Briefly, I became pregnant and the relationship broke down almost immediately. The father went back to France without communicating with me and refused to meet the child until it was 6 months old. He wanted a paternity test which of course proved the child was his. He then moved back to the UK for a few months to try to parent but after one argument returned to France without telling me. I have tried very hard to maintain contact and taken the child to see him at least twice a year. He has visited twice a year for either a day or 3-4 days. He has gone up to six months not seeing the child.
He wants to change the birth certificate, change the name and eventually get the child a french passport.
I argued against this as he was resident in another country and rarely saw the child. When the child was 1 year, he occasionally paid a minimal amount for her care and recently stopped this for 6 months.
The child is now 4 years old and I have no plans to take the child to France in the future; due to the fact I lost my job, the child is no longer free on Eurostar, the child will be starting school and our relationship is now more fraught.
He has now started court proceedings. I did initially say I could not afford mediation as I estimated this would run to hundreds of pounds which I cannot afford.
I am worried about what happens if he has parental responsibility if the child visits him in France and he does not give them back. Also after Brexit, things could be even more complicated. Especially if he gets her a french passport.
I am concerned that I need to protect the childs relationship with their half siblings (my older children) and their grandparents if anything happened to me.
I do not know how to progress. I do not know if it is automatic that he will be able to get parental responsibility. The child barely knows who he is, he does no parenting at all.
A couple of things. The first is you need to contact the CMs and name him as the father so that if possible, your ex is required to pay child support.
Secondly, you need a child residency order now. Find a citizens advice bureau, a children’s centre or a family solicitor who will give you a free 30 minutes. Try to document every visit and every financial contribution since your child was born.
Finally it is not up to you to pay to take your child to France. If he chose to move back, that is his problem and he pays for travel, not you. He’s expecting far too much of you. Don’t be bullied. He hasn’t earned the right to do any of the things he wants.