Paternity Test was positive .Now what?
11/18/2008 at 17:11 PM

My partner and I recently found out that he fathered a child 3 years ago.  And the dust is finally settled and now we get *parenting time*...... our question is.......How should we (he) start the process of bringing this 3 year old into our family - without completely turning his little world upside down?  We don't have any other children in the home.

Any one else going through this process?



I'd start by staying in his environment, with his whole family as he understands it. After a while--don't know how long, take him out for hot chocolate at a restaurant. Then you could go to the park without mommy and play in the snow.
I'd have mommy come with him the first few times he comes to your house.
I'd never give him any half-siblings on my side.

Or--I'd just pay the child support and not disrupt his family at all if there is a stable male role model there.


This same advice would not be given if this were a mother wanting to reconnect to her child after a long absence. Dad needs to work with the mother to allow the child enough time to get to know, and trust him. If there is a stable male in this child's life, tell him thank you for all he has done. This father obviously wants to be part of his childs life, nothing should prevent that. The child and father have each been cheated out of three years that can never be recovered. Good luck.


Well, congratulations! You should start by being objective and remind yourself to deal with each issue as it comes up without distortion by your personal feelings of jealousy or entitlement. Trust me, you will have certain feelings, such as these, throughout this process. We all have these feelings at times with situations like this. So, just be aware in advance and try to be open minded and put the childs needs first.

Once you realize this is going to be "work" and sometimes emotional then jump in and support your partner.

I believe you should start by visiting the child in his environment if possible. NEVER NEVER engage in conflict with his mother in front of him. If everyone agrees then it is best to start slow and get to know him before you take him out of his environment alone. If everyone does not agree then meet them out at the park or a restaurant a few times to get him comfortable with you.

That's a good start ... Good luck and remember be patient and supportive, this stuff is not easy.


Thank you for your responses!!

The current plan is..... my partner will be spending time with the little guy in his home, with his family there for first two visits, then they will visit the third time at the little guys favorite playland. If all goes well, the 4th visit will be back to our home for the afternoon. Overnight is not scheduled as yet. Keep us in your prayers that the little guy is comfortable and confident with his *new family*.


*just paying child support and staying out of his life IS NOT going to happen. That would just be too hard to explain to this young man when he gets old enough to realize that dad's wallet was available, but dad wasn't.


Picked up the little guy for the weekend.
He is a great kid..... mom sent along his new medication.
1. antibiotic for the infected toe that had 7 stitches.... *mom replied I don't have to tell you that, after dad asked what happened to his foot.
2. Trazadone (?) what the heck!! He is 4 years old and shows absolutely NO SIGNS of depression or insomnia.
Should we feel bad about going to the doctor's office and getting the medical records re: the injury and the diagnosis for the use of the antidepressant?
Dad's attorney will be made aware of these issues.


I'm confused. How is an antibiotic for a toe related to antidepressant medication? Is this little guy taking 2 different meds? And depressed at 4? Dad needs to get a second opinion. Definitely consult a lawyer as you mentioned. This whole thing sounds really strange. Dad has every right knowing what's going on w/ his son. If mom says none of your business and something happens to this boy, she'll have a lot of explaining to do. Even dad can be held accountable if he doesn't look into the situation further.


I was depressed at 6. It could be that the medication is effective and that is why you don't see signs of depression.
Yes, dad does need to know what is going on. The injury--if it is not part of a pattern I would not be concerned, but the fact that someone said it's not your business kind of makes me think it is your business.


We have had the child every Friday and every other weekend for the last two months.
The toe injury though scary looking, has healed nicely and the course of antibiotics has taken care of the infection.
The Trazadone medication is the newest thing going on. Don't know for sure exactly what date that was started, but, he didn't have it in March when we had him for overnight visits.
My partner received the *none of your business* response when he inquired about the injury, and again when he inquired about the Trazadone prescription. Mom slammed the door on dad when he asked what is he on trazadone for, and she replied *his anxiety issue* just prior to slamming the door.
This parent is the one that says to her 4 year old, while he is crying, while getting ready for his visit with us, * I know you don't want to go with this guy*! Our attorney suggested we give it a few months then, go back into court and discuss the issues that have arose.
Dad will be visiting the childs' doctor and medical records after the Holiday.


Maybe it would be good for the child to go back to just daytime visitation, as he has anxiety issues that started after the overnight visits began.

His mom is probably just acknowledging what he has told her--he doesn't want to leave his home to spend time with his bio-dad. You are strangers.

I also repeat one item of advice from my original response. He does not need half-siblings. If you stay in this relationship, you need to be committed to this kid, not have some of your own.

I think his world is turned upside down. I am genuinely sorry.


I don't think it's fair to say this couple shldn't have children of their own b/c of dad having a child from another relationship. I understand how it may complicate things more at first, but it doesn't sound like dad wldn't give his son equal amounts of attention. He sounds like a well intentioned father who cares about the well being of his child. Otherwise, why wld he fight for visitation or show concern about his son's health issues?
Maybe having more children at this time is not the best idea, but when things settle down a bit and dad builds a stronger bond w/ his son, why not? Maybe having more children around to play w/ is a good thing for both dad and his son.
I do agree that this boy is probably exhibiting some anxiety about having to get to know a new family, but I don't agree that he shld be put on meds for it, especially at 4 yrs old. Of course I'm no expert and I don't know this child personally. And as acitez said, she was depressed at 6, so there are real cases that shld be explored further. I just feel that other options shld be explored first, such as seeking counceling w/ a child psychologist.
Another thing: I think that mom feels resentment towards dad for coming into her son's life and turning things upside down. I think the 'none of your business' comment was said out of anger b/c mom may feel a bit threatened by dad's presence in their child's life. I can understand that b/c we can't deny that dad has complicated the situation for this little boy, but we have to accept that he has a right to be in this child's life if he chooses to. It's the law, and mom just has to deal w/ that. I don't think she likes it, but she knows she can't do anything about it.
For the sake of this boy, mom needs to accept that dad wants to be in his son's life. Any friction between these parents will only make the boy more anxious. As for dad, I only hope he remains commited to his son. It's very important that both parents are in his life, even if they are apart. As long as they work together for the sake of their son, I don't see why this young man can't grow up to be a well adjusted individual.


If mom has an issue with the child staying with and seeing his father, the child will pick up on it and this may be what is causing the issues. Dad needs to find out when and why his son was placed on antidepressants. I would also want to know what other options may have been explored prior to placing the child on meds. There is nothing wrong with you and your partner having children of your own. If Dad is able to do so he should consider taking the child to counseling himself. The mother’s actions and attitude toward the father are inappropriate and can be harmful to the child. Dad should notify the mother that any and all discussions concerning the child should be done away from the child and at times other than pickup and drop off for visitation.
Glad to see that Dad has taken the steps necessary to spend time with his son. When the mother refers to the father as "this guy" Dad should just smile at his son and say, but you can just call me Dad.


Thank you for the good idea of counseling with dad, that is an option we will definitely look into.
There are *step* brothers and sisters already, and there will be no more. All the other children in our family are adults and out on their own (long story of which I won't get into here).
I also believe mom feels threatened, only for the fact that, she may have not realized that once dad was named in the paternity case, dad stepped up and took responsibility and did hire an attorney and went for visitation. I don't think she expected what she got. And it's too bad she can't get past her anger from their past.
Thank you for the input folks, we appreciate it!


Things the mom did not realize could fill a book.
1. Sex can get you pregnant.
2. Even protected sex can get you pregnant.
3. If you have a good job so you can take care of yourself and the baby, the economy can go sour and you can lose your job.
4. When you apply for welfare, one of the things you have to do is name the father. This is because my tax dollars should be used to support people in "genuine need," not the b*****d of a man who has resources.

I'm following gail. BYE BYE FOLKS


Acitez, if you get this, I wish you wldn't leave. I enjoy these debates and your opinions. We're not all going to agree all the time. I understand what you're saying, and you're right, but we shldn't have to live our lives in total fear either. It's good to be careful, and safe sex is always good. Also being financially stable is always a plus too when kids are in the equation. However, there are no guarantees in this life. Anything cld happen at any time to any one of us. My mother was a nurse. She never smoked or abused alcohol. She ate right, exercised and took vitamins. She died of cancer. Go figure. These things can happen to the best of us. I'm just being realistic here, that's all. No hard feelings.


Oh, acitec, don't go, we and all the future posters will miss so much if you do! Often your posts offer so much wisdom that can make the difference to so many.


I think the mother knew all of the things listed except for maybe number 4. That aside, I have a hard time finding anything negative in a parent, be it a father or mother, developing a relationship with a child who they have been estranged from. It sounds as if this father will be a positive influence in this child’s life.
I would take this child to counseling, and even invite the biological mother to attend. From the description of the mother, she may have a hard time keeping her emotions, and comments in check. What better way to get her true self in the record than by an unbiased, professional third party?


Sorry I stomped off in a snit. I got frustrated that this little boy is expected to adapt to such a profound change way too quickly. I agree with SnglDad that it would be good for them to DEVELOP a relationship, but not to do so according to some arbitrary timetable. "Maybe" all the adults involved could have the maturity to grow the relationship in a way that mimicked some conventional relationship, with the mom right there supporting the boy. But I think she feels he's being ripped from her arms.

Perhaps the counseling, instead of being a way to document her "true self", could be a way for her to develop the reserves she needs to negotiate this very trying situation.


I agree. Develop the relationship slowly for the best interest of the child. Just don't deny dad access to his son or any future opportunities he may have to build his family (more children, if this was in the equation). We don't know if dad will be a positive aspect in this boy's life. All we know is that he wants to be in his son's life, and he's shown no negative intentions. Dad deserves to be in his son's life. If we saw evidence that he didn't care about this boy or he wld be harmful to his son in any way, do you honestly think we wld offer the same advice? Mom needs to accept the situation as it is. She needs to do everything she can to make the transition as comfortable as possible for her son. Whatever happened between these two people in the past, and whatever hard feelings there are, they need to be put aside. This child shld be top priority now. We all can agree on that.


Like an alcoholic will not change until they want to, this mother will not change until she decides it is time to do so. In the mean time, the child has a front row seat on mom’s own emotional rollercoaster. There is not time to “develop” anything. Maybe a warning from the court or an order for counseling will help her to decide it’s time for a change.


As SnglDad has said, he provides advice based on his own experience, and it is often very good advice.

I would suggest a more generous interpretation of the mom's motivations, character, and emotional health in order that you might develop (and there is time for things to develop, nobody is going to die if we take things slowly) a cooperative relationship with the mom.


I understand what you're saying, sngldad, but how do you force a mom to get over the obvious anger and resentment she feels towards dad? The court cld set all the rules and restrictions they want. When it comes down to it, it's dad's word against mom's. Proving someone's actions will take time in itself. I think this whole family needs counceling (mom, dad, son, girlfriend). Everyone needs to be on the same page for the sake of this boy. That too will take time, and some feelings may never heal. I think counceling shld be the first step to help this family work through their various emotions and to get them to better focus their energy toward what's best for the son. We can't take back what has already happened. I'm sure the parents have learned from this experience. We can only move forward in providing advice that will help this family's future.


I understand no one's going to die here, but a little boy's emotions are at stake. This is a very difficult situation no matter how you look at it. You're right, though. I don't see any quick fix to this situation. Mom can be warned, but this boy already has been scarred. He's confused and scared. Mom needs counceling ASAP above all others. She needs to accept the situation for what it is, accept that things have finally come back to bite her in the butt, and get over her anger. If she wants what's best for her son, which I'm sure she does, she will back off and be mature about this. Dad needs to back off a bit too and realize that building a relationship w/ his son will take patience and time. Although he was not in his son's life for the first 3 yrs, no fault of his own, he must realize that he's still a stranger to this boy. Forcing his son to dive into a relationship he's still uneasy w/ will only make things harder for everyone.


I am not suggesting that anyone be forced to get over anything. We each heal at our own pace, and this mother is no exception. What I am suggesting is that the mother may be causing more harm to the child due to her inability to place the child’s emotional needs before her own desire to vent her frustrations at the father. A court cannot place restrictions on human emotion, but they can impose restrictions on who we can vent those emotions in front of, especially if it may be harmful to a child.

The counseling is a way to get the mother on record with a neutral third party. A report from a counselor to a judge can work wonders in helping people realize that their emotional outbursts are just not worth the repercussions they will suffer if they cannot learn to control themselves. Court ordered counseling may be appropriate as well.
The child is in this situation through no fault or doing of his own. He should not have to shoulder the emotional fallout from a mother who is unable to bite her tongue for a few moments during exchanges. What I am suggesting here is that we place the emotional wellbeing, and security of the child as a top priority. Mom and Dad are both adults who should be more than capable to put whatever issues they may have to the side for the betterment of the child they created. What I am also suggesting is as a parent we leave no stone unturned in finding a solution to prevent any further damage than what has already been done. This mother has had 3 years to come to terms with her emotions and has yet to find success.
If this situation continues the child will begin to feel as if he needs to keep the peace between mom and dad. He will downplay the fun he has at Dads because he does not want to upset mom, and he will hold inside of him the things mom says about dad as a way of sparing his father’s feelings. I have seen this too many times to count. The child turns in to a waste bin for emotional garbage.


Ok, I understand better now. I really like your idea of court ordered counceling. I wasn't sure how that works and where you can draw the line w/ patient/doctor confidentiality. Your right, though. If the parents' emotions continue to get in the way of their son's well-being, he will become the go-inbetween trying to please both his mom and dad. Doesn't seem like a fair position to be in. Maybe if these parents got a wake up call from a real life situation similar to theirs, they will shape up a lot faster. A drunk driver gets sent to AA and he's forced to watch a film about another drunk driver who accidently runs over his own child. This happened to a friend of mine, and it's the first example that came to mind. My friend learned his lesson that day the hard way. He said it was harder seeing that film than it was for him to pay all his fines. Maybe something like that wld bring a quicker turnaround for the parents of this boy.


The agreement that both mom and dad signed is 6 pages long, with all the usual blah blah in it.
We live in Minnesota, and the laws regarding custody, visitation and all the trappings that go with it have changed the last few years.
One of the things agreed upon is *no fighting in front of the child*, and no making the child the messenger. Dad and I don't discuss anything about the mom or the child in front of the child, except for what he wants to eat at meal time.
This post would go on for ever if I was to mention everything that was in the signed agreement....the big issues we seems to be having is the mom's inability to stick to the agreed upon schedule, and keeping her opinions to herself when exchanging the child for visits. Grrrr.....hopefully with time, mom will relax and realize that the child is in the hand of completely competent people. He was with dad all day today, and had a wonderful visit. The guys took me out to lunch, the child ate perfectly, without being reminded. He was a true pleasure today! When dad dropped him off at mom's she asked him if he had fun today, he fell to the floor with a grinning sigh and said *yeahhhhh*. Hallelujah!(sp.)
This discussion, is going on for longer than I expected. And I am learning from everyone here!

Thanks folks. Have a great weekend!


Is this “agreement” a court order? If so mother needs to be placed on notice whenever she violates the order.

( Mom, on such and such date, while picking up JR for my court ordered visit with him, you became visually upset and made several inappropriate comments in front of OUR son. Though my first impulse was to defend myself against your malicious remarks, I refrained so as not to upset our son anymore than he already was.
I am requesting that you refrain from making such comments at future exchanges. Our son should not be witness to such outbursts from his mother. Though this may not be an ideal situation, it is our duty to work cooperatively to provide the best environment possible no matter what our personal feelings may be. This is not about us.)

If mom is not sticking to the agreed upon schedule there needs to be a record of that. As for the order stating that there is to be no fighting in front of the child; what is fighting? Mom voicing her displeasure for whatever issue she believes needs to be discussed at that very moment may not be considered “fighting”, but does present a situation that could cause the child stress. It sounds as if Dad does not comment back, and if that’s the case, it’s commendable.
I do most all my communicating through email/certified mail; this keeps the kids out of the middle, and makes a record of all contact. My only verbal communication may be “JR went to the doctor for fever; medication is in front pocket of backpack. Last dose was at 7am, needs another in 3 hours”. Any and all other issues are through email.


Yes, the agreement is an order of the court. I call it an agreement because the mom and dad with the help of their attorneys hammered out the details before the court got involved. The agreement has been signed by a judge.
It covers everything you could think up right down to, "neither parent shall use derogitory comments or refer to each other as anything other than your mother, or your father."
Neither dad or I are looking to make mom's life miserable. Dad is the one that answers the phone when she calls, he is the one that picks up and drops off the child.

I have another inquiry re: the visitation schedule. With summer coming up, mom has informed dad of the *programs* (swimming, etc) she is signing the child up for. At least one of them is on Fridays, mom's agreement with dad said dad gets the child EVERY Friday from 9am to 9pm ---how does one handle the mom signing the youngster up for programs when she is perfectly aware of the visitation schedule?
She did also say that dad's schedule can go to Thursday instead of Friday. I voiced my issue with dad on that point. He works every Thursday, and also that I don't think mom should be able change things as she sees fit.
I am able to take care of the child on Thursdays, that is not the point.
I was thinking you give an inch , they try to take a mile.


I understand that you and the father are not interested in making the mother’s life miserable, but at the same time there is a court order, and frankly she is in violation of it. This does not need to be brought in front of a judge for each incident; these records are nice to have should you at some time have to go back to court.
The times that the father has his son is his time. The mother should not schedule the child for any activity on father’s times unless she has permission from dad to do so. The mother is trying to control the father and his time with his son. In the future all such extracurricular activities that will interfere with dad’s time must be agreed upon prior to the child being told of the activity.
Dad has a couple of options here. The first option is that he can just tell mom that he has plans and that the child will not make the swim lessons, or he could agree to the swim lessons this one time with the understanding that in the future no plans will be made on his time without his prior approval. If the agreed upon Friday schedule is what works for you and husband, I would not change my schedule to accommodate her need to control. You are correct; mom should not be able to change the schedule as she wishes. Hold her to her signed agreement.


Just curious, is Dad available on Fridays? My husband has enough vacation time that he can take every Friday, but that just became true recently, now he earns over two months of vacation a year.


From my understanding dad is available on Fridays.


Yes dad has every Friday off, and everyother weekend. Everyother week he has a three day weekend off.
He works the afternoon shift.
Dad has had a conversation, and they have agreed that on the weekend overnight visits will be extended to include Thursday to cover the *lost* time on the Friday of class.
The class is to last less than a month.
Dad did remind mom of the agreement, and she didn't have any further issue with discussing making plans on days she knew the child was to be with dad.
I guess we will just wait and see what other issues come up, as the summer progresses.
I have off on Thursday, and will be taking care of the child while dad is at work.


Very nice, sounds like it worked out for everyone.