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Not sure if this is the right place, Absent Father shows up and wants to start parenting again....

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

He is a pot head. I don't mean he occasionally tokes up for medical reasons, he smokes pot constantly.  He smokes more pot then cigarette addicts smoke cigarettes.  He's never paid me child support.  He lives three miles from me and this is the first time in a year he has made any effort to see his kids.  He used to take them on weekends, when I was supplying all the food, blankets, clean laundry and transportation.  He asked me for cash on top of it and I said and got so fed up I said he could provide food for them when they were there. He said that he couldn't do that and refused to see them.  Now a year later he wants to see them again.  This is hard for them emotionally because he wants to see them.  He tells them it is my fault that he can't see them because he doesn't have enough money for them.   He says he wants to see them one at a time and for a day.  This is really hard for me because with three girls this means that three days a week I have to meet him somewhere to drop them off and pick them up. 

 

When he was keeping them on weekends several people at the hostel/campground he lived at told me that the kids ran around all the time without supervision and he was eating their food.

 

So I told him that it was fine that he wanted to see them but one at a time didn't work for me and that I wanted to supervise the first visits until I felt comfortable with unsupervised.

Am  I being unreasonable? He says that I am.  This is causing drama that I don't need in my life.  I could just agree to what he wants to avoid the drama but I don't think that will even work.  He will find something to bring up.  When I told him that other people witnessing how he took care of the kids told me they were worried, he said they didn't like him. Then he brought up all this negative and untrue things about how bad a parent I am.  I told him if he really thinks I'm that bad of a parent he should report me to cps.  That's what I would do if I thought someones kids were really in danger. 

 

There are no orders for visitation or support but now that I know where he lives again I will file for child support tomorrow.

 

Any advice?

post #2 of 14

Definitely file for support and for primary custody. It's not unreasonable to request supervised visits with a parent who has been absent for over a year and who openly uses drugs. The rules are that the non-custodial parent is responsible for providing everything a child needs when it is their parenting time (except basic clothing if they only get the child rarely) - if he can't provide that and chooses not to see the children in that case, it's on him. Also, no parent gets the option of choosing which of their kids they spend time with; they're a package deal ;-)

 

I'd offer to let him hang out with ALL the kids for a couple hours at a nearby park once a week for now. Try to give him a time that you know works for his schedule (and for yours, obviously) so that there is no reason why he would turn that down if he really wants to see his kids. Once he's established a relationship with the girls and THEY feel comfortable with him, you could offer the same time un-supervised and build up from there. You need to show that you are encouraging a relationship between him and the girls while keeping them safe.

post #3 of 14

Don't bother filing for child support, it sounds like he's broke anyway. Tell him he can see the kids when he has a court order that says he can. If he's going to stick around, he'll put forth the effort. Replying to a court thing is a whoooole lot easier than starting a court thing. Do you  think he'd go to the effort of tracking down forms and a process server, or hiring a lawyer? I don't know what court is like where you are, but here they would be all over 'reunifying' the kids with their dad.

 

My ex wasn't even responding to emails from the kids but because he managed to show up to court (his girlfriend must have been around when he got served) he's now got limited access to the kids. This is after a 5 year abandonment preceded by him abusing the kids. He blows off skypes with them frequently, and has canceled 2 visits already, one the day before it was supposed to happen. I think he'll keep up the pretense as long as he's got his girlfriend, or until he finds a way to make it 'too difficult' for himself again. The kids are in turmoil, my son is acting out a lot, sometimes violently and my daughter cries at the drop of a hat. We're in the process of getting services for them and I've kept XH informed every step of the way. He's trying to pass it off as they're having trouble adjusting to back to school. I have no doubt that if we stayed out of court, he'd still be ignoring when they emailed and life would be going on as usual. 

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

I told him on the phone that I would be willing to meet him anywhere within a 50 mile radius, anytime (except friday, and weekends would be better), he wanted.

My suggestions were the pool, the mall, the beach, the park, movies, museum, whatever he wanted. and I would take time out of my life for him to see his kids.  Of course now they want to see him too and he tells them that I'm not letting him. 

 

I'm about to just start ignoring his phone calls. 

One thing he said to me is that he would stop trying and then when the kids are adults they would know that it was me not letting them see him.  He tried the same thing with his son by a different mom, but his son didn't fall for it.  Me and the mom went out of our way to arrange sleep overs, and I think the only reason she agreed is because I was around.

 

He said I was being unreasonable as he wouldn't have control over how he go to spend time with them. I said that was all I was willing to agree to at this time and that in the future I would probably be willing to change my mind.  He thinks he should get the public assistance money (that i don't even get anymore, they have a limit) and the food stamps and he can take care of them.  I told him I only get food stamps now and it would be illegal for me to give him any of them, and I don't trust him. 

Yes I am emotional about it, because I wouldn't even need public aid if  he gave me child support.  Now I start nursing school next year and work my butt off to raise these kids with no support from him. 

 

Sure it would give me a break if i let him take them on weekends, like I used to.  Then what, he disappears again and I have to help them deal with the heartbreak,  He did this with his older son who is now 18, and owes over $20,000 in child support to his mother.  I wish sometimes he would grow up or vanish. I'm sure I would never get any child support from him. He chooses not to

 work even though he has the skills to be a professional carpenter and fence builder.

 

 I doubt he would do anything that required much effort unless he got his head out of the smoke cloud


Edited by Amor Rays - 9/20/12 at 1:42pm
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amor Rays View Post

Am  I being unreasonable? He says that I am. 

 

But look at the source!  Hardly coming from a responsible parent who wants what is best for the children.

 

I wouldn't have any more conversations with him about it; keep it to email if possible (also good to have that "paper trail" if you need it) because clearly he hasn't learned anything in his absence.  I wouldn't let him see them unsupervised at all, not unless he goes after the legal paperwork to do so (and I highly doubt he will from the sounds of it, so it can't mean that much to him).  You don't want to set any kind of precedent.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

"You don't want to set any kind of precedent."

 

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what this means.  I looked it up on wiki and am still slightly confused about why I wouldn't want to do that? the hassle?

 

He has no email, no computer, he just got a cell phone recently because I can't even leave a voicemail on it as it's not set up yet.

=

I would love to have all of our communicatons recorded so if it ever did go to court I would have no problems.

 

His sister even offered to testify against him.  I would have to buy her a plane ticket here if that was needed.  I have witnesses here to support the pot smoking constantly and eating their food and leaving them unsupervised.  They are now 5,8,10.

 

Did I mention he is a thief too?  I don't have any proof except the possession of burglary tools from 15 years ago that I recently found on a criminal check.  He has stolen from me in the past couple of years.  I wish I had proof of that but I don't.  He does have a criminal record of selling pot, once to an undercover cop, violation of probation, etc.

 

Yes, I wasn't thinking clearly when I married this man when I was 19 and he was 25.

 

I'm probably not going to do anymore then I already have. I told him yesterday on the phone if he wouldn't agree to my boundaries then he could take it up in court. 

 

He even called our longtime friend and tried to get him on her side and she is trying to stay neutral but she is slightly on my side. She thinks they would be safe with him but her judgements are sometimes clouded, in my opinion.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amor Rays View Post

"You don't want to set any kind of precedent."

 

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what this means.  I looked it up on wiki and am still slightly confused about why I wouldn't want to do that? the hassle?

 

He has no email, no computer, he just got a cell phone recently because I can't even leave a voicemail on it as it's not set up yet.

=

I would love to have all of our communicatons recorded so if it ever did go to court I would have no problems.

 

His sister even offered to testify against him.  I would have to buy her a plane ticket here if that was needed.  I have witnesses here to support the pot smoking constantly and eating their food and leaving them unsupervised.  They are now 5,8,10.

 

Did I mention he is a thief too?  I don't have any proof except the possession of burglary tools from 15 years ago that I recently found on a criminal check.  He has stolen from me in the past couple of years.  I wish I had proof of that but I don't.  He does have a criminal record of selling pot, once to an undercover cop, violation of probation, etc.

 

Yes, I wasn't thinking clearly when I married this man when I was 19 and he was 25.

 

I'm probably not going to do anymore then I already have. I told him yesterday on the phone if he wouldn't agree to my boundaries then he could take it up in court. 

 

He even called our longtime friend and tried to get him on her side and she is trying to stay neutral but she is slightly on my side. She thinks they would be safe with him but her judgements are sometimes clouded, in my opinion.

By not setting a precedent, I believe the PP meant that if you let him have them unsupervised  and then change your mind, a court may order unsupervised time because you had allowed it in the past.  Same goes for overnights, etc. If you have any doubts about his ability to care for the kids (and it certainly sounds like you have reason to!), I would insist on supervised visits with no promises made for unsupervised. 

 

Based on what you have said, it sounds like you are being very reasonable.  In fact, I would not be quite so reasonable or flexible.  You do not have to turn your life or your kids' lives upside down for a man who hasn't bothered to see them for a year.  If he really wanted to see them, he would have figured out  A YEAR AGO how to meet you at the park for a couple hours a week if he couldn't afford to keep them for a weekend.  I'm glad he wants to see them now and I hope for your kids' sake that he sticks around and shapes up, but I think you are right for being leery of what will happen if he disappears again.  As for him being entitled to claiming them for any kind of assistance...the simple law is that the parent with primary custody gets to claim them, period.  Tell him it is out of your hands, but obviously the parent supporting the kids should be the one getting the assistance!

post #8 of 14

I'm probably not going to do anymore then I already have. I told him yesterday on the phone if he wouldn't agree to my boundaries then he could take it up in court. 

 

That seems about right to me, for where you are at financially and agewise with the kids. Someday, when you can afford a lawyer and they are old enough to speak up for themselves, and your ex has met the legal grounds for abandonment in your state by not having any contact for a specified period of time, it may be a good idea to file for sole custody. 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

By not setting a precedent, I believe the PP meant that if you let him have them unsupervised  and then change your mind, a court may order unsupervised time because you had allowed it in the past.  Same goes for overnights, etc. If you have any doubts about his ability to care for the kids (and it certainly sounds like you have reason to!), I would insist on supervised visits with no promises made for unsupervised. 

 

Yup, that is definitely what I meant!

 

And if you allow him to have such visits without him having to jump through any hoops, he is likely to continue to be irresponsible, drifting in and out of the kids' lives and that's not good for them.  If he was serious about being a parent, he would indeed recognize that he doesn't get to spring up out of thin air and expect everything he's demanding.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mummoth View Post

Don't bother filing for child support, it sounds like he's broke anyway. 

absolutely file for support. let the state handle it. he doesn't pay, they'll start with wage garnishment and move on to pulling licencses and eventually jail time. 

 

and please protect youself and your children by getting divorced already, so you do have court orders in place.

post #11 of 14

OP needs to decide what her goals are. If she wants her ex out of the picture, filing for support doesn't make sense - what makes sense is wait for him to meet the legal criteria for abandonment. Five years from now, when OP is happily remarried to a man who actually cares about the kids, it would be wonderful if he were able to adopt them!

 

But if OP thinks that her ex is going to be showing up intermittently no matter what she does or doesn't do, then it might make sense to file for support. My worry is that since her has already been neglectful in visitation, having his paycheck garnished might result in him getting angry, obtaining formal visitation and treating his children badly as a method of punishing their mother. 

post #12 of 14

From my own experience as a child.  Do NOT let him have them one-on-one alone.  If he does have them, make sure the oldest has a pre-paid cell phone with only your number programmed into it and that all 3 of them know how to use it.  My father had me for one weekend when I was 7.  I got sick that night, so he left.  My mom came the next morning because I had not called that night or in the morning & had the apt manager let her in.  Found me asleep on the bathmat with a fever of 105, dehydrated from no intake & vomiting.  She had his visitation removed for both of us after that.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

UPDATE:

 

I haven't heard a word from him since that day.  I'm leaving it at that.  He has no paycheck to garnish, he makes sure that all his work is under the table, so he doesn't have to pay. 

I might go after him for support but I'm not hopeful about getting anything.  I'll just live on assistance until I get my nursing degree.

He might show up and want visitation but I doubt he will ever go after it legally. His loss now. 

I do feel sad for the kids but I'm not making exceptions anymore.  If he wants to see them he can appeal to the court.

He still lives three miles from me but chooses not to.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amor Rays View Post

UPDATE:

 

I haven't heard a word from him since that day.  I'm leaving it at that.  He has no paycheck to garnish, he makes sure that all his work is under the table, so he doesn't have to pay. 

I might go after him for support but I'm not hopeful about getting anything.  I'll just live on assistance until I get my nursing degree.

He might show up and want visitation but I doubt he will ever go after it legally. His loss now. 

I do feel sad for the kids but I'm not making exceptions anymore.  If he wants to see them he can appeal to the court.

He still lives three miles from me but chooses not to.

 

As the daughter of a pothead father and a mother who earned her nursing degree and raised my brother and me amazingly well, and never got a penny from my father (who I now haven't seen in more than 30 years), thank you. You sound like a terrific mom. 

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