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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 848
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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I am struggling with the father of my child in relation to

Customer Question

I am struggling with the father of my child in relation to access and responsibilities. He does not have PR and I am desperate to keep that this way if at all possible. What are my options as my child's mother? I have concerns about his suitability as a parent due to his undiagnosed autism and the lack of contact in the first two years of my child's life. I have documented all texts etc. from the father that state that I should have had an abortion up to a year after my child was born. I have received around £500 in total for child support and now he is demanding contact at my house every weekend. Please help me understand where I stand. Thanks in advance
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist.
Please could you detail for me the current contact plan. Please could you also provide further information in respect of the concerns regarding the fathers autism and how this would impact upon his caring for your child.
Kind Regards
Caroline
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

we don't have a plan as such. He has been seeing him on a Wed eve and putting him to bed at my house and then staying on a Sat evening from 5pm until 6pm on Sunday. He now works 5 days a week so can only see him when I take him to his parents for tea on a Monday and Friday evening. I am no longer keen for him to see him on a weekend as he insists on hanging around my home and village.

I worry about his autism as it hasn't been diagnosed and therefore it is difficult to appreciate the extent of his problems. He definitely does not understand the concept of personal boundaries. He also puts himself first - i.e. he will have a shower rather than give his 2 year old son his breakfast. He also refused to take provisions with him (e.g. nappies clothes, wipes for his son). It all sounds a bit petty and silly but these things worry me. I dont think he would intensionally

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

sorry, pressed the wrong thing on my screen!

I dont think he would intentionally harm my son but I worry that inadvertently he would.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for this - I am just returning home and will consider and respond fully in about an hour. I hope this is ok. Kind Regards
Caroline
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thats great. thanks

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Thank you for your patience. I am back at home now.
The starting point for a court would be that a child should have a relationship with both parents unless there are child protection reasons.
It is disappointing to note that the father was not interested in your son for the first 18 months of his short 2 years. I note that his position has now changed and he has been spending some time with your son.
I note that you have concerns in relation undiagnosed autism of the father. I am not sure where this comes from - is this something that you consider or also his family and friends? I note that he is employed full time and is functioning but your concerns appear to be with his attention span and putting your son first.
Although I note that you would prefer to not allow your son to spend time with his father at weekends. In reality, especially when your son comes of school age, weekends are the time when parents can spend quality time with their children.
Children also benefit from a routine. They feel more secure when they have a schedule of when they are going to spend time with their parents.
As things currently stand the father needs to gain your trust. The father needs to prove to you that he is committed to your son and also that he can provide for his basic care needs. To put this into practice perhaps you could suggest a schedule whereby the time that your son spends with his father increases over time. At the beginning to reassure you - perhaps you could consider asking his parents to supervise the contact so that you know that your sons needs are being met.
You should consider making a referral to a mediation service. One such service is www.nfm.org.uk
There are lots of mediation services and there will be one local to you. Mediation can help you both discuss your concerns and agree a schedule.
If the father does not agree with your proposals then his recourse would be to make an application to the court for a child arrangement order in relation to spending time with your son. The father could also ask for a parental responsibility order. The father would have to refer matters to mediation before he could make an application to the court. The court would take on board your concerns about the fathers commitment and also the autism. They would likely ask for a GP report.
It is better to try and agree as much as possible and therefore a referral to mediation is a really good starting point.
Kind Regards
Caroline
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your response. I think mediation is the way forward but the father is reluctant to pay for this.

His family acknowledge that he is not 'right' and they have a grandchild who has aspergers and they see similarities between them. Unfortunately no one appears to be able to get the father to acknowledge that there is an issue so we are at stalemate with this.

I agree that he should spend time at weekends with his father just not at or near my house. Especially as he lives 12 miles away. He refuses to see that I am entitled to my own space and that my son should ideally be staying with him in his own house (although he currently lives with his parents and they do not want my son to stay over - they say he is too young).

If the father applies for a parental responsibility order does that mean that his name will then appear on the birth certificate? Would I have the ability to challenge the appropriateness of PR being awarded? I want my son to see his father and have a relationship with him but I don't want his father to have rights over his life, schooling, residency, medical issues etc. At the end of the day my son was the result of a one-night stand. I would not have been able to have an abortion but even now the father hates me for putting him in this position. He didn't want him at all but now he feels he has all these rights. is this really the position?

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Thank you for your response.
Despite the fathers past attitude you seem very keen that there is a relationship between your son and his father. This is very child focused and commendable.
The court considers various factors when considering a fathers application for parental responsibility - these factors include the degree of commitment the father had shown towards the child, the degree of attachment existing between the father and child and the father's reasons for applying for the order. The starting principle is that fathers should be encouraged to seek parental responsibility rather than be rebuffed.
Under Section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986, the father can apply for a declaration of paternity. Your sons birth certificate would be amended following a declaration of parentage by the court under s.55. Courts generally consider that it is a child's best interest to know who their parents are.
In reality, although parental responsibility does confer rights and responsibilities for a child and the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing. Parental responsibility decisions should not be made in isolation but in consultation with all the other holders of parental responsibility.
Kind Regards
Caroline

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