Overnight Stays and Legal Advice(12 Posts)
A friend of mine has an ex who is utterly irresponsible and wants to take her under two son for 14 days at a time, once a month.
She has serious concerns as he never looked after the baby. He has never had him overnight before. The ex also lives on the other side of the country. So far he's had supervised visits and 1 day where he's taken the baby out on his own - and he had company doing it. The child barely knows him, and it would disrupt his routine. He also doesn't pay any child support, claiming to be poverty stricken (despite having a car, the latest gadgets, and new clothes whenever we see him).
He has had a volatile temper (but because he was never physically violent, it 'doesn't count' apparently) and she is worried that he will kick off with the baby - even for a patient person, a two year old is frustrating, and their house still has damage from when he'd punch and kick the walls, or throw knives about (still doesn't count as 'violence' apparently).
She's worried about the physical safety and emotional well being of her child, and she's worried she can't do anything about it.
Is there anything she can do to prevent it?
Well she can say 'no' to that regime. No one in their right mind would send an under two off for two weeks away from mum.
But he is the child's father so they need to work out some kind of arrangement that will lead up to extended visits when the child is older.
Ok here is a longer answer.
Your friend does not have to agree to whatever her XP asks for. In an ideal world they would negotiate around what is best for the child and work from there. But likewise he is the father and your friend shouldn't count contact out entirely. They need to work together in the child's best interests.
At that sort of age I'd say over nights should be on the cards, but one or two nights in a row assuming the father and child are familiar with each other and the child feels safe and secure. It's generally suggested that short but frequent visits building up to longer stays is the way to go.
Of course living on the other side of the country makes this extremely difficult and very expensive to sustain a decent relationship with the child if dad has to visit every time.
If your friend refused this 14 day request and the XP went to court for access it's unlikely that he'd be granted 14 days in a row with an under two. But they would have to find some kind of solution.
In the longer term he would likely be granted a large chunk of school holidays, but obviously that wouldn't happen for a while.
The agency CAFCAS do sometimes get involved to investigate how safe the child will be with either parent. And the CSA will chase up child maintenance ( assuming he's not self employed )
Are there any grandparents that could help out at all ?
two weeks solid every month ?
not realistic is it?
needs to start building single overnights first then building to two three nights. then maybe a holiday away for a week... will take long time.
she should say not yet, start wih single night overnight over period of several months...
who did she show the smashed walls to t and who said it wasnt violence ?
What an utter knob.
The first thing that she can do is see a solicitor and send him a letter proposing alternate weekends, with a midweek visit (which he'll refuse because he lives so far away), as well as building up to longer stays when the child is happy and settled at dads for longer periods. (Half of school holidays is normal for older kids)
Then he can counter propose how his little scheme is going to work when the child starts nursery and school. There isn't a cat in hells chance that he would be granted what he is demanding.
The second thing that she does is photograph all of the damage he's caused in the house and keep those pictures in reserve in case they are needed some day.
The next thing that she does is contact the CSA and start a claim for child maintenance.
And the next thing she does is register on MN so we can help her stand up to the bully
Cestlavielife: The police have seen it, but the court's position is that as he never hit her or the child he isn't regarded as a danger. It's why they agreed to the initial supervision though.
Thanks for your responses - i'm relieved.
The distance is a big problem. I agree it isn't fair for the dad to have to pay to travel a few hundred miles to come see the baby, but at the same time, he chose to move so far away, and he's not paying anything toward his son's upkeep (reprehensible in my opinion). And it's equally unfair to expect a toddler to go stay with someone they barely know, with no option of seeing mum for a fortnight.
His parents (grandparents of the child) see him every few months and have had him for weekends - visiting there would be the ideal solution, and that's what they used to do, but the dad is estranged from his parents now.
I'd guess he's saying 14 days a month to upset the mother rather than actually planning on doing it. It's clearly not in the child's interests. Any fool can see that.
I don't think your friend really needs to go to a solicitor at this stage. She just needs to be calm and polite and suggest something more reasonable in terms of access.
I suggest you advise her to keep all correspondence and a record of actual visits.
I'd hope also that the paternal grandparents are still able to see their grandchild and have a good relationship with mum if possible.
The paternal grandparents do still see their grandchild - which is great, there's been a lot of maturity on both sides.
They're already going through the courts. His initial demand (after missing 3 supervised contact visits) was for full custody! His solicitor 'advised' him to withdraw that claim.
He does seem to be playing games.
She can reasonably stick with the status quo of short supervised visits at present (with a good record of if/when he turns up) as they are going through the courts already. I would keep records of all the things he write/says/threatens and all the efforts that have been made to keep contact including the fact that he is now estranged from his own parents () thus limiting the supervision that is available.
Depending on the court's view of his previous behaviour and current state of mind he will probably be given short supervised visits with a view to building up to longer unsupervised and then overnights when her son is used to him and vice versa.
I would bet good money that he will
not be arsed find it difficult to comply with whatever is ordered. Again make sure your friend knows to keep good written records of what he does/doesn't do. and remember that the resident parent has the right to stop contact for any GOOD reason (contact is being used to get at her, distressing for DC or DF is displaying abusive behaviour to child) and she can get social services involved if she has concerns.
Thanks for all your help guys. The other issue is that he lives in a flatshare; is there any way she can ask for an inspection of his living arrangements to ensure they're suitable for a child?
cafcass will police check all the residents over 18.
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