Q&A: Should I Let My Daughter Meet Her Father Again?

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“Should I reintroduce my daughter to her father … Have just received a message from my ex (5yo daughter’s biological father) after not hearing from him for three years that he wants to discuss seeing our daughter. I have tried to go through mediation on two separate occasions before giving up on him taking on any responsibility. This resulted in him “forgetting” to turn up. She has no memory of him and, over time, has come to her own understanding that my now partner is her dad, who has been nothing but amazing in caring for and supporting the both of us. We also have a 7-month-old baby boy. I am very conflicted on what the right thing to do is… as I believe she does have a right to know who her dad is but still being of a young age, I don’t want to confuse and upset her, especially as she is about to start school and this is already a stressful time. He has never contributed in any way (financially or otherwise), and I never tried to claim anything from him. My main reason for this was my own anxiety towards him after finally leaving a very abusive relationship. My daughter and I still have a wonderful relationship with his sister, who has always given us support and often visits and had remained a part of our lives. He has tried to put the blame on me for not seeing his daughter however has not until now tried to contact me, and I have never changed my phone number or email address, which he has always had. I also have concerns regarding her safety and what he might try to tell her or get her to believe… If I don’t reply, I think he will use that as another excuse for his behavior, which I honestly don’t have a problem with if that means my daughter is safe and happy but I am unsure if this is the right thing to do or if my daughter will in future resent this decision. Thanks in advance for any advice in this difficult situation.

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Q&A: Should I Let My Daughter Meet Her Father Again?
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Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“If he was “very abusive” I would say no.”

“Let him go through the courts and ask for visitation. If he is willing to do that then you’ll know he is serious. If not, I wouldn’t encourage it as he walked away. Document all your conversations.”

“She has been (by definition) abandoned by her bio dad for years. There would be nothing to discuss. I would have the man who is helped raise her to adopt her and when she is older then let her decide if she wants bio dad in her life or not.”

“Ok well first off after seeing it was an abusive relationship, coming from one myself, I wouldn’t. At the very least not privately. Have a public discussion about him seeing her. Find out why all of a sudden he wants to see her. Before letting him see her contact a child support or custody lawyer/resource. Tell them what’s going on why you left him and how now he wants to be there but you’re extremely uncomfortable with that. Was there a restraining order against him or any charges? Bring up a legal custody agreement for the year and see if he’s willing to do that. Make him prove he’s changed and can be the parent he needs to be. If not then don’t let him see her.”

“Nope… I’m all for father’s rights. But he made his choice. He should have shown up to mediation the 2 times he was called for it. He wants right now. Make him go [through] the courts.”

“If he wants to see her let him go through the courts. Have him serve you. You have to protect your daughter. If he is serious about it he will go through the proper channels. My sons father has never been in the picture since I was pregnant. If he decides to pop up one day he can go through the courts because I have begged too many times for him to want to even meet his child. It is far more damaging on a child to have a parent that comes and goes than never knowing that parent at all. Role models and positive influences matter more than blood at the end of the day. Goodluck mama.”

“I vote no. But if you want to try again I would say try mediation again. If he was abusive I’d be highly reluctant to let him around your little one.”

“No. No court will make her go with him and neither should you. Your family is her safe place. He’s neither safe nor family to her. So glad you found a good one to set the example of a real man and good dad for her.”

“The best thing if you have safety concerns would be to politely say that if this is a serious request you two need to sit down with a neutral 3rd party, lawyers probably, and come to an agreement to re-introduce him to her and ensure her mental and emotional health. If he’s really wanting it he’ll do it and if he tries to fight you legally you’ll have proof that you offered a reasonable arrangement and he refused.”

“I think if it were me, I would really struggle with what to do too. There’s no black and white with any of this. But, I think your situation sounds (on the surface) like the best thing for your daughter might be for him to lose his parental rights after no contact for so long. And I think I would probably seek that through the court after contact was attempted now in an attempt to nip confusion and drama in the bud on behalf of your child. She can still know him or know of him, but if you’re sincerely scared for her time spent with him, then I would think you should take action and not wait for him to win that time alone with her through his own actions in court. (Not that I think they would hand her over after all this time, but crazy things happen in family law.)”

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