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Author Topic: I need advice...  (Read 4712 times)

WHN

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I need advice...
« on: Dec 30, 2006, 01:10:30 PM »
Okay I have a 1.5 yr old daughter.  I found out I was pregnant AFTER I filed for divorce from her father, and he and I agreed, due to the circumstances of our divorce, the stress of having him too involved in the pregnancy was probably not going to be good for anyone involved.  I did call him regularly just to keep him informed as to how the baby was and doc appointments and such.  When she was born I called and gave him all the information.  He lived 3 hrs away at that time and didn't make it up to see her.  I get into a relationship and ended up moving for it, that put me closer to my childs father.  He met her when she was 3 months old for about 20 minutes in a parking lot.  After that the man I was (and am now married to) with and I got a house together and up until we moved into that house my daughters dad didn't call or visit at all, I left it alone because I didn't want to force anyone into anything.  Once we moved w/in a 15 minute drive of his apartment he came to our house a lot to visit and he was welcome anytime he felt the urge to visit, there were no restrictions.  He asked to take her to his family when she was 6 months old over Christmas, I agreed to let him have her for the weekend (the first time he had her alone at all) and we agreed that on Christmas day I would come so that she would have both her mother and father there for Christmas.  It was uneventful (which is always a good thing) and she had a good time.  I went home the following morning and then he took her again over night for new years eve upon my request.  After that he moved and was a little farther away and didn't come by quite as often but still visited sometimes.  He and his sister invited us again for Easter and when I went home I let our daughter stay, as she had fallen asleep.  He moved again and now lives about 5 minutes from our house.  He was coming over rather regularly though I stopped allowing him to take our daughter when I sent her to his house (he didn't ask, I offered, he didn't even know what day it was...) for Father's day and when I called a couple hours after her normal bed time to see if he was going to bring her home or not he said he was but that it would be a while...When he got her home he smelled of alcohol and said that he was sorry it was so late but he "needed to sober up a little first..."  If he'd have said that on the phone I'd have told him to let her stay or I'd have found a means to pick her up...When I told him I didn't want her at his house anymore with all the parying, he agreed and has never again asked to take her home with him.  He still visited fairly often, some months more than others, but he came around quite a bit.  Once he moved his girlfriend in with him he visited a lot less, but again, still came around from time to time during the course of a month.  I invited him to go meet up with an old mutual friend of ours, I was taking our daughter and thought he would enjoy the trip up with her as well as visiting with an old friend, he did go along and it was fine, no problems at all.  That was late sept.  on a wednesday...He came for a half hour or so that following weekend and has not called or seen our daughter since.  Nothing about Thanksgiving, nothing about Christmas...Not his family not him...no one.  
He is not on her birth certificate because he'd originally stated he wanted a paternity test, I obliged but he refused to take the test.  I didn't push the issue because I didn't see a reason to.  He doesn't pay child support and I've never once asked him to.  He has bought some diapers and formula when she was younger, but that's it.  His family bought her xmas gifts last xmas, not this year, as well they got her birthday gifts, he didn't but I assumed he was tight on money while he was in school.  In any case, I am looking at a 1.5 year old calling her step father Daddy (which she ONLY does because he has full custody of his own children and she hears them talk to him, she calls me by name sometimes for the same reason-I do not call him anything but his name to her and I don't allow anyone else to call him anything but his name to her, though I don't correct her when she says 'daddy' to him...) She really has no bond with her own dad and I worry that it will have a negative effect if he just comes and goes as he pleases like this.  I've not talked to him because in the past I was the one initiating everything.  I'm not sure I should do that so much, anymore.  There is no declaration of paternity, he's never supported her and she's never lived with him...My question is this:
I intend to move out of state, it has always been the plan and now that we're getting the money together to do so, I don't know what my ex's, if any, rights are in that respect.  I do NOT want to keep her from him.  He has my email address, my mother and fathers phone numbers, my in-laws phone numbers and my husbands cell phone number as well as our home number and address.  He can contact any time he likes, he's even been invited to my inlaws house for celebrations, holiday and birthday and such-he's come once but did miss our daughters birthday.  I just want to do the right thing by our daughter and by him, my problem is that I have no idea what the right thing IS...
Any advice or help would be GREATLY appreciated and feel free to email as I check that more often than I probably will this message board because I have never used one before...
Thanks in advance for any help...


ocean

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #1 on: Dec 30, 2006, 02:56:18 PM »
Hi,
You can move with the your daughter and it is really up to him to take you to court for the paternity test. You need to make decision if you want to "force" her father into being a father. Do you plan on going to court for child support ever from him? The state has a program CSE that will collect child support right from his employer. If you start a case, then he will probably be advised to seek set visitation schedule. You would need real proof of his drinking to get superivsed visits...(very hard thing to get in court if it went that far). Document every time he sees her, or when something happens....If he ever shows up drunk with her, call the police to get a report/ticketed.
You could call him and have a discussion of your plans and see what he wants? If he is going to see her then he needs to support his daughter too. Maybe he will allow your husband to adopt her?
Good Luck!

WHN

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #2 on: Dec 30, 2006, 04:57:48 PM »
That was really my biggest concern.  

He isn't a horrible person, he makes some decisions that I personally view as stupid, but he's his own person, we're divorced and the only thing I concern myself with when it comes to him is his influence on our child.
I'm careful because the people he associates with, past and present are just not the kind of people a mother wants to see around her kids...It's one thing to have nutty friends, it's another to let them be near your child.  When he parties it's about partying...
Basically, my opinion is this:  Given the circumstances, he's never really been more than a part time parent and that's entirely been his choice, I should have the right to leave.  I don't think that it's fair to me to be bound to someone that occasionally wants to come by and say hi to his daughter.  On the same token, however, I have my daughter, who I love by far more than I dislike him.  She deserves her dad and even if I do move I'd never keep her from him in any way, if he asks for pictures, he's got them, if he asks to visit, he's welcome.  That goes without saying in my book.  He's very well aware of that.  I don't care much about child support, itd be nice and it sure would help but it's not by any means my over all goal.  I don't want to force him to be a daddy if he doesn't want to be, not because I don't think he should but because my daughter only deserves people in her life that want to be in her life.  I guess my only really true concern is doing something illegal without realizing it.  I have no idea if he's got a leg to stand on if he decides he doesn't want me moving, I don't even know if it will be an issue, as I don't know if he's going to bother with her again or not.  From everything I've read, I don't need to worry because he's not on her birth certificate, he's not taken a paternity test, nor signed anything stating he's her father, at least nothing legal.  He's never taken any kind of responsibility for her so in the end I think I'm safe but I thought I'd pose the question here because I really have no clue if other people know something I don't on the matter.
My problem with calling and talking with him too much in advance is he can be very cruel and manipulative when he wants.  If I give him too much advanced warning I wouldn't be terribly shocked to have him drag me to court over it-which I just can't afford and still maintain a household for these kids.  Adoption I don't think would ever happen, my husband wants to badly but I am not sure I'm okay with it either, just because it seems tricky to me.  I'd rather let her get older and decide if that's what she wants.  As well, my ex would probably never allow it-he's the type that if he can't have it no one can, no matter what "it" is...If he thought my husband wanted to adopt our daughter he'd more than likley do the paternity test just so that there was no way my husband could.
In any case, from what I'm reading you appear to be right, that I can leave w/out issue and it's his job to file for paternity...I just am trying so hard not to play dirty in any way shape or form...Ugh...
Thanks so much for the advice

ocean

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #3 on: Dec 30, 2006, 05:19:25 PM »
Yes, you can leave since he is not even proven to be the father yet. If you tell him before, he can file a motion to make child stay behind so if he is manipulative be careful. Once you move, his only choice will be to file for paternity and visitation...you would then counter with child support. Tricky situation since he has not grown up enough yet to take care of her the way she deserves. Anytime you can get solid info, keep it in a just in case folder. (DWI ticket, police report, sober house, etc..)
Good luck!

Hawkeye

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #4 on: Dec 30, 2006, 08:34:35 PM »
Ocean, are you suggesting the mom just up and leave with the child?


WHN

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #5 on: Dec 30, 2006, 09:15:43 PM »
I don't know what ocean meant but as far as how I took it, I didn't read it as an implication to up and run with our daughter.

Either way, my question was kind of direct in that respect, his rights are what I was asking about and his rights were the basis of response.  


Just so that we're clear on my motive, though...I do not want to, and will never force him out of our childs life.  That little girl deserves her parents, both of them.  What she doesn't deserve is to ride with a drunk driver, which I can't say he was falling down drunk but I will say that if he got pulled over he would NOT pass any tests.  I said nothing, I didn't call the police, I called him ten minutes after he left to make sure he got home safe and that was that.  
I assure you, no matter what anyone implies (and I really don't think that was oceans implication, at all) my daughter will always have an open door between her parents, assuming her father stays in her life.  I won't force the man.  
I just wanted to make that very very clear.  I know how important a father/daughter relationship is...I was raised by my dad when my parents split up as a kid.  I was old enough to choose and was at an age where no one could compare to my dad...I would NEVER take that relationship from my daughter.  She's too precious to be robbed of the good stuff.


williaer

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #6 on: Dec 31, 2006, 09:44:39 AM »
I think it varies by state- but in Ohio- I think if you were married during any part of your pregnancy- he is presumed to be the father- unless it is proven otherwise. In Ohio- the ony thing that gives him the right to do is pay child support for his child. If he wants parenting time- he will need to file for it.
I would make your plans and give him about 10 days notice. That way you will feel like you did the right thing. He will have to file for parenting time and then get an order to have you barred from taking the child out of the area..he will not accomplish that in 10 days without a very good ($$$) attorney and you have said you think money is tight. Like a previous poster said- once he opens the can of worms about formal parenting time- he will also open the can of worms about formal child support....so you may want to take the time to discuss all of that with him.
I would present him with a parenting plan that is as generous with the child's time as is reasonalbe and offer to meet him halfway- then you have covered all of your bases.

WHN

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #7 on: Dec 31, 2006, 10:25:41 AM »
When we went through getting her on state medical they wanted to go after him for child support, however, unless there is a paternity test and I push for support they don't bother and he skated through w/out being forced to prove paternity, yet.  I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the fact that we were legally seperated with a divorce in progress before we ever learned I was pregnant.  I was in the military and "had the flu" for so long that my command actually made me see a doctor...Even the doc thought I had the flu.  Then my ex bought a test and sure enough it said I was pregnant..Then I went and got blood tests and they confirmed.  By then our divorce was so close to final that maybe that's the states issue with it.  
Either way I don't mind...Money's not the problem.
I don't want to force anything on him either way.  I did decide to email him pictures and just give him an update on her progress as far as speech and abilities and such.  You know, how well she does her ABC's and whatnot.  I sent him her pictures from Christmas and left it at that, I didn't say anything to him about visiting her or what have you.  So far no response but I only sent it last night, I just figured that'd be the right thing to do-he missed Christmas so he should at lease see pictures of her going bonkers with wrapping paper.  I also wanted to re-open the door, in that sense, because as I said, I'm not aware of anything happening to make him uncomfortable or angry enough to stop seeing his daughter.  
When I move, I never had the intention of making him suffer because of my extreme distaste for california...I had talked to him about moving in the past, he had even mentioned following to stay near our daughter, I never had an issue with that.  I know that his girlfriend took serious issue with him not taking the paternity test and still comng to visit his daughter and such.  She got really angry and they split up for a whlie over it...Now she has moved in with him and literally all that happens in their apartment is a lot of things not proper for a child to be around.  My daughters dad agreed that was the case and has not been arguementative at all about me asking that he not take her to his home anymore.  
In any case, as I said before, I've always had an open door policy when it comes to my daughters dad.  If he wanted to visit all he had to do was show up...or call...or whatever.  Neither my husband nor I had an issue with him coming around, in fact he even kept a car he was rebuilding in our garage for several months...We asked him to remove only because we needed to be able to pull our cars in at night for a while thanks to the lack of trust we had during my husbands custody battle with his kids mother.  Her very violent (and drug dealing) boyfriend had made some pretty serious threats to us or to other people about us...So there just wasn't a lot of tension when it came to my daughters dad and us.  There were some things that did get me upset a couple of times, and when all was said and done we talked them over and hashed out our differences and it never hindered his and her visits.  That wouldn't change with a move, a good portion of my family lives in california as does all of his.  We would be here a lot, if not all of us at least the kids and I as their mother lives here too and none of our kids are old enough to travel alone nor will they be for a few years...
In any case, thanks for the advice, if he does finally start seeing her again I think that I'll do that, just to avoid any potential drama.   I'll keep him updated whether he sees her or not, in any case.  

ocean

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #8 on: Jan 01, 2007, 09:28:37 AM »
Not really but if he has not be around and not interested in getting a paternity test then she should be able to move. He could very easily ask the courts for paternity/custody and drag this out over months and force her to stay where she is. If he was involved and admitted child was his, then that would be a different story.

Ajilon

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RE: I need advice...
« Reply #9 on: Jan 01, 2007, 06:11:58 PM »
I JUST went through this last year.

No. you can't just up and move. There's a process and it's in your best interest to follow it so you have your bases covered.

It's called  the "Federal Child Relocation Act", was passed in Sept 2003 and it has some serious implications should you violate it. (ie: it could be construed as parental interference and you could lose physical custody if he pushes the issue).

Under this act, you are required to give notice in writing (certified) no less than 60 days prior to the move and provide him with the address, phone number, date of move, school district, etc etc. You are not allowed to move more than 60 miles from him without his permission or a court order. He then has to file an injunction with the court within 30 days of recieving that notice to stop you. If he fails to file such injunction, you have the right to relocate. If not, you have to obtain the court's permission for that relocation.

I know you haven't had a paternity test, but based on the fact that you were pregnant during the marriage, it can be assumed that he is the father to your child. You have been allowing him visitation and have even allowed him overnight visits. In some ways, you have established a father/child relationship with him. This can be used against you in court if he decides to push it. The best advice I can give you is to seek the advice of an attorney in your area and follow the steps as outlined by the Federal Courts.

 

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