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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 05-25-2015, 01:22 AM
blendedinsanity blendedinsanity is offline
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Default New Step Parent Question

Hello again. I joined this site primarily to get help with my fiancées ongoing battle but unfortunately we both have very high conflict exes. If this doesn't belong in this forum I apologize. A brief run down of my situation.

Split up in 2011, ex is bipolar and lazy and hadn't worked since our son was 2 weeks old. We have two kids of our own S12 and D11 and we also have his sister's son who was orphaned after his mother was murdered. He is 18 and I kept him after the split. I couldn't take the way my ex treated me anymore and kicked his lazy ass out. He went on welfare who immediately came after me for spousal support. They made me sign an agreement waiving child support if he waived spousal support. The reality is I was going to get a whopping $90 a month for CS if I pushed but he was going to get about $800 in SS. I added a clause that this was revisitable if he ever got a job but to date hell hasn't frozen over.

He had very regular contact with my kids since the separation and its only because of me. I have driven them to every single visit, given him money for food or money to do stuff with them, basically bent over backwards to make sure he could maintain a relationship for the kids sake. I really thought I was doing the right thing but now I realize I screwed up massively.

In February he met a 26 year old woman (he's 40) who had her children removed by CAS. He packed up and moved an hour away and the two of them moved in with his mother who herself has an EXTENSIVE CAS record and she is not permitted contact with my children or her other grandchildren. Ex has not seen the kids since February and my daughter is completely crushed. She cries every single night and it breaks my heart to see what he's doing to her.

Ex contacted me and said that him and the new girlfriend were getting their own place and he would like access to begin again at the new house. Now I was a "foster parent" to the exes orphaned nephew who I still have, for 10 years so I have contacts at CAS and although they did not tell me specifics, they did tell me that I should not allow my kids around this new woman. I told ex that if he could provide proof that the new gf did not abuse her children, I would consider slowly allowing access at the new place. He is refusing to provide the proof and says it is none of my business why her kids were removed.

On a practical level I get that its none of my business, but if I'm supposed to allow the most important people in my life around her, I kind of need to know if she's a danger to them. My ex is not a reliable "supervisor" as he often forgets to take his lithium or accidentally takes too much and sleeps all day. I need to know that the other person there can be trusted to take care of the kids if something happens. I have sole legal custody and because he didn't even file a reply he wasn't even awarded access.

I WANT him to have a relationship with the kids and I want to stop the hurt that I see in my daughter's eyes when she checks Skype hourly to see if he's on and realizes he's stood her up again. But am I being unreasonable in wanting to know what the hell she did to cause her to loose her own kids? I don't even need specifics, I just want something to vouch that she's safe. Ugh I just don't know anymore. Too many things going on at once.
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Old 05-25-2015, 02:11 AM
stripes stripes is offline
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You can't prove a negative. What documentation could your ex supply as proof that his girlfriend did not abuse her kids? Or that she is not currently a danger to kids? I don't think I could provide a document proving that I am not a risk to kids, and believe me, I am the squarest person on the planet.

Instead of asking him to provide documentation about his girlfriend which can't exist, what about setting up visits at a public place? Your contacts at CAS may be able to recommend a supervised access centre (like an Early Years centre, if you're in Ontario). You could also propose a neutral third party as a supervisor, possibly a member of his family who you trust and who would be willing to hang out while Dad visits with the kids.

You have sole custody so you are in the driver's seat here. This gives you power, but also responsibility. You need to find a way to facilitate your children's access to their father, no matter how much of a jerk he is or how much you dislike his new girlfriend. CAS workers will have some ideas, so will other people on this forum.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2015, 08:12 AM
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So,
1. You ended the relationship (kicked him out of the home where you resided as a family).

2. He had a consistent relationship with his kids and you facilitated this (Good on you!)

Fast forward.......

He met somebody!!

Now you want a background check on her
Now you want supervision

This doesn't look good. (Oh trust me, I know that the dad doesnt look good either. Was he denied access since Feb or were you not having it because MIL has CAS history?)

The timing may make a judge scratch his head.

You loved and trusted enough to have children with him. You bent over backwards to allow "unsupervised" access (trusted him). I'm guessing his mother also had access also even though she had CAS history. This still didnt prompt you to ask for supervision.

Now you need to trust him (like you have been) that he will not put kids in danger.

You shouldnt just ask for supervision because he started a new relationship with somebody with an apparent CAS record (how do you know this anyways?)

You have no proof that the child is in any immediate danger. IMO you should allow the access and trust that dad loves his children enough to not put them in harms way.

Remember .. he didnt abandon his family. You decided that he should be kicked out of the matrimonial home....away from his kids. (That's a HUGE decision given how much the kids love him. Did you attempt family counseling? Did you get an order locking him out? Were police involved?)

It's evident that his daughter loves him very much. He is asking for access. We dont have many details here but it seems like he's settled now, has his own place and is ready to continue in a positive way.

I'd get rid of the paranoia for now and let the kids see their dad in the absence of any supervision. It's not warranted.

Last edited by LovingFather32; 05-25-2015 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:00 AM
blendedinsanity blendedinsanity is offline
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Sorry wrote that post way too late and left out key info. Ex has not lived alone since the split. First he lived with my aunt and uncle, then his mom and then my sister (as roomies). When he moved in with his mom he didn't have access at her house he met them in public, went to a trusted family members home etc. I didn't put the order against his mother, CAS did 9 years ago - with just cause. And I kicked his ass out because after I demanded he get a job or get out he assaulted me during a prolonged manic episode so it wasn't like I woke up one morning and said hey get out.

Flashing forward when he met her he told me she didn't have kids. I was HAPPY he met someone truly. But I then found out from a mutual friend that she does have kids and they were removed for abuse and neglect. I asked him about it and he was still at the didn't know she had kids stage. CAS WILL provide clearance certificates that the person is not a danger in custody/access disputes. As soon as I requested it in the court papers he dropped the legal request now he's just demanding it on his own. He admits she had her kids removed but said its none of my business why. If it's for safety concerns I disagree.

He's allowed as much visitation as he wants. I have said he can come daily if he wants. He has chosen not to access that. If she lost her kids because she was too young. Couldn't provide, etc that's one thing and I would never hold that against her. But if it's serious I feel like I have a right to know if my kids will be in danger when the other parent isn't entirely capable of guaranteeing their safety. I've gone back and forth.

Last edited by blendedinsanity; 05-25-2015 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Clarity
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  #5  
Old 05-25-2015, 10:21 AM
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So the only way you will.let him see his kids now is if it's overlooked by you at your place? I kind of understand why he doesn't want that. Does he have a history of abusing children?

Did he get arrested for the assault? Did you get a restraining order? Was the assault in front of the child? If do...he now is being investigated by CAS I assume?

How do you know mutual friends CAS findings are true? You can't go to court and say your buddy said she had a CAS history and you're paranoid so you cut access I less it's supervised. You need PROOF. Or if may bite you later.

You allowed him unsupervised access until he met her. Now you want complete control. I guess I understand your concern...but I'm s PROOF kind of guy.

You trusted him enough to start a family with him....you trusted him enough for regular unsupervised access before he met her. Now you should trust him enough to.know he'd never allow his children to be in harms way. This is the part you need to work on.

Last edited by LovingFather32; 05-25-2015 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:35 AM
blendedinsanity blendedinsanity is offline
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I didn't say the offered access was at my place or that I was supervising it?? I said he can have as much access as he wants. He can take them to the mall, the movies, bowling, a friend's house, wherever. As I stated in my first post I have gone above and beyond to ensure he sees his kids including asking MY family to take him in so that he could spend as much time with the kids as possible.

And as I stated he has ADMITTED her children were removed by CAS. Yes he was arrested and removed from the home and there was a restraining order for a period of one year.

I didn't go to court to stop access? There is no need for me to do that. On paper he has NO access because he did not file a reply to my original application. He then filed an application for access and when I replied and asked for disclosure about her CAS issues he withdrew his application for access. Not all mothers are trying to screw dads. I WANT him to see his kids. I also want to make sure they are safe. Edited to add: I wasn't implying you were saying I was trying to screw him over. I was just saying that I know a lot of moms do try to screw the dads but I'm truly not.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:54 AM
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I understand that your'e not trying to screw him and it seems like you're making the right moves. If my ex's new man had a CAS record of his kids being taken away I'd be worried too. But I know I'd need proof before I did anything regarding access.

Sorry, I thought you meant that he had to be at your home for access. You stated "He can come anytime he wants". Guess I misread that.

With his domestic violence against you arn't you afraid of his explosive temper with the kids?

So you're okay with him taking kids to his friends. What if they have CAS histories that you don't know about?

Good luck with everything.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:34 AM
blendedinsanity blendedinsanity is offline
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He's never been violent towards the kids and to be fair to him - that was the only time he had ever been violent and he was in a very serious manic state. Hadn't slept in days, hadn't eaten, wasn't taking his meds. I had given him 3 months to find a job but then said he had to get out now because he had become convinced I was cheating and I was worried for my safety and he lost it. To my knowledge he has not been off his meds since and I think I would be able to tell. If he was off his meds it would be a different story.

I know his friends and to my knowledge none of them have CAS records. BUT they also would never potentially be in a "care giver" role to my kids like a step-mother would be. I have told him and her that as long as she was never abusive, I would meet with them both to discuss it. But what I was told was "its something I want to put behind me and I don't want to discuss it". There's an acknowledgment that she's got a CAS record and never a denial that there was physical abuse. I have to give her credit that she hasn't even tried to lie about it but its leaving me with a huge dilemma.
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:20 PM
stripes stripes is offline
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It sounds like these are your options. Given that you have sole custody, the ball is in your court:

1. Dad is taking his meds, he's no longer living with the grandmother you don't like, and you have no evidence that his partner is a danger to your kids. Dad wants to resume access. This is all good. Your kids are old enough to call you if things get out of hand. So you tell Dad that you're willing to resume access at his place and suggest a schedule. No overnights at first, working up to that. Review after a couple of months to see how things are going.

2. You want to know about his partner's past, so you continue to ask Dad for details and documentation about his girlfriend which he can't or won't produce, and much of which is not your business. Dad doesn't produce the information you want, you refuse access. Kids are upset because they don't see Dad.

3. You are concerned about his partner's past, so you suggest to Dad that you resume access under supervision - either in a public place (like an afternoon at the zoo), or with a third party present. Kids are protected against the what-ifs and they get to see Dad. Review after a couple of months and if things are going well, ramp up to visits with Dad at his house.

If I were you, I would go for#1 or #3. From what you say, Dad seems to have cleaned up his act, there is no current risk to your children, and all you have against his girlfriend is gossip about her past. It sounds like in the past you worked hard to ensure that Dad was able to see the kids, and I think you should continue on that road, even though Dad now has a girlfriend. Speculating about what kind of "stepmother" this new girlfriend might be is not a good enough reason to say no to access.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripes View Post
From what you say, Dad seems to have cleaned up his act, there is no current risk to your children, and all you have against his girlfriend is gossip about her past. It sounds like in the past you worked hard to ensure that Dad was able to see the kids, and I think you should continue on that road, even though Dad now has a girlfriend. Speculating about what kind of "stepmother" this new girlfriend might be is not a good enough reason to say no to access.
Yes .. that's what I was trying to articulate. Good post (and not just my quoted part).
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