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Chances of my brother/parents getting custody of niece?

(109 Posts)
auntyimmy Sat 20-Nov-10 16:39:12

Hi and I hope someone can help here.

My brother has a daughter who is 8. He split with the mother when she was 2, then she moved away and he hasnt seen her much since. Now this is partly his own stupid fault as he doesnt like committing to things or talking about things so hes never really made proper arrangements. But our parents used to get niece and have her to stay for holidays and then the mother stopped this when my brother moved in with them.

She said my brother cannot look after her on his own as there is rumours about his mental state. Well he has been very depressed missing his children (he has another son who he doesn't get to see as well) and had some trouble a couple of years ago but is getting treatment now and is not a danger to anyone at all. But the mother wants evidence he is ok! Why on earth should he have to provide evidence to her? Parents have told her lots of times that he is fine but she won't beleive it and now we havent had her to stay for three years sad

The mother has always just said we can visit niece where they live but its a long journey which doesnt seem fair we should have to do all that travelling only for a few hours with her.

Now things are even worse as we have found out she has moved to live at a hippy traveller site and now neice is living in a caravan without proper heating or running water. So parents and brother are thinking about trying for custody and definitely overnight visits as we all miss her so badly and want to see her and spend time with her sad and its horrible to think of her living somewhere like that.

My brother has his faults and was a bad partner and hasnt really lived up to his responsibilities in the past but with our parents help he would be able to look after her. The mother is very unreasonable, she wont talk to my parents on the phone just shouts at them if they try, says she will only talk to my brother but he doesnt deal well with that sort of thing and finds it stressful talking to her. He loves his daughter so very much and misses her a lot, this has broken his heart that he isnt trusted to have her and that the mother has turned out to be so unfair.

They are going to see a soliciter next week but thought maybe someone here would have some good advice about what the chances are, and what to say.

llareggub Sat 20-Nov-10 16:51:13

I have no experience in this area, but I have a couple of observations about your post.

Your brother's ex-partner has little or no trust in him and it is up to him, I think, to prove his worth and his ability to be a father. I absolutely would want to know that anyone spending time with my child was fit to do so, and frankly he hasn't proved himself at all, has he?

Your comment about "travelling all that way just to spend a few hours with her" speaks volumes. If was separated from my child I would move heaven and earth to spend time with him. In the short-term, it would be a good start if your brother could build a relationship with his child by doing just that and travelling to see her.

In your shoes I would be encouraging your brother to try and build bridges with the mothers of his children instead of encouraging him the go for custody of a child he barely knows.

CheckeredFlag Sat 20-Nov-10 16:58:36

Good post Llareggub. It seems to me that the onus is on him to make arrangements to spend time with his children, why should the mothers facilitate this for him? It seems very irresponsible of all of you to encourage him to seek custody of this child, rather than seek to spend time with, and get to know, his children.

I can just imagine the flip side post on here from the mothers of his children, and have to say I have rather more sympathy with them.

Dansmommy Sat 20-Nov-10 16:58:40

"He split with the mother when she was 2, then she moved away and he hasnt seen her much since. Now this is partly his own stupid fault as he doesnt like committing to things or talking about things so hes never really made proper arrangements."

So he couldn't be bothered to see her, and now he wants custody? hmm

skydance Sat 20-Nov-10 17:00:13

Of course they won't get custody of a child they haven't seen for 3 years, especially when he has another child that he dosen't see either.

If he or your parents really wanted to see her they would make the long journey and spend some time with her

How can your brother really have her best interests at heart if he wants to take her away from everything she knows, what is he thinking, he's a complete stranger to this child.

And I agree they need to build bridges, a solicitor is just going to make this situation worse. I don't blame the mother in the slightest for wanting proof of his mental state.

bobblemeat Sat 20-Nov-10 17:02:42

I can't see a mother who is the sole carer, and has been for 6 years losing residency to a disinterested father on the grounds that she only wants to discuss access with him, not his parents and she expects him to travel to visit her.

The caravan is a red herring. its a perfectly legitimate lifestyle choice enjoyed by many.

activate Sat 20-Nov-10 17:03:34

Mother is in the right

Reading your post the father sounds like a deadbeat dad - and that's from someone on his side

what kind of father isn't in contact with 2 children and then wants custody? words fail me

If the court allowed your parents and brother to gain custody I would be absolutley appalled

dittany Sat 20-Nov-10 17:08:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Limez Sat 20-Nov-10 17:12:59

Not a chance in hell. Luckily.

dittany Sat 20-Nov-10 17:18:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 20-Nov-10 17:20:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dittany Sat 20-Nov-10 17:22:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

arsonistsandoldlace Sat 20-Nov-10 17:29:03

AS IF! Highly unlikely this waster will stir himself to make the initial solicitor appt, never mind all the legal rigmarole involved in a residency application.

BeerTricksPotter Sat 20-Nov-10 17:31:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ValiumSingleton Sat 20-Nov-10 17:33:18

Exactly Dittany.

My own x pays no maintenance, but one of the grounds upon which he believed he could win custody was that I was "living on benefits". irony sandwich anybody?

LadyBiscuit Sat 20-Nov-10 17:34:04

If your niece's mother stopped your parents seeing her when your brother moved in with them, did it occur to you to wonder why that might be? She doesn't sound like a spiteful person if she was giving the grandparents overnight stay access but clearly she doesn't trust your brother.

I don't think she sounds at all unreasonable, just trying to protect her daughter.

ValiumSingleton Sat 20-Nov-10 17:36:41

Ps totally agree with Dittany's post at 17:18:12 as well.

prh47bridge Sat 20-Nov-10 19:17:22

On the information posted here there is no chance of getting custody. The courts need a very strong reason to upset the status quo. He has been absent from his daughter's life for several years, is also absent from his son's life and he has been getting treatment for mental problems. I think the best he can hope for is supervised contact, although long term it should be possible to get unsupervised contact including overnight stays. Like it or not, if there are concerns about his mental health he may have to provide evidence that he is ok.

Dansmommy Sat 20-Nov-10 22:47:04

D'you know what else pisses me off about this guy?

"He split with the mother when she was 2, then she moved away and he hasnt seen her much since."

He left when she was 2. I'd have more respect for him I think if he'd never been a part of her life. But to be her daddy for two years and then just not bother...that's appalling. I hope he doesn't get to hurt this little girl again.

DuelingFanjo Sat 20-Nov-10 22:55:27

His (your) parents have very little chance of getting custody to be honest. I think it's awful that they would even be trying to.

FWIW I lived in a house with no toilet, bath or shower a couple of times as a child and this alone would never be enough for anyone to take a child away from the only carer (her mother in this case) they have ever known.

I agree with Dittany too, where is the respect towards this woman particularly as you say yourself that your brother was a bad partner?

hester Sat 20-Nov-10 22:55:50

OP, I'm afraid you're in for a bit of a pasting on this thread. And I can absolutely see why. How on earth can you think it is right to tear away this little girl from the only parent she knows, to be with a man who by your own admission wouldn't be up to caring for her anyway (without his own parents' help)? And why on earth are you and your parents enabling and colluding with your brother's nonsense?

If you really do miss this little girl that much, then your way forward is simple: ring her mum, apologise for all the mistakes of the past, and ask if you can visit.

auntyimmy Sun 21-Nov-10 09:40:59

Making mistakes as a partner doesnt mean you dont love your child or deserve to have a relationship with them! He was never violent, he wouldnt hurt anyone, but he was young and irresponsable and selfish.
He doesnt want to go into details of his medical care with his ex. She has been told time and again that he was very depressed and is now taking anti deppressants which does not make him a danger! She will use any information she gets against him is the worry. She has blown the rumours out of all proprtion and used them to stop him seeing his child. We feel like it was the excuse she was waiting for.
I only mentioned where the3y live now as it must be relevant that neice does not have a very suitable home enviroment. I can see form the repsonses that they will be unlikely to get full custody but really they would settle for ovenight stays, its not reasonable to only see her for a few hours at a time. What he would like is to have her for a week at a time as otherwise its a lot of journeying. We are not lazy at all, thats unfair, but surely 300 mile trip in a day just for a few hours is not fair on anyone?!

It juts feels to me and my parents like the mother is punishing the whole family and the child for my brothers mistakes which isnt in he best interests!

lucy101 Sun 21-Nov-10 09:53:36

I am afraid you really need to listen to people's responses on here.

If your parents (it seems they might be driving this) and your brother wanted to see your niece... even if it was a 300 mile trip... why couldn't they/he go down once a month or even every other month and stay somewhere cheap nearby (booked in advance would not cost much) for the weekend and spend quality time with her then. I am guessing if there is money for a solicitor there is money for this.

Maybe, over a period of time, even perhaps years (after such a long absence from her life), your brother could then demonstrate to the mother that he is going to be around for the long term now and can manage a good relationship with the child and she would be more inclined to allow more access.

... and yes you are right that a '300 mile trip in a day just for a few hours is not fair on anyone?!' but it is least of all fair on a child of 8 who has barely any relationship with her father, or on her mother who has bought her up mostly alone.

I also don't think you should be making judgements on her lifestyle as being unsuitable. My parents lived in a caravan for a while and up until two weeks before I was born (when we then lived on a building site).

I think the dynamic in your family seems rather complicated and self-involved and which could also be judged to be unsuitable.

BeerTricksPotter Sun 21-Nov-10 09:55:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amatteroflifeanddeath Sun 21-Nov-10 09:58:32

A judge isn't going to award residency with a grandparent or deadbeat dad based on a feeling of injustice. Why on earth would this child want to visit a person for a whole week when she essentially hasn't had a relationship with him since she was 2 years old. Its admirable that you brother wants to sort his life out and reestablish contact with his dd but he needs to do that slowly by having phone contact and visits rather than going in all guns blazing and trying to get residency.

Being a shit partner doesn't mean you don't love your child but nobody 'deserves' a relationship with anybody when they have basically ignored them for 75% of their life. The childs mother who has done 100% of the parenting of this child does deserve a bit more respect and doesn't deserve to be threatened with a custody battle.

By your own admission your brother couldn't care for his dd without his parents help so no wonder her mother is worried about him having sole charge of her.

As for the travelling, he he was bothered he would do it, its not that far, some peoples daily commute is getting on for that.

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