The father of my 3month old child is taking me to court. He hasn''t tried mediation and refuses. He wants to take her away from me for a few hours and bring her back. I don''t want him to cos when I was 4months pregnant he and his family threw me out of their family and never even contacted me during the pregnancy but instead told me never to come to their house again. He has only been to say my baby once for 10mins at my parents house where we live now. I had domestic violence in my pregnancy. I am scared if what he will do to her. I am not stopping him to come visit her whenever so if he takes me to court will the Judge let him only have supervised access untill she is old enough to understand?
DV isn''t necessarily a reason for there to be no contact and a court isn''t interested in the issues between parents. The courts are used to allegations and counter allegations made by parents, and without evidence from independent professionals such as health visitors, social workers or police a judge will have difficulty choosing between two versions of the same story.
Any evidence of risk of harm from the behaviour of a parent is weighed against the harm children suffer when they don''t have a meaningful relationship with both their natural parents.
Initially regular supervised contact would give a child the opportunity to bond with the father but that would normally progress to taking the child out for short periods and gradually extending that to a few hours and taking the child home. The next step would increasing the time to full days and then overnight.
I believe that the poster here was subjected to a violent situation which resulted in the Police being called and she was thrown out of the marital home just 6 months into the marriage.
I believe that her husband is now divorcing her and stating that she should pay the costs.
The poster comes across as vulnerable to me. Perhaps it would be a good idea to contact Womans Aid and ask for some advice regarding her rights and the rights of the infant involved and the husbands responsibilities.
There is another organisation that you might find helpful and it is called the Freedom Programme (they have a website on the net).
It is run by a lady called Pat Craven. The Freedom Programme also run courses all around the UK which caters for woman from all walks of life who have been subjected to, or are the victims of, domestic abuse.
The Freedom Programme is designed to help women who have been subjected to violence and abuse recognise the beliefs they share with abusive men, build up self esteem, empower them and introduce them to the various DV agencies. Anyone can self refer to the Freedom Programme and DV agencies, but the therapeutic value of the support can be at odds with the reality of the courts where factual evidence from both sides is heard.
When allegations of DV or abuse are to be relied upon in court there may need to be a finding of fact hearing to listen to the evidence from both sides to determine whether the allegations are true. Evidence carrying weight would be police records of incidents and what action was taken if any, social work disclosures, GP and hospital records of injuries etc. A finding of fact hearing may not be necessary if the allegations of violence or abuse wouldn''t effect the outcome even if they were true, or admitted or there are criminal convictions for DV.
If allegations are found to be true any harm or risk of harm children suffer from the effects of DV or abuse are weighed against the harm they suffer when contact with one of their parents is restricted and any strengths, such as the attachment the child has with the parent and measures that might be put in place. That might include parenting classes, DV or anger management programmes, contact at a contact centre or supervised contact.
When DV or abuse is assessed as being at the lower end of the scale contact is likely to graduate to being unsupervised. DV or abuse isn''t assessed at the serious end of the scale that often and in less than 1% of court cases is there no contact order.