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FB wants to get full custody of his special son...

P.A.T's picture

Hi all,

I'm really not sure what to think right now. My FH came home last night saying that he has decided that he wants to get full custody of his special needs son and I am just in shock. He has his reasons and I'm trying to be supportive but my gosh his son is a lot even on the alternating weekends I can't imagine dealing with every day and now I'm having second thoughts about the whole thing. I'm not sure what to do, I love my FH but not his son and we've had the issue about what he expects out of me and we have finally found an unsunderstand but now he throws me this curve ball. I know I only have 2 choices here, stay and if he get custody learn to deal with it or leave.... I know his son comes first and that's what makes him a good parent but I don't know what I should make of all this, I know nothing had happened yet and to be realistic I would be the one handling all the pressure of helping him through the whole process... i don't know if he'll really  Igo through with it or if he was just having one of those bad days where he talks all big.  I just need some advice please...what should I say, do or even think?

tog redux's picture

Was the statement, "I want to get full custody of my son" followed by "How do you feel about that?"  If not, then cut your losses now, he doesn't care about your feelings.  In a good, healthy marriage, the children don't come first, the partnership comes first.  Yes, kids are important, but a marriage won't survive if the spouse's needs are always put on the back burner "for the good of the children".

Why does he think he can get full custody? Read through these boards, it's very hard to get custody away from a custodial parent unless there is a really compelling issue, such as neglect.  He may be able to get more time with his son, but full custody will be an expensive, long slog in Family Court.

At least he let you know where you stand before you got married. Did you express any concerns about living full time with his son? What did he say if so?

P.A.T's picture

It is very hard because FH is very stubborn in the way he thinks sometimes. After our argument last night we calmed down and I said if it's something he wants it would help him, and I would, but now I'm my head I'm thinking what if I help him and then leave since he obviously wants his child with him, at least he would never be able to hold that against me. I did express how worried and stressed it made me just thinking about it, like the fact that I would be taking care more of the all the legal things, any court hearings, and then if he did win or even get more time then just every other weekend, that I would be the one to take care of the child because I'm the one in the relationship that is always on top of things. It just turns my stomach to think that it's has come to this. He son is A LOT to handle, my FH sister and family members even say it and so has my FH but when I said it yesterday omg all hell broke loose and I was the bad person and didn't deserve to be on this planet for turning my back on his son. A lot of mean things were said yesterday and we talked a little last night but I don't know if things will get any better today or if things are going to be seriously damaged because of this. I'm not really sure what to think or do at this point, I have escaped and came to work but I know don't want to be home with them 2 right now and I really don't want to be home after 5p when the kid is dropped off because I know we'll be having a fight about it again. I just don't know at this point what the right move is because what if he doesn't even go through with it....

Harry's picture

Explained how he was going to care for DS ?  What his role in son care  and what you have to do ?  I can not see how you can go into a new marriage with a special child where you are care giver.  Like he can’t afford help, so gets a free care giver and sex.  Not the man for you.  Without you would he go for son full time ?

P.A.T's picture

I don't know if without me he would go through with it. My FH isn't the smartest when it comes to legal things like that so of course I would be the one dealing with it. And no he didn't explain very much because as soon as I said "I have a lot of thinking to do" he automatically jumped to "the door's right there if you can't handle him!" And I was shocked and we ended up in a heated argument. Things are awkward this morning because of all the mean things that were said last night and his son is still over until 5pm today so I know it will be awkward for a while. I know he'd be a good parent and take care of his son but he would expect so much more out of me because till this said he says "you don't love him" or "you never want to do anything with him, it's always me!" But in all reality I just respond with "he is your child, not mine. I don't have to if I don't want to". We were moving past all of the previous arguments we've had over his son but now it's things topic. 

tog redux's picture

Please, please, please don't marry him.  "The door is right there if you can't handle him" is a crappy thing to say and dismissive of your feelings. It's not your job to parent his son or take care of his legal battles and if he's expecting that, it's just going to get worse.

P.A.T's picture

The sad thing that everyone says it to him all the time that his son is TOO MUCH to handle and he even says it, but when I said it I'm the horrible person! Hes a good person... He wants to talk this evening after dinner time... I don't know of I should agree or just tell him I need time... What do you think?

tog redux's picture

Talk if you are ready, take more time if you need it. But he needs to be willing to discuss your feelings about his son, and your role in his life without pointing you towards the door.

ndc's picture


ndc's picture

And no he didn't explain very much because as soon as I said "I have a lot of thinking to do" he automatically jumped to "the door's right there if you can't handle him!" 

This is a very serious, life altering decision for you.  The fact that your FH was so dismissive about it and has the nerve to tell you where the door is tells me all I need to know.  I wouldn't marry him.  Especially since you also say he wouldn't go through with this if you weren't there.  He can't do it on his own, but he expects you to step up for a child that isn't yours?  A child that even his family acknowledges will be difficult?  I think you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, and perhaps the best thing to do is leave, as your husband directed you to.


P.A.T's picture

There is so much going on that i naturally want to fix it but i feel like i can't and possibly don't want to, i'm tired of fixing everything for him. And now he wants to "talk" today after his son goes home but i don't even know what to say. It is just crazy to me that we were doing amazing and then BAM 2 days into having his son we are at each others throuts.It's jsut crazy to me! 

P.A.T's picture

The sad thing that everyone says it to him all the time that his son is TOO MUCH to handle and he even says it, but when I said it I'm the horrible person! Hes a good person... He wants to talk this evening after dinner time... I don't know of I should agree or just tell him I need time... What do you think?

Rags's picture

No kid, even a special needs kid, should be the priority over the marriage and the equity life partners that comprise that marriage. Ever.

Kids are the top marital responsibiltiy but never the top priority.

If your FH can't gain clarity on this. Find a new FH.

Good luck.

notasm3's picture

Try not to argue. Just be factual and honest.  It’s okay to remind him that this is HIS child. I personally do not think you should volunteer to do anything- especially the legal legwork.  He’s likely to be unsuccessful. If you are involved at all I guarantee that it will ALL be your fault if he doesn’t get what he wants. 

“You hate my child”.  - no but I do not have parental love for him because I am not his parent.

”just leave”  - okay  I’ll make arrangements to do so.  

“You are a horrible person “   Well I guess you will be better off without a horrible person in your life  


STaround's picture

It is right for him to want his son, it is right for you say you cannot handle it.   Sometimes things do not work out. 

simifan's picture

I would lay your cards on the table You won't handle the legal battle. His son is his responsibility. You won't be completing child care, homework, cooking, cleaning. Anything to do with son is FH responsibility. Your job is to be FH's cheerleader not his mommy. FH needs to do the work not sign you up for it. 

oneoffour's picture

If you were not in the picture as in deceased or disabled and unable to help out, what is his plan? 

Who is preparing the legal documentation? Because he hasn't asked you, he expects you to help him.

And why is he expecting someone who has no legal responsibility to his son to take care of him? You have as much responsibility as his co-workers. You are not his wife, you are a possible future wife. And what if you break up? What happens to his son then?

This being said I could not stay with a potential future husband who tells me to leave because I did not want to take over caring for his disabled son while he is at work. That is blatently unfair.

sunshinex's picture

Does he plan on being honest in court/legal documentation that he plans to leave the child with you while he works?? Or that you will be doing much of the care? I don't imagine court would be okay with this. 

amyburemt's picture

being placed in a no win situation. First your dh is making the assumption he can even get full custody. This will take a while and with lots of expense to do it. Second, it's not fair for you to have to watch his son all the time. He made this child with his ex and the child is THEIR responsibility. You can help out every once in a while but when it becomes completely expected then you are being used. It is unfair of him to place the care of his disabled child on you and unrealistic for him to even think that is acceptable. If he is doing this then to me it would be a  sure sign he is not ready to take care of a disabled child at all.

Harry's picture

How can DH work and take care of An special needs SS ?   Who is getting SS ready in the Morning?  Who is taking care of him after school?  Who taking care of him when school is off, Summer, Holidays vacations ?  Let DH draw up a real written down plan !  How all this is going to work!   Then discuss SS being with you full time.  

Make a list of time of the day  12 midnight to the next 12 midnight.  Son is sleeping to 7 am who getting him up, who is dressing him, who is getting him ready to go to school. Who will get SS if he gets sick in school, what time will he gets home, who will do homework, dinner, ect,ect. See what his answers are 

hereiam's picture

I don't know if without me he would go through with it.

If he wouldn't go through with it on his own, he has no business going through with it, at all.

sunshinex's picture

I would state that, unless he's prepared to handle all of his day-to-day care, including school, health, social, etc. than maybe he's best being with his other parent who is handling those needs? Make sure you don't phrase it as "I don't want to handle it" or "I'm not his parent" but moreso "one of his biological parents is best handling it." This is a simple fact. He's a child and he needs an engaged parent - not an engaged stepparent. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to pass off their responsibilities to someone unrelated to their child. 

He should understand that children are difficult at best, and unfortunately when they're special needs, they're a bit more difficult. That's also a fact. It's best for the child to be taken care of by someone who loves him unconditionally like a bioparent does. If he's not going to take care of him 100% and let you choose where you're comfortable helping, he needs to leave the child with his other bioparent who is taking care of him. 

I might sound selfish saying it, but I would be prepared to leave over this. Special needs children take up a lot of time and resources. When they're not your own, it's rough on a marriage. What if you want children down the line? Those children will come second (more than likely, because that's how it goes with special needs children) to his son FULL TIME. That's rough for everyone. 

sunshinex's picture

You can even remind him...

How is this child going to feel when he's taken from his engaged biological mother to be put into the care of a stepmother who he doesn't have the same bond with? If he's taking the child away, he should be the one looking after the child because the child is going to need someone he's bonded with already. He is already likely struggling as a special needs child, he doesn't need to be cared for by an unrelated person on top of that. 

Mystic18's picture

I am in similar shoes.  I don't post on here all that often because I found myself wanting to just bitch daily and that isn't helpful for anyone really.  My hub's autistic son, 6 feet tall, 11 y/o, violent - moved in with us full time in June.  We are on the east coast, bio mom on the west coast.  We get no breaks and our marriage is cracking because of it.  We are in counseling because of this.  His son has not acclimated to our home, acts up with virtually any task demand,  screams, cries, pounds, hits, kicks, throws things, etc.  It's EXHAUSTING and I am at my wit's end.  Not saying my SS is the same as yours - just that I understand completely not wanting to fully jump into that arena.  For the past 3 months, our life has been turned upside down with medication monitoring, teacher phone calls (we're already on school #2 since last month), mental health appointments, IEP's, home behavior mod., the list goes on and on and on.  The playfulness and relaxation we once enjoyed is gone.  Sure there are moments, but a good 90% of the energy we have on any given day goes into this kid.  It's awful. 

The other thing I'd like to make sure you're aware of is how this level of full time care for special needs will also erode your husband, leaving less and less time and energy for you and your relationship with him.  Also as our therapist pointed out just this morning, SS is likely picking up on my resentment/anger over this which isn't helpful or healthy for him in any way either.  Just something you may want to consider and discuss with FH - is your home REALLY the best place for a child who needs SO much extra attention?  

Best of luck to you.  Let us know how it goes.  PM me if you want to vent more. Smile XO

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

When you date someone who has children you have to be aware that at any moment the kids could come home to stay. Be it by choice or circumstances. Consider this your wake up call. Even if he drops this there’s no promise that BM won’t drop dead tomorrow and the police will be leaving the kid at your door.

You may find a way to make the relationship work but you have to figure out how to do it with the possibility of having the kid in your home 24/7. If you can’t then you may want to cut your losses now.

notsobad's picture

Please see this for exactly what it is!!!

A huge RED FLAG.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. Re-read all the responses and know that this will be your life. The choice is up to you.

You only get ONE life, make it for you!

Thumper's picture

What is the diagnosis of your boyfriends son?

When bio dad has 'parenting time' (foo foo fluff word for visitation) and bio mom has residental custody...the likelihood of dad getting full custody is rare to zero. UNLESS bio mom is a flat out in a stupper and kids are removed by cps NO joke. crack head, herion addict, drunk know those kind of moms.

There is a trend where parents are ordered 50 50 shared physical custody. But FULL custody...nope not unless mom is looking at time in the clinker.

IS mom getting ssdi for the boy? Is the boy attending a special school? NOT an iep at school but special school.


Thumper's picture

I am sorry, i just read your summer post and discovered your boyfriends son's 'high function autism, some birth defects" ???? what ever that means.

but plays normal kind of boy. He Sounds very chatty lol.


P.A.T's picture

Thank you for all the responses! It really helps to know that there are people that understand my frustration! So after all the that frustration, it has come out that he will now NOT be trying to get full custody because he "realizes" that it would be a lot of work and he doesn't think it's fair to separate his son from BM! I felt like screaming and saying "No duh!!!" but I kept my cool and now we are sort of okay. When I say sort of okay I mean the friction and frustration it caused has left us in a bit of awkardness and do due this I feel more annoyed when his son comes to visit now. I know is is not his son's fault but I can't help the way I feel. I don't know what to do about how I feel now because I feel like I can't speak to him about it without him getting mad at me and not understanding. I feel like maybe counseling could help but now I question if counseling will even help with someone like my FH who I can't even talk to myself. Any suggestions? 

ndc's picture

I still haven't gotten past the fact that he showed you the door when you told him you wanted to think about the situation.  You're not married yet.  You feel like you can't speak to him without him getting mad at you.  I don't know how much time you have invested in this relationship and how things are otherwise, but I personally would not marry this man.  If you love him to the point that you couldn't leave, then try counseling.  If it doesn't work, maybe it'll make it easier to make a different decision.