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Stepparenting- what role?


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  #1  
February 5th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ohio
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So my custody situation is as follows (kinda long, sorry, thanks for reading):

When I was 10 weeks pregnant my longtime abusive fiance threatened to kill me with a knife, knowing I was 10 weeks pregnant. We had had a long abusive history at that point with police reports along the way (he threatened suicide, hacked my accounts, called my friends.... etc). I finally snapped and moved out and mostly never looked back. I moved back to my parents' which was 2 hours away from my son's bio dad. My entire pregnancy he verbally harassed me, claimed our son was not his child, and made me feel terrible. After our son was born, he was not even three weeks old when his dad started bullying me through the court system, filing for SOLE physical and legal with SUPERVISED visits for me (claiming falsely I had psych issues). He filed emergency psych evaluation motions, mediation demands, everything he could think of, I guess. He lied and lied and lied and kept our relationship full of animosity even as I tried to include him in our son's life (invites to doctor appointments, his first haircut, etc.)

Long story short, 35k later, I was awarded sole physical and legal custody of our now 17 month old son. bio dad gets unsupervised visits and is supposed to pay $953/mo in child support... which he does not pay.

In the midst of all this I met my wonderful husband when R was 3 months old. He supported me throughout the entire court battle and my being a full time student. We were engaged after slightly over a year and married civilly not long after so that my son could be on his health benefits (and so could I). He has been taking care of us ever since and enabling me to be a SAHM while I look for work with my newly acquired degree.

How custody ends up working out is maybe 85% us, 15% my son's bio dad. That is a rough estimate- lol. Bio dad has my R every other weekend and Wednesday nights 5;30-8:30 along with rotating holidays. Basically, my husband is the dad R is around most of the time.

I am new to the idea of blended families. This transition is hard for me because it is all so new. I am unsure of how to proceed. Major issues right now are as follows:

1. My son is calling my husband Daddy. I have never encouraged this. I think his bio dad is partially to blame since whenever he has R he drills him with the Daddydaddydaddy stuff. So R just assumes the man around is Daddy. He also calls my dad, his Popaw, Daddy frequently. How do I address this? Should I do anything?

2. My son's bio dad is EXTREMELY hostile. He feels threatened by my husband, and makes wild accusations (i.e. my husband is a pedophile, my husband is a criminal) and will not come to get our son if he thinks my husband will be around. I tried my hardest to make this a peaceful thing. Told him when we got engaged and at that point gave him a chance to meet my husband so he knew who R would be around. He refused until just before my husband and I were married, and he barely acknowledges him. I have overheard him telling R my husband is not and will never be his dad. My ex is not a reasonable person.... how can I make this better?

3. My husband provides for R right now, more than his bio dad does. Health insurance, dental, vision, the works as well as a nice home and gymnastics classes, traveling, etc. He views R as his son and will refer to him as such. I'm not really sure what to do or say about this. My husband is really hoping for a stepparent adoption. I don't think it will happen unless CS forces bio dad to agree, and I am unsure cutting my son off from his dad would be good. I feel it could lead to resentment later and he should know his dad.... even if he is NOT a role model AT ALL he should have that chance. How do I bring this up delicately to my husband?

Thanks if you read all this.....
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  #2  
February 6th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Well unless your ex willingly signs over his rights or you file that he has abandoned your son then an adoption can't happen. Abandonment constitutes as a period of time with no contact whatso ever. No visits no calls no letters and no child support and there is no legitimate reason for the absence (i.e. they are in a coma or in the hospital extremely sick) and the time without contact depends on where you live. In my state it's 6 months. In others it's 3 months. But YOU have to be the one to file those papers. I would explain to your husband that your ex doesn't constitute abandonment and there is no way that you can file for stepparent adoption.
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  #3  
February 6th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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In Ohio I can do an involuntary adoption if bio dad has EITHER not seen child for a year OR not paid support for a year. I can alsi have him sign over his rights to avoid CS. My husband is really the only dad R has ever known full time. He has been around since R was 3 months old.
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  #4  
February 6th, 2013, 09:18 AM
mom2more's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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If your state will allow it you can do adoption. But if he is involved I don't see how that would work. It sounds like your husband is great to him, and no piece of paper is going to change their relationship.

As for your ex, he sounds like a really difficult person. I wouldn't accommodate him with his only picking up your son when your husband isn't around crap. You are married and if he is coming to your home to pick up your son he needs to deal with it. Your husband doesn't have to talk to him or anything, but he shouldn't have to leave his home during pick-ups/drop-offs.
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  #5  
February 6th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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My advice is to let your son form his own opinions and views of SD and BD. My 16 y/o's father was never a part of his life by his own choice. I never criticized him to my son, but I was honest once he got old enough. It helped amazingly. Sean has told many people that Jonah is his dad, not his bio-father. I never let myself or my feelings come out towards Sean's dad, no matter how bad they were. At around the age of 12 Sean decided for himself what he wanted to do when his dad called him out of the blue. Sean chose to not visit with him because of a long history of other stuff that Sean saw growing up. Kids will learn from their environment and will pick up more than you give him credit for even at a young age.

As far as the Daddy thing goes, my 9 y/o asked my DH if she could call him Daddy. Her dad is an alcoholic and not a good father to her. My DH on the other hand loves to do stuff with her, he even went to the Dad breakfast at school with her after my ex broke her heart and told her he did not have time. Jonah did tell her that he would prefer her not to call him daddy because she has one, but they did make up a name for him.
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  #6  
February 6th, 2013, 10:36 AM
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I suggest you make up a new name for your husband for now. Like pawpaw, he can be called papa, or something like that. If your ex is abusive, and likes to drill it in his sons head that he is daddy, then you might be well to pick your battle. Just because he isnt being called Daddy outright, doesnt mean he cant be a father figure to your son.

Also every other weekend, one night a week, and holidays is a pretty standard visitation schedual. Most blended families I know have this visitation with the non-custodial parent. And while you feel like it is only 15%, it is very involved if hes actually picking him up for his time. Even if he misses one or two, he is still considered to be an involved father. As far as spending time with the child is concerned. As far as child support, insurance ect....you might want to pursue that further.
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  #7  
February 6th, 2013, 08:55 PM
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I would come up for another name for your husband for him. It sounds like your DH loves the legal system and most judges don't take kindly to trying to replace a bioparent when they still want to be involved. And they seem to find him somewhat reasonable because they gave him unsupervised visitation. So I'd hold off on the adoption thing. Could get dicey. You can't make someone be rational if they don't want to and R deserves the right to make his own opinions about his father.
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  #8  
February 7th, 2013, 08:00 PM
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Yes, I don't intend to replace bio dad.

But, at the same time, I don't want my son looking up to a guy that grows weed in his basement for income and has three kids by three women and badmouths them all on the regular to their children when he has time with them. He just is not a good dad and I have no qualms saying that. This past Wednesday R started throwing up when bio dad had him. Bio dad turned around and brought him back, still vomiting, to my husband (guess he was ok with being around him then). He is a photo op dad while my husband actually does the parental responsibilities he shirks. I'm about to file contempt for nonpayment of support- arrears in excess of $8000.

I know that what I just wrote comes off really bitter... and know that it is a personal struggle for me. Like it or not I made a child with him and every day I wonder what I was thinking. And I really do think R should know him, my husband shouldn't replace bio dad or anything. But I don't want him being the only dad he knows, because it's scary to me that he would make bio dad his role model considering.
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  #9  
February 8th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJRPete View Post
Yes, I don't intend to replace bio dad.

But, at the same time, I don't want my son looking up to a guy that grows weed in his basement for income and has three kids by three women and badmouths them all on the regular to their children when he has time with them. He just is not a good dad and I have no qualms saying that. This past Wednesday R started throwing up when bio dad had him. Bio dad turned around and brought him back, still vomiting, to my husband (guess he was ok with being around him then). He is a photo op dad while my husband actually does the parental responsibilities he shirks. I'm about to file contempt for nonpayment of support- arrears in excess of $8000.

I know that what I just wrote comes off really bitter... and know that it is a personal struggle for me. Like it or not I made a child with him and every day I wonder what I was thinking. And I really do think R should know him, my husband shouldn't replace bio dad or anything. But I don't want him being the only dad he knows, because it's scary to me that he would make bio dad his role model considering.
If your husband lives with you (which he does obviously) then bio dad isn't the only dad your son is exposed to. There's no problem where you're looking for one. His name doesn't have to be on paperwork to help you raise your son.
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  #10  
February 9th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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They initially put their foot down on Reme calling his non bio parent mom or dad. And doing so would make him sob.. and once ran away in Walmart and hid. As time wore on, his parents were less worried about names and being replaced.. and more about Reme.

That said, he still calls me by name. If he does call me Mom, I respond to it just like it's my name. He calls his step dad "dad" more often than me mom... but that's understandable because he is the one living with Reme.

I don't think you should have to make your son call his step dad by another name at all. I do think that you should make sure he does call his biological father by the same name (dad or daddy), and make sure that your son knows over time that his step dad is his step dad, and his dad is is dad.



I hope you start to see some of that child support. I don't know how some of you guys can go so long, dh was only 6m behind (and it was support he didn't even OWE) and they were threatening to have him arrested over it.
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  #11  
February 10th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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I'm in disbelief myself about the child support. There are people who owe less than my ex that are on my state's child support "Wanted" poster.
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  #12  
February 11th, 2013, 03:05 PM
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only your current partner and your child can decide the names and such that they call each other, and how their relationship will be.
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  #13  
March 12th, 2013, 08:03 PM
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1.) The name which you child calls your DH, will grow, when he is young he doesn't understand the differences between men, and what their relationship means I wouldn't dwell on it too much. When he gets older you can direct him to call him something different if you choose. My DSK sometimes call me "mom" because my DD does so I think its just natural other times they call me by my first name...I always answer to both without question.

2.) You can not reason with crazy. Once you accept that it will all get better. Do what you want to do, and let your DH continue being a wonderful father figure to your son. The more you try and reason with crazy EX the more you are playing into his game.

3.) I wouldn't pursue the adoption at this time, if BD gives up his rights volunterily in the future then pursue as you wish. Your son's BD will make or break their relationship, he will either straighten up and be the man he needs to be, or vanish into the night and you won't have to worry about him. Let your son in time figure out what kind of relationship he wants, kids are smarter than you think.
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