Hi all, going to vent big time but really would like external advice from other parents.
I am a single mum of one, and have been raising my 19 month old DD mostly alone since birth. Birth father and I separated during pregnancy and got back together when DD was 1 month old. We lived 4 hours apart and he stayed 3 nights a week until she was 6 months old, then we split again briefly and he only visited twice until DD and I moved back towards him and my maternal family. We got back together when DD was almost 7 months old and he moved in with us as he became unemployed. We finally split for good 2 months later when I kicked him out after he went out and got heavily drunk, and held a knife to his wrist in front of DD, punched a hole through our screen door, tried to start fights with surrounding neighbours before leaving and coming back black and blue.
Since then (DD was almost 10 months old) it has been very tense between us. He was seeing DD weekly (once or twice by himself at first in my house) and after Christmas the visits slowed down, sometimes fortnightly, but I was helping by driving DD to visit him. However when he moved in with his mother, which is a 15 min train ride from my house at the time, I decided to stop making the effort to drive to him, and have stood by letting him come to DD to visit, which I have NEVER said no to.
Initially it was six weeks before he visited. He was (is) unemployed and did not study, so he had (has) no work commitments to stop him from asking to see DD. His visits became a regular 2-3 weeks, 2-3 hours each, until DD was 15 months old, and I started seeing another person. Birth Father was not pleased and only visited once a month until just over two weeks ago, when he found out I was single again. Since then it has been Father's Day and I made the effort to take DD for a park outing, and now a week later we will be seeing him tomorrow.
The reason I am seeking advice is that he has started visiting more regularly because I said to him that once he is regularly seeing DD I will feel confident enough to hand her over to him for a few hours. I havent and can't because on these occasions he has been seeing her, he has not tended to DD's wellbeing AT ALL. He has not changed her nappy or fed her on any visit this year, so since before she was 11 months old.
He has no concept of her sleeping patterns, what and how much she eats and drinks, what size nappies and clothes she wears etc. DD doesn't say many words and hasn't learnt to ask for food, she relies on crying and signals, and he has NO paternal instincts to pick up on her needs. He is just a 'fun person'.
As for himself he is still unemployed, supposedly living at his mother's which is regularly visited by his schizophrenic drug addict brother and has no setup for a toddler, blows his dole money, is on and off pot - basically just lives a volatile lifestyle.
I do not feel comfortable at all ever handing her over, but we have moved 50km away and am struggling to meet him halfway with visits. They are tense but cannot leave DD in his care as there is no legal paperwork in place yet.
Should I let him have her to himself or should I be going to court and getting something in writing, or both? Any suggestions and opinions would be much appreciated.
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09-09-2013 15:15 #1
Should I Hand DD Over?
09-09-2013 15:47 #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
- Brisbane North
no, I would definitely be going to court and getting something in writing.
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09-09-2013 15:50 #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2005
Not until a court order is in place. He legally doesnt have to hand her back if he takes her without an order in place.
09-09-2013 15:50 #4
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09-09-2013 15:51 #5
Um no, if he isn't competent to take care of her needs, then no.
09-09-2013 15:57 #6
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09-09-2013 16:00 #7
if you do take him to court, see if they will order him to take parenting classes as a condition of solo visits and stipulate that his brother cant come over if she is at his house. The courts will give him access unless he proves to be a danger to your DD.
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09-09-2013 16:21 #8
No, not a chance. I also don't think it's up to you to meet him halfway either he needs to get his act together
09-09-2013 16:44 #9
Do not go to court.
Go to legal aid and get free legal advice.
But at the moment you ave 100% custody. You do not want the courts attention or his -drawn to the fact that he could potentially have more. He is at this stage not a capable father.
Keep 100%custody for as long as you can in your circumstances.
Start documenting everything. If he has en email address email him and politely tell him what he has done that s inappropriate. Make it clear you have tried to encourage him to be a father.
PM. Me if you need to as I have a lot of insight into how everything works.
I want to add that fathers are very important, however this man has not shown you or your daughter that he can be trusted.
09-09-2013 16:48 #10
Get a lawyer and get a court order in place asap.
It was amazing of you to make all the effort to help him maintain contact with your wee one, you clearly understand the importance of your DD having a relationship with her Dad, and that's great, unfortunately, that kind of 'help' can just enable your ex from making the effort and learning how to be responsible parent. Also, being present every time he visits can also enable him from stepping up and learning how to look after your guys DD.
I do believe that Dads should get the chance to really prove themselves, sometimes when a 'useless' guy is given a chance, you could be pleasantly surprised (I was, and 10 years later my ex is super attentive, protective and nurturing, all the things he wasn't in the beginning) I like the advice above about having him do a parenting course, there are some out there that are extremely brilliant!
However, right now your DD is very young, from what you've said about your ex and his family, now probably isn't the best time to experiment with contact, the fact that he is now making the effort to come and spend time with your DD is fantastic! But that's just the beginning, there is still a lot more to prove. Be as supportive as you can to help them build a relationship that one day he will be able to maintain on his own, but don't rush it, let it all happen when all three of you are ready for it.
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