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I need your advice on my rights as a father please
Hi concerned fathers,
I have a few questions that I require clarifications to. Let me start by giving you an insight into my story….I had a son with a Polish lady in 2018, a couple of weeks after the mum arrived from Poland to help us out, she and her mum left unannounced with my son of 6 weeks old. I got the Police involved and she was found at a refuge home with my son, claiming she is no longer interested in the relationship; fine, but I want contact with my son.
She refused all efforts towards mediation and I was forced to approach the Court. She made series of allegations in Court including that I abuse cannabis, cocaine and domestic violence. I volunteered for drug test which came back absolutely negative. CAFCASS also investigated her allegations of DM and found it to have no substance.
After 13 months and £15k out of pocket, I was granted a Court order with a parenting plan. Due to the age of my son, I have been taking it slow and steady with her but we have now built a bond.
My ex appear to be sore at the fruitlessness of her efforts and the bond my son and I have continued to build.
Recently I asked her that I want to take my son to Church once a week (he doesn’t start to spend over nights with me until he is two or so). She initially agreed and suddenly pulled back insisting that I must give her my Church`s address. I refused. I told her my son is my responsibility when he`s with me just as he is her responsibility when with her and I find it controlling of her to be asking me for my Church`s address as I don’t ask for address of places she takes him to.
I have requested for his medical records and GP address and told her I want to go to his next appointments, considering he has been to the hospital and GP quite often recently. She categorically told me she will not share it and that sharing it is her prerogative.
I am sure neither parent has exclusive right to child’s records, medical School etc. Please note that I have no knowledge of his medical record since we separated over a year ago.
I am very keen to know my son`s GP and have access to his medical record and be fully part of my son`s life. As she has refused, what line of action can I take to get access to my son`s medical record and know his GP address. (Please note that there is no restraining order and I was cleared of all spurious allegations she made in Court)
Though I do not know her address, I am not willing to know as I have moved on and want her to move on as well.
Well done for persisting and getting a court order. I am just wondering if it would do any harm to let her know which Church you're taking your son to. On the one hand yes it's up to you what you do on your time. On the other hand it's a religious matter and those can be taken seriously - along with medical information and education. They relate to parental responsibility (PR) and there are cases where parents have had to have a Judge decide which religion the child will be brought up in. Do you think she would have any objection to the religion of the church you take son to?

You do have a right to your son's medical information - again part of PR. But many ex's refuse to give details. In that case you need to formally write to the child's GP, politely introducing yourself, stating you are the Father of your son, that there is a court order in place for his care and enclosing some evidence of parental responsibility (possibly the court order but you may need to check if you're allowed to send it without court permission). I sent proof of ID (certificed copy of driving licence), certified copy of son's birth certificate (I sent away for a copy of the birth certificate - always useful to have).

So write requesting that your details be added to your son's medical records and that you are a contact in case of emergency. I would also say that you are concerned that son seems to have had a number of hospital visits, that you and the Mother are unfortunately not on very good communication terms and you request details of any diagnoses and medical treatment for your son recently (I think this approach is better than asking for "full medical records" as it is asking for something less major - a GP has the right to refuse to give out full medical records but if you ask about something more specific and recent they will be obliged to give you information.).

Then say you are happy to come in and meet with the Doctor and discuss son if they wish. I did that but justhad a letter in reply confirming the info I had asked for.

Ok so you will actually need to know her address to find out who your son's GP is if she isn't going to tell you. Sometimes it is practically necessary to know where your son is living when he's with your ex. If you dont' want to ask her or she won't tell you, the easiest way is to use a tracing agent who will supply you with her address. I've done this a couple of times when thinking ex had moved or was about to move. It's fairly straightforward. You just fill in a form online and give as much info as you can in the questions. Eg her name, any previous names she may have had, any previous addresses she may have had (that's easy - yours). They have access to a vast array of records - leasing agreements, tax details etc and your ex will be registered with something. I used mcatracing. It not urgent it's about £35 for results within a few days. You only pay when they find the results.

So get her address details. I then had to write the above letter to all the GP's in ex's address catchment area and see which one replied. There were only four in my case - the first one was sent back "not our patient", the second one was the correct one and sent me what I needed so I didn't go as far as contacting all four. The one nearest to her address is the most likely one. Google helps with GP surgeries in a catchment area details.

So then you can get medical details. I believe there is another way via the courts but the above is probably easier, less expensive and also private. She doesn't need to know you know. And in fact in my letter to the GP I finished with a line that said I would be grateful if any communications were separate and confidential due to the difficulties in communication with the other parent.

If you don't want to know her address I doubt you can find details of son's GP unless you apply to court to have these details released to you. I think that would be a specific issues application but it may be something else - Mark should know.
Thanks for the detailed response.

No she has got no issue with the religion as she is a Christian as well. In fact, an element of the Court order states clearly that I have the right to take him to Church when he starts spending weekends and more time with me; she is just being unreasonable and wants to have absolute control as to how and where I spend time with him, including when overnight stay can commence. I am being patient, but as you know patience can run thin at times.

I have insisted we trial the overnight stay once he`s 2 years old - in April and if he isn't settled, we cease and recommence at a later date.

By the way, I have full parental right as my name is on the birth certificate and would explore the second approach of knowing her address and trying to find my son`s GP.

Thanks a bunch.

You're welcome. I guess you could tell her the wrong church lol. Do you think she wants to snoop? To see who you're with when you go places maybe. If she ever finds out and challenges just say you changed churches. Sorry that is advocating telling lies!

One tip though - the term "Fathers Rights" can get a few backs up these days. We know what you mean but in the eyes of the law it is the childrens rights not the parents or the Father's. The childrens act says the child has a right to regular and significant time with both parents. But PR is the rights and responsibilities of a parent so in that sense we know what you mean as in what can you do. You both have equal PR and are equal parents. However in reality if the Mother is the resident parent, then both they and a large chunk of society can view them as the "important" parent. Wrong but it does happen. Plus there is a whole feminist agenda in social work and Cafcass because that's the way they're trained. Beats me how women can be seen on the one hand as equal in every way with work, pay etc and yet not equal when it comes to parenting. Some experts still swear that the Mother's bond is unique and the most important bond. I disagree having parented my son since birth part of the time and his Mother going away a lot.

Anyway. I would try and drop the word "trial" when you talk about overnights and suggest son comes one night a week from the age of two. Heck it's only one night a week,not every night! And he already knows you! During the day you could get him familiar with his room and stuff in his room and let him have naps there. I had son's cot/bed in my room until he was about 3. Your ex sounds like the type who would dictate what cot you should buy, which blankets you should use etc etc.

All I'd say there is - however annoying it is and intrusive and feels like you're being treated as inadequate - do be patient and try and just go along with it. I found that really helped. She will feel like she has some control and it'll reduce her anxiety. Plus it's a kind of flattery letting them think they know best about these things. And I will admit I may well have used the wrong products if I hadn't been led by the nose to use what ex thought was appropriate.

So try and see it as reassurance rather than nosying but don't let her start taking over. So maybe just tell her the church name and ask why she wants to know.
Again, I can`t thank you enough for your time and detailed response.

In regards to the Church issue, she is just being an ar** (pardon my French). She said to me to get a Solicitor to draft and addendum for that purpose. Frankly, I`m not ready for all that. She`s on legal aid and is hell bent on ensuring I spend as much money as possible. That, I`m not willing to do as I`m just getting my finances back on track following the £15k drain to get my son back and the whole shebang.

I am willing to wait till I have him overnight on Saturdays/Sundays, then, I can take him to Church. As per agreed parental plan, I have him 3 weekends per month, she has him last weekend which I think is fair. I`ve gentlemanly asked her for one Sunday a month, she`s refused; when I have him overnights, I`ll take him to Church thrice a month, so I`m patient.

Unfortunately, I used the word "trial" in my email to her regarding my son spending nights. I stated that we "trial" it and see how he settles. If he settles well, then it continues, otherwise, it ceases and recommences at a later date. I am waiting for her response, however, I have made my intention clear in that respect.

I know her to be a very sore and vindictive person and has been unreasonable at times after she lost the court battle. I am developed a high patient threshold as that is the weapon that nullifies her habit of non-cooperation.

In terms of her being nosy; I am truly unsure as to what her intentions are. She keeps spying on my LinkdeIn profile almost on a weekly basis. She must be mad as I`ve changed job for a better one since we split. She spies on my Whatsapp/Facebook status so much it feels like stalking. Frankly, I havent got issues with that, I`ve moved on, apparently she has not; that`s her cuppa!

What I do not want her having is total control of where and when I can take my son to and dictating things. Sometimes, one needs to stand ones ground though most times I just let her have her way.

Anyway, I will wait for her response to my email regarding his medical records, if she refuses, then I`ll follow your advice and do it my way. It will be a shocker for her!

Thanks a lot, you have been really helpful.

No problem. My experience is, they are paranoid about you having a partner and "another woman" being involved with the child and can cause all kinds of issues when that occurs and that is more likely to explain the "spying"! Forewarned is forearmed. And yet somehow we are supposed to be fine about another man being involved - which we usually are as long as our kids keep coming!

My comment about the use of "trial" is that invariably an ex will say no the trial period didn't work, son was upset so it's not happening. To keep control. So it wouldn't be a genuine trial. If you've already suggested that, see what her response is but for a later email I would suggest wording it carefully and saying that you are willing to wait until son is two before he comes overnight at week-ends on Saturday nights. but that you believe it will go smoothly as he is already familiar with his bedroom and having naps at your house.

I am not quite clear how she won't agree to Sundays if you have him 3 weekends out of four? Presumably he's already there on Sundays if he's at yours for the week-end.

Not sure why she wants an addendum (recital?) added to the order that it's agreed you can take him to a Christian/c of e church on Sundays, but it wouldn't do any harm and could avoid arguments in future if she objects to a particular church. It formalises things. Totally unnecessary of course but as it's a religious matter it wouldn't do any harm to have a recital in the order about it if it shuts her up. Shouldn't cost too much - it would need one solicitor to draw up the wording and both solicitors formally agreeing it then just sending it to the court for the order to be amended by consent.

But if it's going to co-incide with overnights starting then hang fire. Because if she starts to cause problems refusing overnights and it doesn't clearly say in the order that overnights will start when the child is two, then you may end up needing to go back to court (or at least mediation for an amendment by consent) to get that in the order. Overnights will be ordered by the court if the child is two. If it does come to that I suggest it's clearly defined in the wording that he comes x time on Friday to say 6pm Sunday 3 consecutive week-ends out of four, until he starts nursery or school and then from 3pm on Friday. From the time he starts school it will be directly from school on Friday at "school finish time" (as that can change), until return to school Monday morning.

That'll save you having to go back to court when he starts school. Some orders do this and it covers "progression" as he grows up.
this sounded lot like how my ex has been (was) with allegation as well as trying to impede the contact with the children. Also my children at the same age group.

My 2 cents is that the focus should be on building the relations/bonding with the children until the children go to school without ruffling too much of feather with the mother...once children at the age of going to school, by that time hopefully there is shift in mother's attitude PLUS should CAFCASS get involved later they are able to see the children's bonding with father.

I would also suggest picking the right battle, as much as we all passionate about how we bring up the children in our time, sometimes good to swallow the pride. I also picked up advice from the main website here which I successfully implemented, which is to use some reverse psychology. Few months ago I learned of my son's eye test and asked mother that I would want go to next appointment which the mother flatly refused. I responded to her saying 'never mind my children will be strong just like their dad and they will be able to deal with it'...Guess what after few months I got an email from her giving me all the details of the appointment and she fully expects I will be there.
When does your son turn 4?
(03-02-2020, 08:21 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: When does your son turn 4?

Early 2022
Just edited that for your security/anonymity! Apologies I was getting you muddled with someone who had a three year old. You already said he was nearly two.

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