What do I do about pushy dad?

Lindsey - posted on 06/04/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My ex has a terrible track record for being a dad. He is bipolar, on probation with no license for DUIs, and has been a drug user. He has been hospitalized several times for threatening suicide.

He has been clean for several months and is pushing for a lot of time with our sons (4 and 7). Yesterday we got into a huge fight. He had the boys one night last weekend and saw them 3 days during the week at our apartment. We didn't see him 3 days in a row - so he picked a fight. He threatened to take me to court for custody because he is "tired of having to ask to see his kids." I should invite him over more often. The kicker is he does see the boys some and does play with them some (he never did this much even during our marriage). He wants to be a father for the first time in these kids' lives. But he also wants to be with me. He hangs around and tries to flirt with me, hug me, asks to spend the night. He gets pissy when I don't let him do any of these things and goes back to threatening about taking me to court over the kids and complaining about DHS taking child support directly out of his paycheck without him agreeing to that.

I think he sees them more than enough. I would honestly be perfectly happy if he dropped off the face of the earth. It takes so much energy to deal with him. Its almost like the divorce meant nothing and I still have to put up with him every day. I don't have the money to go back to court. I am just at a loss for what to do. Any advice?

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Danielle - posted on 06/05/2012

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Your ex "agreed" to DHS taking child support directly out of his paycheck when he refused to make timely & accurate payments himself. If he doesn't like it, he can take it up with DHS as you don't have any control over it.

If at all possible, I would see about having a friend to keep you company & help supervise your ex's visitation with the boys. If someone else is around, hopefully he's less likely to attempt flirting with you. You'd also have a witness to his behavior (threats, etc.)

Erin - posted on 06/12/2012

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Ok I'm gonna help with some legal advice:

a) set times and days of the week he can have visits ( or what ever schedual works for you best) he should only have visits on those days and times unless he requests special visits that you can approve or disaaprove

b) if you feel the visits should be supervised then allow him to come to the house but only under the following rules;

1) any sexual references ends the visit, any attempt to make unwanted physical contact with you ends the visit, any attempt to threaten you in anyway, or talk about his child support issue ends the visit

2) any communications with the children directed at you, used to guilt trip you, or using them as pawns, ends the visit

3) do not engage in any conversations about custody, child support, or any other related subject with the exception of visits, let him know he will have to obtain a lawyer if he has issues.

4) if he does not show up for a visit he misses it and does not get any make up visits

c) If you do not feel he needs supervised visits, then I suggest ending all visits with him in your home, I also suggest not allowing him inside the home at all at this point until he can do so without being immature.

D) The decision for the DHS to take child support from him is not your problem nor is it in your control therefore, you shouldn't answer any questions or tolerate any comments about the subject.

e) Set communication rules:

End the conversation or communication immediatley if;

1) he threatens you, guilt trips, yells, cusses, or accusses you of things

2) if he tries to solicite sex, or anything similar that makes you feel uncomfortable

3) if he threatens you with court, police, lawyers

4) if he complains about his child support

Remember YOU are in control of your home, your phone, your email, if he becomes harassing or refuses to follow your rules you end the conversations, end the visits, and if it becomes abusive you get a no contact order. You have to show him YOU won't be bossed, YOU won't be threatened, YOU won't tolerate his guilt trips, HIS financial issues are not your problem they are his, and if there is something he doesn't like HE can pay the lawyers fees and court costs and try as he might to combat in court, but with his attitude no judge will be amused with him.

Tracy - posted on 06/05/2012

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I have a similar situation. I've been div for 7 years (have an 8 n 9 yr old). My ex complains about everything...wants more time w kids altho he sees them enough...but the drivng force for him is to see me...like we were never divorced. In retrospect I wld say, stick to your guns and set clear boundaries and do not waiver on them. He seems selfish and in denial and as the kids grow up, they pick up on that. He is just threatening u b/c that all he has is threats. If u ended up in court w him again, u wld be fine. I'm sure he is transparent. Good Luck and keep him away from you.

Jen - posted on 06/04/2012

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I'd have a sit down heart-to-heart with him. Be very clear that you are not interested in being with him, that you have a life and do not want him in it other than for the kids. That he is welcome to come over or get the kids on specific nights, but it will be up to him to make arrangements that fit into your schedule.

He thinks y'all are going to be back together. If he threatens to take you back to court, say "ok", and leave it at that. It's an idle threat, most likely. As far as the child support goes, if he had been paying it without them having to take it then it wouldn't be an issue. So, they are taking it. Oh well, his bad.

But seriously, heart-to-heart boundary talk.

Michelle - posted on 06/04/2012

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I would sit down with him set up a visitation schedule that works for your kids the standard is every other weekend and then specific holidays. My ex litterally see our son 4 days a month a week at christmas 2 weeks in July and 2 weeks in August. that is it so he should be thankful for what you are giving him.

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Samantha - posted on 06/18/2012

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let him take u to court, he'll get way less time than he's getting now. if he gets angry and does anything keep a record or proof of any threaths or texts and that will go against him

Lise - posted on 06/12/2012

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Erin, what is your opinion about his bipolar issue? Because of his immiture behavior and disrespect I would be stressed in his pressence w/the fear that he might take some type of accton out of rage. Sometimes a person w/a mental issue can be unpredictabe and obviously he makes bad choices without thinking. Do you think she should have the cort order revised requiering him to get therpy/meds if he want to see his boys? zMaybe even parenting classes? I agree w/your advice, very well laid out. I realise Lindsey knows him better, but he could become unpredictable if he feels he can't manipulate her. Its obviouse he doesn't like money he feels he should be able to spend comeing out of his check(to bad). Let me know what you think. Lindsey, I hope my concern about this is OK w/you.

Danielle - posted on 06/11/2012

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Advice then based on what you said before & more recent info-- keep documenting your encounters and living up to your end of the agreement. I would set specific days for ex to visit w/the kids. They need stability and set times/days would help with that. You also need stability so you can get on with your life & provide best support for kids.

Going back to the ex trying to get back with you, sit him down & tell him not only "no" but "hell no", and that his threats &/or tantrums will no longer be tolerated. He's acting like an immature child, which is even more reason for you NOT to be w/him. That said, you're happy he wants to be an active father with your kids & here are some ideas you have on how to do that. At that point you map out how many days & hours you think he should be able to spend with the kids and ask him to choose what would work for him of the times you list as available. It isn't for him to know why you aren't available outside of those times/dates; you're an adult with responsibilities, you have things to do.

I would still see about coming up with a neutral place for him to spend time with the boys so you have witnesses and you get him out of your private space. That probably isn't helping maintain boundaries with him (since he seems incapable of respecting them). If at all possible, have a friend or relative you trust with you at the visits. Again, hopefully that will create space & another boundary with him to stay out of your grill. :)

Good luck & keep us informed how things go.

Lindsey - posted on 06/11/2012

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Some more information: Our court order for visitation simply says "as agreed" because the judge agreed with my assertion that having a specific day wouldn't work because he may not always be in a stable place every Saturday. My ex didn't contest my request for custody or this visitation agreement prior to the divorce being final. He signed the decree.

I sat down with him and told him that he is welcome to take me to court. I know that if he does, I will win, hands down. I have too much proof of his bad behavior.

Lindsey - posted on 06/11/2012

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Erica, being bi-polar doesn't make you a bad parent. I completely agree. However, when you are not taking meds, abusing drugs, and letting bi-polar run your life, it my ex lets it run his life. He is almost never outside of an episode. He has just recently gotten on meds and stopped self medicating with street drugs and alcohol. It is not bipolar that has made him a bad parent, but his life choices, his lack of trying to be a parent, and his instability due to untreated mental illness.

Danielle - posted on 06/10/2012

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To add to what Lise said, they typically have you split up the GAL costs based on your % of the "household income" meaning you divide your monthly pre-tax income by the total of your monthly pre-tax income & the dad's monthly pre-tax income. The GAL will oftentimes as for each of you to pay a retainer based on your household %. Lise was also correct in saying custody, visitation & support should've been resolved as part of the divorce decree or if you weren't able to agree to the terms, they would've had you divorce while still working out the specifics on the kids.

You really don't need to worry about GAL tho unless you're worried about getting into a he-said, she-said battle, altho given your boys' ages, it might be a good idea.

Lise - posted on 06/10/2012

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When you filed for divorce that's when placement and costody should have been delt with, befor the divorce was final. I've filed 3x and I'm still married to the same man. Every time the court sent us to a mediator. Basically it's someone, through the court, that will help you and your ex find a resonable visitation. If you can't agree on something your at an impass. Then it will go to court. I know you don't have money for an attorney and even if a GAL (Gardian At Litum) is appointed for your chilren, they will split the cost between you and your ex. I've had too much expeirience w/such a situation. I've been w/my husband for 19yrs. We have 4 children. I've come to the reallization he has some type of mental disorder. Your ex sounds like my husband. My concern is, is your ex getting help for his bipolar? It doesn't sound lke it. Parents that have those kind of issues can be good parents if they are in counsoling and on the right meds. If untreated he will get worse and there for your putting you boys at risk if their left in his care. Do some extinsive reserch befor you just hand your boys over to him without a court order. You may be able to stipulate that he gets help for his bipolar befor he can take the boys without supervision. Find the money some how, at least for the GAL. Your boys are priceless. Even if he's been clean, he still has bipolar. Document and some how record how things are w/your ex when he visits. It could be used in court. I'm looking at having to do the same and I don't have the money for any of it eather. I love my husband, I want him to get help but he's in denial that anythng is wrong w/him and if we weren't together I know he couldn't handle the kids. Talk to the court house or see if you can get a free consult w/an attorney, ask questions. You won't be able to reason w/him. I hope this helps. God bless, your in my prayers.

Threenorns - posted on 06/05/2012

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this is one of those times when you'll have to find the money or else represent yourself if you're allowed, use the duty counsel, or apply for legal aid.

you could also try asking a trusted male friend to pose as your boyfriend and make sure he's there when your ex shows up so you're not left alone with him. the problem with that is it might make things nasty and you need to put your foot down that if your ex says things about you to the boys, he WILL have his visitation reduced or amended (badmouthing the other parent is called "parental alienation" and is a form of mental and emotional abuse). actually, now that i think about it, being all kissy-flirty with you in front of the boys to the point you have to push him away could also be manipulating the boys - "see? see? *I* want us to get back together - *I* never wanted to leave - it's all *her* fault!".

do you have a formal visitation schedule? if so, stick to it to the letter.

if not, you REALLY REALLY need to get one - and i'd have it set so that he has to visit either your or his parents to see the kids; there's no reason he should be coming to your house unless he lives hours away (my ex would drive three hours to visit our daughter and there are no hotels around here so i let him stay over - but he slept in the other room or on the couch).

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