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  1. #1
    lhall Guest

    Mom with questions

    I reside in California. My ex boyfriend and I our going through child visitation, custody and support regarding our five month old daughter.

    Since birth, Dad has only seen daughter approximately ten times. Dad has requested joint custody of daughter but as in our court order, I have temporary physical custody and together we have temporary joint legal custody.

    Dad has supervised visitation on alternating weekends (drinking issues) which began November 10, 2001, at our parents home for up to four hours on approved days. On visits at his parents home (I drive over 90 miles to get to) I relax our daughter by holding her on my knee while Dad plays with her to assure her that it's alright. At my moms home, I choose not to be there. As soon as Dad holds daughter, she cries again. We repeat process until Dad ultimately takes her out of the room and daughter cries even louder. I try to ignore it hoping our daughter will calm down. Grandfather (dad's father) goes and check to make sure she's okay by this time, she's beet red. Grandfather holds daughter and she calms down...then Dad reenters and takes her and crying starts again. Made suggestions to Dad to not rush her and let her respond to him when she's ready. Play with her first and let her get use to your voice and your touch...Dad feeds her changes her diaper, baby falls to sleep crying. Dad said I must be doing something to baby to get her to cry... Dad then tell me to sign papers stating that our daughter isn't his and he's not financially responsible for her...then and only then will he stop putting our daughter through the emotional stress. (?) Didn't want to argue with Dad about such statement because I choose not lower myself to his stupidity. Documented it though.

    Visitation at my moms' home is somewhat the same...My mom leaves out of the family room, to give him space and time alone with our daughter. My mom stays away as long as possible when our daughter cries, hoping Dad can calm her down. Grandmother does as instructed, after enough time has passed, grandmother gets baby, holds her until she stops crying, puts her on her knee, and Dad plays with her until she stops crying. Dad feeds her and changes her diaper. Baby falls asleep crying.

    Last weekend, talked with Dad and explained to him that visitation at my mom's home would be cancelled due to family flying in from different states. Dad approved of the cancelled visistation which would have taken place at 1:00 p.m. up until 5:00 p.m. Dad nonetheless came to visitation at 1:40, rushed up on my car demanding to see our daughter, scarring my other two sons. Didn't want to cause any more stress on the other children so I left. Dad called the police to get an incident number...Then for this weekend, I spoke to his step mom at the beginning of the month to discuss visitation. She approved of having the visit this Saturday due to my other son having a birthday party on the 30th. Visit was cancelled for this Saturday and rescheduled for Sunday, due to his family having a get together although she and I had a discussion earlier. Had no other choice but to reschedule the party.

    My questions... how in God's name can a father be so cruel to his child and be only concerned about the money that will be taken from him to help support her? And why do I have to be at his beck and call??? I have financially supported our daughter since birth. Dad also says he doesn't feel comfortable in giving money to another child not residing in his home. (?) Does such statements need to be brought up at mediation or when we are in front of the judge????

    Someone please advise on what I should do to protect our daughter....
  2. #2
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    4,334
    lhall
    I don't imagine that you're going to like me or what I say, but here's what I see happening. Dad has seen his 5 month old daughter twice a month without fail and apparently while sober. You or your parent(s) are with the daughter on each and every one of his visits--to 'protect' her and 'reassure' her? By doing so, I think you are responsible for the crying and screaming, not him. I'm sure she has developed a sense of fear and forboding associated with seeing her father. No wonder she screams when he leaves the room with her; shes picks up on your emotions, or your parents' emotions. I think that you need to change your approach to making sure that she develops a desire to be with him and a joy to see him rather than someone from whom she has to be protected. And, that change is up to you, Mom, not the courts.
    I think the financial and other stuff is of another issue, and your daughter deserves to be supported by her father financially and in a relationship with her. As there are other children involved in your home and in his, hopefully the two families will co-ordinate for the benefit of all of the children, who are not responsible for this mess at all.
    Good luck.
  3. #3
    lhall Guest
    Thanks for the comment. I somewhat disagree with your comment though but thanks just the same...
  4. #4
    trebop Guest

    Lightbulb

    At five months of age, babies are very much in-tune with the people that they are surrounded by on a constant basis and feel comforted most by them. This may explain why she cries a lot with the absent father. Seeing a baby twice every other weekend is not enough time for them to adjust to the other person and feel comfortable. The space of time in between visits is enough to estrange your daughter from her father. Remember, she's only been using her brain in the "outside" world for five months! She doesn't have the capacity to yet develop any type of photographic memory to retain information about her dad. Along with feelings of animosity against you and your (and perhaps his) family, the rejection he feels he's getting from his infant daughter may be fueling his antics about providing financial support to "a child that is not in his home". It sounds like everyone needs to cut each other some slack, especially the baby! Your daughter doesn't sound like she's in any danger under supervised visits, and your daughter's father is trying to probably bond with her, and feels rejected when she cries so much. Also he may feel his fathering skills are being undermined because of the way you, your parents and his parents hover over him and the baby as soon as she cries. You would do well to talk to your parents and his about this and try to get his parents to reassure him more that she is not rejecting him with her cries because she's just a baby. Also, they should let him know that he should be patient during this time with the baby and give it a little time for her to get used to being around him. Five months isn't a long time for a baby to do much of anything other than cry, and by being so over-protective of her (despite his substance abuse problem) sends the baby signals from you all that may make her nervous and edgy around her dad, which causes her to cry more often. I understand your frustration, but please try to understand and consider what I've said. With the way a lot of unwed fathers are nowadays, you should consider yourself fortunate that he bothers to be involved with your child at all. That's sounds awful, but it's the truth. My son is about to turn 7 and he's never seen his dad at all because his dad chooses to be a deadbeat instead. Also, keep in mind that between the time you two conceived your daughter up until now, you guys have had some turbulent times together, and he may still be holding some resentment from that relationship against you, which could affect your daughter later on when she's older if it continues. At some point, you two are going to have to sit down and talk out your differences peacefully and learn to have some mutual trust in one another for your child's sake if you expect things to work out. If he's not willing to talk with you right now, that's ok. You can still do your part by easing up a bit (along with the grandparents) when he comes to visit, and make him feel more wanted and needed during visitation, because whether you all realize it or not, your daughter does need him in her life, and your job is to make sure she gets that from him by creating the most neutral, unhostile and peaceful environment for him to see her in. Good Luck...things will work out if you want them to=)
  5. #5
    lhall Guest
    Thanks.

    Some people have this issue about mothers during custody visitation arrangements. Most feel that mom is trying to exclude father from childrens lives. In my case, I'm the petitioner in the preceedings. I know the affect of having a positive role model such as a Dad in your life. I was fortunate to have both parents love and nurture me throughout my childhood and I know as she grows, would want him to be apart of her daily life.

    It's unfortunate that Dad and I cannot come to understandings that would benefit our daughter. I understand that she's the one who suffers when we cannot sit down as adults and discuss her well being.

    As a responsible, nurturing caring parent, I only want what is best for our daughter and during this stressful situation, I know that I have to be strong.

    Again thank you for the advice. Much needed for me...
  6. #6
    smh33 Guest
    Agree with ellencee....5 months is 5 months. There is no adjusting to people about it. I have seen my 2 year old niece about 8 times in her life, she is not freaked out each time I see her again, though may time to warm up to me...know what though, she warms up alot faster when mom/dad not around. Just as picking up a baby everytime cries will create a habit of child crying to get picked up, each time you or GPs 'rescue' child from Dad, your reinforcing to child someone will come, not to mention undermining mentally Dad's personal feeling of being capable to care for child, being liked by child. Many people here scream because they cannot get other parent to be involved.
    You really should not be present at Dad & his parents visits...that is why GPs are there..to be the supervisors??? It cannot be comfortable for any of you and what message do you send...your parents are o.k. so you do not need be there but, his parents not o.k.? If courts wanted you to supervise, would have ordered such. Babies cry, children cry, toddlers cry....are you going to spend 1/2 day at daycare for a week when child cries at first attendence? Dad needs space to form his own relation with child,own bond.
    The visit changes....always get changes in writing, it is your only and best defense. Also remember, life is not predictable...you are 5 months in...w/17 yrs,7months to go....at some point things will happen in your life where you may agree and then later need to change your mind. No order of visitation can address every aspect of daily life and changes.
    Child's emotional stress will be whatever the two of you make it and it was created to begin with when you both made the choice to be apart....you are both responsible. If paternity is a possible issue, should resolve first.
    It does not matter what the $ is for...anytime, anyone has money,wages forcibly taken from them it is a concern...just as it would be to you were it reversed......yes, you say I would gladly support my child but, becomes amazingly different when you are told how much, face crimminal punishment for not abiding, get no info $ is spent on child & of course it is going to your ex...it does change people's outlooks. Support is separate issue from custody/visits and judge will probably not allow any CS issues in custody hearing.
  7. #7
    lhall Guest
    Whoa!!! Time out here. You are definitely stating issues that have you kind of upset.

    Understand that I'm encouraging visitation with Dad. There has never been a concern about Dad being her biological Dad. He's just trying to get out of paying support for his daughter. She has been financially taken care of since birth by me...No dollar amount should be an issue when it comes to taking care of your childrens needs. As a parent of two other children, my paycheck is their paycheck to pay the bills and other necessities that they need in life. As a responsible parent that is my duty to make sure that they are provided for now and in the future.

    You stated that your eight year old niece warms up to you better when she isn't around mom/dad. Take into consideration that Dad has had his opportunities to be around child alone and she still cires. Try hearing your child cry at the top of her lungs which isn't normal for her and you would be quiet concerned as well. This is an emotional issue that stresses child out. I'm aware that she needs a relationship with her father but not forced and not demanded and at what cost to the child?????

    I choose to be at GP home on supervised visitations because when I left GP's home on one supervised visit, when I returned Dad was gone...Walking with infant child in the rain. GP's had no clue as to where he had gone. Supervised???? And I shouldn't be there? There's no law in the land the would stop me from being a concerned parent to my child....

    I have two other sons by a previous marriage after our divorce he would visit and/or take the boys periodically and just over the last three years, he's been more active with the boys...I'm encouraging a relationship with our daughters father, why are you being so cruel??
  8. #8
    smh33 Guest
    I am not being cruel but, you are encouraging a relationship between Dad & child as long as it meets your terms & conditions. The reality, ugly,bad,wrong as it may be...if as a parent one chooses to walk in the rain with your 5mth old child, it is your right and until one does everyday for a month,resulting in child having cold,flu several times related to such walks....it is parental right. I do not mean to imply you wish no Dad/child relation, only that you can't control it. Your order is temp. right?...ordered by judge or mutual agreement between u 2 & the 'supervised part'? I have heard my own child cry & scream but, baby may do so because she knows,senses you are there. You are only beginning your adventure in custody, better in long run to start out not fighting with ex...if only 5 mths, assume breakup recent...even adults need time to mend emotions.
  9. #9
    trebop Guest
    I can agree with bits and pieces of everything everyone has had to say on this issue, but I must admit that we all agree that your (and GP's) attentiveness to baby when dad is present is excessive and is causing a problem. If you trust the grandparents to care for the baby during visitation, then your presence is not necessary, and is aggrevating her father. The support issue is another story, but remember the baby is five months old. The baby hasn't been in the world long enough for him to visit enough, which means it might take a little longer for her to warm up to him. I am a mother and have done the infant thing before. Baby knows when you're present, even when they can't physically see you, and naturally has a preference for your touch over everyone else's because of who you are to them. And this is why she appears to cry so much. My son did the same things when he felt my presence. We won't even go into how much more intensified they are when you're a nursing mom, but I agree with everyone else about your absence during visitation with dad. You may not agree because might be a new mom(?), but trust me, these folks in the forum may have a point on some of this. Hope things smooth out sooner or later for you...and dad.
  10. #10
    ccarter is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Missouri
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    I may have missed it, so excuse me if I did, but is there a reason Dad cannot come to your house, or you to his for the visits? Maybe if he could come to your house and increase the frequency of the visits that would help baby get used to him. Plus the benefit of her being in her own surroundings.

    Just a thought....Good luck.
  11. #11
    FoggyDew is offline Member
    Join Date
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    Texas
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    I agree with most of what has been said here too. Your presence does adds tension to an already tense situation. Your child will naturally pick up on that even at five months, and will reflect your anxiety. Give her Dad some space - increase the visitation opportunities and allow him to build a relationship with her. Babies cry when away from their comfort zone - I promise they won't explode. My ex also had drinking probs and it scared the bejeesus out of me to leave them alone for more than one minute. It was absolutely necessary for me to get over myself and allow them the space to develop their own relationship while keeping a distant eye on my son's safety. If the family setting is too stressful, there are mediation centers and state houses where supervised visitation can take place with an unbiased supervisor. This may be preferrable to all involved. Support issue is separate and may have been voiced out of frustration on his part with the current arrangement. Give her Dad a chance (before he demands it on his own through legal recourse) - he will be in your life for a LONG time, and now is the opportunity to set the stage for all your future encounters. Good luck to you!
  12. #12
    FKNA Guest
    I'm not going to beat a dead horse here. I'll simply say I agree with the other posters. I just want to post from a "dads" point of view (putting myself in his shoes).

    I get to see my daughter a LOUSY 8.6 hours per month. To top it off they are "supervised" visits and half of those visits "mom" is present. During this limited amount of time while I'm trying to bond with my daughter, I have mom dictating on how I should bond with my daughter via her taking her from me when she cries or having GP's take her from me when she cries. So during these lousy 8.6 hours of visitation, what percentage of MY visitation is lost because mom or GP's have my daughter? You bet I'm going to be upset when YOU need me to work around YOUR schedule for my lousy 8.6 hours per month of visitation.

    As a dad, I have mom saying she wants $$$....but yet I'm being denied visitation. Heck ya, I wouldn't want to pay anything.

    Can you put yourself in his shoes for a moment? Should be pay child support? Heck yes, he's the biological dad and has that obligation.

    I would like to make a suggestion of allowing longer visitation times with less interference. From what I have read from you, dad is putting forth the effort to be a part of his daughters life. And you have to realize that he will be doing things his way. Here's a prime example: My ex would forbid my daughter from watching Rugrats. I on the other hand saw nothing wrong with it and allowed my daughter to watch that cartoon when she's with me. To this day my daughter (she's 11 now) has a clear understanding that when with mom, MOM'S rules must be obeyed and when with dad, DAD'S rules must be obeyed.

    If you truly want to put your daughters best interest first, then I do believe that visitation is something that both you and ex need to sit down and discuss as adults, voicing each others concerns.

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