What to do

incognitomomOctober 18, 2010

Hello. I am a frequent poster on this board but changed my name to keep my identity private....kinda like cawfe did a while back. Anyways I am not sure how to feel about a situation with my ds.

His father has been out of state on business a lot over the last 2 months and has not seen ds. He has talked to him on the phone daily and I know ds misses him a lot because they are close. So the other day ds came to me and said he wants to live with his dad when he comes back into town. He said that he loves me but misses his dad and if he moved in with him he could spend more time with him. I pointed out that his dad lives in a one bedroom apt in an area with a bad school district. My son then told me his dad said he was moving somewhere better soon and he would have a bedroom for my son there. My son also told me that his dad has said when he is 13 he can choose to live with him!

I am so hurt and saddened by this. Part of me knows that it is just coming out because he has not seen his dad in a while and in his mind it will fix the problem. Part of me is realistic and knows that my ex would never get custody of our son. He moves a lot, works a lot, has different girlfriends all the time, and would not be able to provide a stable life for our son. Plus he has had some mental health issues and has been arrested before. But there is a part of me that is just upset that my son would actually not want to live with me! I think we have a good relationship and we spend time together each day doing fun stuff after we get homework and dinner and stuff done. On the weekends we always do stuff together.

I am mad at my ex for putting ideas into his head. My son asked me to just think about letting him move in with his dad. I don't even know what to say to my son about it. I think this would have been easier if he would have been mad at me for something when he said this instead of out of the blue.

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Oh inc.... that must hurt. Although you didn't ask for advice, if I am to give some it would be to keep calm. I don't think your son is choosing your dad over you as much as longing for a relationship with his dad.

And, if it's any consolation, this is one of my biggest fears...


    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:08PM
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I'm really sorry that your feelings were hurt--it sounds like a painful conversation. I think Silversword is right, and that it's more that he wants a relationship with his dad that he doesn't have. Plus he probably can't really envision what it would be like without you around every day. He may think he can, but I doubt he really can. It's too easy for a kid (or even some adults) to gloss over all the good and great everyday things and not realize how different life would be without them.

It sounds to me as if your son still thinks that living with his father is up for consideration? I think that maybe you just need to tell him that he's living with you, it's not up for discussion, and it's not going to change. And don't give him the reasons, because if he's given the reasons he'll think it's open to debate. You know that there are a lot of reasons why his dad isn't suitable for custody, but your son is going to look for ways to get around every reason you have. If he thinks that he can counter your reasons and change the situation, it's just prolonging his hope for something that won't happen.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Maybe tell him that it sounds like he's missing his dad, and maybe you can help him plan some time with him?

Cause Sovra is right I think. You can't really outline why it wouldn't work in terms that he could understand or accept because he's just not old enough. All you can do is keep on being stable and loving and try to help him realize what's going on without it being to painful for the poor guy.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:40PM
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Incognitomom, I feel badly for you. Even though I'm sure your son doesn't mean it, you must feel like the prodigal son's brother, the one who works hard and takes care of the responsibilities day after day, and is taken for granted.

You don't say how old your son is now. If you feel he's old enough to understand, and he's being fed misinformation by his father (he doesn't "get to choose" where he lives at age 13!) you might want to explain how you came to have primary custody (the judge is a professional who decides what's best for kids, and decided what was best for him was to live with you). As sovra said, the details aren't important; what's important is that the decision was made by (presumably) someone else and it's not open for debate, but perhaps you may be willing to try to allow him extra time with his father IF you feel that it's appropriate.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:23PM
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I feel bad for you...But unfortunately when parents are divorced kids can't live with both, so whoever they don't live with ends up suffering. And most of the time 50/50 does not work.

My DD lived with me most of the time but was always very involved with her dad, he provided a stable home, not less stable than mine at all. I would be very sad if my DD chose not to live with me, but there was never any guarantee. I think there is never any guarantee when we get divorced. :(

I think I woudl talk to ex explaining how he needs to see his son more and how he needs to be more involved with his son. It is unfair that parents who don't even see their kids, think they should get custody when they feel like it. Nice...how about being a parent first?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Sorry for what you're going through -- I know how much it hurts, having lived through that exact situation. And sad to say, you may end up 'losing' this one in the conventional sense, because:

a) Many young boys really DO want to live with their fathers around the time of puberty and pre-adulthood, given all the weird stuff they're experiencing physically and emotionally and their general anxiousness with girls... and

b) Depending on your state, many kids practically DO get to choose which parent they'll live with when they hit 12 or 13, and

c) It would take more than a 'minor' mental health and criminal history to get most judges to over-ride a teen's stated wishes in those states. In our state at least, 'the best interests of the child' are not the over-riding factor once a kid reaches that age...

I'd advise you to check with a lawyer to see if the above is true for your state -- Sadly, it was the case for mine, and my son did end up moving in with his dad. If your eventual (post 13) legal position is not a strong one, I'd suggest you try to avoid a confrontation and stall, stall, stall.

When (if) the issue comes up, in writing, ask your Ex. to get an appropriately-sized apartment or house in your school district where DS won't have to change schools and make all new friends. Ask that he agree to not have lady-friends sleep over while DS lives there. Ask that he promise not to do whatever it was that got him into legal trouble, and that he seek/continue to receive treatment for his mental health issues. And intimate that you would be open to allowing DS to move in with Dad (without a nasty custody battle) if Dad agrees to your 'best interests of the child' conditions (but that if Dad won't agree, you'll fight like a Mamma Grizzly).

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 2:26PM
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