Contact arrangements- advice needed(4 Posts)
I would be really grateful for some advice on the contact arrangements my 17 month old has with his dad. I have spoken to a solicitor about it as well as family/friends but none of this has helped make up my mind so was hoping someone had been through a similar thing. It's a long post so apologies in advance!
My sons dad and I split when my son was 3 months old. I have full custody and originally my son was supposed to see his dad twice a week. This gradually went down to once a week due to ex partner not turning up for visits or continually turning up late. During the visits he was also verbally abusive towards myself which meant I eventually asked my mum to take my son I place of me (my thinking for this was that it didn't matter who was taking my son as long as a he still saw his dad). After several months of doing this, with my ex partner still only turning up when he felt like it I stopped the visits while I took legal advice. We then created new arrangements through my solicitor (my ex didn't bother to get a solicitor of his own despite being advised he should by mine). My solicitor then had to threaten to stop contact indefinitely to make my ex show up to see our son. The visits then started to go well for about 2 months until one day my ex decided he wanted a DNA test and that the visits should stop until I could prove my son was his. Needless to say several months went by while this was bing sorted and unsurprisingly the test came back stating that he is the father.
After this I chose to start contact through a contact centre, where we have now been for several months. However my parents once again had to take over bringing my son to the centre due to verbal abuse. My ex partner still turns up late on a regular basis and doesn't interact with our son as much as he should- there hasn't been an improvement in the quality of the interactions in the entire time we have been there (approximately 6 months). On top of this my ex partner has also been refusing to pay maintenance since April and has gone out of his way to ensure the CSA don't have his correct details and therefore are unable to get any money from him for my son for the foreseeable future.
The difficulty I am having is deciding whether or not the visits should continue. I strongly believe it is important for my son to have a relationship with his dad, but his dad is making it very difficult for this to happen.
If you were in my position what would you do? Would you allow the visits to continue or stop them until my ex partner shows he can make more of a commitment to our son?
It never fails to amaze me how fucking despicable some fathers can be. What a complete arse. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this and it sounds like you're doing all you can to ensure your child has a relationship with his father but at what cost and do you really want this idiot of a man being an influence on your son? Personally if I was in your shoes I would stop all contact and have absolutely nothing to do with this poor excuse for a father. Let him take you to court and let him make the effort to be with his child. Sadly you can only wait until the CSA track him down which hopefully they will eventually and they will back date any money owed. I don't envy you. I do have significant history of similar experiences and I now have zero contact with ex. Ds not bothered about seeing him now and knows his father is an arse. It's his loss. Good luck op.
I have been in similar. I found it was damaging to my son having irregular contact. It was as you can imagine far more complicated than that ..I did believe he would drop contact altogether sooner or later so I thought it was in my sons best interest sooner.
How do you know how interaction is going..Is this been reported by contact centre. Would they write a report.
Re maintenance...regulary phone CSA for updates.
This could have been me a few years ago. Below is what hindsight has taught me, it took a long time to do so but it is what I've learnt over the last 5 years...
CSA is an entirely different topic and not related to visitation in any way, continue hounding them but don't stop contact because he won't pay.
Separate your feelings and the way he is towards you with how he is towards the child (providing there is no violence). Continue using a middle person for handover if it makes you feel better.
Continue to support contact at the Contact Centre. As your child develops, becomes more mature 'interesting' he might stick around more.
Providing there is no issues with violence and when he pushes for a different sort of contact move it to a supported stay and play type session at a Surestart centre.
After this an unsupervised session at a soft play area.
Build up slowly to unsupervised access anywhere (picking up from yours/parents -Do NOT do the running around) I increased this from 2hrs to 10-4 an hour every fort night)
If it gets that far with regular visits that he is demanding overnights, then put this in place from 3yrs later if you can manage it.
My court order was Wednesday and Sunday 10-4 to be slowly increased to Wednesday every week and every other weekend from the age of 3 10 sat-10sun.
Alternate birthdays and Christmases etc.
Go to Court it's not as scary as it sounds, really work on what you want your court order to look like, it's so much better to have it all written out. And be prepared for him to tell you your going to lose residency etc etc and don't rise to any of his insults just record everything.
Get the passport sorted, you don't need dads details but better for you to get it and look after it than him.
It takes a LONG time for the situation to clear, even now the only discussion we have at the doorstep is when he'll next see her, what she's eaten and whether she's been poorly etc other than that we parent separately and it works for us and DD doesn't know any differently
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