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ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1439
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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The father of my daughter's children wants contact with

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The father of my daughter's children wants contact with them. They are 3 and 5 years old. After a disastrous weekend with him a few months ago they do not even want to speak to him by phone. He thinks that my daughter should force them to speak to him
but she will not. He has referred the matter to arbitration but following a conversation between her and the arbitrator, the arbitrator has closed the case saying that it was clear that she did not want to come to an arrangement - because she refuses to force
the children to see him. He now says that he will take her to court if she does not cooperate with him. It is difficult to know why the weekend he spent with the children was so disastrous as they only say that he shouted at them. He has previously been a
good father when he was present (though his presence was erratic), but his hatred and contempt for my daughter and her new partner are very clear (I put down the phone on him before all this because he would not stop referring to her to me as a 'f**king c**t')
and his brother has threatened my daughter's new partner if he ever touched the children. This was said in front of the children. The threat was ridiculous as the partner has an excellent relationship with the children and the 5 year old said she wants him
to be her Dad. The father's sister is a family lawyer and though she cannot be involved, has told him that if he pursues the matter in court he will win. What advice would you have for me for my daughter as to forcing the children to see their father?
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist
- are there any child protection concerns in respect of the father providing care to the children?
- when did he last see the children?
- what was the previous routine?
- what time is he asking for now?
Kind Regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There were no child protection concerns as far as the children are directly concerned - he has never harmed them. However, he has been involved in some criminal activity in the past. My daughter left him following an attack on him in their common home - she believes that this was drug-dealing related, and he has arrests for ABH (true but complaint withdrawn) and Assault on Constable (spitting - convicted), that I know of.He last saw them during the summer - the aforementioned disastrous visit. He has a new partner and a new child with her and her reaction to his children and theirs to her may have been a factor in the stress.There was never a routine. He would emerge after long silences weeks and sometimes months - we do not know if these were due to drink and drug binges or what. He is known to have a drink problem (irregularly attends AA) and has been a frequent user of herbal cannabis.
When he did emerge from these silences he would come to London from Bristol sometimes laden with gifts from the children and they would be very happy to see each other. Then he would disappear again. On other occasions daughter would have to pay for his coach ticket to London - or hers to Bristol for the children to see him. She also had a good relationship with his sisters who would sometimes mediate. She and the other women are not currently speaking to each other.
I do not think they believe that the children really do not want to see him - or at least that the decision should be left to them.Now, he is simply asking to see the children. He has not specified any time. The contention is that they do not want to see him and my daughter does not want to force them to do so.
I am undecided as to whether she is right morally or legally.
Thank you for confirming the position for me.
From a legal perspective I think that your daughter has genuine reasons to be concerned about the children if there are issues with possible drug abuse. The fathers commitment is also an issue and he cannot simply choose to dip in and out of the children's lives when he feels like it.
The court will consider that the children are far too young in this case to decide whether they want to see their father. The question should not even be put to them. They should not have to know about such issues and if the adults are not able to agree then the court will.
The court considers children to be Gillick competent around the age of 13/14 - this means being able to say what they want to do.
The father is now likely to make an application to the court. Your daughter should concentrate on the concerns you have detailed and not the children's wishes and feelings. The court will investigate your daughters concerns and then decide what contact should be.
Please do not hesitate to ask if I can clarify anything for you.
Kind Regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your answer.
Would my daughter's position be undermined by the fact that the father's criminality has not previously been a factor in his access? She let him see them knowing about his history. In fairness to him (and to her decision to allow access) when he did see them, he always behaved well towards them - though quite badly towards her verbally and even physically (he kicked her in the backside once for example) when they were there.
As for dipping in and out, this is perfectly valid.I understand what you mean when you say that the choice should not be given to them, but my daughter has not given any other reason to him, to the arbitrator she spoke to by phone, or to anyone else.
Would this not undermine her giving his previous behaviour towards her as her motivation for not allowing access?
The fact is, I am sure, that if the children said, "We want to see Daddy." she would let them.
One of their refusals was to my wife - the daughter would not take the phone when he asked to speak to her, another was directly from his son, who had been given the phone by another of my children: "I don't want to speak to you. I don't like you."
The mother, my daughter, was absent at the time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have reread your previous answer.
I understand the court would consider all this.
Thanks for your help.
It's seems to me like the pinnacle event was the one in the summer - this has appears to have been the mounting event - all other concerns can still be mentioned as they are still valid, it's more like a continuum of events - including the way he speaks about your daughter - that she needs to get across.
Even if the mother isn't present - the court will consider that the children are too young to refuse. Children will want to please their primary carer as this is their sense of security.
Kind Regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'll let her know.
Please do not hesitate to ask if I can assist further
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