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Posted: Wed May 13, 2020 2:12 pm
Hi, I'm just wondering if I can get some advice please. I have an SGO for my nephew (on my husband's side), he's 8 yrs old, and we have been his guardian's since he was 19 months. On the court paperwork, it states that mum is to have contact up to 4 times a year and dad up to twice a year, but if there were problems, we could decrease contact, or increase it once he turned 5. Now dad doesn't have any contact due to his volatile and aggressive state that he cannot control when he is around my nephew. Contact had been fine with mum up until a year and a half ago. She was due to see him, didn't turn up. Over the 6 months after that, contact was arranged another 3 times that she didn't turn up to, or even let us know. This was April 2019. After trying to call/message her for a few weeks after that, I gave up. All of a sudden she called me last week, asked to speak to my nephew, but her battery then died. She said she would call him back later that day, she never did. She was then supposed to call him over the weekend, she never did. I feel like I'm constantly consoling my nephew because she keeps letting him down. She's now messaged me to ask if she can call him on Saturday, and I just want to say no. Can anyone advise on what to do, please? I should also state that my husband passed away 4 years ago, and as I'm not my nephews blood relative, I'm worried that this could have an impact on me if it ever went to court again. I have bought my nephew up and he sees me as mummy. Sorry for the long post.
Posted: Wed May 13, 2020 5:58 pm
Hi and welcome.
You raise a few issues, and I'll possibly make some incorrect assumptions. Apologies if so.
1. Parents being unreliable is an issue many of us have had to deal with. I can only suggest that you write, text or similar that you are happy that mum has contact, but you are not happy the child gets distressed when she doesn't turn up and cite all the recent occasions. Ask if you therefore agree between you a pattern of contact that she can commit to before she next rings to speak to him? If not, then you will put the emotional need of the child first and refuse contact. she should be aware that the child has lost the father figure in his life and emotionally must have struggled through that. Does she really want to tear his world apart? It needs to be written down though. If text or email make sure you get safe copies. You might consider using a trusted third party to talk to mum first.
2. Make sure you keep a detailed and accurate diary of all contact with mum.
3. You do not have to be related to the child to get a SGO so I would not fret on that point. The court thought you were the appropriate person to bring him up and gave you over-riding PR. Nothing has changed in that respect although The court would be sympathetic to the loss of your husband.
4. If mum decided to try to take it back to court, she would have to apply for leave to make the application. It's an extra step to make SGO's more secure for guardians and the children.
5. Given that the child has lived with you for what must be his entire memory, it's extremely unlikely any court would wish to upset the apple cart and disrupt the security of the placement.
Please try to stay calm but firm. The child's needs must come first, so focus on him. Having been through it, I know it's much easier to say than to do when in the middle of it all.
Good luck .... Robin