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Here's something different: single dad - Page 9

post #161 of 236
Yeah, let the Paternity test do the talking. If she didn't think it was yours, she wouldn't be stressing the test so hard. Why would she care if some dude takes a test if it won't result in her having to do anything about it?

Also, if there is some other father, why doesn't she have multiple court dates OR a name on the BC yet?
post #162 of 236

If it's any consolation, out of my 5 kids, one daughter looks exactly like me and another daughter looks just like my husband. It can happen! It does sound like she is being passive aggressive towards you though because there is no need to "rub it in" like that right now. 

 

As far as a gift, I would hold off too. Soon you might be having to buy your own baby things for her visits :)

 

Nov 22nd can't come soon enough. The wait must be so stressful! It's like a woman thinking she is pregnant but can't confirm it for months! That sounds torturous :hug

 

Hang in there!!! The truth will be revealed soon enough! 

post #163 of 236
Your best bet to see this baby is now & forever *the court system*. The mom shouldn't have to make it more clear that it is *not* her, that is clear already. She will limit your access to suit herself until she is legally obligated to do otherwise.
post #164 of 236

Your story sounds very similar to that of my DH and his ex (though they did 'date' for a few weeks).

 

My DH was in college, too "dumb" and poor to fight for any actual custody. He assumed it would cost too much, so he went nearly 6 years without getting to see his daughter much more than what you describe--an unsatisfying hour at a restaurant once a month kind of deal. It came to a head for him when he hadn't gotten to spend any (part of) holidays or birthdays with DSD ... and she was five! Mom always came up with (lame) excuses at the last minute for why the holiday time she'd promised only days before was canceled. Once he filed (actually he counter-sued her motion for him to not have any access to the child, but that's not the point) it got really bad with her. She stopped being passive-aggressive. She outright (and stupidly) said bluntly "no you can't see DSD because I don't have to let you." I don't think the Court looked too kindly on that (he submitted her text messages as evidence of her continuing refusal to let him be involved).

 

Once you have the legal right to spend time with your baby your daughter's mom loses that control and power. She will have to let go of this idea that she can supervise your time with the baby. It will be painful for her, and I imagine if she has any belief that it could actually happen (some women don't think dad would ever be granted visitation time because he hasn't spent enough time with the baby) it's probably terrifying. It's easier to make it difficult for you and hope you'll go away--easier for her, that is, not easier for your daughter.

 

My DSD's mom still believes that DSD doesn't look anything like DH. She also doesn't recognize any of DH's personality in DSD. Most everyone else (including her family) acknowledges DSD and DH look a lot alike, and his side of the family can recognize how the two are practically copies of each other. It makes DSD's mom visibly mad when her family acknowledges it! I don't know what's up with that. Maybe it's a touch of narcissism, maybe it's denial that this is the man she procreated with. I hear the "it's MY daughter" instead of "it's OUR daughter" statements, so it might be a possessive thing. I'm not too sure. You're right that it's hard to see parental resemblance in babies. When my DD was born--and for a few months after--I didn't see any "me" in her, I thought she only looked like DH. But with time I'm starting to see some "me." It's an exciting treasure hunt to see who she will turn into. :-)

 

 

I suppose I should fast-forward to DH and DSD today! Now he has DSD every-other weekend, every-other holiday, and all. summer. long. I believe it ended up this way largely because of DSD's mom's refusal to allow visits (prior to being Court-ordered), but filing with the Court for him to not have any access to the child and accusing him of being an absent dad contrasted with his overwhelming evidence (therapy notes, photos, phone logs, text messages) to show he wasn't some "absent dad" also couldn't have helped her case. This kind of ruling is not the norm, though, especially in my state.

 

 

I'm excited for things to work out for you so your daughter can know you and benefit from your love and life experience. She's really lucky to have a dad who will trudge through the family court system just to be able to see her. It's hellishly stressful and expensive, and her dad loves her so much he'll go through the stress and expense anyway.

 

 

P.S. In case the abbreviations haven't already been introduced to you,

DSD = my stepdaughter,

DH = my husband,

DD = my daughter.

There's a segment of people in my life that I have to stop myself from saying "Dee Eche" (DH) to, in reference to ... DH. Habit.

post #165 of 236

I have been following this thread and am happy you updated!

 

Just to be clear - you don't have to file for custody to get time with your daughter.  You can file for visitation rights and unless there is something we don't know about, you are certain to get visitation.  It may seem to start out slow but as the baby gets older, you will quickly have time with her on your own.

 

If you want to bring a gift, make it something small because PP is right - you will be needing to buy stuff on your own for taking care of her - car seat, stroller, bottles, diapers - they all get expensive fast :-D

post #166 of 236

Hey, just wanted to welcome you to the Single Parents board. I hope your test results are favorable. If you really are a dad, I hope you'll hang around with us as you start that journey =)

 

 

I agree with the PP that she's probably hoping the baby isn't yours; that would be easiest for her and her BF. I know it all feels like it's taking a very long time and that she's being very stingy with visiting but try to see her side of it - that she doesn't want to go out of her way to have visitation with someone who might have zero connection to her baby. Once the test results come in, it will be a whole new world for all of you and she will have to set up regular visits for you and you will have the support of the court in handling all that.

 

Fingers crossed that you get the very best outcome from this!

post #167 of 236

You're recording everything, saving all of her messages, etc still, right? I don't know if it will matter what she does before the paternity test- but if she's already showing a pattern of refusing visitation, it certainly doesnt hurt to have the evidence if you'll later need it.

 

Good luck. I know that this will take time- but I agree with others have said. This woman has made it abundantly clear that she is NOT your best bet for seeing your own daughter, the courts are. Definitely do everything you can to stay civil (in part so she doesn't have any damning evidence against you- depending on the judge, you may need all the help you can get).

 

I agree about asking her what to get. During your visits- which I know are far too short- make a show of asking her for help. Say things like "Does she like to be held this way?". Even if you already know what you're doing, still ask. For one- you might learn something. All babies are different and this woman is the primary caregiver of that child, so knows her best. Also- it may set the mother at ease if you make it clear that you're willing to do things her way and defer to her judgement/wisdom, and pander to her ego. 

 

My dad had to do the same thing with my mom. They were married when they had me, divorced before I was 3, and my dad did a lot to keep her happy and ensure she had no complaint against him. My mom put too much effort into pushing against my dad- she'd tell me that he didn't care about me because he didn't help financially (laughably untrue), she'd get him to agree to pay the utility bills on the proviso that she give him them on time then give him 3 months' worth when they were threatening to cut off power, she refused to get me medical tests and called him out of work over a $15 co-pay, etc. I grew up watching my mom be unfairly harsh to my dad, sometimes at my expense, and my dad never retaliating. Guess who I get along with better now that I'm an adult and can choose who I want to be near. (hint: my dad lives 5 minutes away and sees his grandson almost daily, my mother lives 14 hours away and has seen him once for a week)

 

Also, re:the looking alike- I agree that she is probably trying to sew seeds of doubt into you, possibly trying to distance the baby from you. My partner and I have a lot of similar features, you have to look closely to notice the differences. No one can really say who the baby looks more like because of this- baby looks like both of us. My partner's academic advisor keeps going on about how the baby only looks like me. She's the same person who's first question, on hearing we were having a baby, was (to my partner) "Are you sure it's yours?".


Edited by sillysapling - 10/16/13 at 8:13pm
post #168 of 236
I think everything you've done so far is very smart and I think you're doing a great job
of fighting for your time with your daughter. Please keep us updated with how you are doing!
post #169 of 236
I just saw this thread and I think it is wonderful that you are being patient and persistent. Good luck!
post #170 of 236
Thread Starter 

Sorry to post this a week later, but here's how it went-

 

I drove down there for the test. There were about 10 other "couples" there for the same thing but surprisingly none of the children seemed to be infants aside from mine. Anyways, I was told I might get my results in the mail a week before the court date but if not, they would come when I go to court.

 

Afterwards the three of us went to a restaurant again. She let me put the infant car seat on my side of the booth and when the baby woke up, I took her and held her for a good 20 minutes, taking as many pictures as I could. I even gave her a bottle for a bit. Mom seemed to be fine with it all, which was nice.

 

But still, she mentioned some things that were extremely insensitive. For example, she said they were going to see babie's grandma after this and that grandma hasn't seen baby in two days and she's going through withdrawl. Yet the baby has another grandma who hasn't even been able to see her once yet... Of course, I kept my mouth shut but it did bother me.

 

Another interesting note is that mom is going back to work on the first of next month. And she will be sending baby to a daycare. Apparently it's an in home daycare run by a family friend and the charge is only like 4.50 an hour. Once this gets set into motion, she would have even less reason to prevent me from seeing baby when she isn't present, right? I mean, here I am, completely willing to watch the baby whenever and for however long, and she would rather pay someone else to do it.

 

I know I should be content with what I'm getting- she doesn't legally have to let me see the baby at all- but it just makes me want more. Just like last time, when we said goodbye I asked her if I could see the baby again soon... whenever she has time. And she seemed totally cooperative, saying we could set something up and she's flexible. Well, I sent her a text message a few days later and she predictably ignored it.

 

In the meantime I purchased a $300 Britax car seat (I can always return it if the paternity test comes back negative) so I am prepared in the event I get some time alone with baby.

 

I can kind of see where this seems to be going, and it's not pretty. When the time comes that I get aggressive about spending time with my daughter on terms other than hers, she's going to lash out and all the good heartedness will go right out the window. My access will probably even decrease at that point. I just have to stay the course, as all of you keep reminding me :)

post #171 of 236

Your daughter's mom finding a daycare situation actually makes a ton of sense.  You've said that you don't live near each other, for one.  For two, while you may in fact be willing to watch the baby whenever and as long as needed, you also have a job of your own.  Daycare means you won't have to wrestle with work scheduling issues.  Finally, you are prepared to return a car seat if the paternity test comes back negative, so even assuming you had no competing schedule issues, even if you lived next door - you could withdraw, and she knows it.  Her hiring daycare was a move in your daughter's best interest.  Give her some credit.

 

If you think being aggressive about spending time with your daughter on your terms will decrease your access, consider whether aggressive is the best course.  I think you should absolutely get legal agreements in place, but remember that a good enough agreement that you can actually achieve is better then a perfect agreement that you can't come to.

post #172 of 236
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
 

Your daughter's mom finding a daycare situation actually makes a ton of sense.  You've said that you don't live near each other, for one.  For two, while you may in fact be willing to watch the baby whenever and as long as needed, you also have a job of your own.  Daycare means you won't have to wrestle with work scheduling issues.  Finally, you are prepared to return a car seat if the paternity test comes back negative, so even assuming you had no competing schedule issues, even if you lived next door - you could withdraw, and she knows it.  Her hiring daycare was a move in your daughter's best interest.  Give her some credit.

 

If you think being aggressive about spending time with your daughter on your terms will decrease your access, consider whether aggressive is the best course.  I think you should absolutely get legal agreements in place, but remember that a good enough agreement that you can actually achieve is better then a perfect agreement that you can't come to.

 

Oh, don't get me wrong. I understand that sending her to daycare is the right move and I am not angry about it in the slightest. My basic point is that I think it could help me get access faster when it comes time to hash that out. It seems like the common reasons for why I can't take the baby on my own at first are because babies shouldn't be away from their mother at such a young age. But if this child is spending 8 hours a day at daycare during the week, it would seem that I have a better shot at getting some of my own time with her. It's something I plan to bring up when I inevitably face resistance.

 

I asked her directly today if I could come down and see the baby some time next week (it's been five days since my last text) and was ignored again. So this may be it for me until the court date, who knows.

 

I can't even fathom how the whole "negotiation" process will be when we sit down to determine visitation. I can't think of a scenario where it doesn't get ugly unless we continue to do everything on her terms.

post #173 of 236
I would be tempted to continue asking periodically to set a precedent that you wanted time with the baby. Be friendly about it though.

Once viditation is set up this time will probably feel very short. Stay strong.
post #174 of 236

Yeah, the daycare situation really sucks but unless you can relocate yourself to be closer to her--or if you can prove to her that you are so dependable on being there every day, on time, rain or snow, to watch the baby that she won't risk losing her job--she needs some form of daycare. Daycare for an infant is hard to find, so when there's an opportunity to lock in with a trustworthy provider, it's worth signing up. I do believe that it's best for a child to spend time with a parent when it's feasible (and as a double-bonus: save a lot of money every month). I think when it can be coordinated to allow one parent to spend the day with the child and the other to spend the evening/overnight with the child, that it works out best so the child never has to go long without seeing either one of her parents (except for vacations). In my utopia it means less fighting over the precious, limited, time after work and before bed. This arrangement is a utopia because most people can't coordinate their jobs to schedule to not need paid daycare for a child. You don't have distance working in your favor, even if your job allows it.

 

I read "getting aggressive" not so much as an intention to be obnoxious, but as an intention to stand up for your (not yet secured) parental rights and expect quality time with your child rather than just an hour at a restaurant, supervised by Mom, once a month. So yes, if "aggressive" means ignoring an arrangement Mom offers that's reasonable (consistently several hours a week, gradually working up to overnights over the next few years) in order to achieve some ideology, MeepyCat's advice is absolutely right--a good enough arrangement that you can agree to with Mom is better than fighting her for something slightly more. Being Court-ordered to do something a person was otherwise willing to do has a way of killing their willingness to cooperate on much! But if Mom is going to be flaky about letting you be a parent--like canceling because the child is crabby or has a mild cold, because there's something she would rather do with the child, or if she continues on this extremely limited schedule, "aggressive" (not mean or bullying but methodical legal action) is what becomes necessary. If she doesn't want to give up a little bit of her time with the child in order that you can have a little bit of time to parent, it's not likely that she's going to wake up one day and start doing it different. If you pursue your parental rights, yes, it almost certainly will make her mad and (at least temporarily) cause an end of cooperation, because it means she doesn't get to dictate the schedule on her terms anymore. I personally don't hear much "good heartedness" from her in the first place and the time you get to spend with your daughter can't decrease much from here.

 

Once paternity is established, it might be a good time to be more direct with Mom in asking for time with your child, along with discussing a plan that shows how you intend to work with her to take care of the child (as opposed to question her parenting decisions). It would be best if you can eventually create a written agreement with her so that your rights are protected (so if she agrees to let you have half of Christmas, she can't just change her mind in 2 months). Start with what you agree about; cooperation cultivates cooperation. If there's something you don't agree about, put it to the side until the end. If there's an aspect that just can't be resolved without outside help--and it's so important that it must be resolved right away--you can take the next step to involve the courts. But if you can agree to everything, and submit the written agreement to the Court (i.e. stipulate to a parenting plan) that would be great!

 

Have you found a lawyer yet? A lawyer can help you compose an agreement and doesn't necessarily mean that you'll drag the issue to the Court. Start meeting with lawyers before you need one so you know who to call in the event it does become necessary. Many will give you an hour of consultation for free, so you will have an opportunity to get a feel for whether they are right for you. Also, if you are able to agree to a parenting plan with Mom, the lawyer can help you edit the agreement (to meet the Court's requirements in your jurisdiction) and submit it to the Court for approval and entry.

 

 

ETA: YES you absolutely must continue to contact her regularly asking for time with the child. Don't just give up for the next month (or however long it is to the court date). CALL too. She can easily say she didn't receive your text messages but a phone call (even an unanswered attempt) will be memorialized by phone records.

post #175 of 236
If Paternity is established in your favor, I would ONLY negotiate anything further through a lawyer. Any 'deal' the mother offers you will feature you getting the shortest end of the stick. You have the right to even ask for joint custody, like 50/50. However you will never ever get that w/o a lawyer who knows & can enforce every paternal right you are entitled to.
post #176 of 236

I agree that legally aggressive may be necessary- but also remember to always be polite and don't come off as harassing. Leave the aggression to the lawyers. One of the things my dad did was ensure that my mother never had a legitimate complaint against him in case it ever went to court.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dinahx View Post

If Paternity is established in your favor, I would ONLY negotiate anything further through a lawyer. Any 'deal' the mother offers you will feature you getting the shortest end of the stick. You have the right to even ask for joint custody, like 50/50. However you will never ever get that w/o a lawyer who knows & can enforce every paternal right you are entitled to.


I would see what happens- but this is likely true. It's possible (highly unlikely, but possible) that if paternity is established the woman will suddenly be willing to work with him- in which case he might get a better deal than the courts usually agree to if the courts in the area are particularly pro-mom. If she's magically willing to be reasonable and agree to things without lawyers, that will save them both money and aggravation. I agree completely that she's showing every sign of not being willing to do this, though.

post #177 of 236
I don't think you need to ask for just what she wants to avoid it getting ugly once you are in court. Ask for exactly what you want in court whether that is a night a week and right of first refusal or 50/50 custody because once it is signed off by a judge it is legally binding and difficult to change. She can like it or not but that is really not an issue once the judge signs.
post #178 of 236

I've been following this thread, and it is really compelling and interesting.  I have a question, are you willing to move to baby's city so that sharing custody will be easier?   (following positive paternity results that is...)  Keep fighting the good fight.

post #179 of 236

It's great you got to spend some time with your (potential) daughter! I can't imagine how nerve wrecking the wait is...

 

A few more weeks and you'll know for sure. And from everything you told us so far, I find it highly unlikely that you'll be able to reliably settle this with her without an official third party. This is also going to be a huge and emotionally-charged change for her.  Mothers tend to be (at least in my experience) quite possessive of their newborns or small babies even when they are on good terms with the father (I know I had a hard time trusting DP with DD in the beginning and it took a lot of holding back on my part to not interfere in his relationship with her). So imagine she has to give up control to someone who is practically a stranger (to her). Most like there is going to be a lot of resistance on her part. While understandable, it's not fair to you. 

 

Best of luck! 

post #180 of 236
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sniffmommy View Post
 

I've been following this thread, and it is really compelling and interesting.  I have a question, are you willing to move to baby's city so that sharing custody will be easier?   (following positive paternity results that is...)  Keep fighting the good fight.

 

I've thought a lot about it and it seems like it could be the best move. At the moment though, working part time 30 hrs a week and still finishing my undergraduate, moving just isn't in the cards. It actually seems like living at home with my mom might help me out as far as my visitation time in case there's a day where I have to work.

 

It takes me just under an hour to get from my house to hers, which isn't really all that bad if the court orders that we meet in the middle somewhere. But it's obviously a huge obstacle, there's no denying that. Once I'm a little more established in life which could be as early as next near I can look to move close to her. Even if I move halfway, that would make an enormous difference.

 

That's all getting ahead of things though, which I'm trying my best not to do too much.

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