbwitch Tue 01-Jan-13 14:16:12

Yes he could, couldn't he. But he hasn't, it seems, wanted to unless he can have her overnight - which is impractical at this stage and would be unadvisable straightaway if he refuses to see her between now and when the OP no longer breastfeeds.

Anyway. The OP isn't asking for arguments on what she's doing now, she's asking what might happen if her ex goes to court so I'm going to leave the thread as I don't know and other people have good advice.

ds1's dad saw him every weekend for the first few months, but wasn't very confident at looking after him. at the same time he wouldn't admit to that. things got better as ds.got older, but at that age things like dad taking him out in the buggy for naps worked well towards giving him some independence, plus it allowed him to show off his "dad" persona :cynical:

I think you have to go with your instincts for the most part, but also constantly ask yourself if you are doing your best to foster a relationship between your dd and her dad. ds is nearly 5 now, and has a great relationship with his dad, but it took a lot of work on my part to make that happen.

It's tough, sharing your small baby with a dad who you don't fully trust to take proper care, and you can't change the dad. but your dd matters most in this. if you keep that foremost in your mind I don't think you will go wrong.

BertieBotts Tue 01-Jan-13 17:34:40

I don't get all this reverence people have just because it's the DC's father. Of course fathers are important, but that's when they've been there from the beginning and have put the effort in. Parenting is a verb, not just a title.

If he hasn't been there from the beginning for whatever reason he still has to put that work in to get to know his child and build the relationship in an appropriate way which means building it up slowly so that it is reassuring for the child. It doesn't mean dictating ridiculous rules for contact or suddenly jumping in to full time when they are in effect a stranger.

Nobody would be encouraged to leave their child with someone they didn't trust to care for them properly, if it was an uncle or aunt or grandparent, I understand that difference in parenting styles needs accounting for, but I just don't believe that people are being hysterical, in the main, when they say they are worried for their DC's welfare if left with their father. Some women do have children with complete shits, it happens. Usually you're not aware of how shit they turn out to be until after the fact. Seems harsh to want to punish the mother, and in effect, the child, because she didn't happen to see into the future and predict what kind of a father the man will be.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 09:45:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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