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Hi BFSO Readers!
Just wanted to let you know that we’re settling in at our new virtual home! Come on over, take a look around and tell us what you think. Our new address is http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. I’m hoping that you’ll still be able to reach us via this address, but I’m not certain that you’ll be able to. So, don’t forget to take note of our new address. Oh, and for all of my favorite bloggers who have us listed as one of their favorites, please change our address in your blogroll to http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com! It’s http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com – it’s still us, still insightful information, just a different look. We’ll see you there!
I just wanted to let you know that BFSO will have a new virtual address soon! Our new home will be located at http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com, but you will still be able to access it from the current address. Get ready for a more visually appealing site with insightful content to match. We’re so excited to show you around!
BFSO is consulting the Advisory Board once again. This time we need to help a reader figure out what she should do. Below is her scenario and my response. We know the best advice comes from those who are living or have lived it. Please respond with open minds and sincere hearts.
I’m a Mom and my ex-husband (in which we’re both remarried) have 50/50 custody. However, we live in different towns and my kids go to school in his hometown.
My problem is that my exes new wife is my children’s primary caregiver. She is currently housesitting for her mother, in which her and my children are staying there, but my ex husband is staying at their house. This is strange to me because my exes wife’s mothers home is in the same town as my exes home. My ex said that he’s getting a lot of work done while they’re gone.
I work from home and want my kids to live with me and go to school in my home town. My ex will not give them up. he says that their home is there and that their school is there. Although I agree that stability in the same school is important, my kids aren’t being taken care of by him. They’re being taken care of by their stepmom. (who is very nice by the way).
Should I take this to court since obviously my ex isn’t the one primarily taking care of them and I have the circumstances and great desire to have them with me?
What’s your thought?
Hi Jakki! Thanks so much for stopping by.
I am sorry that you’re in this position. It’s tough when you’re really trying to make decisions based on what’s best for your children. I am sure that your decision to allow your children to remain in your ex’s hometown was based on just that [doing what's best for them]. However, being cared for, primarily, whenever possible, by both of their biological parents is equally important. My questions to you would be: 1) How many days of the week do you get to see them as you stated that you share custody? 2) How many times a week does your ex actually have them since his wife is caring for them outside of their home? 3) Is there a reason why your children live with your ex in the first place?
All of those questions would definitely influence whether or not I would take my ex to court. But, just from the information you’ve provided above, if my children weren’t being primarily cared for by me or my ex, then something would definitely have to change. While I’m sure that your ex’s wife is a great person (after all, she’s caring for your children), I don’t think it’s fair to you, to her or to your children to have her primarily care for them; especially when neither you, nor your husband share a residence with them.
Here are a couple of options to consider:
1. Take your ex to court for physical custody as it’s almost impossible to have joint physical custody when you both reside in different hometowns. I’m not sure how old your children are, but they will adjust to a new school. If one is a senior in high school, then it might be best to allow him to finish out the year in his current school. Other than that, kids move all of the time, and they adjust.
2. You mentioned that you worked from home, so how possible would it be for you to move to the town where your children reside? This way, they could live with you, stay in their school, but still have unlimited access to their father.
I hope I’ve helped in some way, Jakki. I’ll repost this scenario so that readers will have a chance to respond as well.
Grace and Peace,
BFSO readers, I need your opinion. I have been opining this subject for a while now. Actually, it is eating away at me because I have always tried really hard to not let what an ex does or doesn’t do or something he says or doesn’t say to me bother me. My 19 year old son, L’s, father lives in California. We were married for 5 years. During that time, as I have written before, he was very physically abusive to me in front of my two older boys. My oldest son was not his biological child.
Last May, when my son graduated high school, my ex and I got into a huge argument, over the phone over his car insurance payment. The only thing I ask him to do is pay his car insurance $72.00 a month and that has only been since he was 17. So, the first 17 years, he never paid a dime of support or helped me in anyway. He didn’t work when we were married. Anyway, at the time of our argument, he said to me “Diane, our son is 19. I don’t have to have anything else to do with you. I don’t have to talk to you, I can talk to L from now on.” That really made me think. How do you say that to the mother of your child? If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have his only son, his namesake.
Well, he’s right. He doesn’t. But, that really hurt me. I raised this boy on my own, got the crap beat out of me by this man, and now he just writes me off because our son is 19. I think what bothers me more is that my son WANTS a relationship with him. For some reason, I feel a little bit betrayed by my son. I was the one struggling, making $15,000 a year, eating oatmeal at night so the boys could eat what little meat I could afford to buy. I was the one crying at night wondering how I was gonna pay the daycare that next week, buy groceries and have enough money to last me to the next paycheck.
I never asked for child support from him, not a dime. We divorced when my son was 4. I was so afraid of him that I didn’t want him to have any reason to come around us. The court ordered supervised visitation, with no overnights and that he seek batterers treatment counseling, etc. The court did order child support, but I stipulated that he didn’t have to pay it and I moved away. My question is….why would my son want a relationship with him when he has done NOTHING for him, ever? Needless to say, from the time my son was 8 through now, 19, my son has seen him a total of 4 times. Now that he is 19, my ex tries to have a father-son relationship with him, calls him on his cell, talks about the Lakers; which is both of their favorite team. My son acts like they are the best of friends and it makes me almost physically sick because he has no idea the pain this man has caused me. Just the raising of this man’s voice still scares me to this day. My son doesn’t see that pain. My son doesn’t understand the things his dad took away from me during those years of abuse. He took everything from me. My self-esteem, my self-worth, my pride and he placed fear in my heart. Why does he want to have anything to do with him? I know I am being selfish. My son deserves a relationship with his father….but he is a horrible father. I have forgiven my ex, but I haven’t forgotten and I guess, I didn’t expect my son to forget either.
It bothers the heck out of me. HELP!!!!!
I have an issue that I’d like to reach out to the BFSO Advisory Board (that’s you readers, by the way) for advice on. It’s about my ex and his relationship with our son. Most of you know, by reading the blog, that my ex is an overseas basketball player and has been since I was pregnant with our son. As such, he’s been living out of the country ever since our son was born and he’s now 11. As a result, they pretty much don’t have a meaningful relationship. My ex wants to change that and so do I, but we clash on how to do so. He is only in the states about 8 weeks, maybe a little more on occasion, out of the entire year and has been since I was pregnant. Therefore, my son has never had the opportunity to develop a meaningful bond with him. It took my son a long while before he actually wanted to go over to their house, without being forced. Over the past few years, however, it has gotten better; especially since his wife and son stay behind while he goes to Spain to play basketball. It has allowed my son to spend more time in his second home, with his second mom and little brother. Now, he loves to spend as much time with them [his second mom and brother] as he can, and I certainly don’t mind. As a matter of fact, my husband and I are both very happy that he asks to go over every weekend, holiday or whenever he has a break from school. It confirms that his second mom really makes him feel at home when he’s there. I thank God for that…what a relief! The problems occur when my ex returns for his 8 week visit. My son almost instantly withdraws and doesn’t want to go over. Last summer, he even said, “I’ll just wait until dad leaves before I go over there again.” When I asked him why he said that he just didn’t feel comfortable when his dad was there. He said that he’d like for him (his dad) to get to know him better.
Let me explain…my son is a highly intelligent, straight A student. He started booting up the computer (on his own) and playing educational games at age 18 months, putting together 100 piece puzzles before age 2 and reading, fluently, by age 3. He’s our brainiac who loves anything having to do with science. Some of our conversations are even over my head! Additionally, he’s the sweetest, most kind-hearted, compassionate, wise individual (not kid, but person) that you’d ever meet. Most people (his teachers, friends’ parents, etc) literally compare him to Ghandi. His bio-dad, on the other hand, is a jock. He’s the professional basketball player, who like most (I don’t mean to stereotype, but it’s true) are self-absorbed individuals, who think that world starts and stops around their schedule because they play basketball. Are you starting to see how the two completely clash??
With that said, I can really tell, especially since my ex is getting older and finally growing up, that he desires a more meaningful relationship with our son. But, he wants our son to do so on his terms. He thinks that by forcing him to stay the entire summer (the 8 weeks that he’s here) that their relationship will automatically improve. I told him that forcing him would potentially do more harm than good. By the time my son gets over the shock of being forced to stay in an environment that he’s not comfortable in, it’s time for the ex to skip town again, for a year, and they get to do it all over again the next summer. I explained to him that forcing him to be with him will not do any good until he decides to stay put for more than 8 weeks in the summer. Additionally, being a parent is much more than just having him in the house with you. You have to spend time with him and even do things that he wants to do at times. And, because you’ve never had an opportunity to bond, alone time is essential as well. My ex just doesn’t get it at this point. I will say, however, that I can really tell that he’s making a concerted effort to understand where I’m coming from. I’m so happy that although we don’t agree on everything or even always understand each other’s points of view, we both talk about it like adults and then attempt to work out an optimal solution. And, at the end of the day, we both really want what’s best for our son. What a blessing to have finally arrived at this point!
My question for the BFSO Advisory Board is, should I force my son to stay the 8 weeks in the summer, if he doesn’t want to? Legally, I am not obligated to do so because the judge ordered that he give 60 days notice prior to arriving in the states, which he has never done because he said that he just can’t. However, I’m always flexible with the parenting time schedule and allow my son to see his dad and/or second mom as much as he wants. My thoughts are that if dad were doing everything that he was supposed to do, we wouldn’t have to force him. I’ve told him to call regularly, not just from time to time. Use email to communicate with him on a regular basis. I even suggested a webcam for more frequent contact. But, he’s acted on none of my suggestions. Why should I be flexible and bend over backwards to achieve this goal [my son spending more time with him], and why should my son be forced to be uncomfortable, if dad can’t hold up his end of the bargain? Whether it be because he can’t or isn’t willing? What do you readers think?