My partner wants to take on his ex-wife's 1yo child

(332 Posts)
CalamityJay Sat 08-May-21 01:58:47

TL:DR My partner wants to take on his ex-wife's 1yo child as if the child were his (shared custody, financial support, telling everyone the child is biologically both of theirs). I don't think this is a good idea.

My partner has three children (7, 5, 3) with his ex-wife. While they were separated (but not yet divorced) his now-ex-wife got pregnant with someone else. The child's dad split before the child was born and apparently my partner's ex has no contact details for him.

My partner agreed to put his name on the birth certificate and to financially support this child along with those he shares with his ex. Up until now, my understanding was that that would be the extent of his contribution but now my partner wanted to take on the child (now 1yo) as his own in all respects. He thinks it would be unfair for three out of four children to go to their dad's twice a month and for one to be left behind. He and his ex-wife have now agreed to tell family and friends that the fourth child is both of theirs.

I think this entire situation is horribly unfair on the child whichever way you cut it; however, I don't feel this is my partner's issue to resolve, and I don't think lying and covering up the reality of the situation will be helpful to anyone, including the child once they're of an age to question anything like that.

For context, I have no children of my own so I am inexperienced in this area and don't feel well-placed to negotiate this situation. I have suggested that my partner and hix ex-wife seek mediation or counselling, but I don't think either are interested in that as the divorce was relatively recent and acrimonious. In the meantime, I don't know where this leaves me. Taking on three step-children down the line was one thing but this feels like my partner just had a baby with his ex.

Does anyone have any advice or experience with something similar to this?

OP’s posts: |
Bluebell9 Sat 08-May-21 02:05:15

Are you sure the child isn't actually his?
How long have you been together?

MadMadMadamMim Sat 08-May-21 02:07:01

I think it's a very generous reaction from your partner, who is clearly prioritising the well being of the children.

It's honestly between him and his ex. I don't think you get a say, and you must be a fairly recent partner. You either accept that he has 4 children he loves, financially supports and has contact with or you end the relationship.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 08-May-21 02:07:58

If you don't run like hell away from this disaster you are insane. Why on earth would you want this mess in your life?

CalamityJay Sat 08-May-21 02:18:11

Bluebell9

Are you sure the child isn't actually his?
How long have you been together?

I trust that it isn't (he has no reason to lie as far as I can tell, particularly given he may be taking the child on as his own regardless) but I obviously have no DNA proof of this.

We have been together just over a year.

OP’s posts: |
Weenurse Sat 08-May-21 02:26:47

He is obviously a caring and compassionate man who does not want to single out 1 child in a family and make them feel unwanted and second best.
Either that, or he is the child’s father.
Either way, that is how he wants to proceed, looking after all 4 children.
Only you can decide if you want to accept this, or leave the relationship.

Providora Sat 08-May-21 02:32:40

It's a noble choice I guess but this is not a man I'd want to settle down and have a family of my own with. He's going to have his hands full (and his wallet empty) for a very long time.

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SomebodyThatIUsedToKnow3 Sat 08-May-21 02:38:00

MadMadMadamMim

I think it's a very generous reaction from your partner, who is clearly prioritising the well being of the children.

It's honestly between him and his ex. I don't think you get a say, and you must be a fairly recent partner. You either accept that he has 4 children he loves, financially supports and has contact with or you end the relationship.

This child whether his or not is his children's half sibling. I think he's doing something very generous and I agree not really your business. You either accept him as a father of 4 or you split up. He's doing what he sees as the right thing. And if he's already on the birth certificate and they've told the older DC it's his baby there's no way he should be treating this child differently to its siblings.

dragoncena Sat 08-May-21 02:38:31

Very noble and selfless of him, but what if the ex has another child with a feckless man? Where will your partner draw the line?

dancealittleclosertome Sat 08-May-21 02:44:27

Generous and kind of him and probably the right thing to do apart from telling everyone the child is biologically his. Why not do as Bob Geldof did with Tiger - he took her on but never tried to pretend he was anything other than an adopted father.

sumpplneedshaking Sat 08-May-21 02:47:29

It is a selfless thing to do for a child and his own children but this would make me walk away from the relationship. I couldn't handle it. 4 step children would be to much for anyone never mind someone who doesn't have children and may want them in the future.

Pinkpaisley Sat 08-May-21 02:51:15

Your boyfriend has 4 children. He is legally responsible for 4 children. The children are being raised together as siblings. I’m never in favor of lying to children, but they can be very pragmatically told that a different biological link exists and that is a completely irreverent fact because the only thing that matters is the dad who loves and cares for his children.

Given the ages of those children and the state of his relationship, you can’t possibly have been dating him long enough or seriously enough for i be calling him your partner. Nor should you have any say on how he is choosing to raise his children.

Anotherdayanotherdollar Sat 08-May-21 03:09:49

What a selfless gesture. If I were you I'd give him my blessing... And run

EveryFlightBeginsWithAFall Sat 08-May-21 03:12:48

I think it's madness. If run away very quickly if i was you

DifficultBloodyWoman Sat 08-May-21 03:13:54

Anotherdayanotherdollar

What a selfless gesture. If I were you I'd give him my blessing... And run

Nicely put.

He sounds like a decent guy, OP. He also sounds too enmeshed with his ex-wife to be considering a new long term relationship with someone else (you) at the moment.

In your shoes, I’d leave now because I can foresee all sorts of issues further down the line.

Lampzade Sat 08-May-21 03:20:45

My advice to you is to run like the wind.

ThatIsMyPotato Sat 08-May-21 07:30:58

I would leave. He sounds very kind but I don't think putting himself on the birth certificate and pretending he is their biological father is in the best interests of the child. He sounds too emotionally involved with his ex to me.

ThatIsMyPotato Sat 08-May-21 07:32:33

This early on in the relationship should be the fun easy part so if it's getting complicated now it will just get worse.

FrancesHaHa Sat 08-May-21 07:37:45

If his name is on the birth certificate and family are being told he's the father then as far as the child will know he is the father. If child grows up believing this but sees his siblings going off for contact without him this will be extremely damaging. I'm would imagine that at some point this will become even more of a mess eg the real father could turn up. You can only choose whether you want to be involved

flashylamp Sat 08-May-21 07:40:57

Well someone is lying to someone here. You just need to work out who it is.

Trixie78 Sat 08-May-21 07:46:10

I feel for you, I'd feel exactly the same in your position. However, it really is between him and his ex wife to make that decision and I think it's the right one (apart from the biological child bit, there's no need for that and it could cause horrible issues later. The child will find out one day with DNA tests everywhere!).
If I were you I'd end this relationship. It doesn't sound like he's really ready to commit to a new one and to take this on you'd need to be 100% sure.

KatySun Sat 08-May-21 07:47:30

There is not enough emotional space from the marriage for this man to be in a new relationship. Even with his youngest only being three, the marriage must have broken down when the youngest was a toddler. (Quite how the wife found time for a relationship with another man is beyond me!). That is before you bring the new baby situation into it, which seems complicated.

Fullofthejoysofspring Sat 08-May-21 07:48:12

Were you and your partner together at the time this child was born? What I don't understand is why he put his name on the birth certificate if the child isn't his and he was divorced from his ex-wife. If they were still married then I think legally he is automatically treated as the father though, could that be it?

Marcydarcy7867 Sat 08-May-21 07:49:13

He’s doing the right thing.

You are not by getting with a man with 4 kids and trying somebody shake off one of them.

Hotankles Sat 08-May-21 07:51:31

He could still have as much involvement in the child’s life with out having to lie about being the child’s father.

This smells really fishy to me.

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