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Minimum access for father.(15 Posts)
I'm asking for a friend as she isn't a mumsnetter (yet). She's divorcing her husband (he had an affair) and has two sons aged 5 and 7. She's trying to sort out access with the boys father. Unfortunately she feels that he is a very bad influence on the boys and she would prefer if he didn't see them at all. However she doesn't want to cut him out completely. What she wants to know is, is there a legal minimum access? If so are there any rules about when in the week it should happen? Ie on a school night? Weekends etc. What is the norm? I agree, the man isn't a great role model, I'm not sure what access she would be forced to give him if it went to court? Any advice would be fab thank you.
Would need more info. Just her word that he's a bad influence isn't enough and I don't think that his having an affair has much bearing on his parenting ability.
There are no rules about contact. Would it be worth her going to mediation so that she and her ExH can work something out that benefits the children - this being the most important point. Courts much prefer you to go to mediation first and tend to take a dim view of those who don't at least try mediation.
The standard is often one night in the week and every other weekend, but this is not set in stone.
The children's right to have a relationship with both parents should be at the heart at any arrangement. My husband had an affair and left me and there are things about the ongoing situation I don't like, so I do understand that it is hard to do this, but if she is seen to be always acting in the children's interests that is an excellent starting point.
having very recently divorced.... she cannot keep the father out of the kids life unless there is factual proof that he is a danger to the children ... which an affair isn't.... going to court for custody can be dodgy these days and they like you to have sorted it before you get that far... ie between yourselves or mediation. They only look at the best interests of the child... nothing else...
one night for tea during the week and every other full weekend is/was considered the norm... but if the father wants... he will apply for more and can easily get it...
He looks at porn and threatens to top himself.
Lots of people look at porn, they don't have their kids removed.
Clearly, suicide threats are more concerning, but as others have said, the courts would look at all aspects/contexts. In a nasty break-up, it isn't that uncommon for people to do/say crazy out of character stuff; if this is a long-term problem, eg depression or MH issue, well the kids have been around it all their lives already. Having MH issues doesn't make you a bad parent automatically.
If she is concerned about the safety of the children she should, of course, protect them.
lots of great parents look at porn.
Do you have any idea what is behind his suicide threats? Might his ex wife trying to stop his contact with his children be playing a part?
Mays she should go and see a Family law solicitor to get advice about what she can and can not do. In all likelihood they will encourage mediation and supply her with the details of a local mediator. They will also explain that currently 'shared care' is encouraged on the statement for children.
Mediation. And with a bit of luck he'll show himself up if he starts ranting in the session. If that happens they could try a contact centre.
IMO anyone ranting about wanting to top themselves isn't in the right place to look after children, it's nasty and manipulative. (My X did this).
Thanks very much. He has been very controlling in the past. I'll show her this, thank you for being so helpful.
what others have said. looking at porn doesn't make you unfit to parent. Suicidal threats are not necessarily a problem either and will depend on context. Women threaten suicide too and don't have their kids taken away unless it can be shown there is a real risk . Sounds like your friend may have already made it known to him that he is a bad influence and shouldn't be around his sons and that she will be do all she can to have contact down to the minimum possible. Wonder why he is depressed ?? If he really is a danger then yes protect the kids but otherwise she needs to get over her anger and put the kids first.
i mean she doesnt have to get over her anger towards him- she just has to ensure that it doesn't get in the way of her always putting the kids best interests first.
the courts are full of contact disputes where one or both parents are basically trying to get back at the other. They've seen and heard it all before. advise her to try mediation first.
one must be careful where emptions are concerned with the ex husband and keep this completely seperate when deciding contact with the children with their dad.
It is too easy to get caught up in the emotion and the next thing is lying and sometimes to the point the lies become pathological and the boundaries of reality and fiction start to blur.
If they are split up or splitting up then this is one issue. The other issues is the matters of the children and it MUST be what is best for them
It will always be best for them to have their mum and dad as the ideal solution (unless of course we are talking about more cynical things; of which watching porn on privately is not a concern at all and as others have said mental health issues should not be discriminated especially if he has always been a good parent and suffered MH)
I agree that if he is having issues with contact with his children or worst still not even seeing his children then this will be tearing him apart. Imagine if the mum had access to her children removed due to the ex husband opinions
It's not about `access for father' it's about `contact for the children'. Parents have no right in law for contact - children have a right to both parents. If you are `stopping contact' you are preventing the children seeing their father.
It's natural not to think rationally during a breakup. So contact a mediator and talk through things with them.
Make sure you do that - the alternative is court and as hard as you think things may be now you'll wish you had done all you could to avoid it if it comes to it.
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