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Single Dad wants to see baby more

(105 Posts)
Cowapjn Mon 05-Jan-15 20:11:19

Hello everyone. I have posted on here before and received some excellent honest advice.
Im seeking some more if possible please. The jist of my story is:

- Me and the ex girlfriend have a 6 and a half month old.
- We split when she was pregnant.
- Despite my absolute best efforts we remain separated.
- Since the birth we have got back together a number of occasions but she has issues that created a vicious circle and she kept ending it.
- I did so much for her when it wasnt needed but to try and make it work. This included coming off all social media, changing my number, disowning my own sister, isolating myself from friends, decorating the house to her taste so she would want to move back in etc it wasnt enough.

As i said our daughter is 6 and a half months old. The only time i have ever had alone with her was when i took her for a walk in the cold wind rain. Every other occasion is supervised either at hers or at her mothers which isnt ideal as i have an audience. None of my friends what so ever have met my daughter. A lot of my family have yet to meet her.
Due to work I see my daughter at weekends for 3 hours tops which absolutely kills me!
Things have become so strained now i dont know what will happen.

Me ex made a very fair point that i dont know our daughters routine. I then said i wont know unless she tells me which she has so far failed to do. Its not like i can spend a full 24 hours with the ex and baby and note down the routine - i need her help.

I own my own home and i just want to start having my daughter on my own is it too much to ask? The ex is so unreasonable though its so difficult i fear my only option is a solicitor which i cant afford and even if i could id much prefer to spend the money on the baby.

Im not a scum bag, ive never cheated, i work hard and pay my way. It feels like this should have been the best experience of my life but it hasnt. I missed the birth, night feeds and so much more and it so painful even more as the ex led me to believe her moving back in with the baby was imminent and i spent a lot of time and money making the house how she wanted.

There is my story.
Advice please
Be as brutal as you like but ill not be made to feel bad because i want to see my daughter more.

Thanks

J

OldIrving Mon 05-Jan-15 20:15:58

I think most agencies will think your daughter is too young to be having unsupervised contact with you. Are you paying maintenance? You don't necessarily need a solicitor to request contact btw. Could you ask your ex to bring your baby to your house instead of seeing her at hers? I did that with my ex (we also split when I was pregnant). With my situation, we visited him at his home. He didn't have our DS on his own until DS was over 1 though as I was breastfeeding. They did 'know' each other well by that point though due to regular contact. So I'd push for that instead of unsupervised contact.

AnyFucker Mon 05-Jan-15 20:17:10

If your situation is exactly how you describe it, why would we be "brutal" with you ?

I suggest that you stop trying to make your ex see reason and get yourself legal advice. You may need to take this to the family courts.

In the absence of abuse of the child/abuse of the mother decisions are made as to what is best for the child though, not what is best for parents.

If you are absolutely clear on that, then good luck to you.

HanselandGretle Mon 05-Jan-15 20:29:36

I also suggest legal advice, even if it just one of those free half hour / hour sessions if possible, if not free though I think it would be money well spent if you do end up getting somewhere. Sounds like appealing to your ex is futile at the moment. The courts, should it get that far, would like Anyfucker said, make a decision based on what's best for the child. Why do you think your ex is so reluctant to let you be a proper part of your childs life?

Sorry to be pernickity but your thread title says 'Single Dad' - you're not a single dad. It is a bugbear of mine so forgive but felt it needed pointing out.

ProcrastIWillFinishThisLater Mon 05-Jan-15 20:45:24

Can you change your work to be more flexible (work from home one day a week, or drop a few hours per week? You only have 3 hours a week to spend with your daughter - that would seem to be the issue to focus on first, rather than whether or not it's supervised at the age of 6.5 months. Once you have more time to spend with her, you will pick up her routine more and your ex might not feel the need to be on hand so much. Is the baby breastfed? Obviously, the mum won't want you taking the baby somewhere without her only access to milk at this age.

AnyFucker Mon 05-Jan-15 20:47:20

yes, i found "single dad" a bit grating too

OP, you are a non-resident parent

but let's not split hairs

OldIrving Mon 05-Jan-15 20:55:15

The problem with wading straight into legal proceedings is:

-OP is obviously very resentful/angry, which won't wash well with CAFCASS

-Child is too young for anything other than supervised contact to be mandated

-Going in all guns blazing will invite more antipathy and possibly a lifetime of grimy contact centers and your DD hearing how awful her dad is

OP, try to let go of your anger towards the baby's mum. It'll just poison things. Pay your maintenance, be cheerful and positive when you are around your daughter, offer to change nappies and make up bottles, ask what songs she likes and sing them to her. Put money in a savings account since it sounds like you have extra you want to go to the baby. Write a will that includes her (your daughter), and show it to your ex.

Focus on the baby. It's about what's best for her, eh.

Spopssas Mon 05-Jan-15 21:01:41

Why did you have to come off all social media?

Why is contact supervised? What are her reasons?

I don't like the use of 'the ex'.

GreyjoysAnatomy Mon 05-Jan-15 21:03:46

In the kindest possible way, I very much doubt you will be allowed to have her overnight at this stage. Though I don't see why a few hours unsupervised would be an issue. Even so, she is still so little, and may not be ready to be away from her mother (her primary carer who she will be very attached to) for any length of time anyway. Certainly when mine were that young I would have struggled to be away from them for long and they wouldn't have been settled in that situation. I'd have felt especially anxious to leave them with someone who hadn't had experience of babies and night waking etc before. (of course I don't know if that is your situation, but many people have never done this prior to having children themselves)

Perhaps as pp have suggested, your ex could bring her to your house so she can get used to the environment. Then when she is old enough to stay over it won't be such a huge transition.

It's definitely a situation to be built on slowly, but one that, in time, can have a positive outcome for all of you.

GreyjoysAnatomy Mon 05-Jan-15 21:08:22

And yy to Old legal action at this point may well have a negative impact. There is plenty of time for that down the line, but right now your dd is tiny and the most positive thing you can do is to show your ex that you can be a good dad, and that involves providing for dd and stepping up to all the work that come with a baby. Stay reasonable with your ex and show her that you are willing to put in the effort thanks

Cowapjn Mon 05-Jan-15 21:26:35

I think the majority have stated that the baby is too young for overnight although she has stayed overnight at others.

I asked for her to bring the baby round to mine ill pick them both up but she has never entertained the idea.

Yes i am angry with the ex and i am a bit bitter as i feel like i did so much for her, sacraficed so much to be a family where as she just repeatedly giving up so easilly. Its like family meant everything to me and nothing to her. If you ask me why she split with me i couldnt honestly tell you and if i did have a reason you would probably find it petty.

I do pay maintenance and i am always cheerful when im around my daughter and pay her 100% attention.

I cant change my hours unfortunately i work monday - friday and get home at 18:30. I can see her all weekend though and i feel that this should be my time and me seeing her should be a priority as the mother has her all week. Unfortunately all i get is around 3 hours a weekend. Id love to put her in the car and take her swimming. My ex is just too unreasonable.

@Spopsass - i came off all social media, changed my number, deserted friends and never ever went out apart from work and walking the dog as she had trust issues. As i said though it shouldnt of had to do any of that as i was trustworthy and it wasnt ever like i was going to het a dodgy inbox or text off someone. She cheated on my early into the relationship and from that point on i was labelled as the untrustworthy sleaze.

Ok so advice going forward, maybe take legal advice for now but just advice. One solicitor said they would send her a letter to try and sort it.
Baby is too young for overnights but no reason why i shouldnt have her alone for a few hours.

My ex girlfriend is due back to work next month you would think she would be actively encouraging me to have the baby more as she will more than likely be working weekends.

Just one question though if anyone can help.
If she went through the CSA, do they not take into account your arrears?
I struggle as it is you see with mortgage bills car finance etc.
Plus my ex was near enough ready to move back in so we went and bought a couch which she wanted. Its leather and i would never of bought a leather one. So now im lumbered with £40 a month couch payments too! And do they take their fee off what i give her? I heard its 20%

Thanks

GreyjoysAnatomy Mon 05-Jan-15 21:37:07

Have you checked yourself on their online calculator how much you should be paying?

OldIrving Mon 05-Jan-15 21:41:44

CSA don't charge a fee. Your maintenance should be 20% of your earnings, they'll calculate it for you. It'll be lower if you have other children but your debts aren't your daughter's fault, are they?

I can't advise about paying off items, could you not return them if they're not what you want or too expensive?

Difficult as it may seem, you have to let go of this anger towards her mum and your feeling you 'should' have unsupervised contact. At this age and in your circumstances, it's not something that is a right I'm afraid.

Could you ask to come along next time your ex takes your daughter swimming? Or ask that she or her mum come along while you take her swimming?

Honestly, I wouldn't've let my son's father take him off swimming at 6 months without me, and we had a fairly amicable relationship. The very last thing you should be saying is "I'd love to put her in the car and take her"... anywhere! It could be twisted to sound bad. You need to be as inclusive as possible. Without reproach, you know?

Honestly you have no idea how grim forced contact/contact centers can be for the child and the father. Concentrate on making sure she knows you, help out as much as you can. Is the three hours each weekend day or spread between? Could you ask for it to be increased?

Basically, the more reasonable requests you make (why not via email, then you will have evidence), with no trace at all of any ill feeling towards the mother, will stand you in good stead IF you decide to go the legal route.

Things will either get better or they won't, but if the mother remains (in your view), unfairly denying you access, you won't have a leg to stand on if you present stuff like your posts to the courts, especially if the mum claims you've been aggressive/the baby hardly knows you/you are reluctant to pay maintenance etc (I am not saying any of this is true, but it needs to be demonstrably not true, you know?)

It really will just be an hour a week in a contact center then.

You can't make the baby's mother want to be with you, it doesn't sound like you like her much anyway, so let it go and concentrate on being a good father.

For now, the mum is her main carer, she gets to call the shots and that really IS fair with such a small baby in the circumstances you are in.

You will need to learn terms like "non-resident parent" too. I am bowing out now as I can find threads like this quite triggering after my own experiences, but good luck!

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Mon 05-Jan-15 21:42:08

You've posted about this a few times before, and each time by several posters you've been told the same thing. It still applies here - go and see a solicitor. Look around for one that you can afford, you usually get the first half hour free.

SaucyJack Mon 05-Jan-15 21:49:51

Yes, go and see a solicitor.

What will your ex do for childcare when she goes back to work?

If she's willing to leave the baby with strangers at a nursery or childminder when it suits her, then IMO she can bloody well leave the baby with it's own father for an access visit.

5madthings Mon 05-Jan-15 21:50:55

Little and often type contact is what is advised st this age.

Btw you say you missed the birth and somehow feel hard done by.. You do know fathers don't have any right to be at the birth. Women can allow them there and may want their support, but it's not an 'event', if you are at a birth you are there to support the woman going through labour. So get rid of that chip on your shoulder.

Re weekends, once older it's usual to have every other weekend contact including an overnight, you won't get every wkend just because you work in the week. Plus you are legally allowed as a aren't to ask for more flexible hours etc to facilitate evening contact.

VoyageOfDad Mon 05-Jan-15 21:51:37

you have to think long term and take small steps.

It's highly unlikely you'll have your daughter staying with you until she's at least two, so you need to build up to that and gain your XPs confidence.

The first aim I'd think will be in Summer. The weather will be better, your dd will be that bit older and all being well you should be able to take her out for shortish trips to the park / playground.

Do you think your XP is at all likely to visit your place with dd ? If you could engineer a scenario where by she can leave dd with you and relax in another room it could help build trust for all concerned. It could also be an opportunity to show you're serious. You'd need to make your home baby / toddler friendly, have all the stuff like muslin cloths, nappies, changing mat / table, baby grow, appropriate toys, baby formula ( if used ) , sterilisers etc etc. As well as thinking what your XP might want to occupy herself.

but it depends a lot on your relationship with her, obviously it's a non starter if it stresses her out being at your place or around you.

If it is a non starter then you just have to accept its going to be supervised elsewhere, and remember from their point of view they may think they're doing you a favour. Whatever, just grin and bear it, use it as an opportunity to prove you're capable. Build trust and confidence, and ask questions

When does she have her nap, what temp is the milk, what size nappies. Ask to see the red book which logs all the weight etc. it's a very common problem you mention, there is a routine you know nothing about, all the stuff you pick up from looking after a baby you can only learn by looking after a baby ! You can at least show willingness....

Again if you can master the basics there's no reason you shouldn't be taking her out solo by the summer...

You should probably at least ask your employer if there's a chance of flexible working. The fact that mum may well at some point be hugely greatful for a few hours / day off can work very much in your favour !

Always be polite and supportive even if you don't feel like being so.

Longer term you should hopefully be looking at your dd spending time alone with you in your home... First few times with mum around, then without mum around, then eventually overnights. Personally I'd say by the age of 2 if there are no issues.

If you're not getting unsupervised access by the time she's one - 1.5 then you should probably start thinking about legal advice. If you're not getting by the time she's three you should be taking legal action.

It also sounds like a pretty chaotic relationship, I'd personally say you should write it off, concentrate on being amicable and very much focus on your daughter.

You could try contacting Families Need Fathers ( FNF.org ) they offer support to mums and dads in your situation.

Quitelikely Mon 05-Jan-15 22:14:10

I feel for you. I think it's quite harsh that child is as much yours as hers. Unfortunately some folk use their kids as a stick to beat people with. She clearly has full control here.

Seek legal advice. Babies can form multiple attachments. One primary carer isn't the best choice if there could be two.

Starlightbright1 Mon 05-Jan-15 22:29:18

There are a couple of points...

Firstly you say can CSA take areas into account so I suspect you aren't paying the minimum amount regularly. A mum does need to be able to rely on the money.

The second is the relationship..You need to put it on one side...Focus on the relationship with your daughter.

I agree ask about flexible hours even if it is one evening a week.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 05-Jan-15 22:35:15

Ditto, to the point about returning to work
If your ex is leaving your child with cc workers there is no reason you can't have regular access at weekends.
Isn't it usually eow?

I think you should seek legal advice OP

CaffeLatteIceCream Mon 05-Jan-15 22:36:43

I think most agencies will think your daughter is too young to be having unsupervised contact with you

WTF?

He's her father. What a stupid attitude.

Legal advice, OP.

CaffeLatteIceCream Mon 05-Jan-15 22:38:12

Oh, and CSA do charge a collecting fee a lot of the time...although that may be dependant on how much they are collecting and other circumstances.

NettleTea Mon 05-Jan-15 22:41:40

If you finish work at half 6 can you not arrange to come straight from work one night in the week and help bath and bedtime? that would give you less 'fun' time but possibly show willingness to take up some of the work, plus would mean building up more regular contact.

Are you named on the birth certificate?

At 6-7 months babies often go through a stage when they get particularly clingy with their primary carer, which lasts a few months - its when they start recognising people a bit more, and so can 'miss' their mum a bit.

Have you spoken to her about her return to work and offered to see if you can help in any way? If you want to have more contact going forwards you will need to demonstrate that you can put yourself out/arrange things so that you can get her to nursery/school in the future. It may well mean putting something in place so that you can finish earlier/start later one day a week, because as others say, once she gets older, and especially if her mum returns to work you wont get every weekend.

You need to put any bad feelings about her mum to one side and just focus on being a good dad

Cowapjn Mon 05-Jan-15 22:43:16

@LadySybilLikesSloeGin - a round of applause you are indeed correct i did post something similar when the baby was younger and i was given advice. Now that the baby js nearly 7 months old and my visits to her have not increased i am asking for advice as i feel my contact levels should of increased.

Ive basically had an argument with my ex's mother today and she has said ill have to find somewhere else to see the baby but it doesnt leave anywhere else apart from mine, my mothers or a contact centre.

I guess im just frustrated as many blokes are in my shoes. I would love to see my daughter every day but I cant. I see her around 3 hours a week or well i did at the ex girlfriends mothers but i cant exactly sit in her house for 5 hours on a saturday and 5 hours on a sunday.

Preferably i would like to being my daughter to mine for a few hours and drop her off but everything's on her terms.

Ill just have to continue the way i am and she does work weekends when she returns to work hopefully ill have her for a bit on my own. Im going to start making notest about food times and how much she has etc.

I do pay my way for my daughter i currently pay 15% of what im left with after tax etc. i just wouldnt want her to go through csa and then them take 20% off her for their fees.

My XP is an amazing mum and i have the potential to be an amazing dad i just need to be given more of a chance to be.

Cowapjn Mon 05-Jan-15 22:47:53

My XP is due to return to work and it would involve working weekends but she is desperately trying to find a different job so its hard to discuss hours etc at this moment in time.

I do get home at 6.30 and it may sound stupid but i need to get back to our dog that been on his own a few hours. I have in the last though nipped to her mums after work even just for an hour.

@Nettletea - I am named on on the birth certificate yes. I also think the baby is quite clingy to her mum at this stage but do feel that they need to spend time apart maybe just for an hour or 2 a day as im scared the baby will become too clingy too her mum and not want to be without her.

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