Visitation: should I file, or let my son's Dad make that effort?

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

For the past 9 years I've put up with sporadic visits from my son's biological father. Several times I've requested consistent days/month to be arranged - he has not been able to manage that. Last year on one of those sporadic visits where he took my son for a visit - he left him alone. My son was alone long enough to feel afraid and called me to come pick him up - which I did. I wrote Z's Dad a letter saying I would only allow him to see Z at school; football; and other public events. That was Sept 2009. June 2010 he calls and shows up with birthday gift and $20 in a card for Z. Then calls the other night asking to take Z out to a movie. I said I'd think about it. Called him back July 4th to say I stand by my letter from Sept 2009 and he can feel free to rent a movie and bring it over here to visit Z. He accuses me of keeping him from visiting Z. We argue, I end up telling him he is not welcome here anymore and to get off my property.

Should I leave it alone, or should I pursue visitation via the courts? If I pursue the visitation, it would be to limit it so my son cannot go anywhere with him. I have sole guardianship of my son now - had to get that when Z's Dad refused to sign his passport for us to take a vacation.

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[deleted account]

Hi
Sole guardianship has replaced what used to be sole custody for AB.
Although I have that document it states that visitation is to be mutually agreed upon between biological father (he is on the birth certificate but my son has my surname, not his) and me.
I doubt he will make the time and effort to file, so I'm leaving it alone, but I am tracking emails that I've sent him etc. so if a day comes, I will be able to print them all off as support of what I've said etc.
I agree Elizabeth, I believe his accusations will not go anywhere official....just said in front of my son to create a state of chaos for me to deal with in the aftermath.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/07/2010

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BTW, make a record of everything, phone calls, letters, arranged pick-ups (actual time or no shows), etc.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/07/2010

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wow, I have heard that before, you keep him from me, ansd yes its all my fault. I understand what you are going through. My son was never a priority in his father's life, so I moved outta state (to find work) and yes he may visit but leaves early. They only want them around when it is convienent for them. Personally I would talk to a lawyer (one who comes highly recommended in family courts w children). The sole guardianship-what is that? does that not grant you the sole care giver. Maybe I am confused on what you want his father around for, either to make a commitment or to stay way. Personally I think the every now and again only does more damage than good to the child. However times are hard, he hasn't been around over the last decade, i would take this as an idle threat, and empty threat. That is one power they all have is to threaten us where it hurts the most-the children.

Jennifer - posted on 07/07/2010

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Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your situation on here! I only discovered this community yesterday, and definately foresee this forum helping me a great deal with the stress of raising a child on my own. It's just so comforting to know I'm not alone & to have such an amazing outlet to help strength who I am as a woman, and as a mother...& of course, help my son grow into an amazing man. So, thanks again for sharing! Hope everything goes well for you & Z!

[deleted account]

Hey Tammy, I live in Alberta too and when my son was born I talked to MANY people to get informed on what I was even allowed to do as far as letting his dad see him, taking him out etc. Every person I spoke to said since my son lives with me and I'm the only one on the birth certificate his dad has no rights so I make all the decisions and don't have to consult with him at all. If he wants them, he can go apply through the courts. Your situation might be a bit different but I looked it up for where I live and it said being a guardian to a child gives a person the right to be involved in the custody of the child. Seeing as you are sole guardian wouldn't that mean you make the decisions in all areas? (Just curious). Stick to the rules you have set out, they aren't that hard to follow and even if he did take you to court you're the stable, consistent parent who your son obviously feels more safe with and I'm sure the judge will see that.

Kelly - posted on 07/07/2010

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Take it to the courts just to have it on record . I am going through a similar situation, but my children do not want to see "donor". I'm not going to make them so to court it will go. it does more damage than good being sporadic and unreliable. I will let you know if the courts see it this way. i go on Aug 19th

Kyra - posted on 07/06/2010

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I don't think it's a bad decision to ask for supervised visits especially since baby daddy has left your son alone to the point you had to go and get him. That's just real crazy. Well, since you've already spoken to baby daddy about your concerns then yeah if possible speak with your attorney to see about getting supervised visits. If baby daddy wants to take your son out, he has to take you as well. If he doesn't like it, then the only person he has to blame is himself. Your first priority is to keep your son, safe, well and healthy at all cost. It's just real bad that there are so many men out here that doesn't understand the impact of not being in their childs life.

[deleted account]

Thanks to both Jennifer's!
I am going to leave it up to Mark to make the effort if he truly wants to see Z, then he can do the leg work for court papers etc.
I live in Alberta, but I can't see a judge being really lenient with Mark if we do end up going in - I'm thinking he'd have to prove he's a worthy parent and reliable and consistent and he has proven over and over he is not those things.
I'm going to leave it alone, but just get educated about what may be required of me in case he gets enough energy to file papers.
I do like your idea of having my son write his dad a letter though, I think I will follow through one that too!
Thanks so much!

Jennifer - posted on 07/06/2010

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You definately did the right thing by sticking by your letter! I have a 4 year old son, who has never met his dad & to be honest I couldn't be happier about it! I completely prefer him being out of the picture altogether, rather than torturing my son by popping in & out of his life whenever he feels like being a "dad." Your ex is the one keeping himself out of your son's life, NOT YOU! If he's not paying child support (like my ex), then you don't need to take him to court at all (depending on what state you live in). Your son is old enough to express how he feels about all of this, so I suggest letting him decide what he's comfortable with, as well. (which the judge will want to know anyway if you do have to go to court) If Z doesn't want to continue being let down by "dad" then let Z write him a letter too...so your ex can hear first hand the pain & disappointment he's caused in your son's life in only 9 short, but crucial years.

Jennifer - posted on 07/06/2010

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Stand your ground it's not fair to your son and you want better for him he doesn't need to see a come and go Dad he needs a permanent Dad. My daughter father does the same thing I was letting him out of the kindness of my heart let him see her but when it came down to she wanted to see him and I would call him to tell him he would not pick up the phone and not see her and come and go so I took a stand for her and told him if he couldn't be consistent in her life just to stay out period. Good luck to you.

[deleted account]

Thanks Karly and Meghan for replying. Sometimes when you've been "in" it for so long, it's hard to see a path to move forward.
Appreciate it :)

Meghan - posted on 07/05/2010

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my understanding on sole gaurianship is that there is a difference between that and sole custody. They can mean the same thing but it most cases there is a difference. (Sole custody covers day to day care and where the child lives, and gaurdianship covers major aspects such as schooing, religion, medical circumstances etc)
I say after 9 years of this-enough is enough. If he wants visitation, you need to tell him to take you back to court and they can handle it. You can always request supervised visitation...I don't like what your ex is doing and personally I think it is a real douchbag move (esp leaving him alone) BUT most courts (in canada anyway) aren't really quick to deny access. Unfortunatly in Canada and my situation, the ex has every legal right to come and go whenever he wants (as long as there is no phsycial abuse or heavy drug use..and the drug use issue can even be a stupid non-sencsical decision as far as a judges choice). At least if you can get something in legal writing and he STILL choses not to be apart of your boy's life it is on him and he can't put the blame back on you. Do what is right for your son and stop allowing your ex to put you AND YOUR SON through this!
Hope this helps!

[deleted account]

It has been nine years and he has been in and out of your sons life so far, I really doubt it will change now. Him saying you're keeping him from visiting his son is BS and the coward way out. If he wanted to see his son, HE WOULD. I hate how these guys try and pin it on the mother. As for the visitation, I think that really depends on you and your son and how you guys feel. If you have sole guardianship (as far as I understand) you make the decisions so I wouldn't even think about what the "father" wants. Ask your son if you don't already know, how he feels about it. If he still would like to see his dad tell the dad like you originally stated he can come to your house. If he can't handle that and your son would still like to see him maybe try saying you guys can meet somewhere to do an activity together. If that still doesn't work and your son still wants to see him I would say take it to the courts. That way it will HOPEFULLY be a more consistent situation for everyone involved. He can't just jump in out of nowhere and assume he can make the rules. You are the one who has been doing this for nine years so I think you have every right to tell him where your son will or will not go and if or when the dad can be involved.

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