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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34277
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Im currently in the process of a divorce and have a 4 month

Resolved Question:

I'm currently in the process of a divorce and have a 4 month old child. My partner left while I was 7 months pregnant and now wants contact. With my child being so young we started with 45 minute contact sessions every other Saturday. My partner now wants 3 hours sessions every week and unsupervised visits at his home from when my baby is 6months which I think is unsuitable given the age of my child. I therefore suggested 2 hours every other week (1 on Saturday and 1 on sunday) with a view to increase as communication between us improves. However he has made an application to court instead of discussing it further with me and trying to come to an agreement. What is a court likely to say and what do I need to do next?

Thanks....Jasmine
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When did he start having contact?
Why is weekly contact not possible (given the age of the child a lot changes in a fortnight)
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare


 


His first contact was in September. I've been advised by my doctor and health visitor that I have PND and need to reduce my stress levels as its having a detrimental effect on my health. As seeing him reminds me of all that he has put me through I can't cope with weekly visits however I do know that he needs contact with Rhea. Therefore I'm working towards increasing the visits as I get better and am able to get over what has happened in the past.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Is there another family member who could deal with the handover for you?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not really as Rhea is most comfortable with me and the fact none of my family want to see him and very upset with the whole situation.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Have you considered having a handover at a Contact Centre so that you do not need to see him?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have but do not want to leave Rhea without me.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Sorry do you mean that at the moment you stay with him and the baby?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Sorry I live alone with Rhea at my house. My ex partner has moved back in with his parents. In my last response I meant Rhea is always with me and is not comfortable without me.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I meant during contact - are you always with them?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry...yes I am

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jasmine
The law says that a child is entitled to contact with both parents and a chance to build a relationship with both of them - and the courts support and enforce that
Whilst I can appreciate how difficult this is for you the court will not see contact in your presence as being adequate - because it does not allow your ex to build his own relationship with the child - and because it does not allow you time to heal!
With that in mind you could consider offering contact for two hours a week at a local contact centre - so that you know that the baby is safe and there are people there who would call you if there was a problem.
Only when he has proved that he can care for the child at the centre will it move away from there - but I am afraid it is inevitable that if HE can cope then it will
It would be much better if YOU propose the contact centre option as it shows you are reasonable - and gives you a little more control of the process.
There is more information on these websites http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/168195/cb7-eng.pdf
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thanks for your advice Clare. I'm still not convinced about using contact centres. I feel I need to be present at all contact sessions between my ex and Rhea. I am providing opportunities for my ex to meet and build a relationship with Rhea and as she gets to know him and becomes older I will increase these sessions. Would the court not take into account that he is having contact and that its a working progress and will improve as time goes on? Surely the courts would rather the parents sort out contact between themselves instead of them having to intervene?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Your presence means that Rhea will always look to you and not him.
There is no reason why you should not stay in the room at the centre to start with so that if there is a problem you are there - and then gradually work up to leaving for another room
Contact in your absence is going to be enforced by the court - so much better that you manage it yourself which will give you more time to make the adaption
One option would be to offer this on a fortnightly basis to start with - it may be that the progress on that point will delay the weekly visits
Clare
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