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Help needed please- Does my DD have to see her father?

(13 Posts)
Heffalumps Mon 10-Nov-14 00:04:17

I'm hoping someone may be able to help/advise me please.
I am recently divorced, we separated in July after a rocky couple of years. My ex suffers with mental health problems and is quite volatile at times, there were incidences of verbal abuse when we were married and threats of physical harm which led to me divorcing him.
Our DD is 10; she is wonderful and has always had a good relationship with both of us
Things have been, naturally, difficult since we separated and adjustments have had to be made in regard to her dad spending time with her...he is nearly always late, never plans anything to do, brings her home early and is quite passive in his care of her.
Yesterday, however, he lost control with her and started shouting at her, he said some truly spiteful things to her and left her very shaken and scared. He also left her in the car as he went to shout at another motorist for a mistake they'd made. He has behaved like this with me before, it is quite terrifying and aggressive, no one should be treated like this; she felt very worried and sick as a result.
He returned her home, pushed her through the door & walked off; she was left sobbing and scared.
She has said repeatedly that she does not want to see him again and she's scared of him, she has jumped every time the phone has rung & kept checking over & over that she doesn't have to go with him after school etc.
Do I have to let him see her?
There was no visitation agreement in our divorce, we agreed access ourselves. I don't feel comfortable allowing him anywhere near her but I am also very aware of the fact that every parent has a right to see their child.
Any insight or advice would be gratefully received.
Many thanks

FeckTheMagicDragon Mon 10-Nov-14 00:21:59

Every parent does not have a right to see their child. Every parent has a responsability to be a good parent to their child. I would stop contact for now, and seek help. I'm sure some wiser will be along soon to advise you the best place to get support.

SusanIvanova Mon 10-Nov-14 00:22:04

At 10 I don't really think you can force her to see him. Let her calm down and see how she feels. You can decide together.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Mon 10-Nov-14 00:28:17

Every parent DOES NOT have a right to see their child. Every child is entitled to have a relationship with both parents IF it is to their benefit to have one.

In your particular circumstances, where her father has put the fear of God into her, and she maintains she doesn't want to see him, I would withdraw all access until and unless he went to court to enforce it. And I'd put in writing to him that she doesn't want to see him after how he's behaved.

Do you have any documentary evidence of his outbursts and his mental health issues? If you do, all the better. Courts do not insist on unaccompanied visits with parents across the board just because one parent wants it. If you have reservations about contact you could ask for it to take place in a formal setting, like a contact centre for instance. But in all events, your child's wishes would be taken into consideration as well.

MooseBeTimeForSnow Mon 10-Nov-14 00:52:24

Please keep a diary of events. It will prove useful if he does ever issue proceedings.
One of the factors any Court would consider is "the wishes and feelings of the child involved, in light of their age and understanding" The older the child, the more what they say will be taken into account.

With the caveat that a parent should not put words into a child's mouth.

Bogeyface Mon 10-Nov-14 01:15:27

I am also very aware of the fact that every parent has a right to see their child.

NO NO NO

Every child has a right an ongoing relationship with their parents if the those relationships are in the best interests of the child. Put simply, the child has the rights, the parent has the responsibilities.

He would have to go to court and prove that ongoing access would be in her interests.

Has he ever been physically violent towards her? She may not have told you that he had for fear of him but if he has then I would suggest involving the police.

Lweji Mon 10-Nov-14 01:21:22

Mostly, he has duties towards her.

I'd make sure this incident is recorded somehow. It could be a diary.

And would stop unsupervised contact, for at least as long as she doesn't want it. And possibly until I was satisfied that she was safe.

If he insists, he could go to court, or arrange for supervised contact, or have contact via phone or skype.

Hissy Mon 10-Nov-14 07:54:13

i'd be having a quiet word with the school too, just in case her behaviour/mood is off today.

it will get it softly logged, which may be of help if things go to court.

stop all access otherwise.

Meerka Mon 10-Nov-14 08:02:52

Doesn't every responsible parent have a right to see their child?

I don't think anyone should force a terrified child to see anyone else, parent or no, not after an incident like this.

" she has jumped every time the phone has rung & kept checking over & over that she doesn't have to go with him after school etc."

She sounds absolutely traumatized. Log this for sure with school or 101. Would it get anywhere to talk to him about it, or would it make it worse? I could imagine you being very angry indeed with him. Don't let her go again. Any contact from now on would need to be supervised.

Heffalumps Mon 10-Nov-14 14:54:13

Thank you all for your replies.
I have let her teacher know she had an upset at the weekend ; I will write a note to her so it can be recorded too.
Thank you for your reassurances, the divorce was as amicable as I could have hoped for and keeping contact with both of us was really important to maintain, this floored me somewhat, he had been agressive and verbally abusive to me but never to her
I shall keep a record of everything too.
Thank you

Hissy Mon 10-Nov-14 15:01:40

he had been aggressive and verbally abusive to me but never to her

When she becomes what he hates, a woman, why would he be any different to her, she's reaching the age where she is making the transition from girl to woman.

You are doing the right thing here, make no mistake, but if you were to force her to see him, dismiss her real concerns and fears the message you would be giving her is that she doesn't matter and a man has a right to terrify you without any consequences. get this logged at the DR too, enquire about psych support for child of DV parent.

Get this logged as widely as poss, it will serve you both well if it all goes tits up.

Heffalumps Mon 10-Nov-14 16:23:35

Thank you - I had not thought about the connection with her transitioning into womanhood- she is a tall and athletic girl who already looks older than her years.
I will and would never make her see her father if she didn't want to, her present and future self worth and safety arey utmost concern.
She asked me if she had to see him again and I have told her that if/when she is ready to then I will support her with that, but there is no pressure to see him or make a decision.
I will also log with the Dr.
Thank you for all your advice and support- this totally floored me and I felt somewhat lost as to what to do, except protect her and try to hold in how angry I was and potentiallyskr the situation worse before seeking advice.

Lweji Mon 10-Nov-14 16:40:57

You can also tell her that there are many forms of contact. He could phone her, or skype. Or they could meet in a supervised setting, such as through a contact centre.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

I do that with DS, mostly because ex lives in a different country, but also because I simply don't want to be anywhere near him (DV). The last time, he met DS at his local after school club, in an empty room, but with people around the premises.

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