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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dd's dad and I are on our way to mediation soon, and I'm adamant that we work out and file an official visitation schedule soon due to his issues with saying he wants things, then not following through. He's made it to about half of the visits he's been requesting, and thinks it's now in dd's best interests to suddenly start overnights with him despite the fact that he sees her on average now for one hour each week. She's four months old, exclusively breastfed, and has never taken a bottle, btw. He and I have never lived together, and he's never participated in her care in any significant way.

Alright, so... I'm thinking about the possibilities here. He says he wants to "bond" with her, but he doesn't show up to do that. He doesn't have a car. He won't behave himself in our home, so now we do visits in public places. And I have an older ds who isn't related to him, and who I'd like to keep out of the situation as much as possible, because dd's dad kind of abandoned him after attempting to forge a bond in the early weeks of dd's life and I don't want to set up that possibility again.

So... I'm thinking this is fair:
If he wants to bond with dd, he's going to need to do it when she's not hungry. So short and frequent is the way to go. I think 1-1.5 hours five times a week is pretty good, and if he shows up, will allow dd to bond with him. On the other hand, given that he hasn't shown up even twice a week yet, and he's likely to fail, it won't harm her to be without me for that length of time when he shows sporadically.

BUT what I'm concerned about is this: He wants to take dd to his place because he believes public locations (these are his words) "don't allow for the level of comfort and intimacy with him that dd has a right to". He lives in a complete sty of a bachelor suite in which he smokes and, last time I was there, hadn't been cleaned for years and contains piles of dirty dishes, laundry, beer bottles, and bongs.

He also doesn't drive. So if he picked dd up, they would spend most of their visit on the bus. She spends nearly all her time in vehicles crying, cars and buses included.

I don't believe it's my job to own this. I think he needs to pick dd up and drop her off, and it's his problem if he doesn't have the means to take her to his place. I also think that, if he intends to take her there, he needs to make it child friendly by not smoking there anymore, cleaning, childproofing, and providing her with age-appropriate items (e.g. bouncy chair, etc.).

Am I being unfair? Should I be uprooting my ds and driving to his place (15 min. one-way) at least once each day? Dd's dad is willfully unemployed, so we've managed to arrange visits when ds isn't around lately. But I don't think this is realistic as an ongoing schedule, as he is going to have to obtain employment soon, or explain to the courts why he won't apply for work he's qualified for. And I don't think it's fair to ds to spend 30 minutes driving his sister to her dad's house and back every day.

What do you think?

TIA!
 

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I'm guessing I missed a previous post where you explain what he's going that's in the realm of 'not behaving' at your house, because if he wants to see her more often, it would make the most sense for him to come to you, given the circumstances. Once the plan is set up, if he doesn't show up, his loss.

If you know what his place looks like, and are uncomfortable with her being there, don't even bring it up. If you agree to him taking her there, and it stays filthy and he continues to smoke there, it's going to take going back to court to get it changed to where he can't take her there. So I wouldn't even allow that from the get go, personally.

And exactly how intimate is he planning on getting with his 4 month old daughter that he can't do in public? If I were a mediator and that was said in front of me, that would seriously be raising some red flags.
 

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I don't think you're being unfair at all.

If he wants to be a parent to this baby, then he needs to behave like a grown-up. He needs to provide a good environment for her and find some transportation. You have two children to care for; you don't need to be worrying about a man who acts like a child. Not your problem.

My husband lived car-free for seven years (this was before we met). He didn't expect everyone else to chauffeur him around. He walked, took the bus, or got rides from friends when the friends offered.
 

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I think you need a guardian ad litem for your baby. Someone needs to take a look at this man who is so unprepared to care for a baby. At 4 months old you probably are in good place to prevent overnights. Few judges would demand weaning that young. Keep fighting the good fight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlwaysByMySide View Post
I'm guessing I missed a previous post where you explain what he's going that's in the realm of 'not behaving' at your house, because if he wants to see her more often, it would make the most sense for him to come to you, given the circumstances.
Yeah, we had a counseling appointment where I told him I was concerned about his pattern of arranging visits and then either not showing up or showing and leaving suddenly after a few minutes because he felt 'uncomfortable'. I set up a schedule for him to visit, which he agreed to at the appointment. But then he reacted to this feedback by becoming Mr. Passive Aggressive at our place. He stopped speaking to me and ds, he would leave the room he was in with dd if either of us entered (to the point where he would go and stand in the bathroom with her if I needed to put away laundry in the bedroom, for instance), and he would leave suddenly and without warning, calling goodbye as he exited. Among other things, like refusing to turn the light on in the living room if it wasn't on when he entered, presumably to show me how he didn't feel welcome. It was crazy-toxic, and I let it go on for seven weeks before I told him he couldn't visit here anymore. Sigh.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlwaysByMySide View Post
And exactly how intimate is he planning on getting with his 4 month old daughter that he can't do in public? If I were a mediator and that was said in front of me, that would seriously be raising some red flags.
Yeah, I'm at the point where I think he's kind of delusional. He seems to believe that he will instantly have some magical connection with her if he can just get her on his own, and it scares me. That's why I'm adamant that he only see her in my presence until we get things worked out legally. He doesn't have a history of sexual abuse or anything that I know of, but he's definitely a little off his rocker, and I feel the need to protect dd as best I can.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Keep the comments coming.
 

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If that is the case, I'd recommend asking to do visitation with a third party. That way, if it's at his house, the third party can document the condition of the home. If it's at your house, the third party can document the behavior.

So, that said, I'd echo a previous poster and request that a GAL be appointed. If the counselor has documentation of your discussion about visits, that would be something to point out to the GAL in your request for supervised visitation.

It also might make sense to request that he complete some kind of infant care class prior to any unsupervised visitation.

I personally wouldn't offer to bend over backwards for him to see her. If he wants to see her, he'll make an effort.
 

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I can see his point about a public place not working and if you are hostile towards him (and don't get me wrong, I would be) I can see why you beoing around would bug him too. I know I couldn't bond with my child if we were never in a comfortable place out of the constant stare of judgmental eyes. I had absolutely no bond with my first until after we left the hospital and we were alone and chillin in my house, on my turf.

howevere i can see why this would concern you. would you be willing to agree to him having supervised visits spomewhere with someone besides you supervising?

also I think splitting transportation is fair. that is pretty standard. maybe you could say if he wants to see her over at his place half the time that is fine the other half the time he has to come over to your house and provide his own transportation.

what is the state standard where you at. honestly, unless the court sees a very real need here to limit visitation (and I think that would be pretty easy to see in this case) then they dish out standard visitation (not sure what that is for babies but for an exclusively breastfed baby it would not be overnights however the amount of time you can claim exclusively breastfed is limited. to I think a year or whenever you you start sending your baby to daycare. if they can go to daycare for 8-10 hours at a time they can go to dads for that long.

I would find out what stanbdard visitation is and use that as a starting point. decide what you are willing to give on and what you are willing to fight for.
 

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Hugs to you. This sounds so difficult.

I don't know where you live or what the courts tend to do there, but here are a few things to think about. Mediation is NOT court. Fight for what you think is best and stand your ground. Not that you shouldn't compromise at all... but not in regards to your child's safety, etc. You may not get all of what you want in court. From everything I hear, courts do not always put the best interest of the child 1st and try to keep both parents as involved as possible in every situation short of documented physical abuse. But, he has to TAKE YOU TO COURT, which costs money. Mediation is different. It's about finding a workable compromise. And you are being very reasonable in regards to allowing him the opportunity to bond with his dd. I think a mediator will see that.

My ex and I are seeing a mediator who is also a developmental psychologist. Is there any way you can find someone like that? She is not so much concerned about what a court would do. More about helping us reach compromises and giving advice about, in her opinion/experience, what is best for a child at his stage of development.

My ex had to do all of the driving for quite a while. We've since worked out some sharing of that, but when DS was an infant, he did it all and visited at my house.

Another bit of advice about mediation. Don't necessarily agree to anything on the spot. Make sure you sleep on any compromises before you agree. You are probably tired and emotional. The mediation sessions are emotional and stressful. Give yourself a chance to step back and think clearly OUT of that pressured situation.

I agree with you. And you would think that if it were SO important for him to develop a bond with his DD, that he would do whatever he had to just to have time with her... take busses, be appropriate in your home, whatever. Seriously... wouldn't you walk over hot coals if you had to in order to hold your baby???

Good luck. It sounds like you are doing a great job.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I don't think you're being unfair at all.

If he wants to be a parent to this baby, then he needs to behave like a grown-up. He needs to provide a good environment for her and find some transportation. You have two children to care for; you don't need to be worrying about a man who acts like a child. Not your problem.

My husband lived car-free for seven years (this was before we met). He didn't expect everyone else to chauffeur him around. He walked, took the bus, or got rides from friends when the friends offered.
Totally agree!
 

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I have deja vu reading your post. My dd is 5 years old now, but it seems like yesterday that the ex was "bonding" with my 4 month old!

A few comments, speaking from experience:
Document everything. When you and he spoke about visits; when he showed up and when he didn't; the condition of his arrival (late, early, on time; disheveled appearance; body odor, etc); the baby's reaction during and after the visit; describe what you saw of the visit - everything! You never know when you'll need it.
Mediation is a great idea, too bad its not binding. In any case, try it. If he's broke, it might be as strong as a court decision. I like the idea of not agreeing to anything right away. Listen, present your side (play hard ball), and then take 24 hours to think it over. Great advice, I wish I had thought of that...
He is complaining about you interfering in the bonding experience. Possible. However, its more likely that he's not feeling the "bond" for other reasons. For instance, men tend to take a lot longer to bond with infants than women do. For a NCP, this might take years! You may want to do a little research and even get some literature on the subject for him. Get him to read a book or some articles. If he won't take the suggestion from you, get the info to him via a 3rd party. If he stops expecting lightening to hit him, he may calm down and be easier to deal with.
Don't agree to anything that you are not 100% comfortable with. Better to err on the side of caution. Its very difficult to go back on a decision. For instance, I was unsure of my ex's ability to take care of dd during the night, so managed to delay overnight visits for 4.5 years. Not easy, but I felt better about the visits starting at an age where she can fend for herself better.
Sorry, I write too much, this is close to home. Be strong, consistent and self assured. Oh, and give your angel lots of hugs and kisses!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the responses, everyone. They're very helpful.

Where I live, GALs are not appointed. The judge does his/her best to act in this capacity with the evidence the parents present.

Things are already in the works as far as getting a court order is concerned, so any mediation would only be to circumvent/speed up the court process. I'm definitely going to be speaking with my lawyer before agreeing to anything by mediation. And I really like the idea of taking 24 hours to think about things before agreeing to anything.

In the last month and a half, dd's father has chosen to see her less than once a week, even though I've offered more. From what I've researched, it will be impossible for the two of them to develop an attachment this way, whether I'm in the vicinity or not, because infants of her age simply can't remember someone for that long.

So we'll see what happens. I appreciate getting a reading on what others think is fair, just so that I feel like I have a bit of perspective before 'bargaining'. But, honestly, his behaviour is currently showing (and has showed in the past) that he's just not that invested. I hope that any mediator or judge will take that into account, but I can't count on it, of course, and have to remain vigilant.

Thanks again, everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Whoops: forgot to respond to something...

Quote:

Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I can see his point about a public place not working and if you are hostile towards him (and don't get me wrong, I would be) I can see why you beoing around would bug him too. I know I couldn't bond with my child if we were never in a comfortable place out of the constant stare of judgmental eyes. I had absolutely no bond with my first until after we left the hospital and we were alone and chillin in my house, on my turf.

howevere i can see why this would concern you. would you be willing to agree to him having supervised visits spomewhere with someone besides you supervising?

also I think splitting transportation is fair. that is pretty standard. maybe you could say if he wants to see her over at his place half the time that is fine the other half the time he has to come over to your house and provide his own transportation.

what is the state standard where you at. honestly, unless the court sees a very real need here to limit visitation (and I think that would be pretty easy to see in this case) then they dish out standard visitation (not sure what that is for babies but for an exclusively breastfed baby it would not be overnights however the amount of time you can claim exclusively breastfed is limited. to I think a year or whenever you you start sending your baby to daycare. if they can go to daycare for 8-10 hours at a time they can go to dads for that long.

I would find out what stanbdard visitation is and use that as a starting point. decide what you are willing to give on and what you are willing to fight for.
I would be happy for visits to be supervised by someone else. I have a great relationship with his mother (she actually sees more of dd than he does), but I feel awkward asking as she lives out of town and it would be quite taxing for her to supervise three times/week or more. For those of you who have had supervised visits, how did this work? Who did you choose? Who asked him/her?

As far as standard visitation goes, it's quite variable where I live, but does not usually include overnights until toddlerhood/preschool age. And when a lot of visitation time is ordered, it is assumed that the parent will actually show up and maintain the relationship (something dd's dad has not yet shown he can do). So the 'What would the courts order?' question is still very much unknown, given his track record. My lawyer thinks short visits several times a week is definitely reasonable for this age.

Thanks!
 

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I am wondering if you have a safe exchange/visitation service? We do, in the Fargo, ND area. It's called Rainbow Bridge, and we used it with DSD when she was very little because STBX and DSD's mother did not get along. FYI - I don't intend to use it with STBX for our son, because I'm hoping we can get along. I would maybe try asking your local social services department, or your mediator, or even local law inforcement if they know whether there is a safe exchange/visitation center. They way they do it there is that it can be to exchange a child between parents for unsupervised visitations, so that the parents don't have to see each other (as was in our case), or the visitation can be done right there at the center, whether supervised or unsupervised. I don't know what city you live in otherwise I'd try to find the information for you, but here's a link to the one we used, so you can see what they are like. http://www.rainbowbridgekids.net/ Good luck.
 

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Som places have visitation centers that can offer neutral supervision.
 

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I have no personal experience w/visitation regarding an infant, but I've followed your posts and story (including your ex's ridiculous behavior!), and I would say this:

If he truly wanted to bond with his baby, he would clean up his pigsty, put an ashtray outside the door, and set up a small corner with: a throw rug, play blankets, a little shelf with rattles and toys, maybe buy a little bouncy chair or some other infant soothing toy (yard sales are upon us, he cant claim poverty for this kind of stuff).

THEN he would get his butt to your house (however he would arrange a ride is his own business, but it is certainly his responsibility), and come get his daughter - on time, at prearranged and agreed upon times, EVERY time. With a proper safety seat in which to transport her. I would say that picking her up or sharing the transport is fair, each of you should do equal driving/transporting. It would look especially *helpful* in the courts eyes if you were the one willing and offering to bring the baby to him, but I wouldnt recommend it, as the onus is on him to SHOW UP, and follow through with his visitation, which shows the level of his TRUE desire to be involved and have a relationship with her.

And yes, 1.5 -2 hours, 4-5 times a week is ideal for an infant. But its important that he follow through. And its important that he have a safe, clean baby-friendly environment. If he cant do AT LEAST that much, then that really shows his priorities.

Lay it all out in writing, then present it in mediation. If he wont agree right there, email him to keep this stuff in writing. Then when he doesnt show, cant clean up his place, etc...it shows the court that YOU have done everything you could to help facilitate - he is not doing his part. And your stbx chaps my butt with his refusal to grow up, btw. Being a parent isnt so much spending time and bonding (though thats the huge factor), but its also providing the environment and the gear to ensure the child's well-being and safety - like a clean, non-smoking home, toys, blankies, etc...and being able to responsibly arrange for transportation, car seats, etc. This is not rocket science, guys. Babies are expensive, and they require stuff! That means you give up your Wii and smokes if your baby needs something essential! ARG!

Oh, and absolutely NOT on the overnights. I would say no way, no how, not until he has stepped up and shown that his daughter is a priority. That would be awful for your babe. I hope you guys agree to something, and things start to work out for you guys. Your situation sounds very hard.
 
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