Are you missing your child right now? Seething with anger and frustration that you’re not getting time with him or her? You have all the love in the world to share, and, yet, you’re being forced to wait and wait without any end to the hurt.
Time passes and nothing changes. Still you hold off. Maybe you’re afraid of angering your ex and being cut off from visitation completely. Perhaps you think if you push it, you will be attacked in court. Something bad about you will be exposed. So you wait. At the same time, a part of you knows nothing will change until you take action.
Meanwhile, your child is changing fast. Neurons are connecting at the speed of light. Her heart is latching onto someone. Is waiting the right thing to do? Of course it isn’t.
I knew a man in his early twenties. A wonderful guy. He and his girlfriend broke up shortly after their baby was born. He came to see his daughter every time his ex-girlfriend allowed it. Unfortunately, she allowed it only when she was in a good mood. He saw his baby only about twice a month for an hour or so at his ex’s home. He regularly gave her money for food and diapers.
This pattern continued for over a year. He wanted more than anything to take his daughter to his parents’ house, to the park and to his home. He had a car seat and a bassinet waiting to hold his shining child. His ex’s constant refusals to let him take his daughter, even for a short time, stung him every time.
He thought about hiring a lawyer, but the whole thing felt so wrong. He never wanted a custody fight, he wanted to work things out. He tried to be nice, only it didn’t work. When he spoke to her assertively about his rights as a father, she hired a lawyer. He received court papers stating that he had only “minimally” visited his child.
It took many thousands of dollars and months of court battling before he was able to take his child with him for short durations. The court put in place a transitional period of visitation. He did not get full weekends with his daughter until she was almost three.
Don’t miss milestones and bonding opportunities with your baby.
Get going. Get a parenting plan signed by a judge. It will give you and your ex a clear vision for your new relationship as co-parents.
Talk to people. Look on the internet and check out your local library. Get information to find out what’s available. Courts often have a court advocate or assistance officer. Every state has legal aid. Paralegals can be hired to help you fill out court forms. Swallow your pride. Ask a family member to help you afford a lawyer. There is help out there.
Once you take the first step, the Five Percent Rule will kick in and you will move forward. (See blog: June 1, 2016).
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