[Solved] Daughter does not want contact: What should I do?
It is my first ever post on Dad.info so apologies if it's not in the correct section.
My relationship with my daughter is at risk of coming to an end/breaking. I am not sure how to deal with the current situation so I would really appreciate your advice. Here is a quick background to my case and current situation:
1. I was married in 2000 and divorced in 2005. Decree Absolute was issued
2. I have one Girl ("AA") from the marriage now aged 15
3. Former partner was granted custody of AA and a Contact Order was issued by in 2007, which has never been discharged. No prohibited steps or injunctions are in place.
4. My divorce was acrimonious and bitter. Former partner still holds grudge, revenge and is uncooperative.
5. I remarried in 2007 and have three Boys (10 yr, 8 yr, 8 months) from the marriage.
6. My former partner has also remarried and has one Boy (8 yr) from the marriage.
7. I have had regular contact with AA since divorce and have played an active part in her life to date.
8. There is currently an informal private Contact Schedule in place which dictates the weekends and holidays AA is supposed to spend with me each year. In principle, the contact regime is an alternate weekend (pick up from school on Friday and drop-off at a mutually agreed underground station in central London (and Home) and 50/50 split of all holidays. But in reality, due to continuous dramas and obstacles placed by my former partner over the years, the arrangements have never quite worked according to the plan.
9. AA's relationship with me, her stepbrothers and her paternal family has always been good.
10. AA is very conscious of her mother and generally lacks the confidence to express herself freely before her mother. AA is a quiet and an introvert girl yet academically bright.
11. Former partner has never agreed to formal arrangements nor ever accepted offers to attend mediation despite several attempts. I have never taken her to court since 2007 to avoid the hassle.
12. Former partner has often discouraged AA to have contact and persuaded her to stay behind. Note: There is evidence to support this in the form AA messages to me.
AA recently spent one week of Easter holidays with her me/paternal family and was dropped home (in the street) by me in the car. Former partner was not happy with me dropping AA at home and insisted that I must drop AA at a nearby station to her home (2-3 walk from home) Note: AA was happy to be dropped near her house.
A few days later (after the drop-off) AA telephoned me sounding distraught and suggested that she no longer wanted to come over for contact on the scheduled dates nor wanted to keep any relationship with me because her Mother was not happy and she was better off staying with her.
Since, I have had a limited telephone and WhatsApp conversation with AA, who still seems confused and unwilling to come. Last communication with AA was on 7th May. Currently, AA is not responding to my WhatsApp messages or call and on the balance of probabilities it seems highly unlikely that AA will come to me this Friday for half-term holidays which commence on 24 May. Former partner is also not reachable. Even if she was, she would insist that it's the child's wish and that she has no control over it although she is the root cause and driving force behind AA.
The Big Question:
What should I do; stay quiet and accept AA's verbal decision and flippant side as fate (even though it is not true of her) and carry on with my life in resentment and hope that one day she might change her mind or realise her mistake OR take the matter to the court for closure/solution? My concern is that if I take the matter to the court then, no doubt the mother would further feed AA with what she should say in the court. I am not sure what I would achieve by going to the court? AA will turn 16 soon. Someone suggested to file C79 and enforce the current order (Contact Order dated 2007) and some suggest to file C100 (via MIAM etc).
I am feel I am in a lose-lose situation.
I’ve edited out some of the more specific details in your post, this is an open forum and it’s really advisable to remain as anonymous as possible when discussing matters of family court etc.
It wouldn’t be right to tell you what to do, the decision must be yours but I can talk a little about the process.
At 15 your daughter is old enough for her wishes to be taken seriously if you took it to court...although a court order for contact stays in place until the child is 18, once a child reaches the age of 16, it’s not possible to make any application to court regarding contact. It’s possible that should you make an application for enforcement, your case may not be concluded before she turns 16.... at which point the court may not feel they should make any order.
You could continue to contact your daughter via social media, without expecting a reply, just to say hi and hope she is well etc and to let her know you miss her and the door is always open if she ever wants to see you. Tell her about her siblings and just keep that line of communication open.
It’s a difficult situation for you, but I would try not to feel resentment, it’s not your daughters fault and if you give her a little space and time she may come round, once she feels strong enough to go against her mothers wishes.
You could try contacting her school and asking if they would speak to your daughter and offer her some extra support... she may be struggling with the pressure that has been placed upon her.
All the best
I’m going to delete the duplicate post, it can be confusing for fellow members if there are two identical threads being responded to.
I agree with mojo, contact the school and ask them if their pastoral support office can speak to your daughter. Bear in mind than anything your daughter says is confidential unless she asks you to be informed, but that also applies to the mother. It may be a way of her being able to talk to someone and express her own views.