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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34906
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My ex partner and I have joint parental rights to our daughter.

Customer Question

My ex partner and I have joint parental rights to our daughter. However in the last 2 years he has barely seen her, even though she stays 200 yards away from him at his mothers' house once a week. He says he is "too busy" working to provide for his child to see her. He has another daughter with another partner and my daughter actually hasn't spent time with her younger sister for a year - they have never been out at the same time with their father. He pops in to have a cup of tea or to drop his dogs in to his mothers' now and again and my daughter has actually accepted that he is too busy for her. She is heartbroken inside and was in tears when he popped in at the weekend to introduce his new girlfriend to her. She is very intelligent and asked me why her dad has time to have a girlfriend but doesn't have time to ever take her to the park. I make constant excuses for him as I don't want her to have negative thoughts about her dad. I have begged him to spend time with her - even once a week for an hour, but he just screams at me that he has to work two jobs to pay for our daughter so it's my fault that he can't see her. I am now determined to pave the best way for her and I need to make sure that if anything happens to me, then this "joint responsibility" will not mean that he gets custody. We live with my fiance (we marry next year) and he has no legal rights to my daughter. If I could take him to court to force him to have visitation, I would. Is there anything I can do to 1) Enforce visitation on a regular basis 2) When we marry, will my husband have any legal rights regarding my daughter?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for using JustAnswer. My name is Claire, I will do whatever I can to answer your question
How old is your daughter and are you intending that she continues to see her grandmother as she does now?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

She sees her grandparents every weekend - she stays every Friday night until the Saturday afternoon. I am more than happy to continue this as she has a fantastic relationship with her fathers' family. My daughter has just turned 7 years old.

Expert:  Clare replied 5 years ago.
The simple fact is that you cannot force your ex to have contact with his daughter if he does not wish to do so - you can only prevent him from having contact unless it is regular - which could impact on the relationship with his mother.
Once you have married there are two options you could take to give your spouse legal responsibility for the child - if your ex will agree then you can all sign a Step Parental Responsibility Agreement - available here
If your ex will not agree then you and your partner can apply to the court for a joint residence order stating that the child lives with you both!