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Oh gawd-choosing a guardian for my DD

(7 Posts)
Loobyloo1902 Tue 11-Oct-11 17:18:35

Oh gawd, I've gone and put my foot in it with my mum, hoping someone will reassure me I've done the right thing?

I'm planning ahead and wanting to set down my wishes should I come to a sticky and untimely end. I want to allocate a willing guardian for my daughter to have responsibility for her and without her father on the scene. I asked my childless brother but he gently declined. I think the next most suitable person would be one of her godmothers. I've discussed it with her and she is willing to be named. She's 37 and childless but loves her god-daughter and spends plenty of time with her.

Both of my parents are in their 60s, divorced and acrimoniously so therefore I'm loathe to give responsibility to one of them as I fear that the other grandparent wouldn't get a look in. Mum's great but I feel she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders; she's trying to run a business and rarely accepts help from anyone meaning it's chaotic, she's got a partner with depression who needs her and lots of health problems of her own. I know she would be a good guardian but I feel the godmother would be better.

Today I mentioned what I had planned and got really upset and walked out. I tried to discuss it with her but she said she was too distraught and "What about me?, you're punishing me for the divorce".

I feel terrible that I've upset her but this is about what's best for my daughter. I think that's with her Godmother with plenty of visits and shared access with my family (as I am confident would happen).

Have I almightily cocked this up this up? Be honest.....

mumblechum1 Tue 11-Oct-11 17:31:32

I'm a will writer and this is the one thing which ties people up in knots, sometimes so much so that they never get around to making a will.

You need to firstly understand that if your daughter's father has Parental Responsibility (ie he is named on her birth certificate and she was born after 1st December 2003), then he would be the default person for her to live with.

Even if he doesn't have parental responsibility, he could make an application for a Residence Order under the Children Act 1989, although if he has had little or nothing to do with her it is extremely unlikely that he'd be successful.

Judging from your post, it sounds as if he isn't around so it wouldn't be appropriate for her to go to him.

If I were writing your will I'd advise something along these lines:

"I appoint x to be Guardian of my daughter y and I express the wish that x make all reasonable attempts to encourage and facilitate direct and indirect contact between y and her extended family and in particular her grandmother z and for the sake of clarity I expressly do not wish x to go to live with her father xxx as he has had very little contact with her and I feel that her best interests would be served by her remaining with the said Guardian x"

(or whatever wording most closely suited your requirements.)

I have a paid for advert over on the Small Business section of Classifieds ("5* Will Writing Service Recommended by Mumsnetters") if you'd like more info.

ladydeedy Tue 11-Oct-11 21:16:00

Yes the father would be very likely to get residency, whether you like it or not. Do you have good reason to want to try and refuse that?
Bear in mind that you are simply stating your wishes and that there is no guarantee that they will be carried out.

Loobyloo1902 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:39:26

Sorry I didn't explain the situation, my daughter's father buggered orf when I was eight weeks pregnant so I suspect he's unlikely to appear any time soon!

MollieO Tue 11-Oct-11 22:45:58

I wouldn't choose a guardian that was my parents' age. You need someone who will be able to raise your dd in the event of your death. You want that person to be around for a long time. With the best will in the world it's unlikely your parents would outlive a friend the same age as you. It's sad that your mum can't see this.

I'm in the same situation (lp, ds's father has no contact) and my mother completely understands that she wouldn't be a suitable choice as guardian, despite being fully involved in ds's life. If anything happened to me ds would have to go to live in a different part of the country but I know the people who are his guardians love him almost as much as I do.

nothaunted Tue 11-Oct-11 22:48:40

Just one thought: a young guardian in good health is better than a grandmother. DD will still need a guardian up to 18 and her grandmother may not be in great physical or mental health if you fall under a bus when she is 14 or something. Do what you feel is right and don't mention the subject to your Mum again. Most likely it will never be needed smile

JustForThisOne Wed 12-Oct-11 00:42:39

I was thinking exactly about those line (old granparents and so on) but I was advised by my writer that I should put down on the will who I would want my child to go if I dies "today"...picture that! so I realised that naturally my dc would want to go and stay with his grandparents, even if they are old, even if they will not be around for long...but right here and now that' would be the best for him. The day that one of them will not be independent any longer I would change it. Or you could have a "plan" outlined involving godmother from beginning but having you dd living at nana
You will know if you ask yourself what if I drop dead tonight ;-)

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