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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5357
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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My daughters father has had no contact since she was 6 weeks

Customer Question

My daughters father has had no contact since she was 6 weeks of age we did mediation which he pulled out of at 6mths of age and I was awarded the 60i certificate.
Fast forward to the present she is now 7.5 years old and I received an email from the other parent requesting visitation etc where do I stand
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 4 months ago.

The mere fact he gave up on the mediation and has not see the child for seven years is not, of itself a reason he cannot have access or custody.

If he makes an application to the court for access/custody even now, the court will generally be willing to grant some such access as the courts decide such matters on the basis of what is in the best interests of the child and will generally accept it is in the interests of children to have or develop relationships with both their parents. This presumption can be rebutted if there is evidence of genuine issues which convince the court that it is not in the child's interest to have such contact, but that will generally be limited to situations where the father is violent, abusive or has some serious drug addiction or mental illness or similar.

Setting aside such possible exceptional circumstances, the fact he has been absent for many years means that even if he is successful, a court would likely only allow him very limited access initially so as not to introduce him into a young childs life in an a traumatic way.

Taking the above into account, and assuming there are no exceptional reasons, you should consider negotiating, either directly or through further mediation, for a gradual introduction to him, supervised by you or another trusted family member with a view to expanding this to something more signficant as the child's comfort level with her father increases. How far this should progress will depend on how well things develop, and if you cannot agree by negotiation or mediation, the courts can decide the matter ultimately.

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it does reflect the law as it applies to your situation.

Good luck and please rate my answer.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you he did at one stage use drugs no idea if he is now though. He also lives 6 hours away how would this work
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 4 months ago.

If the drug problem was serious it might be grounds for resisting his request, although a court would likely simply order him tested if there is no firm recent evidence.

I suggest that if you seems clean (you may want to meet him first and/or discuss his expectations and satisfy yourself that he isn't still on drugs or still involved), that you agree that if comes to visit you that you let him meet his daughter, and perhaps you could all go to the park for a couple of hours or so, and see how things go.

He may connect easily with his child, or he may be awkward around her. She may also find the experience strange and unsettling or may just go with the flow. There is no set formula as to how to make this work, and frankly the psychology of it is beyond what I can advise you about, indeed you may want to talk to your doctor with a view to getting a referral to a psychologist for advice on how to proceed.

Good luck and please rate my answer.


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