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Another question - DH's right to access, this time...

(15 Posts)
NewlySingleMum Thu 13-Oct-11 14:18:14

...I hope I don't start driving you all nuts now, picking your brains, but Google just doesn't seem to be answering some of the queries I have...

Background is that I've just left my husband, have a one year old and am pregnant with twins. (I know, what a mess... confused)

Anyway. I've just been wondering what my husband's rights actually are with regards to our children? How often is he entitled to visit DS now? Is he able to insist on having him away overnight? Do I have to grit my teeth and spend all of my time, every weekend in his company? As for the overnights, they make me feel very uneasy... He's never once put DS to bed and never once done a night feed (excuses being he "doesn't hear him" and "he settles better for you anyway"). DS has a lot of upheval in his life right now and I just feel that I'm his one constant and I want to be there for him.

Also, as for the twins... From what I've gathered from Google, I don't have to allow H to be present at the birth, but once they're born, they're our joint responsibility...? Does that mean H has the right to come in once they're born? Can I ask him to wait till I've had a shower/been stitched, etc and am no longer feeling at my most vulnerable? Then how soon can he "take them off me"? Can he insist on taking them overnight on their first night home from hospital, for example? I must sound so possesive but I want time to bond with my babies (as I'm sure he will and that's why I want to be as accomodating as possible, even if it means him sleeping on my couch for a bit) but I want to get breastfeeding established, get into a routine... After all, it'll be me left on my own with all three of them when he goes away again...

Thoughts? Again, thanks in advance for any replies.

STIDW Thu 13-Oct-11 15:29:36

Because you are married your husband has equal Parental Responsibility and rights to carry out those responsibilities. Contact is the right of the child rather than the father's and there is no one arrangement that suits all families.

With very young children contact tends to be little and often. Under threes might find overnights difficult but because a lot of parenting of young children takes place at night overnight contact for your one year old might be deemed as being in the interest of the child. Having said that your husband might prefer 12 hours contact during the day rather than 12 hours overnight when the child is either asleep or keeping your husband awake.

In any event contact could start at home for a couple of hours a week if your husband has no experience of changing nappies or feeding etc graduating to going out for walks or the park, taking the child to his own home and extending the hours to a half day, then a full day, overnight an eventually whole weekends.

As far as having the babies are concerned once you have the composure it would be in their interests to meet their father so they can begin to bond with him too. Again contact would be little and often at your home.

Are you sure the relationship has ended and there is no way of working at the problems and getting it back? If not you will need to remember that although you divorce each other there are many years of parenting together before the children are no longer dependent and it is so much easier on everyone, particularly the children, if you can rub along together. Good contact for children relies on parents working together. It is such a shame when children grow up feeling as though they have to tread on eggshells all the time and can't share celebrations such as special birthdays, graduations and their own weddings with both parents. A mediator can meet with you both to help you agree arrangements that can work for everyone and resolve any disputes constructively.

You might both also find the information here helpful;

hairylights Thu 13-Oct-11 16:10:48

Your ex husband has equal rights to you, as a parent. Why would it be any different?

In fact, better phrased, your children have an equal right to him as a father as they do to you as a mother.

This could include him having them live with him and you being the non-resident parent.

I'm sorry but you don't get to shut the other parent out of your children's lives just because he/she becomes your ex. As someone put it on another thread, he is not your children's ex, he's their father.

No he isn't entitled to be at the birth.

racetobed Thu 13-Oct-11 16:20:34

erm - it can't necessarily be 'equal' with newborn care, bc the mother might be breastfeeding. that makes a huge difference. so the father's access will be determined by that, and rightly so (bear in mind, not everybody can express, and no woman should be forced to express her milk from her body to accommodate a man)

I would be very surprised if it would be them living with him and not you, newlysingle. This sounds like scaremongering to me. Given that he doens't 'hear' his one year old at night, it doesn't exactly sound like he is a hands-on parent. I should think you'll end up with the usual every other weekend and one night in the weekend arrangement. IMO overnights shouldn't be attempted until the child has a) stopped breastfeeding b) is able to make themselves understood) c) mostly sleeps overnight (ie from 2 onwards)

CARCASS appreciates this, as SGM points out.

of course he doesn't have to be at the birth. nor do you hvae to tell him you're in labour, and the maternity ward won't permit anybody but your designated birth partner in, anyway. but as SGM says, it is in everybody's interest to make sure you all rub along, so i would let him know as soon as they're born adn invite him once you've showered etc (and fed the babies YOU'VE been carrying for the last 9 months) it is in the children's interest that their father welcomes them into the world on their first day here, but not necessarily immediately after their arrival.

racetobed Thu 13-Oct-11 16:21:42

sorry, i referred to STIDW posts, not SGM. apols.

mamas12 Thu 13-Oct-11 17:28:59

You really need to get some rl support here op.
Your ex has no right at all to be present at the birth unless you want him to be there and I also recommend you tell him he could come when YOU are ready. As you know how it is after giving birth, I can only imagine how it will be with twins.
You need to be physically, emotionally and ready to see him.
He will then meet his new children on an amical basis then.

Newborns need you, as their mum and for ex to see them little and often is best, so you need to think about what you could manage each day or so to fit in with midwives hvs etc. He could take older one to nursery/park/shopping etc but not the newborns yet.
Hope you have some support at home op. you sound as if you need it.
Good luck

mamas12 Thu 13-Oct-11 17:30:56

Is he really expecting to hover outside the delivery room just waiting for you to expel his children and whisk them away for the night, or are you just a liiiitle bit scared and in need of someone to talk to.

NewlySingleMum Fri 14-Oct-11 00:22:41

Hi everyone and thanks for your replies. Sorry, I haven't had a chance to get back online all day.

STIDW - Thank you so much for your information and your link. Once I've posted this, I'll head to that website. Unfortunately, there's definitely no going back I'm afraid. Long story but only when backed into a corner did H admit to some of the lies he told over the course of the last year (or perhaps our whole relationship, who knows?!). There are other things I know about (by chance) that he thinks I don't, and even now, he's still lying about them. I feel that even if he were to change, I could never trust him again after this. Anyway, things for the minute are completely amicable, but H is still very much hoping that I'll go back to him and I just don't know how it will all pan out when he sees that that's never going to happen. And I think not wanting him at the twins' birth is going to really p him off too. Maybe I am meeting trouble halfway but I just feel I'd like an idea of my rights sooner rather than later.

Hairylights - Thanks for your input. I realise that the children are only half mine and that H will be just as important in their lives as I will. I will do all I possibly can to accomodate them seeing as much of each other as possible (I mentioned my idea to have him stay over during his paternity leave so that he can be with the babies as much as possible). However, I do very much want what's best for my babies above all else and as I mentioned in my original post, DS is currently facing a lot of upheval in his life and with H never having been a particularly hands on parent, I feel it would be more beneficial to DS to build up to spending more 1:1 time with his dad before leaving me overnight. I have no doubt that it will absolutely break my heart to be parted from any/all of my children, especially on birthdays/Christmases, but I realise fully that it is not about me at all and I hope that in the future, they WILL spend a lot of time at their dad's, and will be just as close to him as they are to me. I just don't feel that now's the time to force another change onto DS though. And I don't feel that with trying to get routines and breastfeeding established with the twins, immediately after their birth is a good time either. That's why I wondered what my rights were with regards to saying no when I feel it is genuinely in the children's best interests.

Racetobed - thank you SO much for your information about breastfeeding. It's been quite a concern of mine as I'm very pro-bf and still feed DS myself at night (had hoped to continue to the WHO's recommendation of 2yo but once twins arrive, we'll have to see how it goes...) Anyway, H has always thought bf's "more hassle than it's worth" and "ff babies somehow survive just fine". So I did wonder how it would work if I wanted to bf and H wanted to ff so that he could take them - whether I'd be forced into expressing. (I tried expressing with DS and what took me 30mins to get out, he seemed to down in 30secs - it was a nightmare!) Anyway, incredibly reassuring to think I won't be forced into either ff or expressing. Thank you. Also thank you for the advice about the birth. Of course I'd want the twins to meet the dad on the day that they're born, so that's not a problem. Just having been through childbirth before, I know how completely disgusting and undignified I felt until I'd at least had a change of clothes and a wash. I really would rather H not saunter into the delivery room and see me lying there in that state. I'm not discriminating against him - I wouldn't have any other visitors there under those circumstances either, and I do fully expect he'll be first in once twins are born, as my mum'll have DS and I wouldn't want either my dad (for obvious reasons!) or my sister or best friend (both faint at the sight of blood - useless lumps!) to be at the birth.

Mamas12 - Thank you SO much for your empathy. It means a lot. Yes, I am REALLY lucky to have an AMAZING family - parents and sister - and some GREAT long term friends here (I've just moved "home" to the town I grew up in). At the moment, I know it hasn't even crossed H's mind that he wouldn't be at the birth. But if I know him like I think I do after all these years, I think that when I tell him I don't want him there, he'll see it as though I'm taking out my revenge on him. I don't think he'll understand why I might have an issue with it, seeing as it's "our" children and he's "seen it all before" (basing this on a conversation I remember us having when I was pregnant with DS and there was a seperated couple featured on One Born Every Minute - I thought it unusual that the dad was present, H couldn't understand why he wouldn't be...) Anyway, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself again but I just worry that if he thinks I'm playing nasty, he'll play nasty back. Like I mentioned earlier in this MASSIVE post, at the moment, H is being very agreeable and nice at the minute, believing (despite being told otherwise) that maybe we can work through and resolve things. I just dread what's going to happen when he comes out of his denial...

ScaredKittyWitchyKitty Fri 14-Oct-11 17:34:56

He has every right to see all three children but as you're breastfeeding the eldest and plan to bf the other two, I think overnights will be very difficult until you've stopped bf-ing them. Obviously you'll stop bf-ing the eldest first, by which time he'll hopefully have built up a more confident relationship with his dad and can then start going overnight. For now he could take him out for the day and give you a rest. You can't stop him having his DC overnight on the basis that he doesn't hear him or that you are better at settling your child - fact is, he'll have to step up to the plate when the DC are with him, and you'll need to let him do that. No court would stop him having the DC overnight on that basis, should he take his case to court.

Looking more long term I believe the 'standard' set up is the NRP has the children every other weekend, half the school holidays and every other Christmas, so you may want to work towards something like this in the long term.

Can I just ask why you don't want him at the birth?

mamas12 Fri 14-Oct-11 18:11:41

scaredkitty are you serious?
This man has lied and deceived th op and she has decided to end this relationship because of a massive breakdown in trust let alone anything else, how on earth would she want him there where she will be at her most vulnerable and need what he cannot give her.
Op only you know at what point to inform him that he's not welcome at the birth, but I suggest you get your family to move in with you before you do that so he cannot stress you out just before your time.
If you know how he will react then you can prepare for that, but good luck, you soundas if you could manage with your family. You decide and tell him then look after yourself

ScaredKittyWitchyKitty Fri 14-Oct-11 18:41:51

Yes Mamas12 I am serious - I was asking the OP (politely I may add) why she didn't want him there. I've read the thread and am aware that he's lied which has resulted in the OP leaving the relationship, so I'm fully aware the lies must be very serious. However the fact remains that he's the twins' father, lies or no lies. Clearly it's up to the OP who she has at the birth and she's already stated she'll be willing for him to see the twins the day they are born. I wasn't actually saying she's wrong to stop him being there, but I just wondered for what exact reasons she wants to keep him away because it wasn't stated.

For background my DS's father cheated on me, left me for the OW when I was pg and, as I later discovered, had been leading a double life and had fathered several other DCs with other women while we were together. However I still wanted him to be involved with my pregnancy, come to scans and attend the birth because no matter what a complete shit he'd been to me, he was still DS's father. In the end it was him that chose not to be involved in any capacity and he never has been, but had he wanted to be at the birth I would have allowed it because the relationship between a father and his kids is different to the relationship between a woman and her ex.

mamas12 Fri 14-Oct-11 18:51:46

Hmmm her reasons are her own and her decision is she doesn't want him there (I couldn't btw - we are all different)
Being a father though also means making sure the mother is in fine form to be able to give birth in a calm and supportive environment.
Him being there won't be that so he needs to know and understand that and hopefully realise that is the best thing for his babies for him not to be present at the birth and to meet them later.
If he really cannot accept that then he is not a good father it is not all about him

mamas12 Fri 14-Oct-11 18:52:20

sorry for your situation too that must have been tough going.

TastyMuffins Sat 15-Oct-11 00:26:04

I'm not that familiar with access rights but with regards to the breastfeeding, I don't think it would be possible for him to insist on you expressing or him giving formula. Giving expressed milk in a baby is not as good for the baby as formula milk, feeding from the breast helps to prevent ear infections and helps with jaw development, babies don't get this from EBM. Not everyone finds expressing easy or even possible so if you are successfully breastfeeding there is no reason why this should be interrupted.

Daisy1986 Sat 15-Oct-11 01:00:04

Hi OP what an awkward situation for you.

I broke up with DDs father at the very beginning of my pregnancy as he had cheated, lied etc etc to me, treated me terribly during my pg that I did see him.

It wasn't until I was taken in to be induced for labour that I decided to invite him into the labour ward (I hadnt seen him since being 5 months pg until he stayed with my family the week before I was due). If it gives you any reassurance I explained to the midwives the situation and they said when ever I felt uncomfortable with him being in the room I could ask him to leave and that is what would happen (My mum was my main birthing partner and I also asked her to leave the room on some occassions early on). I asked him to leave when my waters were broken, when I had the hormone drip put in because I felt/was sick after he left. By the time I was in full blown labour I didnt care anymore I was the first to hold DD then my mum and I think i cut the umbilical cord but not sure. I truly think it was good for him to be there to see what I had gone through etc and he was helpful in some ways. All through my pregnancy I worried about whether to invite him in or not so understand where your coming from but for me it worked out best that he was. However, I had well and truly had enough of him by the time she was 5 days old so becarefu what you offer now as you may appreciate the help but it might be best if he sleeps else where so you can have a break from each other in what will be a very intense, emotional time.

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