Visitation: just or unjust

Hello to all. I am new to this forum. I have a situation that I could use insight with. I am married(in Catholic Church). My wife is divorced(Justice of peace marriage) from a Baptist and has a 4 year old baptized Catholic with him with joint legal custody. He has every other weekend, altering holidays and a month a year. He has requested more time. The law will not allow this so he needs his mother’s permission and we only want what is best for the boy. Some problems with this:

  1. He hates catholics and wants his son to be protestant
  2. The young boy is a great child with no issues, happy, loves his mom, advanced in his speach, reading an math. We feel if it isn’t bkoken don’t fix it.
  3. He really hates going there for reasons not well known. He cries and fights going and is ecstatic upon returning.

We want what is best for him but we feel our best chances of him being Catholic is to maintain this current plan. He is fine in all aspects of life and change brings little benefit to him but the possibilities of negative impact is there. Will denying his request be in the child’s best intrests? Thank you all for your input.

If he hates it that much, I would do some serious investigation as to why that is. Make sure there is no abuse of any kind going on. Maybe try a family counselor!

Based on what you’ve written, it does sound like maintaining the current arrangement would be best for the boy. I would even endeavor to find out why the visits are causing such stress, and if there is just reason I would push for supervised visits only.

I agree that finding out why your stepson is disliking the visits so much.

But don’t be surprised if it’s mainly just because he dislikes having to leave his home, his friends, his toys, and his mother. If he has a stepmother and any other siblings/step-siblings then he probably doesn’t even get to have much time with his father when he does visit him.

You don’t say whether the father is in the same town or if it means significant travel time to see him.

I suspect that it is best to leave things the way they are right now. But when your stepson is a year or two older you may need to re-evaluate the situation.

Unless he is a dangerous person, I hope you and your wife do your best to stay on the good side of the father. Your stepson is only four years old right now but someday he will be a pre-teen and a teenager and you, your wife, and the father better know how to present a united front.

As far as the Catholic vs protestant issue goes - I’ll just tell you about my brother’s situation…

He is married to a baptist woman who swore up and down the children would be raised Catholic…until they were born. Then she did a 180 and doesn’t recall making those promises.:rolleyes:

Anyway, she will not allow the kids to go to Mass or CCD. She herself does not attend church regularly but when they go they go to her baptist church (maybe 3-4 times a year). She tells her kids that they are baptist.

It caused such trouble in the marriage that my brother chose to stop fighting it (believe me he has tried everything incudling counseling - this was not an over night decision). He stopped fighting it in order to keep the marriage/family together for sake of the children.

He still goes to Mass regularly and prays that the children will someday, when they are older, be impressed by his example. Like I said, they all lay around in bed on Sunday morning.

At least in your case, you can bring the child to Mass and educate him on the weekends, weeks and holidays he is with you. That’s more than what my brother has, even though they are still together as a family.

Good luck and God bless.

I don’t see any reason to increase custodial time for the father based upon what you have said. It sounds like that is the position of the court too, but that the father may be trying to guilt everyone. Don’t feel pressure to make him happy. It’s not your job, nor your wife’s job either.

As far as your step son not enjoying going to his father’s house, there could be a lot of reasons for that, and it might not even have anything to do with anything that his dad is doing wrong. I think the change can just be hard on kids. I would just try to remain as positive about your stepson’s dad as possible. Encourage him that you are sure that he will have a good time when he is due to go there. Remind him about any fun things he has done there in the past. Also, don’t say anything negative or critical about his dad in his presence.

When it is a time that is not just before he is going to his dad’s house, you and/or your wife might want to have a talk with him and ask how he is feeling about the divorce, about the custody arrangements, even about your marriage. Let him know that you care about his feelings and that you and your wife are really doing all that you can do to look out for his best interests. I think that it is important for kids to be able to talk about their feelings, so it is good to pick an appropriate time and place to do that.

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