Well I Knew It Would Happen Sooner Or Later....


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My X has just e-mailed to ask if he can come to visit our daughter.

It's been years.

He has been manic, paranoid, self-absorbed, self-destructive.

He's left us alone, thankfully.

Last fall he was hospitalized, institutionalized, medicated, stablized, got on SSDI, and is doing much better.

Now he wants to see my (his) 10yo.

I'm not sure what to do.

I really don't want to open this can of worms.

My daughter is in a good place now. But the memories she does have of him are not good. It took a long time to get her to a good place.

How do I handle this? I'm still trying to process it all.


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Yes, carefully.

My first thought was to tell hubby when he walks in the door this afternoon that we are moving.

Maybe a bit rash?

Not sure.


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I have full custody, he has no visitation, but he could take me to court If he wants to.

He has got SSDI now, and since he was actually a high earner for many, many years he gets just shy of the maximum amount allowable. So now he has money. And he is in another state, many states away.


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Well, he asked in an e'mail if he could come here to see her. He is many states away, but he has money to travel to this one now.

He does know where I live. I never told him, but that info is easily available through the internet and he knows all about computers.


Well-Known Member
I really don't want to open this can of worms.
I would see an attorney to see what your legal obligations are. Maybe Lil will weigh in.

Even if he may have a legal right to see your 10 year old, there may a way to challenge it, if there has been a difficult history.

Even if your ex may have some parental rights, there may be legal remedies.

Given the long absence from your child's life, one could argue that the best interests of your child are served by waiting until he is older to re-introduce your ex into his life, especially with the history of abandonment.

Try not to stress until you know there is a reason to do so.

While I can understand why he would want to see his child, it is troublesome that he seems not to be putting the welfare of his child before his own needs. You might have responded differently had he written, and asked how you felt and how you felt your child might respond to a visit. Or even asking you if you think it would be a positive step for him to begin to correspond with his child.
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Staff member
You might request a third party to be present, with minors I believe you can do it legally. You may want to check on it with legal counsel so your daughter is safe.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Have you mentioned this to your daughter?
Does your daughter ever talk about him?
You said the memories she has of him are not good.
Too much time has passed and this could be very traumatizing for your daughter.
If it were me, I would seek out some legal advice just to know where I stood.
If and that's a big IF, he does manage to travel to where you live, and it is decided that he will be allowed to visit, I would not do in your home, I would find a very public place and I would not allow him to be alone with her.
You might also consider emailing him back and asking him exactly what his intentions are. Why after so long does he now want to see her? What does he expect from this? I would also tell him that it took a long time for your daughter to be in a good place and seeing him could re-open old wounds.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.

Let us know how things are going.

((HUGS)) to you...............................


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I haven't mentioned this to her yet.

Want to talk to hubby before I say anything to daughter.

Need to sort this out in my head as well.

Yes, I think it could be traumatizing to her to have any contact with him.

I probably should get legal advice just to see where I stand.

He doesn't like to travel, so I haven't worried about him coming this way much, till now. He is neither working nor job hunting for the first time, so now time on his hands and $.

Problem is, he never takes any responsibility for anything, so he will never acknowledge that he in any way responsible for causing any grief to daughter or anyone else. He is always the victim.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Let's say you get legal advice that tells you that yes, Ex has a right to see daughter. You might want to consider seeking out a therapist/psychologist that can advise you how best to prepare your daughter.
One thing I have learned is no matter what we are facing, the better we educate and prepare ourselves the better.
I truly hope the ex is just "running his mouth" and has no real intention of following through. The good thing is he's in another state. It's good to have miles that separate you.

Feeling Sad

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Yes. I agree. I would get a therapist involved. He could petition to have visitations. If he is out of state it might not be that often. They do consider his history, but if he could show that he gas been fine for the last 6 months or year, then he could probably get awarded visitations.

I would see an attorney to find out your rights. Child custody is often handled by a court mediator. They will speak to each of you separately and then to her alone. He or she will not care about your or your ex ' s wishes, but your daughters best interests.

A report from a psychologist might be requested. There is an age when the child has a vote to say yes or no.

I would strongly petition for a third person from the family or a mediator to go with them during visits if he is granted visitations.

I totally understand your concerns. A psychologists would be very helpful. You probably don't want your daughter to know about his request until it is certain.

Sometimes, visits can start slowly at a set location with the third party present to observe your daughter's reactions and your ex's behavior.

Information is power. Get assistance right away.


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A legal fight iin court is expensive and usually includes a court appointed GAL and therapists. He would have to pay half of that. My son had a custody battle two years ago and my ex mostly paid. It was close to $30,000. Plus your ex lives out of state. Hed have to travel to your state for court.

I think your safe from a court battle and since you have sole custody and he has none you can do what you feel is best for her.

Oh, did I forget to mention your ex would probaby have to pay you ten years of child support on top of monthly child support? They would garnish his ssdi until he oaid up.

I doubt hell risk court. Without court he has no rights.

Lil, forgive me if I gave bad legal advice but this is how it was for my son, although he was in a good place to get his custody and this posters ex is not.


Roll With It
I don't know if I would worry as much about the legalities as about the impact on your daughter. What would a visit do to her, esp emotionally? What would the impact be if she found out years later that he tried to visit but you refused to allow it? Would she listen and understand your refusal or would she be angry and just focus on the Disneyland dad dream of how great it would have been to have had him come back and want her and how you refused just to be mean/deprive her?

The type of things he put her through and how they hurt her would be part of what I considered. Also, will he actually respect your rules and boundaries if you do allow the visit? What happens if he just decides to show up with-o warning one day soon?

Is your daughter seeing a therapist, or did she see one she truly trusted back when things were bad with him? I would absolutely talk to that therapist or find one to ask about the impact of allowing or denying contact at this point before I made a decision. If he does decide to go to court, this would weigh very heavily in supporting whatever decision you make.

In general, kids need both parents and allowing at least a visit or two with you there to supervise would be my choice. BUT depending on the problem and trauma your daughter has been through, I might decide that there was no way in this life or the next that I would allow visitation. This is why I think you need the input of a therapist, esp if there is one that your daughter trusted.

At least the first visits should be supervised, if you allow them. I think you need a neutral 3rd party who knows the situation in addition to you to supervise. This way if you say he did things that were not appropriate, it isn't just your word against his. This can help take you out of the position of the meanie who kept her father from her if things go badly and future visits must be refused. "Therapist X heard what happened from Mr. Y and said that more visits would hurt you so I had to stop future visits until you were an adult, sweetie. I hated to do it, but they said it would hurt you more to see him again. I'm so sorry!" This would be a lot better for your relationship with her as she dealt with things than just thinking you made the decisions by yourself. It takes the feelings you have for your ex regarding how he treated you off the table and focuses on how he treated her, Know what I mean?? I am not sure I am saying this the way I want to, but I think you get the idea.

Whatever you do, do NOT NOT NOT take the blame for his actions. I have an aunt who bent over backward to make a relationship between her ex and their son. More than once she lied and said that his father couldn't come because of a decision she made when really his father flat out refused to come. She also worked 2-4 job rather than make his father pay even the pitifully low court ordered child support and didn't tell my cousin that it was due to the lack of support from his dad. She took the blame for a TON of nasty stuff his father did and years later it caused MAJOR problems between them. They spent about five years in therapy separately and together to work it all out. If it wasn't for the therapy, they probably wouldn't even speak now because my cousin was so hurt and angry about it all. Learn from that and be honest with her, at an age appropriate level, when thing come up.


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Thanks, everyone for your support. Please keep commenting if you have any more thoughts or advice.

I have read it and will re-read it all when I am in a better frame of mind.

I am not quite as panicked as I was, but still concerned. I am not going to do anything this week, and hopefully after the long weekend, I will have a clearer head.

Y'know what irritates me the most?

Adults who want to just sashay in and out of a child's life.

This just makes me so angry!

My bio-dad, my step-siblings' bio-dad and bio-mom, my half-sister's bio-dad. Now my X.

All so concerned about THEIR rights and what THEY want. Not so much about their responsibilities. Not so much about the kids rights or what the kids want.

Ok, done with rant.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I am not quite as panicked as I was, but still concerned. I am not going to do anything this week, and hopefully after the long weekend, I will have a clearer head.
You sound much better today.
Hopefully it was just a passing idea that ex had and won't bring it up again.

Y'know what irritates me the most?

Adults who want to just sashay in and out of a child's life.
Yes, me too!!
My own son is one of them. He abandoned his children at ages 3ys and 3mo. He has tried to get me to tell him where they are living and I won't do it. I made it very clear to him that his choices have consequences and it's not my place to be a go between for him. They have a wonderful step father now who is very good to them and having my son pop up here and there would be disruptive. He has not seen them in 5 years.
I feel bad for my son but my main concern is the well being and mental health of my grands.


Well-Known Member
Unless he goes to court, he HAS no rights. If YOU think he should see daughter, that's your decision, but he has NO custody, hasn't seen her, and would have to pay child support to get visitation in a court of law. He may say he has rights, but that doesn't make it true. It's not true.

I agree that the therapist should help you decide what to do. Unless this man takes you to court, he has zilch legal rights to see this child whom he abused and damaged. And the chances are he'd get very little and possibly only supervised visitation. I also would take daughter into consideration. If she is afraid of him, I would tell him to wait until she's eighteen to contact her...or that you'll contact him if she expresses an interest in seeing him. There is nothing he can do about it unless he goes to court and I pointed out all the obstacles that would present for him. In a custody battle, status quo is very important. Judges don't like to disturb the life of the child. That means he'd be putting a lot of money into court and child support and never get much custody. He simply has not been there and that counts big time.

I learned a lot during my son's custody battle. If he wants to see his daughter, he will have to do right by you and her and pay child support out of his SSDI plus back child support. I don't think he'll want that on his head. The court doesn't care that he is disabled or what reason he stayed away. They only care that he wasn't t here and did not do right by his little girl.



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In my state if the absent noncustodial parent has been ordered to pay child support, you can file against his ssdi at your child support enforcement office.


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In the UK he would have to get legal representation and go to mediation at least. He can't just turn up in his child's life after so long. It could cause her emotional harm.

Outside agencies (CAFCASS in the UK) would decide what is best for the child, not you or her father.

Is there such an organisation in your state, one that advises family courts?