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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Background: Husband was emotionally and verbally abusive

Customer Question

Background:
Husband was emotionally and verbally abusive throughout pregnancy. Have emails, texts etc to prove this. He had sporadic counselling for stress/anger but didn't work. Pregnancy was complicated with placenta praevia and pre-eclampsia and a lot of it was spent hospitalised. Baby eventually born by emergency c section at 35 weeks. We Separated when baby was 11 weeks old.
I have concerns about his parenting because:
He can't control his temper, gets stressed and makes poor choices/reactions
Not very experienced with baby
Showed little or no interest when he was at home and concern that access to baby is purely to do with control/abuse of me. He admitted he didn't want baby while I was pregnant and explains this for some of his bad behaviour.
He drinks and smokes
In short time he's been with baby at home I've seen him:
Run down stairs with her in arms when been drinking
Hold her/be careless when he's spent most of day drinking
Cross roads by edging pram out on blind corners - leave pram in dangerous places
Spray aerosols repeatedly in her vicinity (even when told not to)
Allows his mum to hold her-who is heavy smoker (and smokes indoors) despite being warned my midwife that this is harmful to baby
From the moment we separated I have allowed access and actively encouraged it with both him and his family. However, I have stipulated 2 supervised visits a week of 1.5 hours. This is because baby is breastfed, baby is incredibly young and is still cluster feeding (I can get her to take bottle occasionally but not guaranteed) I find it emotionally tough to go through this process and on a practical level it is difficult to sort supervision out. He likes to argue about visitation constantly - he wants it unsupervised and more frequent.
My questions:
Is my visitation of 1.5 hours a week twice weekly reasonable for such a young baby?
What visitation is likely to be awarded if and when we go to court?
Would it be reasonable to insist on a contact centre?
How will visitation change as and when child grows up?
My intention is not to block visitation but to safeguard my baby-what else can I do to ensure my views are heard by a court and acted upon?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How old is the baby now?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
16 weeks
Expert:  Clare replied 3 months ago.

Have you offered to move contact to a local contact centre?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
But he keeps pushing for unsupervised and additional contact. At moment I'm getting my mum to supervise visits or meeting him at park cafe so he can spend time with daughter there. I currently allow 1.5 hours twice weekly. Every week he starts at least one row about it and is very intimidating and bullying. My mum is also getting stressed every time she has to see him. He won't agree to contact centre I doubt. Our local one only hosts visits every two weeks. I'd prefer contact centre as would mean no more conversations with him and minimise my stress.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 months ago.

Could he not have the child alone for an hour?

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