child visitation and grandma wars

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2016 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Hi, I live in California and have a 16 month old girl. Her father has been in jail and drug rehab for over a year and a half. He recently took a paternity test and requested that his Mother be a rejoinder to rights and custody. His Mother has been an extremely negative addition to our broken relationship (we are not together) and also has tried to dictate matters regarding Emma. I was open to allowing his side of the family to see Emma, because she deserves all the love and supprt she could get- especially since her father has not been able to be in her life. Over the course of year Grandma has seen Emma a great deal. it has never been consistent and she has never given me a dime to help me. She is very closed off to me but claims to love Emma. I had questions about his mother's true intention the entire time. Along with the paternity test was a petition to get rights for Emma and grandma was claiming 12% of her life. She wanted 3 full days, even though I'm a stay at home Mom. I work part time from home and have been a more than fit Mother. in the end, she got nothing. The judge told her to stay out of the picture. Emma's dad was granted 2 Skype calls per week, no visitation. His rehab is over 2 hours away, he has 9 months until completion.

Since March I have held up my obligation to Skype, even though Emma seems to have no interest in talking to him. I have not allowed grandma to spend time with Emma. I allowed him to see her on Memorial day weekend because he gets a pass to leave do 48 hours once a Month. His Mother was his only resource for transportation and housing. I was uncomfortable with seeing her again, but put my personal feelings aside. I let him visit with his daughter in her home. Things seemed to run smoothly and Emma looked happy. Since then, he has been badgering me to let Emma go back to visit with grandma, alone. I am not comfortable with her being around my child, after she tried to steal her once. I don't want to give her any leverage. She has not apologised and was very snark in her home . he's been trying to guilt trip me and it's not easy to process. I'm fed up. I'm considering if a court order so grandma cannot contact me anymore, is the right move. I asked him if he would support my descion for peace of mind and he refused. is it just me or has he already proven to not be trusted? Would terminating his rights be out of line?

I am torn between protecting myself from dealing with another custody battle, or helping put back the pieces to a broken family. I want to do what's best for Emma and so far I have been all she has known. She trusts me and is thriving in her life as a Toddler. Is it too soon to cut out Dad?

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Dove - posted on 06/10/2016

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He is her father and it's not your place to cut him out. That would be up to a judge and as far as I can see he has done nothing worthy of being cut out of his child's life yet. He should be building up a relationship w/ her once his rehab is over.

As far as Grandma is concerned... you are under no legal obligations to have any contact w/ her and I'd be letting him know that once he is finally granted visitations he can use them to have his child around his mother if he so chooses, but that you will not put yourself in that position. It's not up for discussion. Cut him off as soon as he mentions it.

Ev - posted on 06/19/2016

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(((1) When someone claims custody/rights over another human life, you assume responsibility to care for them- financially. Over the course of a year, I have fed, clothed and housed my child. If a family member wants any rights to take her from me for even a day, I need to know that person is capable.)))
***I have to say that if a family member wanted to have your child for a day to visit them why do they need to be capable of financially taking care of her? This does not make sense. Usually, if it is grandparents, aunts and uncles, or older cousins that you are close to should be able to have a visit without such restrictions. It is not like she is going to go live with them. In the case of the father, I can understand your stance. My ex had not taken care of the kids as far as diapering them, getting the ready for school and other things a mother does but he did know how. I was just worried that he would turn them against me once they had to go live with him per our agreement on joint custody. If her dad gets any kind of visitation that is not supervised, you have to abide the court orders. I know you want her safe and all, but he is her dad and she does need the chance to know him regardless of how you feel about him. If he is at all a danger, and it can be proven in court with the proper documentation, then you could see it be supervised and it will be on him to pay for coming to see her, paying for the visitation place and so on.*****

2){{{ I don't have the right to terminate a Fathers rights. However I can encourage the Judge to reconsider his title as a Father .}}}***If you do try to get the judge to reconsider the father’s rights, you need to be able to prove his being a danger to her. You need the proper documentation to do so. And if he has police records, court documents stating he has to have rehab and for how long, and for his other crimes; it might be enough to reduce his visits to supervised. It does not mean the judge will take his rights away unless he is such a danger to his child. And you may not be able to prove his mother unfit to be around her either. ***
{{A Father spending any time in Prison for stealing, isn't an ideal either. Family members who do not have the Mother in their best interest- even when she has been the sole provider, need to be cautioned. Dad and Grandma want baby, regardless of the terms he's still in. There is little to no regard for me now... what action will they take when he finally develops a relationship with Emma?}}***A parent having had a prison term for anything is not ideal. Stealing is really the least of these. Not good but still the least. Some people have committed crimes and still have had some sort of relationship with the child or children. It is not up to you at this point if this is in court to dictate the terms the judge can use to determine what is going to happen. A lot of fathers or mothers have disregard for the other parent not matter if they were a criminal, drug addict or not. It happens across the board. My ex had no regard for me during the divorce and custody. He did not want to pay support to the kids. We can not tell you what they will do when he does develop a relationship with the child other than the judge will set up some kind of visitation regardless if you like it or not. This has not become about you but the child. I understand you want her safe considering he has drug issues, criminal acts and all. ***
{{ I can only assume stronger feelings would create strong actions. Is this what my Emma has to look forward to? Should I take the chance and risk her finding out about Dad, through another relapse or stint in Prison? Or pray to God he will love her enough, to stay safe. I thank God for giving me a Mothers intuition and a Judge. }}**To answer these questions, she should know about her dad in an un-negative manner from you. When she is old enough to understand about people going to jail for committing a crime. If you do not tell her about it, it is as good as lying. She needs to know the truth. You can explain it as her daddy made some bad choices and he has had to pay for those choices in certain ways. You are not going to be able to protect her from the bad things in life. If you do you could cause her to have some negative emotional issues later on. She has to have the bad to go with the good. You can not sugar coat things hoping to keep her emotions safe. It does not work this way.**
{{My original post was to hear a few comments, so I can keep an open mind. I am a Mother and I love my child, more than life itself. My greatest fear is exposing her to a life filled with pain. If I see signs of troubling times, I'm not going to ignore them. If my natural reaction is to resist, I can't worry about other people.}}***If you have troubling times come, you can not shield her from them. She needs to know there are hard things in the world and she needs to see how people react to them good or bad. You can not keep the pain from happening either. Its is a fools’ dream if you think it is possible. I am not trying to be mean here but telling the way it is. I could not keep my kids from feeling pain and sadness when things at dad’s got out of hand. I could only pick up the pieces. It was hard but today they are pretty cool and calm people. Yes, they do have some issues but they both are finding ways to work through them. Living with their dad was not all it should have been. To them he was not the father her should have been. No, he was no criminal, it was how he treated them.***
{{ Dad has been spoiled his entire life. His Mother is his biggest enabler. She Points fingers at everyone else, so the blame isn't pointed at her son. She has raised him to believe money can buy anything desired.}}***A judge is not going to care about his past but for his criminal intent, drug and rehab issues, and how he is going to be as a father to the child and the best interests of the child. Grandma may have bought all the lawyers in the land, but she is not going to have a say in the proceedings at all. It is between you and him. ***
{{In this case, they both have already paid lawyers to buy rights to my baby,}}***They can not buy rights to the baby. Only a judge can decide what is what.***
{{ Does he even know how to change a diaper... or will that be his Mothers job?}}***If he gets unsupervised visits at first with her so little it might only be a few hours during the day so many days a week. Does it matter that he is the one changing her diaper or not. She is not going to be a baby forever and he won’t be changing diapers forever either. If his mom wants to do things you won’t be able to have a say in it, grandma will do it. It would be good that dad could do the care of the child but sometimes they do have their moms do it for them. That is how it goes when they have their visitation. YOU can not dictate what he does with it.***
{{{ These people want to cut me out, because I did not offer Emma, on their every demand. I was unwilling to drive two hours, one way, to deliver my daughter on a silver platter, for Dad. For the first year of her life, he sent no card, no letters, no gifts. It was only recently he seemed interested in talking with her, at all. His words were, " "My relationship with her means nothing unless you let me see her". Dad and Grandma pushed these visits but never offered to even pay for gas.}}}***Holding a child back from the other parent is called parental alienation and can land you in trouble in court. You could have worked out a schedule and offered it for a certain day each week where you were there with her when the spent time with her but at that point it was his word to yours and he could have kept her and not given her back. Of course he is going to say his relationship would mean little unless he had chances to see her. All we have here is your side of things. We can not see the whole picture.***
((( When I expressed my concern and fear of traveling long distance with Emma, they said I was overly protective. )) *** Two hours is not a long distance. I drove two hours every Friday and again on Sunday to go get my kids and return them to their dads! My daughter is taking her 2 year old and 4 year old on a vacation by car and it is 14 hours one way with their dad. I think you were looking for excuses not to go to visit dad with her. Yes, you were over protective.***
(((They are wealthy and pretentious and selfish. They feel little conviction because they feel entitled. I want my child to experience humility, throughout her life. Sadly, that will not be practiced in Dads world. If my child's safety is not a concern, what else will be neglected in his care?)))****To me it sounds like you are more worried about how you feel about dad than about how he will handle the child and it shows here with the comments on them being pretentious, selfish, little conviction and so on. No one is perfect and this child does deserve a chance to know her dad at least and to eventually decide for herself what dad is to her. You can still teach the values you want but if dad has unsupervised visits, you can not dictate what he teaches her in his home. It is his time not yours. You do not know she will be neglected in his care and he can learn to diaper, feed, clothe and bath a child just as you had to learn. No one even the new mother is an expert in child care the first time around. You need to let loose of your expectations to a point about how he will handle care of the child and so on if you expect any cooperation. You also need to expect that things will not go your way either. It is not about you but her.***
I understand you want her safe. We all do. But you have to go about it just right to be sure you do not end up in trouble over it. We can not tell you that the judge will give you what you want and do nothing about the father and his rights too. Keeping her from experiencing pain is not good for her either. It helps her to learn coping skills when painful things in life come along. I think you need to rethink things to a point. I understand he has a bad criminal past and a bad rap with drugs. If you got the documents to prove this, it might just help get him supervised visits. But a judge is not going to put a child in a place he or she thinks is dangerous no matter how rich or not the father is. And grandma has no say what so ever.

Ev - posted on 06/10/2016

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I agree with the other two ladies. Dad has a right to be able to establish a relationship with the baby. Grandma on the other hand has to abide what you decide. Do not cut dad off because of his mother. He is not the one being like she is acting it is her. Have you checked in California to see if there is a law that considers grandparent rights to have access to their grandkids for vistation? Maybe see what it is and see how if will affect you if such a law is in effect there. It could be enacted so she could have visits with her grandchild and held to that court order so she can not do anything else. If there is not a law then he can wait until he is out to have visits and then grandma can see her then.

Nadine - posted on 06/10/2016

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Yikes, I understand how you feel. But, I would advise you not to act too rashly. If dad is getting his stuff together, then why exclude him? My son has been back and forth 100 times with the mother of his son to try to get things to work right. And it is an ordeal, but in the end I think his son is going to love the fact that his father fought to keep his mother in his life, rather than just have her rights severed.
In the end she (your daughter) has the right to get to know her father, so long as he is not a danger to her.

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Jennifer - posted on 06/24/2016

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I really liked reading your comment. It's not everyday I am put I my place. As I said, I want to keep an open mind about this, but it is very hard. My intention is not to keep her in a bubble. She will know the good and the bad, of course. But being somewhat proactive is what I'm going to do. If I lay everything out on the table in court, at least I'll know I covered all of my concerns. I need to feel comfortable if this is going to Happen. I want to look forward to my free time alone, not dread it. I want to trust him. I keep seeing signs of the person I used to know.... I guess I do have to buckle down and grit my Teeth. Thanks again for all of that. you're awesome .

Michelle - posted on 06/19/2016

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I still stand by my response.
My Mum sees my children but I don't expect her to help me financially. In your original post, that's what you said.
With everything you are saying, you need to go to court and let a judge decide. For the Grandmother to get custody she would have to prove you to be an unfit Mother and I don't see that happening.
I suggest you talk to your lawyer and find out the best options for you.

Jennifer - posted on 06/19/2016

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Michelle, I'd like to clarify some things...

1) When someone claims custody/rights over another human life, you assume responsibility to care for them- financially. Over the course of a year, I have fed, clothed and housed my child. If a family member wants any rights to take her from me for even a day, I need to know that person is capable.

2) I don't have the right to terminate a Fathers rights. However I can encourage the Judge to reconsider his title as a Father . Remember this man is in rehab (in place of 8 years in prison). His Mother paid a 200,000 grant to California rehab facilities to keep him out of Prison. He was granted 2 years in rehab. This is his 17th rehab. Before I became pregnant, I did not know about his past. His crimes are Home Invasion and theft. He already holds the title as a convicted felon. Relapse from drug addiction (meth) , when a child is in the picture, is a extremely difficult situation to face. A Father spending any time in Prison for stealing, isn't an ideal either. Family members who do not have the Mother in their best interest- even when she has been the sole provider, need to be cautioned. Dad and Grandma want baby, regardless of the terms he's still in. There is little to no regard for me now... what action will they take when he finally develops a relationship with Emma? I can only assume stronger feelings would create strong actions. Is this what my Emma has to look forward to? Should I take the chance and risk her finding out about Dad, through another relapse or stint in Prison? Or pray to God he will love her enough, to stay safe. I thank God for giving me a Mothers intuition and a Judge.

My original post was to hear a few comments, so I can keep an open mind. I am a Mother and I love my child, more than life itself. My greatest fear is exposing her to a life filled with pain. If I see signs of troubling times, I'm not going to ignore them. If my natural reaction is to resist, I can't worry about other people. Dad has been spoiled his entire life. His Mother is his biggest enabler. She Points fingers at everyone else, so the blame isn't pointed at her son. She has raised him to believe money can buy anything desired. In this case, they both have already paid lawyers to buy rights to my baby, before Dad was a free man. Does he even know how to change a diaper... or will that be his Mothers job? These people want to cut me out, because I did not offer Emma, on their every demand. I was unwilling to drive two hours, one way, to deliver my daughter on a silver platter, for Dad. For the first year of her life, he sent no card, no letters, no gifts. It was only recently he seemed interested in talking with her, at all. His words were, " "My relationship with her means nothing unless you let me see her". Dad and Grandma pushed these visits but never offered to even pay for gas. When I expressed my concern and fear of traveling long distance with Emma, they said I was overly protective. They are wealthy and pretentious and selfish. They feel little conviction because they feel entitled. I want my child to experience humility, throughout her life. Sadly, that will not be practiced in Dads world. If my child's safety is not a concern, what else will be neglected in his care?

There's always more to the story, in many cases like this. I offered basic information, to get a basic response. This is obviously a serious and sensitive subject to share. Please be mindful of that, Michelle.

Michelle - posted on 06/11/2016

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1) She doesn't have to help you financially so I have no idea why you even said that in your OP.
2) You don't have the right to terminate a Father's rights, only a judge can do that so get that thought out of your head.
3) The Grandmother has already been told she can't have your child overnight so it doesn't matter what they say now. If they want the court order changed then you all need to go back to court.
4) If he gets visitation then what he does you have no say in! If he wants to visit his Mother when it's his time then that's up to him.

Dove - posted on 06/10/2016

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So don't fight w/ them. You get a court order for her father's visitation... and you stick w/ that. If she kidnaps your child... then she goes to jail.

Your daughter will be fine even if you have a less than stellar relationship w/ her father. It is not your place to cut him out of her life no matter how much stress you feel. You find an appropriate way to handle your stress and you foster the relationship w/ her father in the way that your court order allows.

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2016

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how does this play in to my concerns regarding his Mother? he has already sided with Her and will do anything she asks of him. I don't think they stand a chance against me, it's all the in between stress I'm concerned about. Emma knows me to be a happy and fun mommy. it's hard to keep covering it up when I get upset. she's going to understand a lot more soon and I don't want her to see me battling it out with the two people who claim to love Emma the most.

Sarah - posted on 06/10/2016

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When you say she tried to steal your child, do you mean the court case or did she actually try to kidnap the child? Grandma may be scared that if her son fails to clean up she will never see this baby and fear can make you do some crazy things. Take your time, let dad slowly earn trust and learn to parent. Grandparents can bring a very special sort of love to a child so consider your decision carefully. Maybe you can broker a truce and meet her at a park so she can see the child once in a while. My mom is gone now, and while we never had any custody or disruption of your nuclear family; that special love from a grandma is really missed.

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