Mediation Vs Court
In an attempt to summarise a long story, I split with my controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive (never physically) XP 3 years ago, leaving with our daughter. He refused to see her for 10 months, before having a phased return to co-parenting. In order to keep the peace, other the following 2 years I bent over backwards re. visitation (ended up having her almost every weekend Saturday- Monday), and suffered snide remarks and bursts of abuse when I didn't do as he wanted.
Last year, after agreeing to my face, he withdrew his permission to let me take her to Spain for a 5 night holiday, despite my reassurances and promise to contact him daily. I attempted to discuss this but he ended up hitting my car- parked outside my house, and proceeded not to message me for a year (therefore not seeing his child) before then asking when he could see her.
After seeking legal advice, I'm a bit stuck. I want Residential Custody (Security that she lives with me, and that she can go abroad without his permission) and set visitation, but can I achieve this through agreeing on a parenting plan, then seeking a Consent order to enforce this?
A bit of background-
We were together for 8 years, never married, and his name is on her birth certificate.
He was taken to court for the damage caused but witnesses failed to turn up so was dismissed.
I'm also aware that our daughter deserves the chance to rebuild a relationship with her dad- however this should be done properly. My main concern taking to court for them to decide visitation is the fear that we'd end up getting 50/50 care.
Question is- he messaged after a year asking to see her, and briefly mentioned mediation. I fear this would be raised at court if I ignored that a went straight to court for the custody and visitation, even if I know truthfully that mediation would be unsuitable in our case