Delia - posted on 11/15/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )
My daughters’ father and I met two years ago, and after dating for a few months I fell pregnant. We were in a committed relationship at the time and planned to raise our child together as a family.
Long story short – It’s not easy the first few months after the birth of a child, and I was the only one with a job, so I returned to work as soon as I could (3 weeks after birth). We grew apart and I broke things off with him (I won’t go into all the details – but I have practically been a single mother since the day our daughter was born, being the only one with a job and doing all the housekeeping and spending most of my free time with our daughter, alone). Eventually I learned that he cheated on me is now in a relationship with this other woman.
Our daughter is now 14 months old. Since the day she was born his parents have been contributing towards her expenses - R500 monthly, as well as being there as her caregivers while I’m at work. His family also spoil her with clothes and toys from time to time. He is still not working, and lives with his parents. (He makes some money for the past three months driving people to work and picking up their kids from school) I do not plan to take him to maintenance court, I am a very proud and independent woman who is doing well enough to manage financially and I have a supportive family too. (Also - since his family is somewhat contributing I don’t see the point of going through a battle in court)
My problem is I am unsure on what my rights and his rights are exactly when it comes to making decisions concerning our daughter from here on out. I plan to be as independent as I can and avoid any unnecessary contact with him and his family. I do not want to keep them from her – I just don’t want to have to depend on them on a daily basis.
When he spends time with our daughter I always would like to know where they are going and with whom they will be – am I right to assume that I have a right to know these things? e.g. I did initially (after learning about his infidelity) ask him to take things slowly when it came to spending time with our daughter and his new girlfriend together - as not to confuse her (She did pick up on the fact that we were having problems and that her father does not spend time with her and me together anymore at all). I soon discovered that despite him “promising” me - that he was visiting the new girlfriend and her family behind my back with our daughter while I’m at work. I am still learning what type of people these are, and am very unsure about whether or not they will be a good influence on our daughter – esp. since his new girlfriend obviously doesn't have the best moral fibre since she knew about the fact that he is in a relationship with a baby when they started cheating on me. Who knows what else I don’t know about – clearly I can’t trust him. How much right do I have in deciding which people my daughter may and may not spend time with?
Secondly - I would like to get a nanny next year (2013) to be my daughters’ stay-in care giver while I’m at work. How much say does her father have about this – I don’t expect him to contribute towards the expenses of this nanny. I know he would prefer his parents to be her caregivers, and may be resistant about a nanny. Can I go ahead and make plans to get someone in without his approval? I would even be willing for him to sit in during the interview process and give his input – ask the questions he wants, and give me his opinions on the possible candidates – but in the end have I got the right to make the final choice on my own?
The other issue is my family. I am currently living and working and living 6 hours away from my parents and family where I was born and raised. We try and see each other as often as we can, but it’s not something that happens regularly (Two/ three times a year). My parents would like to spend more time with my daughter (their first grandchild). I am planning on taking up some part time studies next year, so we have been discussing the possibility that I would take her down to them more often and leave her there for a month or two at a time (While I am busy with exams for instance - or just to go and visit for that matter).My concern is that her dad probably won’t like the fact that she is there for so long. How much say does he have in this situation? He is more than welcome to go and visit her at my parents – Their door will always be open to him and his family despite the fact that things didn't work out between us. Do I have the right to make this decision without his approval?
Lastly I was wondering about visiting abroad and possibly migrating? Does he have the right to refuse that our daughter and I go and visit family/friends abroad? Does he have the right to deny us the possibility of moving abroad if the opportunity comes our way? His name is not on her birth certificate, although he did sign some papers in hospital after her birth as her father. (Not sure which papers as I was still recovering from the birth at the time?)