What are my rights and my daughters dad's rights? I just want to be empowered and stop being manipulated by my ex

Delia - posted on 11/15/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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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?)

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Serena - posted on 11/16/2012

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she deserves it for the child! I am not going to argue with you about child support. It takes 2 to make a child. Period. There are laws about it for a reason.

Serena - posted on 11/16/2012

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He has no rights until a court ordet is in effect. All of these issues will be resolved with an order. I would go see an attorney as soon as I could. You say you don't want or need his money and that is fine but you deserve it

Delia - posted on 11/15/2012

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Thank you very much - will be taking your advice and making sure i know where i stand legally before i make any changes in our current arrangement. Luckily i only have 2 weeks left at work before i go on holiday for a month, in which time i will be visiting my parents with my daughter and can plan carefully which steps to take next year. Thanks again*

Holly - posted on 11/15/2012

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ok, then i can understand. that explains it better. then i would not worry about the nanny thing, and just hire one that you deem appropriate. but you STILL have to worry about the abroad thing... Now if you are talking about to another state. I think that is ok, still ask a lawyer, you can go to AVVO.com for free legal advice (that is a v v o.com) but i have a friend that ended up with full custody of his daughter when his ex moved to another state (but i also think that it is partially due to other circumstances) so i would look into it. and you can also see if the court would allow you to require a drug screen each time you drop off your daughter. but before you do ANYTHING seek legal advice from a lawyer or the attorney general... that way there is no questions about what is legal or not... but i am 95% sure that if you decide to move that travel expenses and travel in general to and from the child's father will be your responsibility

Delia - posted on 11/15/2012

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Thank you kindly for your response Holly. I thought it would be the case - regarding going abroad, although there's ALOT of confusing information online. Thanks for confirming.



My ex is not that responsible. He is 30 years old and hasn't kept a job for too long his entire life. His family spoils him - making things too easy - paying for his needs and wants. He has a history with drug abuse - was under the influence of crystal meth a few times while taking care of our daughter without my knowledge of course - but alot of this surfaced just before our break up. He has yet to prove to me that he can be a responsible caregiver, even though on the surface it seems like he is a great guy - I have learnt from experience that he is also a great pretender.



As for his parents - they do take good care of my daughter, yes. But they have also shown me that my requests will be ignored, and they'll do what they like while taking care of her. e.g. I asked his mom not to put honey in her porridge until she is one, explaining to her that honey can contain spores of a bacterium which can germinate in her immature digestive system, and that request was ignored. I don't tie up her hair every day, because she is still so young, and I want her scalp to relax and "breathe" every few days - after work when i fetch her - they have tied up her hair - the grandfather has even spoken very harshly to me, saying that he would rather cut off her hair all together than see her with an afro (my daughter has curly hair)



I do not wish to have these type of issues arise on a daily basis. I would much rather deal with a stranger who respects my wishes and respects me and raise my daughter in a calm and stable environment than come home from work and discover that her hair has been shaved off or worse.

Holly - posted on 11/15/2012

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he does have the right to deny you moving abroad, and CAN deny you the right to travel abroad, you have to have a notarized paper with his signature saying that he ALLOWS it. do you have the risk of losing your child if you move... and if you move you will also have to foot the bill of bringing her to see her father.



It would not be right to bring in a nanny with out his approval. he should have a say in who watches his child... and if he doesn't have a job, why couldn't HE watch the child while you work? the child is better off with a family member who loves them, than with a complete stranger. whats wrong with his parent's watching their grandchlid?

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