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Contact arrangements for 11yo

58 replies

Dan1214 · 23/10/2022 13:12

Hi, my ex wife left me when our daughter was 1 week old. Long story but there were different factors. We didn't communicate until our daughter was 1yo but then she applied for a divorce and I applied for child arrangement order. The court ordered 2-weekly sessions in a contact centre but the time always fell on my working weekends. I only managed to attend 2 sessions but my daughter was all cranky (she was 2yo by then) and the sessions were not successful. Somehow I was told that there were only 10 sessions paid by cafcass and I had to pay for any further sessions myself. I couldn't afford them. So basically, the contact never happened. I then met someone and moved to Scotland. My ex and I didn't get in touch. Last year my gf and I broke up and I moved back to England. I applied to Court again for contact enforcement, and we've been in court proceedings for 8 months now. My ex says that my daughter doesn't know me and doesn't want to see me as it's been technically 11 years of no contact. It turns out that my ex is also married and her new husband has been raising my daughter since she was 2! So basically he is her daddy and I'm no one. I'm being criticised that I never took her to court earlier, but no one cares that I simply couldn't afford it. Anyways, what are my chances to get direct contact with my daughter who is 11 years old now and is refusing to see me? Is there a procedure to make her mother liable to arrange contact ?

OP posts:
Fraaahnces · 23/10/2022 15:06

That’s a lot of CM arrears you’re going to have to pay your ex. I hope you’ve been saving.

Soontobe60 · 23/10/2022 15:07

Dan1214 · 23/10/2022 13:44

I've made mistakes, I know right. Everyone makes mistakes. It doesn't mean I can't see my daughter. I wasn't given proper advice then. I'm simply trying to find out if there is a procedure to enforce contact as I'm being told that the judge will listen to what my daughter wants irrespective of what her opinion is based on. I don't expect my ex would encourage her to see me.

What advice did you expect? To change your working weekends on the days you were seeing your child? To move heaven and earth to make sure your daughter had a positive relationship with you? Did you really need someone else to tell you that?

Soontobe60 · 23/10/2022 15:08

Dan1214 · 23/10/2022 14:40

I've been through hardships alright but she's my flesh and blood it's not like I'm gonna give up on her

You did that when she was a baby.

Goldbar · 23/10/2022 15:11

She's 11 and has no pre-existing relationship with you. I can't see any judge forcing her to have contact with you if she doesn't want it.

Cyshion · 23/10/2022 15:14

It's a positive thing that you're finally stepping up. Well done.

Your daughter's new dad may be brilliant or he may prefer his own children and just tolerate her. She may like you if she meets you. On the chance that she feels her new dad doesn't fully love her and she'll like you if she gets the chance, I would push for contact. If it's refused, it's refused. If you learn more about the situation and realise that the person she calls dad truly loves her like a daughter, maybe it's time to stay in the wings but let her know you'll never forget her. For now keep going. I think it's quite likely it won't work out. Your mistakes are quite awful, sadly. Children desperately need their parents to prioritize them.

titchy · 23/10/2022 15:15

I've been through hardships alright but she's my flesh and blood it's not like I'm gonna give up on her

But you have given up on her. For 11 bloody years. Because you were in Scotland. With a partner.

GetThatHelmetOn · 23/10/2022 15:16

I would change jobs, stop eating, became homeless, sell myself on the streets before I would be able to say I couldn’t afford to see my child. You just didn’t care enough.

Your ex is right, you cannot just appear out of nowhere after ten years and demand to turn that girl’s world around just because you are alone now. That is extremely selfish.

You gave her up when you walked away ten years ago.

Bug in a practical note, stop wasting the money you didn’t have on taking mum to court. Your girl will be able to decide very soon whether she wants to be in touch with you and no matter how much money you spend, if she doesn’t want to see you, she won’t.

GlitchStitch · 23/10/2022 15:22

You could afford to move to Scotland though? Moving home is expensive, let alone so far away.

Cyshion · 23/10/2022 15:35

What's the point of flagellating him now.

Theskyisfallingdown · 23/10/2022 20:10

So not too bothered about her being ‘flesh and blood’ when you abandoned her for her entire life, moved away, chose to not save up and pay £200 for court. How strange.

SandyY2K · 30/10/2022 02:00

So, if your relationship in Scotland didn't end, you wouldn't be bothered with your daughter.

You're a stranger to her and there's obviously a good reason your Ex left when the baby was a week old. No new mother would want to leave a relationship at such a vulnerable time.

What value do you think you can add to your daughter's life now? Or is it just about what you want?

NimrodNimroy · 30/10/2022 02:53

Is she your only child or have you abandoned some more in Scotland, now your back down south?

SandyY2K · 30/10/2022 03:27

Is she your only child or have you abandoned some more in Scotland, now your back down south?

Good question

Paq · 30/10/2022 03:49

I think you should respect your daughter's feelings and make sure she can contact you in the future should she change her mind. Maybe write her a letter explaining everything and how you feel now.

Court action will be incredibly stressful for her and her parents, eleven is a tricky age for girls. Drop it so as to not alienate her further.

Guavafish1 · 30/10/2022 04:17

You can apply to the family court as others have said for £250 and represent yourself.

The judge may consider your case but the focus is on the child’s best needs/interest.

I think you should at least try … the process is long and hard! It may take years and several court days, classes and reports which you may have to pay.

If you really want to see your child, you’ll have to be prepared to put the hard work in and be consistent. She will have to be priority over every thing else in your life.

There are no more excuses

FrenchHennyPenny · 30/10/2022 04:39

If you didn’t know an address to send cards and letters to, how have you tracked her down now? Because if you now have an address you could send her a letter now. I wouldn’t expect anything though.

Ponderingwindow · 30/10/2022 04:49

there Is no secret that at to force the mother to allow contact. The courts may decide to let you back into your daughter’s life, they may not.

an 11 year old doesn’t need anyone to tell her that she was abandoned repeatedly. If you had been present in her life, you would know that 11 year olds are worldly enough to understand this situation all on their own. She knows what it means for you to have moved to Scotland. If her mother didn’t hide the fact that you didn’t show up to you contact center visits and didn’t bother to try to see her for the first year, she knows what that means too. There is a decent chance the mother never gave her all that detail though. there is a good chance the daughter just knows you as a man who provided some dna and moved away because many mothers hide their anger over parental abandonment from the children.

Starlightstarbright1 · 30/10/2022 05:01

Sounds like this is all about you.. nothing to do with what Dd wants.

You have lost your partner now decide to fill that hole with your daughter.

It is an awful age to do this to her. She is hormonal starting high school.

You are stirring up a hornet's nest

There is always an excuse in your posts.

Goldbar · 30/10/2022 08:32

Just out of interest, why do you think it would be beneficial to your daughter to have contact with you? What are you hoping to add to her life that will be worth the emotional disruption that you suddenly reappearing will inevitably cause her?

Contact is meant to be for the child's benefit, not the parent's, so it might be worth thinking about these questions in deciding whether to make an application to court.

40andfit · 30/10/2022 08:39

Dan1214 · 23/10/2022 14:40

I've been through hardships alright but she's my flesh and blood it's not like I'm gonna give up on her

But you already did. You’ve only bothered to see her twice in 11 years. I see my old neighbours more than that never mind my children.

Parents don’t have any rights in responsibilities and you’ve failed there. No once in these messages have you thought about the impact on your child or what she wants. It’s all about you.

AssumingDirectControl · 30/10/2022 08:45

You gave up on her for 11 years. You could’ve paid to go to court, it would’ve cost you far less than you paid to move to an entirely different country and start a new life away from her. Your posts are full of excuses and blaming others, with not a thought given to your daughter.

It’s highly unlikely her mother would need to try to influence her against you. She’ll have made up her own mind based on your actions, or lack of them. Which you need to own. You are the one here who has made the choices and decisions not to prioritise your daughter. You reap the consequences.

You seem to have no concept of your daughter as an autonomous individual human being with feelings. You seem to have no idea what it must’ve felt like for her to be abandoned by her father for years.

Go to court, if you will. But the court will absolutely listen to her, and if she says she has no interest in a father who has never been interested in her, you’ll get nowhere, and I’d be surprised if it went any other way.

AssumingDirectControl · 30/10/2022 08:48

BTW, there are things in this post which don’t make sense, because this situation would absolutely not be a complex court case so shouldn’t drag on and on.

Workawayxx · 30/10/2022 08:56

I think all you can do at this point is liaise with her mum and agree a gradual establishment of contact. Maybe start with emails, sending a few pics with your daughter, proceed to a coffee shop trip with her mum there and see if you can progress to taking her out to the cinema, bowling etc. you’ll need to establish trust all round, make it clear you realise you were in the wrong to have not seen her all this time and just accept the situation as it is. Let it be your daughters choice now but be there for her, get to know her as the person she is and show interest in finding out about her hobbies and interests.

Isaidnoalready · 30/10/2022 08:57

No answer on the child maintenance question I see?

CrossStichQueen · 30/10/2022 08:59

From you daughters point of view there is a man she does not know, has had no contact with her whole life suddenly taking her mother to court giving her immense stress and trying to force her to spend time with him....why do you think your daughter would want to see you?

You have no care for the emotional stress you are putting on your daughter and provide only pathetic excuses as to why in the last 11 years she was not important enough to you for you to be a father to her.

It is unlikely a judge will force any contact in the traditional sense and may agree that a slow introductory process begin in order to protect the child's emotional wellbeing.
You need to stop focusing on what you WANT and start looking at what your daughter NEEDS.

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