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Author Topic: Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED  (Read 2662 times)

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Offline curtainripperTopic starter

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Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED
« on: April 12, 2015, 11:26:17 PM »
Hi everyone. Am new to the forums and decided to join because of my current situation.

Basically I found out I had a daughter 3 years ago, when a ex girlfriend contacted me out of the blue asking for money. I was baffled by this as although I did remember this ex-girlfriend I never knew she was pregnant or the child existed and was baffled why she was contacting me after 3 years asking for money? (She wanted £500 for a pram.)
Therefore I explained to her that I would want to be in my child's life 100% and i'd be happy to fund/support anything my child would need but due to the fact she had prior not told me anything about the child it did raise some alarm bells for me. For a few months she said she'd pay for a DNA test but it never happened and her promises fell short. it got to 3 months and I couldn't sleep as my mind was on wether the child was mine and I felt upset that i possibly could have missed 3 years of my first child's life! So I paid for a peace of mind DNA Test and met with my ex and did the test. I posted it and a few weeks later got the results which confirmed that i had a little daughter and she was mine.
i checked the validity of the DNA company and they seem reliable and legit as they also offered court approved tests and I was later told by a solicitor they knew of the firm so I came to an agreement with my ex that I would give her x amount a month that was mutally agreeable. I printed out a standard form of the internet and got her to sign it to agree monthly payments which she did. I had contact for about 2-3 months and there was no issues and we were having fun and my ex was even complimenting me on how well I was doing with my daughter. Then all of a sudden contact stopped. I tried to get hold of my ex and the phone was switched off. I wrote to her with no response and finally I found another number for her through a social network site which when I rang and she recognised my voice she hung up on me for. Shortly after that that number went to answerphone all the time so it seemed as if I was being avoided.

Because of this I decided that I had no choice but to go to a solicitor to pursue contact, ( that was 3 years ago). Initially my ex got herself a solicitor and her defence for stopping contact was that I was not physically aggressive but I made verbal indirect insults to her when I had had contact and she had stopped it for this reason.
My solicitors filed in court eventually where the story next changed again for the reason for stopping contact and that was my ex now said that I apparently drugged her when we initially had sex and pressured her into sex and she was traumitised from it. This was complete lies and being alot younger i was angry about the allegations and didnt' just laugh them off which i suppose in the circumstances I should of. In the end my solicitor advised that if I had caused trauma to my ex that we had a independent psychological report done by a GP and doctor. This was agreed by both sides and the judge so it happened. However during this point my ex had a argument with the firm representing her and switched firms to another firm. When I went back to court again the court made a recommendation that whilst a psych report was done and GP history was also looked into and that CAFCASS contact me to get their opninion. Now considering that my ex was still making these allegations of drug pressure I was still very upset and angry I hold my hands up that I went into that meeting with CAFCASS with the wrong mindframe and I pretty much raised a 'me' versues 'her' and her lies theme, which wasnt the right way I should have approached the situation, but shortly during this period i'd also discovered my mother had cervix cancer who is the only parent i have- it was no excuse but something in the back of my mind. From this CAFCASS wrote a damning report against me saying that I was immature and shouldn't have contact because it would only cause the mother more trauma mentally therefore there recommendation was indirect contact every month forever. The CAFCASS report also said that my ex's family had said I was a 'badman' to my daughter and she was not to see me and this had been reinforced throughout the family.

I was pretty gutted by this but at this point I decided to try and clear my name. Eventually i sourced evidence from the original hotel we stayed at where the baby was concieved and they actually had a record of the bill and they managed to speak to the staff that night. They gave me a statement saying my ex actually bought all alcohol on her own will at the bar and i had been in the room. When we went back to court my solicitor showed this to the judge who wasn't very happy and asked that the psych report be fast tracked. When we got the psych report and GP report back it was pretty horrifying and shocking the results. We found out that my ex's mother had abused her as a child and had kept her off school by making her ill. They also said that her parents had not supported her going to school or been bothered which meant she did not have a proper level of education to know that this was wrong and it was not actually abuse. Further to that they said she had had a STI 5 times and her ex-boyfriend had been domestically abusive to her physically and mentally - and this time that had correlated to when she stopped contact. Because of her ex-boyfriends abuse she lost a child she had concieved shortly after this time too, so it was 'more likely that the reason she had stopped contact was not because of what she had prior said but because she couldn't cope'- in the words of the judge! The situation with her ex-boyfriend had got so bad that she had to get a restraining order against him.

So the court proceedings went on and the judge felt that indirect contact should continue for another year whilst my ex got counselling and he made a referral for her to do this but due the backlog in waiting list for counselling they felt that 6-7 months it what it would take.
During this time, we had had no response to any of my monthly indirect contact but were told the child had recieved them. My solicitor wrote for an update to find out what was happening last year with the counselling and we had no response despite 3 letters so my solicitor filed in court again and this time decided to hire a barrister on my behalf.
When we went back to court 6 months ago my ex's solicitor said she had not gone to counselling despite the recommendations and she could not and would not provide proof that she had attempted to contact her GP or anyone about counselling. Therefore the judge said that he now felt the case had got to a point where my daughter needed a legal guardian appointing to be responsible for her. So the judge pended it for another CAFCASS report which i went to about 2 months ago and issued to make a new legal guardian.

Having in the last 2 years gone to university and my mum recover from cancer, I started to think about the long term implications and to be honest, I felt that having gone throught the court system for 3 years that I had been through so much it had changed my perspective on court and this wasn't about 'winning' or 'beating' my ex in court..my mindframe had changed and I had matured really..I think would be the best way to explain it.. so I told my solicitor that we need to do what was best for both sides, not just myself.
When I met with CAFCASS i just told them the truth, alot had been going on and obviously the false allegations had upset me but now i was older and wiser I just wanted to get the best help for my ex and for my child so that she could be in a safe environment and grow up well and I said to CAFCASS if they recommend me having indirect contact for life again then I'll just accept that and end the case and respect their judgement. To my shock the CAFCASS workers started actually asking me how I would like contact if I got it and I said well I guess it would have to start off supervised in a contact centre and slowly progress which is what CAFCASS said is the normal stages anyway.

So last week I went back to court after it all and my solicitor after an exact 3 and a half year mark of me going to court about this... met with the guardian and got her viewpoint on the whole situation now. The guardian and CAFCASS to my shock said that they felt i was a more 'mature' and 'refined' and 'kind hearted' character now and they had met with my daughter and their view was she did want to see me but she did seem anxious about it but on the plus she had said herself it'd probably do her 'mummy' some good getting some time off from her which certainly made me laugh. CAFCASS said they're recommendation as guardian was weekly contact in a supervised contact centre. They said that my ex was at first relunctant about this but when they explained it to her in detail she eventually agreed. Because i have my final year degree exams in around 3-4 weeks it was agreed that contact start from next month but on a fortnighly period not weekly period. It was also said that my ex will not be dropping off my daugter at the contact centre but it would be my daughter's grandmother.

My solicitor in the meanwhile has told me to think about the first contact I have and perhaps think about getting something like a sticker book or some gift. My daughters now 6 and i'm told she's into very girly things such as babies, prams etc etc. i'm very nervous about seeing her for the first time specifically knowing i'll be watched by CAFCASS so I wanted to know if anyone could give me any advice..I just wanted to know if certain questions arose what would be the best way for me to handle the situation..ie : What if my daugher asks who I am, who should I say? And what if she asks why I have not seen her before? And what if she asks me why I am seeing her etc..I wouldn't really know the right way to answer this. Am also really nervous about after the first few sessions seeing my ex's grandmother and her making any nasty comments about me.
Also for this age group does anyone have any good ideas about 1st contact? i want to make sure that as a parent i give this 100% so I'm asking for your advice and respect it..thank you

Offline Cushion Plumper

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Re: Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 09:13:48 PM »
Wow!  What a nightmare three and a half years you have had, and well done for sticking to it and doing the right thing.  The way you have handled this, and admitted your mistakes, is admirable.

Do you have contact with any other children at all?  Friend's children/siblings, kids in your neighbourhood for example?  Or are you having to learn how to deal with little people from scratch?!

My advice would be to go for the first meeting with a pretty box, one that you've either made yourself or one you can buy from a card shop to put gifts in.  Tell her it is her special box for her to keep things in that you will send her in the post each week.  You can choose together what she would like to collect, it may be postcards, fridge magnets, a comic, Mr Men or Little Miss books, but something small and light to post, cheap for you to buy each week and something that you can reliably send each week.  Although she knows you are her daddy, you are a bit of a stranger to her and she may be wary of having gifts from strangers, and she may expect gifts off you every time, but this way, she can look forward to a little something that will arrive through the door and she can treasure it in her keepsake box.  That may sound odd, but you don't want her to like you because of what you bring, you want her to respect you and love you because of who you are.  Parents do not ALWAYS bring their children presents, sometimes they have to do with our presence instead!  So you can send her gifts when you are not with her so that she knows you are thinking of her, then she can look forward to the visits to spend TIME with you.

If you do see her grand mother, I would suggest a courteous 'hello' and a smile and that's it.  If the lady ignores you, that's her issue, don't make it yours.  My ex hated my mother and would totally ignore her or insult her and this did upset my son.  Remain the mature sensible one, and if she responds negatively to your greeting then take it in your stride and continue on your way. 

I'm sure the contact centre will have some games or toys to play with, so ask her what she'd like to do and go along with it. There may be a jigsaw you can work on, or a story you can read her.  Answer the questions as simply and honestly as possible about why you haven't seen her for all this time, something like "I would have loved to have seen you but I didn't know where you were, but I've thought about you every day and knew that one day I would be able to do things with you" may satisfy her.  Avoid things like "I wanted to but your mummy wouldn't let me" or "mummy has not been well" or "I've had to take mummy to court so I can see you".  These are things that she will learn over time and have to learn how to deal with when she's in her teens (or perhaps younger).  Try to be as economic with the truth as you can, but don't tell lies either.

When it comes to physical contact, let her be the one who comes to you for affection, hugs, kisses in her own time.  She may not feel comfortable hugging you or kissing you on the first few meetings, so don't be upset if she doesn't. 

Talk to her about her school life but without asking direct questions of who, where, why, what etc.  Find out what her favourite lesson is, who her favourite teacher is and why.  Ask her what makes her laugh, who is her funniest friend, but by saying something like "tell me about a typical day at school", "tell me a funny thing that's happened with your friends that made you laugh", "I bet you have a favourite subject/teacher/lesson" and see what she responds with.  Too many direct questions may sound like an interrogation!

Your time will be over before you know it, so when you leave, remind her of the special box and let her know that you will choose something and post it on a certain day so it should arrive by a certain day.

Hope this helps a bit.  Good luck.
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Offline WT4

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Re: Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 11:14:21 AM »
Please don't spend any time or effort worrying about things she might ask.

Six yo children are delightfully surprising.  No matter how much effort you put into prep you will be caught off-guard "Why do you have hair up your nose?" .. the best you can do is be prepared to go with the flow.

Like CP says, avoid bad-mouthing anyone.

Oh, and work your way to unsupervised contact, overnights and then bring her along on the camping trips.  You do have a tent, right?

Good luck, I hope it goes well for all, especially your daughter.
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Offline barnsley7

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Re: Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 10:44:38 PM »
Hi new member here.
Sorry only just realised that this was a post from April after reading it, but anyway just wanted to say that my daughter is 5 and if you have met your daughter again since your last post, you will no doubt be fully aware of One Direction, the Minions and Frozen.
So how's things going now access wise - 4 months on?

Offline HAPPYJANE

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Re: Seeing daughter after 3 years of court battle..HELP NEEDED
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 02:50:46 PM »
Your story is really interesting and captivating, to say the least! Thanks so much for sharing.

 

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