25 answers

Custody, Visitation, and Ex's Girlfriend

My ex has been seeing this girl, I'll call her Julie, for 4 months. I just found out about her 1 week ago. Turns out our daughter has been living with her. When James (fake name to make this easier, father) has our daughter, he lives with his gf at her parent's house. When he doesn't have our daughter, he lives at his condo. He says it is easier for our daughter and it gives her a stable family environment. Well turns out that he works most of the time he has our daughter and ditches our daughter with his gf's mother, when I am available to spend time with our daughter. This highly irritates me, especially when I am stuck asking the gf if I can have my daughter to spend time with her, and she says no that her grandma (gf mom) is spending time with daughter today. They are not married, or engaged. Now not only is this women deciding on who care takes for my daughter when her father is at work, but she also decided to sign her up for gymnastics (did get father's signature, but that is as far as his participation goes). They kept her gymnastics a secret from me because they didn't want me to attend. This was the gfs special time with my daughter. I'm trying to be nice and civil with her, but its been really difficult, because it feels like she is trying to take over. What should I do? I can't do much with her father because he is obstinate and still resentful of our split, and I have a personal protection order against him so face to face contact is not possible. More info, this gf has a 2 1/2 yr daughter as well. My daughter is 3. I dunno I'm just frustrated and wondering what I should do. If I am available to spend time with my daughter, and her father is not spending his time with her, then why should the gf? I basically have 50/50 with the gf at this point. What should I do?

PS Today the gf told her mother (Tina) that she(Tina) would have to babysit the girls this weekend. Right in front of me!!! Never once was I asked if I could take my daughter, which I can!!! I made it clear that I could, and was basically brushed off. Why am I in the position of asking the gf if I can spend time with my daughter??!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hazel B, I think out of everyone's advice yours is the most dead on. I am being drawn into constant conflict. He is doing everything in his power to irritate me. This gf and her family do not seem to be a negative influence on my daughter. Yes ex and gf cross the line again and again, but as long as I keep entertaining their battle and their attempts to irritate me, they win. I'm going to enjoy the time I have with my daughter, and enjoy the time when I don't have her.. Plus I figure when ex and his gf's common interest, hurting and irritating me, is taken away, then they can concentrate on each other. I really don't foresee the relationship lasting too long, and hopefully I can do damage control for my daughter when that day comes. I was so caught up in the battle, which seems to be the normal response, but that is what my ex was always good at. If he wanted a certain response, he did what he had to to get that. I have this wonderful book called Dealing with Emotional Vampires, and it explains him perfectly. As long as they don't hurt my daughter, I can deal with their attempts to hurt and manipulate me. Thank you for your advice.

Featured Answers

My friend went through a similar situation. You need a lawyer because there are visitation laws about no overnite visits if the parent lives with a partner unmarried. My friend had her childs fathers visitation reduced to 8am-8pm with no overnites because he lived with girlfriend.

1 mom found this helpful

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My friend went through a similar situation. You need a lawyer because there are visitation laws about no overnite visits if the parent lives with a partner unmarried. My friend had her childs fathers visitation reduced to 8am-8pm with no overnites because he lived with girlfriend.

1 mom found this helpful

u r being manipulated...just relax and go have a good time. go to meetups.com and find some things that you enjoy doing and go do them and when they try and manipulate u, then u can say, oh i'm going hiking, rock climbing, dining, etc.....2 can play the same game....if the girl wants to date a loser, u will have the last laugh, and just tell her, at least he gets a free babysitter....he doesn't have to pay u, but he will...in the end, he will pay her the way he did u....

1 mom found this helpful

You have to go to court! They should set it up that you and her father are each others first option "babysitter". That means that even if it is his time to have her, if he has to work, then you get first option to have time with her - and vice versa when it is your scheduled time. It is in the best interest of the child to be with her parents, not friends and/or strangers. My brother in law just went thru separation with his girl friend and this is the ruling that they got. She is your daughter! and if she is not with her dad, then she should be with you!

From reading your other question it seems, and please don't take this as mean, but it seems that you're being kind of chicken when it comes to the g/f. Maybe you just don't want to start drama but that woman needs to realize that she has absolutely no rights to your child and no right to arrange for a babysitter for her either. Also, you are in the position of asking the g/f for your daughter because it seems you don't put up a fuss about it. Make it crystal clear that YOUR daughter is not HER daughter and YOU make these decisions. If she brushes you off, be there on the weekend to pick your daughter up! If they refuse to give you your daughter, call the police. I'm serious! The g/f and her mother have absolutely no rights to her and they need to be put in their place. Once they realize that YOU are the one in control and in charge they will not be so quick to brush you off. Please don't feel like you're stuck in this situation! You have the power here. Go to court and get the custody order changed. You don't deserve this type and treatment and your daughter deserves to be with her mother if her father is unable/unwilling to spend the time with her. This makes me so angry! How dare the g/f tell you you can't have your daughter on any given day. Anyway, like I said make it clear to all, including the grandmother that you will be picking your daughter up on such and such day and be there. As far as keeping it postive and nice, I say throw that out the freakin window! You need to be assertive and make it clear that you're the one in charge, not her.

I empathize. I really do. You didn't say if you and your ex have joint custody,tho. If you do, I would think that the gf is WAY overstepping her boundaries and authority. If you have joint custody, you need to sit down with your attorney/friend of the court and bring this situation up.

Dad is being lazy.
GF is overstepping her position.
NO one is realizing that your daughter is in the middle of all this baloney, and isn't aware of the role she's playing in a custody battle.

If you don't have joint custody, there has to be a reason why.
I don't understand a 3 year old in gymnastics tho. That's beyond ludicrous.
Talk to your lawyer tho

Ok, so my understanding is that you have 50/50 custody. I know u liked Hazel B's response, but I personally think that it is a petty response that misses the real issue. The issue, it sounded to me, was lack of time with your daughter and lack of cooperation on the father's part. This woman (gf) has been given power that she really is not entitled to have. If the custody arrangement is court appointed, perhaps you need to petition the court for a different custody arrangement. If u haven't already, start documenting what's going on using accurate names, dates, times, and detailed accounts of what is taking place (i.e. specific conversations, actions, etc.). Keep phone bills, emails, and other correspondence and proof of communication. Establish your evidence, consult a lawyer (one who specializes in custody cases), and go back to court if case seems in your favor. To take Hazel's approach could possibly make you look like an uninvolved, preoccupied parent to the courts and possibly at some point to your child. If you want time with your daughter, as a mother who loves her child, u deserve it. Fight for what you are entitled to as a loving parent and don't let your ex and his gf try to dictate or manipulate. Soon they will know that u won't let up and eventually and hopefully see it's best not to strive with u, but work with u. Hope all goes well for u and your daughter.

Wow...my daughters father is living with a new girlfriend...but nothing like this. I had him bring his new gf over for me to meet her first before she was even around my daughter. You need to speek up or they will run all over you. It is not the gf decison on anything. I wish you the best of luck.

It looks like from your other post that you have a court order visitation schedule. What I would do, is go to friend of the court, and request to have the scheudle changed. If you feel better have an attorney with you. But all you have to do, is go to the court, fill out the paperwork, and they will schedule a date for you to go to change it. I have a stepson, so I can help you out in a lot of the process and what happens.

When you go you will have a mediator meet with you. At that point, you tell them, why this schedule does not work with your daugthter. Also I would enroll her in the school, then you can say she is in school, and is missing school, becasue her father won't let her go to school. I will say, that your order will have to be changed when your daughter is in school anyways. The order for my step son also had to be changed when he entered school.

FOC is looking out for the best interest of the child. If she is in school, and needs the school, they will make sure she is there. But you can also bring up, how he has a place, but the daughter is never with him there. In our order it does state, that if one parent can not watch the child ovetnight, the other has the right to watch the child first. And you can approach that on the weekends he has her, he works the entire time, and doesn't see the child. But be willing to compromise as well, that they may say, he gets her in the evenings during the week to have time with her.

The first step is to go to FOC, and get things rolling with them. They will do what they see as best for the child, and they can only go by the info they get from you as to what is happening with the child.

If you want to chat more about this, please email me

A. - I would be furious. You have every right to know where your child is (and with whom) at all times. What do you know about this GF and her mother? are their homes safe, are there guns there, drugs, bad people, other boyfriends, are they safe drivers, do they drink, etc? It is up to you though to get control of this situation and stop getting pushed around by your ex and these ladies who obviously do not have a handle on proper boundaries, and who are clearly not sympathetic to or respectful of you whatsoever as her mother. So...go to Court and set up a childcare arrangement where you get your daughter when your ex is unavailable to be present and care for her himself. You may also want to demand an accounting of/background check/home check of these people - after all, they are acting as daycare providers. It may be that this girlfriend is a nice and loving person, but you need to assert yourself now as your child's advocate before this spirals out of control, they continue with their ways, keep pushing and do something else you really don't like. Let us know how this turns out!

Hi A.!
I am so sorry you have to be dealing with this junk. However, the time, money and monkey business is necessary in order to protect your daughter and have her when you are entitled to!!! Both my husband and I went through a divorce before we met each other and have kids from a previous marriage. I agree 100% with a lot of the other answers you have received so far when they say that you need to be firm and keep your daughter when your ex won't be there. Period. Get a lawyer, talk to the F.O.C. and if you have a ppo against your ex, that shows a huge RED FLAG to me that you should be wary of him (let alone his girlfriend!) even having your daughter without supervised visits, if at all. He is wrong saying it's more of a 'stable environment' for her to be at gf's house/her mom's house because as she gets older, it will be even harder on her and more confusing to her if they ever split up. YOU DO HAVE RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL if your ex can't have her (according to what I've heard,the only way you possibly couldn't is if your ex's parents are watching her, since they are family.) For some reason, this gf thinks she has authority over you. Unfortunately, throughout this whole process of dealing with issues of divorce, there will be unfairness/etc. that you have to deal with. But nothing and no one can change the fact that you are your little girls' mother.

A.,
You are the mother. You decide where when and with whom your daughter spends time. Don't let your ex or his girlfriend determine how much time you spend with your own child. For example when gf asked her mother right in front of you wether she could baby sit- you could have said there would be no need for that and that you would be taking her etc...From now on take control in those situations or the gf is going to step all over you. Also, if you don't have a legal agreement between you and the ex I would get one. Best of luck.
DeeL.

I have the same thing happening to me write now and it frustrates me and idont kno what to do!!

Hi A., I would suggest getting advice from Friend of the Court. It seems like a revision in parenting time is in order to allow you more time with your daughter. The girlfriend is not going to have any legal rights at all! If you do not approve of her living at this family's house, then bring that up to the court also. Her living arrangments should be in agreement with both parents unless one parent has lost the legal right to make these choices. You should be able to attend her gymnastics practice, this is your child, not hers. Good luck.

Keep very detailed notes... and seek full custody.

A.; i understand your frustration, in fact i was my brothers baby sitter when he had his little baby daughter, while he went to work this irritated me and i thought why do you even get her and put me out , if you are not even a round, to me it did not make sense, but at the same time i love my neice, and loved caring for her, but to me at that time it felt like he was shirking his duty and is working while he has her, the reality is at this time in break up, people try to use the kids to hurt the other person, see i can make our child happy , and you cant have her, its a power play, but one that is in benefit of the child, when two people get divorced or seperated , the child usually is the one that gets hurt, the best thing you can do is to allow your daughter to be with her dad, and dont talk negative about dad or the girlfreind in front of the child, the child will see you are always negative at daddy and gymnastics or whatever, and she will eventually feel that way about you , the negative will win, however if you support her visiting her father , and helping her in transition of her changed life, it will go smoother, for her and you, so my advice is kids can handle that kind of life, and its not her fault her parents did not get along, and the best thing to do is to be civil, in all cases, its not the girlfreinds fault, that she has your daughter, its your ex's, its obvious he has made up his mind this is my weeekend and im gettting her no matter what, this is what most men do and go through, its a phase, but if you can keep it positive and nice and civil they will see that you are a nice person, and you all will be able to do this for the child involved, dont fret over what dad does, or what the girlfreind does, you should be happy she still does have a daddy, and she has someoen responsible to watch her, cause most men , dont, and tey feed them fries and mountain dew, and dont usually know how to care for their own child and its great too that he has shown responsiblity , unlike my brother who later lost his childs custody, and his meanness of doing it for the sake of being mean, separted households are not good for the child, but when its their life, make the most of it, she will have to deal with it, and her best way to get through it is to see her parents still love her and are proud of her no matter who she is with and why, so hang in there, and be happy she is with people who do care, unlike someone who dont, its hard, and its rough on you too, and continue to be the great caring mom you are, what you are feeilng is perfectly normal, figure out how to make it a positive, obviously you are a capable woman and no one likes that interference from another woman, but look at it from your daughters perspective and not yours, although you suffer, you will be fine, and she will too, continue being a great mom, D. s

Hi A.,

I don't think the gf has any legal right to keep you from your daughter. What you might want to do is call Friend of the Court and ask for a vistation modification stating that if your ex is not available to directly care for your daughter then she should be returned to you. I don't see any reason for the gf to be such a big part of your daughters life especially since the relationship may not last. Too many people coming in and out of your daughters life will be really hard on her emotionally. I think you're doing the right thing by asking for her back more often. Get it legally documented then they can't say anything about it. If you have a ppo against him what is to say he won't treat your daughter the same way eventually? Sounds like he's doing more harm than good and is really trying to just get back at you out of anger. Stick to your guns and follow through. You'll be happy in the end when you know you've done everything you can to spend time with and protect your daughter.

Good luck - S.

Maybe I'm being too easy on your ex here, but if parent has custody and they have to work, then it is up to them to provide child care. Do you know if while at the girlfriends parents house, is your daughter in a safe happy environment, and if she is, isn't that what is important? If the roles were switched, would you give up the little time you had with her because she had to be in daycare while you worked? What is disturbing to me is that she doesn't know where Daddy lives, is his condo acceptable for a young child? Yes, they are inching you out of their time with her, which is stupid. It sounds like this girlfriend is trying to prove herself to your ex, and you have to question if he wants her to get to know his daughter well, and couldn't care less of the ramifications. However, I suggest you sort out your feelings why this really bothers you before you proceed. It's complicated. Good luck.

Do you have an attorney? Having been divorced myself with a daughter, if I were you, I would contact my attorney NOW and request a parenting time order be issued through the court. If you don't have an attorney, contact the Friend of the Court and explain your situation to them. The Friend can give advice on what to do. Another thing, since you have a PPO against your ex, you shouldn't have any contact with him, so it's wise to have an attorney represent you at this point. I feel for you...this is a bad situation. Your ex is not considering the best welfare of his child.

M.

You are being way too nice! If it was me, I would take my ex to court again and file for full custody. The gf has no legal obligation and should not be making decisions with regards to your daughter.

All these people know that your ex is not spending time with your daughter. Sounds like the court would be in your favor.

Good luck with this situation.

This women has no rights to your child. You might want to check this but I would take your ex to court and get that changed. She does not get to decide what happens with your child and is way overstepping her bounds. If your EX is not going to spend time with her then she should be with you. My suggestion is to get a friend of the court or something. You might want to double check with a lawyer but I would totally be a witch and fix this. This women needs to be put in her placed that she is not her MOTHER and has NO LEGAL RIGHTS. What is the Custody arrangement? That could be one thing that plays a part in your options.

HTH

A.,

Parenting time is for PARENTING. It appears that your ex has very little time to spend with his daughter. His girlfriend or girlfriend's mother should not be parenting her. If you're available, she should be with you. I just won this battle with my ex who kept insisting the kids be dropped off to spend the weekend at his house (so he could count the overnights) when he wasn't even home. FOC ruled that spending time with his new wife isn't acceptable. If dad isn't available, then they stay with me. PERIOD. Coupled with the school issues in your other post, I think a total overhaul of your custody order is needed. Establish a permanent address for your daughter (your house) with school attendance based on that address, adjust the parenting time to mesh with your ex's actual availability and get yourself the appropriate support. You need to take control of the situation now well before she is of school age. This is not a healthy arrangement for her.

Good luck. L.

WOW...this is a hard place to be in! You sound desperate to spend as much time with your daughter as you possibly can. I can understand that...I am a single mom as well and the only advice I can give you is that if the gf(despite your feelings) LOVES your little girl than let her!!! Please dont make the mistake of letting your pain, anger etc. carry over into your precious little girl. Childhood is so short and with the fast paced lives we live today children are stripped of the pure pleasures of being a child. It may be helpful to seek out a support group so you can come to terms with where you are in life as you are not alone!!! NO ONE can do it alone and due to the circumstances you and your family are facing it is important to put the child's needs first and allow her to experience love other than yours alone (your child will thank you later in life). A child needs and deserves UNCONDITIONAL Love and due to the 50/50 at this point it is sooooo important that you make the most out of the time spent with your child!! Be the best Mom you possibly can be on those days and do not let your feelings of whatever you feel towards the situation get in the way!!! It is not easy...It is a consicious decision...and the most important decison you will have to make as a parent!

When I went through my divorce in 2007, there was no law for the state of Michigan governing overnight visits with unmarried partners. I did have it written into our judgement, though. I also had it included that no one other than a close family member of my ex-husband's could pick our daughter up from daycare or school. It was required that she also be given her own room by the age of 5 and that if he had to work during one of his visits with her, he was legally obligated to offer me to have that time with her rather than her going to someone else or a sitter.

You need to go to the court and voice your concerns and petition what is right for you and your child. You are her mother and you have a right to know EVERYTHING about your daughter.

there is something called Right of 1st refusal that states you must be offered the chance to be with her before he can have an outside sitter watch her. Even a step parent would not be able to take that time from you. We had that put in when my husband went back to court with his ex. You could ask your FOC case manager write it up for him to sign. If he won't then you would have to file a motion. If you do that you might as well file for a change in parenting time for her per-school too.

Wow this would be a tuff one. If you feel that she is safe and being taken care of let it be. If you dont feel that she is safe talk to your lawyer about the visitation again.

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