An issue of trust ... more time with my daugher?


Mark writes:

Basically I had a fling with a girl and got her pregnant, throughout her pregnancy I was awful towards her and our unborn child, I asked her to abort the baby and she chose not to. She tried keeping me involved but I refused, I didn't go to the birth and showed no interest, I even refused to go on the birth certificate so she has full PR. After my daughter turned 5 weeks I had a DNA test done and it turned out she was mine but then my x refused me to be involved as I was smoking cannabis and my behaviour through out the pregnancy, she finally came round however I then moved away due to work but we agreed I would be back every other weekend to see my daughter. She is only 11 weeks old and when she stops over I leave her to sleep with my Nana as I am to tired. My ex has found out and ha now stopped my daughter sleeping over, she said I can see her for a few hours on Saturday and that's it.
Can I take her to court and get my daughter to stay over again? Plus can I stop her moving away? If not how would I get to see my daughter if she moved 6 hours away?


You have asked two question - (1) how can I increase the time I spend with my daughter and (2) can I stop the mum and child moving, even if it is far away?

You have been very frank in your question and I can understand why there are issues of trust between you and your daughter’s mother.

The short answer to your question is that you could go to Court and ask to spend more time with your daughter. If your nan is a trustworthy capable individual I suspect that a Court would have little issue with the fact that she stays with her, as she is a member of your daughter’s family.

However, looking at it from mum’s point of view, I suspect she thinks it is a sign of you not being committed to your daughter and from what you say about the history it is understandable that she may think this way. I have done many cases where mums have stopped contact completely when they have found out that another family member is caring for the child instead of the person they have been told is doing it. “You ask to spend time with her and then do not spend all the time that you can with her, instead putting your work commitments and being tired before caring for you daughter” maybe the sort of thing she is thinking. If she does not know your nan, her insecurity will be exacerbated. I am not saying that this is the correct approach, but I am saying it is understandable.

Although you could apply to a Court, I would advise trying
mediation first. I suspect that there are no ‘welfare’ issues i.e. that your daughter is not likely to come to harm, it appears to me that you would both benefit from discussing the issues with a neutral third party to help. It also has the advantage of being cheaper and quicker.

I would also suggest you think about changing the arrangement and suggesting
you and your daughter stay over at your nan’s?

Remember, you and your daughter’s mum are tied to each other for at least the next 18 years, so it is much better to try to negotiate a solution than take her to court. It should be a last resort.

With respect to moving, I could recite lots of law on this but the basic answer is simple. In the UK Courts the view is taken that an adult is free to move in the UK wherever they like. If they are the primary carer for a child, then the child goes with them and the time they spend with the parent the child does not live with is worked out after that. The exception to that general proposition is that a court will prevent a move if there is a good child welfare reason to stop it. Very generally speaking this has to be more than simply ‘it will be harder for the child to spend time with the other parent’. In recent cases I have done, moves have been prevented when the children are old enough not to want to go or the move is ill thought out and will demonstrably not be in the child’s best interests (e.g. changing schools at a crucial point). It would, in my view, be quite difficult to successfully oppose a move when the child is a baby unless you could show that where the mum intended to go was likely to cause the child harm e.g. to move to live with a new partner who was violent.

If she did move away (and I do not get any sense from your question about how likely this is) then a court would be likely to put some form of order in place to ensure that you spent time with her. How this would work depends on many things (who can travel, where to, where they can stay etc) but I suspect that whilst your daughter is a very young a court would expect you to travel to her for some or maybe even all of the visits.

Of course, if she did move, things are much easier to arrange if you and mum are getting on and able to communicate reasonably with each other. So if there is any real prospect of this happening suggest to her
mediating a solution rather than rushing off to court.