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what access rights does my ex have(11 Posts)
I have recently seperated from my ex a few weeks ago and we have an 8 month old daughter. I am still breast feeding her and im not ready yet to be apart from her as i have been with her every day since birth. Me and my ex never married however i did put his surname down on my daughters birth certificate which from what i understand he automatically gets parental responsibility. My ex has now threatned me and said he can take my daughter from me whenever he likes and have her overnight. I have told my ex that him and his mum and sister can come and see our daughter when ever he likes as long as he lets me know when and that currently at the mo im not ready for him to take her and itis because i am stl breastfeeding and because he threatned to take care im now worried that if i agree he wont be her back. Since all this has happened we have arranged a time and day for him to visit his daughter but he hasnt been turning up on the time arranged and doesnt even let me know til the last minute that his parents are on there way to mine which i just feel he has no respect for me. Does anyone have any advise they could help me or what i would need to do because im really worried he will take my daughter and not bring her back?
If you are worried he won't bring her back then don't hand her over - he can see her at yours or meet somewhere.
If he's not had much to do with her (and it sounds like he hasn't) then it sounds like he's just using threats of access to hurt and control you.
Keep notes of all conversations and keep any texts or emails
Is this threat out of the blue after him not bothering to see her or has he been wanting to have her unsupervised for a while? I do think 8 months is a long time to have supervised contact and it is very hard to form a bond like that. Have you thought about mediation? Might be a way to take the conflict out of the situation and think about what you want for your DD in the long term.
You might need to set firmer boundaries, but you are not obliged to be at his beck and call either! Although you both have equal parental responsibility, you are DDs primary carer, so it is your judgment that matters most in terms of what is best for DD right now. BF at 8 months is not necessarily a reason to supervise contact though, and whilst I can completely sympathise with not wanting her out of your sight, her father and his family need to bond with her too if she is to get the best out of those relationships herself. See if you can arrange a free initial meeting with a local Resolution lawyer for reassurance. Hope this helps.
When you say you "put his surname down", do you mean your daughter has his surname, or that he was physically present when you registered the birth, and is named as her father? Because if she only has his name, but he wasn't there when you registered her, he doesn't have PR.
He can get PR, either through agreement with you or through going to Court, but in the meantime his threats are empty.
Do keep a diary of when he doesn't turn up, or turns up late, and keep all threatening texts/emails. This abusive behaviour isn't unusual, and a paper trail may be useful.
As the law stands if you both have PR then you have equal rights of the child. However as your baby is so young I don't think you could be blamed for refusing overnight contact. Do you mind my asking why you separated, and what was he like as a father to the baby before you separated. Were you happy for him to care for her and was he a "hands on dad"
Do you know why he has started to turn nasty - is this to do with the separation. How well do you know him - is he capable of taking the baby and not returning her. I think OLKN (hello by the way!) has given good advice about keeping all texts/e mails etc.
He might just be trying to get at you by saying he can have the baby overnight and given that you are breast feeding, this isn't possible and would he really want her - does he have baby equipment wherever he is living. I think you have done the right thing by saying him and his mother and sister can see the baby at your place so long as you know when they are coming. He can't say you are denying him contact.
The one thing above all else though is do everything you can (without putting the baby at risk) to arrange contact between you and your ex partner and don't let the matter get to court because that really is horrendous and there is no legal aid available for parents to be represented.
Agree with the advice to find a Resolution Lawyer for advice/re-assurance.
This is not about his rights but about your child's rights. She has a right to know both halves of her genetic identity.
But she also has a right to a secure and safe upbringing and for her adult carers to put her needs first when she is so vulnerable. When parents separate usually one ends up being the 'primary' carer, particularly when the child is so young. that doesn't give you 'extra' rights but it does mean that babies and very young children can find separation from their primary carer quite difficult. Research suggests that pre school children should NOT be staying away overnight for eg. His suggestion that he could just 'take' her whenever he likes is not putting her needs first.
So I can't see any Judge criticising you for your suggestion that he can have regular day time contact with your daughter until she is a bit older, and has stopped breast feeding. Then you can consider increasing contact to overnights. Nor can you be criticised for wanting to set boundaries.
Tell him that he can come on X days for X time. If he can't and won't suggest other arrangements, that's his look out. You need to set firm boundaries.
I think the research is quite conflicted and is often biased in both directions. The courts are unlikely to wait until she is 4/5 for overnight contact, if you went down that route.
Once she is a year old I believe they would seriously look at an increase to overnights providing she was not at risk of serious harm and you'll see from threads similar to yours that the bar for this is pretty high. It's social services standard harm that prevents contact increasing, not parental differences.
You definitely need firm boundaries though - turning up unannounced and threats to take her away from you just aren't acceptable.
A young child needs contact little and often. Once a week for an hour doesn't cut it (I say that as it seems to be a common contact regime that is rolled out a lot).
In an ideal world, an hour a day would be good. Note I say `ideal'.
Truth be told there is research to both back up and refute what both you and your ex want. A lot of received wisdom too - for example there is a distinct `Young children need their mother' known as `the Tender Years Doctrine' and enshrined in British law in the Custody of Infants Act 1839.
In the modern age the legal view is that there should no presumptions and cases should be looked at on their individual merit. There is nothing in theory to stop your DD spending time with her dad so long as you have made provision for feeding.
In reality however he is unlikely to get overnight contact at this stage. But when it comes to `unsupervised contact'...ask yourself if this is about your daugher's best interests or what YOU want (I say that because you say `m not ready yet to be apart from her') - would this be relevant if HE said it?
You have no rights. Neither does your ex. Your DD does though. She has a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents and it's in her best interests to grow up seeing her mum and dad working together in her best interests. She is half you, half your ex. The fact that he has PR means he is identical in law to you. You may be the `main carer' and you may be identified as the first parent anyone will come to by virtue of holding the child benefit book but that's it.
When all is said and done however, he isn't helping his case. Not turning up will be frowned upon by the courts. So will making threats. Failing to return her will see him end up in contact centre if the matter reaches court too.
I wouldn't get hung up on PR. If he is the biological father and he wants contact and he isn't a psychopathic drug addict, he will get contact. Its quite hard to resist an application for PR as there is a strong presumption it is in a child's best interests to have an interested and committed father.
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