Honest, brutal advice needed (be polite but firm) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The situation is, again, my ex. We've been apart for 4 years, divorced for 3, he lives 300 miles away with his new partner and a soon-to-be-stepdaughter. Over the space of the last 4 years, he has seen the children less than a dozen times, child support has been sporadic due to almost continual unemployment (and the convenient loophole in the child support regulations which say that if you or your partner have children and are claiming jobseekers benefits, you don't have to pay CSA) but he's maintained the tradition of a weekly phone call right in the middle of Sunday teatime.

The problem is Alex has realised that it doesn't have to be that way. He started tentatively talking in the spring about wishing he saw more of his daddy, and we role-played ways of talking to daddy about this: so when he saw them in September, he could raise the subject if he still wanted to. I don't know what happened on that occasion, but Alex now doesn't want to talk to his father on the phone, though his father brought him back on that day saying "Alex has talked to me. I will fix this. I've promised him, I will be there for him more."

He broke a promise to my son and I want to kill him. I haven't, yet, but I really really want to.
  • So what can I do? Ignore it, move on and allow the hurt to my children to continue?
    Stop the phone calls.
    If I applied for a residency order, it would have an additional benefit in that it would give my new husband parental responsibility for the boys: which would mean that if Isaac's admitted to hospital after the new baby is born (he's asthmatic, and has severe attacks) then Steve could stay with him overnight. As things stand at the minute, either Isaac would be in hospital by himself or baby would be on bottles, because they won't let a step-parent stay and they won't let a co-sleeping, nursing sibling stay with mummy either.
    He's currently working, so we can apply for CSA again. When he got this newest job, we said we wouldn't if he started seeing the boys again: Sunday made it very clear that this won't be happening this side of Christmas. You hear of people going "waargh! Well, if I have to pay for them, I might as well see them"- I wondered if that might manipulate him into action.
Or, of course, I could just shut up and put up with it, but I really don't want to. I don't know if it's the result of a week of prodromal labour or what, but my mama bear is feeling quite thoroughly awake at the minute.
Be brutal. WWYD??

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#2 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 12:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack
[list]So what can I do? Ignore it, move on and allow the hurt to my children to continue?
Stop the phone calls.
I would neither ignore, nor stop the contact. Ignoring the situation could invalidate your childs emotions about what's gong on. You are his life-line and the person to whom he looks for guidance. This is a great teaching opportunity...as well as a good opportunity to own the situation in a way that will mean a lot to your son. You could sit him down and tell him you understand how very hurt he is and how it is not his fault at all (very hard for kids not to think it is). It might help to put the fault on yourself in part. Something like "Mommy thought she had chosen a very good man to be your daddy but mommy made a big mistake." whatever you need to say so your kid doesn't forever think that if he just did "X" (fill in the blank) dad would have been there, or loved him more, or...? His young life should not be about finding ways to make dad be invested in him. It sounds like you already know dad isn't invested. Manipulation hurts everyone in the long run.

As for the phone calls...if there is a visitation order in place you could be held in contempt if you restrict phone contact. I'd just tell your boy that that's daddys way of showing he loves him because he is so far away and that its not always possible to do more...daddy has made choices that have placed his own wants above his duty to his child and its very sad that he is missing out on such a wonderful son etc. etc. Your son will reach an age where he can elect for himself whether or not he wants contact. Right now though, its likely not within his ability to do so under your visitation order.


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Originally Posted by flapjack
When he got this newest job, we said we wouldn't if he started seeing the boys again: Sunday made it very clear that this won't be happening this side of Christmas. .
An award of child support is not a bartering chip. It is legally your son's right. His money, entrusted to you for his care. Everytime you sit on filing CS, you deny your son's rights. Hold his father to his legal obligation. Now that he has a "new" family it will be unlikely he won't have work (he'll need to support them now too) so the chances of getting CS are good. Also, you boy doesn't need to see you bending to the manipulation of his father. This man does not sound like he will ever be the emotional or physical rock your son needs. You need to be that for him in action, word, and deed.

I'm praying for you all, Mama.
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#3 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 12:21 PM
 
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play therapy for Isaac might help. Admittedly, I am across the pond and have no idea what the laws are there, but if you try to limit contact you may end up violating something. :

My Isaac is in a simular boat, bio dad sees the kids only very rarely, and leaves me to pick up the pieces of his broken promises. I try to reasure him that he is loved, that the loss is his dad's.

I agree with the pp, childsupport is Isaac's right.

Hugs,
good luck.

Edited.... to correct upidstay ellingspay
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#4 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I'll talk this over with my dh, but I'm pretty sure we'll end up filing for CSA. The talk with Alex is something I am dreading (as far as 6yos go, he's having a pretty bad time of it at the minute) but I can't do nothing any more.
We haven't got any orders in place: the presumption in the UK is joint custody, children live in x place and see their other parent lots, unless something else is arranged: ironically, what the legal documentation actually says is that he sees the children once a month and stays with his grandfather (15 miles up the road) when he's down, plus unrestricted letters and phone calls. The divorce settlement did specify that child support be paid through the CSA though.
What do you think about the residence order? Can you see any arguments against it?

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#5 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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The RO is so that chosen dad gets to make medical/emotional decisions for the boys, right? If that is the case, and it does not undermine the ablity to get CS I say it is in the best interest of the kids. I do not see where that coudl be a bad thing. But then I am always for what is best with the kiddos.
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#6 of 7 Old 11-01-2005, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not even decision-making: simply that my youngest has a chronic health condition that leads him to spend occasional nights in hospital, and our local hospital will only allow parents and not step-parents to stay overnight for company and support. Ridiculous bureaucracy, but that's the NHS for you.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-02-2005, 01:13 AM
 
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Upidstay ! :

Do the RO then for your son's sake.
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