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TOPIC: Visitation Rights (Need Help)

Visitation Rights (Need Help) 3 years 8 months ago #77791

  • sean88
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Hi, I was after a little bit of advice and wondering where to turn. I split up from my ex partner 3 years ago, at the time we both lived in Nottingham, when we split she moved to County Durham which is 2 half hours away in the car, at the time she was pregnant and she gave birth to my daughter, who is now 3. I travel up to Durham around every 4 weeks and stop with my mum who lives up there, for the last 3 years my ex would only bring my daughter over to my mums for a couple of hours and always on supervised visits, she wouldn't leave her sight, on the past 2 occasions she has let me take my daughter out for a few hours which has been really nice spending time with my daughter alone, feeling that I am not being watched every second. Finally feel as though we are making progress, but my mum has now sold her property and is moved back down to Nottingham, so I raised these concerns with my ex and explained that to travel 2 and half hours to Durham, she my daughter for 2 hours and then travel home again isn't ideal and I asked if it would be okay to have my daughter stop at mine once a month for the weekend and have her for some days during the school holidays at a time that suits the mother, she point blank refused, she said I will have to continue the way things are. All I want is quality time with my daughter I have done everything the mother wants, she gets money every month without fail, since the day my daughter was born, I want to know before I go through a legal battle over visitation rights, if I stand a chance of seeing my daughter on a regular basis for more than a couple of hours. I am on the birth certificate also. Many Thanks Sean

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Visitation Rights (Need Help) 3 years 8 months ago #77792

First up I admit I'm a mum not a dad, my children live with me and have contact with their dad in the way the court ordered after I was made to stop all contact when I was pregnant with my youngest under threat of losing them into care for failing to protect them from domestic violence.

In relation to your post have you been happy until now with your contact and are things amicable between you and the mother? Are there any issues or just lack of bonding time due to distance?

I ask because I could see the mother feeling worried that contact is only once a month which is quite a long time for such a young child and I could also see her feeling that she's 'let' you take your daughter out alone and suddenly you're wanting to take her away for days at a time and she may well simply be in panic mode with the changes.

If I was you I wouldn't run to threats of court right now I would

1) ask the mother if you can extend your time with your daughter on your monthly visit by 2 hours each time between now and the end of the year so you are having her for a full day maybe 10-5 by then.

2) discuss with the mother whether it would be possible to FaceTime/Skype your daughter once or twice a month as well as your visit to increase the regularity of your presence with your daughter and maybe also send her a card/letter/ present once a month between your visits.

3) reassure the mother that you want to work with her for the best of your daughter, that you know they have routines and plans and a life together but that you want to see more of your daughter and you want to work with her to do that in the best way for all three of you.

I don't know how your relationship is with the mother but if you can show her that you'll put yourself out for your daughter I.e the long travelling for short contact, in the short term, then she will gain the trust that how you want contact to happen is about your daughter rather than what's easier for you. It might seem an unreasonable thought from her but like I said panic mode may have struck and it takes time to get over that.

If she agrees to the increasing contact and looking at overnights in the new year you could maybe look at offering to book a hotel near the mother for the first couple of overnight stays so the child is still close if they struggle to settle and then moving to taking her back to yours once you have a night time routine in place.

I know this might sound like a long process of getting what might be considered your 'right' as a parent but long term an amicable relationship between you and the mother is the best way for the child and court wouldn't be a quick process either!!

Good luck to you and your daughter.

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Visitation Rights (Need Help) 3 years 8 months ago #77797

  • Mojo
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Hi there

Whilst the suggestions that lidmum has made might be fair comment from the mothers perspective, taking this course will see you locked into the same situation for a long time, where you and your daughters relationship are directed and controlled by a third party. I have a different opinion of your situation. You have already spent the last three years doing as you are asked and fitting contact around the mothers wishes and I think it's not unreasonable to want more time at this stage.

I'm quite sure that you have bonded with your daughter in the three years that you have been seeing her and she is old enough to spend proper quality time with you in your home.

I would put your request to the mother in writing, tell her that refusal is no longer an option and ask for her suggestions on how to progress contact, stating that with your daughters growing independence, it is time for you and your daughter to develop your relationship further and that it is in your daughters
best interests to have a full and loving relationship with both of you.

Perhaps you could include a parenting plan that you can both work on together to set some comprehensive guidelines to co parent more effectively. There's a sticky about the CAFCASS parenting plan, with templates, at the top of the legal eagle section, which you might find useful.

If you get nowhere with the mother, or you feel her suggestions are not acceptable, your first step would be mediation...however with the distance between you, this might not be doable. I would speak to a mediator about the options available to you, I do know that some mediators use Skype to enable long distance mediation.

Court should always be a last resort, but sometimes It's unavoidable, if mediation isnt an option, or it fails then you can apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order, this would need to be done at a Family court nearest to where your ex lives.

There's lots of information in the stickys at the top of the legal eagle section about the process, which you may find helpful and if it's a course of action that you must take, we will do our best to advise and support you.

Best of luck

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

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