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Custody - NB Fictional scenario SPOILER film "Two is a Family"

(11 Posts)
Meluzyna Wed 04-Jan-17 10:54:00

Saw a French language film last night - it was set in the UK.
The plot is that a British woman has a holiday fling with a French bloke in a Mediterranean seaside resort. He sleeps with anything in a skirt bikini.
Twelve months later she turns up with a three-month old - borrows 20€ to pay for the taxi - walks back to her taxi and gets in and drives away.
Our hero is left holding the baby - he thinks he knows where the mother works so chases after her to London. Fails to find her - sends endless messages to her FB account but we can see that she has never logged back in to her account. So, he gets a job in London (despite not really speaking the language), and changes his life completely so that it revolves around his daughter.
Eight years on, he has a lovey happy, bright, bi-lingual daughter with whom he has an incredible relationship. Dad has sent regular updates to FB but the mother has never read them or even logged back in.
Then Mum waltzes back in to town - she was in a "bad place" when she dumped the baby - he has done a great job... she has a new bf and sues for custody.
The judge peers over his spectacles at them both and awards custody to the "parent the child knows best" - her father.
So then the bitch mother demands a paternity test - he is not the biological father.
Plod turns up with mother to ensure that he hands over the child.

This is the part that seemed wrong to me. The judge said when he awarded custody to the father that he had to make a judgement "in the child's best interests": surely that should still apply as the father is the only parent the child has ever known - he is the de facto adoptive father.... and furthermore the mother now lives in the USA so the child will be uprooted from all that is familiar to her to go and live in a strange country with people she doesn't know - on the grounds that one of them gave birth to her, despite the woman abandoning her when she was three months old.

OK, so it's a film - but a like my fiction with at least a semblance of reality - would the courts really insist that the child be returned to the mother in a case like this - as if she was a possession being returned to her rightful owner?

Gallavich Wed 04-Jan-17 10:56:17

I doubt it. There have been cases with adopted children who have been ordered to remain with adoptive parents rather than return to biological parents as they are settled and have attachments to their adoptive parents.
This scenario seems really unlikely.

Ouriana Wed 04-Jan-17 11:18:25

This happened to a man I know.

He split with his wife when the child was 4/5 and became resident parent, although the child still had contact with the Mum. No court arrangement was made.

When the child was 8 the Mum announced she wanted the child to live with her. She took it to court and announced in court the Dad was not the biological father.

The court ordered DNA tests which proved the Dad wasnt the biological father but a shared care order was put in place, so the child continued to spend 50% of the time with the non-biological Dad.

Very sad for the poor child stuck in the middle and an awful way for everyone to find out but the court still recognised the Dad as the father and took his and the childs wishes into account.

babybarrister Wed 04-Jan-17 12:29:42

no it would not happen as the child's welfare demands that it retains a very close relationship with the bloke ...

Meluzyna Wed 04-Jan-17 13:38:03

Thanks to all for confirming my feeling about it being an improbable scenario.... My DH was adamant that if the bloke was not the biological father then he had no rights at all, despite having devoted his life to caring for the child for eight years..... sometimes I think I'm married to Jon Snow!

Gallavich Wed 04-Jan-17 13:52:01

It's not about the father's rights.

Meluzyna Wed 04-Jan-17 14:04:22

It's not about the father's rights.

See what you mean: obviously, it's about what is best for the child.
To put it the other way around, DH seemed to think that the absentee parent being the biological mother trumped any notion that it would be better for the child to be able to maintain contact with the only parent she had ever known - simply because he was not her biological father.

MrsBertBibby Wed 04-Jan-17 14:57:28

Never mind all that, I want to know how he got travel focuments for the baby to get it to London.

Gallavich Wed 04-Jan-17 15:06:52

Lol yes. How could he register her with a gp and school without documents? He wouldn't have PR!

Meluzyna Wed 04-Jan-17 17:03:33

Never mind all that, I want to know how he got travel focuments for the baby to get it to London.

The mother had thoughtfully left the child's British passport in the changing bag she dumped at his feet when she arrived unannounced to tell him the baby she was holding in her arms was his.
(Her: "She's 3 months old: 3+9= last August"
Him: shock confused).
She left after less than five minutes on the pretext of paying off her taxi, and that was it for eight years.
He chased after her (on a scooter, with the babe tucked in a sling down the front of his jacket) but lost her at the airport as she'd gone through passport control and he hadn't got a ticket so couldn't follow.
It was a touchingly funny film (most of it)....

NewNNfor2017 Wed 04-Jan-17 19:00:10

There was a poster on MN a while ago whose DSD had remained living with her stepfather after the death of her mother, despite the father wanting to take responsibility for his DD.

The courts were involved and it looked likely that the DD would remain living with the stepfather and step sibs with contact ordered with her biological father, as that was believed to be best for the DC..

I remember the thread as it scared me as a parent. sad

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