A mom writes in asking for advice about whether she should introduce her daughter to her father, who is about to be released from prison. She says her relationship with this man was abusive and she wants nothing to do with him, but for a variety of reasons — including the potential for this situation to become a legal custody battle — she feels obligated to allow him the opportunity to be a father to his daughter. Should she introduce them? And if so, what would be the best way for her to do it and maintain control of the situation?
A member of the community asks:
“How should I introduce my child to her father?
My ex is going to get out of prison soon. We were in a 5-year long relationship that became toxic; gaslighting, narcissistic, and got abusive in final months. We have not spoken since he got locked up. The domestic violence charge caused a violation of the prior case (not related) which ended in a prison sentence. He has written letters but I haven’t responded. I wish I could cut him out completely but we have a 3-year-old (he is not on the birth certificate). He has never met her as I was only 5 months pregnant when he went in. He is fully expecting to come out acting like nothing happened (abuse in final months/ 4 years in prison) and move back in. That is not going to happen but I feel obligated to let him attempt to be a father. I don’t know how to do this.
I have another child from a previous relationship who is 10-yo. She does not want to see or hear from him again. He NEVER physically hurt her but she saw how he hurt me. I do not want to cause either of my children pain. I don’t know what to do. I do not have the ability to move away or I would. He is the kind that would take me to court if I didn’t let him see her. His dad has money and would be able to get him a better lawyer than I could ever afford. I definitely only want supervised visits and try and stay out of court. I have no physical proof of abuse and he is considered a nonviolent criminal (never convicted of domestic abuse) so he would have no issue getting visitation if it went to court (or so I’ve been told).
If at all, how should I go about introducing them? A public place or somewhere more private like a friend’s house so she will be more comfortable? I definitely don’t want it at my home so I have the option to leave if things go wrong. I have sole custody of both my kids, my oldest father is not involved by his choice. He moved out of state after our divorce when oldest daughter was 1. So I have no idea how to go about co-parenting. Any advice would be appreciated.”
Community Advice for This Mom Who Wants to Know if She Should Introduce Her Daughter to Her Father, and If So, How
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“Let him take you to court. It could be years before he even proves she’s his and get visitation rights. In the meantime, I’d be getting a restraining order.”
“I wouldn’t and I would move out of the area. He’ll do something and I’ll see you on the news.”
“Does he actually know he is the bio father? Do everything you can to protect your children from this abuser. Nothing good will ever come from having him in their lives. Contact any legal services in your area, women’s shelters, etc. See if you can qualify for assistance for legal help.”
“I think personally that you should respond with a letter, lay it out so he knows what to expect and then can get over any anger before he gets out. Tell him you’re happy to try and co-parent with him but things will be on your terms and in the best interest of the child.”
“I pray you don’t fall back in that hole listen to the head and not the heart during these rough times coming for you!”
“If a domestic violence charge violated a prior case as you say then you have proof. I would do everything i could to keep her away from him if he is abusive.”
“Contact a lawyer.”
“There are places that you can do supervised visitations. It is a neutral place and safe. You have to draw the proverbial line in the sand so he knows all boundaries. If you do not you are going to have problems. If he is a possible danger to you and your peace and happiness, stick to your guns. Be a Mama Bear!”
“He never did a DNA test so he would have to establish a lot of areas before he gets the parental rights to just do anything unsupervised. The child doesn’t know him & he needs to request visitation. I personally wouldn’t do anything I’m uncomfortable with. Don’t feel obligated until your sure.”
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