View Full Version : Father's rights
Iím in a situation where my ex partner ended our relationship 2 weeks after she conceived. She will not communicate with me at all and wants to alienate me as a parent. The baby will not be born for 5 months, but I donít see the situation or her position changing.
I want to be part of my childís life and I am excited about becoming a father. Those feelings are not however mutually shared by my partner. I would prefer not to have to take any legal action and sort the situation amicably. But preparing for the worst case scenario I have the following questions.
1) What can I do to prepare for becoming a father?
2) Are there any good parental courses available in Melbourne?
3) What legal rights do I have as a father in regards to my unborn child?
4) What legal rights do I have as a father when my child is born?
5) What rights does my ex partner have?
6) Do you have any suggestions on how I can encourage her to reestablish communication with me?
7) Any other suggestions?
Any help on these matters would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to reading any replies.
I really feel for situation and applaud you for wanting to be an active and caring parent. Although I can see you don't want to take any legal action, I think you should contact Legal Aid and find out exactly what your rights are, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to take any action but you need to know where you stand legally as a father.
I think that if the mother of the baby decides she doesn't want you at her check ups or be her support person during labour, I don't think there is anything you can do about that. However, once the baby is born you should be entitled to access but will also have to financially support the baby.
Perhaps over time your baby's mother might soften a bit towards you she may even be grateful for help, time to relax or whatever while you care for the baby as they are hard work. At the moment, the pregnancy hormones might be running high.
I wouldn't come on too strong or be too persistent at the moment as you don't want to alienate the mother. Just let her know that you are willing to support her and the baby, attend prenatal classes with her (if that is what you want), learn to care for a baby, help financially whatever. Let her know you want to work with her, not against her or takeover, or take the baby away from her as that might be what she is scared of. Maybe let her know that you accept your relationship is over but you want to establish a parenting relationship with the baby. Can you write her a letter explaining this if she wont' take your call or speak to a member of her family??
There are heaps of parenting books around try Baby Love or there is another So you are going to be a Dad I think it is called.
Good luck and let us know how you go
I feel for your situation. You obvious want to be apart of your child's life and you should be very proud of yourself for wanting this. So many Dad's don't and it's wonderful to see that you are excited about becoming a father. I agree with Easterlily, contact LegalAid for legal advice just so you know where you stand and contact Child Support Agency and they can tell you where you stand financially in supporting your child.
Is their a close family member of your ex-partner's who you are close to and can talk to about this? They may be able to help you stay in contact with your ex and if you can't talk to your ex they may be able to give you up dates on how everything is going. Try to keep in contact with her and let her know that you are there for her at any time. Pregnancy hormones can do strange things to you mind :rolleyes:
I got my DH "So you are going to be a Dad" book and he thought it was fantastic. It was written by a bloke for blokes, it came highly recommended to us.
Good luck with everything and hope it all works out for you.
Hey don't forget you have broken up with this person, and breaking up sucks for everyone. Your ex may still be hurt or angry, and now she is PG, more than likely she will be VERY protective.
With everything else going on in her life, being pushed to communicate with you right now may be too much to ask. She knows your'e there, she can't get away from this fact, she might need some time to reconcile with being a sole parent too. How do you think she feels, knowing you will be a part of her life forever now and she probably doesn't like you very much at the moment? The feeling may be mutual for you too !
At the end of the day it is good (and natural) that you want to see your own child, and are probably having all the good-feeling and hopeful dreams of parenthood, remember that your ex is at the coalface here, and is doing all the dirty work! Icky morning sickness, running out of decent clothes to wear AND having to tell people she's PG when most people know you guys have broken up.
It's early days yet, and running off to legal aid and waving legal papers at her will not help. You do have rights to see your child, that will not change. No one wants this situation to be forced upon them.
Back off a bit, bud and get practical. Why don't you buy a PG book and read up on babys development. This way you can feel a part of things (even from a distance) and can understand a bit more what is happening to your ex.
Send her a little pressie every month or so. A tiny pair of socks, a 0000 jumpsuit (white) so she can see you will WALK the WALK not just TALK the TALK. Let her know you appreciate her incubating your baby. What if she has to finish work early, how will she go for money??
You must have had differences to have broken up, let her know its time to put this in the past and deal with whats coming, old scoreboards are irrelevant now.
Hope I have'nt been too controversial. I'm just being realistic.
its all well and good for you to say you want to be a dad but situations like this are more complicated then that
if she wasnt pregnant would you still want to see her? try to think about it from her perpective more, it would extremly stressful to face the prospect of single motherhood- throw in the pregnancy hormones im surprised shes not having a nervous breakdown
she is the one having this baby inside her- at the moment you are merely a bystander, your role comes in later
before you start threatening a pregnant woman with legal action remember your child is going to want to know you one day wether she wants them to or not, they will one day appreciate knowing you were civil and tried your best to make things work with compromise and patience before you jumped on top of everything
I am recently in the same position as you. I recently got my very short term girlfriend pregnant and she has decided to keep the baby yet not talk to me and will not do anything else. I am lost for Ideas what to do so was wondering if you have had any success?
Dont know a great deal about the actual situation you are in. My fiance was in a i suppose similar position. He had a one night stand with a girl (long before me) and 2 years later come back and hit him the "this is your child thing" She didnt want him to have anything to do with the child...as he had no contact and didnt even know she existed....yet because this one night stand pointed the figer at him he was forced to pay child support. Unfortunatley the laws arent that great when it comes to the male side in child support cases. Anyway he went to court which i hope you wont have to do but it may have to happen to prove that you are the father.....If it comes down to this they will order a pertanity test (which unfortunatley you will probably be asked to pay for as my fiance was which will set you back around 500 bucks or more). Once the test comes back that you are the father then you have struck gold. You could then most probably go through her without going to court and organising visiting rights etc. If worse comes to worse then if the parternity test proves you are the father then you will be awarded some kind of contact rights. The more stuff you have on yourside (ie peranting classess - good family who can testify for you, paying her maintenance on time from the start when the child is born...then everything should go through smoothley. NOt sure if i was much help but i hope for all your sakes she comes around and you wont need to go through court.
I really feel for you. My husband and I are dealing with the whole contact issue and my stepson is 9yo. It is such a hard and tricky subject to know what to do, especially without knowing the details of your particular situation.
It is such a shame that the mother of your baby doesn't want to have contact with you. But like the other mothers have said, it could just be hormones (they tend to send you mildly crazy when you're pregnant!! :p ). Your ex may very well change her mind once little bub arrives. Get a hold of as much literature on becoming a parent and child development, as you can. Ring up your local hospital about attending antenatal classes, even if you are alone....it may come in handy in 5m time?!! Contact Dads in Distress, they may also be able to give you some advice.
The giving of little gifts like Lucybelle suggests sound lovely, but don't forget your ex either (gift vouchers for massages etc - yeah I know she's your ex, but she's also your baby's mum) just to let her know you're there if she needs you.
I know that it may sound a bit rash just yet, but definately find yourself a family law solicitor and just ask exactly what your legal rights are. Hopefully you will never need to exercise them :o . But at least you'll know where you stand, because your ex can claim child support from you and STILL deny you contact.
I can tell you from personal experience, that it is an extremely sensitive and heartbreaking situation to be in and I commend you for wanting to be a part of your child's life. Not all dad's care that much. Just take your time and really prepare yourself for both outcomes and quietly be there if your ex needs you to be.
My thoughts are with you. Let us know how you go and feel free to pick our brains for anything :)
Hello Narky (and understandably so)
Hello also to average bloke!
Well, there has been some fantastic responses for you so far! A couple of things to add - food for thought.
Firstly, Lucybelle has a great suggestion - help to get together some of the items mum is going to need, gifts etc but not too much.
With respect to gifts for mum and your relationship with her. Can I suggest somehow (maybe by letter) telling her that you value her as a person and the reasons why, also letting her know that you are not planning to rule her life and take over, if she wants no type of relationship with you that is OK etc. But that you DO want a relationship with your child and that is OK too!
Definately she is going through massive hormonal changes with the pregnancy so it is a time to be gentle with her. But not cotton wool stuff. She needs to know how you feel about your baby.
OK - now for the not so nice stuff. --- My brother (and our whole family) has been through this BIG TIME. He is never able to see his little girl (none of us are) and believe me over time we have tried everything.
I think it has now been about six years since I saw her, my niece does not even know that I exist (I think). It has been a particularly nasty case - her mother fills her head with 'extreme stuff' and seems to have every legal right to do so, even though my brother went through court (and won). She is even home schooled to avoid any unwanted social input!
Anyway - I could go into a lot more detail - please feel free to message me if you wish - for the sake of space now I will wind up.
While it may be nice to be amicable (in a rosy world) - it can get VERY nasty and definately legal in the long term. You need to cover your back - keep every copy of every letter and attempt that you make to see your bub or to form a peace pact with mum - you may well need this (legally) in the future.
Get heaps of legal advice NOW and mentally set a future date (with enough time to try amicable - and give mum a bit of a break to have bub!) - if it isn't working by then go hard at court or watch your little love grow up from a distance.
Keep some sort of diary. Most of all congratulations on your approach already!
Good Luck and Warmest regards
hi guys, i have to say i think the best thing for you men to do at the moment is to consult a family lawyer to find out what your options will be later on, although i wouldnt advise that you start any procedings at this point. Its a tricky predicament because if you dont push the issue now if this does all end up in court the court is going to say 'well if you care so much for this child why werent you trying harder back then to make contact etc etc' but if you push to hard you will be accused of harassment.(i have been through all this stuff with my husband and his daughter) and you must document everything, every conversation regarding access(or being denied it) etc and date it, if this does go to court that will be the most important thing. its not enough to say 'well she /he said something like this around about this date' it will not be admissable! if you are serious about caring for this child then let the mother know you are there for her when she needs you(and i agree with the other girls ocassional pressies, odd phone call, asking about her wellbeing) but quietly prepare yourself in case it doesnt work out, as long as you are a decent, good person then you deserve to have access to this child. ps i wouldnt recommend trying to have unsupervised visits with your child while it is still a small baby, this is a very cruel thing for a mum to experience and probably not in the babies best interests. good luck :o
I agree with coopsntilly's mum and would consult a lawyer and also keep a journal in case it goes to court, we have been through this with my step-son and he always said he didn't need to keep a journal and now he is sorry he didn't he is lucky he has a pretty good judge that is fair (as you can be in this situation). I would also consult a lawyer as also was said they will ask why you did nothing before the baby was born. You may like to talk to a family counsellor that could assist you if things don't go as you would like. I wish you all the best in this day and age things are changing for the better for fathers but we are not there yet when it comes to equal rights as parents. Good luck :)
my husband has just come in and read this thread and he has also suggested that rather than just asking her about what is going on over the phone to make sure that you have all your requests in writing, so that nothing is hearsay
ps he stressed that court has to be the last resort, it takes so much out of you and your family both emotionally and financially that you should exhaust all other avenues first (without jeapordizing the outcomes that you want)
I can not begin to imagine how terrible it feels to want to be a part of your child's life, but to be denied that by the mother or father of the child.
However your ex partner must have some reason why she would want to exclude you from her life and eventually the life of the child.
My daughter was born 6 weeks early and spent just over 3 weeks in hospital. After being at home with my daughter and her "father" for ten days, I packed up my daughter and what we needed and left whilst he was out one day. Leaving everything including the house which was jointly owned.
In those ten days, I was continually subjected to domestic violence of every kind and continually feared for the safety of my child. Further to that I had absolutely no support from his family, even though the knew the extent of the problems. (The "father" had a number of physcological and physical problems which stemmed from a head injury).
Initally I did the right thing and took my little blossum around to see him, but after having my blossum fall out from her pram whilst he was supposed to be watching her (not strapped in) and being pushed down a flight of stairs whilst holding her, I decided that it was best if he did not see her whilst I was there. Nor was I prepared to leave her with him unsupervised.
To cut a long story short, the best thing (eventually) that happened was the matter went before the Family Court (numerous times) all parties were assessed by social workers and physciatrists and the matter was sorted out and now contact occurs on a regular basis.
The court system is no where near perfect, and it is unbelievably stressful, demeaning and expensive, but in the long run it is the only way it sounds like you are going to get any contact. Go and see a solicitor preferably one with Family Law Accreditation, the sooner the better.
I know it must a terrible thing for you, but in a woman's and mother's opinion the more you nag the more resolute she is going to be.
your situation intrigues me.When my daughter was born I had to fight the father to acknowlege she was his. The regrets are huge for doing this, he is a voilent person with a small grip on reality and now has a partner who for some reason is forceing him to seek contact after years of no contact. So reading your situation I am intrigued, I know this is a genraliseation but alot of guys in your situation would just go "Woo Hoo!!". You don't I guess this girl doesn't realise what she's got. But I do want to ask (and you don't have to answer me but at least answer yourself) 1. do you know why she broke up with you? (you didn't say) 2. do you have any doubts that the child is yours? (hard question but she's avoiding you for a reason) 3. are you still in love with her? I know these are prying questions but the answers would paint a clearer picture and help others give even more helpful advice. Chin up, the road may be tough but you'll get there.
You do have equal rights as a father, that's one of the benefits of being Australian (in Ireland where I had my children the father can walk away scot free if he is not married to the mother, which has it's benefits but also gives them no rights either).
If your ex-girlfriend is still being difficult after the birth of your baby you will need a court order to get a DNA test done on yourself and the baby. Once paternity has been established the Family Court will then give you the right to have access to the child and to pay maintenance (the two do go hand in hand). You can speak to a lawyer now but most will advise that they really cannot do anything until the baby is born and a DNA test can be done.
Your ex will be very hormonal and irrational at the moment. Assuming the relationship didn't end on a good note, add the bruised feelings of a failed relationship to that and she's not going to be very co-operative. I agree with the others in that you should do everything you can to show her that you do mean well (not too much or she'll then feel you're stalking her). I would suggest a letter explaining your feelings and intentions and a suggestion that you meet, alone, to talk things over. Without knowing the full side of your story I do not know why your ex might be feeling so reluctant to involve you in the baby's life. If you have any downfalls that might be creating her negative feelings then prove to her both through words and actions that you are willing to change for the better.
Do not threaten her, it will only backfire. If she does not co-operate after the baby has been born then go down the legal route, but really, that should only be a last resort. It's best for your child to have parents who are at least civil to each other or it will affect the child, I've seen it many times before.
I wish you both the best of luck as it's so important for a baby to have both parents.
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