S.P.A.R.C.

Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center
crazy gamesriddles and jokesfunny picturesdeath psychic!mad triviafunny & odd!pregnancy testshape testwin custodyrecipes

Author Topic: Need feedback  (Read 7317 times)

Amy_in_MA

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5100
  • Karma: 343
    • View Profile
    • Amy's Journey
Need feedback
« on: Oct 29, 2006, 08:13:55 PM »
What do CPs and NCPs think constitutes facilitating a relationship with the other parent?

I had a very upsetting discussion with my son's father tonight because he says I have done nothing to facilitate his relationship with his son. Our son is 5...will be 6 in January. I have always been flexible with times, dates, offered more time, etc. He has always taken less than is offered in terms of time with our son. I have always talked positively to our son about his dad, encouraged son to call dad when he mentions him, etc. I've suggested to dad numerous times that he give son a call once or twice a week. Dad basically says he doesn't have any time to call between visits (not even a 1 or 2 minute call once or twice week to say hello to son), that it goes both ways (I do encourage son to call), and that it's my job to tell son to call him. Dad says that basically I have given nothing, that it was my choice to be a single parent (he didn't recall our conversation when I first found out I was pregnant regarding termination and he urged me not to because he said we'd never get through it as a couple, and that somehow we would make it work and be a family).

All of this came about because of his realization that he's been a shitty father (his words) and he wants to do better. As such, he wants more time with son (just two months ago he reduced his once every two weeks day visit from 9 to 7 hours because son was so unhappy being there and he said it wasn't fair to the other kids that this one child is so unhappy/miserable there). So, in order to have more time with son, he needs to work less hours...as such, he wants to reduce child support. Last year, same time, we had this discussion and we agreed to a reduced amount of support without him taking back his first ex-wife to reduce her order (which effects mine). This time I told him he needed to take her back first and get her's reduced before I would agree to another reduction based on the new figures.

His idea of me "giving" something to facilitate their relationship means agreeing to less child support and doing the driving since he moved away (45 minutes each way...he used to live 10 minutes away and moved after son was born). I really do feel that I have bent over backwards (there's more history than I can even give just here of how I've tried to be supportive of their relationship)...but I wonder what people think constitutes facilitating a relationship with the other parent. I also work two jobs, like he does. My free evening daycare so I could work the second job was my mom, who passed away unexpectedly in May. So the costs of working that second job have gone up. The current support order covers about half of the daytime daycare and afterschool care costs. He's in arrears (about $1700 now) and owes his half on about $800 of uninsured medical expenses (so $400). I'm just really shocked that his perception is that I have given nothing and done nothing to facilitate his relationship with his son...I think I have.

So, the question stands, what constitutes facilitating a relationship with the NCP?

--------------------

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

     ~ James Allen
"Continue to share your heart with people, even if it's been broken." ~ Amy Poehler


LAK

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5775
  • Karma: 342
    • View Profile
Amy.....
« Reply #1 on: Oct 30, 2006, 06:29:27 AM »
You answered your own question in the first paragraph.  You have gone ABOVE AND BEYOND with everything in regards to your son and his dad.  You have done way more than most.  

DO NOT agree to a reduction again.  Remember how he lied last time about his income.  Also, as far as the driving, the MOST I would offer is the receiving parent pick up.  And that is being generous since he moved.

Stick to your guns and don't let that scumbag make you question your actions.  You are an excellent mom and don't you ever think any different.

Other than that, how are you doing?  I still can't believe my dad is gone.  I thought about him a lot yesterday.  You have my email.  

sgl

  • Private Reserve
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1596
  • Karma: 243
    • View Profile
Hi Amy in MA...
« Reply #2 on: Oct 30, 2006, 06:46:47 AM »
I think you've done a fine job of facilitating the relationship.  The emotional willingness is key to everything.  By displaying a positive attitude about ex in front of your son, and by being willing to increase the time they spend together, you have done a great deal to facilitate the father-son relationship.  

Could you do more?  Perhaps - but only as part of a parenting team, and your ex is not doing *his* fair share of teamwork.  For example, you could share the driving (that would ideal if all other things were equal) - but there is no reason for you to do this unless ex is paying his fair share of raising your son through CS.  He is not being a good team player, so there is no incentive for you to go the extra mile.

Child support is not supposed to be linked to visitation, and I'm not suggesting that.  I know you have not "withheld" visitation based on arrears, nor should you.  But there is no reason you should spend extra funds (for gas) and your time driving your son to visit ex if ex is not paying what is court-ordered to help raise your son.  

I think he is being very petty in asking you to lower support as a "trade" for him spending more time with your son.  It is a form of emotional blackmail, in my opinion.  He knows you want your son to have a good relationship with his Dad and he's hoping you'll agree to lower support in order to make that happen.  

I think it is very telling that your ex cut the number of hours that your son spent at his home because "your son was unhappy there."  Instead of dickering about money vs. hours, I think your ex should spend some time figuring out why your son was unhappy there, and what he and his family can do to fix that.

One final point - although it is unjust and unfair for ex to be suggesting that you have not made an effort, I would advise you to try very hard to let go of any desire to make him realize he is wrong.  He doesn't care if he's right or wrong - his approach is a bullying tactic to try to save some money.  

I hope you are well and (other than this...) happy.  
Sue


Amy_in_MA

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5100
  • Karma: 343
    • View Profile
    • Amy's Journey
RE: Amy.....
« Reply #3 on: Oct 30, 2006, 06:51:04 AM »
Well, I've offered two things. One is to reimburse him for the money he isn't being paid for working in the "extra" time he wants to take Zachary provided he is current with that month's child support and actually takes the time with Zachary. Second, I have offered to do the pick up end. I can almost guarantee that he won't go for the first suggestion...I realize this is truly all about money for him...it has nothing to do with the relationship with his son, otherwise why would he fight so tooth and nail about calling his son once a week? Why would he refuse to try the overnights again, or even take back the longer hours he had up until a few months ago? He can take me to court. I have made that clear.

It's almost been 6 months since my mom died. I still have my times when it doesn't seem real. Last night, all I could do was cry because I wished she had been here to talk to me, listen to me, because she's really the only other person who has been here first-hand for all the crap that R has pulled with regards to child support and visitation. I missed her very profoundly last night. My friend who lost her dad 3 days before my mom died, she and I have been talking about how much more acute it is right now...probably in large part because of the upcoming holidays, and my mom's birthday was November 12th. It's a hard time of year to begin with, you know?

Hang in there LAK...I know it's hard and painful. :(

--------------------

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

     ~ James Allen
"Continue to share your heart with people, even if it's been broken." ~ Amy Poehler

Amy_in_MA

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5100
  • Karma: 343
    • View Profile
    • Amy's Journey
RE: Hi Amy in MA...
« Reply #4 on: Oct 30, 2006, 06:54:14 AM »
Hi Sue. Yes, it is emotional blackmail. I had to hear from him last night how he doesn't even get to see his wife until 9 or 10 at night because he's working two jobs. I made no comment, even though that's really none of my concern. See my reply to LAK in what I have offered him...yes, I know it's ridiculous to offer to pay him to see his son. What excuse does this leave him though, not to spend some one on one time with him (which I think would probably go a long way towards helping their bond)? None.

I'm hanging in there. Quite ready, already, for the holidays to be behind us. I hope you are doing well also. :)

--------------------

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

     ~ James Allen
"Continue to share your heart with people, even if it's been broken." ~ Amy Poehler


dsm

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 2680
  • Karma: 72
    • View Profile
It does seem to go in cycles, doesn't it?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 30, 2006, 08:07:01 AM »
He is good for this time of year to get on the bandwagon of "I want to do better by Z, and need your help to do that."  And then, he twists things around so that you start to second-guess everything you have been doing/are doing in taking care of Z as well as making sure that he has access to him.  I am proud of you for standing up this year and saying 'no' to the reduction in the support without him going to the other mom as well.  Continue to stand your ground.  You are doing and have always given him ample opportunity to be involved with Z's life.  You have bent over to be sure that he was included on things.  How he chooses to do things is on him - not on you.  

Your question of facilitating the relationship.....hon, it's everything you are already doing.  You encourage Z to call him, you have him go even when Z is anxious about going (remember the first sleepover?).  It's time for R to stand up and do more on his own.

Keep your chin up.

(((HUGS)))

==============================================================================

dsm - 36; DH - 39; SD - 17; LO - 10; BB - 3
------------------
3 Cheap Entertainment cats - Sam,  Snoop & Dagger
------------------
Live, Love, and Laugh
dsm - 44
DH - 48
SD - 26
LO - 19
BB - 12
1 demon who provides cheap entertainment of the fluffy and furry kind.

My mantra - it's time for me to do for me and mine so we can live in the present and not fret about the past nor worry about the future.  What is, is.

Amy_in_MA

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5100
  • Karma: 343
    • View Profile
    • Amy's Journey
RE: It does seem to go in cycles, doesn't it?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 30, 2006, 08:19:15 AM »
You know what really burns me? His first ex and he can both choose to work beneath their earnings capability...he does it because he doesn't want to commute, she does it so she can be there for her kids after school. I'd love to be there for my son after school. I'd love to work 10 minutes from home like he does. Should I quit the job I have and go find one like that, that has me earning much less and as a result, makes me eligible for a higher CS award? Because the courts don't seem to care that he's earning beneath his potential...not one bit.

--------------------

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

     ~ James Allen
"Continue to share your heart with people, even if it's been broken." ~ Amy Poehler

CGS

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Need feedback
« Reply #7 on: Oct 30, 2006, 01:22:41 PM »
He does these things to you because you let him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pointing the finger at you by any means, but I recoginize the behavior.  

My x was/is the exact same wa0y regarding our 5 y/o child. I fianlly reached the point this year where I was either going to have an emotional meltdown or needed to fix the problem.  I began going to counseling for myself, and it has been extremely helpful!

One activity my counselor had me do was to pull out my calendars for the past 5 years (I'm sure you have them too.. the ones you use to document phone calls etc) and list all of the things I've done for x out of good will. For example:
1) x's bday, had child make card and cake to take over
2) x's family had a party I heard about, called x to see if child could go
3) took may day baskets over
4) child had a great day at preschool, had child call x to tell about it
etc/etc

It helped me to see that I am working hard to facilitate childs relationship w/ x and gave my counselor and I talking points on what activities meant the most to x and child and which ones were wasted energy on my part.

It is hard dealing with an x like yours, trust me I've battled this for 5 long years.  But the best thing I have learned through my counseling is that I can't control x's behavior and it's not my fault x isn't always the best parent they can be.  

If you agree to this reduction in child support, and basically pay your x to spend time with his child, you are buying into his self pity party and encouraging him to continue this poor behavior towards you.  

If I were you I would say no, and go on about your business. You have nothing to lose.  You already are responsible to raise your child more or less on your own, so what can he do in retaliation? See your child even less? What's less than nothing?

Stay strong, and stand your ground.  Child support ensures your child has a parent.. Reducing it means you will have to work more to make it up and your child will see both parents less.. there is no way that is in the best interest of your child.

Amy_in_MA

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 5100
  • Karma: 343
    • View Profile
    • Amy's Journey
RE: Need feedback
« Reply #8 on: Oct 30, 2006, 01:35:56 PM »
I appreciate the feedback. I've been in counseling for many years actually, and I see my counselor this Wednesday evening. No doubt, she will reinforce and remind me of the things that I've done. It's just so hard to grasp his view of reality and what I have and haven't done. It's astounding really. It reminds me really of just how pathological he really is. I don't think he'll accept my offer anyway...I mean, that would put the responsibility on him...he'd have to take the visits to get reimbursed. I don't believe it's about time with our son at all to him...I believe it's all about money.

I've also worked really hard to get to the point where, when daycare is completely done and it's only after school care that I need for our son, whether I receive child support or not I can make the bills. It will mean our son does with a lot less, but nothing that will make or break his life. I will be glad for the day when I can tell his dad "go ahead, keep your money...NOW what will be your excuse?"

--------------------

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

     ~ James Allen
"Continue to share your heart with people, even if it's been broken." ~ Amy Poehler

Stirling

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 2419
  • Karma: 65
    • View Profile
RE: Need feedback
« Reply #9 on: Oct 30, 2006, 02:13:21 PM »
Hi Amy,

I'm glad to see you around, I have missed you and think of you often.  I hope all is well with you and Z.

Don't listen to what your Ex says.  It sounds like he doesn't want to take responsibility for the natural consequences of his choices and is looking for someone else to blame.  Not only have you bent over backwards to help your Ex facilitate a relationship with Z, but you have been doing cart-wheels!  I would keep doing what you have been doing.  Also, CS and his parenting are two separate issues and should be treated as such.  The truth is he is the only one that can create and maintain a relationship with Z.  You cannot do this for him.  If you could he would already have a close relationship with Z.  Again he is looking to blame others for his poor choices.

It sounds like he is using his lack of relationship as a (stupid) reason to try and get you to reduce CS yet again.  Given his track record he probably wouldn't increase his involvement with Z even if he got a reduction.  

 

Copyright © SPARC - A Parenting Advocacy Group
Use of this website does not constitute a client/attorney relationship and this site does not provide legal advice.
If you need legal assistance for divorce, child custody, or child support issues, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.