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TOPIC: Advice and Experience needed please

Advice and Experience needed please 3 years 2 weeks ago #78860

  • swebb
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Hi all,

I am after some advice, apologies if these questions have been covered off before but I will give you some background and then some questions in the hope that someone can share their experiences with me so I know where I stand legally with regards to my daughter.

I have a daughter who is almost 6, her mother and I split up (my decision) when we she was pregnant after being together for about 5 years, it was a fairly nasty break up, she did not want it at all, i shortly afterwards started seeing someone else and generally didn't behave very well, I was always adamant I would play an active role and be there for my daughter but I didnt want to be with her mum anymore. For the first couple of years we were managing fairly well, It was amicable, I would see my daughter during the week and on weekends, we were making the best of a bad situation, it was clear that she still wanted to get back together however I did not want too.

I started seeing my now wife just over 3 and a half years ago and things started turning for the worse pretty much as soon as we became an item and then everything fell apart when she started seeing her new boyfriend. My daughter and my wife have always got on like a house on fire, I have always paid maintenance by standing order at the beginning of the month and never missed a payment. I am always there once a fortnight on a Friday to collect her and drop her back at the correct time on a Sunday evening. Since she has been old enough to have a phone conversation I have had a weekly call with her on a Weds.

I am under the distinct impression however that they (my ex and her boyfriend) are trying to make life as hard as possible for me so that I slowly fall by the wayside. They have another son now and clearly want there own little family. They are all currently living with her parents in a 3 bed house and my daughter constantly asks me why Mummy and her Grandmother do not like me, why they say bad things about me etc. She now calls her stepfather Dad and told me recently that her mum says she needs to call me either Father or by my first name when they are at home. Her mother denies this.

Couple of other snippets to show the depth of the challenges... My daughter suffers from night terrors, maybe 6 months ago we were in the car on our way to drop her back and she told me that her nightmare the previous night had been so bad because she was dreaming about stabbing me, when I asked her why she thought she had those dreams she told me that her grandmother talks about it. I asked her mother about it, again she flatly denied it.

She started school last year after her first week in school she was with me for the weekend and brought home a form that needed completing that asked who her family was, favorite foods, what she likes to do etc. We filled the form out together listing her mother and boyfriend first, myself my wife, her sister on our side... And completed the rest of the form with the information from our end with room for additions by her mother. When I visited the school a month later for a parents evening and was shown her learning book... This form was in the book, with all the details we had input tippexed out, no mention of me, my wife or her sister... Just her Mother and boyfriend and brother that was on the way... I metioned it to her teacher and her response was quite comforting 'It's ok try not to worry we know what she is like'... When I asked her mother about it the response was 'Do you ever stop moaning, get over it'

So with this background info (and there is much much more), I know I am not being crazy, slowly they are pushing me out but I will not allow it. When my daughter and I are together we are inseperable, I am not going to lose that.

So now for the questions... Calls between me and my daughter are not happening anymore, her mother says there is never time, although I still get her once a fortnight, communication between myself and her mother is text, we never talk when doing handover I collect from school and drop at the door we never discuss anything... So I am considering mediation to hopefully get the below points signed off.

1. Christmas with me bi annually (currently I collect her Christmas night and boxing day is our xmas day dropping her back about 4pm, her mother says I am never allowed to have her Xmas day morning because I left her so I put myself in this situation)

2. An additional day once a fortnight where I can collect her from school and take her for food or cinema etc.

3. A fixed time to call once a week (was happening, isn't anymore)

4. Extra time in the school holidays (currently always too busy)

5. Access to passport so I can take her away for a weeks holiday in the summer (never been allowed to do this)

6. Access to passport to open savings account (wont let me do this)

7. To sit at parents evening together and talk to her teacher (wont allow this as thinks it is strange to be sat next to me)

This list is not exhaustive but those are the main points and it is in no particular order... Also not that it is a huge concern for me but I do the round trip of picking her up and dropping her off every other week, her mother never ever drops her off or collects her. If I want to see her it is my responsibility apparently which I have always swallowed but the trip is 45 miles each way so I am doing 180 miles on the weekends that I have her... Again this doesn't bother me it is an easy motorway drive but surely that responsibility should be shared?

I have told her I want to go to mediation she has said that is fine and that I wont get all the things I am asking for but I see these as pretty standard things for a father who is always present and trying, always pays maintenance on time, is on the birth certificate etc.

So my question I guess after ranting a lot is for those with any experience in the above, are my requests likely to get turned down? If she says no at mediator stage and this goes to court are these requests likely to be approved? Am I wasting my money and should I just stick to what I have now and not go the legal route?

Also should I try and get my daughter to see a child psychologist, this is something that I am very concerned about doing but whenever I approach my ex about the derogatory comments she always says that of course she would never let my daughter hear anything like that so it is my word against hers and I wonder whether an independent, impartial view from a qualified person would help my case in anyway. She is currently a very smart but very confused little lady, I feel as though the confusion is coming because of comments from her mothers side. We make a point of always saying nice things about them when she is present and asking questions.

Any advice, personal experiences etc that anyone can share be them good or bad would be welcomed so I can begin to piece together what my chances are of having the above.

Thanks

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Advice and Experience needed please 3 years 2 weeks ago #78876

  • Mojo
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Hi there

I think mediation is a good first step, you may be up against it getting her to agree to everything, but it's a requirement before court action can be taken anyway.

Generally speaking, where there are no safeguarding issues, a court would order a full weekend every fortnight, a weekly mid week visit, possibly weekly phone contact and a share of school holidays. Also it's not unreasonable to ask for shared alternating christmas and birthdays and Father's Day where it doesn't fall on your weekend. Courts will also order passports to be provided in good time, when holidays abroad are taken.

It's impossible to say what a court would decide, it's largely down to the calibre of judge on the day. If you do end up in court, it's much better to try and put all the sniping and hostility to one side, the courts aren't interested in the dynamics of the separated parents, they are only interested in what is best for the child.

Court should always be a last resort as it puts extra strain on what is already a fractured relationship between separated parents....the very nature of asking the court to decide means that there isn't a working relationship between the parents, which is never good for the child in the middle of it all.

As far as a psychological assessment, I would steer clear. If your daughter has a close relationship with you and your ex it would only confuse her more to be put in a situation like this and the courts don't generally approve of independent experts in family law cases....unless ordered by the court. I would try and talk to your ex about it in mediation and continue to give lots of reassurance to your daughter, when she speaks up about it.

All the best

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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.

Advice and Experience needed please 3 years 2 weeks ago #78878

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Thanks for your advice, much appreciated.

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