Need advice on giving tough update to Ex - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter and I just returned from our summer in India. I was married while I was there, and my daughter has easily accepted my new husband as her daddy. 

 

Her birth father (we were never married) has been in and out of her life for her first 4 years, the latter 2 during intermittent DCFS supervised visits. In March the court ruled me as sole custodian and guardian, and the judge warned me against taking the child around the birth father. He has been unpredictable, in and out of drug treatment, and a history of domestic violence including with a new wife. With confidence I have limited their communication to Skype and phone only. He lives 3 hours away. 

 

We are home again and he is calling me to discuss the terms of his involvement in her life. I am not answering the calls as I want to have a clear plan for what I want to say. I intend to speak with him once and for all. I plan to have him out of her life, no need for two daddies, especially since the other one is unpredictable and chronically dependent on substances. 

 

I know this is an unconventional route-- to deny the birth father any involvement. In the U.S. it is encouraged to foster all the relationships as much as possible. This is not the route we are taking. And this will be devastating news to her birth father as he does have some interest in being a part of her life. So I want to tell him as gently as possible, though I know it is not going to feel gentle no matter how it is put. 

 

How can I speak to him clearly and succinctly about this? Should I allow the conversation to go on and on as he drags me through 500 questions? Or state the situation, tell him only what he needs to know, and end the call? Should I mention my husband? Or that simply thinking of his behavior he did not show up properly in her life, and I have no interest in them continuing the relationship as he had enough chances. 

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#2 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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This is not actually a decision that YOU will get to make. A judge will, if Dad pursues it in court. Now, it may spur him to make some changes in his life, which may push a court to allow visitation. Even if he doesn't, but files to have visitation, a court may well award him supervised. 

 

Your daughter does NOT have two daddies. She has a father and a stepfather. You don't get to change to fact of your child's biology because you found a new and better model. Sorry. 

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#3 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Right now the ex is on probation, and has messed it up so I'm surprised he isn't in prison. I think they would want to see a few years of good behavior before making a judgement in that direction. It just seems unlikely based on his criminal record and not being a part of the DCFS process and services he was to attend. 

 

But it's important to know that this may come up in the future. Does it make a difference that we were never married? -- he did sign the birth certificate. 

 

I wonder what would be the implications of this if we were living in India? We are moving there this year and staying for an indefinite amount of time. The government granted me a Passport and Indian Visa for my daughter, based on the court document that I am the sole guardian and custodian. (Typically both parents must go in person to authorize the passport, unless there is a court document signed by the judge stating only the one is custodian/guardian). 

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#4 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 07:36 PM
 
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Unless the court removed his parental rights, he has every right to communicate with his child at the very least via Skype or supervised visits. You went through the courts, so he is her legal father, whether or not a judge personally said you should be careful having him around her. If you plan to have your new husband adopt her and to take her out of the country, you should have that done before leaving, as he can claim that you kidnapped her and be legally bound to return her to the states at certain intervals for visits and you might need to show that you have allowed him to contact her.


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#5 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like I should get a lawyer, this is getting complicated. Google and legal forums are my friend these days, but a lawyer seems much less labor intensive.

 

Both of you have brought up points I hadn't considered. Adoption is good. I wonder what the ex's rights *are*, exactly, since he lost custody and guardianship. I know that I could not be said to have kidnapped her as the U.S. government issued her passport based on the court document stating I am the only custodian. However, true that a judge could easily rule I need to return her to the U.S. every so often for visits. It sounds like I have enough time to complete the adoption, before the ex's behavior will be demonstrably "good" enough to compel a judge to make that ruling. 

 

To get back to my original question, it sounds like the longer and longer I draw out his communication on good terms, the more time I have in my hand to complete the adoption process. However, I am not one to deceive so perhaps it's simply better to continue ignoring his calls. No news is no news. Bad news spurs action.. and I don't want him to take any action..

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#6 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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I'm pretty certain that your new husband cannot adopt your daughter unless her father signs away his paternal rights.
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#7 of 10 Old 08-09-2013, 09:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post

I'm pretty certain that your new husband cannot adopt your daughter unless her father signs away his paternal rights.

 

yeahthat.gif   Only he or a judge can terminate his parental rights. Either he has to disappear - I don't mean YOU disappear, but that he actually abandons her for a certain X number of years depending on what state you're in - or he has to sign away his rights. Or a judge can take his rights away but that's a super extreme situation. There's moms on here who's kids fathers have been in prison and ignored the children entirely and they still have legal rights to see the children. You might have permission to take her on a vacation out of the country but not to move there.


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#8 of 10 Old 08-10-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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You need to see what your  state's statutes (and/or your court order - the more restrictive will apply) say about your being able to move the child out of their jurisdiction. At the VERY least, you will have to notify Dad, and it is up to him to contest it. Or, you may be required to actually have the court's permission to remove the child from the state, let alone the country. Simply having a passport does not give you the right to move the child overseas. 

 

Seriously - you NEED a lawyer. 

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#9 of 10 Old 08-10-2013, 07:15 AM
 
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Ditto needing to talk to a lawyer.
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#10 of 10 Old 08-10-2013, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies. I will be doing that-- and will give update.

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