(Dad in distress) : My daughter's mom left to the US with my daughter and... i'm in France


#1

Hi,
I really need some councils.... because i don't think that i've ever received a smart one. I'll introduce myself first : i'm a 40 years old french (sorry if my english's not perfect). I've been journalist during most of my life and now i'm press-relation of a politician. I've been a lot involved in a really traditional catholic movement, i married someone in 2001, and a son two years after, and she divorced 3 months after his birth. Even if it had been a huge chock for me, until this divorce nothing really amazing. I have always believed that i was made to live in family. So, after a few years, and even if i didn't have a nullity of marriage, i was with another girl, Helen, from Atlanta GA. Three years after, during the summer 2008, we were in France. She'd moved there in june to "definitely live" in France. But she came with only a back-bag and a 3 months Visa. She was a little too much boheme, and i thought that, even if i was loving her, we weren't rich enough to afford such a life where she wasn't searching a job or a way to have a normal life in France. I wasn't happy to tell it to her, because i truly love Helen. But i had to say that, because i had to be serious for my son. Helen wasn't happy about that neither. Three days before her return plane date, she bought a pregnancy test and... was pregnant. She'd never forget nor forgive that i have would to "fire" her during this summer 2008. But she was still continuing to come on internet every day. It was impossible for me neither to let her. She was there, never said that she'll come back, but stayed there and stucked me on internet even if i'd told her that i wouldn't become a "virtual dad". Madeleine Grace is born on April 27 2009, and... i continued to be online with her. So i became what i wouldn't become virtual dad. Icouldn't insist too much or she was yelling. I just stayed online to watch them through skype like some others are watching TV. I didn't have money to travel, and i couldn't have vacations without my son. So it was two tickets to pay if i would go to Lauderdale (where she'd move) and it was just impossible. During the same time i changed of work to earn more money (journalist is a good job in France, you're very well considered but... almost not payed). That's how i began to work for politician, because i would earn more to propose to Helen some solutions.
At the beginning of 2010, i was stable and could see the future better. A friend of mine gave me a plane ticket and we agreed that i'll come during the two last weeks of may 2010. Before that, since the begining of the year, Helen was turning histerical with me, insulting me and inventing bizarre stories about me, the same kind of some girls who are going through a divorce (she invented that i had other girlfriends, that i would my daughter because i'm pedophilian or to earn some money by french government). When i arrived in Lauderdale in may 2010, i saw in real Madeleine for the first time and you can imagine my emotion. Helen was insulting me every day during the first 6 days. Then one night she told me that she would marry me ; will come to live in France for Christmas (2010) and that she'll come to France during the summer. She also asked that she would me to buy a ring, a bigger flat, and to find a job for her as teacher. I went back to France, searched a ring, took a beautiful flat, and i also found a teacher job at a higher level than the ones she had in Florida. All that in one month (it was easier because i was already earning 200% more than in 2008). Helen was known as someone gentle, by me as well than by friends... And someone catholic. And two weeks before arriving to France, she told me that she'd never ordered things she had order : wedding, flat... She denied all. She told also that she'd found a new job in a better school... In despite, she came to France and stayed one month there during last summer. She was living with me like a married woman, but she'd never accepted to have one conversation about making a family. In fact she never did since 2008. She ordered a wedding, but never accepted a conversation about family or future. Every time i tried to say one word, every time she turned furious. And, as i told, Helen is not known as an hysterical person. She left France in mid august and almost immediately re-began to insult me every night online ! She stopped totally the conversations in late october. Since that, almost one year from now, i can't see my daughter (except a few times in march). Helen once or twice a month is now coming online during 5mn with my mom. So all is not cut. But she can't communicate with me. That's not the first time. As she can't make it rational, she's inventing some reasons against me, as i explained before.

My daughter Madeleine is more than 2 years old now, and she can't be with her dad nor her brother nor the rest of her french family. There is zero plan to make things better. It's very cruel for me to be far from her. My son and my family are sad also, of course. It's terrifying for my son to have had to live that (he is 8 now).

Helen sometimes said that she was ok to go to see a priest or a catholic familly councillor, but never did it. She promised... but never did.

You can easilly imagine what it is for me to have lived those year with an "online baby", to have met my daughter and lived with her during last summer... to be called "dad" for the first time of my life (my son is calling me "papa" of course).... and be deprived of her without knowing if i'll see her again before years and years...
I'm still in France, and even if i earn more money, i can't pay some plane tickets for me and my son to the US for every vacations... and anyway i have zero contacts anymore.
I've always thought that with the help of God, Helen will clear her mind and begin to face her responsibilities, as she is catholic...
I really need help...
Thanks in advance,
Gwendal


#2

I am going to be blunt about this and I hope you can accept my apologies up front. I think first and foremost you need to accept that you need to fix your own situation before you are ready for a new relationship. I was not able to really understand if you are married to Helen or not civilly but at this point you are not Sacramentally and cannot be until you seek the decree of nullity. As a matter of fact you are not free to date. I would spend this time focusing on your child and whether or not you will be able to receive a decree of nullity from your first marriage. I would also seek out a lawyer involving custody issues as the international issues make this very difficult. God bless you and good luck with your situation.


#3

No, dear JOA, i’m not married to Helen, and i agree with the nullity of marriage. But it’s not me who will judge myself my case, only Church can. It won’t change anything for Madeleine’s youth : it’s now and not tomorrow… isn’t it ?
I mean : my case is something, but i do think that this little girl case is really more important than mine…
G.


#4

Get a lawyer who can help you with an international custody and visitation rights case. We cannot help you with that.

On the faith side of things:

Stop sleeping with women who are not your wife. Go to Confession. Talk to your priest about a decree of nullity so you will know if you can marry in the future. And, stop trying to have a romantic relationship with this Helen person, who sounds a little crazy.


#5

Ok, i “sleep with everybody” and my daughter’s mom “is crazy”. Thanx a lot, that’s not the answer i expected.
I taught moral and laws to a lot of catholic students and was appreciated for that (I stopped by myself when i divorced to not be a bad example).
The answer by the law is not an answer in those kind of cases. Even when you’re catholic, if you answer your family problems by the law only (law of God and law of men), you’re going to a disaster.
Anyway, thank you again to make me remembering the law… but… I have a 2 years old toddler who doesn’t sleep with everybody and who is not crazy…


#6

[quote="Gwendal, post:3, topic:246510"]
No, dear JOA, i'm not married to Helen, and i agree with the nullity of marriage. But it's not me who will judge myself my case, only Church can. It won't change anything for Madeleine's youth : it's now and not tomorrow... isn't it ?
I mean : my case is something, but i do think that this little girl case is really more important than mine...
G.

[/quote]

I understand that the case of your little girl is more important than yours - but here is the rough truth of it. You are not married to her mother. You are Sacramentally to another woman. You describe yourself as a traditional Catholic but do not live to the teachings. So what messages will you be sending to your little girl - do as I say but not as I do?

The issue here in parenting is that you need to be able to devote your time to your daughter and you cannot do that if you are focused on the sin of others. Go back and read your first post. It is all about how crazy she is. There is one sentence about your part. Stop take a deep breath. You will see your part in this too. Then you can start the healing. As long as there is chaos your daughter will be affected.

As far as comparing moral law and practical law I would suggest you look at my signature block and ask me again if I might something about this. I filed for my decree of nullity right after my divorce was final. Am I perfect. No. Have I fallen. Yes. Have I picked myself back up through reconciliation, done penance, and tried again - yes. This however requires a penitent heart. Remember the word obedience comes from to listen for an understanding. Sometimes we need to be patient. The great thing about the length of this process is that it gives us time on our own to heal so that we do not introduce chaos into our lives and the lives of others.

Here is my advice:

1) Seek legal counsel (most likely from someone with international background - contact Catholic Charities if necessary)

2) Spend time single and chaste and devote that time to your daughter and learning about St Joseph and his love for his adopted Son in Christ

3) Spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament

4) Reconciliation followed by daily mass and the Eucharist will help you get through these tough times


#7

[quote="Gwendal, post:5, topic:246510"]
Ok, i "sleep with everybody" and my daughter's mom "is crazy". Thanx a lot, that's not the answer i expected.
I taught moral and laws to a lot of catholic students and was appreciated for that (I stopped by myself when i divorced to not be a bad example).
The answer by the law is not an answer in those kind of cases. Even when you're catholic, if you answer your family problems by the law only (law of God and law of men), you're going to a disaster.
Anyway, thank you again to make me remembering the law... but... I have a 2 years old toddler who doesn't sleep with everybody and who is not crazy...

[/quote]

On the contrary, if you had obeyed the law of God and not committed adultery and/or fornication with the American woman, you wouldn't be in this situation.

The advice you have received is sound. You can not have a relationship with any woman until the status of your marriage is cleared up. As for your daughter, it is sad that you are not a part of her life, but you are not married to her mother and she is in a different country. Consulting a lawyer versed in international family law will help you understand what your options are.


#8

As i told, i taught laws (of Church and of men). So, of course i know about international laws and i've of course been to see a lawyer. As well i know about nullity/adultery...

"If i had obeyed" : yes, but my question isn't about the past, and this past doesn't make the future. Plenty catholics are divorcing, then are remarried, then get a nullity of marriage (or not) after, and didn't have any troubles with their new families with or without nullity of marriage. It's not because you're a sinner that you have a mechanical problem after. To have a mechanical problem because of a sin, it's voodoo, it's the definition of magical things, but it's not catholicism. It means that there is no redemption, that God is obeying to mathematics. It's not the case : plenty remarried catholic have a sweet life, even if they don't have any annulment. Please don't answer me : "oh yes but they'll burn in hell" : my question was not about that. I don't want to talk about laws, i know them, and i'm really sorry if you can't answer my question by something else but the ten commandments. My problem is 3 years old, so you imagine that i have had time to question myself, books, priest, and lawyers about that.

My question wasn't about me, and i'm not here to be judged. So i'm sorry if i've awaken some pharisees and i guess that it's perhaps better (if some have some good advices or councils to help me) to contact me in private message.


#9

sorry it is really hard to read and understand your story

if it is a custody matter where one parent is American seek help through the American embassy or consulate

if it is legal matter within your own country seek legal help there

if it is a matter of making yourself right with the Catholic Church, see your priest.

The only think I understand is that you are, in the eyes of the Church, married to your first wife and no matter what she did cannot initiate a romantic relationship, much less father children or attempt marriage with another woman. The civil laws of your country or hers can in no way dissolve that marriage. Only the Church can investigate and tell you if it was valid, and if you are free to remarry.

I hope you are doing all you can to support both of your children.

you came here to ask advice, presumably as it relates to Catholic teaching since this is a Catholic forum and people judged the facts as they understand them from what you post--the don't judge you as a person, they judge the story and try to give answers that will help you. If you don't find the answers helpful, simply ignore them.

do not look for an evil motive or judgementalism where none is intended.

we can't answer your question or offer anything helpful because we really don't know what help you are asking for.


#10

[quote="Gwendal, post:8, topic:246510"]
As i told, i taught laws (of Church and of men). So, of course i know about international laws and i've of course been to see a lawyer. As well i know about nullity/adultery...

"If i had obeyed" : yes, but my question isn't about the past, and this past doesn't make the future. Plenty catholics are divorcing, then are remarried, then get a nullity of marriage (or not) after, and didn't have any troubles with their new families with or without nullity of marriage. It's not because you're a sinner that you have a mechanical problem after. To have a mechanical problem because of a sin, it's voodoo, it's the definition of magical things, but it's not catholicism. It means that there is no redemption, that God is obeying to mathematics. It's not the case : plenty remarried catholic have a sweet life, even if they don't have any annulment. Please don't answer me : "oh yes but they'll burn in hell" : my question was not about that. I don't want to talk about laws, i know them, and i'm really sorry if you can't answer my question by something else but the ten commandments. My problem is 3 years old, so you imagine that i have had time to question myself, books, priest, and lawyers about that.

My question wasn't about me, and i'm not here to be judged. So i'm sorry if i've awaken some pharisees and i guess that it's perhaps better (if some have some good advices or councils to help me) to contact me in private message.

[/quote]

I'm sorry but the best advice is that you remain single and spend the time you can devoted to your daughter. The decree of nullity process is designed to be a healing process and through this you may be able to find some of your own answers as to why you have attracted this type of woman. Not to say it is your fault but that those that are divorced are destined to keep repeating this until they deal with what caused the first one. It is not voodoo it has to do with what caused the lack of ability to consent in the first place which is rarely 100% one sided or the completely healthy one would not be making a lifetime comittment with someone that cannot make a lifetime comittment.

Now, that being said I know you teach Canons and morality so you understand this. Therefore you should not need this explained to you. You should allow yourself to go through and have the wounds healed - this is what the process is for - it is not a legal process alone that I think you are trying to boil it down to.

As far as your daughter. Spend whatever time your lawyer can wrangle with her. Do not ever speak ill of her mother to her. Answer her questions about God honestly. Get on the same page with her mother about her Catholic faith and how she will be raised in it. (I know you said you are drawn to be Traditional Catholic - so if you want to raise your daughter in the EF and her mother does not attend EF you may need to teach her Latin) - That is my advice.

My last piece of advice is that if everyone is saying the same thing except you then it is probably you not everyone else. I came to CAF many years ago not ready to listen. I paid a heavy price. If I had listened I would have saved myself a lot of pain.


#11

"To keep repeating this until they deal with what caused" : yes JOA, the "repeating" process in beliefs, it is exactly the definition of the magical process. It just is fake : i personally know some catholics people who are divorced-remarried for 40 years without any problems, and most of divorced-remarried catholics do not have especially a lot of problems, and they usually have less than the others, because they learned in their mistakes, plus they are helped by other catholics. Thinking that if you do a sin, or especially this kind of sin, then thunder will fall on you, is fake.
But please don't force me to make advertising for what i don't want to.

My son is 8 and learned very well what he has to. So, to teach latin to my daughter, yes, why not.... but the problem is not about latin : the problem is that i can't see her at all.

"If everyone is saying the same thing except you then it is probably you not everyone else" : i have never been on those kind of forums to explain my life. That's the first time. My question wasn't about myself : i don't need to be judged. This situation is three years old : i already received a ton of answers, by priests, by bishops and even a cardinal. So i can tell you that :
1 - the answers i get from religious or lawyers or friends (or religious friends or lawyer friends) are very different than the 3 pharisees ones i received here, because those people wouldn't judge me, as it is forbidden by Catholic Church.
2 - I asked councils, not a judgement, so, no, i can tell that this forum has not correctly answered my questions, and i'm sorry for that, but it answered some questions that those people here have in mind. Not mines.

When you have such a problem with your daughter, you really don't appreciate to lose time in conversations about definitions and laws, even more when it has been your job to teach it to students during 15 years.

@puzzleannie
"Only God is marrying you" : yes, i know that answer. But, really, Talibans could have given me the same. So, yes, forget about my questions, i do think i am not on the right forum.
Plus, i felt since the first messages a "you're no having a pure catholic life like us so you're not welcome, go to ask your conscience, a priest and a lawyer". I came with a problem, and i don't feel to have been welcomed. So i'll let you in your little Afghanistan, between "pures"...


#12

And a last message to JOA, bc i hadn't seen your post n°6 about "what message i'll transmit to (my) daughter" : the answer is that the first duty for parent is to keep children alive, before teaching a message. I can't see my daughter nor talk with her. My question was about that, not about the message.


#13

Hi what you need to do is get a lawyer in the US who does these types of cases.

Perhaps the French Consulate or Embassy in the US can point you in the correct direction (hope that they are not very bureaucratic to deal with)

consulfrance-miami.org/

ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?rubrique=2

Good luck and I hope you are soon reunited with your daughter.


#14

Thank you Mary Gail, i do appreciate.
Gwendal


#15

Thank you Mary Gail, i do appreciate.
Gwendal


#16

OK, I think you miss my point. I am simply suggesting that there may be some healing in it.

I brought up teaching Latin not as a you should teach Latin to your daughter but as a you need to learn to communicate better with her mother so that you know what is being taught to her and what is not. The Latin was an example. You did not read what I said carefully enough to know this. You present yourself as an educated man but yet you seem only to be picking out points that work for you.

If you are coming to a conservative, Catholic forum than it would stand that you want conservative, Catholic advise. I have not condemned you. I have simply told you what I would recommend you doing. I am very sorry that you cannot see and hold your daughter right now. I can only imagine how difficult that must be. You said you have a lawyer. However, no amount of judging her mother is going to help. The most you can do to clean up your end is going to help - even if it is more spic and span (sorry for the English slang I cannot think of a good term here) than you feel it has to be it will look more healthy than hers. It can only help you it cannot hurt you. And by the way I am not stupid - I can see rather plainly that you are advocating internal forum. If this is where you are going with this and you have received permission to use it due to extreme circumstances then you probably should never have brought it up. If not and you are looking at internal forum as a more expedient choice to a tribunal than this is not healthy and yes I have read quite extensively on it as well.

I would recommend the same to you as I would recommend to anyone else who has been through a divorce or the break up of a long term relationship involving children or both - you should seek counseling from a Catholic counselor. No matter how wonderful a person is or how well a person adjusts this is loss and loss is hard to experience on one's own. The problem with divorce and I am sure you have heard this is it is just like death except the other person is still around poking you with a stick. The same is true for the break up of long term relationships.


#17

Yes, sorry for that JOA, i was carefully reading the posts at the beginning, but i have to confess that not anymore.
No i do not especially want a conservative advice. Nor obligatory catholic. I just think that conservative catholic people, like me, have often some good advices. But i know it's not everywhere the case.
I agree for the rest JOA : a lawyer (and the law) can't solve my problem. The more lawyers will be in my story, the more it'll turn furious my daughter's mom, and i need her if i want to see my daughter.
And i don't think she is "crazy" like someone said. Well, she at least is not more crazy than a casual divorcing woman. For the divorces i've heard about, it's always the same kind of crazy things and irrational accusations between two people who were in love the day before. So... yes, sometimes it turns bad, and i do think that it's possible to find solutions and, before all, solutions for the kids.


#18

[quote="Gwendal, post:17, topic:246510"]
Yes, sorry for that JOA, i was carefully reading the posts at the beginning, but i have to confess that not anymore.
No i do not especially want a conservative advice. Nor obligatory catholic. I just think that conservative catholic people, like me, have often some good advices. But i know it's not everywhere the case.
I agree for the rest JOA : a lawyer (and the law) can't solve my problem. The more lawyers will be in my story, the more it'll turn furious my daughter's mom, and i need her if i want to see my daughter.
And i don't think she is "crazy" like someone said. Well, she at least is not more crazy than a casual divorcing woman. For the divorces i've heard about, it's always the same kind of crazy things and irrational accusations between two people who were in love the day before. So... yes, sometimes it turns bad, and i do think that it's possible to find solutions and, before all, solutions for the kids.

[/quote]

OK cool - these things happen on online forums. Sometimes it is hard to read tone too. Someone can write something, read it back and it sounds sweet in their voice, and the other person reads it and it is received like a stark raving lunatic.

I think the reason many jumped on the lawyer bandwagon is because of the international issue. However, if you have a good relationship with her then what can you do to foster it?

Are there points you agree on?
What are your disagreements on?
What are your negotiables?
What are your non-negotiables?
What are hers to the last two?
This might be a good place to start. - Maybe preparing an email and stating that things have gotten out of hand and that you believe that it is important for your daughter to see both of you. Then without sharing YOUR opinions ask her:

What do you feel are the points we agree on?
What do you feel are the points we disagree on?
What are the things you feel you can negotiate on?
What are the things you feel you cannot negotiate on?

Then wish her a good day and God bless. It is important to let her know her opinion has Mom matters - especially with a female child.

This is my take on it.


#19

So what exactly is your question?


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.