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Topic : Co-Parenting

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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 12:44:44 pm
Author : dataimport
Are you sharing a child with someone who doesn't live with you? Share your story and your strategies for effective parenting.

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May 1, 2008, 8:11 am CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: a_n_other

The situation may be exactly as you describe or it may be a good deal milder.  Those children could say anything, or misinterpret something in either household and their word would be taken as gospel because the necessary business-like communication between your households isn't in place. 

 

Speaking as a shouter myself sometimes it is the only way to get a word in edgeways.  If you've attempted to have your say 5 or 6 times in calm voice and been cut off, patronised and dismissed by someone who is so full of their perceptions and preconceptions they can't listen to a few pertinent facts about how the situation has recently changed it lets you at least get the words out.  The I'll speak to you when you are calmer ploy never works on me either.  I see it as a ploy to avoid difficult topics which would be better aired particularly when its used by people who I know will never be willing to listen to me but expect me to drop everything at a moment's notice for their convienience.

 

You don't say what your circumstances are but if you haven't children of your own and your husband isn't spending some of his weekends sorting out shoes and clothing, paying subs for hobbies, buying presents for friend's and writing out cheques for school trips you may not realise how important 10% of the child support is in some households or how ridiculously low some child support payments are set.  .  The cumulative effect of losing that, coupled with the effect of the other parent NOT picking up an extra 10% of the unpredictable expenses could mean the loss of a house after some time.  

 

Could I suggest your husband and his ex-wife set up Yahoo email accounts they use only for corresponding with each other.  Then all they have to do is make a call saying there's an email waiting whenever there is something difficult to discuss.  It also occurs to me that if your husband gave up some of the summer in return for more weekends/ week time during the year the 60/40 split could be maintained but the children would have more regular contact with their father.

 

The one thing you are correct on is: communication between the households are not in place. His ex-wife is not interested in having communcation- she would rather scream.  Children could say anything and we listen. We don't always act on it- but we do listen to their fears and concerns as well as the wonderful and ordinary things in their life. 

 

I have three children - they are adults, except one who is still at home - a senior in highschool, so he's "nearly" grown. While raising my children, as well as the present, I felt and feel fortunate to have a great relationship with all three- my ex- husband and I didn't fight or argue (over our kids-we always basically wanted and did what was in the best interest of THEM) and because our divorce had nothing to do with our kids- we kept our problems or bad attitudes between us- because we made a decision to love and care MORE about our kids than hate each other. 

 

My children are either in college or close to it, doing very well in life, and I am very honored and proud of the people they have become. I didn't have a bit of 'real' trouble with them; (smoking, sneaking out, drinking, teen pregnancy, etc).  I always felt it was my responsibility to keep them safe, healthy, and to do what I could to help them grow into outstanding citizens.  I didn't  'need' to yell or scream at them- I listened to them and respected them- in return they listened and respected me. In fact, rather did scream, I did just the opposite- I would speak in a more quiet voice- rather than 'tune me out'  they had to focus on listening.... with my step children- I have not nor do I feel any need to yell or scream. They are smart and good kids, and I certainly can't speak for their other house hold, but they behave with good manners here, but they are kids and do kid things, just the same, I would assume they do and act pretty much the same- if given the opportunity, at their other home too.  Anyway, I believe there are better ways... and that is not to teach them to treat my future grandkids (or anyone for that matter) that screaming, inibiting and forcing is ok. But... that's just me. To each their own.

 

I know exactly what it costs to raise children. I did it without child support from their father- we shared our children 50/50 and we each supported them- we talked and agreed on 'extra's'.  My husband doesn't pay ridiculously low child support (I personally do not consider nearly $20,000 per year low anyway- not including INS that cost HIM, and half of extras- like dance class, violin, braces or baseball- that he readily pays half of everything for- because he chooses too!). In fact, with her child support- she makes more than my husband. She is a business professional (as we all are) and does very well- but her high maintenence habits and irresponsible spending habits are starting to shine. Her champaigne and caviar budget is what will force her to lose her home- not my husband and certainly not their children! 

 

FYI: he has his kids all summer (and yet continues to pay child support) and every weekend (except the first weekend of each month) during the school year.... he would LOVE to have them every other week- but this would not free up her free time.    

 
May 13, 2008, 7:01 am CDT

Update

For those of you who don't know my story, let me catch you up.  My husband shares an 8 month old son with his ex-girlfriend who left the relationship when she found out she was pregnant.  My husband and I met about a month-and-a-half after she left him, been together for a little over a year, and just got married a couple of months ago.  The mother has been great about wanting to have both my husband and I to be involved in this child's life.  However, the three of us have had some issues over her controlling behavior.  When the baby was born, the two of them did not go to court to establish visitation rights; they were just going to work it out themselves.  She allows us to visit the baby, but she refuses to allow my husband and I to have time alone with the child.  All of our visits involve her supervision.  As I said, the baby is now 8 months old and perfectly capable of spending some time away from his mother.  She won't even leave the baby for a few hours so that we can spend some one-on-one time with him.  There have been a lot of heated discussions and arguments between her and us, and she has told a number of lies on us.  And about a month ago it got so bad that she wanted my husband to sign away his rights, and for the sake of peace in our lives, we had seriously considered doing this.  Then yesterday we ran into her and the baby at my mother-in-law's house and she wanted us to stay and visit with the baby.  At the time, we hadn't seen him in over a month!  She acts like she is no longer angry with us and wants us to still be a part of the child's life.  However, she's made no mention of allowing us to have unsupervised visitations.  And  there's really no point in even bringing it up because we know she isn't going to do this.  The only way to have our visitation rights without her presence is to take her to court, which will cause more problems between her and us.  I would like for everyone to be able to get along, but I believe she is being very unfair!  My husband pays child support and is legally entitled to have unsupervised visitations with this child.  I understand that she's overprotective, so to ease her mind I even suggested that she let my mother-in-law baby-sit the child and my husband and I could have our visitations with him then.  That way she would be reassured that the baby was in good hands.  But she won't budge on the issue.  My  husband has put up with most of this because he's very nonconfrontational and allows her to walk all over him!  But he deserves the right to have time alone with the child.  Furthermore, as the stepmother of this child, I would love the opportunity to have a relationship with this baby and to spend time with him alongside my husband, and this is very awkward to do while the mother of the child is always there watching your every move...especially given our rocky history with this woman and the things she's done to us and the lies she's told on us.  I wish my husband, for his own rights and for the sake of my relationship with the child, would take this woman to court and establish his visitation rights.  But I know he's not going to do this, especially now that she's no longer angry with us, because he's afraid of stirring things up again.  And I admit that I would like for things to be smooth between everybody.  But is it worth sacrificing your rights over?

 

I just really need some advice on what to do.  Should I talk to my husband and convince him to take her to court, even though it would cause turmoil with her again?  Or should I let him continue to allow her to violate both his rights and a chance for me to form a relationship with my stepson?  I know that I'm just a stepmother and therefore have no dogs in the fight, but it still hurts because I care about this child and my husband, and I want us all to live in harmony.  But it seems that we must choose to live in either injustice or turmoil.  Of course there's always a chance that if we did legally obtain our rights, the mother would come to terms with it.  But there's no gurantee of that happening.  Please give me some advice.  Do I step back and continue to let things happen this way, or do I talk to my husband about establishing his rights?

 
June 5, 2008, 7:17 am CDT

14 Year Old Son Wants To Live With Dad

Hello Everyone! 

 

My husband divorced his Ex about 10 years ago and his Ex has custody of the kids who are now 12 & 14 years old.  We have lived in the same town and have been very involved in the kids lives and have always paid child support ++  I am the Step-Mom, have been in the kids lives since they were 4 & 6 years old and we have a great relationship.     

 

Unfortunately, my husbands division at work is closing down and we will be transffered to another State within 2 months....

 

My husbands Son, who is 14 years of age, had stated that he wanted to live with us prior to our finding out about the move.  He still wants to live with us and move when we get settled. 

 

He is having a hard time living with his Mom.  Mom never remarried or dated after the divorce, does not have any friends, is very depressed and has become obese since the divorce.  She is also a compulsive buyer and the house is full of clutter and extremely messy.  It is a very depressing living enviroment for the kids and they will not bring freinds into the house because they are so embarressed.  She is a very bitter woman who has filed false charges against us, has repeatably denied visitation, etc.,. she has even had to pay all of our attorney fees because of her actions.  We have been through hell but it's the kids who have paid the ultimate price.   Both of the kids feel responsible for her happyness and try so hard to make her happy.... My husbands son is the oldest and realizes that he can't make her happy but is so afraid to tell her he wants to live with his dad.

 

In spite of all of the horrible things this woman has done to the kids and us, I can't help but feel sorry for her too.  She has wasted some of the best years of her life - is a professional who makes tons of money and gets over $2,000 per month child support, has time on her own to date, go out with friends etc.,. has two children who love her and she is still misserable. 

 

Sorry to have rambled... Bottom line is our Son is put in a horrible position of having to choose which parent to live with.  He loves them both but wants to get away from mom and spend more time with dad.  He would have to give up the life he knows and make new friends in a new school thousands of miles away if he came to live with us but he still insists that he wants to move.  We will be gone by the time he has to tell his mother he wants to live with us and he is afraid doing this when he has to live with her in the inturn because of her depression.  She is a lawyer, her mother (his grandma) is a lawyer who represents her and he is afraid.  What do I do to help him?????????  Please - any advise!!!

 

His dad and I will support him in any decision he makes but he has to go through this on his own while  we go through the legal process a judge makes the decision.  That  takes a long time... 

 

Please - any advise for us?  

 

Thanks for listening!

 

 
June 5, 2008, 3:27 pm CDT

Take him to a lawyer

Quote From: anniefanny41

Hello Everyone! 

 

My husband divorced his Ex about 10 years ago and his Ex has custody of the kids who are now 12 & 14 years old.  We have lived in the same town and have been very involved in the kids lives and have always paid child support ++  I am the Step-Mom, have been in the kids lives since they were 4 & 6 years old and we have a great relationship.     

 

Unfortunately, my husbands division at work is closing down and we will be transffered to another State within 2 months....

 

My husbands Son, who is 14 years of age, had stated that he wanted to live with us prior to our finding out about the move.  He still wants to live with us and move when we get settled. 

 

He is having a hard time living with his Mom.  Mom never remarried or dated after the divorce, does not have any friends, is very depressed and has become obese since the divorce.  She is also a compulsive buyer and the house is full of clutter and extremely messy.  It is a very depressing living enviroment for the kids and they will not bring freinds into the house because they are so embarressed.  She is a very bitter woman who has filed false charges against us, has repeatably denied visitation, etc.,. she has even had to pay all of our attorney fees because of her actions.  We have been through hell but it's the kids who have paid the ultimate price.   Both of the kids feel responsible for her happyness and try so hard to make her happy.... My husbands son is the oldest and realizes that he can't make her happy but is so afraid to tell her he wants to live with his dad.

 

In spite of all of the horrible things this woman has done to the kids and us, I can't help but feel sorry for her too.  She has wasted some of the best years of her life - is a professional who makes tons of money and gets over $2,000 per month child support, has time on her own to date, go out with friends etc.,. has two children who love her and she is still misserable. 

 

Sorry to have rambled... Bottom line is our Son is put in a horrible position of having to choose which parent to live with.  He loves them both but wants to get away from mom and spend more time with dad.  He would have to give up the life he knows and make new friends in a new school thousands of miles away if he came to live with us but he still insists that he wants to move.  We will be gone by the time he has to tell his mother he wants to live with us and he is afraid doing this when he has to live with her in the inturn because of her depression.  She is a lawyer, her mother (his grandma) is a lawyer who represents her and he is afraid.  What do I do to help him?????????  Please - any advise!!!

 

His dad and I will support him in any decision he makes but he has to go through this on his own while  we go through the legal process a judge makes the decision.  That  takes a long time... 

 

Please - any advise for us?  

 

Thanks for listening!

 

I'd suggest briefing another lawyer - not the one you use - and then letting him meet the lawyer alone.  The lawyer can explain the process he would have to go through then set up a meeting with Grandma and mother.  Perhaps he would find the approach "I want these things to change and if I am still unhappy with the situation at Christmas I will apply to get my custody order changed.
 
June 14, 2008, 10:16 pm CDT

I miss my son!!

My husband and I have been separated for 4 years now.  He had an affair and had another baby with another woman.  He had no contact with my son for all of that time.  I had heard through the grapevine that my husband was getting siezures and was very sick, so I did everything in my power to make things right with my 15 year old son and his dad.  My son did not want anything to do with him for a while, but finally they began talking again.  THis happened in December of 07, by March of 08, my husband had asked me if he could take my son to Hawaii, I agreed because they were only going for a week.  THey landed up staying there for 3 weeks, I was very upset because my son had missed so  much school.  Well when my son finally got back from Hawaii, he was never the same.  My husband was buying him phones and skateboards to try and buy his love and it worked.  By April 10th of 08, my son called me at work and told me that he wanted to spend every weekend with his dad and I told him no.  I would agree with every other weekend, but not every weekend.  He became very upset and started to be rude and hateful to me.  I got very upset also, I felt very betrayed and hurt that he wanted to leave me like that.  We had both said things that we didn't mean, but that was the last time I had talked to my son.  I got home from work and found out that his dad picked him up from school and brought him home to get his clothes, so he could go and live with him.  His dad did not make him finish his schooling and pretty much told him that he had no rules and no school.  I have tried calling my son several times and he will not answer my calls.  I am so hurt and there is not a day that I don't cry for him.  Please someone help me, I am desperate.  I miss him so bad and I don't know what his dad has told him to turn him against me so bad. 
 
June 18, 2008, 8:42 pm CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: a_n_other

I'd suggest briefing another lawyer - not the one you use - and then letting him meet the lawyer alone.  The lawyer can explain the process he would have to go through then set up a meeting with Grandma and mother.  Perhaps he would find the approach "I want these things to change and if I am still unhappy with the situation at Christmas I will apply to get my custody order changed.
Children feel the need to bare the burdens of their parents. He may say he wants to live with his father because he believes that is what he wants to hear. If he truly wants to move with you he will have to be upfront and honest with his mother. You and your husband will also have to be very clear about your expectations and rules. He needs to know that the grass is not always greener and while it may be tough to live with his mother it will not be all fun and games with you. Also consider the long term effects this will have on his relationship with his mother. Regardless of her lifestyle she is a very important person in this child's life and doing anything to enable damage to that relationship could then cause him to have animosity toward you and/or his father. If nothing else this is a good time to teach him a valuable lesson about being responsible for your actions and emotions. At this age the boy needs to learn to speak for himself. If he is not mature enough to tell his mother how he feels and deal with this as a young man then he may not be mature enough to make this decision on his own. I suggest family counselling with not only your side but his mother as well. After divorce we tend to forget about the other parent and though we try to do what is best for the child we seldom work together to do so.
 
June 18, 2008, 8:44 pm CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: anniefanny41

Hello Everyone! 

 

My husband divorced his Ex about 10 years ago and his Ex has custody of the kids who are now 12 & 14 years old.  We have lived in the same town and have been very involved in the kids lives and have always paid child support ++  I am the Step-Mom, have been in the kids lives since they were 4 & 6 years old and we have a great relationship.     

 

Unfortunately, my husbands division at work is closing down and we will be transffered to another State within 2 months....

 

My husbands Son, who is 14 years of age, had stated that he wanted to live with us prior to our finding out about the move.  He still wants to live with us and move when we get settled. 

 

He is having a hard time living with his Mom.  Mom never remarried or dated after the divorce, does not have any friends, is very depressed and has become obese since the divorce.  She is also a compulsive buyer and the house is full of clutter and extremely messy.  It is a very depressing living enviroment for the kids and they will not bring freinds into the house because they are so embarressed.  She is a very bitter woman who has filed false charges against us, has repeatably denied visitation, etc.,. she has even had to pay all of our attorney fees because of her actions.  We have been through hell but it's the kids who have paid the ultimate price.   Both of the kids feel responsible for her happyness and try so hard to make her happy.... My husbands son is the oldest and realizes that he can't make her happy but is so afraid to tell her he wants to live with his dad.

 

In spite of all of the horrible things this woman has done to the kids and us, I can't help but feel sorry for her too.  She has wasted some of the best years of her life - is a professional who makes tons of money and gets over $2,000 per month child support, has time on her own to date, go out with friends etc.,. has two children who love her and she is still misserable. 

 

Sorry to have rambled... Bottom line is our Son is put in a horrible position of having to choose which parent to live with.  He loves them both but wants to get away from mom and spend more time with dad.  He would have to give up the life he knows and make new friends in a new school thousands of miles away if he came to live with us but he still insists that he wants to move.  We will be gone by the time he has to tell his mother he wants to live with us and he is afraid doing this when he has to live with her in the inturn because of her depression.  She is a lawyer, her mother (his grandma) is a lawyer who represents her and he is afraid.  What do I do to help him?????????  Please - any advise!!!

 

His dad and I will support him in any decision he makes but he has to go through this on his own while  we go through the legal process a judge makes the decision.  That  takes a long time... 

 

Please - any advise for us?  

 

Thanks for listening!

 

Children feel the need to bare the burdens of their parents. He may say he wants to live with his father because he believes that is what he wants to hear. If he truly wants to move with you he will have to be upfront and honest with his mother. You and your husband will also have to be very clear about your expectations and rules. He needs to know that the grass is not always greener and while it may be tough to live with his mother it will not be all fun and games with you. Also consider the long term effects this will have on his relationship with his mother. Regardless of her lifestyle she is a very important person in this child's life and doing anything to enable damage to that relationship could then cause him to have animosity toward you and/or his father. If nothing else this is a good time to teach him a valuable lesson about being responsible for your actions and emotions. At this age the boy needs to learn to speak for himself. If he is not mature enough to tell his mother how he feels and deal with this as a young man then he may not be mature enough to make this decision on his own. I suggest family counselling with not only your side but his mother as well. After divorce we tend to forget about the other parent and though we try to do what is best for the child we seldom work together to do so.
 
June 25, 2008, 5:43 pm CDT

What's best for Junior

First a litle background.  I am currently 48, my off again/on again  girlfriend 40.  We've dated off and on for 6 years.  Usually we end up breaking up because she has a bad temper and things get out of control, and I can't take it anymore. When the temper isn't there she's great, and obviously the physical part ifs usually pretty good. Since our last breakup she has informed me she is pregnant.  Several days later she announced we should get married, and she wants to move in.  She has no health care insurance and want's to be on mine.  Given our history I'm not sure which way to go here. I have no problem helping with her healthcare costs for the child out of pocket.  I question whether our child would be better off with us as separate or together given our history of fighting and breaking up. I think it would be a matter of time before we ended up apart.  I think both of us want the kid though, although she tends to be very negtive when things don't go her way. I would like to know from anyone here with experience, particularly someone who lived through something like this which is better for the kid.  Parents who are together for the kid even though problems remain in the relationship, or parents who remain separate and share custody. I don't like either alternative, but choices are limited here. Any other tips on how to handle this are appreciated.  Neither of us have ever had kids.  She is hispanic and has her extended family locally and I have no family in the area.

 
June 27, 2008, 10:47 pm CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: maxthrottle

First a litle background.  I am currently 48, my off again/on again  girlfriend 40.  We've dated off and on for 6 years.  Usually we end up breaking up because she has a bad temper and things get out of control, and I can't take it anymore. When the temper isn't there she's great, and obviously the physical part ifs usually pretty good. Since our last breakup she has informed me she is pregnant.  Several days later she announced we should get married, and she wants to move in.  She has no health care insurance and want's to be on mine.  Given our history I'm not sure which way to go here. I have no problem helping with her healthcare costs for the child out of pocket.  I question whether our child would be better off with us as separate or together given our history of fighting and breaking up. I think it would be a matter of time before we ended up apart.  I think both of us want the kid though, although she tends to be very negtive when things don't go her way. I would like to know from anyone here with experience, particularly someone who lived through something like this which is better for the kid.  Parents who are together for the kid even though problems remain in the relationship, or parents who remain separate and share custody. I don't like either alternative, but choices are limited here. Any other tips on how to handle this are appreciated.  Neither of us have ever had kids.  She is hispanic and has her extended family locally and I have no family in the area.

You "think" you want the kid" I don't mean to be rude - but why are you thinking about all of this now?  You really should have considered all of these things before you got her pregnant.   Now you are bringing a child into the world with a mother that has temper issues and two parents who can't live togethor.  I would seriously consider giving the child up for adoption to two parents who would give the child the home he/she deserves.  This is really sad and I'm not being judgemental but I really encourage you to put the interests of the child first - give him/her a loving home and environment that two parents who love each other can provide.
 
July 10, 2008, 3:13 pm CDT

When one parent won't buy something for their child and the other parent later goes and purchases it anyways.

My fiance, who is now divorced, shares custody with the father and she is frequently having to deal with a problem. Their 8 year old son will see something in the store, and ask his mom to buy it for him. Sometimes she agrees but frequently she does not because she believes that buying things on a whim sets a bad example. Very often, these things are trinkets by the cash register.

 

When her son goes back to dads place and she doesn't have him for a couple of weeks, her son will come back and say "Remember that thing you wouldn't buy me? Well dad bought it for me"

 

She has asked her ex-husband not to do these things out of respect but he continues to do it anyways. Its like he is trying to buy his son's love or something. It seems like he is attempting to undermine her.

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

 
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