Part Time Father

mom2_1sm2_1February 20, 2009

Hey All-

I have a little dilema that I don't know what to do about...

I was married when I became pregnant for my son. The pregnancy was not the greatest and I had him 13 weeks early. He spent 4 months in the hospital before he was able to come home. His father only came to see him once a week, maybe twice at the most, and for about a half hour each visit. He tried to blame it on not liking hospitals, and I accepted it then, but he walked out on us and moved in with his girlfriend just a week after our son came home.

My son struggles with day to day things that we take advantage of like the ability to chew and swallow and the ability to breath clearly with out the aid of perscriptions. He has therapy four times a week and is seen by specialists for failure to thrive, dysphagia, chronic lung disease and GERD. I am unable to work because of the extent of his everyday care.(I guess it was a blessing in disguise - I always wanted to be a stay @ home mom)

My son's dad is unwilling to help me out with our son. He does take him every other weekend and Wednesday evenings which I am greatful for - the break is nice and some mothers don't even get that much out of thier baby daddies. But he thinks that our son does not need the therapy for feeding, he told me he thinks it is a waste of time and shows little interest in working with our son on the techniques that we (my son and I - because his dad wont go) learned.

This week I have been ill and unable to take my son to his appointments - he had 5 this week, some which are really important. Each time I would ask his dad to take him he would tell me that he was busy and had things to do, or that he does not have the gas to be running around. He is not working right now, so I am not getting child support, therfore, I understand what he is going through financially. The thrid day of being sick and my son missing three appointments, I tried to call his dad to see if he could bring him to his appoinment and keep him for the day so I could get some rest and go see a doctor. He did not answer. So I know this was childish, but I packed my sons things and drove to his dad's. I knocked on the door and told him that I have been sick for three days and need to go see a doctor.

When he returned our son later that day, after I found out that I have an upper respitory infection, I found a note in his diaper bag that said that his parenting time is every other weekend and Wednesday evenings, that he is not a babysitter and will not be picking our son up early or keeping him late. And that it is not his girlfriend's responsibility to provide the gas for him to transport our son to his appointments.

So basically this confirms what I knew already, that I would not be getting his dad's help. I just don't know what to do.... Is there some way for me to get through to him that being a dad is more than his scheduled parenting time? And that I do so much taking care of our son and a little bit of help would be nice? Maybe a day off, since my job is 24/7 minus every other weekend - especially since he is not working? Or am I being selfish?

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He sounds like a jerk! Unfortunately you can not make someone be a parent. You are lucky to get Wednesdays and EOW out of and my husband get MUCH less out of my stepkids mother! She sees the kids maybe once every month or two right now. Calls just that often. For the few years prior to this she lived out of state and never saw them and would go months without calling. We have never received a dollar from her to help with the children! No nothing!

If I were you I would document the situation you mentioned (time, date, explanation) and save the letter he put in the diaper bag. It may come in handy in the future if he were ever to try to take you to court over visitation/custody issues.

I often say that I find it amazing that some people get to pick when it is convenient to be a parent and when it is not! And then the custodial parent is left with most of the responsibility for the child and does not get to say things like "I can't take care of him/her because I don't feel good....or I am busy" like the non custodial parent does!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:52PM
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I might be wrong but I almost think it would be easier on both my son and I if he was not around at all. I know this will be a couple years down the road but what am I going to say when my son asks why his dad is too busy to see him or too busy to go to his little league game? Is my X going to use the "not my parenting time" card when it comes to something that is important to my son?
If I had less of a heart and did not need that man's support to keep a roof over my son's head, what would stop me from trying to seize parental rights. The problems just start as I wrote yesterday. My son comes home weezing and smelling like cigarette smoke, indicating that he did not recieve his inhalers and possible that he is being smoked around. He has to be on a feeding pump everynight because of the severity of him being underweight and everytime he is returned after a visit there is left over formula and the volume rate (that can not be reset) is not even close to where it should be. Missing even one night of the drip and my son can lose too much weight - last visit he lost almost a pound. I know that may not seem right, but we have been struggling to get my son to a healthy weight since the day he was born.
I know I am worked up right now but it would be nice if he was a dad all the way or not at all. I still have resentment towards my dad for not having enough time for us kids when we were growing up and still to this day if we want to see him we have to set up an appoinment.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 7:55AM
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How old is your son?

I think some men have difficulty bonding with babies as opposed to older children. I think we, as moms, bond with our babies from the start when they are in utero. For dads, I think it takes more time.

But that is still no excuse for you not getting more help from your son's father. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to force him to spend more time with your son. :( But did I read correctly that you don't get child support from him and you also don't work because of the extent of care your son requires? How are you able to support yourself and pay for all the medical needs? If you are not getting c/s from your ex, I would get that ball rolling. Your son is entitled to support from his father. Even if he is not working now, the courts will look at his work history and should base child support on what he is CAPABLE of making. He needs to be financially responsible for his son, regardless of his involvement in his life.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:28AM
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"Is there some way for me to get through to him that being a dad is more than his scheduled parenting time?"

The short answer. No. You cannot make someone else be a better parent or a parent at all. You can tell him that this is his child all the time, not just on visitation. It will probably fall on deaf ears. From what you say, he isn't much of a stand up guy if he was cheating on his wife while she was pregnant and leave a week after a premature birth with complications.

"And that I do so much taking care of our son and a little bit of help would be nice? Maybe a day off, since my job is 24/7 minus every other weekend - especially since he is not working? Or am I being selfish?"

No, you are not being selfish and if he is inadequate at caring for your child, perhaps there should be someone monitoring his visitation. If he is smoking around a child with respiratory problems and not feeding him properly and he has a medical problem that is being neglected, then why would you want HIM to have more time with the child? If he is going to ignore the instructions for care your child needs, then you are knowingly sending your child into a neglectful situation which also makes you guilty of neglect. No, you are not selfish for wanting a break but I would not be looking for it from the father that is treating the child that way. There are agencies and organizations that offer support services. I know in CA, CPS used to offer respite care so parents/caretakers can have a break. Maybe you can ask your child's doctor for resources to help you but I wouldn't send my sick child to anyone (parent or not) that isn't going to care for him as he needs to be cared for.

As for financial responsibility... he is responsible and if you are busy caring for an ill child, turn it over to DCSS and let them deal with him. It doesn't matter if he's working or not, he needs to support his child. But, it doesn't sound like he's the kind of guy you can depend on so I would not count on it and let them deal with him. You should focus on taking care of your child and yourself. If you can, ask for him to pay extra for daycare or respite care so you have a break from caring for a sick child. The worse thing that can happen is the court says no and you are no worse off than now.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:25AM
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some parents are jerks. you cannot change them. what you should do though is apply for CS. you cannot force him to be a good parent. but judge can force him to pay the money. i am sorry for what you have to put up wiht. i hope you have some help from your family.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:47AM
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This guy is a jerk. You cannot force him to be a good parent. The fact that he spent very little time in the hospital and then left you 1 week after your son arrived home is proof enough.
FD she cannot go for CS. He has no job therefore no cash.
And it will be a pain over the years to watch and see if he does every get a job. My thoughts is he is not going to so he wont pay.
The real question is do you really want a person such as this to be exposed to your son and for your son to learn and look up to such a loser?
I personally would not want to be around a human like this regardless if he is the biological father. His standards do not look that high and smoking around his child when he knows that he has breathing difficulty and has no interesting in improving your child health to me is a very big issues.
He may have visitation eow weekend and wednesday but the smoking has to stop or visitation should cease until the gets it through his skull that for health reasons he should not smoke around his child.
Personally, i would not want anything to do with him and i wouldnt' want my child to be influenced and i would pack up go and leave. Sorry that's how i feel with a man such as you have described. No you wont get Cs or any support from him but hey, at least your kid will be in a better caring environment and that is waht counts.
As for the future on what to say to your son, well, that's delicate.
Cs, you cannot force anyone to work if they do not want to. you can apply and the courts can calculate allllll they want. But if daddy dear sponges off girlfriends for the rest of his life you will not see a penny. And you will waste alot of time, effort and cash on your part the money you will not see. My friend chased hers for 17 years and not a dime...he owed thousands. but because her ex was living with a very rich girlfriend and he didnt' work...therefore no cash towards ex wife...he also didn't see his kids and was a jerk as well.
Its your call. Do what is best for your son , his health is important. If dad cannot follow the health instructions for your son, like the drip and etc. appointemnts, then he doesn't get him.
Will you forgive yourself if one day, in his care, your son has a wheezing attack and passes? What will you do? i'm serious. I'm not here to scare you but you are his mother. If his dad is irresponsible do NOT send him there. I know you need a break...but ask for time with friends and family not from a jerk who obviously is not taking care of his son properly.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 1:23PM
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I found out that my son is going to need an intensive feeding program that runs 5 days a week, 8 hours a day for 6-8 weeks. I ask them about his dad and I was told that if he was not willing to be an equal participant then they would not let my son into the program. There may be a way out of this. Need be I will keep him home from his dad's for that 6-8 weeks so his lack of feeding knowledge does not hinder my son's progress.
Thank you for your suggestions, I do so badly want to keep Jordon from his father. A few months ago I talked to my son's doctor and she said it is not life threatening for my son to miss his medications and to not be on his pump for 2-3 nights, so there is nothing that CPS will do about the situation. Other than that the information I find to be accurate, on his lack of care, is just heresay, there is no way to prove that he is being neglected while in his father's care.
I already have CS set up on my son, but as everyone knows, if he is not working I don't get anything. Fortunately, I am able to collect SSI benefits and that helps out a little bit. The rest?... I have a great boyfriend who has never complained about supporting me and my son. We have lived together for about a year and a half, and he is awesome helping out when he can. If we were not already an income short, he would have stayed home from work to take care of my son when I was ill (he let me rest as soon as he got home from work)
I have a feeling that I will be taing my x to court in the near future. He is 6 grand behind in support and he agreed that if I signed off a portion of that amount he would sign his tax returns over to me - all of them. He has to provide paperwork of filing to me and my lawyer before Tax Day. The thing is he is trying to get out of that, and I have gone long enough w/o his support. If he finds a way to get his hands on what is rightfully mine, I can take him to court and he will be responsible for all my fees. I will use this time to try to get monitered parenting time or none at all, until he is deemed to be a responsible dad. I understand that I still wont see a cent right away, but I'm not gonna let the scum walk all over me - he needs to take responsibility too.
My bf sees what a scum the x is and said that he wants to be an even bigger influence in my son's life because he does not want him to end up like his father. For every negative thing the x shows my son there needs to be triple the positive influence and my bf is a great male role modle!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:42AM
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You need to talk to your states attorney about the tax situation. In my state you get your ex's tax money if they are substancially in child support. It is the states choice and the person behind in child support has no say in it--their taxes are just gone! So before you agree to lessen the amount he owes you see if you can get his taxes without this deal!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 9:43AM
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"In my state you get your ex's tax money if they are substancially in child support"

This is so true. I actually think this is a federal/nation-wide program. I have a tax intercept (and have for 3 years) on my DD's father. I simply called the child support enforcement office (an 800 number)and they set it up right there over the phone. All they need is your name, the father's name, and probably your social. As long as there is a court order for child support and he is significantly behind, the tax intercept can be put into place immediately.

I have not GOTTEN anything, either because the father has not filed his taxes (would NOT surprise me) or he owed money and never got a refund.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Hubby has received BM's taxes for the last 3 years this year will be the last year since the CS order was vacated in Aug. she at one point owed almost $10,000 is now down to $1,200 (if she gets enough to cover it)... They are trying to swindle you contact DOR or child support enforcement.

If he owes they will take it he doesn't get a choice.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:38AM
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I am not sure how he was able to do this but last year his tax preparer let my son's dad claim him on his taxes even though I have custody and he was able to get a rapid refund, I didn't see anything from his taxes. He bought a truck, when I was living off of food banks and couldn't afford diapers or clothing for my son. I learned that he is decietful with people to get what he wants and will not be surprised if I don't see anything this year too.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:21PM
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If you file for support through the Department of Child support services, they will automatically flag his SSN with IRS and hold his refund. The tax preparer does not decide if he can claim the child, IRS does. If he claims the child and you don't, then he gets away with it. If you both claim the child, IRS is supposed to determine who meets IRS rules for claiming a child. A rapid refund is usually a loan that is given in anticipation of receiving a refund. If IRS withholds his refund, he will still owe the loan and the child support withheld will be sent to you. If you don't go through DCSS, IRS won't know to hold his taxes.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:30PM
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"I found out that my son is going to need an intensive feeding program that runs 5 days a week, 8 hours a day for 6-8 weeks. I ask them about his dad and I was told that if he was not willing to be an equal participant then they would not let my son into the program. There may be a way out of this"

I'm not sure what you told the program people but you are not living as an intact family with the dad. Your idea of keeping your little one with you for the duration of the program makes the most sense. You get to participate by telling the program that he in an uninvolved father. It also doesn't sound like the father would follow the protocol anyway.

I agree with the other posters, stop understanding his employment situation, get the courts or your own atty on him for the CS. They can attach any wages, savings, IRS refunds or force him to dig ditches.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 2:39PM
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