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Hi i was hoping to get some advice about visitation for my daughter with her father im not sure what is fair or what is safe. My daughter is 8 months old and her father and i seperated a few months ago there was a no contact interim avo in place for the final one iasked that the no contact be dropped so as i could keep him updated about our daughter until family court he lives about 2.5 hours away and i arranged with him to see her on the weekend when i was visiting friends. he has told me he wants to have her at his parents place 3-4 nights a fortnight my concerns are that he has threatened to hurt her if i dont take him back (it was when we first seperated) and he also has threatened to kill himself he was taken into psyciatric care for a few days he has also told me that his doctor and his family are trying to get him to be tested for scizophrenia, his family have passed on information to me stating that they would be worried if he was to have our daughter as he isnt capable of looking after himself i have also been given a lot of information about criminal history that i was not aware of when we were together. I do not want our daughter to grow up and not know him or vise versa but im worried about what could happen even at his parents house as his father has scizophrenia and him and my ex have a very volatile relationship and my ex stands over everybody in the house. What can i do legally that can support the relationship with our daughter and him but ensure that a safe environment is maintained. I have been told he could have supervised access if there were grounds for it which i do believe there are but what kind of relationship can develop in a one hour a week centre visit? has anyone had visits in a supervised setting how well does the relationship develop? Can i request a court to enforce that he has a mental assessment? im just really torn at the moment trying to decide what is best for our daughter.
brookee said
 my concerns are that he has threatened to hurt her if i dont take him back … his family have passed on information to me stating that they would be worried if he was to have our daughter as he isnt capable of looking after himself
 Brookee, in a perfect world every child would have a healthy, positive relationship with both their parents which would go a long way to raising a stable and happy child….. we don't live in that world and it seems clear to me from what you have said what the best thing is for your child…. that she should not spend time unsupervised under any circumstances with her father.

Maybe that will change in the future but I would be requesting the court order that your ex  have a psychiatric assessment before I even considered unsupervised time for your daughter with her dad. Your child cannot protect herself it is YOUR job and sadly some children need protecting from their own parent, a devastating but important concept to try and come to terms with……. I know it took me ages to accept this in my own situation. The dream you dream for your child of a happy family and a close bond with their father is a hard dream to give up on, but you need to put your childs interests first and physically safety is on top of the list.
Brookee, The same thing is happening to me, (except the killing thing our child thing, himself yes but not our daughter) I moved state and our daughter was the same age. I let her be taken for over night visits ever fortnight, then started to notice that she would cry when taken and come back withdrawn. Then he made it three weekly and this behaviour got worse it would be hours before she would talk again! This a normally chatty child, I mean you cant normally stop her from babling! I started to get extremely worried about letting him take her as this behaviour is NOT normal. Then I made the biggest mistake in my mothering so far, I let him take her for 7 days. She can back with extreme anxiety and stress went from sleeping all the way thour to waking up to three times a night every night in sweats, tears and kicking until she calmed enough to be comforted.
All because I was like a lot of other parents and uneducated and being theatened by my ex regarding the law.
I ended up taking her to a child psychologist that deals with the courts and that is able to write a letter if needed to help me fix the damage me and my partner had caused, (he laughs at it and thinks i'm making it all up and now i've stopped visits until he see's the psychologist also to make a 5 year parenting plan to make sure it is only in the bast interest of our duaghter and not his)
The psychologist told me that children need a weekly contact and it needs to be more then just once a week for children that age. So that their memory isn't altered. They dont understand that you are coming and if your child hasn't been away from you for that long before then after the normal amount of time you normally come back in they will worry that you have disappeared. IT dose affect them. See a child Psychologist (they've study their whole lives on this) to help give you information and advice for whats in your childs best interests. One that works within the courts are better, their not cheap but your babys happiness is worth it. And I'm sorry if this scares you its not ment to, Also trust your gut, he's not a stable man. prevention is better then cure and things happen that sometimes can't be undone. Take the time to see the child Psychologist or whom ever you choose. Good luck
Hi Brookee,

I was in a similar situation with similar circumstances and have done the FRC mediation with my ex in a shuttle environment.

The best advice I can give you is to prepare, prepare and prepare some more.

I went into Mediation with a bottom line offer based on what my ex could even hope to receive should we go to Court. So I read different cases on auslii which related to my case and just stuck to that. You have to be really strong going in there and OK with it if mediation doesnt work.

Fortunately in my case, my ex agreed with my bottom-line offer (in theory). He's in the middle now of adjusting to it and what he's signed up for. So what Ive found is even though in my mind, the best possible outcome was reached, there's still drama to be had until the dust settles.

Good Luck with it all!  
Thank you for your responses, I have an appinontment with a solicitor on Thursday so im hoping they can offer some suggestions to me but ive decided im really not comfortable with her going to him without supervision at least until she is older and he has gotten a bit of help.

Our daughter has never spent time with him alone even when he lived in the house and my mum is the only other person that has watched her and that was only for an hour one time.

I will definatley take your advice really confused and read as much information as I can that is relevant to my situation and be as prepared as I possibly can be. Thank you again everyone.
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