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My oldest child was 9 years old before he began a relationship with his biological father. It could have been a very stressful situation for everyone involved, but from day one ground rules were laid out and a healthy relationship began.
I offer the following tips to Mothers and Fathers facing this situation:
Years ago, no one could have told me it could have been done, but over the last two years we have celebrated his marriage and the birth of our first grandchild together, and this all came about because we all worked towards one common goal, making our son feel love and acceptance from both sides of his family.
My heart goes out to children of separated families. But by working together for the child's sake it can be done successfully.
By Sharon, KY
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I need help. My ex wants me to send my child to him for the summer, but he has never met her. He does not pay me child support because he gets SSI and they can't garnish his check.
My husband has been raising her since she was 9 months old. He wants to adopt her, but my ex won't allow him to. He never sens me money. He calls maybe once a month. He will not move to the state we live in. What should I do?
By Sheila from Orange County, CA
Oh by the way, she is 10 years old, too.
I don't know how all of this works, because I'm not in a similar situation. My best friend had issues with an ex- and visitation, and she had to get an attorney. I'm thinking maybe it'd be good for you to get some proper legal advice.
Legal aspects aside, I don't think I'd send my child to go spend the summer with someone she's never met (in her 10 years of life).
Again, my best friend had problems with her ex- not paying child support. I think they eventually took it out of his tax refund. But this was several years ago, and I don't know all the details. I think you should consult with an attorney to get the best advice.
In many states California included I believe if a parent does not pay child support their parental rights are terminated but you should discuss this with a good family law attourney. Your ex sounds like a deadbeat, and you can file on his ssi or whatever he has for past due child support and you will get it but I would see about terminating his rights first.
Children are fragile! When you were a child, how would you like to be sent somewhere by yourself to stay with somebody you did not know!? I doubt this would sound like fun to you! (& even if it does sound like fun to her, she will quickly get homesick!) Also, how do you know what type of person he is these days? If your child's bio-dad really wants to see his child, then he needs to take the time to get to know her. This means he needs to visit her (on his dime) at your house, every month for at least a year or 2 before you even think about sending her to his house! Your daughter could end up with all kinds of psychological problems, including feelings of abandonment if you send her to stay with him for even a few days, let alone a week or the whole summer! Yikes! This a a very bad idea & I can't believe you are even contemplating it!
Even a judge would never force a child to visit a father in another state when the child does not know, or has never met their father, & if he gets a court order, you could easily fight it with a legal-aid lawyer. Maybe when she is 16 or 17 you could let her visit, & then only if he gets to know her first (at your house!) but even then, I would be very wary, because if he isn't responsible enough to send you even a little money, then he's not the type of man that you can count on! You can tell he's not responsible because he only calls her once a month. A "real" father would call her at least twice a week or more!
Don't even think about sending her to him, If he wants to see her, he can come to visit you at your house where you can keep an eye on him! These days you just never know what could happen! You just can't trust him & you can't trust anyone he gets to babysit her when he goes out.
As far as adoption. If you start pressing the child support issue & back support & you'll have more leverage so your new husband can adopt her! Call a lawyer & see if you have a case, it will be well worth your money!
I have been in the same situation, & my ex-husband only lived 40 miles away from me (not in another state!) but once he got my daughter (when she was 4) he refused to drive her back & it took me 3 days to find out where he was keeping her & to drive there myself & bring her back! That was a total nightmare! Don't get yourself in that situation, you may have difficulty getting her back. But even if everything goes "okay", it would still be to hard on her, no matter how old she is! I know what I'm talking about because I raised 4 kinds of my own & they are all responsible grown adults now.
Tell him he can see her, but he has to come to your house & there's no negotiating!
Go before the judge and get supervised visitation, that way he will have to come there to see her and you will be able to watch everything that happens. I would tell the judge that you are concerned that he will not be able to take care of her properly and then have a note from a psychiatrist or psychologist if you can get one that she doesn't need this kind of stress in her life right now...I would always get a lawyer and get this taken care of...also keep records of all the times he has not been there, like birthdays etc. Also tell the judge that you feel there is a kidnapping risk and you feel he is unstable emotionally and unfit to take care of her.
See this information
Also, maybe I am wrong, but shouldn't the child be getting a benefit check too if the dad is disabled?
I would check this out with SS office.
I agree with all of you. I dont want to send her there. I just need to just take him to court. I dont even want to do the DNA that the DA is making me do because if I do that I will have to put his name on her birth certifcate. He not there . All he has done to us his threaten me and made things difficult for her. My hubby is an awesome man.
That's like sending the child to visit a stranger; something I'd never do.
If she's ten and he's never seen her, never paid a penny toward her support and is threatening you, too--this guy doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Though the courts may want a DNA test, even if that officially entitles him to be on your daughter's records, it shouldn't automatically mean visitation.
You DO need an attorney. This guy doesn't sound as if he's been father of the year for the past decade and his need to try to control you while shirking his financial responsibilities and demanding to have you send her to him just--really gives me the creeps.
It just feels like he has an ulterior motive, like holding on to her to get a bigger disability check for himself, or a lot of other not-very-nice things that could be on his list.
Go to the family division at your local courthouse; someone may be able to help you in finding a court-appointed attorney or steer you in the right direction as far as what legalities you can set into motion to keep your daughter and the rest of your family safe. If he's calling you and threatening you, you may be able to get a restraining order.
If she is 10 years old & he's never even met her, let alone paid any child support, I'd just tell him no - period! I bet if he tried to hire a lawyer & force the issue,they'd laugh him out of the office! Talk to a lawyer, see if there is a Legal Aid in your area. Please don't let him guilt or scare you into letting her visit,you should be afraid of WHY he wants to see her all of a sudden & what he might do to her!
My ex stopped paying child support as soon as I re-married. I moved out of state because of my husband's job,my ex never came to visit the kids,he waited until I brought them to his state & town & called him to come see them.He called them 1-2 times a month - collect! He went 2 years with no letters or cards & only 2 phone calls.
When my kids asked my husband if he would adopt him, we went to a lawyer. The papers were filed & he was served with a copy & court date. Part of the paperwork was to terminate his parental rights so my husband could adopt them.The reasons stated in the papers said (among other things) that he(the ex) owed $10,000 in child support & had almost ho contact with the kids.
After he read the paperwork, he apparently decided it wouldn't do him any good to travel to our state to appear in court & protest the termination & adoption, he didn't even write a letter to the court. When we appeared in court, the Judge didn't even hesitate to sign the papers he was so disgusted! It didn't even cost as much as we thought it would.
Have the DNA test done whether you want to or not and even if he is the biological father you do not have to send that precious child to visit him until he is proven 'fit' by the family court! Being that he hasn't seen her in all these years and has not paid any child support, well, the judge is going to laugh at him like he's a clown!
Not only that but if she is his biological child he will be held responsible 'on the books' for prorated back child support even if it can't be garnished (I would double check that information because a child is not a credit card, car payment debt or mortgage debt) and your daughter 'will' definitely be entitled to Social Security payments since he's on disability if he is the biological father!
In the meantime, don't even talk to the jerk anymore and don't let him talk to her! Go through the courts 'only'! Stand strong and protect your daughter from the bum and God Bless your current husband who does love and take care of her and loves her as his own!
This made me feel quite sick. He wouldn't know her if he saw her in the street. However plausible, he's a stranger. I don't know how your courts work but, surely no judge would send her to a man she doesn't know? Don't worry about the dna-sooner or later she'd want to know who her father is, we always do! Good luck, God help you and please keep us posted.
Everyone on here has sent some well-meaning advice. But the only advice you shouold really listen to in this instance should be from your attorney. Since your ex has never tried to have any type of relationship with her, you may be able to force him to sign the papers for your husband to adopt her. Or at the very least you may be able to get him completely out of your and your daughter's lives so that this doesn't come up again.
Do the DNA test tho that the DA is wanting you to do. Sure it'll mean his name goes on her birth certificate, but it also will prove that he is her father and therefore financially responsible. Which is the first step toward child support, one way or another.
Remember tho, anything that you object to doing that the courts or the DA say for you to do, will only go against you. So be forthcoming and do whatever they say. It'll show that you want to do whatever's right for your daughter.
But while talking to the attorney, also explain that you want your current husband to adopt her. Explain why, how long you've been together, how the relationship is between him and her. And how you think she'd benefit from being adopted by him. Then explain in detail how her natural father (I hate the expression "bio-dad" because he's never been a dad, he only "fathered" her, from what you've said) has never tried to have any relationship or has never paid anything toward her support or anything.
Either way, your first step should be to get a good attorney. Good luck!
I don't know about the larger issue of adoption, but there is no way a 10 year old little girl should be going out of state to visit a man she has never met; you have no way of assessing his current living arrangements or knowing if he has any clue about looking after a little girl. Even if he has some sort of relationship developed over the phone in the 10 years that she has been alive, it is unreasonable to expect her to uproot herself for the whole summer. She undoubtedly has friends and activities she is looking forward to. Surely in 10 years he could have gotten together some money so that he could have come for a visit if he was serious about a relationship. Just say no.
Although you likely have enough advice on this issue, I am also going to weigh in on the side of "no visit". The whole idea is ridiculous if he has never even visited and hasn't seen her since she was 9 months old. Since he never visits and contributes nothing to her welfare and doesn't pay any support, I don't know what he could threaten you with. Just say no.
Sheila, I agree that you should not send your daughter to visit a stranger for 3 months, but you've asked for advice from the wrong source. Get thee to a lawyer ASAP. If you don't qualify for legal aid, it will be expensive, but this is your baby, and it sounds like this guy is trying to use her as a weapon against you and your husband.
Do not send your child to that man. You really don't know anything about him. He could be wanting her to sell her for money or drugs. Get a lawyer fast! Your child is worth what ever it cost! He does not send you money so that should tell you how much he really cares about her!
My daughter has a four year old daughter that she has custody of, but the dad has visitation rights. Dad wants to take her daughter out of state for 2 weeks and bring her back. Does my daughter have to let my granddaughter go out of state with him?