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Friend needs help... (custody battle) - Page 2

post #21 of 31
Wow, this thread is making me so sad.

Listen, every family is different. I'm absolutely of the midset that the children should come first, and with very, very few exceptions, I truly believe that most parents are doing the best that they can at any given time.

"The best that I can" may be different for me than it is for you.

All 5 of the parents in my children's lives (me, DH, my XH, DH's XW and my DCs stepmom) have, at one point or another, made the decision to not take a better job out of state because it would have meant disrupting our ability to be in our children's lives. But that's just us. We made a choice to make less (in some cases a lot less!) money or to forfeit career advancement in favor of staying near the kids. Fortunately, we had the luxury of making that choice. I sure that there are others who don't.

I've known families that have made all sorts of different kinds of decisions around how close they live to their X in order to maintain contact with the kids. Some families go the "school year with me, summer with him" route. In some families, the kids live with one parent and spend all holidays and parts of the summer with the other parent. In some families, the children travel to see a parent and in some families the parent travels to see the children. I've known home-schooling families that have a "month on-month off" arrangement.

It's hard to be a parent, and having to share a child with an ex (possibly over miles) is even harder. But we all have choices and sacrifices to make. Some of us here sacrificed a nuclear family with mom, dad and dear child all under the same roof so that we could dare to dream that we could be happy, despite divorce. Some of us sacrificed good jobs for proximity to the kids and some of us have sacrificed proximity to the kids for good jobs.

The OP's friend has a choice to make, and either way, it will involve sacrifice. He needs to evaluate, for himself, what's truly important to him. I choose to believe that someone in that situation is doing the best that they can as a parent (or soon-to-be parent). It is not for me to judge his choice if he's truly trying to do the best thing for his child.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
He is very torn on what he should do if the child is his... instead of going off on what you think would be so easy to do, why not offer some constructive advice about how or why it would be important for him to give up his entire life and career to try to be more involved?

The only way he'd be able to see the child is to quit his job and move states away where he doesn't have a job, a single friend or family member... Newsflash: It takes money to raise a child, so if he quits his job there is no telling if he will be able to land another immediately... then how would he even have a place to live?

Everything is not black and white... if it is in your world, that must be some fantastic place to be.
Wow, he does sound rather pathetic. The ex-fiance is probably right to move and try to rebuild her life without him. Perhaps she and the child would be better off without someone who even has to think for a moment about whether he'll be in his child's life and then enlists the support of sympathetic friends to support his rationalizations.

You are absolutely right. I have no clue what that's like and really have nothing more to contribute. I can't think of why anyone would need to offer "constructive advice" to convince a parent to remain in his or her child's life. :
post #23 of 31
mild adventurer, what you describe are some of the multitude of ways of "making it work" and doing the best one can to have a close relationship with one's kids.

I don't advocate any one particular method. (I do believe that most people do the best they can for the most part.) I just don't buy the line "it's too hard so I can't do anything"...

For the original situation that started this thread, there isn't much that can be said or done or suggested until the man in question makes a few very tough decisions (does he even believe the child could be his and if it is his does he *want* to be involved and if he does want to be involved how far is he willing to go to make that happen?) AND until it is determined that the child is indeed his. Until he makes those decisions and is ready to act on his decisions, everything else while interesting discussion in and of itself is moot for his situation.
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
Mooni, I ask that you please edit your post as it is quite disrespectful to call my friend pathetic when you do not even know him.

I'm sorry that is is so easy for most people to just make the decision to scarifice their entire lives for a child, but it does not come that easily to everyone and they should not be ridiculed and given disrespectful names because they need help.

I think asking for help and advice are signs he cares. He asked me to come here for advice, for maybe accounts of anyone else living this nightmare of never have been given a choice...

Every post you have made has been disrespectful and certainly not helpful.
post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post
For the original situation that started this thread, there isn't much that can be said or done or suggested until the man in question makes a few very tough decisions (does he even believe the child could be his and if it is his does he *want* to be involved and if he does want to be involved how far is he willing to go to make that happen?) AND until it is determined that the child is indeed his. Until he makes those decisions and is ready to act on his decisions, everything else while interesting discussion in and of itself is moot for his situation.

He won't be able to find out if he is indeed the Father until November, when the child is actually born.


He does want children, and would love to be a Father and in a child's life... but he is not sure how to do that given his current financial abilities, and you can't really telephone or video conference a newborn...
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
He does want children, and would love to be a Father and in a child's life... but he is not sure how to do that given his current financial abilities, and you can't really telephone or video conference a newborn...
No, you can't, but millions of newborns around the world get to know and love and feel close to grandparents (for example) that live very far away. Little by little, over time, as they grow.

Quite frankly, the only three real obstacles that I see are (in order of priority):

(1) Determining whether or not he is actually the father since from what you have said there is legitimate room for serious doubt that he is indeed the father. (This probably can't be done until the child is born, unless MI law allows for in-utero testing to determine paternity--some states do and the medical tests for that exist).

(2) HIS deciding what he wants to do and making a real commitment to figure out "his path" and the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. (He can make some progress on this while waiting to overcome hurdle No. 1, and, indeed, should probably make his main decision (to be involved or not) before undertaking any action to force his ex to cooperate with overcoming #1).

and

(3) The child's mother's resistance and unwillingness to facilitate anything. But even this is not fully an obstacle. Sure, it will make everything harder and more expensive. It will force more creative thinking because he won't have complete freedom to "do it 100% his way". But it won't make it "100% impossible" (unless she fights to keep him completely out of the child's life in court and wins, of course).

The only "obstacle" I don't see is distance. It is a complication. A confounding factor. An additional and sizable difficulty. Yes, all that. But NOT a "definitive obstacle".
post #27 of 31
Thread Starter 
Now that was written very constructively. Thank you Ione.

I agree with your order... and I guess I was lumping ex as part of distance as she is the one creating it. But I see your points and I appreciate you writing them out in that manner, as it makes much more sense and is clear. I shall pass this onto my friend.

I know he has been working hard at talking to lawyers this week, and doing a lot of thinking too.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Mooni, I ask that you please edit your post as it is quite disrespectful to call my friend pathetic when you do not even know him.
I said he "sounds pathetic" based on your representation of him. As in, there's a sense of helplessness and loss of control that appears to be there, but in reality, is not necessarily so.

I will sign off because I do agree with you that I am finding it difficult to conjure up "respect" here.
post #29 of 31
JSMa,

Given all the information you've given, I think the best thing you can do for your friend at this point is strongly recommend that he refrain from permenant or black/white thinking and take actions that keep his options open.

For example, for now the best thing to do is try to be as cordial as possible with the ExFi to be able to establish paternity ASAP after the child's birth. He will be responsible for unpaid medical bills and CS regardless of whether or not he chooses to take an active role in the child's life. "Letting" the mother disappear will not absolve him of this financial responsibility and at any time in the future he could be nailed with a hefty CS bill or damaged credit report because of this. Likewise, he will also want to make sure his child has adequate health insurance because as a parent he will be on the hook for the child's subsequent medical expenses. Unless the mother is willing to legally disolve your friend's paternity, which is highly unlikely, he might as well be proactive in this department.

As far as how much of a presence he wishes to be in the child's life, he has a while to determine this and as was previously posted, there are MANY different ways to approach this. In addition to child support and savings for college, my DH sent letters and gifts to his daughter during her early years. He "met" her for the first time when she was six. Four years later they talk on the phone regularly, e-mail, and we have holiday and summer parenting time. It is possible she may come to live with us in a few years to take advantage of better educational opportunities here. Despite the early separation, my SD is extremely attached to her dad and longs for his love and approval. She often says the happiest day in her life was meeting her dad.

Your friend may decide not to have any contact with his child and that is his choice to make. However, it is quite likely that his personal circumstances will change over the next 18 years and he shouldn't put up unnecessary obstacles. He may get back together with his fiance, he may be transferred to MI, he may win the lottery and money is no object, he may meet the woman of his dreams who refuses to marry him once she realizes that he has no contact with his child, the mother may become a drug addict/child abuser and without contact at all the child would become a ward of the state, he may raise a family and have the child show up on his doorstep at age 15 asking why he never called/wrote/visited etc. Obviously some of these things are more likely than others. The point I'm trying to make is that your friend shouldn't paint himself into a corner. He has a good 3-4 years to decide how involved he wants to be with his child on a regular basis. While it is true that by not living with the mom (or even in state) it is very unlikely that he will have a close relationship with the child when they are young like an in-home dad would, it doesn't mean that he can't have a loving and meaningful relationship with his child ever.

I hope this helps!
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thank you for sharing your story McFeelings! It is very good to hear that your DH was able to establish a fucntioning relationship with his daughter once she was a little older.

I think the infant part and how can he communicate with an infant living states away is mind blowing to my friend right now.

You bring a lot of good points up and some very positive outcomes. I am sure he will be happy to hear that.
post #31 of 31
I really don't understand the harshness against JSM's friend. I think he has legitimate concerns and she is coming here for help. I also think that just because people raise concerns (especially potential father's of unborn children who live out of state.) My DH who was trying to stay with his son's biomom after they found out that she was pregnant told her that he was unsure if he would love the baby. He does he loves his son very much, but while the baby was some abstract being in the uterus of a woman he did not like very much anymore it was hard to fell really positive of how he would feel about the baby. I think this is normal. I think it is normal for first time father's to feel ambivalent towards their unborn children even when things are going well with their mothers. I don't think it is cold and unfeeling I think it is a major life change without the hormones and the person moving in your uterus to help you adjust to the reality of it.

To OP I think your friend does not need to make any decisions right now. I would talk to a lawyer, get all the information possible and wait to make any kind of decisions. In my experience babies are still part of their mom's until they are at least 10 months old and there is not much for a father to do except for support the mom during that time. If the mom doesn't want his support, he should get a paternity test, pay child support if the test says he is the father and see what he decides. DH was living out of town from his son's mom when she found out she was pregnant and he moved back because he realized he could not stay away. So have your friend get as much info as possible, it is possible she will not be able to move or she will have to come back. I know this was court ordered in a friend of mine's case and she moved while she was still pregnant. She was told if she did not come back, submit to the paternity test and not leave without permission she could get picked up for a speeding ticket in her new state, find out there was a warrant for kidnapping in her old state and she would lose custody of her son.

Good luck
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