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DK Simoneau often receives questions on how to handle situations.  She addresses readers questions about shared custody, parenting, and split family living situations.  To submit a question, please use the form below.

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March 30, 2008
More Visitation?

My 7 year-old daughter seems to have anxiety about living  with her dad. At
this time i have 70% custody, mostly because he  was busy doing his thing. However now
that he is married, he now  contends he wants to spend more time with his kids(also
have a 3 yr  old son) and is requesting shared physical custody. My daughter  gets very
upset when this is mentioned or if she has to spend more  than 2 days with him. I also
am having difficulty dealing with this  possibility. I am also engaged to someone who
both my kids love and  respect. There father has never done his share of what's needed
for  the kids, I have always dealt with finding the daycare provider,  looking for a
school/preschool.  MOM OF TWO

Hi MOM OF TWO:  Well I don't really see a question here, so I'll do my best to address what I think
the question is.  I would recommend you proceed with allowing your daughter to have more
time with her Dad  Obviously his life is changing and he may be growing emotionally, and may
be more able to participate than he was before.  I would encourage your daughter to have
a "trial run" for 6 months or something.  In that time you will be able to see if she
just has the normal resistence to change that we all have, or if indeed there is some
kind of big problem.  Take it as a gift and enjoy the free time with your new romantic
partner.  I really believe that if your ex is wanting to be more involved you should give
him the benefit of the doubt and consider yourself fortunate that he is growing.  dk


March 22, 2008
Not able to see the kids since remarried?

Dear DK,

I'm just wondering how to fight this.  The ex won't let him see  his kids now that
we are married.  She is making excuses up that  they don't want to see him and that
they fill displaced.  The time  I got to spend with their kids there was absolutely no
evidence.   He hasn't had visitation since June.  He is a firefighter and  doesn't have
the money to pay an attorney right now to fight her.   I think her whole basis is that
the kids like me and she is worried  that they will like me more than her.He is very
hurt by this and I  know the kids are too.  I feel like I am in the middle of this and 
she is trying her best to wreck our marriage.  She is the one who  filed for divorce
not my husband.  Frustrated new wife.

Dear Frustrated Wife,

You did not say how old these kids are, but I assume they are young and not voicing
these concerns on their own.  These things need to be nipped in the bud, and you all
allowing this to go on for 9 months without taking action probably isn't good.  However,
what is done is done.  I presume that their divorce decree has some sort of set
visitation rights, and if so, she is likely in violation of that.  This is what I would
recommend.  I would contact an attorney that specializes in custody.  Most will give you
a free consultation visit.  I would see what they recommend.  I also would contact your
local social services- that should be free- and see what avenues they might offer. 
Lastly, I would really think about what you are saying about the money.  If your furnace
were suddenly to go out and you had to freeze every night, you would figure out the money
somehow and pay for it.  If he cares for his kids at all, he should treat it at least as
importantly as his furnace.  I would not think he's in for a long expensive battle if he
is just trying to enforce what is already documented, but again I would do at least a
free consultation- maybe a couple of them.  One more thing, try to understand that his ex
is somehow feeling threatened that another woman is going to be influencing her children.
 She is just very scared and trying desparately to gain control.  It is a hard place to
be imagining that your kids might like another mom better.  Hope that helps.............dk


March 11, 2008
What if a child refuses to visit?

Dear DK,

My boyfriend has a three year old who suddenly refuses to come visit ot stay over with us. He always loved coming over in the past. All of a sudden three weeks ago he didn't want to and has cried and fought spending time with his Dad ever since. We can't figure out any explanation for it.How do you handle that situation with a child that young? He has not forced him to come if he didn't want to, but we can't figure out what has happened or the best way to handle.  Frustrated girlfriend

Dear FG,

Does your boyfriend have a good relationship with the mother?  If so, I think that he and
the mother need to work together to make this happen.  Maybe the three of them could go
to dinner or something, and then when the boy sees Mom saying it's okay to go with dad he
will go after he's a little more warmed up.  3 year olds do go through some separation
anxiety, so it could just be that.  Imagine being 3 and without your mom for a few days. 
It would be tough.  If at all possible they need to work as a team on this one!  dk


March 11, 2008
Missing my Kids
Dear DK,
 My ex husband thinks that it is not appropriate to tell the  
 kids that I miss them on the phone when they are with him.  Last   
night they overheard a child in the background and asked who that   
was.  I told them that I have to borrow other kids to love up on   
when I didn't have them.  I realize now that that probably wasn't   
the right thing to say but I don't see anything wrong with telling   
them I miss them.  what do you think?  Missing my kids
Dear Missing my kids,
Well I definitely think it's a tough place to be, and a fine line to 
walk.  It is tough on us when our kids are away, but we don't want to 
make them feel like they are torn between parents.  I certainly 
wouldn't suggest saying anything that is going to make them feel like 
they are being "replaced" while they are away, or that you are 
miserable without them.  Kids placed in these situations feel terrible 
guilt.  They feel bad that they leave Mommy at home alone.  They also 
can feel very left out, especially if you are filling them in on 
activities or company you are having without them.  I would probably 
steer away from using the words that you miss them and instead tell 
them how much you love them and that you are looking forward to seeing 
them on "Tuesday" or whatever day they come back to you.  Hope that 
helps............dk



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