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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-27-2011, 04:48 PM
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Default Help- My child wants to live with Dad

I am not new to this forum, but it seems to take me forever to find where to post a new thread. My situation is complex so please don't make assumptions or judgments, but I do need some help and I need it fast.

Sorry, it is so long!

Brief: Divorced in 1998 when pregnant with 3rd child - 3 children of the marriage - Son J - 19 years old, Son N- 15 years old and daughter M - 12.5 years of age currently.

Up until 2005, we had a shared custody agreement with a week about arrangement. Joint custody on making the usual decisions re: school, religion etc. My ex remarried in 2002 to a woman who had a son 1 year older than my middle child. Dad remained in the matrimonial home - I was evicted when pregnant with our third child. Ex was and still is, abusive both emotionally and physically. I did not fight for the home or anything else. However, over the 7 years, we were in and out of court many times. My ex wanted sole custody of all the children from day one, his words were also "it will be a cold day in hell before I pay you one red f.. cent".

However, silly me, I should have gone for sole custody because he has been on a campaign to try to prove me an unfit mother from day 1. (why? Because I had an affair and that betrayed him - my other big mistake) He fought over CS the entire time, worked cash jobs under the table, and has not filed income tax in 10 years. Suffice it to say, I have over the years erased all arrears. I just wanted the kids to be happy and to maintain a relationship with both parents and realized pretty quick that if I went after any CS, he would make it into a custody and access battle. I thought by not making this a matter of money, he might be more cooperative and stop calling CAS on me, accusing me of things I did not do. But even that has not stopped him.

Fast Forward to 2002 - when Dad remarried, his new wife joined in the vendetta against me. He now has a team partner in his vendetta. If the children were at his home, they would not be allowed to call me or I would not be allowed to attend school functions on his week. If I enrolled the kids in extra curricular activities such as dance or hockey, he refused to take them on his weeks. He calls CAS on me regularly, makes sexual abuse allegations and the saga continues.

2003 - I meet my now current husband. Great man, stable, healthy, loves my kids. I introduce them to him slowly. By 2004 - It is clear that the shared parenting is not working. My oldest son who is 14 at the time, starts to share the kinds of abuse going in Dad's home - He does not want to live with Dad but I insist we have a court order and he must go back and forth. SO... I request a full child assessement and a motion to vary allowing me to move with the children to a different community to reside with my then partner, now husband. The assessor states " the children will be better off residing with Mom and S. as they will support and encourage an ongoing relationship with Dad. The children need the stabiility of the home they can offer and need to be raised by their natural mother, not stepmother ( at the time, my ex was working out of town from Mon - Friday so the kids were raised by step mom). Assessor also clearly states that if the children reside with Dad, he will estrange them from Mom. So we move 1 hour away. Kids still see Dad every other weekend, mid week visits, split holidays etc.

So fasst forward. July 2008 my middle son ( then 12) goes to visit Dad for weekend access and refused to return. Too many details to go into, but suffice it to say, he has no contact with me now. He refuses to visit, communicate. I signed an agreement within 3 days to settle. But now Dad and his new wife have successfully alienated him from me. My oldest son is also alienated - they refuse to allow him to attend their home at any time. ( probably because they think he was the cause of the order allowing the children to move with me) The oldest son has been in and out of emotional health counselling for years over issues of abondonment. BTW - although my order states N is to attend, there is nothing a parent can do when they refuse at the age of 12 - 13.

So, everything is normal right. No, I now have a 12 year old daughter who has been living with my husband and I since 2005. She is in grade 7. Happy, well adjusted, no concerns. Goes every other weekend to Dad's, shared holidays etc. No restrictions on access. I encourage regular contact.
She goes to visit at Christmas and refuses to return the following weekend. " It is my choice, you cannot make me return" ( Clearly coached by Dad., step mom and brother" N was allowed to leave and it was his choice, so why cant I. I got an emergency motion and had her returned. But now, she is angry, and is very upset. She does not want to live with me, is blaming me for having her returned, is emailing and callling Dad 4 - 5 times a day - is buying right into the alienation camp.

So, I know I have to let her go live there. The longer she stays with me, the longer she will be able to build resentment towards me and if that happens, then it is probable she won't visit me either on weekends and then I will have lost 2 children. I am stuck. I also know if she goes to live there, it won't be long before they alienate her from me. She is 12 and is not going to be able to not be impacted by a hostile aggressive home that hates MOM.

What do I do. The other thing is that I keep telling her that right now without a written agreement between Dad and I, I cannot let her go live there. She is now blaming me even more.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:08 PM
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At 12 years of age, the child can start to make their own decisions. If the ex has proven to alienate the kids, AND you have an assessment report to prove it, then you go back to court if he refuses to make her return. Get a clause put in for police enforcement of access, so that the police can intervene if he decides to not return the children.

Get her into counselling ASAP.

Either that, or you suck it up and allow it.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:20 PM
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My stance: Suck it up and allow it. A 12 yr old is not as thick as we think they apparently are.

Soon, they find the reality.

Last edited by InterprovincialParents; 01-27-2011 at 07:21 PM. Reason: wanted to
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:26 PM
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Agreed, councelling ASAP - for both of you. In order for you to understand why this is happening she needs to verbalize to someone what is going on. She says she doesn't want to live with you - does she say why and why now? What caused the sudden change in your relationship with her. Those are things you will only ever know from her and finding a good councillor will hopefully provide her with the comfort level she needs to talk about those things and help her understand her options better. She needs to understand it doesn't have to be one or the other - children shouldn't be forced to choose between their parents.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkandimgone View Post
Agreed, councelling ASAP - for both of you. In order for you to understand why this is happening she needs to verbalize to someone what is going on. She says she doesn't want to live with you - does she say why and why now? What caused the sudden change in your relationship with her. Those are things you will only ever know from her and finding a good councillor will hopefully provide her with the comfort level she needs to talk about those things and help her understand her options better. She needs to understand it doesn't have to be one or the other - children shouldn't be forced to choose between their parents.
Yes I know all those things. Why suddenly? Well when a child has been slowly alienated from the other parent over time, its not hard to answer why. The history sort of speaks for itself. As for the simplicity of all of this. It is not that simple. I have asked for counselling repeatedly over the years, DAD doesn't agree with nor support counselling so since we have joint custody, it never gets approved. In my contempt motion, she was returned and I did insist on counselling. The judge has agreed, but Dad is telling M that she doesn't have to go if she doesn't want to. He is also telling her that Mom is preventing her from living with him even though I have tried many times to let her know that I am prepared to meet with her Dad in mediation to come to agreement. His response to that: Lawyer up, that way the longer the assessment takes and the longer the court process drags on, Mom gets to appear as the bad guy with Dad just laughing at it all. He knows how to play the game so now she is even more angry stating that it is all my fault that I won't allow her to go. Who in their right mind would let a child dictate all the rules at 12 and not have an agreement in writing about access and other important adult stuff when it is a long standing case of parental alienation.

And btw, at 12 a child has a voice, but they certainly do not have the capacity to fully understand all the ramifications of their choices. If your 12 year old told you they didn't want to go to school, would you agree because it was their choice?
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susiecanoe View Post
Yes I know all those things. Why suddenly? Well when a child has been slowly alienated from the other parent over time, its not hard to answer why. The history sort of speaks for itself. As for the simplicity of all of this. It is not that simple. I have asked for counselling repeatedly over the years, DAD doesn't agree with nor support counselling so since we have joint custody, it never gets approved. In my contempt motion, she was returned and I did insist on counselling. The judge has agreed, but Dad is telling M that she doesn't have to go if she doesn't want to. He is also telling her that Mom is preventing her from living with him even though I have tried many times to let her know that I am prepared to meet with her Dad in mediation to come to agreement. His response to that: Lawyer up, that way the longer the assessment takes and the longer the court process drags on, Mom gets to appear as the bad guy with Dad just laughing at it all. He knows how to play the game so now she is even more angry stating that it is all my fault that I won't allow her to go. Who in their right mind would let a child dictate all the rules at 12 and not have an agreement in writing about access and other important adult stuff when it is a long standing case of parental alienation.

And btw, at 12 a child has a voice, but they certainly do not have the capacity to fully understand all the ramifications of their choices. If your 12 year old told you they didn't want to go to school, would you agree because it was their choice?
Not YOUR reasonings why you think she doesn't want to live with you. What I said was she needs to verbalize hers to someone. Doing so will help her self-realize and form her own conclusions about the situations and the choices she's making without being co-erced or pushed in either direction. It can help her get on the path to making more balanced decisions about her family and relationships in general. Right now she must feel pulled in a hundred different directions.

It's actually a very simple level 2 Maslow motivation. Something/someone is threatening her feeling of comfort/stability/safety if she stays with you. Natural instinct tells her to protect herself from the worse of two evils, which she currently understands to be your place or a relationship with you so she is avoiding it.

Sometimes we all just need to be asked the right questions in order to understand if what we really feel is truly what we think it is - that's why councilling is so popular and effective (and expensive!)

Regardless of our age, every choice we make is based on one of two things:
1 - to induce pleasure
2 - to avoid pain

Only she knows for sure if it is the implied threat of what happens if she chooses a relationship with you or if she really does have a valid issue with you. Your job is to make sure she ALWAYS knows you love her and are open to a relationship and improving communication, one day she will see it too.

:: removes amateur psychologist hat ::
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:41 PM
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I didn't imply I knew her reasons. What I stated was that their is a pretty scary pattern happening here. This forum cannot possibly divulge all of the facts and as I stated, I am the one who has been asking for and insisting upon counselling for all of my children so they have a safe place to figure what is happening for them. It is not my fault that her father is opposed to counselling and has prevented it at every turn.

I agree that she is either running to or away from something. All I want the counselling for is not to build on our relationship,whatever that may look like.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by susiecanoe View Post
I didn't imply I knew her reasons. What I stated was that their is a pretty scary pattern happening here. This forum cannot possibly divulge all of the facts and as I stated, I am the one who has been asking for and insisting upon counselling for all of my children so they have a safe place to figure what is happening for them. It is not my fault that her father is opposed to counselling and has prevented it at every turn.

I agree that she is either running to or away from something. All I want the counselling for is not to build on our relationship,whatever that may look like.
Oops, meant all I want is for us to build on our relationship. Take out the not.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susiecanoe View Post
I didn't imply I knew her reasons. What I stated was that their is a pretty scary pattern happening here. This forum cannot possibly divulge all of the facts and as I stated, I am the one who has been asking for and insisting upon counselling for all of my children so they have a safe place to figure what is happening for them. It is not my fault that her father is opposed to counselling and has prevented it at every turn.

I agree that she is either running to or away from something. All I want the counselling for is not to build on our relationship,whatever that may look like.
I agree, there is a pattern developing. However the kids aren't consciously aware of it, that's what councilling is for. I saw where you said you asked for councilling and he didn't agree. I guess if you've resigned yourself to it then this is just the way things will be from now on.

And really, why the hell can't I figure out how to spell councelling?
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:41 PM
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She's not "YOUR" child.

So, there are 3 children and 2 of 'em want to live with Dad?

Maybe there's something to that... Perhaps you want to ponder that possibility... Just sayin'

Why do I care? Why does this piss me off? Because my ex blames me for the fact that OUR children don't want to live with her, visit her, or talk to her. I couldn't live with her anymore, and then OUR children couldn't live with her anymore, but somehow I'm a Bad Man and must suffer for this.

I'm sick of the BS. Dad wont pay. Dad wont visit. Dad blocks counselling. Dad is evil. Dad wont pay, dad wont pay, dad wont pay. Gotta take dad to court! Bad dad!

Argh.

Gary

Last edited by Gary M; 01-27-2011 at 09:47 PM.
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