Round the Bend. Single dad stuck in a loop.
25 July 2021 at 11:41 am #56923
Hello All, This is my first post since becoming a single father 4 months ago.
I mostly just want to vent at this point.
I have sole parental responsibility, No other arrangements in place.
I have a 4 year old girl (D) out of a relationship 60km away, Since she was born I saw her nearly every week, And in the last 2 years during lockdown she has stayed with me 3 nights a week. Unfortunately in April her mother (M) passed away with little warning.
It has been a difficult time both grieving and adjusting. However my daughter attended a pre-school near her mothers and had only 2 months left. So out of consideration for my daughter, and her mothers parents, I let her stay with them 3 nights a week until nursery finished (16th july). The plan was that I relocate somewhere close to her nice school. But that soon fell apart as you’ll read.
Unfortunately in this 3 month period I have been manipulated many times by these 3 individuals on her family side. Maternal side, (G)Grandmother, (P)Grandfather+(W)partner
I had misgivings after only one month of this arrangement, I voiced my concerns, and in response 2 of the 3 parties blocked all communication with me.(P+W blocked me, G blocked me frequently but maintained enough contact to handover, at least at the beginning.
(G) would consistently block my number until it was time to drop her off, But frequently excuses would be made, no video calls. I had to ask how my own daughters birthday was going because no information on the day was volunteered. Often simply receive a text saying she (D)didn’t want to come, I told her to bring her anyway, phone would go dead. Often this kind of behaviour happened.
One time a few months ago my daughter told me she “has to stay with me forever” I asked who told her and she said granma.. So obviously at this point games are being played but the end of pre-school is in sight and I make the necessary changes before september comes. School, Doctors,Housing etc.
My initial plan from this point was to care for my daughter 5 days a week and allow her grandparents access on the weekends.
However things have taken quite a turn and currently my daughter is ‘Location unknown’ with ‘no date of return’.
At the start of july approximately, (G) asks me “is it okay to take my daughter on holiday to the south for 2 weeks”. I think to myself carefuly. This will be the last holiday they will have time for before school, So I say fine, I make it clear I want to see her on videocall every day, and that i’ll have her for 2 nights after preschool finishes before the trip, so she doesn’t have to go so long without me. All agreed upon.
The 11th of july comes. last week of pre-school, she gets in (G)’s car. Strapped in before she tells me. “oh itll be a while before you see her now won’t it,she’s going on holiday with P+W for a week before me!” I asked what the hell she was talking about. I said I haven’t spoke to P+W in 3 months my daughter isn’t going anywhere with them.
I said they’re going to have to start over with me and talk to me before any of that happens. She turned to my daughter in the back seat and said “you wont be seeing daddy for a long time now”. I still remember the moment of concern on my daughters face but it was too late and she drove off.
I immediately went back inside and scoured my conversation logs from 4 months prior.
Apparently P+W had asked me soon after M’s Death if it was okay to take her on holiday on the 17th july, All the way back in early May, just a few days before they blocked communication as it happens.
As soon as I saw that I called all three parties, Texted and voicemailed too. A simple blanket “You do not have permission to take my daughter anywhere”
Specifically at P+W but to G as well. Though I had agreed before that to G taking her for 2 weeks as long as D had 2 nights with me prior on the 15th july.
July 15th came, I simply called and text and said “bring her down”. I have not heard communication from G in 14 days at this point.
On july 16th I received whatsapp messages from P+W with pictures of my daughter on a beach saying it was a 6+1/2hour drive. I pointed out that she had no permission to take my daughter and didn’t seem to care.
Over the next 6 days I repeatedly asked for a date of return and an address. for 3 days address was refused, on the 4th an imcomplete/false address was provided that led to any number of places.
She told me that on the 23rd june she was handing my daughter to G at a different location. I told her again she had no permission to do so, but I would allow her 1 week with G if she gave me the address and date of return, she refused outright despite me telling her that G had blocked all contact with me.
P+W returned to their home leaving my daughter in the hands of G where she is to this day, Location unknown.
I have reported it twice now to the police (7 phonecalls total,mostly by me enquiring).
The first time it was referred to Lancashire police for some reason(mothers old home) despite me living in Liverpool. So a mix up there. But i got a reply saying action was not deemed necessary. I was given a number for social services.
The operator on SS cut me off pretty quickly as I was describing the situation, She actually said “if you were a woman maybe things would be different but you’re going to have to take it to the courts.It’s possible I didn’t explain the matter of sole parental responsibility in that early call though.
So I research Legal Aid, and see things for Mediation and parent contact orders. but nothing for this. 1 solicitor quoted £180 for the first hour with approximately £2000+ total fees.
I found 2 other solicitors that gave me a free consultation that both clearly said “I don’t need a solicitor for this” They were very helpful and talked to me at length, I described their actions and the proof I had, He said I could do something about it if I wanted, But best to wait and see what happens, After all from my daughters perspective, At least the first week or two, She is on holiday. I did not want to disturb that.
Well, I waited a week, kept asking for a date of return or address, I just got called ‘mean and nasty’ for asking, and ‘this is why we blocked you last time”.
For days it went on and I asked her what possible reason would she withhold that information from me. She just said speak to G not my problem.
When I said her lack of empathy for my situation was concerning she started with laughing emojis. She also told me the police would never do anything. And she also told me my daughter doesn’t like to speak with me.
The handover from P+W to G came and went on friday.
Saturday morning I phone social services and again lay out the events of the past month. The operator is helpful and tells me I should call the police and report a Missing Person. He said you don’t know where your daughter is. And it’s your parental responsibility to know so you have to report her as missing. I tell him I will report it immediately.
The police operator takes down the information, Tells me an officer will be around to check my phone for the texts I sent etc. I wait at home for 9 hours to receive a call.
“Hello this is the police, Just letting you know you’re daughter is safe and well, No date of return yet though..Thank you” I think I was able to say a few syllables in shock lol. before I could even think to ask more they hung up.
Phoned back different operator, Asked about the case, Told them I don’t know where she is. He says she’s found, we can’t give out any more info than that. Tried to explain that’s the whole reason I reported her missing, Because I don’t know where she is! Case closed he actually said lol.
Later that evening called Social services up, Different operator. Totally different advice regarding sole parental responsibility. Take it to the courts.
I am frankly at a loss to be able to go over these details over and over again with so many people to be told different things.
I always had misgivings about her grandparents but did not think it would amount to this.
They have lied to my face, and my babies mother frankly disliked who they were as people. ( I have 5 years of our facebook daily conversations to prove it).
I have tried to make things work both for their sake and my daughters, As she does love them and with losing her mother I have tried my very best to retain what connection she had.
But I think I should also blame myself for not seeing this unfold sooner.
I am going to the same solicitor tomorrow who gave me a free half hour and I’m simply going to pay whatever it takes to get my daughter back safe.
I have barely slept and my heart is pounding all day long with worry, Last weekend and through the week I have had small chest pains, I told the doctor and have an appointment soon, But I just cannot relax.
I’m rough around the edges but I am a good father. I don’t drink, I’ve never been violent, I love and educate my child with all of my ability and I sacrifice whatever it takes to be there for her.
I shouldn’t have anything to worry about yet I do and am, how many months? will I see her ever!. The longest she’s ever been apart from me is 2 weeks when she was younger.
Her mother had more faith in me than anyone, even me back in the early days. So I will keep fighting for her no matter what it takes.
But this system seems so flawed, most people don’t seem to take issue with these people taking my daughter away without my permission.
Both solicitors seemed to know what is what. So rather than make the 50th phone call reliving all this. I am stumping up the cash tomorrow.
I’m still accepting of advice but it has reached a point where it is a real strain mentally, I feel like my daughter is being held hostage with no ransom.
I’m just going to pay the solicitor.
Sorry this had to be my first post, I didn’t intend to be writing War and Peace.
Just had to get it out for today, going to try not to think until tomorrow when there will be no doubt another hurdle or obstacle.25 July 2021 at 5:10 pm #56933
sorry to hear you been going through a tough time. your very vulnerable and I find it unfair that solicitors will take advantage of that. they will charge you hundreds to fill in an application form which you can do yourself in about 20 minutes. the fact you don’t know where your child is, mediation is not an option and you would be classed as exempt from mediation. If you want to apply for a court order for child arrangements, there is the c100 form. with that there is option to ask court that child lives with you. you could ask them to restrict or cut off child contact to the other family that have been giving you so much grief. there is also form C4, which you can ask court to locate your child.
feel free to message me if you need advice.25 July 2021 at 6:27 pm #56939
Further developments, It dawned that I hadn’t give enough info the first time.
So I Phoned Lancashire police (i live in Merseyside) to clarify that the info they had was of me being sole PR, And that through their team leader have decided to classify it as child abduction as she was not returned when she was supposed to, I breath a sigh of relief and mention that on saturday the SS advised me to report her as a missing person.
I go through Lancs >Merpol and they take my details, Explaining again how she was taken without permission and they have no PR. Tell me again a patrol will be round.
I get a call back 5 minutes later ,she told me that as my child had been found that this was a matter for the family courts. absolute stone wall.
Thank you for your advice steve3334 I will look into it, But I have a hard time seeing myself mediating with these crooks. The forms sound useful.
I am just going to try and switch off for the rest of the evening but I will be back at it in the morning.
Thanks again.27 July 2021 at 7:13 pm #56992
Hi Dancing Wolf
Im sure in this situation you can apply to the family courts for a prohibited steps order to have your child returned immediately. The grandparents or partner have no parental responsibility and as such can not consent legally or make any key decisions regarding your daughter, such as if she needs medical help. I’m not sure what the form number is for the application but should be easy to find online. Alternatively, call your local family court and they will have a customer service department that will be able to assist with the relevant form. It needs to be submitted as a matter of urgency to get things moving.28 July 2021 at 10:24 pm #57008
<li style=”text-align: left;”>It’s child abduction, they can’t behave like this
I am a full time single parent father also. welcome to the world of experiencing sexisim and double standards as a single parent father, I am afraid you will get used to as per the polices operators comments its already happening
<span style=”color: #1a1919; font-family: Lato, sans-serif; background-color: #fbfbfb;”>”The operator on SS cut me off pretty quickly as I was describing the situation, She actually said “if you were a woman maybe things would be different but you’re going to have to take it to the courts” </span>
Well if you are parent with sole responsibility it is abduction
For now best message them politely asking when she will be back. Once back cut them off.
You can probably start planning others things now like how you will cope financially as a single parent. Will still work so childcare arrangements? Maybe single parent on benefits until you have a handle on situation?
Do you have a support network like your own family to help out?31 July 2021 at 11:30 pm #57092
As a woman I’m shocked at the comments you’ve been subjected to! They have no legal parental rights! The police should be going to get her and bring her back to her parent! It’s outrageous and I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure this! What double standards! When you get your daughter back do apply through the courts to limit if not ban access to these people. They have no rights over YOUR child!1 August 2021 at 9:52 pm #57115
This sounds awful! I hope you get your daughter back soon! My advice would be to apply for a court order if you know where they are as the grandparents have no legal right to keep her from you2 August 2021 at 11:26 am #57126
Thank you all for your kind words. Especially helpful are the requisite forms and such.
However i’ve put £1000 into my solicitors account as I do feel that will expediate things to get her back.
It’s now been 22 days since I saw her, Her family have claimed she never stayed at my flat. So I spent this weekend of trawling through facebook messages and pictures to log out 111 nights stayed here since feb 2020.
Prohibited steps order is the first port of call, Though I did try to reach out to them first. They actually hung up on my solicitor simply stating they’re on holiday.
I have hope. I am an artist by trade technically, Though i’m looking to find regular work, but without a routine or knowing what will happen, I really need to wait until I get things organised. Hopefully there is light at the end of this tunnel.
Thanks again, I will update this post hopefully with a happy conclusion.2 August 2021 at 12:33 pm #57128
In my own experience as having gone through a similar journey, you don’t need a solicitor at this point. I’d suggest you save the money. The £1000’s will clock up quickly and this forum will provide a great source of information to prepare yourself for the hearings which will be brief. You’re simply asking the court to recover your child and place her back in your care, the Prohibited steps order (pso) will stop the family from removing her again once returned. It’s got a time limitation on it usually as then the family are likely to request access rights and that might be a child arrangements (CAO) which is a different case. The court wouldn’t usually initiate this follow up I don’t feel. You need to get the PSO application submitted urgently though as the longer time goes on, it becomes the new norm for the child as the courts will consider what distress removing her from their care might have. Hope this is clear? I’m not sure what the situation is re mckenzie friends at the moment but google it, and see whether they might be a helpful support for you at this time. It’s much less costly than solicitors2 August 2021 at 1:12 pm #57130
Hi there DancingWolf
I have just read through your post and have sent you through a private message with some signposting options.
Kind regards, Justine