Not sure how to handle ex talking with kids - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-25-2010, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't been active enough to post to the surviving abuse forum, so I'm sorry if I'm overstepping bounds.

My ex husband lives overseas and cannot get a visa to the U.S. at this point. In the divorce decree, I was given physical custody; we are to share parenting decisions; he is allowed to visit with reasonable notice and is not to take them out of the state. Because he can't get a visa, he can't visit. He is naturally upset. So is our oldest child.

They speak via Skype and each time my ds gets upset. He wants to send his dad a computer of his own or some other gadget so they can talk online/play games, etc. (His father has yet to send them any kind of money, not CS, not even birthday gifts; my own father has foregone surgery to keep working so he can send me money.)

I have learned not to engage; I monitor the conversation from the other room. Ex cries about it not being fair, etc., but so far hasn't said anything threatening to our son. However, in emails to me he says he prays every day that God will send him revenge on me.

I am concerned that my son is getting upset enough to not sleep well at night or he cries before he goes to bed.

He usually doesn't want to talk to his dad.

I don't know if I am obligated to keep Skype on. When I was going to the domestic violence counselor during our separation, they told me I could set a time frame and that would be the only time he could talk to them and if they got upset or he became abusive, that I could hang up.

My divorce was pro bono and I only met the lawyer once before we went to court, so asking him is not really an option.

Does anyone know where I can find some legal advice on my obligations for letting him talk to the kids if they are continually upset by the conversations?

Thanks so much, for your advice; it's very hard for me to sort things out when it comes to my ex because he played so much with my emotions, I don't trust my own instincts about him.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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If he's not paying child support - and cant get a VISA to see his children who live here.. then I would think if SKYPE just quit working on your computer and he HAD to send them emails or YouTube videos or something else you could monitor and limit when they see -- what judge would fault you for something technologically possible wrong?? Email him that the skype isnt working.. have him send emails or whatever and if you change your mind or if anything else changes.. WOW look at that -- its working again..
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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i am sorry i dont really understand what's going on.

i dont get why your oldest child is upset. because he wont see his dad for a long time?

why are the skype calls upsetting your son? because he misses his dad or his dad says something?

so your son wants to send his dad a computer so they can communicate more in different ways?

so your son wants to communicate with dad, but gets upset with the phonecalls so you want to stop the phone calls? is that what you are saying?

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Old 04-26-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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What does your court order say about phone contact? Does it address Skype?

You are only obligated to do what the court order says. And you don't have to let your son read e-mails where your ex is saying that he prays for revenge on you.
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know where I can find some legal advice on my obligations for letting him talk to the kids if they are continually upset by the conversations?

I'm sorry. I wasn't very clear last night when I posted, but this is my question.

My son is upset when he talks to his dad for several reasons -- a. the natural missing of the absent parent; b. the way his dad communicates: Sometimes his father talks to him for a couple of minutes and then asks for the younger child/spends most of the conversation trying to get the younger child's attention. Sometimes he stares at our son and cries and then hangs up. Sometimes he uses the chat feature in Skype to send weird messages like "the noose is tightening on my soul" (Yes, I cut him off when he does that). Sometimes he has a normal conversation.

To me, my ex is being manipulative of our son's emotions, but I don't trust my own judgment of the situation. Does his behavior sound abusive or am I magnifying things based on my own feelings about the man?

Goodmom, the court order doesn't address this at all. All the court order says is he can visit them with fair notice and cannot remove them from the state. I'm not sure if that is enough for me to cut off the electronic communication and leave the ball in his court -- i.e. get himself a visa or start writing good old fashioned letters to his children.

I'm sorry my posts are a bit confusing. The situation is confusing and my emotions make it very hard for me to write about it in concrete terms.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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are you writing down dates and content of conversations? is there any way to electronically log them? record the skype conversations to have evidence in case you have to go back to court.

Momma to DS 1, age 8 and rainbow baby DS2 4-21-11.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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If there is nothing in the agreement about phone or skype contact then you aren't obligated to it period. Typically there is a 15-30 period of time for a parent to call and if they miss you aren't obligated. I think you are being very generous to allow such frequent via skype given the situation. Some of the content seems inappopriate but nonetheless it just sounds like your ex is in a very bad situation and really misses his kids. If you are going to do the skype then set the guidelines and email it to your ex. Since there is no court order this makes you look good keeping frequent contact open between them given the situation. My court order is Mon, wed, fri, from 7-7:30 and holidays and birthdays. He gets 15 minutes to call and if he misses we don't have to take it. If he is inappopriate i am allowed to end the calls. Just to give you a guideline. Good luck
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by missgranger View Post
Goodmom, the court order doesn't address this at all. All the court order says is he can visit them with fair notice and cannot remove them from the state. I'm not sure if that is enough for me to cut off the electronic communication and leave the ball in his court -- i.e. get himself a visa or start writing good old fashioned letters to his children.
I wouldn't cut off all communication. Just limit it to certain days and times. I would also make it clear that the communication will end once your ex starts behaving inappropriately, like you do now. Your situation sounds very frustrating and I am sorry that you have to deal with it.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Avani and Goodmom for the guidance on limiting time/establishing boundaries for the conversations.

Geekgolightly, I kept a log of the conversations during our separation and have slacked off a bit, but will be better about logging any weird things.

I feel bad because I don't want to be vindictive or anything, but I do want to protect my children.

My ex has problems with substance abuse and mental illness, so he can be very unpredictable at times and hard to read.

Out of the blue last night, he told my older son he would talk to me about sending him over there for the summer. I do not want to send him. The custody order states that it is my ex's responsibility to get himself over here and that he can't take the kids out of the U.S. I've been tense since ex started this conversation because I don't know what to say to either of them. I don't know why I let him bully me from half way around the world.

On a side note, I went to child support services yesterday and his country is one that our government works with, so he won't be able to tell me he couldn't set up a payment schedule or anything. I still don't expect to see any kind of support for his kids, but at least I know that he'll have someone there explain everything in his native tongue so there's no excuse to "not know" what to do.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by missgranger View Post
...

Out of the blue last night, he told my older son he would talk to me about sending him over there for the summer. I do not want to send him. The custody order states that it is my ex's responsibility to get himself over here and that he can't take the kids out of the U.S. I've been tense since ex started this conversation because I don't know what to say to either of them.
....

Tell your son (and maybe your X) that this is not possible. It will not happen. It is not in the custody order.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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I would intercept those conversations, take your son out of the room and remind your ex that discussing visitation with the children is inappopriate and can only be addressed through you or the courts.

Last night my ex was telling all the kids that he would be picking them in a few months for their very lengthy summer vacation. Telling them he would have them for a very long time. My two younger kids started crying and it took me forever to call them down and get them to bed. The thing is that summer vacation visitation was never ordered, i don't know if he thinks it was ordered or plans to take me back to court to get it ordered but it was totally inappopriate. So i logged what happened and the kids reactions. Not too much one can do except save the info for the next court heaaring.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JunipersMom View Post
If he's not paying child support - and cant get a VISA to see his children who live here.. then I would think if SKYPE just quit working on your computer and he HAD to send them emails or YouTube videos or something else you could monitor and limit when they see -- what judge would fault you for something technologically possible wrong?? Email him that the skype isnt working.. have him send emails or whatever and if you change your mind or if anything else changes.. WOW look at that -- its working again..
my thoughts
that a woman truly after my own heart. our job is to protect our children. sometimes, that even includes emotional harm from family members or the other parent. i would check into your legal obligations and also see what was spelled out in your divorce agreements/friend of the court paperwork. to you and i am sorry that he is using his "parental" authority to manipulate your child.

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Old 04-29-2010, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone, for your advice.

It's good to have the reminders that even though he makes me feel bad/guilty about the situation, my obligation is to my children and that the court orders are the directions I need to follow.

The lack of funds has really hit hard this month (well, it has for the past few months, but this one especially). Instead of feeling guilty, I should be outraged that he isn't taking care of his children at all -- not physically, not emotionally, not mentally.

As per the court order, I sent him information about a daycare program for our youngest at the beginning of the week via email. I haven't heard a word from him. He couldn't be bothered to respond to any of the papers during the divorce, either. I need to look at his actions rather than listen to his words when he's talking about how much he cares about his children.

Sorry to vent. It just seems like the divorce made it all more complicated in some ways than just being in the limbo of separation.

Thanks again, everyone, for your advice and feedback and sharing your own experiences.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Avani, good luck to you dealing with your ex and the kids this summer.
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