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Absent father what rights

(12 Posts)
Fifibluebell Wed 19-Feb-14 14:01:35

Not on birth certificate, seen child 4 times twice for 5 mins, never paid maintenance now wants to have contact what legal rights does he have if I refuse not saying I'm going to refuse but if I did and he went down a legal route would a court just say he's the father hand the child over ever weekend? Any experience/advise?

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Feb-14 14:05:25

IME a family court will order contact between a father and his child, yes.
It will make no difference whether he pays maintenance or not to the courts.
He could also apply for PR and it's quite a standard procedure. Unless there is other issues you haven't mentioned, he would more than likely get PR if he applied for it.

Why wouldn't you want your child to have a relationship with their father?

Monetbyhimself Wed 19-Feb-14 14:08:11

It's likely that in the absence of violence, abuse or neglect, the eventual outcome would be that he would have contact.
However you may not wven have to get as far as court and if you can avoid it then it's best to do so.

Mediation may be a good option ( although again not an option if there is a history of violence or abuse)

There are so many issues to consider- age of child, their wishes etc so it's impossible to give concrete advice based on what you've posted. Ultimately though, the childs interests come first ang if dad is genuine about safe, meaningful contact will that benefit the child ?

Fifibluebell Wed 19-Feb-14 14:10:53

Thank you! I do want him to have a relationship with his Dad that's not the issue the issue is he's making crazy demands doesn't let me get a word in just has angry rants at me when I try and say take it slowly and then he acts like I have zero rights over my son who is only 2 doesn't know him from Adam but he's saying he can take him next weekend for the weekend if he chose to cos he's his dad and I can't tell him any different and saying he's having him for Christmas etc!

MooseBeTimeForSnow Wed 19-Feb-14 14:13:31

He's asking for too much too soon. If this went to Court there would be the expectation of a gradual introduction.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 19-Feb-14 14:27:33

I would ignore and block him completely - at no point do you have to put up with aggressive rants.

I'd wait til he applied for contact before responding.

gillybean2 Wed 19-Feb-14 15:20:45

Don't suppose he has got himself a new girlfriend recently has he? Not to be cynical or anything but there does sometimes seem to be a sudden interest in a child when trying to impress a new girlfriend.

Also it may be that his parents have put pressure on him as they want to know their grandchild. Do you have any contact with them? If so they may be able to shed some light on matters for you.

Also have you asked him why the sudden change of heart and if he is thinking of your child's welfare and needs or just his own wants? Remind him that your child has rights (which include having a relationship with both parents), but he also to be safe and secure. He has to work at the pace that suits your child and can't expect to be a hands on dad over night.

If it went to court and he pushed on with wanting contact then he would most certainly get awarded it. The court would order the contact, whereas at mediation you can (attempt) to agree it.

Presumably there are no concerns of violence, abduction etc? If you are happy for contact to go ahead in some form then list out what you believe is the way forward for you all with your child's welfare in mind.

Ask him what experience he has of looking after a young child and if he, as a concerned parent, would leave his child with a stranger who had little to know experience of taking care of a child.

Tell him to get himself a copy of birth to 5 matters and read it. Ask him to go on a parenting course. If he is serious about having contact then he will.

Ask him how, and also where, he intends to have contact? Court ordered contact will be little but often, so likely to start with an hour once or twice a week. In reality this means taking out for a walk somewhere close, park, library etc. Or maybe a structured play session at a messy club or sure start centre. Is he prepared to have his/your mother or someone you trust accompany him the first few times? Does he understand the importance of routine and what your child's routine is. He must fit around naps and meal times.

If he lives close by and intends to take your child to his home has he got the necessary stair gates, cupboard locks etc? He needs to do all this before contact can start.

You should also explain that bullying, shouting, and intimidating you will not get him what he wants. He needs to think about his child and what he needs and work slowly to building up both your and your son's trust and his relationship with his son.

Unfortunately absent fathers who have no experience of the reality of looking after a child tend to have no real understanding of the concerns and think a child will simply fit in with what they want. It doesn't work like that and he has to show he is prepared to do what is necessary to build a relationship. If he's not prepared to do that then he can go to court and find the court will tell him the same thing. If you can avoid court I would recommend doing so if at all possible. But if he won't listen and is determined it may tke that before he starts to listen I'm afraid.

gillybean2 Wed 19-Feb-14 15:28:42

I would also point out to him that if he wants to be taken seriously as a parent then perhaps he should start paying maintenance to prove he is serious about being a parent. Taking financial responsibility for his child would be a good indication of how serious he is about being a parent.

If you can't get a word in edgewise then write a short to the point letter stating how you see contact happening, little and often and moving forward slowly. Keep all emotion out of it and keep a copy should you need it later. Also state that if he can't agree to your suggestions then he might want to look at mediation to move things forward. The mediator should be able to tell him he is being unreasonable. Plus court will want to see mediation has been tried so he will likely have to do that anyhow at some stage.

Fifibluebell Wed 19-Feb-14 18:34:49

Thank you so so much gilly! All very good advise some things I hadn't thought of can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply!

lostdad Wed 19-Feb-14 19:04:34

There is no link in law between maintenance and contact so don't link the two. Contact is either in the best interests of the child or it isn't and that has no bearing on cash.

But as Gilly says he should pay maintenance if he wants contact because in my experience he wouldn't be doing himself any favours (I have seen judges ask fathers this at hearings).

What legal rights does he have? None. Your child has rights (you don't have rights either, incidentally). Your child has a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents and everything you do or say should be on this premise.

Contact should be regular and agreed. And meaningful (an hour a week isn't meaningful incidentally) which will include overnights and the like. This is of course subject to the age of your child, a gradual increase of contact, etc.

If possible, please try mediation. Google it. Don't ignore it. If you do and he pushes hard enough he will end up with contact, PR and you'll end up facilitating it and possibly an avoidable needless legal bill.

littlemisssarcastic Wed 19-Feb-14 19:32:40

Agree with lostdad.

I'm not sure NRP'S need Stair Gates or cupboard locks to enable contact, my XP doesn't do everything the way I do, and tbh I wouldn't want him dictating to me that I had to have cupboard locks or stair gates before I could spend time with DD.

Apart from that, agree with gillybean2 too.

starlight1234 Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:42

I agree..look at mediation...There will be a middle person who will control conversation and hopefully he will be more reasonable in public..

It does need to be gradual for a 2 year old

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