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New bub on way and trouble on the horizon it seems

I am 22 weeks pregnant with my first child. The father of the baby is 18. It was a one night stand.

I am a home owner and a nurse, i have a very supportive network. I planned for the possibility of having to go it alone. I hoped for the possibility of my child being able to know his father/fathers family.

The father is still at school, lives with his folks and doesn't have a job.

I tried speaking reasonably with him and he has been uncontactable, until yesterday when i came across his parents. His mother didn't know about the baby until i told her.

Today i met with them (his parents, he wasn't there) and they state that they want DNA proof and then when it comes up that the baby is his, they want to go me 50% shared physical custody. Keeping in mind the father himself stated he wants nothing to do with me OR baby at this time.

What are their rights as grandparents? What are my rights as a mother? What is the best likely course of action?
I have modified the title as I am not sure it is all legal advice you need at this time. There is much commentary that members can give. You need to spend some time looking around in the parenting forums as well and see what sort of commentaries are made about young children. Use the Search facility to help you. There are over 29 thousand articles so it will keep you busy for an hour or so.

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shared custody?

i am 22 and expecting my first baby in october.

i work as a nurse, and own my own home.

the father of the baby was from a one night stand, he is 18, still in school and lives with his parents, he does not work.

I tried all things reasonable to contact him but since the day i told him i was pregnant he has been avoiding me. For the best interests of my child i wanted a chance for the father, or his family to be involved in the babies life. Though I had been planning for the outcome of being the sole carer should they not want to be involved.

I managed to contact his parents. At 22 weeks pregnant i told them, and he hadn't said anything to them. Today i went with my sister, and I met them in person to talk it all over.

The parents want to claim 50% shared custody after I do a DNA test to prove he is the father. Their son (the babies father) apparently does not want anything to do with the baby or myself.

They also mentioned abortion, adoption, the morning after pill and talked as if i shouldn't have kept the baby. Yet they want everything to do with it now.

They told me if they had 50% custody they would probably raise the child like a brother to its biological father…

They also told me that they would get 50% the entitlement to any parenting payments etc that I apply for. Is this true?

What should I do?

Would any court find 50% shared custody a reasonable outcome in this situation?

Can i NOT put him on the birth certificate and have still have contact with them without them having any legal claim?
Not putting a father on a birth cirtificate does not change that he exists.

Grandparents can and do get to spend time with their grandchildren, but I doubt that a court would give them 50/50 time or in any way allow adoption unless there are genuine issues with your ability to parent.

Fathers usually obtain shared parental responsibility, but unfortunately not always shared time. Young children are seen as needing mothers, particularly when breastfeeding.

You need to include the father and allow time with the grandparents through him if possible. If not allow the grandparents time to spend with their grandchild if you can. Should it go to court or mediation showing that you understand the importance of both parents is important. If worried they will take the child approach a contact centre to arrange supervised time. The wait can be long so do this now if a contact centre is your option.

The recommended time for an infant is a couple of hours 3 times a week if you give the child yourself. Contact centres are usually 2 hours a week at the most for supervised visits.

Be aware that a court will not allow supervised to continue indefinately.

Shared care can change centrelink payments.
kalimnadancer has made a pretty good summary of things altough we believe much more frequent short time is required at bubby stage to allow for the creation of a parent bond… The lad is fairly young at 18 and is probably having a whole heap of trouble dealing with the news of pending fatherhood. It is a major event that would certainly leave him with a wide range of personally challenging issues to deal with. He will need help and guidance from local specialist resources. Unless you are significantly impaired and unable to parent it will be almost impossible for the GrandParents to get 50 / 50 care. There is no such thing as "legal Claim". Any rights are the 'Childs' not the Parents or Grandparents. The fact dad is not on the Birth Certificate is of no consequence in any event. At 18 he is in a whole heap of confusion about all of the impending responsibility that fatherhood brings least of all his financial obligations. At this time I would not at all be worried about or be focused on any legal issues but trying to work with the social and psychological issues. The fact you hoped for the possibility of the child being able to know his father/fathers family is clearly a credit to you in the circumstances you find yourself. The Grandparents will definitely be appreciative.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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The probablility of the father changing his attitude is likely with time and maturity, given the interest and concern of his parents (the grandparents).

As Kalimnadancer said not putting a father on a birth certificate does not change that he exists.  Think about the regrets that this might entail down the track.

The grandparents mention of abortion, adoption and morning after pill was most likely in response to the shock of the news of a "baby" a "grandchild" which was unexpected, but it appears now they are thinking of all possibilities which is a credit to them as it appears they are not going to abandon you to raise your child alone.

It's also a credit to you to want to involve the father and it must be very disappointing for his lack of interest.  However, the possibility of him changing to want to be a father and involved in his child's life is likely with maturity.  He has all sorts of issues confronting him at the moment (like you) and counselling is advisable to look at all your options and get the support you both need at this time.

A DNA test requested by the grandparents is reasonable given the number of fathers duped in this area.

Regarding the 50% shared custody, it is doubtful during an infant's early years, most unlikely.

As you will read in these forums parents and grandparents have no rights under our Family Law. It's about the child's rights.

The Courts look at the best interests of the child.

Take care.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi
I have spoken to a lawyer today. He suggests leaving all the technical stuff until after the birth.

My own idea which I would like some feedback on, is to not have any contact with them until the baby has been born.

I cannot simply ignore them however.
And plan to contact them just once.

So I am wondering is it a good idea for me to write a brief note addressed to the father, and state that i'd like everyone to have some time and space and worry about it all after the birth..

i also wouldn't mind sending him a stat dec to say that
a) i believe without any doubt he is the childs biological father
b) i have acted in the best interests of my child at all times, and only contacted the paternal grandparents after reasonable efforts to contact him were unsuccessful
and
c) that i will contact them shortly after the birth to inform them of the birth and allow them to come and meet their son/grandson, as I never intend for them to be excluded from his life, should they want to be involved unless there are extreme and reasonable grounds.
Brydz said
My own idea which I would like some feedback on, is to not have any contact with them until the baby has been born.

I think that that is not a very responsible attitude at all. The child has a right to their family and adopting such an attitude will likely introduce conflict, which will obviously benefit the lawyer. I would suggest that you do the opposite, take the child's family onboard and involve them. This may well even solve the "we want 50%" issue at no cost to anyone. It would also be evidence that you could put forward should the matter not resolve itself. On the contrary denying contact may be supplying the others with evidence that you are willing to deny contact, which could count against yourself.
OKay Mike thanks for the feedback.

I was wanting to not contact them, to maintain a stress free pregnancy, as i am only just over half way. The baby if it were born now likely wouldn't be physically viable for a few weeks yet.

I also thought it would be a good approach to give them time to think about it all as a family. After all I've known for months, and the father has too, but has only really accepted it in the last few days, as have his parents.

I was meaning no ill to them, or denying them of anything at this stage. I want my baby to arrive healthy and safely, or else there will be no baby for any 'sharing' in the first place. As the mother with the baby in my womb I thought that was a reasonable request.

However, as of last night I spoke to his mother again and HAVE decided to remain in contact at this stage. We have a lot of work to do to try and arrange something in place that will be the best thing for this beautiful baby.
Hi,

Firstly, I wouldnt worry about the Stat Dec. I dont think it would serve any purpose as far as theyre concerned.
All in all, your lawyer is right. You dont need to worry about anything until after the baby is born. Ive been in your shoes and had the same questions and even considered the Birth Certificate thing but it honestly doesnt do much long term and it will only create angst if your intention is to keep things amicable.
One of the biggest regrets that I had when I was pregnant and going through all this nonsense (and it is nonsense fuelled by emotion by the sound of it) is that I didnt enjoy my pregnancy. Youve shown class in all of this and thats what you need to remember. At the end of the day, theyre dreaming if they think as Grandparents they can stake a claim on the child for 50/50 care. Potentially the Dad could if it was reasonably practical in a few years, but certainly not the Grandparents. My exs parents tried the same thing and as I was told by my lawyer, If they did lodge any legal case against you, it would be at the detriment to their Sons rights and responsibilities as the other parent. Needless to say, I havent heard much from them for a long time.
Sure, they can be all talk at the moment but at the end of the day, you havent given them a reason to be cross at you so if theyre jumping up and down and carrying on about Money related things, take no notice - They need to pull their heads in and be nice. I think the space idea is a good one. Youre not ignoring them rather they obviously need to sort some issues out and youve got enough on your plate.

I would highly recommend speaking to other Single Mothers on things theyve done well and things they would have done differently. Its not easy but as long as you do the right thing, be open to compromise and maintain your class, youll be fine.  If theyre hell-bent on making life miserable, theyre only doing it to themselves. You need to put it to them that obviously this is a shock and you appreciate that but at the same time, everyone needs to be respectful of one another and yes they are the grandparents and that you intend of giving them time to spend with the grandchild, however, youre the Childs Primary Carer in the absence of a willing Father.

Its the old saying of you can take a horse to water but you cant make it drink. I guess you can only imagine how much his parents would be pushing him to step up in any case.

The most important thing is dont let this get in the way of enjoying your pregnancy and time with your baby.     
I think your words are very honest. Thanks.

At this stage, the mother has told me that its the FOB who wants the 50/50 shared arrangement. But it really seems like she is coming across too strong and forcing the issue upon him.

I want a chance to talk to the actual father and find out what HE really wants from all this. If HE wants to step up and have 50/50 I'm really impressed. It would be the best possible outcome for the baby. Two loving parents who want the best for him, and two great extended families. And i'd be happy to consider working that out, in the form of a consent order without all the other red tape and jumping through hoops. I'd be trying to negotiate the baby staying with me until at LEAST 6 months old, as I plan to breast feed and it is important to the benefit of the child. Of course I'd want him involved as much as possible, but not just having physical custody of the baby for a week at a time at such a young age. It wouldn't be fair on the baby. If we could arrange that he increasingly takes responsibility over the first few months, to a point of getting overnights/weekends and all is going well, then we could step it up to 50/50 when he is ready.

The guy is 18 and still in school. When the baby is due in October, he will be busily trying to focus on exams and things. How could his own parents expect him to stand up and be a full time dad immediately in that situation? And giving him 50/50 from the start so that he can study and go to school and leave the child to the grandparents is not something I think is reasonable.

I wouldn't expect my mother to have to raise my child for me. She is the grandparent, she has a very wonderful and special role to fill and I know the baby will be better off for having a great relationship with her, and the fathers parents…

but in reality these decisions are all up to me and the father.
As you said, you need to listen to what the Father is saying. It is totally up to you and him. I guess the otherside is that he may have other plans for his life which dont include a baby at this stage. If his heart isnt in it, theres not much his parents or anyone else can do.

Its all very dependent on how much input he has in the babys life from the start. 50/50 sounds good in theory but as you said, it is the target and needs to gradually be built up. If you plan on Breastfeeding thats great but 50/50 and breastfeeding a baby who is solely dependent on its Mother isnt ideal in early days. A couple of hours a day at most is probably be more realistic. Even then, in the first few months while baby and you are establishing a routine, Dad and everyone else is going to have to be very flexible because without a doubt there will be struggles for both you and baby getting used to Breastfeeding. Its difficult because in part youll need to do some forward planning but ultimately, its the Baby who dictates times because as you said, it would be extremely hard on a baby to be separated from his Mother for long periods of time and if the idea is to ease the Father into it, nothing like a screaming baby to drive him away! On the otherside, there are Medical implications for you too if you cant breastfeed the baby so you really need to consider that.

Have a long think about it and be realistic, Im happy to talk to you further about it if you use the whisper function.   

always a dad and a mum

it is probably a misreprentation to say that the dad isn't interested, more fair to say a scared school kid that had two contacts with the mother, 1 to concieve and 1 to be told he was to be a father (on his way to school). understandable that he may have thought it might all go away.

The dad is interested and is not being forced into anything by his parents; who incidentally are supporting him to begin as he means to go on.

Daily contact by both parents (when the baby is born) etc was suggested to the mother as a means of both parents being able to contribute positively to the development of the child and their respective relationships.

there is always many sides and interpretations to every story and the father and his family has no intention of doing anything but act in the best interests of the child about to be born. Yes he will be doing exams when the baby is being born but he was barely 18 when this conception ocurred and given the circumstances we should all be concentrating on coming up with a solution to the situation that is good for all involved (and we believe having lots of family that love and care for you would be the best).we also think that if this commences while the baby is small that it is more likely to become a natural routine for the parents and for the little one; the parents really need to talk about making sure they agree on a GP, child care etc from the beginning so that lots of the situations that are raised in forums like this are minimised.

Our words to the mother were that it is up to the two of them to write the childs life story in a way that the shows that they are mature and considerate of the child. We also stated that the child will not always be a defenceless baby and that shared care options for the parents afford the parents better options to continue their education and careers as well as proceeding on with their lives.

It would be silly and shortsighted to think that they will not move on and partner, make more children etc; raising this child collectively will minimise the negatives for the child and provide many positive outcomes for both the parents.
Thanks again everyone for the replies.

I really think the father and I need to work this out between us, so I wrote a letter to the father of the baby himself, and included a piccy from the scan :) I really do want him and his family to be involved, if i didn't i wouldn't have tried so hard to get in touch with them.

Honestly now I think it's just a matter of sitting down and working out the details. I'm going to a place in town tomorrow to find out some information re: services that deal with this kind of family situation in a fair and professional manner. They offer free counselling, mediation and family conflict resolution.

I'm confident that no matter what, we will resolve something and this child will be loved and appreciated by two families and given the best opportunity to a happy and healthy life.
Um Brydz & Shamrock

Im not sure, but have you two ever met? Identical circumstances. May be a coincidence I am sure.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
LOL. maybe its a coincidence. however i do not wish to respond to this thread any more, may be a slight conflict of interest... as i mentioned above i have contacted the father directly via a letter and hopefully he will get in touch with me soon.
brydz said
 maybe its a coincidence.

Hi brydz,

I don't believe in coincidences myself….

I just wanted to say how much I would have hated my ex joining this web site as I have got so much support and help but a warning to all to watch what you write I suppose as the unfortunate possibility of both sides joining is  very real.

I think you are to be given credit as it was a one night stand you could have told no one who the father was so you obviously have a genuine interest in having the father part of bubs life. I hope you can work it out with the other family and wish you all the best. xx
reallyconfused said
…. Youve shown class in all of this and thats what you need to remember. At the end of the day, theyre dreaming if they think as Grandparents they can stake a claim on the child for 50/50 care. Potentially the Dad could if it was reasonably practical in a few years, but certainly not the Grandparents.
Yes a good comment and although Grandparents are clearly recognised in the Family Law Act the likelihood of the sort of level of contact being discussed is just not going to happen unless there is some very bad parenting going on. The Grandparents are probably very excited about the thought of a grandchild even though at some distance. Practical realities are that you need to take charge of things in the absence of dad to be and look after yourself. Forget the legal stuff as it is just a non issue at the moment. It would be great if dad to be could get some immediate counselling to help him through this as he will be scared and lonely not knowing what to do. Probably has real pressure and a lot of advice from his parents and a lot of carry on from his school mates if they are aware.

School will probably be able to help him in this regard I am sure. Hopefully the lad will do something to get together with you and, although very young, enjoy some of the special moments together, should you want that to occur. At 18 and not living with you presents its own sorts of issues. There is no practical way at this stage he should even contemplate 50 / 50 time sharing anyway but certainly regular and frequent time is appropriate when bub is born. Or even being there perhaps, when it happens, if that is possible.

If he wants to be involved it needs to be from now because there is no child bond when he turns up when the child is 5 or 6. Research says the absolute best outcome is where parents are working things out and very regular contact when the child is young. Parenting has many special moments along the way and you need to be around to expeience those.  

I think school counsellors may have some guidance for this boy and that is where I would head him to. Speaking to him is also a good place to start and your letter may kick off some positive interactions although some personal assisatnce from school counsellors will be needed to help him prepare for impending parenthood and all it entails. He can still manage his education and parenting if you all work together.

AND as you say but in reality these decisions are all up to me and the father. Yes indeed. One thing is certain and that is the Family Law Forums are not of any use here but in this case its not such a bad thing…

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Ok couldn't help myself gotta reply.

Thank you all for being so kind and supportive. This is not an easy thing to go through for any of us. I am sure that there are things I've said or done that were probably not the best thing to do at the time, although I swear 100% that I didn't tell him of the news on his way to school. I'm not that insensitive.

I do honestly think that everyone is trying their best given the circumstances and just wants to do what is the best thing for the baby. Which is fantastic for him. He's not even born yet and is so wanted and loved already, given the circumstances its amazing :)

I know all about the baby needing to bond with the father and that but in reality the amount of contact being asked plain and simply may not be workable (just to begin with). And after having attended the information session at the place who does mediation, I know that even the courts won't rule on something that is not workable for everyone.
That isn't to say it won't work at all, i am very open to giving it a go, and I believe his mother raised some very good points about the shared care option when I spoke with her. It really got me thinking. But I still think it is something we have to build up to and achieve when we are all ready and when the timing is appropriate.
I've given the father the option to get involved from now on should he want to participate in name decisions, and be able to attend the birth etc.
As of yet I still haven't heard anything from him, but i'm not worrying too much as I told him to have some thinking time.
Its going very fast though, I'm 24 weeks today, so only 16 weeks to go now. Can't wait to meet this little boy :)
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