Kids overnight with their dad & his girlfriend?


#1

My soon to be ex-husband and I have two small children, ages 4 and 7.

We have been separated for 2 years, but the divorce is not yet final.

Their dad recently introduced them to his girlfriend, and they have spent a couple hours with her on one other occasion. Although I was not in agreement with this arrangement, there really wasn't much I could do about it.

Now, their dad says he wants to take them up north for about 3 days just before the 4th of July, and his girlfriend will be accompanying them. He stated it doesn't matter what I think, he taking them.

Besides the fact that she is essentially a stranger to them, I am opposed to this idea because it teaches them to accept something as normal, when it is actually not normal, and at best, innappropriate. Am I wrong? What can I do about it? Can my lawyer file a motion to prevent it?

I did some looking around online (not here, but googled, etc) and was shocked to see so many posts to the effect of "Quit being a bitter ex-wife and get over it." Clearly, I must be naive', because although I knew there people who seemed indifferent to this type of situation, I never imagined there would be people fighting for it as if it was the noble thing to do! As a side bar, I am not bitter, and in fact, could not be happier that he is no longer draining every ounce of peace I had. I don't want him in any way, but still want and expect the best for our kids.

Any thoughts, insight?

Kathie


#2

[quote="krblaze, post:1, topic:202780"]
My soon to be ex-husband and I have two small children, ages 4 and 7.

We have been separated for 2 years, but the divorce is not yet final.

Their dad recently introduced them to his girlfriend, and they have spent a couple hours with her on one other occasion. Although I was not in agreement with this arrangement, there really wasn't much I could do about it.

Now, their dad says he wants to take them up north for about 3 days just before the 4th of July, and his girlfriend will be accompanying them. He stated it doesn't matter what I think, he taking them.

Besides the fact that she is essentially a stranger to them, I am opposed to this idea because it teaches them to accept something as normal, when it is actually not normal, and at best, innappropriate. Am I wrong? What can I do about it? Can my lawyer file a motion to prevent it?

I did some looking around online (not here, but googled, etc) and was shocked to see so many posts to the effect of "Quit being a bitter ex-wife and get over it." Clearly, I must be naive', because although I knew there people who seemed indifferent to this type of situation, I never imagined there would be people fighting for it as if it was the noble thing to do! As a side bar, I am not bitter, and in fact, could not be happier that he is no longer draining every ounce of peace I had. I don't want him in any way, but still want and expect the best for our kids.

Any thoughts, insight?

Kathie

[/quote]

A failed marriage is hard on everyone especially the children. By the sound of it your husband has fast-tracked himself into the secular world where they give little value to marriage, family or women (as evident by contraception and abortion). Going to court to stop your husband's visitation with his children along with his little 'chicky-babe' will fall on deaf ears. Secular courts are just that, secular. Trying to make a secular court invoke Catholic morality will just be an expensive failure.

People here are not professionals and that's what you need. Someone you can be totally honest with that will understand your family dynamics, Catholicism and have an idea of canon law. (Somewhere you don't have to worry about what you say because, right now, you don't know who is reading what you write.) Phone your Archdiocese. Among other things, they will give you names of Catholic counselors in your area. Payment, if any, is on a sliding scale. They will help you and your kids cope during these troubling times.

God bless you and know our prayers go with you.


#3

"Quit being a bitter ex-wife and get over it," is not bad advice. When a marriage fails, the former partners go their separate ways. It is time to move on.

Don't be focused on the former spouse, rather on your own life. You can't change other people, only yourself.

The innocent children often suffer in the process of marital dissolution. Do not make it worse for them.


#4

Susan Mary - Just to be clear, I'm not trying to stop my husband's visitation - rather, just prevent the overnights when his girlfriend will also be sleeping over. My kids have lost enough - I don't want them to lose their dad, too. Thank you for the advice, however. I definitely would appreciate a counselor like the ones you described.

Magickman - No, it wouldn't be bad advice, except that I'd have to be bitter in order or it to apply. I'm beyond happy that I don't have to deal with him and his games on a daily basis, and that soon we will be divorced. However, he will always be my kids dad, and there is nothing I can do to protect them from his treatment. You said "Do not make it worse for them." Do you think that is what I am doing? I see it just the other way - It has been made abundantly clear to me how the kids suffer - I am the only one trying to protect and guide them. Despite the rough spots, I am thankful. We have carved out a peaceful exisitence for ourselves, for the most part.

Unfortunately, now it's another woman with three sons that he is involved with, and they are next in line for his treatment. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but especially her kids. I hope she's careful.


#5

[quote="krblaze, post:4, topic:202780"]
Susan Mary - Just to be clear, I'm not trying to stop my husband's visitation - rather, just prevent the overnights when his girlfriend will also be sleeping over. My kids have lost enough - I don't want them to lose their dad, too. Thank you for the advice, however. I definitely would appreciate a counselor like the ones you described.

Magickman - No, it wouldn't be bad advice, except that I'd have to be bitter in order or it to apply. I'm beyond happy that I don't have to deal with him and his games on a daily basis, and that soon we will be divorced. However, he will always be my kids dad, and there is nothing I can do to protect them from his treatment. You said "Do not make it worse for them." Do you think that is what I am doing? I see it just the other way - It has been made abundantly clear to me how the kids suffer - I am the only one trying to protect and guide them. Despite the rough spots, I am thankful. We have carved out a peaceful exisitence for ourselves, for the most part.

Unfortunately, now it's another woman with three sons that he is involved with, and they are next in line for his treatment. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but especially her kids. I hope she's careful.

[/quote]

My dad remarried a year after my parents divorce and well, the fear of your kids losing their dad is very real. My dad never left my life, but when I did write him a letter asking for more one-on-one time with him (I was 8 when I wrote the letter) nothing changed. It caused a lot of heartache, but now, as an adult, I have more sorrow for my dad that he's missed so much of my life because he didn't continue the bond we were creating before the divorce and before the remarriage to after the remarriage. I actually was never upset about the divorce, the remarriage was the problem. My step mom had children from her first marriage so that took some adjusting, then they had two children. I love my siblings but I know that we all suffered from the lack of attention and love that usually is spelled "T.I.M.E." I swore I would never want the same kind of life for my children, where one parent is too busy working and traveling to make money but jeopardizes the relationship with the family.

Catholic Charities for counseling is a great start. My mom always encouraged me to spend time with my dad, always played happy that I was going to spend time with him and my step-family every other weekend. As an adult she has told me how difficult that was for her, how she hated to be sad that I was leaving, but also sad that I was sad every time I had to go (remember, I was only sad about going AFTER the remarriage). My mom had never bad-talked my father nor his marriage and relationships with my siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings though she has every reason to criticize. She has been a great example of a strong mother. Just focus on being a strong mother for your children, in the end, they will see that you were the stable one in their lives.


#6

Do you have a lawyer helping you? Explain to the lawyer that you don't want the girlfriend around. That isn't a very unreasonable custody stipulation.

I know a divorced couple where neither parent can leave the state with the kids without explicit permission from the other parent.

Before getting upset, speak to the lawyer....you might be surprised on what your children's rights are.


#7

That’s how my cousin’s is set up in regards to his daughter (which “ruined” his ex-wifes plans and dreams of moving to the West coast to get her Ph.D - now they just live in opposite ends of the state)


#8

[quote="krblaze, post:4, topic:202780"]
Susan Mary - Just to be clear, I'm not trying to stop my husband's visitation - rather, just prevent the overnights when his girlfriend will also be sleeping over. My kids have lost enough - I don't want them to lose their dad, too. Thank you for the advice, however. I definitely would appreciate a counselor like the ones you described.

[/quote]

I know what you're trying to do and good on ya'. But it won't work. The courts won't see it like that, being secular law they will only in interested in the law. Most judges will immediately think you are interfering with your husbands visitation. (Not all judges are Catholics and the ones who are may not be good Catholics) The West sees common law relationships as equivalent, be grateful that your husband didn't leave you for another man! I hope you are starting to see just how big a problem you have. It's huge. This problem needs a professional. Trying to battle this in the courts will bankrupt you and you'll still lose. I don't say this to hurt you I tell you this because I want you to be prepared. Your battle is much larger than you think, it is a battle for souls. Your husband will want to let and will try to coax your kids to accept his 'sleep-over' girlfriend as an exceptable lifestyle. Any why not, he'll think, to do otherwise is to condemn himself.

Call your Archdiocese, talk to people who can help you and your kids to deal with this. And don't forget your priest is only a phone call away.

God bless


#9

[quote="Susan_Mary, post:8, topic:202780"]
I know what you're trying to do and good on ya'. But it won't work. The courts won't see it like that, being secular law they will only in interested in the law. Most judges will immediately think you are interfering with your husbands visitation. (Not all judges are Catholics and the ones who are may not be good Catholics) The West sees common law relationships as equivalent, be grateful that your husband didn't leave you for another man! I hope you are starting to see just how big a problem you have. It's huge. This problem needs a professional. Trying to battle this in the courts will bankrupt you and you'll still lose. I don't say this to hurt you I tell you this because I want you to be prepared. Your battle is much larger than you think, it is a battle for souls. Your husband will want to let and will try to coax your kids to accept his 'sleep-over' girlfriend as an exceptable lifestyle. Any why not, he'll think, to do otherwise is to condemn himself.

Call your Archdiocese, talk to people who can help you and your kids to deal with this. And don't forget your priest is only a phone call away.

God bless

[/quote]

I think you are giving incorrect advice....she should seek a lawyer's advice. Don't be afraid of a long court battle and being banckrupt .....it might just work out in a settlement in the lawyers offices.

If you notice is that the"divorce is not final" they aren't divorced yet. Custody laws work slightly differently for seperated parents than divorced parents.


#10

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:9, topic:202780"]
I think you are giving incorrect advice....she should seek a lawyer's advice. Don't be afraid of a long court battle and being banckrupt .....it might just work out in a settlement in the lawyers offices.

If you notice is that the"divorce is not final" they aren't divorced yet. Custody laws work slightly differently for seperated parents than divorced parents.

[/quote]

You're forgetting that bankruptcy will only hinder further battles she has yet to fight. This is only the beginning for her. What will happen if he decides to go for custody latter using her visitation interference as evidence against her?

You are right that she needs legal counsel. But it's not enough. Legal counsel will not help her children through these trying times. Her lawyer will not guide her children away from the secular world and all its lies. And why should he that is not his job.

She has bigger problems. How will this affect her daughter latter in life? Her husband will have taught her that it's ok to sleep around? And her son, that it's ok to use women for sex. See what I mean? Souls are at risk. She must instill good morals now. Leaving it to a 'might win in court' isn't good enough. Besides, she is much more likely to lose this battle in court, if not now, later. Catholic family services will help guide her and counter the effect this will have on her children. Some legal battles she'll win and some she won't. She should try to be ready for everything. Like they say 'don't put all your eggs in one basket'.

Family counseling will also help her through life knowing she will not get an annulment for adultery. It will help her to deal with her new celibate lifestyle. Maybe, she should talk to someone in the Marriage Tribunal for other possibilities. Who knows, maybe there is something she hasn't mentioned that will help with an annulment.

So, once again, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's" Her childrens souls belong to God a lawyer will not be able to stop her husband from trying to steal their souls away. He cannot be all things to her he is only a lawyer. She needs the guidance of the Church for this mess.


#11

What is the current parenting plan say about this? Overnight visits or having to okay who the parent includes in overnight visits?

Unfortunately, I don't think you can contact a lawyer and get the parenting plan changed in time for the 4th of July weekend but you could still talk to your ex about your feelings about this and contact a lawyer if you really want to make an issue out of it. However, I would suggest using caution and think before you leap. Make sure there isn't anything unknown in the parenting plan that might give him more 'power' or more authority in the parenting of your kids.

Good luck.


#12

I haven’t read all the posts so I apologize if I’m repeating.

My heart breaks for you. And while you have every right to resent what your soon-to-be-ex-husband is doing, the sad fact of the matter is you have no control. When he has possession of the kids, he’s going to be able to do whatever he wants with them. And while the notion of the quote about “get over it,” is quite harsh, I think for your sanity it certainly has an element of truthfulness to it. You will not be able to change it. Just do your best to instill the values in your kids. Hopefully they will see how not following the morals can damage a family so they will not make the same choices in their future.


#13

Have been there (countless times) and feel for you. It is heartbreaking to have your kids in that situation and there's nothing you can do about it. I am sorry you are going through this.

I agree with everyone who suggested getting legal advice.

However, sometimes well-meaning people suggest something like "Get the Custody Order to explicitly state that there will not be any children's overnights with a third-party (understood as dating partner or fiancee) present".

In my experience and that of every divorced person I've spoken to in my area, such a prohibition is impossible to get into the Court Order. Our Evaluators and Judges here have absolutely no time to entertain that sort of thing. And it makes the requesting parent look spiteful.

Even if it did get passed through, how could you prove it was violated from time-to-time? Drive by the ex's house at 3 AM and snap photos of the other person's car in the driveway? I don't say this in jest, believe me I know how it hurts to have this sort of example shown to your kids. Then what's the next step....get another attorney, pay legal fees and court costs, haul them into court and for what? The other parent says "No I didn't". In the end the Judge says, "Well, if you did, don't do it again". Slap on the wrist, no consequences. And you're out a boatload of money. And they'll violate it again and again because nothing happens.

I say all of this, not to upset anyone, but to let you know that you may never be able to stop this sort of thing. You can only control you and the example you set for your child. No doubt you'll set a fine one. :)

I'm sorry you have to go through this heartache, prayers are with you.


#14

I was living with my dh prior to my marriage with him - yes we were chaste for a while before the wedding - but that is off subject. His daughter would come over and have overnight visits. The difference is she was older. The deal that was made was that I did not sleep in the same room as he did so that way there was no confusion in her mind. Maybe a deal like that could be mediated peacefully with a mediator. Remember much more likely to catch flies with honey…


#15

[quote="krblaze, post:1, topic:202780"]
My soon to be ex-husband and I have two small children, ages 4 and 7.

We have been separated for 2 years, but the divorce is not yet final.

Their dad recently introduced them to his girlfriend, and they have spent a couple hours with her on one other occasion. Although I was not in agreement with this arrangement, there really wasn't much I could do about it.

Now, their dad says he wants to take them up north for about 3 days just before the 4th of July, and his girlfriend will be accompanying them. He stated it doesn't matter what I think, he taking them.

Besides the fact that she is essentially a stranger to them, I am opposed to this idea because it teaches them to accept something as normal, when it is actually not normal, and at best, innappropriate. Am I wrong? What can I do about it? Can my lawyer file a motion to prevent it?

I did some looking around online (not here, but googled, etc) and was shocked to see so many posts to the effect of "Quit being a bitter ex-wife and get over it." Clearly, I must be naive', because although I knew there people who seemed indifferent to this type of situation, I never imagined there would be people fighting for it as if it was the noble thing to do! As a side bar, I am not bitter, and in fact, could not be happier that he is no longer draining every ounce of peace I had. I don't want him in any way, but still want and expect the best for our kids.

Any thoughts, insight?

Kathie

[/quote]

You are not wrong. He's being obtuse if he's displaying life with a "girlfriend" in front of your children on an "overnight" situation. Courts and lawyers are pretty liberal these days, because this type of wreckless behaviour has become the norm. I'm not saying you shouldn't try, but I wouldn't expect much from legal folks. Even if you got somebody, it doesn't change his ethics and morals. The best that could come of it would be that it may create a moment for thought, but I doubt it.

Best case scenario is that you are the mother, and you just say no. He can't do it under those circumstances. No overnights with girlfriends. If he gets married to her, that's a different deal. Until and unless, just stand up as best you can for your beliefs. Also, please keep the fighting away from the kids, and explain whatever they do see or hear, and why you feel as you do.

God bless you,

You're in my prayers,

Steven


#16

@Steven in most states it won't work like that - fathers have rights to do whatever they want and have whoever they want around the kids on visitation as long as there is joint custody. There will most likely be joint custody unless Mom can prove he has been abusive or dangerous by secular laws. That is the law in most states. But - I am not a lawyer - seen it.


#17

[quote="joandarc2008, post:16, topic:202780"]
@Steven in most states it won't work like that - fathers have rights to do whatever they want and have whoever they want around the kids on visitation as long as there is joint custody. There will most likely be joint custody unless Mom can prove he has been abusive or dangerous by secular laws. That is the law in most states. But - I am not a lawyer - seen it.

[/quote]

No...joint custody isn't the default. Often 1 parent has physical custody, the other has visitation. I know many parents who have just "visitation" who have never been abusive.

Again, OP, see your lawyer, you'll get advice pertinent to your situation and State.


#18

My recommendation is to accept that you really have no control over what happens when your (ex) husband has the children. The best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to try and prevent any useless hostility/control issues between you and him and his girlfriend.

My ex and I split up when our son was 6 and we shared custody about 60/40. The first time my husband came to pick up our son for his visitation after our split he tried to pull a control issue on me. The agreement was to have our son back by 10:00 pm. Well it got to be 12:00 am and they still were not back (this was before cell phones) and I was alternating between being sick with worry that something had happened and furious that he was doing it on purpose to upset me. It turned out to be the latter.

The Holy Spirit must have given me a ton of grace because the minute they came through the door at 1:00 am I knew exactly what to do. I kissed my son, told my husband (in front of our son) that I was worried and he should have called me, said I was going to bed now, and asked my husband to put our son to bed. As I went to my room I heard my son chastise his dad for making me worried. It took my husband 2 hours to get our hyped-up son to quiet down and get in bed. His plan to hurt me backfired on him big time and he never pulled another control stunt on me again.

You will have to teach your children morality and be prepared to talk about any inconsistencies between what goes on in your home and their dad's. I hope you receive the grace to know which battles to fight, which to let go, and you can avoid all unnecessary conflict for the sake of your children. The Serenity Prayer might come in handy.


#19

Yes, I do have a lawyer, and have consulted him. As you probably know, they do what the client requests, without guarantee of the outcome. So, around we go.

I have sole physical custody, and have been more than accomodating with visitation. My husband has already introduced our sons to his girlfriend, which I felt was inappropriate at best, but made the choice that was not a battle I should fight, despite the fact that we are still married. However, I have to agree with Susan Mary that "souls are at risk" and that I "must instill good morals now" when it comes to overnights with the girlfriend. Granted, it may turn out in the end that it is something I just have to deal with, but I feel strongly that I have to do what I can to prevent it.

As far as "get over it" being harsh, but truthful - that may be where I end up, but I am not willing to accept it at this point. I am not willing to sacrifice my kids values, character and morals without a fight, if that's what it takes, so that my life is easier. As far as it being expensive, very true, However, I can think of few other things I would rather spend my money on than my kids and protecting them.

Steven Francis - I did just say "no" to their dad, and he didn't care. He said he would come and take them anyway - which I believe. About a week ago, I agreed to let him have visitation regardless of the fact that it was my weekend, because he wanted to have a birthday party for my son (and no, I don't know why he didn't plan it for his own weekend). I just asked that he bring them home no later than 10pm - which I think is very reasonable for a 4 year old and an almost 7 year old. However, around 6:30, he called and asked to keep them overnight. When I disagreed, he refused to return them anyway. After him telling me I will "see the kids tomorrow when I return them" 3 or 4 times, we (my parents and I) drove over to his house and retreived the kids. I do believe that was just the beginning.

Lastly, I can't remember who posted about the annulment - but yes, there are other mitigating factors, which I think are best left out of this discussion.

Thank you all for your insight and opinions. I have prayed a great deal about this, asking God to guide me. He has spoken to me, and I am confident (not in the outcome, but in my choices).

Other opinions are always welcome :)


#20

[quote="krblaze, post:19, topic:202780"]
Yes, I do have a lawyer, and have consulted him. As you probably know, they do what the client requests, without guarantee of the outcome. So, around we go.

I have sole physical custody, and have been more than accomodating with visitation. My husband has already introduced our sons to his girlfriend, which I felt was inappropriate at best, but made the choice that was not a battle I should fight, despite the fact that we are still married. *However, I have to agree with Susan Mary that "souls are at risk" and that I "must instill good morals now" when it comes to overnights with the girlfriend. * Granted, it may turn out in the end that it is something I just have to deal with, but I feel strongly that I have to do what I can to prevent it.

As far as "get over it" being harsh, but truthful - that may be where I end up, but I am not willing to accept it at this point. I am not willing to sacrifice my kids values, character and morals without a fight, if that's what it takes, so that my life is easier. As far as it being expensive, very true, However, I can think of few other things I would rather spend my money on than my kids and protecting them.

Steven Francis - I did just say "no" to their dad, and he didn't care. He said he would come and take them anyway - which I believe. About a week ago, I agreed to let him have visitation regardless of the fact that it was my weekend, because he wanted to have a birthday party for my son (and no, I don't know why he didn't plan it for his own weekend). I just asked that he bring them home no later than 10pm - which I think is very reasonable for a 4 year old and an almost 7 year old. However, around 6:30, he called and asked to keep them overnight. When I disagreed, he refused to return them anyway. After him telling me I will "see the kids tomorrow when I return them" 3 or 4 times, we (my parents and I) drove over to his house and retreived the kids. I do believe that was just the beginning.

Lastly, I can't remember who posted about the annulment - but yes, there are other mitigating factors, which I think are best left out of this discussion.

Thank you all for your insight and opinions. I have prayed a great deal about this, asking God to guide me. He has spoken to me, and I am confident (not in the outcome, but in my choices).

Other opinions are always welcome :)

[/quote]

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it when OPs respond and acknowledge the input they requested!

It sounds like you have an unreasonable husband who may fight you at every turn just for the fun of it. If so, I am truly sorry for you and the battles you may have ahead. However, it sounds like you have a smart approach by deciding to pick your battles. I would add that picking those you are pretty sure to win is usually the best. Losing battle after battle may only encourage him to keep fighting you.

I bolded the statement above because I just wanted to say (and I'm sure you know) that it is not a given that you must protect your children from witnessing immoral behavior to instill good moral values. Only you can decide if the good of fighting with their father about it is likely to outweigh the bad.

Let me just raise a question or two as food for thought. At their ages, is the sleeping together very high on their radar screen of questionable behavior? At 7, my son would have been pretty clueless about the moral implications (it was a different more innocent era) but I don't know how much your kids know about the "facts" of life. Could making an issue of it now end up exposing them to knowledge about sex and adult behavior they are overlooking and would be better off not dealing with right now? And maybe later, it won't be an issue any longer (ex remarries)?

I am also pragmatic. If there is any chance the girlfriend will be raising your children along with your ex, it is not wise to make her an enemy. Is there any chance of enlisting her help?


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