Thanks for all your replys, and i will be contacting a mediator tommorow.
Dukey, you mention supervised contact. Why would this be necassary when my ex is quite happy for me to have my daughter on a friday for 8 hours if i am not working and sends nothing with her. I am responsable enough to feed her and keep her clean! I have had to buy a car seat to pick her up and a buggy to take her out in. I take pictures of her every time i have her and she never stops smiling. When i returned her to her grandparents on friday she would not let go of me and more or less jumped out of her grandads arms back into mine! Maybe that paints a better picture of my relationship with my daughter!
I know its not going to be easy but isnt that the difference between a dad and someone who simply fathered a child!
The fact is when mam and dad go to court the judge does not know either of you from Adam, you say you want overnight contact and mam says no we are not ready for that.
The fact is at that age babies need their mother, in your case that is what the baby is used too, to change that could upset the baby.
As for supervised contact its one of the most unsavory aspects of what court tend to order when there is a dispute, the judge must be absolutely sure you can look after the child alone, believe it or not some dads can`t, my own farther, and i am one of five never changed a nappy in his life, so often court will want to be assured at least to start with, this can happen by having the mother there to start with.
Now you have the baby alone as it is, but not an overnight yet, the wheels tend to turn slowly.
I`m not saying it will happen, no one can, but its best to know it is a possibility from the outset.
People can get angry with each other when it goes to court, lie`s can be told in fact they often are, the judge is there to make sure the outcome is in the best interests of the child involved.
What will be helpful for you is to show that you are set up to have the baby, and that you are more than capable, some dads even do a parenting course, how to sterilize bottles, how to wind the baby, that said maybe your child is passed that part, anyway just do your best to show you can deal with whatever crops up.
The best hope is that mediation sorts the problem before a judge makes a defined contact order.
Skint I wouldn''t worry about supervised contact. You clearly are confident to care for your child, and clearly your ex doesn''t have any issues about your capability either, because if she did she would send her with everything she needs, plus possibly written instructions!
And, to be honest, given your obvious very hands on relationship with your daughter, I see no reasons why overnughts can''t happen. But, that could be a sticking point at mediation.
The most important thing for now is that you get the ball rolling asap.
Handovers need to be organised so that children don''t witness unpleasantness or outbursts of temper other wise the children will pick it up and become resistant to contact.
There are no certainties in family law just probabilities. If you go to court and no agreement can be reached your opinion and that of posters counts for nothing, the only opinion that is binding is is that of a judge at a final hearing. In circumstances similar to yours judges often rule contact little and often and overnights don''t start until later. After all, the advice from CAFCASS literature based on research is that some children struggle with overnights until they are about three years of age.
Good contact for children relies on parents working together and a court imposed solution often makes that difficult or impossible.
mediation is good thing and well worth a spin. Try and narrow the differences if you can. Perhaps agree to pilot some changes and see how you get on.
For preparation, why not draft out a parenting plan; how do you see your dtr''s contact progressing, what steps are involved in escalating the time and preparing her for overnights. What concerns does the ex have, how can you defuse them?
Applying for a contact order may well be needed if mediation does not work. You can represent yourself to keep costs down. Even though the starting point for court ordered contact might be very low at least you would have the prospect of things progressing.
I agree with Miss T, start the ball rolling asap. If you don''t the reality is that your dtr may well grow up fatherless.
Skint if you''re not already keeping a diary then I would do so now.Enter everything you can remember regards times when you''ve had your daughter etc and your ex''s unreasonable behaviour.
Take dated photos of your daughter at the beginning of times of contact and at the end.That way you can prove you''ve had her unsupervised for 8 hours periods etc.
Texts would back that up.
Bring up any texts on your phone from your ex that confirm contact,photograph those texts then print them large.This is priceless evidence that proves your contact.
Should mediation not work and court hearings needed then these could help you.
So that your ex is prepared for a call/letter from the mediator inviting her to attend mediation,I would maybe text her before.
State how you hope she will attend,that you hope you can work in the best interest of your daughter,how despite your differences you have a reponsibility towards your daugther and you hope you can both work together amicably and peacefully.
If you are in a position to pay her share of the first appointment then offer that as an incentive to attend.If she says no then at least your offer can be brought up in court.