Divorcing the 2Nd time...stepdads Rights?

Updated on August 06, 2008
H.W. asks from Lancaster, OH
15 answers

Ok, I know I am not the only one to ever go through a divorce nor will I be the last. However, this is divorce number 2 for me and it was not my choice. I had been married 6 1/2 years and things will be final soon. This is not my daughter's real dad and I was wondering how much do I allow him to be in her life when things are said and done? She is close to him and has adjusted to her dad and me being cordial, but adjusting to this one has been difficult. He's been in her life for so long, how can you turn off the relationship like a water spout? I don't want to hurt my daughter, at the same time, I personally do so much better not dealing with him at all. Some have said just to "fade" things out and eventually he would stop coming around anyway and promises would start being broken. He wants to help out with anything that she needs and me too but none of that is in writing. I have to trust his word which, needless to say doesn't mean anything to me or my daughter right now. I just don't know what to do. I was caught completely off guard with all this and trying to adjust to all the changes has been difficult to everyone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.B.

answers from Cleveland on

You cannot make him see her. If you feel safe with him seeing her and they both agree to have an open relationship....what is the harm??

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.S.

answers from Columbus on

This is a really tough situation. But first of all as a stepdad, he does not have any rights. So it is really totally up to you on how to handle this. When my dad divorced my stepmom, she wanted to continue to be in my life. They had a very nasty divorce... Anyway, it was difficult for everybody but she did end up staying in my life. She called me from time to time and sent cards and presents on occasion. So, really we weren't very close and that was okay by me. It did last for 30 years until she passed away. She lived a few hours away and I never really went to see her although b4 I moved thousands of miles away, we did manage to see each other on a weekend. All in all, we had a pleasant relationship. I'm glad my parents allowed her to be in my life b/c I did love her. I think relationships like that usually don't last and will naturally fade. Definitely bring this up with your attorney to make sure that he doesn't have rights. If your relationship with him is difficult, it might be better not to allow him to stay in your daughter's life unless you think there is a chance of maybe starting over with him in the future. Hang in there. This is a tough path to walk.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.H.

answers from Cleveland on

My ex husband actually got companion rights. It was just like a fathers rights. Every other weekend and so on. What does your ex husband want???? You two can talk then sit down and talk about it.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.V.

answers from Indianapolis on

I have been the child in this situation. My mom divorced my step-dad after 13 years. This divorce was harder on me than the divorce from my real dad at 6. My mom had 3 from her marriage to my dad, and 2 from this marriage. They have been divorced for about 10 years, and me and the 2 oldest siblings are just as close to our step-dad as our real dad. Believe it or not, our family gatherings include our bio-dad, who lives with me and my family, my ex-step-dad, who is remarried and lives in another state, and my mom and her current hubby. As strange or as uncomfortable as it may sound (and can be!) I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately, our children have to live with our mistakes. We as grown-ups have to put ourselves on the higher ground to make the best lives for our children. Just think of the example all of you would be setting for her, if you could get along just for her sake! Nobody says YOU have to love this man still, but she does. There is nothing wrong with her continuing her "friendship" with someone who has been such an important part of her life. After time, he may fade out of the picture, but at least give them a chance.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.R.

answers from Indianapolis on

I am not sure he has any actual rights legally. Emotionally is another story all together for your daughter. Ask her if she wants to see and spend time with him and then set it up so he picks her up and brings her back on time or he won't get to see her the next time unless it can be supervised by a friend or family member and not you.
I am sorry about your situation and will pray for you all.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.M.

answers from Terre Haute on

I'm really sorry for what you're going through. I can't even imagine how you feel.
As far as your daughter, I would let her be proactive in this decision. Is she wants to call him, fine. If she doesn't, fine. If she wants to see him, fine. If she doesn't, fine. At her age, she knows what she wants and her instincts might even be better than yours or mine. Kids seem to know so much more about character than we do. Talk to your daughter and see how she feels. Make sure that she knows he isn't disappearing and can be contacted. That, hopefully, will make her feel less stress during this transition. By the way, if at all possible, try not to put him down in front of her. Sounds likes she loves him and it just might break her heart to hear negatives like that right now. Good luck to you and your daugher. I hope you find your true happiness. Shannon G.
PS. Stress strongly (with your soon be ex if possible) that she has done nothing wrong. This is not her fault in any way. I went through so many years of my life wondering what was wrong with me because my "daddy" couldn't love me. PLEASE make sure that doesn't happen to her!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.B.

answers from Canton on

Been there, done that. I just grinned and bared that for awhile. As others have told me, he did phase himself out gradually. Excuses: I have other things to do, I just can't this time, I don't have time now, gas is too expensive right now, I have other plans, etc. She is handling things herself now with both dads because she is old enough to do it. I am completely out of the picture now and have been for about 10 years.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.R.

answers from Toledo on

Hello H., I am sorry for your situation, sounds very ruff right now. Bust rest assured, the water will smooth out.
Your daughter is 8 and for the past 7 years (almost her entire life) her 'step' dad has been around. If he has treated your daughter like a father is suppose to treat a daughter, I suggest letting your daughter continue a relationship with him. Every child needs a father and a mother of some form. If your daughter's 'real' father has not been active in her life, her 'step' dad might be the only true dad she has and I would do my best to keep the relationship going; as long as you trust him with her. It would make things easier for your daughter and you even. Being a single mom is the hardest job for any of us and we need all the support system we can gather.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Stepfather's don't technically get parental rights unless they adopt the children. If you and the child are comfortable with visitation, then I think that would be okay. Perhaps the ex-stepfather could still help be a mentor or like an uncle to her in the future. Many cultures refer to people close to the family but not blood related as Aunty and Uncles.

He may phase off in the future. I believe all relationships serve a purpose for a time. Perhaps right now she needs the relationship with the ex-stepfather. Maybe the relationship will outgrow itself in a few years or few months. Whatever that may be I would welcome it and accept it as a blessing. I believe God gives us what we need when we need it. We have friends and family come and go in closeness. We need each of these relationships to build our character and continue our learning and socialization as we go on our life journey.

It's up to how you feel, whether the ex-stepfather is trustworthy and careful with your child. If you feel like he is a threat, then obviously that would undermine any benefits the child or yourself may gain from the relationship. Some people are able to stay very close with ex-spouses and become the best of friends. I think it's important to have an extended family and circle of friends. Use your instinct as a mother and I'm sure you will make the right decisions. God bless.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

Hi H..
I am truly sorry to hear this turmoil..I haven't been married yet, but pretty much have been divorced two times now. My girls used to talk to their real dad and ex-step dad, but now I'm serious with the guy I'm with now and engaged to him, neither talks to the girls any more. It really irks me because their REAL dad..don't have anything to do with them, and they keep asking me if their stepdad NOW can adopt them! So I wouldn't ask him for anything and see if anything happens! Good Luck and I'll keep you and your daughter in my prayers!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.F.

answers from Dayton on

H., first I want to tell you how sorry I am that you have to go through this. I went through the same thing two years ago when my husband came home and told me to leave, He raised my now 17 y/o daughter and they were very close. I told him that their relationship was theirs and they can continue it as they wished. BUT, he abandoned her. Nice for a minister! They do not speak or email etc. She is very hurt. The reason I am sharing this is so that you can be prepared. It has made my daughter and I much closer, but it's still painful. I would also recommend for you to be very careful!!! My ex has also said very, very awful things about me, to my two boys (which are his) One more thing, many churches have a Divorce Care Bible study and a DC4K (for children) I would also recommend that to anyone going through a divorce!!!
I will be praying for you!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My suggestion to you is don't stop the interaction of the step-dad and your daughter. She will resent you for that. Let the step-dad prove to her that he isn't gonna come through with being there. I have a son who his natural father was a jerk to put it nice. My son had to find out what his father was. It was hard on him and will be for your daughter. There are some things we have to let our kinds make their own decisions on. All you can do is to be there for them. If you stop or step in you will be the bad guy to your daughter. It takes a while but as long as he isn't hurting her then it is up to her.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.R.

answers from Columbus on

If he has been there for her for 6+ years and he truly wants to continue the relationship, and she feels close to him, find away to work it out. In her eyes, he is a parent and parents don't (shouldn't) just drop out of a child's life. Because your daughter is so young you will need to communicate with him and help with arrangements. This will be the hard part for you and it will be important to establish your guidelines and comfort zone and he will have to respect those lines. As with any divorce, the adults need to keep the children's best interest at heart and act accordingly (easier said then done, I know). How much time is up to you. Do you also share time with her real dad? It doesn't have to be a set schedule, maybe ice cream after school, lunch on the weekend, attending her activities (school, extra curriculum) phone calls and cards in between can help keep a connection. It's not your job to keep him involved, only to give him the opportunity. Time will tell if he really wants to be a part of her life or if he'll fade away. But you also need to keep in mind that as each of you meet new people, it will present new challenges. I speak from experience, but my children were teenagers and I explained to them that their relationship with my ex (not their father) was up to them, and although I would not facilitate it, I would not interfere. I expected to be kept informed on any plans (just as with other friends). I also made a point not to inquire about his personal life and I think he did the same (important when your trying to heal). It's been a few years and he is still involved, his new wife is wonderful and also welcomed my children. My new husband finds the whole thing a little awkward, but trust my judgement. I do believe that having people that care and love your children is a good thing. Good luck !

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.R.

answers from Fort Wayne on

If you feel she is safe with him then yes let them have a relationship-- as long as she wants it and he is co-operative. Of course if there is reason to beleive that she may not be safe with him for any reason then do not let her see him--it will be hard on her but better to keep her safe!I have a step daughter from my last marriage--and I am so glad that I made the effort to keep a relationship with her (her mother helped that to happen as her father left town and no one has heard from him since--which is good riddance as he was abusive, mean addict)My girls and she are very close--just like sisters and since she is an only child it has meant a lot to her. We all went to her wedding last year--she wanted my fiance there too--that was interesting to explain to the relatives! But they all accepted the strange situation just fine especaiily since they know happy it made her!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

Since he's been in her whole life so far I would think that she thinks of him as her dad. I think it would hurt her to deny visits. Maybe there could be a freind or other family member who you could drop her off with so you don't have to deal with him. Having a thrid party chew him out if he breaks promises may help him to keep them.
Good luck I know this is going to be hard on both of you. My sis has been through 3 divorces and the last was not by her choice.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches