I flat out denied visitation. What happens now? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So of course I know no one here has a magic crystal ball, but I sort of got bold and now I'm wondering if it's going to bite me in the butt.

 

Divorce was finalized in April but ex has not seen ds in over two years and has never parented or paid child support. SO and I are getting married in the next month or so, have been together since 2009 he is the only dad ds has ever really known and ds has only very vague knowledge/recollections of A(my ex).

 

He called tonight and said he and his father wanted to know when was a good time to come down and visit ds. I told him not any time soon, as I felt it would be emotionally disruptive to ds. I told him that ds' therapist supported this decision. I politely explained that SO and I have never refused visitation over the last two years, but that he chose not to exercise that right. Now, IMO it's too late. He can wait until ds is much older and emotionally able to handle the reappearance of this person he doesn't know. Frankly I doubt he is sincere in his motivations, given his abusive nature, but even if he is, that's too bad since the time for that has long since passed. His father is not much better.....when ex abused me and I went to a shelter with ds, his father offered me $1,000 to drop the charges, say I had lied, and move back in.

 

Anyway, even though we were married at the time of ds' birth, his name is not on ds' birth certificate. At one point I tried to get it added, but he refused to cooperate, even to sign papers that I had already filled out and paid for. However because we were married, even without the birth certificate, I was able to get custody through the courts and have a child support order set up (which he has never paid on).

 

Supposing he goes back and tells his father what I said, and the father hires him a lawyer and they take me to court, should I be worried? His father hired a lawyer before, but the lawyer never showed up in court, I assume because they didn't get the answer they wanted (that ex would get full custody of ds, even though he hadn't seen him in 6 months. lol.)

 

He's a pretty lazy person, but he's also narcissistic, and hates to be crossed. And his father has a terrible temper and gets angry if things don't go how he thinks they should. God help you if you tell him no, or that he's wrong. They live about 6 hrs away. My gut tells me this is not over yet, and now I'm wondering if I did the wrong thing in flatly denying him visitation. The court order says he is entitled to "reasonable visitation" supervised by me. I personally think it's unreasonable and not in ds' best interests to pop in and out at will, especially after refusing to go on the birth certificate, and then telling SO on the phone, "If you want to raise the kid, more power to you. Thanks". I have no idea whether a judge would agree with me.

 

He does not know that ds was recently dx'd with Aspergers, anxiety and ADHD. I didn't think it was his business. But that dx is one of the main reasons I feel strongly that unreliable people should not be popping in and out of his life. Even in all the upheavals ds has experienced, he has had only a few adults in his life as primary figures. I don't think kids should be subjected to a revolving door of people who pretend to care.

 

Thoughts?


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Old 06-10-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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Unless he terminates his rights, yes, those health related issues are very much his business.  Additionally,  it would not be looked on well in court for you to refuse visitation.  You can certainly choose when/where and supervise, but you really can't say 'too late'. 

 

As for emotional disruption for your son- I just don't see that as an issue.  Since he has been out of the picture for a long time you can certainly explain that he's there to say hi, the child doesn't have to really grasp the complexities. 

 

Yes, what you said can be used against you in court if he wants to claim you are restricting access to the child. 

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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I think you were 100% in the right. Your ex does not want to see the child, it is just he wants to impress his dad with what a great father he is himself. I am doubting he will bother with hiring a lawyer to fight you. I have seen that happen, but usually, it is something where the grandparent is around a lot and overbearing all the time, not after 2 yrs, pops in for one visit. And if you two go back to court, he will owe years back child support. You should be able to use that to push an adoption.

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Next time though, I would not flat out deny visitation. I would tell your ex a date when the counselor is around and tell him if he is interested in getting in to this again, this is the date and time. Make sure it is a few weeks out, not just when Grandpa wants to pop in to town. I think it could be deemed reasonable and supervised by you is you do it that way. Then he could not say you denied him visits. And you can say it was reasonable, after all these years of not being around, to start by meeting with the counselor present to help deal with any issues. I know..you probably don't NEED the counselor present. But the point is, the ex will probably say never mind if you do that. He might not say nevermind to begin with, but I am betting he never shows.

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Old 06-10-2011, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post

Unless he terminates his rights, yes, those health related issues are very much his business.  Additionally,  it would not be looked on well in court for you to refuse visitation.  You can certainly choose when/where and supervise, but you really can't say 'too late'. 

 

As for emotional disruption for your son- I just don't see that as an issue.  Since he has been out of the picture for a long time you can certainly explain that he's there to say hi, the child doesn't have to really grasp the complexities. 

 

Yes, what you said can be used against you in court if he wants to claim you are restricting access to the child. 



Actually I have full legal custody so as it was explained to me I do not have to consult/inform him of anything related to ds. For example, where he goes to school, his vax status, taking him to his therapies, etc. Of course this is what I was told at that time, and he was only a baby then. I have not gone back to court recently so I have just continued to operate on that assumption.

 

And, ds was very upset just over a phone call. He was upset that the ex forced him to say, "I love you daddy" to someone who is not (in his 3 yr old mind) his daddy. I do not lie to my ds, and he knows that SO is not his biological father, and he knows of A's existence, what state he lives in, and that he helped make ds. Unfortunately he also has vague memories of A's abuse towards me that he witnessed, and it has come out recently that he is scared of him. I think to force him to meet him would be incredibly disrespectful of our family and of ds' feelings. Also keep in mind that he does not do well with change. We endured a 40-minute screaming head banging on the cement sidewalk episode because I mixed up the days that the pool was closed. We are in therapy dealing with the removal of his grandparents from his lives and he is nowheres near having closure or peace about that. I can only imagine what it would be like if we suddenly dropped A back into the picture (and then took him right back out, because he's unreliable and lazy and guaranteed not to stay involved).

 

All that being said, if it is used against me in court, how would that play out? Will they just force me to give him visitation on threat of....idk, jail, or something? Can I demand that he test clean for drugs before every visit? Can I insist that he leave the grandfather out of the picture? Would a judge actually give him custody of a child he's not seen in two years if I continued to refuse visitation on the grounds of his emotional health? What about if I have psychologists backing me in writing? Does any of that matter at all?

 

ETA: Lisa, that is a brilliant idea! He would HATE that suggestion and be very unlikely to show up. He would hate it even more if he did show up, lol, because ds is very outspoken and would likely start firing questions at him. "why did you hit my mommy? are you mean? Are you bad? Do you hit girls? Because I don't hit girls. Will you hit my sister? I think my daddy will probably beat you up if you do." This is all stuff he has said to me, I guess in working all this out in his head, and I have no doubts he'd say it to his face too. I'd still rather not put ds through any of that, but the look on ex's face would be freaking priceless.


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Old 06-10-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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IME, the "resonable visitation" thing does NOT mean that the CP can flat out deny visitation.  It means the exact opposite, in fact: that you MUST provide visitation, and what most courts consider reasonable is EOW.  Obviously, if it must be supervised by you, that doesn't mean a whole weekend in your case, but a judge would likely say "reasonable" was one day a week or so. 

 

I agree with you about the in and out of the kid's life thing, but I have a feeling that if it went to court and ex could prove you were denying visits, he would have a case for them to be either unsupe'd or supe'd by a rep from the court, with you not present.

 

CYA by giving him a date and time that is less than convenient for him.  If he wants to be there, he'll make it happen.  If not, then you are covered, yk?

 

BTW, I have concerns about the conditions at my ex's and my lawyer told me it wasn't worth going to court and that if ex was showing signs of instability (unmedicated schizophrenic) when he called on Friday evenings, I should just deny visitation for that weekend.  She said that on the basis of the fact that ex doesn't have the money to file a MFC.  I haven't had to do it yet, but I'm sure it'll come up soon.  The difference in my case is that I wouldn't be denying visits flat out, I'd just be doing it for the period of time that ex was having an episode and when things calmed down he could see ds again (ex's new wife is awesome and keeps me informed about his moods and stability; she would never allow ds to come over if ex was having a bad go of it, in fact she would be outta there with her kids anyway and likely would be spending the weekend with my at my place).


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Old 06-11-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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Legally having sole custody does not make the NCP invalid. The NCP still has legal rights in regards to accessing his kids medical files, school files and so forth. There is nothing that can stop that except TPR.

 

 

 

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok, so he can access them, but he has no say, right? Because for the last 3.5 years I've been doing what I want and not pying him a bit of mind. For example, he didn't want ds to attend my religious services, or eat pork (he is 7th day adventist) and I figured, well, I'm the one raising ds, he's not on the birth certificate, so he can go kick rocks, and I've raised ds in my religion and fed him pork on a regular basis. I don't throw that in his face, but whenever he has complained or expressed a preference for ds I pretty much just ignored himand did what I wanted anyway .

 

I guess if he asked directly I wouldn't lie to him but I've seen no need to initiate contact (and therefore drama) just to inform him of ds medical status, or what school he attends. I won't even give him my address, for safety reasons. Am I supposed to be intiating all this sharing of info, or is itjust that if he asks, I can't say no? ds' old school had a policy that only the parent(s) listed on the birth certificate could access records. Which meant that SO couldn't access them without my signature, but then again, neither could ex. Is that not common?


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Old 06-11-2011, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, how would I go about getting his parental rights terminated since he is not on the birth certificate? If SO wants to adopt ds does this help at all? We really just want him out of our lives.....he has absolutely nothing to offer ds.


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Old 06-11-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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If you want him out of your lives (and who could blame you), then you need a lawyer. Being in arrears for court-order child support can land you in JAIL in some states, so it's not an insignificant bit of leverage you have there. But you require expert advice specific to your locality on how to wield that weapon to encourage a voluntary TPR. 

 

If saying "nope, too late" to visitation results in not hearing from your ex for another extended period, Your lawyer MAY advise you to just keep doing that. The goal here really isn't to get money out of your ex, after all - it's to protect your son from his abusive biodad. But you really, really, really should speak with a lawyer about this. It's money well spent. 

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Old 06-12-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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Yes, he has access, but no decision making- provided you have sole legal custody. When is that to be reviewed again (most agreements have this provision somewhere)?  His not  being on the birth certificate does not mean he has no legal rights.  He is still your son's parent.  

 

In many states, a step-parent adoption is very easy- provided all parties agree.   Will your ex voluntarily relinquish his rights to your DH?  Does your DH want to adopt your son?  If both answers are yes, you can usually process it through fairly easily provided there has not been extensive CPS involvement along the way. 

 

I know all too well what it's like to be in your shoes.  I was there for several years.  My ex did eventually wind up relinquishing his rights. 

 

What I did was to email updates about medical conditions etc as they came up.  "Today dd was diagnosed with xyz.  If you have any questions, please email me."  I kept firm boundaries.  I was open to his visiting, but he had to travel to do so.   He never did.  I never ever told her why  we were not with him, beyond saying that sometimes grownups don't live together very well, and it's best for them to live in separate houses.  My lawyer made it very clear based on DDs age that anything negative she voiced about his behavior would be interpreted as having come from me and would not serve me well in court.  Something like your guesses about your son's commentary on your ex's behavior towards you in the past would have reflected badly on me, not on him.  I don't know how old your son was when you left, but if it was before he was three, he isn't likely to have any memories of it and his saying things like that would suggest you have given him too much negative information about the past and about his father.   Even if that's not information you have given him, the fact that he is voicing it needs to be balanced with something as simple as, "In our family we don't hit.  We are safe now- without worrying about anything in the past. People who aren't careful can lose custody due to parental alienation over things like this. 

 

As for the phone call you cited, I'm unsure how it could have escalated to the point where your child was forced to say anything.  As his mom, you can intervene in those moments and end the call.  Document your butt off when you do, but you do have the right and responsibility to step in in moments of emotional manipulation. 

 

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ok, so he can access them, but he has no say, right? Because for the last 3.5 years I've been doing what I want and not pying him a bit of mind. For example, he didn't want ds to attend my religious services, or eat pork (he is 7th day adventist) and I figured, well, I'm the one raising ds, he's not on the birth certificate, so he can go kick rocks, and I've raised ds in my religion and fed him pork on a regular basis. I don't throw that in his face, but whenever he has complained or expressed a preference for ds I pretty much just ignored himand did what I wanted anyway .

 

I guess if he asked directly I wouldn't lie to him but I've seen no need to initiate contact (and therefore drama) just to inform him of ds medical status, or what school he attends. I won't even give him my address, for safety reasons. Am I supposed to be intiating all this sharing of info, or is itjust that if he asks, I can't say no? ds' old school had a policy that only the parent(s) listed on the birth certificate could access records. Which meant that SO couldn't access them without my signature, but then again, neither could ex. Is that not common?



 

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Old 06-12-2011, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Smithie and insidevoice, thank you, those were both very helpfuol posts.

 

On the custody papers, there was no mention of updating or revisiting the issue at a later date. I had no experience with this sort of thing and didn't have a lawyer...I had no idea that they were supposed to include a date to review it. However, I guess this is a good thing, since now the onus is on him to take the first step if he wants a change in the arrangement.

 

insidevoice, I know it is probably hard to believe since my ds was only a year old, and barely a year, when he witnessed the violence. He was unusually verbal so maybe that is part of it, but he definitely remembers. I never, ever brought it up or talked badly about my ex in front of him. I also avoided taking him with me to my therapy appts for that same reason. I do believe that it is just as wrong as flat out lying to him, to try and persuade him to feel a certain way about my ex. I would hope that the extensive psychological documentation I have would help to show that I'm not alienating him. (for example, he acted out with dolls what my ex did to me). But I can certainly see how that could be a bad thing. Slightly OT, but we had a chance meeting with my parents, who we cut off, and when he saw my mother, the first thing he blurted out was, "You told lies to people and the police came to take me away from my mommy and daddy!" I didn't tell him that. I just answered his questions and he put it all together. He's a smart cookie. And I was *very* embarrassed to have her undoubtedly thinking that we had coached him to say that.

 

I posted here about the phone call situation...it was a post about what to call the ex, or something like that. I did intervene and hang up, and I had *specifically* told ex at the beginning of the conversation that ds knew him as "A", not as "daddy" and to not confuse or upset him in any way by referring to himself as daddy. Ds is very sensitive and is also scared of A and so when A said, "say I love you," although he was visibly upset and confused, he said it. I'm sure most people wouldn't think that is a big deal, but with my background emotional manipulation is a big deal to me and I don't want my child being groomed for greater forms of control. To me it's just like tickling a reluctant child...it teaches that their feelingsbody are not their own. But, after my experiences, I am so afraid of it happening again to me or to my kids, that maybe I'm oversensitive.

 

smithie, I tried to look up the child support laws, out of curiosity, but I wasn't sure whether I should be looking in the state he lives in, or the state we live in where the order was established?

I think you're right, we definitely need a lawyer!


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Old 06-12-2011, 05:17 PM
 
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Child support will be ordered from the state you got the order/live not the state he lives in.  OP as you know if your son was diagnosed with Aspergers he very well could have the memory skills that allow him to recall VERY early memories.  The can often posses splintered skills that allow them to be intensely focused on specific areas and his may be memory of events.

Hang in there <3

 

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Smithie and insidevoice, thank you, those were both very helpfuol posts.

 

On the custody papers, there was no mention of updating or revisiting the issue at a later date. I had no experience with this sort of thing and didn't have a lawyer...I had no idea that they were supposed to include a date to review it. However, I guess this is a good thing, since now the onus is on him to take the first step if he wants a change in the arrangement.

 

insidevoice, I know it is probably hard to believe since my ds was only a year old, and barely a year, when he witnessed the violence. He was unusually verbal so maybe that is part of it, but he definitely remembers. I never, ever brought it up or talked badly about my ex in front of him. I also avoided taking him with me to my therapy appts for that same reason. I do believe that it is just as wrong as flat out lying to him, to try and persuade him to feel a certain way about my ex. I would hope that the extensive psychological documentation I have would help to show that I'm not alienating him. (for example, he acted out with dolls what my ex did to me). But I can certainly see how that could be a bad thing. Slightly OT, but we had a chance meeting with my parents, who we cut off, and when he saw my mother, the first thing he blurted out was, "You told lies to people and the police came to take me away from my mommy and daddy!" I didn't tell him that. I just answered his questions and he put it all together. He's a smart cookie. And I was *very* embarrassed to have her undoubtedly thinking that we had coached him to say that.

 

I posted here about the phone call situation...it was a post about what to call the ex, or something like that. I did intervene and hang up, and I had *specifically* told ex at the beginning of the conversation that ds knew him as "A", not as "daddy" and to not confuse or upset him in any way by referring to himself as daddy. Ds is very sensitive and is also scared of A and so when A said, "say I love you," although he was visibly upset and confused, he said it. I'm sure most people wouldn't think that is a big deal, but with my background emotional manipulation is a big deal to me and I don't want my child being groomed for greater forms of control. To me it's just like tickling a reluctant child...it teaches that their feelingsbody are not their own. But, after my experiences, I am so afraid of it happening again to me or to my kids, that maybe I'm oversensitive.

 

smithie, I tried to look up the child support laws, out of curiosity, but I wasn't sure whether I should be looking in the state he lives in, or the state we live in where the order was established?

I think you're right, we definitely need a lawyer!



 


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Old 06-12-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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Even if children do not have clear memories of trauma, trauma absolutely effects their brain development no matter when it happens. In fact, the earlier the trauma, the more damaging the effects may be. I work in the field of early childhood mental health, and I see children all the time who suffered trauma in the first 6-12 months of their lives, then were put in a loving, stable, and trauma-free environment... and still, at 4 or 5 years old you can see the effects of the trauma on their current behavior.


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Old 06-12-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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Even if children do not have clear memories of trauma, trauma absolutely effects their brain development no matter when it happens. In fact, the earlier the trauma, the more damaging the effects may be. I work in the field of early childhood mental health, and I see children all the time who suffered trauma in the first 6-12 months of their lives, then were put in a loving, stable, and trauma-free environment... and still, at 4 or 5 years old you can see the effects of the trauma on their current behavior.



Oh- I don't doubt that in any way at all- this is why in some states children who simply witness abuse are considered to have been abused- in others (the one I am in currently) witnesses to violence are not victims- which makes it harder to put legal protections in place when the victim does want to leave. 

 

I think there is a difference between having the effect on brain development however, and having a clear memory that a child that age can verbalize to that extent.  In all the years I have worked with victims, that's just not something that happens. You will certainly see the changes in behavior from exposure to traumatic events, but it is certainly an anomaly that this child is having clear recall of specific events. 

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Old 06-12-2011, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh- I don't doubt that in any way at all- this is why in some states children who simply witness abuse are considered to have been abused- in others (the one I am in currently) witnesses to violence are not victims- which makes it harder to put legal protections in place when the victim does want to leave. 

 

I think there is a difference between having the effect on brain development however, and having a clear memory that a child that age can verbalize to that extent.  In all the years I have worked with victims, that's just not something that happens. You will certainly see the changes in behavior from exposure to traumatic events, but it is certainly an anomaly that this child is having clear recall of specific events. 



This was the reason I had so much difficulty getting any type of therapy geared toward him when we did finally get stable. It took me a full year to find a therapist to work with him, take me seriously in my concerns and who meshed well with our family. Even though it is an anomaly, it sucks so much that literally no one believed me. I know it's probably not logical but I can't help wondering had I been able to access services for him right away, would we still be having these struggles with him? Would he still have Asperger's? There is so much guilt in all this. I hope and pray he never has to see ex again. It's not a fun conversation to have with your child trying to explain rape without scaring him, while still being truthful. How does one have an age appropriate conversation about something he has seen that just isn't age appropriate?

 

Not only did they not consider what he witnessed to be tantamount to actual abuse, they completely dismissed my request for a restraining order because I filed it in VA and not in the state where it happened (because I left the state for safety-duh.) So we have lots of documentation of the events but no RO which makes me look like I'm either exaggerating or negligent. It really makes me mad.

 


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Old 06-13-2011, 07:10 PM
 
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If Dad wants to be involved, a court will allow him to be. You will not be able to have your SO adopt until you are married, possibly until you have been married for a certain period of time, and you will have to have either Dad's or the court's consent. Dad will be able to use your denial of visitation (among your other actions, or lack of them) against you in contesting stepDad's proposed adoption - claiming that you have denied hm the ability to be a father to his child.

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Old 06-13-2011, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 denied him the ability to be a father to his child.


Oh yes, this is what he always says. It's always someone else's fault, he can't help it, I make his life hard (because per the court stipulations I insist that he do all the traveling for any visits). I would hope that a reasonable court would ask why this "devoted" individual neer visited during the prior wo years when I was NOT denying visitation. Also, why he has not maintained child support or phone contact ever in this child's life. i mean, doesn't that make his motives at least a little suspect to someone with common sense?


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Old 06-13-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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If you are presenting things accurately and he hasn't made other attempts to see his son; attempts you also denied/complicated/frustrated, then I understand why you don't want him to waltz back in at this point (and presumably walk back out).

 

Given my family's history, it's a little hard for me to just dismiss the whole "you have a court order that says 'reasonable' visitation" thing.  My DH had a court order saying his ex had to give him "reasonable" visitation, when he traveled to the state where his ex moved with their kid.  His ex unilaterally decided that - no matter what the court said - it was best for their son to have the "consistency" of spending all his time with her, without "interruptions" from DH.  She also justified this by saying DH was "abusive", although she never really clarified what he DID that was abusive, aside from continuing to try to visit their son.  

 

Two of the judges DH appealed to did not seem to care a whit what his ex did.  The 3rd judge gave DH sole legal and physical custody.

 

While I think that was the right decision (for myriad reasons), I do have some sympathy for DH's ex, who MUST have been as surprised as if an alien spaceship landed in her yard, when the court reacted so drastically, after having spent years acting like it was no big deal if she ignored their court orders.

 

So...a judge MIGHT object to your feeling entitled to decide on your own that what the court ordered is not in the best interest of your child.  Especially if your ex (and his support network) are crafty and try to say that the reason he hasn't seen the child all this time is that somehow you prevented it.

 

In your shoes, I'd ask an attorney whether it would be better to:

* Go ahead and alert the court about what's going on - that he hasn't exercised visitation (or paid support) in two years, so you'd like to pursue terminating his parental rights, for abandonment; esp. since your son has been diagnosed with some emotional problems and his therapist thinks it would exacerbate them, to reintroduce his father anytime soon;

OR

* Wait and see if your ex makes the effort (and spends the money) to go to court.  Maybe he won't.

 

Just to be clear, I do understand that your situation's different than ours.  Since your court orders say supervised custody, I assume the court actually determined your ex had been abusive.  Also, while my DH's ex was denying visitation, my DH was twisting himself into a pretzel, trying to spend time with his kid, not disappearing for 2 years.  I'm SURE no one would give your ex custody, over what you did.  I just do have some concern that you should square things with the court, not just hope your ex goes away again.


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Old 06-13-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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Would he still have Asperger's?

 


I have two sons on the Autism spectrum.  I know what it is, as a mother, to actually LOOK for ways to blame yourself for your kid's diagnosis.  The underlying logic: "If I can make it my fault, then I have the power to fix it."

 

But if your son has Asperger's, then yes - he would still have it.  You simply have a kid with Asperger's.  It's on the mild end of the spectrum, so it's not always obvious as soon as serious Autism is.  And, let me assure you, Asperger's is not the end of the world.  A few of the smartest, finest people I know have it.  They are liked.  They're happy.  They've succeeded in school.  It'll be OK.

 


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Old 06-14-2011, 05:59 AM
 
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OP... One of my best friends in the whole wide world has Aspergers.   She is a microbiologist , married and has 3 kids.   She has some quirky traits but is a wonderful person.  As far as I know Aspergers doesn't go away.


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Old 06-14-2011, 06:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post


Oh yes, this is what he always says. It's always someone else's fault, he can't help it, I make his life hard (because per the court stipulations I insist that he do all the traveling for any visits). I would hope that a reasonable court would ask why this "devoted" individual neer visited during the prior wo years when I was NOT denying visitation. Also, why he has not maintained child support or phone contact ever in this child's life. i mean, doesn't that make his motives at least a little suspect to someone with common sense?


The real question is - Can you PROVE any of your allegations? If not, it's he says/she says, and the court is likely to err on his side.

 

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you are presenting things accurately and he hasn't made other attempts to see his son; attempts you also denied/complicated/frustrated, then I understand why you don't want him to waltz back in at this point (and presumably walk back out).

 

oh no, not at all. In fact, when ds was about 6 months old, ex expressed an interest in being with ds, so I helped him move to my state, including using my own money, so that he could be near ds and spend time with him. I brought ds over to him, on the bus, every other day for several hours at a time. After 6 weeks he decided it was "too hard" (he didn't know how to wash clothes, cook, take care of himself in general and didn't want to learn, and I couldn't do everything for him) and went back to NY to live with his mother.

 

Then when ds was 1 year old he said he coul be a good dad/husband if I just would come to him. So I quit my job (stupidly) and moved back in with him, 6 hrs away from my home. within 2 weeks he was hitting me and about 6 weeks after moving in with him he raped and beat me in front of ds. At that time I called the police and left to a DV shelter.

 

In between and before and after those episodes I continued to honor the court order which stated that he could visit, supervised, in VA. He refused to come to VA and wanted me to bring ds to him, which I wouldn't do. I do have emails that demonstrate that.

 

Given my family's history, it's a little hard for me to just dismiss the whole "you have a court order that says 'reasonable' visitation" thing.  My DH had a court order saying his ex had to give him "reasonable" visitation, when he traveled to the state where his ex moved with their kid.  His ex unilaterally decided that - no matter what the court said - it was best for their son to have the "consistency" of spending all his time with her, without "interruptions" from DH.  She also justified this by saying DH was "abusive", although she never really clarified what he DID that was abusive, aside from continuing to try to visit their son.  

 

Two of the judges DH appealed to did not seem to care a whit what his ex did.  The 3rd judge gave DH sole legal and physical custody.

 

While I think that was the right decision (for myriad reasons), I do have some sympathy for DH's ex, who MUST have been as surprised as if an alien spaceship landed in her yard, when the court reacted so drastically, after having spent years acting like it was no big deal if she ignored their court orders.

 

So...a judge MIGHT object to your feeling entitled to decide on your own that what the court ordered is not in the best interest of your child.  Especially if your ex (and his support network) are crafty and try to say that the reason he hasn't seen the child all this time is that somehow you prevented it.

 

In your shoes, I'd ask an attorney whether it would be better to:

* Go ahead and alert the court about what's going on - that he hasn't exercised visitation (or paid support) in two years, so you'd like to pursue terminating his parental rights, for abandonment; esp. since your son has been diagnosed with some emotional problems and his therapist thinks it would exacerbate them, to reintroduce his father anytime soon;

OR

* Wait and see if your ex makes the effort (and spends the money) to go to court.  Maybe he won't.

 

Just to be clear, I do understand that your situation's different than ours.  Since your court orders say supervised custody, I assume the court actually determined your ex had been abusive.  Also, while my DH's ex was denying visitation, my DH was twisting himself into a pretzel, trying to spend time with his kid, not disappearing for 2 years.  I'm SURE no one would give your ex custody, over what you did.  I just do have some concern that you should square things with the court, not just hope your ex goes away again.



I just want to say that situations like yours make me very, very sad for everyone involved. I believe that fathers have the right to be involved and present in their kids' lives, even if they are not the most terrific people in the world, their children still have the right to know them. Even in light of all that my ex did I was still willing to allow him to visit ds in a healthy, supervised, controlled atmosphere. If my SO and I were to break up today, it goes without saying that BOTH of the kids would be spending equal amounts of time with both parents. He may not do everything the way I do it, but he is capable and loving and that is what matters.

 

It seems like the justice system just can't get it right.....it's more about how clever, persistent and careful you are than about actual parenting ability/motivations. I'm glad your dh finally was able to be the parent he wanted to be!


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Old 06-14-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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It seems like the justice system just can't get it right.....it's more about how clever, persistent and careful you are than about actual parenting ability/motivations.


God knows that's the truth.

 


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Old 07-04-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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I would check your state's regulations. In the state of TN, if a man is not on the birth certificate then he has to declare paternity in a court of law - if he does not complete either one of these; then the man has no rights to the child -medical, visitation, nada. I personally don't think a biological father is important in a child's life. We have a blended family and my husband is more of a father than my son's biological father has EVER been. As long as their is a good parental role model or figure in that child's life, then they should be fine - it does not have to be a biological parent. I would not subject my child to an abusive setting to sustain a relationship with a poor parental figure. However, I would make sure it is in your rights and not violating the law (which does vary by state - another example is that for an interstate case it is determined by the state the father lives in my particular case).

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