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Not sure what to do...(27 Posts)
DH has been contacted by his Ex of 8 years and has been told that her 8 year old DD is his He didn't even know she had a DD.
She wants to arrange for him to see his DD as soon as possible and to then set up regular contact - Every other weekend/some time in the holidays. As well as discussing his child maintenance payments.
She supposedly told her DD when she was little that DH was her dad but that he'd gone to live with his new wife (They split up 2 years before we met and we now live at the opposite end of the country to her), then that he didn't want to see her as he now has his own little boy So she has had ample opportunity to keep tabs on DH over the years but has never bothered to inform him that he may have a child!?
DH is skeptical as she cheated on him - which is the main reason why he left her. By the sounds of it she would have conceived while they were still together although DH swears he always used protection (we all know that protection sometimes fails) so the child could be his?
What do we do now that we know he may have another child?
If he does, do we have to do all the back and forthing to bring the child to ours and back again since DH was the one to move away? He goes away on business for up to 3 months a year which his Ex has said would have to stop due to their daughters need to be with her father being more important than his work - He wouldn't stop the business trips for DS so I'll be if he stops them for his Ex. Are child maintenance (not sure if that is right?) payments calculated on his income or our joint one?
Argh so may questions that I don't have time to ask. Not sure how I feel about him possibly having another child
I won't be able to get back online until gone 10 tonight so apologies if anyone replies and I don't get back to them until then
If he has doubts, first thing you organise is a DNA test, secondly you see a solicitors specialising in family law
First step is to have a DNA test done, to establish whether he is actually this child's father.
Then, if she is, his CSA liabilies are 10% of his takehome (because he also has ds with you.)
Contact and travelling arrangements will be up to the two parents to decide, and if they can't, it'll be mediation and eventually court, but that should be avoided if possible.
And of course she can't stop your dh going abroad for work!
Your head must be spinning.
Definitely he needs to establish the truth of the story and also get legal advice. It could easily be a malicious claim designed to upset him, restrict his movements and extract cash. Is there anything in your life that has recently changed? Something that might prompt the ex to want to put a spanner in the works?
Even if she is his DD it would be unreasonable to expect him to launch straight into frequent visits and shared parenting. The test is 'what's best for the child' and I can imagine the poor kid would be quite bewildered spending time with a man she's never met, aside from anything else.
Yes, DNA test and legal advice.
Also - what cogito said about the poor DD. She's not going to want to spend every other weekend with a stranger
It's in your dh's best interests to not enter into any discussion/conversation with his ex until a DNA test has established the child's paternity and it's certainly not in the child's best interests to meet your dh until it is proved that he is her father.
Similarly, there's no need for him to consult a solicitor at this stage nor, should it transpire that he is the father of this child, at any subsequent stage unless absolutely necessary to ensure the child's welfare/wellbeing.
With regard to his ex's proposals for future contact, that's pie in the sky as, other than being liable for child support in accordance with CSA guidelines, your dh is under no obligation whatosever to accede to her demands.
In addition, as Cogito has said, if your dh is the father of this child it will take some considerable time for them to establish a rapport sufficient to warrant overnight stays and the like.
Assuming that your dh is not named on the child's birth certificate, I'm wondering whether his ex is claiming benefits and has been told that unless she names the father, she will receive a lesser amount than she would be entitled to otherwise.
In short, your dh may seem a more financially viable candidate to his ex
to latch on to if other contenders for the title of 'father' are unemployed or on low incomes.
Get a DNA test result first and the rest will follow and to avoid any
underhandness confusion, I would suggest that your dh takes it upon himself to facilitate the test with the proviso that his ex pays half the cost upfront on the understanding that she is liable for the full charge should your dh not be the father of her child.
So we did the DNA test and it turns out that DH is indeed the father
Ex is now demanding that DH makes himself available at some point before Xmas so that he can meet his DD. He's juggled his holidays and managed to get a long weekend off for next week
completely fucks up my plans for that weekend but oh well
So now am I a stepmum?
<Wanders over to the stepparenting section>
<Runs back out after reading about all the problems>
Friends that live near the ex say that her DD bullies all the other girls both at school and in the park/other play areas ect
not sure how we'd deal with that if she stays here DH is pissed off that I'm not interested in continuing to try for our second DC until everything is sorted. Apparently I should stop sulking and accept that yes we will still have our two DC we both wanted no more than two but that I would occasionally have to put up with three and that since the third child isn't mine and won't be here very often I will still technically only have two. How/when do we tell DS that he has a half sister, he's almost 14 months if that helps?
I don't want to drive down south to collect the Ex and her DD so that they can stay up our way and her DD can spend more time getting to know DH and her half brother. She doesn't drive or want to get the train and DH will be busy with work so it will most likely fall on me to do it
as, you know, I don't run my own business or do all the looking after of the livestock/pets so have all the time in the world . Car will have to be cleaned since her DD is apparently allergic to anything with fur and can't handle hay/straw etc.
Is it right that the ex is dictating so much? I think she's being very unreasonable
- Can't have the animals in the house or the garden while her DD visits, since she is allergic and terrified of them
will eventually be visiting on her own as the Ex 'needs a break' No, I'm not kicking my dogs, ferret and chickens out of their home while she is here Hell, the yard and barns are near the garden, does she expect me to remove all the animals??
- Our house needs a thorough cleaning to reduce the traces of animals so that her DD is safe while visiting. Again, not happening as I don't have all day to spend cleaning
- She is still insisting that DH spends less time at work and more time going up and down the country to see their child. She doesn't seem to realise that it is completely impractical and very expensive.
-We'll have to do all the picking up and dropping off since Ex doesn't drive and DH was the one who moved away. Is that right, the parent that moves away has to do all the ferrying?
- Her DD needs her own room that she can decorate and keep random crap in. Fine she can use a guest bedroom...Yes, we will now be sending their DD Xmas and birthday presents/cards
Still not sure if DH now has to pay back payments since he was unaware he had a child. It doesn't seem fair if he does since she never bothered to tell him
Is it incredibly wrong to be thinking about opening a bottle of maybe even get out my secret chocolate stash? Really not been enjoying the last few weeks
Ok, I get that you are angry but can I remind you this is a child you are talking about. An innocent child who has been (apparently) lied to by her mum and now her life is about to change. I think you might want to adjust your attitude a little bit here.
You won't accommodate her properly but if she allergies are you willing to let her suffer an allergic reaction just because you don't think you should have to do it.
Your DH needs to help with any changes to the house, it's not solely your responsibility. If he won't then I would understand your position.
Your life IS going to change. He WILL need to spend time going to see HIS daughter.
Her DD needs her own room that she can decorate and keep random crap in
You are going to have to do something about this anger. She is a CHILD and yes if she is coming to stay in a strange place after only just discovering her dad then YES she will need a little space of her own to feel welcome.
I mean this kindly, but rather than making this all about the inconvenience to you, please try to think of the little girl in the middle of all this who has spent her whole life believing that she was not wanted by her father and has now suddenly discovered he's been there all along and has a new family. Also your DH - who is a decent man presumably - who is falling between at least four stools at the moment (you, the ex, the DD and your DC) - and will have no clue about how to do the best by everyone. He needs your support and his DD, in turn, will need it as well. This is going to be a tricky process if you're all going to emerge from it positively.
So find a way to get the hostility and selfish thoughts out of your system and then, as the kids say, 'man up' and work with your DH on how to welcome your new DD & make the best of an awkward situation.
But how am I supposed to welcome her when my work IS partly the animals and all the other stuff his DD is allergic to. The dogs can't cope with kennels and I can't just dump them on my parents. The house, the animals, my business and our DS are ALL my responsibility since DH works all the time. Weekends are the only time he sees DS before bed
I understand that his DD needs to feel welcome ect and I'm that her mum lied to her but it is an awful lot to take in especially when it would appear that everything HAS to stop if/when his DD and the Ex turn up
What would you have done if your own DC was allergic to animals? I can see that you're panicking but think about it rationally rather than knee-jerk. It is a lot to take in for everyone involved in the story but you and DH are the responsible adults here and there will be a way through this if you approach it constructively and as a team rather than let someone else dictate the pace.
Depending on the layout of your house is there a way to keep the dogs away from areas she will be in? Just as a start?
For this to work your DH is going to have give in somewhere. He may need to take a week off to help you sort all this out, it is NOT all your responsibility. Working a lot does not give him a pass on all things family.
I do understand your life has been completely turned upside down but yuo need to try and find ways to make it work rather than refuse to budge your position. This situation isn't going away so you need to find a plan with your DH. A bottle of wine, a sit down once ds is in bed and figure it out between you. (I think it would be acceptable for you take most of the wine )
Wine and chocolate sound necessary to me.
It is hard, but try to separate out your feelings for DH's ex and his daughter. It is not the 8 year old's fault that any of this happened.
As far as the Ex's demands: Under CSA rules, the non-resident parents responsibility to pay starts as soon as the case is set up. So you wont need to pay for any period before then but theres no point in delaying payments after that point, as youll just get into debt.
What happens in your house (cleaning, animals, food etc) is your business. Obviously you won't want a child to suffer but equally can make your own decisions with your DH about appropriate adjustments. I assume she won't be sleeping with the animals so her (guest) room will be appropriate for her. (though possibly not a princesses boudoir!) It may eventually make life more pleasant for both you and her if she has a place to call her own and escape to when she is with you all.
You could point out to her that if DH spends less time at work she will get less money as it is calculated on a percentage of income basis...might reduce her pressure on his time a little. And she cannot dictate his work hours. I am sure she will apply emotional pressure at will though.
I believe the CSA takes travel costs into consideration once contact is established.
It is hard, neither of you asked for this, nor did the child. All you can do is put one foot in front of the other and make it work as best you can.
If the ex is unreasonable then mediation or eventually the family courts are available to you (at a price) but I hope that once the dust has settled she will be reasonable and your DH will be able to sort out a fair and appropriate way to be her father, your son's father and your DH.
When it gets hard imagine how confusing and difficult it is for his daughter.
PS www.dad.info may be of use
Thinking about the little girl at the centre of this, I'm really not sure that coming away to spend a weekend with you all is the best approach to beginning this relationship. Nothing will be familiar to her or you and you need more time to absorb this and lose the resentment I think. My suggestion would be that your DH visits her and takes her out for a day here or there for the first few contacts. This will give you more time to plan how you're going to handle things.
It is going to be inconvenient and at times difficult, I'm sure. You entered into this marriage and having your own children without there being a child from a previous relationship on the scene. I understand your anger and resentment, and both are very, very understandable. However, what's done is done and all that matters now is how it's dealt with. The child didn't ask for any of it, and as adults to her child it is beholden on you, not her, to find a way of making it work and to swallow down any negative feelings on the matter.
Your DH will have to accept that he cannot abdicate all responsibility for domestic arrangements in his life with you in order to carry on as before regarding work while also including a new daughter in his life. Just as you are going to have to adjust your life to deal with this, so is he. He will have to cut back on work a little bit in order to be fair to both children. You will need to support each other in this.
Regarding practical issues - can you build a really cosy outdoor kennel for the dogs? Or ban them from certain sections of the house? Steam cleaners are very good for allergies. You don't have to worry about the outdoor animals and to expect you to completely change your life over allergies would be unreasonable, but I really don't think some animal-free areas in the house and deep cleaning is too much to ask. Would you do the same for a much-love relative of your own? I suspect you would. You may find that her allergies have been greatly exaggerated anyway, in which case, great. But if not, I know someone in a similar situation to your DH's who stayed with his child in a B&B to avoid allergen exposure.
If you can't agree on who pays for travel, etc., a court can do it for you, but it would be better to find some sort of compromise. AFAIA, the moving away 'rule' only applies in situations where the non-resident parent (NRP) knew that they had a child and chose to move away, and I'm not sure it's a legal rule, more a convention made up by parents. A compromise made on both parents disposable income would be the fairest way to split travel costs IMO.
Good luck with it all.
If our DC were allergic? It would depend on what they were allergic to - I'm allergic to small furies especially rabbits/hamsters/cats so we don't have them but I had to put up with it when I lived with my parents since they occasionally bred them. If I have to to anything with the rabbits/hamsters at work I take piriton and wash my hands at lot. If DS was allergic he'd have to avoid the animals in question and/or take something since I can't give up my business or my small holding
and I'd go mad in an animal (mainly dog and horse) free house
The dogs don't go upstairs but get free rein downstairs - Could put in some more baby gates so that she doesn't have to be in the same room. But if I end up needing to bottle feed lambs this year then they will be in the kitchen. Really do need the dogs to stay at the house since big dog is used to herd the sheep and puppy wouldn't be welcome at my parents.
Random crap is also what I call most of the nice but unnecessary stuff that DS has, mostly when I fall over it, so I'm not exactly singling her out by saying it. Giving the house a thorough clean is not a priority to me as I hate cleaning and don't have the time to do spring cleaning more than once or twice a year. MIL loves it and also hates all animals
If a princess boudoir is what she wants she'll get it. I'm not a heartless bitch but I'm struggling here... What am I supposed to say around her and her mum? How am I supposed to act?
Oh dear. I really feel for you, I don't know how I would cope in your situation.
Whilst I realise your DH needs to spend time with his DD, you need to have boundaries set. Some of the ex's demands are simply ridiculous, and if you start off by conceding to her every demand, who knows what she'll be asking for in a years time. (Whilst I hope you can resolve this without confrontation, I think you need to make your position clear).
I think you need to sit down with your DH and discuss what is reasonable and acheivable, what you all want, and what's best for all the children involved, and how you can compromise to get it. Then, when you're both reading from the same page, contact the ex with your plan.
Whilst it is true that it's not the fault of his DD, it's also not fair to expect your life and that of your DS turned upside down to meet her demands.
As for the behaviour of her DD, you need to be prepared to form a relationshi with her over time, one that is not tarnished by the comments of others or you will be on a hiding to nowheere. Try to keep an open mind.
I hope it all works out for you.
Oh bloody hell. What a mess!
I would feel exactly as you do OP, I would be livid with the ex for keeping schtum all these years, springing it on you and expecting you to turn your whole world upside down because she's finally decided to pipe up about a DD she negated to mention for 8 years.
I agree with the others that his DD has nothing to do with all this and she shouldn't be made to suffer because of this whole, sorry mess. Similarly, I would NOT be dictated to by somebody who has sat on this knowledge for 8 years and expects you and your DH to catch up pdq.
I would ask your DH to speak to her, frankly and explain that you ALL need time to adjust to this, that he has had no time to get used to this and she can't suddenly foist their DD on him for weekends/weeks at a time because she needs a break, as the poor girl knows nothing about any of you. She'd be petrified, poor sod.
She's definitely railroading you at the minute and I think you need to put the breaks on, I wouldn't let her dictate when your DH can see his DD i.e. when it suits her and nobody else and similarly, I would be coming to some arrangement re: travel so maybe she meets you halfway on the train. She can't use the argument that your DH moved away because he didn't know he had a DD ffs, this woman is batty.
OP, I feel for you, his ex sounds vile and clearly something has prompted this revelation. She can't just expect you all to start playing happy families with an 8yr old that you knew nothing about and she can't just leave her with you until his DD has gotten comfortable with you.
DNA test has been done bubblenut....
OP the baby gate idea is good and it's worth finding out more about her allergies first. They may be severe or they may not be and something like piriton could help a lot.
I agree with Thumper on this Whilst I realise your DH needs to spend time with his DD, you need to have boundaries set. Some of the ex's demands are simply ridiculous, and if you start off by conceding to her every demand, who knows what she'll be asking for in a years time. (Whilst I hope you can resolve this without confrontation, I think you need to make your position clear).
This is vital. You can be accomodating without having the ex take over your life.
"What am I supposed to say around her and her mum? How am I supposed to act?"
Act like your DH's wife and be supportive. Be yourself and not fake. Be kind to the child and accept her as part of your family best you can. It's not rocket-science
My God, this must be an enormous shock for you and DH.
I think you are right to be anxious. I think the ex has behaved appallingly and is continuing to do so. It seems to be all about her. I wouldn't be surprised if all this isn't affecting the dd very negatively too.
The dd will probably be a wonderful addition to your family life. Really. However, I think the ex could be a real problem. Your DH might be too overwhelmed to see it at first. Tread carefully, it will take time for emotions to settle down.
First of all I think you need some space to get your head around all of this. All the handwringing and 'wont you think of the child' stuff isn't helping. You need to be able to process the 'adult' side of this before you can feel welcoming/warm towards this child (who, incidentally I do feel incredibly sorry for, her mother sounds like a complete fucking nightmare).
Firstly, you and DH need to be a TEAM. You need to decide together on how this is all going to play out.
His EX does not get to set all the rules & make such ridiculous fucking demands.
She can get a bloody train - you do not have to be driving up and down the country because she doesn't want to get a train.
There is no need to reorganise your entire house yet for now you can meet up with them in neutral places. She cannot just send her DD off to yours, Dad or not. He's currently a stranger to her.
She needs telling - she cannot just decide not to tell him for 8 bloody years then swan in rearranging your lives. Stupid cow.
This all needs to be done slowly and carefully.
You don't need to tell your DS anything, he's a baby, it will just become part of his life and he wont ever remember her not being a part of it.
You're right it isn't really rocket science but I already feel like I'm walking on egg shells as I dare to run a business, mostly from home, that involves animals and can't remove every trace of them from our lives without getting rid of my dream. Will definitely have to ask what animals she is allergic to and how badly. Hopefully it's the ones I'm allergic to so we'll only have her fear of animals to deal with. The hay/straw ect well I can get changed in the utility so that there is less chance of it getting into the main parts of the house.
DH is going to be back and forthing to see her then eventually me and DS will go a few times as well but it won't go further than that until everyone is happy
regardless of how much Ex needs a break
I'm a bit yeahbutnobut about about this one. Whilst I can understand how much of a shock this is, try to look at how you're coming across here....
It's all about you. And it can't be, not anymore, do you realise that? He has another child, and you need to get your head around it.
I'm a bm and a sm and it's really hard sometimes. You have to think about your choices now, you sound like you've already decided you don't like the girl, and none of this is her fault.
The ex is being a bit of a knob, agreed. But you can bet your life after 8 years bringing her dd up by herself that she does need a break!
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