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Legal advice needed after XH has dropped contact with DD 7yo(6 Posts)
This may be long but I will try and put the most important bits .
XH left 3 years ago. Initially had DD one day every weekend, then this changed to 2 days EOW. In September last year he moved 2.5 hours away and reluctantly continued with EOW. In January this year he reduced contact to every third weekend collecting Friday returning Sunday. This deeply upset DD. He has never had her in the school holidays apart from a few days after Christmas.
Due to issues with DD at school, the school, the school nurse and the Family Support Network have been involved with her. They suggested doing a CAFCASS Parenting Plan so that we could agree on several issues. I said right from the start that it would not work without mediation.
Communication between us has been gradually breaking down, I suggested mediation several times and he refused. He doesn't respond to emails. He has recently been verbally abusive to me, has accused me of things then denied it despite me having text or email evidence of what he said.
He says that I am completely unreasonable, just because I have tried to make him be consistent with contact with DD. He reacts to any comments about DD as being personal criticism about him and his GF, he doesn't take them as concerns for DD's welfare. He doesn' care about bringing her back late and making her late for bed on the Sunday. A lot of her contact visits were spent travelling to see the GF's parents in a different part of the UK. All Dd wanted was to spend some time with him.
Two weeks ago, he made changes to the PP and basically said that he would no longer have any contact with DD unless she lives with him, as he will no longer have any dealings with me. He took offence at some changes I had made to it. He also changed every reference to her living with me, to her living with the resident parent. Since then I have not contacted him in any way. He has not contacted me in any way.
FSN had already suggested that going there was no longer in DD's best interests anyway but I don't know if he is aware of that.
Since then he has sent DD two messages on Skype on her Kindle, saying that he will leave contact up to her from now on and she is free to Skype him at any time. I have not shown her these messages as I do not feel it to be in her best interests as he has made it plain that he will no longer have contact with her. I don't think it is right that she only has Skype contact with him and also he is behaving so irrationally that I have no idea what he will tell her if she does Skype him
The Skype was suggested by the FSN at a fixed time every week. They stressed the importance of this being regular contact that DD would know was happening. He tried to cancel at the last minute on one occasion, saying that he was going out. When I rang him to say please don't, she is sat waiting, he screamed at me to shut the fuck up. I can no longer talk to him on the phone because of this.
I have spent 3 years begging him to ring her once a week, to Skype her, to not drop contact at the last minute. So to withold contact very much goes against what I have tried to do in the past, but I now feel that she is better off not seeing him, even though I know that it will break her heart.
He returned her without using the booster seat on his last visit as there was not enough room in the car, but he could have left his GF and baby at home. He has another baby with his girlfriend. His girlfriend picks on DD all the time about her manners, they criticize her clothing. She has toiletting issues and instead of helping her deal with them, they have made her feel ashamed and disgraced. The GF calls me names to DD. He uses his mobile constantly while driving. On his last contact he collected her at 5.30pm after being out driving since 4am that morning.
Basically, where do I stand legally from this point on? He has stopped contact, but I am afraid that he is going to go for custody.
I am concerned that he could just turn up one day and take her from school as he has PR they could not stop him. Do I need to get a protection order? would I get one?
I feel it is very out of order that he is sending her messages telling her that contact is up to her now by Skype. Is there anything I can do legally to stop him doing this? She is currently unaware that she will not be seeing him again. I don't know what to tell her as I don't know if he will change his mind.
If he does change his mind, can I refuse contact based on all the above things?
If it goes to court, would a judge order me to drive her to him 2.5 hours away? I have a real phobia of motorway driving, always have.
Would a judge order contact with him, even though the school and the FSN have advised against it?
If he does want to restart contact, can I suggest contact but limited to near her home, or supervised in some way? I don't think he would agree to that though.
I am not really sure what I need to ask or to be aware of, but I know that I need legal advice. Sorry this post is so long but I didn't want to leave anything out. Any advice gratefully received.
As far as I'm aware, I wouldn't have thought he'd have a great chance for custody as he's the one that has moved away and he has been inconsistent with contact so far.
I can't offer any advice from a legal point of view, but your post really touched me and I wanted to share my experiences from the child's point of view.
My DM had the best intentions when she and my dad split up and ensured that we saw him every weekend. However, he was never that bothered about keeping up contact with myself and my sister, contact changed to every other week and then every 3 weeks until it stopped. He was the same as your ex and said that he would leave it up to us to see him when we wanted to. I don't think young children can make that decision and think it's a cop out on his part. If he wanted contact he would make sure he had it.
20 years later, I am occasionally in contact with my father, our relationship isn't great though. A constant thought in my head is always that he wasn't bothered about seeing his children. Having recently had my first child I cannot understand this at all. Incidentally, he hasn't met his only grandchild yet.
I suppose what I am trying to say is, regardless of the legal consequences, think about whether having contact with her father is the best for your DD. I think that it is only best to have a father (or a mother for that matter) in a child's life if they want to be there.
anyone legal out there who can help advise?
Thanks for the response blackcatgirl . Your situation as a child sounds sadly similar. I do want to do what is best for DD. I have fought him for 3 years to try and get him to ring her once a week etc, and all it has done is make him more awkward and more aggressive.
I have just spoken to a solicitor and he states that it is not acceptable for XH to keep contacting DD on kindle saying that she can contact him. She is 7 and not old enough to make such a decision.
If it did go to court then he would be expected to attend mediation.
he said that he would not get custody either, as he has moved away and gradually reduced contact of his own accord.
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