Post # 1
Okay just a vent but also a little insight into my life which I don’t too often but you Bees are my cyber-friends so here goes. Last monday (Sept 16) ex husband and I went to court. For those of you who don’t know we share a daughter. He hasn’t been in her life much at all, actually I can count on both hands how many times he’s seen her since I left him 6 yrs ago. Thus, making my now husband her father. My husband is all my daughter knows as a father. He has been in her life since she was 16 months old. Ex husband knows this and he has been in agreement with this since 2011 (the last time he saw her). Anyways, after court he stopped and talked to me. He wanted to start seeing our daughter again. I told him last time (because he’s done this before) that he couldn’t just be seeing her once every 2 yrs like he does. He said the decision is up to me. Either I allow him to start seeing her again or we can leave it how it is now (he pays child support which he doesnt do regularly because he can’t keep a job longer than 3 mons) where we keep in touch I send him pics and he pays child support or he can sign away his parental rights and my husband adopts our daughter. My husband obviously wants to adopt her. He has been wanting to since she was 2 and she’s now 7. But I dk. We obviously are going to to tell her who her real father but I don’t know how or when is the appropriate age for her to know and understand.
Well it doesn’t stop there. So after exchanging pics and txts between my ex and I he calls me Fri to tell me he wants to leave it as it is now (for now). He did ask will he eventually be able to take her for the weekend. Im not sure about this. Ex had a drug problem (maybe still does, I don’t know because he is on probation for several things including child support right now) not only that he was abusive in our relationship even accidently striking our daughter if she got in the way (which she did because she was trying to protect me). So I don’t trust him and she probably won’t be going anywhere with him by themselves no time soon.
I think I’m looking for advice/several answers here but my main priority is am I doing what’s best for my daughter? Thanks Bees and please be gentle it wasn’t easy for me to write this.
Post # 3
@lindseyl06: Can you leave it up to the courts to decide on a suitable custody arrangement? It wouldn’t be good for your daughter to have a part time father who she can’t rely on. If it was structured and he saw her every other weekend or something that may work better?
Post # 4
A close relative of mine split from her daughter’s father and went through some rough stuff with him (he accused her of taking drugs while pregnant in court, said she was promiscuous and the kid wasn’t his, etc) and impressively she had the strength to patiently and calmly clear her name (medical records showing she was drug free b/c she was on state healthcare, genetic testing to prove he was the father, etc). Even more impressively, she worked out a custody arrangement so that her daughter spends time with her father and it is going well. She pointed out that she didn’t want to forbid her daughter from seeing her father and have that result in emotional issues or a misguided fantasy that her bio Dad was some magical guy and her Mom a witch for keeping them apart.
That being said, although this guy isn’t that great, he is not a violent parolee with substance abuse issues! It would be good for you daughter, IMO, to have supervised visits with her bio Dad as regularly as he can commit to. She will want to know who he is and what he is like, and keeping the visits supervised rules out dangerous behavior on bio Dad’s part. In all probability bio Dad will disappoint your daughter, but IMO it is better for kids to know and understand the truth rather than be fed a sugar-coated lie. You and your daughter are fortunate to have a man like your DH by your sides and together I think you can handle the unfortunate realities of life.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Honestly, it would be a good idea for your to talk to an attorney that specializes in family law where you live. If he hasn’t exercised any visitation in over a year and your daughter has no idea that this guy is her biological father, then I would say no to visitation until he goes to court and the court orders it (I would then be asking for it to be supervised intially to make sure he is appropriate with her.)
Also, she’s 7 now and can definitely understand that he is her bio father but her stepdad is her real dad in the ways that count. You need to start explaining this to her now for just in case he does get visitation or contacts her through Facebook, email, phone, etc… I agree with PP not to sugarcoat who he is and what he has done but you also don’t want to make him out to be a monster because she is part him and if you make him seem too terrible, she may think that the part of her that is him is horrible too.
Post # 6
@MrsPanda99: Thanks for your advice. The court did decide on custody and visitation back in 2009 when we finalized our divorce. I had to hire a lawyer because he threatened to try and take her from me and he wanted to fight the divorce. The court ruled everything in my favor. I have full custody rights to her and because of his previous violent charges (the list is a mile long) he is restricted to supervised visitation.
Thank you. That is great advice and I was considering letting her see him because I do think though I have her all the time, she is still only half mine and I don’t want to make it seem like I’m keeping her from him. In the past, whenever he wanted to see her I would let him. It was only one time I said no and that was because I JUST moved and I was on bedrest about to have my 3rd child. How do I tell her? Should we all be present when I do (Ex and his new wife, DH and I?)
Post # 7
@lindseyl06: If his vists need to be supervised, he couldn’t have her the weekend away. It seems like he is asking you to violate a court order, which was obviously put in place for a reason.