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Newborn - contact and birth certificate

(9 Posts)
needsomehelppls Fri 04-Jan-13 22:07:48

Would really appreciate some help with this...

I'm single and have a 4 week old baby and split with the father whilst I was pregnant. This was my choice (have my reasons and happy to go into them if I need to. But I'll just say at the moment that he was very controlling). I also have an older child with a different father and contact is all sorted and goes very well.

Baby's father said whilst I was still pregnant that he wanted to see the baby 3 times a week and every other weekend. I refused and said that I didn't want to sort it out until the baby was born. He's seen the baby about once a week since birth (for an hour each time). Now he has it in his head that I've agreed to 3 times a week which I haven't. That would be really difficult for me because of juggling school runs and all the other stuff I do. I'm thinking about offering twice a week but he's insisting on 3 times. Baby is EBF.

Also, I don't want to put him on the bc. I honestly don't trust him enough and wouldn't put it past him to refuse to give the baby back at some point. I have physical and mental health problems and I can see him using this as an excuse. But I don't have anything concrete to base that on - I just know him (if that makes sense). As I understand it, if he's on the bc it'd be harder for me to get the baby back.

I honestly don't know what is reasonable in terms of contact and I realise my feelings might be clouding my judgement. As I said, 3 times a week is going to be very difficult for me (it'd be for an hour each time). A friend has suggested an hour and a half twice a week which might work but at the moment baby is feeding every 1.5-2 hrs so could be tricky. Contact is taking place in public so I can be nearby but not with them and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable feeding in front of the father.

Could anyone give me some ideas on what is reasonable contact at this age please? And am I right in what I think about the bc? Can he take me to court to get put on it?

He's started threatening court action this evening anyway and I'm so scared. I can't get legal aid and can't afford a solicitor.

Sorry for the long post and TIA.

tiffinbaker Fri 04-Jan-13 22:18:03

The baby's needs come first. This guy sounds like he is trying to insist on his "rights" solely as a way to control you, but he doesn't have "rights" to the child, the child has rights to a dad. Don't get flustered - in the unlikely event that he took you to court he would get laughed at. No court is going to order a tiny EBF baby to be separated from its mum. While you are EBF that means the baby stays with you. The father cannot insist on anything and this stage - be open and supportive of them both developing a strong parent-child relationship in the long term, but stick to looking after the baby's needs for now and don't allow your ex to control you.

titchy Sat 05-Jan-13 16:10:40

Little and often is what courts normally order for a small baby, and one hour three times a week would be regarded as reasonable (disclaimer not a lawyer), but what he's proposing sounds reasonable. You would need to be nearby for a few more weeks of course, and in a public place if he's abusive. But it would be quite reasonable for him to have unsupervised once baby is going longer between feeds.

titchy Sat 05-Jan-13 16:13:19

He would have to accompany you if he were to go on bc. However even if he's not on it it would be very easy for him to apply to court and be given pr. if there is a real risk of him not returning child then a residency order in your favour would help.

charlottekbl Tue 08-Jan-13 12:53:07

jsut thought i might be able to help, i am a family solicitor. there are contact centres where you can all be present during contact sessions as i would not advise you to do this alone if he is abusive. The court do advise little and often when children are very young as in your case, i am currently dealing with a similar case where contact is only at the granparents house with the mother present for 1 hour per week.

lostdad Wed 09-Jan-13 13:02:19

Contact for a young child should be `little and often'. This is recommended by, amongst others CAFCASS. On the other hand there is a tendency for people to rely on the long-discredited `tender years doctrine' (it's about 90 years old now) that says young children shouldn't be away from their mother.

1 hour a week is not enough for a baby by a long shot however. In an ideal world it would be every day but as that's likely to be impractical do as much as possible in your baby's best interests.

If you have serious concerns that he can't/won't care for your baby properly - or won't return him/her a contact centre (or grandparents house) would be appropriate. Have you discussed your concerns with him? What you think he should/shouldn't be doing? What would make you comfortable with him having (eventually) unsupervised contact?

It's not a long term solution however - bear that in mind. Even if it goes to court there is an expectation that contact will progress from this sort of thing.

Try to build up a long-term solution. If you can't come to agreement with your ex organise professional mediation. Google `National Family Mediation' and have a chat with them. A professional mediator will guide you and your ex to a solution hopefully - and you will work together without things going down the slippery path to court...which is the worst case scenario for everyone including your baby.

Communication is always key here and the moment you stop communicating effectively things will get much, much worse.

lostdad Wed 09-Jan-13 13:06:04

Just to add - your ex will be expected to attempt mediation if he intends to take you to court. If he doesn't pre-empt him by doing it yourself and do your best to come to an agreement.

My case lasted 5 years, took 15 hearings and was damaging to me, my ex and our son. After all that he is with me 40% of time and the outcome was what I had hoped to discuss with my ex in the first place while she refused from day one.

I was lucky because I represented ex's legal bills were likely in excess of £20,000. Utterly pointless...the money would have been better spent on our son.

needsomehelppls Wed 09-Jan-13 18:38:30

Thanks for all your replies - they've been really helpful.

Unfortunately things have got worse and he's now taking me to court. At the moment it's to get his name on the bc and to get pr. But I anticipate him taking me to court about contact as well. And he's said that the court will force me to give him contact 3 times a week and every other weekend (and he means fri-mon). I'm actually starting to worry about him having unsupervised contact at all at the moment (for reasons I can't go into on here) so I have a lot of thinking and decisions to make.

splintersinmebum Wed 09-Jan-13 18:55:46

if he's the baby's father then he should be on the birth certificate. It's a factual document. Your baby deserves to have his father named on bc.

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