Dealing with a Deadbeat & Custody/Visitation

Chelsea - posted on 03/11/2018 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I had my son with my ex in 2012. We were never married, never lived together. He showed no interest in my pregnancy so I moved home 2 hours away. Today, I still live two hours away. No custody has been established. He pays child support (per his request) BUT his case was defaulted because he ignored all paper work. He is not on the birth certificate (Ive been told that doesn't even matter anyway). & I am not completely sure how paternity was established (might have been by default when I filed for CS - no DNA test was taken).

Since 2012, he has seen my son 23 times. 23 times in 6 years. He only contacts me to see my son on major holidays. He doesn’t even call to check up or anything. When he visits, he always comes with his mother. So I am 99% sure he only visits because she nags him about it, otherwise why would he never keep in contact? (But I probably shouldn’t assume..) anyway, he only saw my son once in 2017 after a year of disappearance. Since 2018 has started, he has come once and has flaked twice. Every time he was a “no show”, he didnt even bother to tell me. I would have to call him.. only to be told he’s not coming (yeah, thanks for the heads up). He has zero consideration for our lives and what we have going on. He just expects us to drop everything when he decides to visit, then proceeds to make me feel wrong anytime I can't accommodate him. When he's here with my son, they're good together. He claims to want to be in my sons life but really? "if its important to you, you'll find a way. If its not, you'll find an excuse"... okay.. where has he been in 6 years..

He currently lives in a 1 bedroom apartment with his mom (nothing wrong with that), he doesn’t have a car, he works part time but does photography on the side (successfully but doesn’t report his earnings). So he pays pretty minimum in CS. I don't really care for the CS as it was his request to pay it. It really doesn't even put a dent in my overall expenses for my son. He was arrested last year from stealing from him job. He's currently on probation and paying back restitution. (Not sure that matters either).

In 6 years, I’ve graduated university, work a great job, we (my son and i) have our own place & we’re doing amazing. Living in California as a single parent isn't easy. But that's how far I've come. Why is it in 6 years, his father has nothing? Still in the same position he was in before, doing who knows what.. 6 years later and I have absolutely had it. i don’t want to accommodate him anymore. My son and I have established our lives, our daily routines. My son is very active in school on the weekdays and sports on the weekends.

Honestly, I would like to cut off visitation until HE decides to take me to court and fight for his rights. I don't mind him having visitation AT ALL. But I need it to be consistent without excuses. I need to know when to expect him and when I need to clear my sons schedule. I can't deal with these random popups and no shows. Am I a bad mother for that? Is withholding visitation like that even allowed? I see the hurt in my sons eyes and I just don’t feel it is fair for his father to treat him this way.

Considering my ex’s absence and disinterest as a father as well as living two hours away from us, what do you think the court would grant him if we end up going into a custody battle? (California) I would like sole custody but I know California always gives the father the benefit of the doubt.



ps - thank you in advance for your responses. Its crazy I just logged into my account after 5 years. My questions and concerns back then are still the same as they are today! Crazy how some things don't change.

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Ev - posted on 03/13/2018

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Okay--the first things wrong here are the birth certificate and actually setting up custody, visitation and child support through the courts? Why not?

It would have save you headaches in dealing with his not showing for visits or cancelling out last minute. Visitation would provide his time he has with his kid and then if he does not take it it is not on you. Custody sets up who has custody or primary care and holds both parents accountable for their parts in the custody. Child support would look at his income and make him pay the state required support based on that. By not having done any of that through the legal process you are not going to see him do things...it is good he decided to pay child support though. Also you deny the visitation could lead him to actually going to court to fight for rights and stating you are keeping his kid from him and that could get you in trouble. As for how much time the judge and court grants for visitation under this set of circumstances---we would not be able to tell you that. That is a question for a lawyer in your state.

Suggestions about the visits:
1) when he calls to set up a date and time write it down and record it and what was said in conversation--time, place, where, when, how long, and any details that go with that.
2) During the conversation of setting a visit make sure he understands that if he does not show or call or cancels you are going to go ahead with plans you have. Also remind him he needs to call in advance at least a week prior to the date he wants the child and also encourage dates beyond the holidays. You have a right to the holidays too. If he asks why, tell him you need to know so you can plan things accordingly. If he just shows up, the child does not need to go with him but do write down when he shows up with no call or set time to see the child.
3) When he does not show or calls to cancel write that down and what the reason he gave was.
4) Make him aware of any dates that you are going to have the child doing things such as sports events, school activities, and other things and send him those dates at the end of the month for the new month coming up so he can be aware of what is going on in his child's life and then maybe you guys can plan visits and stuff according to that.
5) Encourage grandma to come visit on her own time. She should not have to call her son and get him to come with her.
****Note***Do not chase him for visits. If he fails to do that it is on him not you. It is not your job to hold his hand and make him do things for his kid.

Lastly, why did you not put him on birth certificate?

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