Let Ex's email slide or correct it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-04-2014, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Let Ex's email slide or correct it?

So the background is that DD is nearly 3, and ex and I have been split since before she was born. In the custody documents, I have full custody and 100% parenting time, because ex and I filed the petition to have it that way. In the actual world, he gets time with DD every other week, currently for 8 hours each time.

Ex sent me an email yesterday with, among other things, a paragraph talking about how great of a parent he is (always has nutritious food available, DD feels safe there, etc). I feel like I should set the record straight, because I have some signs that while the visits are not dangerous, they aren't going very well for DD. DD is sometimes ok with visits and other times, she is very distressed and screams about how she doesn't like dad and doesn't want to go. She nearly always has emotional/behavioral issues the evening that she comes back. And she always comes back so hungry and thirsty that she's angry.

Because Ex has said before that he plans to file for more time with DD, that makes me wonder if he wrote that email to have a paper trail that supposedly shows he's such a great parent. On the other hand, he rarely does what he says he'll do, including file to change visitation/custody. And, the last time I said something to him about how DD comes back from visitation was when she wasn't changed for so long she had a rash and had peed entirely through her diaper and pants. When I said something about it to Ex over text, he blew up and sent angry texts and voicemails to me, accusing me of jumping to conclusions and acting against DD's interests, etc. He even hounded me about it when we met in person, demanding that I tell him I thought he was a good parent.

So... I don't really want to stir stuff up when I can just let it slide, but I also don't want to let him make a false paper trail for his possible custody plans. I feel like the two options are either to 1 respond back to the other parts of the email and don't even bother trying to set the record straight because I already keep my own records of the visitation problems or 2 respond and directly but politely say that there are problems with food and DD's emotional state when she comes back.

If this helps, my partner is usually at home when DD goes to visits and comes back, and he can confirm that she is often distressed before and after.
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#2 of 5 Old 07-04-2014, 10:42 AM
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Can you get your daughter to a therapist? It sounds like she's having a lot of problems, so it may help, and also that would be a better trail than your partner. It also may help her to process whatever has her so upset about seeing dad. (the therapist also might be better able to recognize if something really bad is going on, and if something is then the therapist will be able to testify in court which will be very valuable)

I do think he's trying to bait you into giving written evidence that you agree he's a good father. Did you save the texts and voicemails from his outburst? That'd definitely be helpful.

I'm not sure how you should reply, and I hope that this works out alright. You can't sound overly antagonistic, but if your daughter is routinely coming back hungry and thirsty and dirty- it doesn't matter if he's got good food if he's not giving it to her!

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#3 of 5 Old 07-05-2014, 01:01 PM
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An email from him saying he feeds her and keeps her safe isn't going to be helpful for him in a custody case. That is the bare minimum he should be doing and of course he is going to claim that, so I really wouldn't worry about it (though yes, it does sound like he was hoping to leave a paper trail or even get you to respond in the affirmative). I would not reply to that part of his email. Perhaps wait a couple of weeks and then send an email asking to make sure dd gets a snack and drink before they leave/on the way home since she often arrives hungry and thirsty. Also, unfortunately, your partner will not be a useful witness for any behavioral problems since he is very obviously biased towards you.

If your ex files for visitation, he will almost definitely get at least every weekend. So while it sounds like he is unlikely to actually do it, I agree that having her see a therapist might be helpful to deal with this amount of visitation and perhaps eventually more.

My kids act out a lot after they come back from dad's too. It's really frustrating and hard to deal with. My 4-year-old also often says he doesn't want to go and that he doesn' t like dad, etc., and it breaks my heart. Like you, there is nothing terrible or dangerous going on, but it's obviously hard on the kids and, of course, on me to hear about it! Good luck!
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#4 of 5 Old 07-05-2014, 02:43 PM
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That's a challenging situation. You definitely don't want to put agreement in writing....but not saying anything can also imply agreement. I would consult a lawyer, show the emails and ask for advice on how to respond, if at all. But more importantly what and how to document to prepare for possible applications for joint custody.

My hunch is that no response is necessary and that it would fuel a conflict that your x seems to want to start. However, I would try to get some other witnesses other than your partner, who will be viewed as biased, and keep documenting patterns. If dd remains distressed for extended periods of time after visits, then counselling may be a good idea for support for you in how to best deal with it. However, it is pretty normal for them to cry when they leave (when the visits are that far apart - shorter and more frequent visits at a consistent time is often easier on them at that age). And it is normal for them (at least in my case!) to come home hungry and exhausted after a big day with fun daddy (albeit narcissistic and self serving daddy too ). But if it is impacting her function significantly for long periods of time in between visits, then it's worth addressing with a counsellor.
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#5 of 5 Old 07-14-2014, 12:46 AM
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Forward the email to yourself and make a note of your thoughts on his comment. I agree that his claim won't make much difference in court but it might give you peace of mind to document your opinion with a sort of time stamp that coincides with the date he made his comments. I'd include that you aren't sharing your concerns with him because you are afraid he'll cause drama if you try to initiate a discussion, and anything you do about the problem i.e: always have a snack and drink ready for her as soon as she gets home, since you know she'll need to eat. It seems like he might be trying to bait an argument, so I think it's a good call not addressing that part of the email in your response to him.
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