When visitation interferes with the birth plan... - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-31-2006, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I tried searching, but couldn't find anything on this...

My ex sporadically visits with the kids (he called tonight and we hadn't seen him in about a month). He does not follow the court-ordered visitation schedule. He pays child support monthly, but not the full amount owed (he does not cover their health insurance even though he is supposed to). Overall, we do not have an amicable relationship.

I am due any day now with #3 (with my new DH). The kids have said that they really want to attend the homebirth.

The ex called to schedule visitation. I asked him to be patient--could he wait for the baby's arrival? This would be maybe 2 wks. Considering he hasn't seen them for more than 4 wks, it doesn't seem like a stretch, and they don't seem to be suffering for it either. They really want to bond with the baby.

He wants to take them for part of a day rather than overnight. This sounds ok except that he is notorious for losing his phone, not paying his phone bill or generally not answering his phone. I'm concerned that if I go into labor and ask him to bring the kids back, it simply won't happen. I reluctantly agreed, but I am totally torn up over it.

:

Having this baby changes everything. It means that our family will be repeatedly separated at random intervals, two of the kids taken and one left behind, and three of us (me and dh and the baby) having to share with someone who seems like a stranger. I don't know how to deal with this.

Any advice???

Mom to : DS1 (11), DS2 (8), DD3 (4), : DS4 (1), and : : :
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:32 PM
 
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Sorry. That's so tough. I don't have a blended family but am a single mama, so have some experience with the whole visitation thing.

Honestly, my advice would be to say "no." Call him back and tell him that you've decided that you don't want to chance them missing out. The children have expressed an interest in being present for the birth of their sibling which is a one-time, very special event. He can wait.

Also, if you have court-ordered visitation at certain times, perhaps you can start letting them go only when his visits coincide with those times. Not to be spiteful, but to keep him from wreaking havoc on your family.
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:51 AM
 
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Wow, I felt like I was reading something I'd written! I'm in a freakishly similar situation (husband #2, baby #3, not-so-hot ex...). The situation just sucks, doesn't it? My ds (5 yo) and dh (10 yo) both are not interested in their birth father, who, now that I'm remarried and pregnant, has decided he wants to be the father he never was. The kids deserve to have a relationship with him. BUT, they consider their home to be with me, and are so looking forward to thier new sibling. But how weird will it be to have to send them to thier dad's, when their sibling just stays home? What about holidays? It's really yucky.

How can we cope? It's a question I would love to have help with 'cause it tears me up...

J
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:02 AM
 
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Yes. Buy an extra phone on a pay as you go so your kids (specifically your eldest) can stay in contact for emergencies. That way, if you go into labour, your children will know and your ex is not featuring in the equation. If they say "mummy rang, the baby's coming today" and he doesn't bring them back immediately that is something that they will remember for a very very long time.
The easiest way to do this, given that you don't want to spend money on this , though neither of my boys have ever lost their emergency mobile (our household has a wide assortment of part-broken mobiles) is going to be freecycle.
I would hold him to the court-ordered visitation schedule as well: if he tries to deviate from it, pull him back into line hard.
It seems weird having baby's siblings vanishing off for a couple of days at a time, but in the end you just get used to it because you have to. Expect it to make you FAR more protective of your babies though- simply because having a baby reminds you in a very real way of just how young your 6yo is, and what a total expletive your ex is for treating your babies in this way.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 06-03-2006, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack
I would hold him to the court-ordered visitation schedule as well: if he tries to deviate from it, pull him back into line hard.
I've thought long and hard about this, but the truth is that I don't have many options.

I've called a bunch of lawyers, and in TX you can't enforce visitation, only child support.

I could take him to court to increase child support because of the fact that he is not visiting as often as he is supposed to, but I know he wouldn't pay it. It would only increase the animosity between us, and that isn't fair to the kids.

In the end, the kids seem to be amazingly well-adjusted to our new family, and they treat him like the older brother or uncle that drops by occasionally. I am crossing my fingers that over the years he will fade away or they will simply choose not to spend time with him.

My DH feels strongly that, once the babe is here, he will simply check out entirely. We'll see. Right now he has a gf that guilts him into calling and sometimes visiting. I have a feeling that he will split if she does.

I talked to the kids about this wkd, told them there is a possibility they could miss the birth while with him. They nodded and said they understood. The same is true when they are at day camp next week. I'm handing this one over to the universe and hoping that everything turns out the way it needs to for everyone's sake.

Mom to : DS1 (11), DS2 (8), DD3 (4), : DS4 (1), and : : :
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Old 06-03-2006, 10:23 AM
 
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I have a couple of thoughts:


Regarding parenting time, I would stick to the court order, whatever it is. If he calls and says he wants to see the kids on X and its not part of his court scheduled parenting time, I would tell him no. As far as I know, as long as you are NOT refusing him his court ordered parenting time, you are not doing anything wrong. So maybe the court cant "force" him to be there when his scheduled parenting time is, but you can push the issue so to speak. If he does something like call the cops, all you need to do is show them that X time is not part of his parenting time, and then they cant do anything.

Because you really want your children to be at your birth, I imagine that your body will not fully "let go" until they are there. Our bodies are amazing like that.

Do you know what TX laws are regarding child support? Here in CO if you dont pay you lose your license (drivers/professional/hunting fishing), and they can also take your tax return to pay back support. If you are not registered with the Child Support Registry in TX, you might want to consider it.

Good Luck! This stuff is so hard!

Lisser

Alyssa, wife to one, mama to 2 boys, 5.5 and 4. Living and learning on our little farm.
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Old 06-03-2006, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cymbeline
I've called a bunch of lawyers, and in TX you can't enforce visitation, only child support.
I'm pretty sure that what that means is that you can't force him to visit but you can hold him to the plan as it reads now. In other words, if he wants to take the children at times other than the scheduled visit times, then you should be within your rights to say "no." (You'd want to check that with your attorney, of course.)

Regardless, I'm glad you've found peace with your decision and wish you a happy birth.
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Old 06-03-2006, 07:50 PM
 
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Sorry- I think your DH is going to be wrong. We expected that of my ex as well, and unfortunately it hasn't happened- his story is dotted all over this forum, but basically he's a prat.
To clarify: I would tell him that you aren't happy with the way he's acting, and that you are not prepared to deviate in any way from the court-ordered visitation schedule. I'd suggest that he meets your legal costs to go back to court and get the schedule changed. That's what I mean by holding him to it. The child support: well, that's not money he owes you. That's money he owes his children. It's down to you whether you want to go and advocate for them.
Good luck!

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cymbeline

Having this baby changes everything. It means that our family will be repeatedly separated at random intervals, two of the kids taken and one left behind, and three of us (me and dh and the baby) having to share with someone who seems like a stranger. I don't know how to deal with this.

Any advice???
I think you've gotten some good ideas about the visitation situation from some PPs. I wanted to address this, because this part is the larger issue and it is hard.

My DH and I have a 3 year old son together. I have two children (12 and 10) from my first marriage. DH has a son (8) from his first marriage. Those older three kids come and go all the time (DH has 50/50 custody of SS; I have primary physical custody of my kids but very frequent (3 nights a week) visitation with BD). It is very, very difficult to live with a constantly shifting landscape. We are at different times a family of 3, or 4, or 6.

I would strongly suggest making things as consistent as you possibly can. I certainly understand the need to keep things as pleasant as possible between you and your kids' BD. I hate to argue with BD or BM because it just makes our lives so hard, and then there's retaliation in weird forms, etc. BUT, you owe it to your family to create the maximum possible regularity for your lives. If the visitation agreement now says that BD gets the kids on Tuesday evenings and every other Saturday, then I'd make the kids available to him at those times and those times only. If he chooses not to take them, then there's nothing you can do about that, and your family will have to flex. But you shouldn't have to be available to accomodate BD on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays if the urge to visit strikes him at those times! You, as a family, have a right to know that if you all make plans to hang out at the park or whatever on Sunday afternoon, that that's how it's going to happen, barring emergencies.

During the early years of our marriage, SS's BM was constantly changing the schedule with no notice. She would tell us on Thursday that she was going camping for the weekend, or call me on Tuesday afternoon and tell me that I had to pick SS up because she was going out to dinner and couldn't get him from day care. We didn't want SS going to a babysitter and of course we wanted SS with us, so we always said yes, but ultimately it was yanking us around as a family so much that we couldn't tolerate it anymore, so we had to say no. Fortunately for us, BM didn't want SS with a sitter either, so she started curtailing some of her plans and giving us more notice when she couldn't. My kids' BD still tries to get the kids at all kinds of wild times with no notice, but I can easily say no to him.

It is possible to get used to some people in a family coming and going. Before we had our baby, DH and I enjoyed the nights when the older kids were with their other parents because we got to be married people w/o kids. After our baby, we enjoyed the time to bond and play with our baby, then toddler, now little boy one-on-one. He is crazy for his brothers and sister, but he also enjoys some time when he has mom and dad to himself.

What has really helped us is to keep our family life moving normally no matter who is here. As tempting as it is, when there are only three of us here, to skip all the normal rituals of family, we don't do it. We sit down to dinner and do all the stuff we would do if everyone was here. We're a family, complete, just DH and DS and I. No one is missing; ODS, DD, and SS have other families to go be with. When your older kids go with their dad, you and DH and your baby won't be "left behind." You're a complete family of three, and when your older kids are with you, you'll be a complete family of five.

Oye, enough from me. I hope everything goes OK, and I hope you have a beautiful birth. My older kids were there for DS's birth, and it was great. SS missed it (BM said we would be stealing his virginity ), but anyway, that's neither here nor there. Good luck!

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