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RyanL

Parental Rights ? Is this the right section ? Male custody battle ?

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O.K. So here's the deal .. Warning : I am a male with issues seeing my daughter and no court orders. The post will pry be fairly long,  appreciate those who read it.

The week of Father day - my birthday which are 5 days or so apart, I just found out TONIGHT I will not be seeing my daughter. My sister is also flying in all the way from Germany with my Nephew who is only a few months old for that week period the day after Father's Day. I expected, and had informed my daughter a month prior about this week, and how great it would be .. However my ex and her boyfriend made vacation (week long) plans that week alleviating 

* My Father's Day with her

* My Birthday with Her

* Her seeing her first, first cousin - coming in all he way from Germany that week. Albeit not just for her, it just worked out that way....

This hurts me badly, it was the first time I have cried for an ACTUAL REASON in a long time. We all cry for no reason, this was FOR a reason.

She is 13 turns 14 by Early September. At this point I believe the courts would let her decide (Past age 12 I think) about custody issues, her visiting etc .. 

There are free attorneys around here, can't remember the agencies name, but I believe they are geared towards women who have custody issues. My daughter DID tell her Mom that was the only week available. My daughter did NOT tell me right away, which shows she would rather be with them or was too afraid to tell me. Probably a combo with the first being the main reason. 

I'll admit being a Bipolar Dad isn't that great. She considers them her "parents" and me her "Daddy" and yes she actually still says "Daddy" at 13 which makes me feel so awesome when she does that - helps me deal with her calling them her parents. Unlike the typical situation I had a ton of respect for her new boyfriend but none for her. 

When I called her tonight about this : Without raising my voice at ALL - Which you know how HARD that is for us to do - She said "I can't talk about this" ... I told her she was being selfish about the situation and unfair. I asked her if we could have an actual "Adult Conversation" about this. She kept reflecting this as me being unreasonable. She, within 3 minutes, hung up and said "O.K. I'm selfish, whatever - I have to go" I waited, again asking for an "adult conversation" and she refused. 

My MAIN issue here is how inconsiderate she was about the situation. She knew that was the week of my birthday and Father's Day. I had even made a decision for me not to pick her up untl afternoon Father's Day because not only do I apreciate him raising her as I was unable to, but also because I know how she considers him important in her life. I'm not an idiot. I haven't been the best Father - and she will probably never look at me as a "parent"

That being said she does discuss VERY intimate, and important to her, things going on in her life. She appreciates the fact she can be open to me. I don't judge. I am honest. She was more open to me about some personal things a couple weeks ago then she EVER will be to them in her life. So it's a weird situation : Bottom line, I know she still loves me, accepts me as I am, but at the same time doesn't expect as much out of me as she does her "Parents" 

----------------------------------------------

I am on SSI, get $735 a mont and pay $40 a month every single months (except 2-3 months around X-Mas last year - and I asked if that was O.K. first). It's not a lot but I am not court ordered to pay anything. First question if I get in a cutody battle will I have to pay 20 % - Because unfortuantely I truly could not afford to do so. I have heard conflicting answers. I am in Chicago. 

When she comes over we go to my Mom's - Unfortunately it's only a weekend per month as she is so busy. If I do get a court ordered visitation rights what I would seek is Friday nights at my place once per week and one weekend per month at my Mom's .... This way it is most "supervised" if they have issues with me being BiPolar. Also I assume my attempts to pay some Child Support, unordered will go in my favor. 

First question, would I have a chance at winning if I found a Pro Bona attorney ? Second question ; Should I put her through this ? I could tell she felt bad about the situation tonight, at the same time she wanted to go on that vacation and was told it was the ONLY time they could do it. I am positive it could have been arranged another week - It just happened to be the most convenient for them .. 

More I could type but I've typed a lot. Hope to hear answers, as well as moving into the right forum if I'm in the wrong one. 

 

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I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I know how disappointing it is for you not to be with your daughter on Father's Day and your birthday. My first advice to you would be to consult with Legal Aid or some other pro bono legal agency. They would give you the best advice.

As far as Father's Day and your birthday are concerned, well, they are just numbers on a calendar. There is nothing to stop you from celebrating both holidays when you are together with your daughter next time. I know it's painful, but you have to make the best of a bad situation.

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I agree - First thing she said was she wanted to spend the week before or after with me ... 

It's just not the same though ... I pry could have dealt with it if my Sister didn't have her pretty much newborn coming in from Germany, and the fact it was the first time she would have seen him. I literally HURT for a reason other then "Just Hurting" in a long time. These are the times I usually end up in the hospital from over drinking or over doing pills (not all the times I've been to the hospital but it WAS the last time I went to the ER) .. That's what my Mom emphasized "Don't drink or take too many pills (benzos) ... I didn't take my normal benzos as scheduled but did end up drinking 

I know, it doesn't help or chang things. I need more counseling so I can deal with things like this. Groups where I can call people who I can talk to, grab a cup of coffee with, etc .. Whether it is AA or a MI support group. I just hate relying on people to be honest. HATE HATE HATE it now. Didn't use to, but I do know. It's rare I even come here to vent but tonight was a must for me. Just hurting and using to deal with it, which isn't healthy. Also why I need partially supervised visits. That being said I agree with you. Technically it's "just dates on the calendar" but it means so much more than that to me.

 

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@RyanL,  I don't know what state you live in, but here in my state, the non-custodial parent always has visiting rights, even if they don't pay court-ordered child support.....So you certainly have the right to ask for more visitation, and you have a good chance of getting it, if your daughter agrees to it and wants it,.....and at age 13, she does have a right to voice her opinion.

But as jt said above, best to consult with a free Legal Aid agency in your state about it.

I have a little personal experience with this, because I had sole custody of my daughter, and my ex was always behind on his court-ordered support....Some of it I have never received, and my daughter is in college now.... But I never denied visitation if the proper supervision was in place (He had supervised visits because of criminal record).

I know your feelings are hurt.....All teenagers seem to hurt people's feelings almost without realizing it....I know my daughter hurt my feelings terribly so many times...........Personally, I think every child's mom and dad should get some sort of gold medal if they make it through their child's teen years.....:).

I know you are doing your best to be a good dad to your daughter.......I know from personal experience how much this kind of stuff hurts......My daughter did send me flowers this past Mother's Day, but did not call or visit me that day, so that upset me......Oh well.....**SIGH**

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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@RyanL, I agree with you that you need therapy. You have to learn how to deal with such things without turning to pills or alcohol. Pills and alcohol are just self-destructive behavior and they don't make anything better, only worse. Your chances of getting additional visitation are in fact reduced if you get labeled an alcoholic or drug abuser. You don't want that.

I know it hurts, and if I could do something to make this right I would. But all I can do is be here and talk to you. Feel free to rant away. Sometimes it really helps. I know it helped me to rant when I was going through a painful divorce. I basically talked to anyone who would listen.

You will get through this and you will spend many happy times with your daughter. It's not the last Father's Day nor is it your last birthday if you take care of yourself. You have a lifetime to celebrate with your daughter. It's obvious that she loves you and trusts you enough to confide in you. That is big.

 

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Thank you guys for the support. It helps a lot. 

My insurance has a 24 hour "crisis hotline" I called last night. I got to vent to a neutral party for a half hour and that helped immensely. 

Also my sister and Mom contacted me today and were concerned. Having that support helped a ton. My mom, even feeling sick, went out of her ay to have Dinner with me after work. We barely talked about it (maybe 10-15 minutes) but I think it was the final cap let off for the steam to come out. 

Today I am definitely still upset - but more then anything determined to casually ask my daughter how she would feel about guaranteeing me one weekend a month and one friday a month (I said a week above, I meant one Friday a month) as well as promising we get together and have dinner once a month. If she doesn't feel like she can't make that promise to me I will absolutely be hurt but I will NOT proceed with the courts. 

If she does feel comfortable making me that promise I will proceed. In the meantime I will NOT let her know that if she agrees I will be taking her Mom to court. This is a touchy situation. I want to make sure my daughter does not feel forced to be with me if she doesn't - However if she does I want it written in stone, as well as the fact that my ex would have to get my permission to take her out of state. I think that alone will put my ex in her place a little bit and make her be less harsh towards me, not by choice but she will be forced to be more civil and work with me more - knowing I could stop her plans for a vacation without thinking about it at that point. If that makes any sense ?

As far as Therapy I definitely am goiing to proceed with it - as well as re attending AA again. That helped for years. I know it will help again.

 

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