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Advice needed please. Worried single new mum to be, will the dad get full custody?

(47 Posts)
tonksy83 Fri 03-Jun-11 08:13:23

My partner and I had already broken up when I fell pregnant. I was suffering with depression badly and taking too many prescription meds, to try and numb the heartbreak I was going through, not even considering what it was doing to the pill! Then I found out I was pregnant, and the dad wanted nothing to do with us, stating I was unfit to be a mother, and was mental. I am currently 13 weeks, on the 3rd April, the day I found out, I stopped taking anything, including anti depressant, I am the healthiest I have been in years....I am also really excited about being a mum. He has turned round now, and said he want full custody as I proved unfit before finding out I was pregnant. As he will not speak to me, or have anything to do with me, he can’t see what I am like now. How much I have changed, back to the girl he met and had a happy relationship with.
I come from a lovely family, who are a huge support, and the baby will have a fantastic life with me....however I am worried that he brings the past up and uses it against me, and this would give his full custody.....??? I was ill and visiting the doctors regularly for around 3 mths, I was also signed off work. He has evidence, emails and texts, which show how bad I got. He could use these against me. I went through a bad patch....but I am perfect now. Can he get full custody? I am moving to be nearer my family, which is 350 miles from the I need the support, however he can have access as much as he wants. I'd like my child to get to knows it father. Although I know it can be difficult. I don’t plan to put him on the birth certificate, just because he will not interact with me now, he won’t discuss anything like an adult. He is shutting me out.

Just to give you more background, I have a really good job, which I plan to keep, as I am getting a transfer. I will be living in a tow bedroom garden flat, in a great area near a nursery school. I have a fantastic support net work.

Please can anyone give me some advice about dad's getting custody?? I know that if children services do come round, due to him applying for custody they would see a a new mum doing her best, and provided care, warmth and food for her new this enough??

I know I am only 13 weeks but I am already getting sleepness nights about this.

Thank you for any replies


Gster Fri 03-Jun-11 08:21:44

If an assesment is made, it would certainly take into account the 'you' now as well as in the past. I'd say it's highly unlikely he'd get custody unless you relapse.

Go and spend an hour talking to a solicitor, and totally upfront with them.

At some point , he will get access though , which is a good thing for your child ( in theory ).

Stay calm, enjoy the pregnancy, get some legal advice.

tonksy83 Fri 03-Jun-11 09:48:39

Thank you...

I will get legal advice....and I do want him to have access, just hope he doesnt start off the proceeding of full custody. It strange that I feel so in love, and protective over someone I havent even met yet..... smile

I cant wait to be a mummy.

Thanks again x

TheNextMrsBuble Fri 03-Jun-11 11:00:58

Sounds to me like he's been the cause of your depression. You are doing the best thing in moving back close to your family. I suspect his threats of going for full custody are a load of hot air (as men are very prone to BS, I know!) and when push comes to shove he probably won't do a thing about it. Even if he did he's got a long long road ahead of him to even get access if you're not putting him on the BC (he'd have to be present when you registered it anyway if you're not married). Yes I know he's got rights as a father, but so have you. You're the babies mother and he is better off with you. Your family, GP, Health Visitor and even Children's Services will ensure that. Good luck, and don't believe everything that comes out of a man's mouth, trust me on that!

Gster Fri 03-Jun-11 11:28:58

MrsBuble, I'm a man and I find that comment very offensive. If I said women are very prone to BS I'd get hounded off the site.

The OP has admitted she had problems in the past. It is possible the father is genuinely concerned, if maybe a bit heavy handed.

suburbophobe Fri 03-Jun-11 11:35:32

Gster, how is the father "genuinely concerned" when he can't even be bothered to talk it over face to face?

Sounds more like bullying tactics to me!

OP, congratulations on your pregnancy! All the best!

Gster Fri 03-Jun-11 11:45:58

sigh. i said 'possibly' . but we can discuss elsewhere if you like.

OP, you'll be fine. Like I said enjoy the pregnancy, nobody is going to take your baby away from you. All the best.

TheNextMrsBuble Fri 03-Jun-11 12:08:45

Gster, sorry that you're offended, but in my experience my comment stands. I had all sorts of ridiculous threats from my now EXP when we were together, including that he'd make me have a termination because it's his right! Countless other jems that came out of his mouth too. All riduculous idle threats that a sane and strong woman would know are BS.

Gster Fri 03-Jun-11 12:15:08

Again, i think we should discuss this else where. I'm sorry you had to put up with an idiotic man, but you are tarring us all with same brush in your comment.

"don't believe everything that comes out of a man's mouth, trust me on that!"

"men are very prone to BS, I know!"

I've seen some atrocious behaviour from some women, but I don't let that sully my opinion of women in general.

stripeywoollenhat Fri 03-Jun-11 12:19:30

mrsbuble, you can't extrapolate from your ex to all men, you know.

op, i think the chances of your ex getting custody of your baby are very small indeed. i do think he will be granted access if he pursues it, but he is the lo's father so, unless he represents some sort of danger to you or the child, that's fair enough.

whiteandnerdy Fri 03-Jun-11 13:04:16

OK, if you had been knocked down by illness say a really bad virus and you end up in hospital because your so ill your unable to look after yourself let alone a baby, then over time you get better. How bloody stupid would it be if someone came along and said "hey your not going to make a good mother because of that time you became ill, so we're going to award custody to the parent who hasn't been that ill."

I think it boils down to the stigma that mental illness has over other illnesses such as infections where the cause and teatment are much easyer understood by people. It sounds like you need to convice both yourself and your ex that however bad your illness got you have got/getting better and are putting in place the support structures required to keep you in good health long before the baby arrives.

Maybe it's worth responding in writting, and hence if you are worried about the amount of evidence of how poorly you were, you can positively re-enforce that your now better. Also state that your ex has overstepped the boundary of concern for the child. Not sure if you would be better to get a solicitor to send this out, but always useful to start making a diary of any communication hence allowing a objective third person to identify if your ex is expressing his concern or trying to harass you.

cestlavielife Fri 03-Jun-11 13:05:37

bullying/abusive men are like that - not all men.

op - talk to a solicitor, it is residence not custody, talk to your gp and midwife .

it is about how you are now not how you were then.

if he makes a big fuss and eg goes to social services then yes they may have to investigate but it seems unlikely they would get invovled or even arrange to visit until after baby is born.

keep your lovely family around to support you and be aware that the baby will have rights to contact with dad, but that can be established gradually.

Meglet Fri 03-Jun-11 13:10:07

From the sounds of it he wouldn't have snowballs chance in hell of getting custody.

You take care of yourself and make use of your family support.

FWIW I suffered terrible depression at the end of the 1990's and when i got pregnant in 2006 I told the midwife about it (it was on the forms IIRC) they never worried about it.

tonksy83 Fri 03-Jun-11 13:39:32

Hey guys

Thank you for your support and good advice.

I just wish the father of my child would talk to me, however I am not pestering him about this. I have simply asked if we could talk and he has insisted there is nothing to talk about until baby is born, then I will hear from his solicitor....i have kept any emails or evidence of communication, just in case.

Your support really helps. This site is amazing! I feel better already. I know I'll be an amazing mum...I have always wanted kids (not like this really but...) and I have always been good around them (qualified nursey nurse then onto nursing) i feel positive. However you know how your dreams become more vivid in pregnacy - well i wake up having nightmares about him winning custody....not good.

I guess whatever happens I will have to go through the motions, but I take what most of you are getting at is that as long as I am fit to be a mum, and baby is happy etc...ther is no reason for him to win?!

I think the other issues is, I am moving so far away, and its his way of getting back at me....I mean it wont be easy for him to visit etc. However I need the support and the small town life, that I want to bring my child up in....I live in a big city at the mo.

Anyway....thank you again - any information really helps, or just support x


millie30 Fri 03-Jun-11 14:26:08

Hi OP. I had serious depression and PTSD that resulted in me spending some time in hospital. I had my baby about a year later and my abusive ex tried to raise the fact that I had suffered from mental health problems in court. The judge's response was "so what?" and I was given sole residency. There is obviously more to this, including the fact that my ex has his own issues but my solicitor reassured me that it is recognised that sometimes people have reactions to specific situations in their lives resulting in depression etc, and that wouldn't make a judge remove a baby from it's mother, especially if there were no concerns about welfare. So try not to worry and enjoy your pregnancy.

BooyHoo Fri 03-Jun-11 14:29:53

put him on the BC. he can get access without it on so it is serving no purpose other than to antagonise the situation. your baby has a right to know who it's father is and has a right to have that legally declared.

millie30 Fri 03-Jun-11 14:45:58

BooyHoo, how can the OP put him on the BC if he is refusing to communicate with her? They are not married so he would have to be present, a bit difficult to arrange if he won't speak to her.

Gster Fri 03-Jun-11 14:50:27


you sound like a sensible and reasonable woman. Your child is going to be lucky to have you as a mum.

The Dad sounds like an idiot of Olympic proportions. And sadly one hears about a lot of such men here.

I think it's been made clear here that there isn't a chance in hell that he'll be whisking your baby away. You'd have to be a danger to yourself and others or a serious child abuser for that to happen. Even when the child is born it'll be years, literally, before he'd be granted leave to take the child home, away from mum, for overnight stays. It'd be a very gradual process of visits to yours building up to longer periods.

So he's only making things worse for himself if he continues to behave in this way. And you are doing exactly the right thing in inviting him to talk. If he did try and take things to court, the court would send you both to mediation anyway. And the more you can show that you have attempted to be accommodative towards him, and that he has refused any discussions the better light you will be seen in. He'll be seen as the unreasonable one.

I suppose you can only hope that he changes his behaviour and attitude over time. He says there is nothing to talk about, we'll there is plenty to talk about, he's just being pig headed.

The first scan, names, the babies sex. He's going to miss all of that, and if he does indeed immediately send you a solicitors letter after the birth ( which you could choose to ignore if you wanted ) , then it's likely he'll miss out on the first months, possibly years of your child's life.

That said, it is ( in most cases ) in your child's interests to know their Dad. It may be that he'll calm down. I hope he does for all your sakes.

cestlavielife Fri 03-Jun-11 15:26:18

you cant name him on birth cert unless he attends the registration with you. that may or may not happen.

you a r e not together so just play it cool, wait til baby is born, then offer him supervised vivsit eg with relative or third party present

and for now communicate only by email so you keep a record. if he asks a question that requires an answer answer it directly.

if he ranting then dont respond.

WibblyBibble Fri 03-Jun-11 16:39:08

Agree with whiteandnerdy, he's really very unlikely to get full custody just because you were ill! My ex tried this kind of nonsense, of course he never went through with it- going to court is expensive (unless he gets legal aid) and time-consuming and he'll realise this- plus by the time anything did get to court you'd have proven to be a fit mother by looking after your child (he can't start anything until the child is born- a friend of mine had an ex behaving like this (he'd been abusive during the pregnancy) and he was told not to be so ridiculous- you can't apply for custody of a foetus!). Do be aware of the risk of postnatal depression when you've already been depressed, and stay in contact with HV/GP about it, though.

tonksy83 Fri 03-Jun-11 17:30:20

Hey all
I didnt realise he had to be there when i registered the baby. So this is new advice, i assumed i could put him on if i wanted too. He won't be there, as its stands at the moment ill contact him when i have had the baby. In the hospital i plan to give birth, there is a register office.

I dont want people getting the wrong impression of me...the dad can have access. Plus if at a later stage if its working well, the visits etc i Will have him placed on the certificate. I Will never choose for my child to not know its dad. Its hard to be nice all the time but i know in the long run being the better more mature parent Will pay off in a number of ways. This isn't what i would choose for my little one tho. However i making the best.

Thanks again x

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 03-Jun-11 20:41:23

You sound very grounded and are doing the right thing moving closer to your supportive family. I split with my son's father at 17 weeks pregnant, so not dissimilar timing to you. He didn't come when I registered DS so he's not on the BC but the registrar told me that he could be added anytime in the future, should he step up to the plate. He hasn't, so he's still not on the BC and DS is nearly 5.

Congratulations, and good luck with the baby!

BooyHoo Fri 03-Jun-11 21:51:00

millie, now he is not communicating. that doesn't mean he wont at a later point.

OP you say if visits go well etc you will add him on. why not just contact him when the baby is borna nd let him know that you will be registering teh baby at X time on X date and taht is his opportunity to get his name on. all this talk of "if teh visits go well" etc, makes it sound like you will make him earn the legal declaration of paternity. give him teh date and time of registration and if he doesn't show then he has made his decision. he can always ask to have it added at a later date and you have no grounds (unles he is a threat to teh baby) to refuse. you just go along and get the forms then send them off and it will be added.

tonksy83 Sat 04-Jun-11 01:32:38


The ex is making it very difficult to contact him; he has changed his number/ home email so my only contact is email, his work email....which obviously he only gets when he is actually at work. He works for the government therefore is unable to check them out of work. This is immaturity...and un called for, as I am not the kind of girl who pestered him.....Or would pester him.

I have been told....yes gossip...but that he is also moving flats...!!

It is therefore, I feel up to him to make the right moves, if he wants his name printed on the birth certificate...

As I have said the hospital has a register office which is open Monday to Friday...I will therefore possibly leave the hospital having already register the birth, and at this point I wouldn’t give the dad the effort of logging on line to email....I don’t have a posh iphone which does it all for you! Nor can I afford to get one just for him! Therefore I will be waiting until I am able and near a computer.....he knows this, and this is his choice....he is making it difficult for me on purpose.

I want my baby to know its father...its such a shame as this isn’t the man I fell in love with, however I am doing, and making all the right moves, I have ask to talk, yet he won’t....I can’t see why his name should go anywhere near the birth certificate and yes he does need to make all the right move....he does need to make an effort and prove he even wants to be on my childs birth certificate!

You seem the only person to have replied, which I am still grateful for, who has push for his name to be on the certificate.....I agree with the others, plus he can be put on the birth certificate at any point.

I hope others agree with me....however obviously you have your opinions.

Thank you

BooyHoo Sat 04-Jun-11 01:49:31

OP your name is going on teh birth certificate without you having to prove to anyone taht you desreve it. the reason your name goes on is because you are biologically teh child's mother. teh exact same reason stands for teh father. it is not about earning the right. the fact that his sperm created that baby means that his name belongs on that certificate. it is a biological fact that he is teh father. whether or not he never sees the baby, if he turns up with you to register the birth then his name should go on. the space for father does not say "name of person who has earned teh right to be called father" it says "father's name" and it is a fact that can never be changed that he is the biological father of that child. your child deserves to have that fact legally acknowledged.

if he remains to be uncontactable then he is the one denying his child that right. not you. i am not saying you should go out of your way at all to find him, he knows roughly when you are due, it's up to him. but if he does turn up then let him put his name on. he can get access without it if he choses so it serves no purpose not to do it and your child will one day have possesion of that document.

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