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Mother with sole custody uncertain how to respond to father's request to have his new girlfriend at his supervised visitation


Your Question:
I wrote before My previous Article was title " Mother with sole custody very concerned about any contact from the father with drug/alcohol problems" I have a legal question. I have been working with my sons father he has now seen him three times this coming weekend he wants his girlfriend to meet our son, I told him it had to be supervised visits for now until he re-extablishes trust. If she treats me badly as she has in the past can I leave? I do have sole custoday and I'm trying to do what best for my son and work with his father to have a relationship with his son, I feel that is very important. Should I engage in conversation with her? I have concerns that they will ask me to keep our son over night.. she brought her children into a strangers home without having the full scoop of his past but I'm not o.k. with that. Moving kids from one home to another is a BIG issue and needs to be dealt with very carefully.They need to be very comfortable with anyone that they're going to be living with before you take that step. How should I address the visitation issues and still be fair. I really do not want my son to have unsupervised visit as of yes do to all of his father past behavior with Drugs, alachol. And his girlfriend who was caught cheating on her husband with her brother N Law then one of my friend said that she tryed to be with his recently. I really don't want my son to see or think their way of living is o.k.? Do I have the right?

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My Answer:
Hi,

Via your two notes, I think you have an unfair expectation that you're going to give your son an ideal upbringing.

This is impossible since I've already explained that you picked a bad example for your son's dad. There are many consequences we must all pay for our choices in who is the other parent of our children. Do we learn from those choices? Heck yes! Do we wish we can do them over? Of course. Do we have to live with it? Yepper.

I'm emphasizing this because you have NO control over the morality of the people with whom your ex associates, and you have NO control over the decisions your ex makes.

I think you're obsessing a bit too much about this girlfriend. If your ex cleans himself up, you may find that he dumps her. If he doesn't clean himself up, you'll probably find that he will continue to be with her or people like her. You have no control here, and you probably have a long road of seeing your ex with people who you think belong on Jerry Springer (and who probably do belong there).

Bottom line... you have to weigh the safety of your son and yourself in every decision, and if the risk isn't too high (by most people's standards, not your "ideal" standards), you can only pray that you're raising your son with good morals to which he'll cling. And if anything bad happens, you immediately yank back control over everything.

Now, in your current situation, you claim that the girlfriend has threatened you. That's enough for a reasonable person to say that they want to avoid being around her.

I would give your ex two choices: 1) don't bring the girlfriend, or 2) have supervision conducted by Ms. XXX YYYYYY, MSW (you have to look up some professional agency in your area that provides this service) at ABC facility, and your husband must pay you in advance for the complete cost of the second option (i.e., it may be $50/hour or so).

Either option should be fine for you. With option one, you don't have to worry about the girlfriend. With option two, those agencies supervise the visitation, intervene with anything inappropriate (i.e., you won't have to worry about inappropriate conversation happening for very long), and document it... they'll also document if they smell alcohol or observe any abnormal behavior.

In this approach, you treat your ex as a responsible adult who can make a decision about how important it is for the girlfriend to see the kid, while at the same time you are taking reasonable precautions to protect yourself and your son.

In the event that the girlfriend behaves herself, makes amends with you, and acts nicely, it is in your interest for your son to observe you being civil to his father and his father's friends. Civil does not mean friendly. It means polite. The reason why it's in your interest not to show negative emotions is that your son won't ever resent you or feel split emotions if you're never showing signs of wanting to keep him from his father's world. He's a kid and can't fully understand what's going on, but he's going to make some conclusions in his kid mind, so you want to protect your place in those conclusions.

Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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