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-   -   A father's rights (https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/showthread.php?t=169375)

  • Jan 6, 2008, 09:26 AM
    johnnyne
    A father's rights
    I have a 3 year old granddaughter who has a mother who is totally out in left field. She is 24 and has 4 children under the age of 5. My granddaughter is child number 3. The father of the first two is currently incarcerated as a sex offender, and the father of the last is unknown. The mother is arrogant, ungrateful and spiteful. My son has obviously moved on abd she is mad about it.
    My son does not pay child support on a regular basis although between him, my Dad and myself, the baby wants for nothing. First thing, I am taking him to support enforcement and he will be paying. In the meantime, what can I do? I am so distraught ove r the fact the my granddaughter who spent the entire first year of life with me, is not around.
    Johnnyne
  • Jan 6, 2008, 10:04 AM
    asking
    You will get more detailed advice from others here, I'm sure. But I want to say that it's wonderful that you are getting your son to pay support regularly. Knowing she can count on a regular check, no matter what the amount, will give the mother some stability in her life.

    The other thing you can do is to keep trying to be there for your granddaughter AND her mother. It must hurt so much that you aren't seeing her as much now, but anything you can do to establish a good relationship with the mother and her other kids will be good for your granddaughter and you in the long run. The mother has obviously made some mistakes and maybe they weren't all her fault--obviously nobody deliberately chooses a sex offender! (Good that he's locked up. Did he rape her? ) But she's under a huge amount of stress right now with the 4 little kids under 5. She's angry with your son, too. Is there any particular reason she's angry? Knowing that might help people give you advice.

    Anyway, even though the mother sounds impossible to deal with, keep trying. Eventually, she may come around, calm down and become a nicer person. Then she'll remember that you were one of the few people who didn't criticize her, tell her what to do, and that you helped and were there. If she gets to the point of asking you a favor, say yes or no as possible, but don't use the occasion as an opportunity to lecture her or point out her mistakes. Try not to give advice unless she asks for it.

    You could offer to watch all her kids now and then (not more than you can stand!) so she can get a few hours to herself to go to the gym or take a night class, or something like that. Or you could pay for a sitter one night a month. You might want to locate a sitter you trust yourself. That would probably be a huge help to her. Be willing to leave your granddaughter with the sitter too, to prove that it isn't ALL about you getting time with her and that you are actually trying to help the mother have some down time, so she can think calmly. Even if she says no, don't give up. Offer to help every few months. Just having you offer may make her appreciate that your intentions are good. If she says no, don't argue or reproach her. Respect her boundaries. I think people have not respected her boundaries (the sex offender almost certainly abused her one way or another), and so it's especially important to respect her autonomy and not try to break her or force her to do anything.

    Please don't encourage your son try to take your granddaughter away from her mother by taking her to court or by any other form of coercion. That would just result in more trauma for the 3 year old.

    Just my 2 cents...
    Good luck and keep loving!
  • Jan 6, 2008, 10:15 AM
    s_cianci
    You can petition the court for custody and/or visitation. Secondly, it is not your place to take your son to court for child support (unless you eventually win custody, which is a long shot at best) but rather the mother's or whoever has primary physical custody. You claim that "between him, your Dad and yourself, the baby wants for nothing." That sounds like your son is providing some degree of financial support. Has a support order been established? If so, then whatever agency in your state collects and enforces child support should be taking the necessary steps. If they're not, then whoever the obligee is (in all likelihood that would be the mother) has that option. The best you can do at this point is fight for your granddaughter to the fullest extent of the law in your state. A local attorney can provide you with firsthand advice.
  • Jan 6, 2008, 05:05 PM
    johnnyne
    Just to clarify, I am taking him to the court to put in a voluntary order of support. There have been no orders or court appearances. The mother is simply able to throw his non-support status iin my son's face and I know he should be paying. I want it on record for his protection.
    My Dad has even bought brand new bunk beds for her other two children and she shows no appreciation. I feel sorry for her but she is verbally abusive in her telephone conversations to everyone in the house, including me. I won't have it. I'd like to get a joint or split custody order for him.
  • Jan 7, 2008, 12:07 AM
    asking
    Does your son want shared custody or is this something you want?

    Of course, fathers have rights to custody as long as there is nothing like physical abuse or substance abuse. Apart from that kind of thing, a judge would likely grant your son shared custody. Is there some reason you are worried that he won't get it? Has the mother accused him of anything?

    Also, I'm wondering why you write "I'd like to get a joint or split custody order for him." This is something fathers normally do themselves, not have done for them by other adults. Is there some reason he can't do this himself?
  • Jan 7, 2008, 06:30 AM
    johnnyne
    I knew this would come up so here is the answer.
    My son was removed from my home for his delinquent activity and placed in a program for delinquent children. Although he stayed in the family, (father, aunt) I never had custody of him after that. We remain close but there is a part of me that will always feel guilt for not doing the things I should have done as a mother.
    He is 32 years old, has 3 biological children and one he has taken care of since before birth, so she's his too. He has only been "legal" (had no license, and had warrants) since 2004 when he staisfied his obligation to the courts. He recently earned a diploma in electronic technology but 3 weeks later lost his job due to closing.
    To make it plain, he has no clue as to what to do and in 2 weeks, I'll be a graduate with a degree in criminal justice. From my studies, I know he has to do the right thing in order to be in the position he wants to be in - a custodial parent.
    He did live with his former girlfriend for 7 years and was the "mr.Mom" in the situation. He is a wonderful father but has a few misguided ideas about taking care of children.
    Yes, he wants custody, at least joint, as we both fear for her safety.
  • Jan 7, 2008, 12:34 PM
    asking
    I am confused. Is the person he lived with for 7 years a different woman than the one you are in conflict with? She doesn't seem old enough to have lived with him for 7 years, especially if they have been apart for a while...

    Has he asked his child's mother for shared custody? That would be the first thing to do. If he has asked and been definitely refused, then I think you should help him locate a good lawyer to help decide what to do next. Even though you have a degree in criminal justice--Congratulations!--it would best to have a professional who is not personally involved. All lawyers are not equivalent, so ask around and get recommendations. I wouldn't assume that he has to file a custody suit. I personally hope you don't do that, as it's hard on all the kids.

    What are your son's "misguided ideas about taking care of children"?

    I can understand about feeling guilty, but he is an adult now and it wouldn't make sense to push him to get custody if he isn't something he really cares deeply about himself, especially since he already sounds like he has a lot on his plate in terms of learning to function well. Is it also about your wanting to see your grand daughter yourself? Because maybe that could be handled in a different way.

    Have you read the book, Getting to Yes, about negotiation? One of the things it says is that if there are lots of issues, that actually makes it easier to negotiate an agreement that helps everyone. It sounds like your problem has a lot of issues--child support, your desire to see your granddaughter regularly, your son's desire to see his daughter regularly, your dil's need to feel like she is raising her own daughter, etc.
  • Jan 7, 2008, 12:43 PM
    johnnyne
    I can understand your confusion. My son was with his former girlfriend for 7 years and they have a daughter and step-daughter from that union. When they split, he had a 3 year relationship with this woman who had his daughter, already had 2 kids and has yet another baby that is not my son's.
    I just returned from a personal visit with a magistrate judge and my son who gave some good advice. My son must legitimize his daughter, even though he is on the birth certificate and he has provided for her care for 3 years. I've helped him as much as I can now. I know I operate out of guilt but he is an adult and make his own choices. I have to let go and I shall.
    I just pray that my granddaughter remains safe, as her Mom was uinvewstigated on a prior complaint by CPS.
  • Jan 7, 2008, 01:37 PM
    asking
    Thanks for explaining. I see that it's pretty complicated. I'm so sorry you are worried about your granddaughter, though, and hope there is something you can do for her and also to reassure yourself (I'm hoping she's okay). I know my own ex, who can be abusive, is harder on our kids when he's stressed. So maybe if the mother gets settled, she'll be a better mother. You'll have more rights when your grand daughter is legitimized, right? I hope things turn out well for all of you. It sounds like you are doing the best you can.

    Good luck!

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