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should an estranged father send his toddler presents...

(25 Posts)
ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 09:27:22

My brother has a wife and two DCs whom he lives with. He also has another DD who he had in-between the two DDs he has with his wife (during a separation from his wife and a brief relationship with a new lady, contraception failure - I'll call her 'K').

Things are incredibly sour between my DB and K, to the point that he has no contact with their DD whatsoever and has not seen her for a year now. DD is 21 months old. He did not really have a chance to form a relationship or bond with their DD previous to this. He is not entitled to legal aid and cannot afford solicitor fees. It is not possible for him to have contact with K so cannot see their DD.

He has asked me for advice on wether to send their DD presents/cards or wether this would be a negative intrusion. K has a new partner who apparently is a father figure to DD. My DB does not see himself having access to his DD until she is old enough to be independent from K. Will DD be angry with him for sending cards etc throughout her childhood, reminding her of his absence, or will she appreciate that he thought of her even though he did not see her. Is she better off without any reminders and to see K's new partner as her dad. It's safe to say K will definitely be telling DD what an awful man her biological father is and how he rejected her consistently while raising her with or without cards/gifts.

I am asking you for advice because I have no experience of this and haven't a clue.

Bramshott Wed 10-Jul-13 09:30:15

Yes, absolutely he should (IMHO). If his DD is being told what an awful man he is, even just one gift would go some way towards disproving that. It might also be nice if he put some money away regularly in a savings account for her, with a view to giving it to her at a later stage?

Pannacotta Wed 10-Jul-13 09:33:32

How sad.
Am no expert in these things but I also think he should do this.
I also think the savings idea is a good one.

Has he gone to CAB for free legal advice re contact with his daughter?

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Wed 10-Jul-13 09:33:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 09:38:07

In my limited experience I would not send gifts but I would put money away and write letters/ cards very often. My biological father always sent a gift once a year and it meant nothing anyone can send a parcel from amazon. But then he isn't a very nice person and didn't put a lot of thought etc in but I would have preferred a letter so so much more. Tbh for me his gifts were a unwelcome intrusion I never cared enough iykwim? For it to be otherwise.
I would urge him to try to get regular contact any way he can, no matter the financial cost. As I said my situation was somewhat different as dv was involved but even if it hadn't been by the time I was grown it wold have been far too late for us to have a father and daughter relationship. My mums partner is my dad in everyway that matters.

heliotrope Wed 10-Jul-13 09:39:48

I don't have any experience of this either but my gut feeling is he should be able to send gifts, and he will no doubt be criticised if he doesn't.
Another thing to think about (as well, or if he can't send gifts) might be, if possible, to pay regular money into her child ISA or account (safe from the ex-partner and there for her long term). Even if a small amount it would show that he had tried.
Does he want contact? Access 'when she is old enough to be independent' is likely to be difficult, as it is up to her by then and difficult to form a relationship with someone you don't know at all. I realise this isn't what you're asking though, but just wondered if there are other sources of help, if he did want to try to get regular access. Support groups or anything?

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 09:40:53

Yes I think she would give them to the DD..

I may be biased because he is my brother but she has absolutely made it impossible for him to see their DD - she says she pushed for them to have contact but actually she was harassing him and making many demands sourced from her bitterness/hatred for him. She will tell their DD that my DB did not want to know her. We are very worried that my niece will believe her mum and think he is a complete hypocrite for sending gifts and only trying to make himself feel better etc.

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 09:44:22

Yes he would like access. It is made more difficult by a 5 hour distance in locations. He really cannot afford solicitor fees they charge £200 an hour. mama thank you for your perspective.

heliotrope Wed 10-Jul-13 09:45:47

I answered the door then posted and realised I've repeated many of others' comments! I really agree Mama 1980 about the letters and cards being better than presents.

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 09:45:57

Tbh yes that is what I thought of my biological father when he sent gifts. I didn't appreciate it nor did i want it ultimately but that is only my experience. i think he should fight anyway he can for contact, and write her a lot of letters/emails. what a sad situation.

Daisytunes Wed 10-Jul-13 09:50:24

Your DB needs to grow a pair. If he wants to see his DD he can. He can apply for PR if he doesn't already have it and apply via the courts for access if it comes to that. My guess is that all that is too much trouble and would upset the family he has with his DW.

The mother may be making it hard but she cannot make it impossible because she does not hold all the cards. She probably thinks he doesn't care about her dc as much as the other 2 and he is proving her right by making limited efforts.

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 09:53:37

Agree with daisy. Does he have pr? And while I appreciate 200£ is a lot it's nothing compared to the importance of a little girl knowing her father. No price is too great to pay.

matana Wed 10-Jul-13 10:01:17

Sorry, but he should be moving heaven and earth to see his dd. I appreciate it is extremely difficult, but he has rights and imo needs to find a way to see her. My dh's real dad walked out on him when he was little and he's heard nothing from him since. I wouldn't put it past his mum not to have witheld cards and presents over the years, but dh is extremely bitter about who he calls his 'sperm donor' and as a father of 3 himself he believes there is no excuse. He has 2 dds from a previous marriage and his relationship with his ex has not been easy, but he has always maintained regular contact with them and has often fought to ensure it has never lapsed. He said the only way he would see his real dad if he were dying would be to spit on him. He knows where he lives and how to get in contact, but has absolutely no desire to do so. An awful lot of anger and bitterness has built up over 30 years. My point is that your brother's dd is so little that it would be easy for her mum to withold cards and presents. The only way he can guarantee being part of her life is to fight his ex for contact.

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:17

Mama, £200 an hour is something he literally does not have spare to hand over to a solicitor.

Daisy he has PR. And he has no relationship with their DD so yes you could say he cares more for the two DCs he lives with, he is human. It DID upset his family when K started harassment and abuse constantly etc, in their eyes she made it impossible. She refused a third party to negotiate.

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 10:07:37

Genuinely, could you advise me on how he could access his DD with no funds, 5 hour distance and contact between the parents being a no go? Application through the court etc, is that possible without legal representation.

Llareggub Wed 10-Jul-13 10:08:24

Frankly it sounds like he is making every excuse not to make an effort to see his child.

I have to DSs and they get the odd postcard from their father. Big deal. They'd much prefer to see him.

This is the one and only time I will quote Jeremy Kyle: he should be crawling over hot coals to see his child.

My solicitor is perfectly good and does not cost £200 per hour. Just saying.

matana Wed 10-Jul-13 10:09:51

He could try a family law solicitor, many of whom offer a free consultation and might be able to give him some pointers if he can't afford their services. What about CAB? What was csa replaced by and is that an option? Mediation?

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 10:12:07

Lllareggub how much does your solicitor cost if you dont mind me asking.
My brother has recently been laid off so he is currently on JSA.
Mediation is not an option as it involves contact with K. Will suggest CAB. He pays maintenance through CSA already.

matana Wed 10-Jul-13 10:15:33

Definitely try a free consultation too. Also, it may sound strange but if he (or you for that matter) uses social networking sites you could suggest that he checks out if his friends and acquaintences have any contacts in family law. Most people who have attended law school will have a basic knowledge. Kost people know someone who knows someone iyswim.

matana Wed 10-Jul-13 10:17:36

And there must be somewhere special on MN that deals with these things too, with plenty of people who can offer specific advice.

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 10:17:54

Thank you katana

Fenton Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19:06

Does he know whether he's on the Birth Certificate? - That might be a good starting point.

There's a site which might be useful to look at.

In the meantime putting some money into a Trustee account would be a good start.

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:26:19

You can get half a hour free at most solicitors that would give him a starting point. I second tell him to get to cab for advice if he isn't working he should be entitled to assistance. I have a solicitor and she doesn't charge 200£ a hour, so he should shop around, his situation is frighteningly common and not all solicitors charge 200£ a hour for that reason. 5 hours distance is perfectly workable once or twice a month I have a friend who flies to see his dd that often.
Yes it will impact on his finances and his life but it will be so worth it.

I don't mean to sound harsh and I hope I don't but gifts are no good she needs her father and he should be doing everything to make this happen no matter the cost. If he has pr no Court in the world would stop him seeing his dd he is doing that himself right now by not fighting harder.

ohcrappola Wed 10-Jul-13 10:41:20

Mama, K refused contact at all in the end when DB said he could see DD twice a month. SHe said every saturday or not at all.

Yes he is on the birth certificate.

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 11:10:22

Unfortunately then that's where the courts come in, she cannot dictate like that legally as he has equal pr. I second telling him to get to a solicitor at least for the free 30 minutes to take advice. Also tell him to save any paperwork, communications with his ex. I believe he could represent himself ultimately in court if money is that tight. He would definitely be awarded contact but on what specifics would depend on the judge.

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