Voluntarily giving up custody? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Have you asked him which he would prefer?
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#3 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:12 PM
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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.
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#4 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:14 PM
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Crap, I am in the wrong forum
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#5 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:19 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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Crap, I am in the wrong forum
I agree with what you said ThreeBeans, what forum did you think you were in?
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#7 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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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.

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#10 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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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.
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#11 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:35 PM
 
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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.

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#14 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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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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#21 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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Ultimately you will have to make your own choice. There are two different issues to the situation. What's best for you and your dh, and what is best for your son. In my world, what's best for my child needs to come first.

Thing is sometimes when we're younger (doesn't matter if in your 20's, 30's, or even 40's) we want to jump on different opportunities to further our lives.

Your child has a very short opportunity to grow into adulthood. We all believe it will take forever, but those 20 years from child into college years is a blink of the eye.

Imagine your son is 5 now, you move, create a beautiful new life in Alaska, but logistically your bond with your son will not be as strong with you moving so far away.

Alaska isn't going anywhere, it will still be there in 15 years. These years of having consistent contact with your son, they won't last forever, do you really want to lose even a second of that time with him?

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#22 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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I think you should put your son first and your husband second.

Children need their mothers. Your son is already going through a hard time with you remarrying only 3 months ago.

I would never consider giving up custody of my child to move away. When you become a mother you give up certain things.

How can you even consider this move?
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#23 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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Didn't your ex get a DUI with your ds in the car like 2 months ago? I really don't think it would be in your son's best interest to leave him with his father at this time.
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#24 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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Didn't your ex get a DUI with your ds in the car like 2 months ago? I really don't think it would be in your son's best interest to leave him with his father at this time.
uh,yeah...
how can you be sure he has worked his "issues" out by now?
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#25 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Exactly. Less than 2 months ago you posted about getting sole custody and supervised visits because of the dad's alcohol problems. You need to think long and hard on this.
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#26 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Didn't your ex get a DUI with your ds in the car like 2 months ago? I really don't think it would be in your son's best interest to leave him with his father at this time.
Oh wow!!!!!

I take back what I said.

Your ex had a DUI with your son in the car!!!! ?????? And you are considering leaving them together???? Wow!!!
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#27 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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It's not my place to say what is best for your family.

It sounds like you've got some very difficult decisions to make.

I wish you peace and love as you make those choices.
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#28 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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OK, I'm confused, here.

You have a 5-year-old son whom you're considering leaving because you're excited about the prospect of teaching other children in Adventureland of the North. Your concern is not about his wellbeing, but about custody. You have some unrealistic assumptions about how custody works (thinking, for instance, that you can leave him with his dad for a term, then bring him to live with you).

Your ex got a DUI with your son in the car, but you feel sure he's turned things around, which happens to be convenient for your move.

The job of your husband of three months trumps your son's needs.

I am all for the pursuit of fulfilling careers. However, I think you have a few issues to work out before you either leave your son or assume responsibility for classrooms full of other children. In ten or fifteen years, Alaska will still be there, and presumably you'll be around, too. Right now, imo, you have a pressing job, which is to help raise your son, whom you had voluntarily.

I would not move, and I would sit down and have a chat with your DH about your commitment to your son.
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#29 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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I can't imagine doing this.

Especially for a job in Alaska. I live in Alaska right now. We are so isolated from the rest of the country. It can be very difficult to leave because of sheer distance. Also it really is not all its cracked up to be. Especially Anchorage.
Dirty city with a high crime rate. I would suggest staying near your son.
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#30 of 153 Old 05-02-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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2 months of sobriety does not mean that your ex is no longer an alcoholic or over his "issues" as you call it. Also, he currently has his gf's 5 kids living with them. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Your 1st job is to be a responsible mother...everything else comes 2nd including your new husband that doesn't get along with your child.
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