Stopped contact with mum - Advice please?

Nia92
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:35 pm

Stopped contact with mum - Advice please?

Postby Nia92 » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:38 am

Hi Everyone,

Any advice at all would be very welcome.

My step daughter was removed from mum when she was 6 months and we didn't find out my partner might be her father until quite late in the process after CS had decided not to return her to mum and start adoption proceedings. We then went through the assessment process and she was placed with us at 13 months. Initially on a care order (mainly because my partner and I hadn’t been together long), then we got a CAO. This says the she will reside with us and contact is decided my partner and not much else.

Contact between my step daughter (now 3) and her mum completely broke down 6 months ago. This was my partner‘s decision after mum cancelled her Christmas contact and then didn't contact us for a month or so. A couple of months before that we’d had to reduce contact from once a week to fortnightly because she never showed for a month. All because he wouldn’t allow her to rearrange contact for a third time.

My partner then told her that before he’d start contact again she had to take us to court to have something formally arranged and then we didn’t hear from her for a while. She then messaged him asking when she can next see her daughter. His reply was that she was supposed to of been sorting this by taking it court to have something formally written down that she knew she had to stick to.

A few weeks past then she messaged my partner saying she couldn’t get legal aid and asked if they could agree to something themselves. Basically, she begged him to see her and said she do anything. He flat out refused at first until I got home and spoke to him and we agreed it’d be better for all not to go through the court process. We came up with the following;

“Contact shall take place at (Local indoor play centre) for a duration of 2 hours, 11.00am–1pm, on the last Sunday of every month.
The Mother is to meet all expenses, i.e. entry fees, and provide the child with a balanced meal during contact.
It is to be supervised by the Father and/or his partner. Alternatively, The Father may appoint a suitable, responsible adult on any occasion he is unavailable to supervise.
There will be no extra contact arrangements for Holidays/Special Occasions.
The Father is to give at least 2 months notice if The Child will be unavailable for contact and contact will be rearranged for the following Sunday.
The Mother is to ensure she is always available for contact. IF the mother has a legitimate reason, i.e. admission to hospital, for being unavailable for contact then contact shall resume the last Sunday of the following month.”

Mum agreed to this at first then a week later said her solicitor advised her not to agree to it and said the play centre was unsuitable because she’s pregnant, etc. So she said she’d just take us to court. (My partner had already told her it didn’t always have to be done at a play centre and she was supposed to being arranging for a professional to see us to discuss and finalise it all.)

Anyway, this was weeks ago and there’s been no progress. Mum now wants to agree to something again but is refusing to agree to the above. She claims it bullying, unsuitable, etc.

What, if anything, should we do now? I’m not sure what mum actually wants to do for contact as she hasn’t said.

Do you think we're being unreasonable? The points we included in the purposed agreement were decided because; 1. We’re not comfortable allowing unsupervised contact for many reasons plus she hasn’t had her alone since she was removed. 2. She’s never provided for her child. 3. She often cancels last minute without valid reason.

We want to move forward and sort this but we’re not sure of our options. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Stopped contact with mum - Advice please?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:05 pm

Dear N…92

Thank you for joining the discussion forum.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group and I have also sent you a private message.

It appears that your partner is having difficulties in arranging consistent contact for the mother of their child. The best suggestion I can make is that he inform the mother that since she has a solicitor it would be best for communication to be through her solicitor so that a proper arrangement can be made for contact.

Alternatively, he can write to the mother setting out his proposals for contact and giving a deadline for her to agree or put forward her own proposals. I do not think the suggestion that there should be no arrangements for special occasions or holidays is reasonable and if the matter went to court a judge would not find this acceptable. The mother could also be given the opportunity to suggest an alternative person to supervise contact.

Your partner could ask the local children services to provide mediation for him and the mother in respect of contact or make enquiries of a local family mediation service. If contact cannot be agreed then either your partner or the mother can apply to the court for a child arrangement order for contact so the issues can be looked at fully and the judge make a defined contact order.

Unfortunately, as there is no children services involvement in this matter it falls outside the remit of our service. Your partner may wish to make contact with Coram Children’s Legal Centre Child Law Service on 0300 330 5480 for further advice in respect of what is a private law matter. Their website is here .

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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