Absent Father/Strange Behavior?

Kalli - posted on 08/08/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have a 6-year old daughter who's bio-dad is currently working outside of his home city. I have sole custoy & he has visitation resulting in the every other weekend thing. When she was around 2 we couldn't agree on a visitation agreement so we settled to follow the parent-time schedule according to the state. (UT) He has never really been involved with my daughter other than his every other weekend visit and alot of times she spends time elsewhere rather than with him. I have always tried to respect him and his rights and have just disregarded things when she has come home and told me she spent very minimal time with him during her visit. He is re-married now and has a daughter who is a few months old, my daughter has come home every weekend since April telling me that she didn't even see her dad she just spent the time with her step-mom. I am fine with her spending time with her step-mom and her younger sibling I want her to have a good relationship with all of her siblings, her and my daughter are best friends. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone and started coordinating my daughters busy schedule with her step-mom so we could all be on the same schedule. I have not spoken with/seen my ex-husband since April, he has basically detached himself from my daughters life in all aspects. Recently she has really started acting out, gets stressed and cries when she finds out she has to go with her step-mom. I wrote it off the first couple of times just thinking she was afraid she was going to miss something, but then she started coming home tired, rude & whiny. I started digging deeper to find out why she was acting like this and she told me she doesn't feel comfortable staying overnight with her step-mom anymore. She also told me her step-mom doesn't let her sleep in her own bed when her dad is gone she has to sleep WITH her step-mom & her little sister. Her little sister (being a baby) keeps her up at night and she doesn't get any sleep. On the 24th of July she had a cheerleading performance that I took her too, it was her dad's holiday but he wasn't present, when I went to drop her off to her step-mom after her performance she cried and told me she didn't want to go with her so I told her we'd talk to her step-mom about it together so she wouldn't think I was lying about my daughter not wanting to go. Her step-mom told her if you don't want to come with me, it's ok you don't have to you can stay with your mom. My daughter was so relieved told her thank you and we spent the rest of the day together, this past weekend her dad came home for a few hours and told her that what she did wasn't right and she wasn't allowed to tell her step-mom she didn't want to go with her anymore. She came home upset & confused because of the conflicting statements between her dad & step-mom. State law says that he has to be present within 1 hour after her step-mom picking her up but I was trying to be civil about it even knowing he was gone because I want her to build a relationship with her sister. I talked to my daughter about changing the terms of her visitation to be Saturday from 8 - 8 so she wouldn't have to stay overnight - my daughter said that was what she wanted so she could still see her sister but she wouldn't have to spend the night with her step-mom anymore. I am writing up a proposition to give them but I know it will not go over well - but I feel it should be about what my daughter wants not me or them. What do you all think?

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Kalli - posted on 08/11/2012

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Thanks so much for the advice - I called him and talked to him about everything that was going on and he said he wasn't really surprised that I talked to him about it. He had, had a similar conversation with my daughter and instead of doing the limited visitation we are going to let my daughter choose when/if she wants to go unless he is home from work. So thankfully she won't have to go as much anymore - unless she wants to. Also, he told me that part of the reason why she doesn't want to go is because there is a lot of tension between him and his wife. Apparently they have not been getting along very well and my daughter (who has mentioned this to me before) doesn't want to be around the fighting because it makes her sad.

Dove - posted on 08/08/2012

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I think you should get a lawyer for yourself and one for your daughter (guardian ad litem, I believe it's called). At 6 she probably wouldn't have much 'pull' with the judge, but if you have someone who can talk to your daughter and speak on her behalf... that MIGHT have 'pull' with the judge.

I believe you are totally right in what you are wanting and requesting because this SHOULD be about your daughter and if she doesn't want to stay with her step mom overnight when her father isn't there... she shouldn't be forced to do so. And there is NO WAY she should be forced to sleep with step mom if she doesn't want to either. She legally has to be allowed her own sleeping space.

I hope your proposal goes well with your ex, but if not I hope you will consider my above suggestion. Good luck!!

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