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Voluntarily giving up custody?

post #1 of 153
Thread Starter 
This is hard to write about, much less to think about. First of all a background - My son will be 5 in two months, I got married about three months ago to a wonderful man, my son's father is in his life and loves him dearly and really is a good father despite some mistakes he has made. My husband has applied for, and has a very good chance at getting hired, a job in Alaska - Anchorage to be exact. I am so excited. I have been wanting to move to Alaska and ultimately want to teach "in the bush" under somewhat harsh conditions. However, this leaves me in a dilemma regarding my son. I will be working part time in Alaska and going to school full time to finish my education degree. DH will be working full time and going to school part time so I feel we won't have alot of time to care for him or give him the attention he needs. DS has some issues - the most relevant being that he cannot stand to be away from his dad for very long. He loves his father very much and often tells me he would rather live with his dad than me. His dad has had some issues as well but the last two months he has really turned things around. DS cries every time I pick him up to bring him home to our house. DS and DH get along but there is not much affection there - DS has some loyalty issues to his real father and DH, though he tries hard, just does not know how to deal with that. I also think ds's dad would fight to the death to keep him from leaving.

Anyway, there are so many variables but I am considering leaving DS here with his dad. I would pry have to go through counseling to get over the guilt about it - of course I wouldn't never see him again. I would call and write often and have custody during Christmas and summers. There is also the possibility of just leaving him here for the fall term and if things go badly then I would bring him up with me.

Has anyone else voluntarily decided to leave their child with the other parent? How do you deal with it? Am I just being super arrogant to think that because he isn't with me he is missing out? I feel like less of a mom somehow and more like if anything bad happens to him or with him (even so far as him not doing well in school) it will be all my fault because of this one decision. Thanks in advance for any recommendations, advice, BTDT information.
post #2 of 153
Have you asked him which he would prefer?
post #3 of 153
A five year old doesn't get to decide where he wants to live. There is no way a five year old has the intellectual maturity to understand that his mother is abandoning him. That he can't change his mind in three days.


OP, I need to stay within the bounds of the UA here. I will say that whatever you choose to do, your actions today will have a PROFOUND effect on the rest of your child's life, for better or for worse. Not for the next month. Not for the next year. For the rest of his life. It will impact how he views parent child relationships, man woman relationships, friendships, and romances. It will color his perceptions of intimacy and human decency. Forever.


Keep in mind that when you have a child, that for the forseeable future, it is your duty to put that child's needs before your own.

I will also add that what I have said here applies to both mothers and fathers.
post #4 of 153
Crap, I am in the wrong forum
post #5 of 153
wow. sounds like a hugely difficult decision. i have no advice with my own children. i'm the primary parent with full physical custody...

that said, i was on both sides of this situation growing up. my mom moved with her husband out of state and left me with my dad for three months. i felt like she was choosing her husband over me; i felt abandoned. a couple of years later she took me with her and my stepfather to texas; my dad was in california. i was devastated to be away from my dad for 9 months and was really angry with my mom. i was 11-13 during this time so that may have had some role in my emotions too. nonetheless, the whole thing was difficult and confusing.

none of this is to make you feel bad. this was my experience. good luck making the decision that is right for your family.
post #6 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
Crap, I am in the wrong forum
I agree with what you said ThreeBeans, what forum did you think you were in?
post #7 of 153
It is incredibly hard - I have a friend who did it.
She talks to her son weekly (used to be daily), sees him summers & christmas, etc. but they have grown so much apart - he's 11 now and she admits she wishes she'd had the balls to keep him instead of letting her rush to get a new career settled, etc. in place for him to come with her. Because once you give up primary custody, voluntarily, no matter what XH or anyone says, the courts will almost never give it back.
post #8 of 153
When my stepson was 8 yrs old, his mother moved him to Seattle with her, while his father (my DH) stayed in San Francisco, CA. My DH fought the move in court, but the judge allowed it. They visited one weekend a month for two years.

It was AWFUL. Very hard on my DH, but even harder on his son. The son was extremely angry with his mother for a very long time. There was a series of months where he would not speak to her, he would only growl at her. His academics suffered. He feel behind in his progress.

After two years, his mom realized she had made a terrible mistake and she moved back. We were and are thrilled about that (he lives with us now and has for the past 4 yrs) but those two years are lost and the damage was done. There is not undoing it.

Due to my experiences, I strongly suggest you do whatever you possibly can to facilitate your child having BOTH of his parents in his life. He deserves that. It's hard enough on kids when their parents split up, but to have one parent move away, no matter how much the child loves the parent they stay with, it simply unfair and I see little possibility of a good outcome.
post #9 of 153
I don't think that the job is worth it. This is your son, not a dog. He's still a baby. He can't reason these things out. He'll just know that his mother is gone and left of her own free will.
post #10 of 153
I have a good friend who spent her childhood basically alternating years living with her parents.

Her parents were both university professors and didn't really get alot of choice as to where they could find jobs. So - they ended up in very different parts of the countries (Canada and the US). So her and her brother would spend a year or two mainly living with their dad - and then come here for a couple years. There parents were very insistent that the kids have primary relationships with both parents. (They were both philosophy profs) But they didn't have enough money to fly the kids around all the time.

It's just anecdotal - but it worked well for them. I know the last switch that was make (she was 16, her brother 12) didn't work for her brother, so he came back to live with his mom and she stayed with her dad.

But it only works if the 'other' parent can handle being a full time single parent. And that's something only you and your ex know.

BTW: I do think, that within reason, a 5 yo should get *some* input into what happens. They shouldn't get to call the shots or make the final decision. But it's their life. They are old enough to have some grasp about what's happening.
post #11 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by reina28 View Post
This is hard to write about, much less to think about. First of all a background - My son will be 5 in two months, I got married about three months ago to a wonderful man, my son's father is in his life and loves him dearly and really is a good father despite some mistakes he has made. My husband has applied for, and has a very good chance at getting hired, a job in Alaska - Anchorage to be exact. I am so excited. I have been wanting to move to Alaska and ultimately want to teach "in the bush" under somewhat harsh conditions. However, this leaves me in a dilemma regarding my son. I will be working part time in Alaska and going to school full time to finish my education degree. DH will be working full time and going to school part time so I feel we won't have alot of time to care for him or give him the attention he needs. DS has some issues - the most relevant being that he cannot stand to be away from his dad for very long. He loves his father very much and often tells me he would rather live with his dad than me. His dad has had some issues as well but the last two months he has really turned things around. DS cries every time I pick him up to bring him home to our house. DS and DH get along but there is not much affection there - DS has some loyalty issues to his real father and DH, though he tries hard, just does not know how to deal with that. I also think ds's dad would fight to the death to keep him from leaving.

Anyway, there are so many variables but I am considering leaving DS here with his dad. I would pry have to go through counseling to get over the guilt about it - of course I wouldn't never see him again. I would call and write often and have custody during Christmas and summers. There is also the possibility of just leaving him here for the fall term and if things go badly then I would bring him up with me.

Has anyone else voluntarily decided to leave their child with the other parent? How do you deal with it? Am I just being super arrogant to think that because he isn't with me he is missing out? I feel like less of a mom somehow and more like if anything bad happens to him or with him (even so far as him not doing well in school) it will be all my fault because of this one decision. Thanks in advance for any recommendations, advice, BTDT information.

My bolding.

IMO if something you are planning on doing with your life doesn't allow you a lot of time to care for your son or give him the attention he needs, then, as a mother, you shouldn't be doing it. I am sure there are people who will disagree with me but IMO when you become a mother your needs, especially when your child is still so young, become secondary to your child's.

It is normal for kids to not want to be away from their parents at that age for very long, particularly in a split family situation. Your son is conflicted now, you just got remarried, he is probably feeling very conflicted and particularly loyal towards his father. That does not mean that he wants to live with him full time and see you a couple of times a year during the summers and vacation breaks.

I know this is going to sound harsh but it sounds like you got remarried and your son is getting in the way of your new life, that is the way your son may see it, please think about that before moving away or taking him away from a situation where he has both of his parents.
post #12 of 153
I couldn't tell you what to do. But I know that I could never do this. In fact part of the reason I stayed in my screwed up marriage for as long as I did was the thought that if we were divorced I wouldn't be able to see my kids every day. And now that we're in the thick of things that's still what tears me up.
post #13 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
A five year old doesn't get to decide where he wants to live. There is no way a five year old has the intellectual maturity to understand that his mother is abandoning him. That he can't change his mind in three days.


OP, I need to stay within the bounds of the UA here. I will say that whatever you choose to do, your actions today will have a PROFOUND effect on the rest of your child's life, for better or for worse. Not for the next month. Not for the next year. For the rest of his life. It will impact how he views parent child relationships, man woman relationships, friendships, and romances. It will color his perceptions of intimacy and human decency. Forever.


Keep in mind that when you have a child, that for the forseeable future, it is your duty to put that child's needs before your own.

I will also add that what I have said here applies to both mothers and fathers.

ITA.
post #14 of 153
Okay, I gotta say I can't really imagine it. But it sounds like the OP's son is really bonded to his father. Who is to say it is better to take him with her, away from the father, than to leave him with the father? Yk?

I personally would think that moving away is off limits, no matter how exciting the possibilities. But if the little one is saying he really wants to be with his dad, then the situation is a bit different.
post #15 of 153
If it were me, I would do my best to ensure that my child would be close to both parents, and I would not move far away.
post #16 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by zipworth View Post
If it were me, I would do my best to ensure that my child would be close to both parents, and I would not move far away.
I agree that is best.
post #17 of 153
I am divorced and my ex remarried moved away and I can tell you that it greatly damaged my DD and her opinion of him and his new spouse.

I also have a bff who doesn't have primary custody due to a crooked system and she is complete and totally devastated daily that she doesn't have her DD w/ her.
post #18 of 153
I also wanted to comment on the fact that your DS cries every time you pick him up from his dads. That doesn't mean he wouldn't miss you terribly if you moved away.

My stepson's parents have been divorced since he was 3 yrs old. I've been with his dad (my DH) since he was 4. He is now almost 16. In all of these years, he has ALWAYS wanted to be with the other parent when it's time to leave one parent. When he lived with mom, he wanted to live with dad. Not that he's living with dad, he wants to live with mom. When mom would have him on a weekend, he wished he could be at dads and vice versa.

Kids wish they could be with BOTH parents all the time, so they are constantly missing the one who is not there.

I would not take your son missing his dad when he's with you as a sure tell sign that he would not be damaged by your absence.
post #19 of 153
there is no way in hell i would EVER give up custody of my kid. or move that far away from him, at that age. once you give up custody, you are going to have a hell of a time ever getting it back, and you better hope his dad is a really cool guy who doesn't suddenly flip the switch on you and become a jerk, because if he has sole custody, you don't have a say in pretty much anything that happens in your son's life.
post #20 of 153
Personally, I would not put a husband over a child. I would not enter into a marriage unless the person knew and agreed that until the child was at least an older teen there would be no possibility of moving to a place where both parents did not have access to a child. I think that the number one job of a parent is to put the child's needs over their own desires. A five year old is going to be torn apart emotionally from being taken from his much loved father AND being sent away by his primary custodial mother. Consult a good child therapist and I think you will hear that this is a bad plan for a child so young.
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