'Forced Visitation' - similar to 'Mandatory Rehabilitation'?
September 2, 2009 4:56 PM Subscribe
Should she make the kids see the dad? The kids do not want to go and there is not a visitation order in place.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am dating a woman (I'll call her Mary) with two kids ages 7 (Sally) and 5 (Kevin). The biological dad (Bill) does not spend time with his kids. He might call on or near the birthday. He may see them a couple/few times a year. He works, but does not pay child support. Mary does not pursue it because "if someone supports their children, they should want to, not have to." She struggles financially, but would rather live without his forced donations. I understand that paying child support and spending time with the kids are separate issues, but it is a detail to consider before answering my question. There is no visitation agreement. After a recent visit, Bill asked Mary to bring the kids back for another visit. They do not want to go because they "will miss Mommy".
Mary has gone the extra mile to create the opportunity for the kids to have a relationship with Bill, Bill's new girlfriend, and the rest of Bill's family (cousins, uncles, parents, etc.). Mary initiates telephone contact with Bill to arrange visits, convinces the kids to go, transports the kiddos both ways (1.5 hours one way), stays (on occasion) overnight with them or takes numerous telephone calls to console them because they think she may never come back. In my opinion, the kids manipulate her by crying and acting out because they do not feel close to Bill and do not want to be alone with him. They also believe that Mary is the only stability in their life. Are they too young to make the decision to go/not go? If you ask them if they want to go, they cry and say 'no'.
She maintains that the kids should not cut Bill/Bill's family off. She does not fear for the safety of the kids, but has told me that Bill does not always put the kids first. She calls him an idiot and has no faith in him as a father which is why she left him. I have a feeling (no proof) that it may have been an abusive relationship. I also think Bill is still trying to control her on some level. When Mary mentioned that we were dating, Bill voiced his disapproval even though he is currently in a relationship and she clearly does not want a relationship with him. In Bill's mind, he is the father of the children and can dictate her life.
Mary asked me if she should make them go to see Bill. I did not answer that question, but I did suggest that Bill should step up to the plate to see his children. She called him and he agreed to pick them up on Saturday instead of having an overnight visit. They agreed on a day and he did not show up or call.
Should she reach out to him? Should she bring the kids to him? We need a fresh perspective here.