Help! My son and his then girlfriend had our grandson in January. Both of them had been living with my husband and I 6 months prior to the birth. We have helped any way we can, providing them with a place to live, food, and anything else they needed. They married in June and we paid for the whole wedding. Now they have separated. They have lived with us since and the baby still comes to me more than his own mother and father. Her parents have done nothing to help. Right now she is working and my son is only working odd jobs because he can't find a permanent one. My worry is that I do not want the baby going to live with her at her parents because of the living conditions there. Her father has Muscular Dystrophy and is not in good health. Her elderly aunt lives with them and has heart problems and cancer and they are all living off of disability in an old mobile home that has sagging floors, electrical problems, etc. There is no yard - it's full of junk! We live in a nice older home in the country with a huge yard and my husband and I both work full time. My son wants a divorce and wants custody of his son, but without a job I don't know. My husband and I are willing to take custody of the baby since we have been there for him since birth. Whenever her parents have him he always comes home dirty, never has on anything but a diaper, is hungry and sleepy because he hasn't taken his naps. They never keep him on his schedule. I am afraid even is she is there with him it will be the same since I made sure he ate, had on clothes, etc. while they have been living with us. My son is a pretty good Dad, or at least tries to be. My DIL gets in her own little world and half the time doesn't know where the baby is (he crawls all over the house). My husband and I are torn over what to do. Help!
What do I do?custody
Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:23 PM
oh, my, does this ever sound like us! with you behind your son he might be able to get custody or certainly you all should be able to especially if they see the living conditions; my friend's niece just got taken out of her home and placed with her over just this type of thing but one thing - just remembered - about your son getting custody, if they weren't married when the baby was born he was told that unless paternity was proven with DNA he had no rights, with them anyway, as biological father even though he, too, had been from the beginning; with just court it might be different, that's what they told him he would have to do if he wanted to fight for custody, which he has the same situation - no job but his parents behind him but in his case it's his dad that has the health problems - he's on home dialysis so I really think that will be an issue there - plus I'm just hoping of course that my friend can get her - I'm just glad she has a nice home and place now plus she has them on her side and that makes a big difference and that comes from her involvement in her life all this time, just like with you; they look for that type of thing even though she's still too little to actual tell them; they can tell by how she acts around you. But I started this to be comparing our own situation - my dil was like that when my dlgd was little; they stayed with us too at the beginning then later when she would come over she would do the same thing - just get in her own little world and not know where she was - she, too, would just crawl all over (or at least as much as I would let her) and things were the same with her family - but, at least in our case, she did get better as gd got older - fw that's worth - oh, and also, with my friend, she watched this up until this little girl started school and told them herself what she wanted so....just some thoughts
Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:33 PM
Oh, dk, I can hear the love, concern and anxiety in your voice. I know that you care greatly for this baby and have a deep bond with him. And that you and DH (dear husband) have been through a lot of ups and downs with DS (dear son) and DIL, some of them quite unnerving for you, no doubt.
While I'm not sure that the health of the GPs or the aunt has anything to do with the welfare of GS (grandson), as long as his mom lives there and is able-bodied, etc, I am as concerned as you about the "sagging floors," etc.
You say DS would like full custody. But, like you, w/o a job, I'm not sure if that will happen. Then again, there are SAHMs who have custody, while the dads pay child support, so maybe the same is possible the other way around. He would have to check with a lawyer, IMO, b4 either you or he make any assumptions about how the law in your state works. Or perhaps he could get joint custody, in which case you might be able to care for the baby about half the time, if he agreed (and I suspect he would).
If his prospects for getting custody look dim, however, I suppose it's possible that you and DH could get custody. It's very tricky, though, especially if the court doesn't agree with your assessment of DIL's living environment. In fact, come to think of it, I'm not clear on how you know where she's living or if you know where she would live if she had custody of baby. Even if she's with her parents now, perhaps she's planning to move.
But I'm no legal expert. These are things I feel you'd have to check out with an attorney. Perhaps someone else here has greater knowledge though. Meanwhile, so glad you brought your concerns here! My heart goes out to you and yours...
- britomart and JanelleK like this
Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:38 PM
P.S. As lizasnan suggests,perhaps DS could get full or partial custody if he can show that you and DH are ready and willing to help out. Again, IDK and you need to check with a lawyer who specializes in custody/visitation issues. Chances are, too, all this can/will be worked out, during the divorce proceedings.
Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:09 AM
Hi - I know all of this is confusing, right now. It's sort of a shame they wasted the wedding money, considering how it all turned out! I do understand why you don't want his wife to take their child to her parent's house, with their lack of keeping your gc in good condition along with having a decent place to live in. Besides, they've lived mostly with you and you don't want to change that. I certainly understand.
Your DS certainly needs a DNA test as well as a lawyer who is into Family Law. I hope it all works out - maybe they could share custody (maybe no childcare that way). I understand your DS is having a hard time finding work. My DS is being trained to be a machinist and doesn't know it all yet, but is afraid he's going to get laid off due to lack of work. He is 44 and lives with us as in this 'training job' he's not making enough money to be on his own. It's getting really old and if he loses his job I'm not sure what we'll do. We're tired, and retired and it's getting quite old. He's been here several years and we're still footing many of his bills. Actually, recently, it's not working at all. You have done so well to have allowed them to live with you and to want to continue to have your DS and GB with you. I'm sorry your DH is having the problems he is. Is he on a donator's list? What are his chances?
Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:47 PM
Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:22 PM
I'm a little unclear on what exactly you are telling us. I understand that your son and DIL are getting a divorce and you are worried about your DIL and the baby possibly moving in with her parents. I understand that you think DIL's parents' home is not the best home for the baby and are concerned because when DIL's parents watch the baby the baby comes home with only a diaper and hasn't had a nap.
Here is where I am unclear. Do you think DIL is abusing the baby in any way? Do you think DIL's care of the baby is criminally negligent in any way? Do you think she is such a bad mother that child protective services needs to get involved and take the baby away from her for the baby's safety? Do you think your DIL is incapable or completely unwilling to care for her baby and that if left in her care the baby will come to serious harm? Please think about and answer these questions honestly because you are saying that you want to take custody of the baby. That means that you will have to get the state involved and will have to be able to truthfully tell them that your DIL either harming the baby or totally incapable of caring for the baby. You are talking about taking her rights as a parent away. Is that really what you want to do?
It sounds like you don't like the fact that there are people who are disabled in DIL's parent's home. However, that is not a good enough reason to try to take DIL's parental rights away and take custody of her child. Lots of parents live with disabled people. It does not mean that those parents cannot adequately care for their children. It also sounds like you do not like the fact that DIL's parents live in a trailer that is older and has some electrical problems and sagging floors. That does not necessarily meant that DIL's parental rights should be taken away. Not every parent is lucky enough to live in a nice home with a big yard. That does not mean that they are not fit to be a parent and it doesn't mean that the state can step in and take their child away from them. There are lots of people who have very poor living conditions but that does not mean they deserve to have their children taken away from them. As long as they are not endangering the health or safety of the children they have a right to continue to parent their children as they see fit. Please think about this very carefully.
I know you say that sometimes DIL can be in a bit of a haze and she lets the baby wander around the home. I'm not sure how old the baby is but that does not necessarily sound like she is harming the baby. My son is a toddler and I'm a work from home mom so sometimes I let him entertain himself while I get work done. Our home is fully child-proofed and it's small enough that I can hear or see out of the side of my eye what's generally going on and step in when necessary. He will amuse himself with blocks or legos or his other toys. One time while I was making dinner he managed to find where I thought I'd hidden the crayons and drew all over the walls before I could stop him. If DIL is letting the baby wander a bit where there is no danger I don't really see a problem. I let my son do that. Also, where is your son while DIL is letting the baby wander around? Does he ever watch the baby or does he leave it to DIL. I haven't seen you say anything about his ability to care for the child.
Please think long and hard about what you are proposing because taking custody of the baby means that you will be petitioning the state to TAKE AWAY DIL's rights to her own child. That should only be done in cases where there is actual harm being done to the child. Is that the case? Is DIL actually harming the child?
I think that unless DIL is actually harming her child then it is much wiser for you to stay out of it and support your son in the custody proceedings.
- JustaGrandma, BlueEyedGirl, proudmomma21 and 7 others like this
Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:41 PM
It seems that you've gotten some good advice for WHATEVER is going on. You've been shown both sides of the coin by our members. All make sense depending on your true situation. We didn't really get enough info to know positively what is going on. The best 'housing' situation ISN'T the most important issue. (Unless they have live wires running all over the place, etc. that your GS could reach).
To give you real advice, we'd need to know more about your DS and DIL - who's capable of taking care of the baby (without you being involved). I think I would agree with Britomart that you confine your assistance to helping your DS get custody IF he's capable of taking care of the baby. I believe you said, "he tries" or something like that and she's in a "fog" and doesn't know where the baby is.
There are many questions to be answered before any of us could give you hard and fast advice. In reading your thread one more time, it sounds as if you possibly want DS to get custody so YOU could raise him. Just how old are the parents? SO many questions. Would you like to talk about them so that we can get a better idea of what is really going on?
I hope you'll come back and tell us more 'facts' - like is there someone in DIL's parent's home well enough to take care of the baby while she is at work? SO MANY questions. Thanks.
Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:43 PM
I do appreciate all of the advice. To answer some of the other questions - My son is 26 (currently at a friends house) and the DIL is 19 and immature. She knows she's a parent but still wants to do all the things her single/childless friends are doing. I know I said my DS "tries" to be a parent, but he really does do a good job of being a father. His son is the light of his life. The reason they have separated is because he has caught her in a lie (3rd time). She again has been talking to other guys on a dating website. He woke up at 2:30 a.m, the other morning a caught her on her Ipad on the site. He is very hurt. Not saying that he's perfect by any means, but he doesn't hide things from her. The house her parents live in = the floors are actually falling in and yes - some of the wiring is exposed. I forgot to mention that he also comes home with mosquito bites (sometimes 8-10) on his arms, legs, head. My husband called me yesterday when he came in from work around 2:30 p.m.and the baby (9 mos old) was still in his pj's (I get that), had not eaten breakfast or lunch and had not had a nap. He was very fussy and she couldn't understand why. ?????? He had been given at least 1 bottle from what I could tell. Yes, he had food. She just didn't take the time to feed him. When I got home at 5:30 I fixed him a bottle, we rocked and he was asleep in under 2 minutes.
Yes I would like to raise him, but only if they can't or won't. I have practically raised him from birth since they have lived with us the whole time. Not that I take over - I try to make subtle hints about him needing to eat, nap or get a bath. My son is better at making sure of these things than she is. I only want to best for my grandson - he is my ONLY concern. We will just see how things play out over the next few weeks and pray to GOD that he gives us guidance.
Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:48 AM
Hi dk - thank you for filling in so many of the spaces in our minds. IF, your DIL's parents' home is dangerous - floors falling in, exposed wires where your GB can reach them that are hot and could hurt him, and has no where else to live - I think it might be wise to call and get an appt with a FAMILY LAWYER - many would give you a lst visit free to ask basic questions and tell you whether he/she feels you have a case. Please know you MUST be totally honest and not embellish anything or you won't be trusted by the court if they find out. IF the lawyer (you might try two to see if they each agree) believes you have a duty to notify CPS in your town so they can go and check things out (they can do it anonymously - tho she will probably figure it out), then you need to do so.
You were talking about your DH coming home from work and finding baby in PJ's, not fed, with no nap. Are they back at your house again? I'm not sure I understand. I can also understand why they are not together. Just think this through, talk with a lawyer and pray. Good to get more info - thanks. Hugs.
Posted 19 October 2013 - 02:39 PM
My son at 9 months did not eat much in the way of food/pureed. It didn't agree with his tummy, so we didn't bother with it too much. Besides, food before one year is just for practice - according to most peds. The biggest concern for me would be the lack of a nap. However, it could be that baby was not ready for nap at naptime. If my son fights it hard enough, I will wait until he has tired himself out more before I put him down for a nap. As far as pjs go? If they are clean, what does it matteor?
I think a lot of the problem here revolves around them living with you. If I had an extra set of parents around to watch my child, I probably wouldn't spend as much time paying attention to him as I do. I would not be surprised to learn that you and your dh have taken on an active role in raising your gc, and as such, maybe your dil feels superfluous. Is it possible that she may not know the appropriate role of mother because there have been more than two parents involved in raising your gc?
Without knowing the whole story, I would say your son should expect 50/50 custody, and if you are so anxious about dil's living arrangements, advise your son to get a couple part time jobs to cover child support payments that will help dil afford a living space outside her parents house. I also think you need to butt-out of the custody talk - this is between your son and dil. (Sorry if this came across harshly, I just don't know how to say it another way.)
- msmamallama likes this
Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:25 PM
I'm still a little fuzzy on why your DIL is such a bad mother that you think the authorities should take her baby away and give the baby to you to raise. I'm not sure why the baby being in PJs all day is such a terrible thing. It happens sometimes with kids - it's not really a big deal unless they have to go to school in them....and even then I've seen kids in my son's pre-school class in their PJs and it's not a big deal. The baby is only 9 months so it's not like he has to be dressed to the nines every day. When my son was that little there were some days he spent entirely in his diaper (because it's pretty hot where I live in summer). Am I a bad mother for letting him stay in his diaper all day.
I also agree with Newbie that before 1 year food is not such a critical issue - it's more for fun and for the baby to get used to textures and flavors. At around 9 months my son was not really eating much and was still mostly breastfeeding pretty frequently. At that age a baby's main source of nutrition should be either formula or breastmilk.
The lack of nap is concerning since at that age a baby should still be napping about twice a day. Sometimes thought it can be tough to get a baby down for a nap. If missing the nap is something that is happening all the time it is concerning. Missing a nap every once in a great while is not a troubling.
As far as the other grandparents' home - if it is dangerous then it might be better to suggest DIL look into getting her own housing. I think it's extreme to run to a lawyer to see if you can take away her baby from her. She might be able to afford something on her own or seek state-funded housing.
- proudmomma21 likes this
Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:54 PM
It does sound like the mother isn't taking care of her child. The child has been hungry and tired from not attending to his needs. I am not sure how dirty he was but it doesn't take long to wash off a baby. It does sound like she isn't watching him or doing what she needs to do. You said that your son is better taking care of him then his mother. This mother needs someone to help her to understand what has to be done to take care of her baby. I wonder if she would listen to anyone that she respected. Maybe she could have some parenting classes to help her.Sometimes there are government agencies that do provide Baby and Me classes. Ours was under the Extension office. There was a grant given by the government but the grant ended and this program closed. Yet, you have given her hints on how to take care of the baby. She is also interested in other guys on the internet and doing things like her childless friends are doing. Yet, she needs to be focused on her baby. As far the family's dangerous trailer, the mother may be able to get government housing since she is a single mother at the moment if there are any apts. available as someone suggested above.
When my daughter was living with us with her baby she wouldn't do very much for her baby. I would end up taking care of her baby because the baby needed care. I would ask her and sometimes tell her to take care of her baby and she would neglect her and spend time on her phone in her bedroom. She decided to move out and move in with another boyfriend and then I believe my GD wasn't well taken care of in her home. She let her roam outside unsupervised at 18 months old in dangerous areas. DHS was called by someone and they talked to her. There were a lot of other incidents that happened but I will not mention them on your thread.
I understand and feel for you, in your worry of the mother not taking care of your GC. I understand the feeling of wanting to take care of the baby to make sure his needs are being met. I would journal every incident of things that seems to be neglect and if your son goes for custody he could bring those notes to court. Put date, time and description of what did or did not happen. Make sure he is aware of the things you take notes on. Take pictures if you think you need to do so. Maybe your son could get custody and you help him. If he does not want custody it would be harder for you to get it but it could happen if the mother is proven unfit to take care of her daughter but you would have to prove it. This can be difficult because the courts usually let the parents raise their children. I have custody of my GDs right now but do not know how things will go when we go back to court. My DD wants to have custody of the girls. I hope your situation will be worked out in a positive way for the baby. I hope the mother and father will work together to provide what the baby needs. This would be the best for all concerned.
- tedybearnana likes this
Posted 19 October 2013 - 09:24 PM
I'd focus on making your son is doing right by his child and ex. Working full time and paying child support, making sure mom and baby have a safe place to live, and learning how to be a good co-parent. Maybe try holding your son responsible impregnating a teen and creating a new life rather than trying to take a woman's child from her because she has the bad luck of having disabled parents and unsafe housing.
- britomart and Newbie8787 like this
Posted 20 October 2013 - 04:49 AM
dk: "Right now she is working and my son is only working odd jobs because he can't find a permanent one".
MMM, are you not aware that there is a HUGE job crisis in America? My DS was laid off yesterday and they will 'call him back when they have work again' - but say it probably won't be until after the lst of the year. Do you not know anyone that is 'out of work or working part time' or that the U.S. is on it's way to becoming a "PART TIME NATION"?
My thoughts are that you can 'suspect' whatever you like, but unless you have some sort of 'proof' that the mother was 'molested or whatever you're hinting at about dk's DS' - I think it would be better to keep it to yourself. You're insinuating things and asking questions that aren't too far away from slander. Go back and read the thread again. Count on your fingers and toes and figure out how old the mom must have been when she got pregnant.
dk: "Whenever her parents have him he always comes home dirty, never has on anything but a diaper, is hungry and sleepy because he hasn't taken his naps. They never keep him on his schedule." Yes, they have disabilities, cancer and what-not - but dk has watched this baby come back to her house with no food, no naps (and, as Brit says, babies that age need at least 2 naps a day for the most part). I sort of agree with that. Yes, babies can be washed, Babies should be washed and fed and given naps regularly. It doesn't sound as if the mom is seeing to these things regularly, according to dk, nor are her family if they are keeping the baby while she works and runs around. She didn't do it before, she isn't doing it now, as I understand it. (That sort of sounds like neglect of a sort, to me.) It's not good when they have to grow up together.
Newbie - dk's DS is 26 years old and therefore, a man. His mother doesn't NEED to tell him what to do. IF he could get a couple of part time jobs, he could find HIMSELF a small place to live to keep his son in half the time. The problem is, there aren't many jobs to be had for a young man around his age at the moment and it's getting worse.
dk - I hope that you read the locked post back on the home page to my group letting you know that you don't ONLY run into grandmotherly types here. Anyone can post and there are daughters and DILs, as well as mothers and grandmothers and MILs. Some have children and grandchildren, some don't. All are welcome. It would be best for you to go by my motto, here. Take what you like and leave the rest.
- Cobaltblue likes this
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:08 AM
Tedybearnana, I would agree with you about her son being a man at 26... Except he lives (lived?) at home with his parents when he has a wife and child, and cannot support his family with a part time job. That doesn't sound like a man to me. It sounds like a child in a man's body. Since his mother is doing everything else for him, I just figured she might consider helping him help his child. I hope everything works out for the OP's son and DIL.
- msmamallama likes this
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:09 AM
msmamallama, I wish I wasn't out of likes. I might come back tomorrow just to like your post. I also wondered about the underaged possibilities of the DIL.
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:32 AM
Well, I'm not certain, DK, about the possibility of your "making sure your son is doing right by his child and ex." After all, he's an adult and not living with you, etc. No doubt, you can make some suggestions about his helping/asking DIL to find a better place to live. If he brings the living conditions up in court, it may impact the case or - and this is just off the top of my head - the court may direct DIL to whatever state agency can help her find a safer home for her and baby.
Please realize that any legal involvement, on your part, could backfire. Even if you merely give DS advice that DIL doesn't like and she finds out about it, that could lead to your being CO (cut off) from baby, later on. But, IMO, the welfare of the baby is paramount. So you may decide it's worth the risk.
But I'm another one who's a little confused about where baby and DIL are living now. It sounds as if they're still in your home though DS has moved out. Have I got that right? Is everybody comfortable with that situation? Is it possible that they might continue to live there, for a while, even after the divorce, till DIL, with DS' help, can afford and is ready to live in a nice place on her own? XILs living together is not the ideal situation, by far, I know. But I know a family where this is the case and it's working out ok. So that's why I'm wondering if that's being considered by any of you?
Now that I know she's 19, I understand the situation a little better. No doubt, there are some great moms of that age, but I can certainly understand her desire to 'do all the things her single/childless friends are doing." Sure, she made the choice to become a mother but, unfortunately, she probably had no idea how conflicted she'd feel. TG, she, DS and baby have a good support system in you and DH! Whatever happens from here on in, bless you 2 for having been there for them up till now.
It's possible, as Newbie suggests, that she would have taken more responsibility for childcare if they didn't live with you people. OTOH, I'm thinking, she may need more time to grow into the parent role and it's a good thing you and DH have been there while she's doing that. At the same time, it's good of you not to try to "take over." But how does she react to those 'subtle hints?" Could it be that she resents them and resists following up on them? If so, if may be better to either, say feed or bathe him, yourself, as when you came home and "fixed him a bottle," or give DIL room to do these things in her own time, even if she doesn't do them when or how you think she should. Easier said than done, though, I know.
And perhaps besides the point in this conversation. As Cobalt indicates, the most important thing is that the situation be "worked out in a positive way for the baby." Like her, "I hope the mother and father will work together to provide what the baby needs,"
- tedybearnana likes this
Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:40 AM
P.S. I see that I was posting at the same time some other posters were. So I'm sorry, dk, if any of my comments are redundant.
Posted 20 October 2013 - 06:26 AM
I have a couple of comments...
DK says that the baby comes home dirty, in a diaper, sleepy and hungry when the baby has been with DIL's parents. She doesn't say that that is the condition of the baby whenever the child is with DIL. That is why I asked for more information regarding how DIL is criminally negligent in her parenting of the child. It seems to me that her parents aren't the best babysitters. How often do they watch the child? Is it usually when DIL works? If that is the case and they aren't such great babysitters then I think DIL needs to find new babysitters. I don't think the solution is to have DIL's parental rights terminated or altered. DK said her son does not work full-time. Is it possible for him to watch his own child while DIL works since DIL has the full-time job? Is there a reason why he isn't the go-to caregiver for when DIL is working?
Also, I do not think msmamallama was calling anyone a child molester. I think she was simply pointing out the age difference between DIL and DK's son and saying that since DK's son was in his mid-20s when they started dating and older and (hopefully) wiser he should have known better. The baby is now 9 months. DIL is only 19. If the baby is 9 months then that means DIL got pregnant 18 months ago. For the sake of argument lets say that DIL is just a day or so shy of 20...so that means she got pregnant around 18 1/2....and had barely reached legal adulthood....Lets say that DIL is 19 1/2. That would make her barely 18 when she got pregnant. If she's is currently any younger than 19 1/2 then that would mean that she got pregnant before turning 18 and that would mean DK's son was fooling around with a minor. Ms. mamallama was simply doing the math.
I have to agree with what msmamallama on that point because I know that if my son were in his mid-20s and was fooling around with someone who was not even a legal adult or just barely a legal adult I would be pretty disappointed in him. I would hope by that age he would be mature and wise enough to protect himself and to not take advantage of underage girls or barely legal girls. Of course, not all the blame should be placed on DK's son because she should also know to protect herself. The difference in maturity level between a 17, 18, 19 year old and a person in their mid-20s is pretty substantial. I was really still just a dumb kid when I was 18 and was nowhere near ready to be a wife or a parent. By the time I hit my mid-20s I'd finished college, was supporting myself and enjoying living on my own and was way more mature than in my late teens. DIL has had to grow up fast and that isn't easy. She didn't even really get to experience being an adult on her own before she became a wife and mother whereas DK's DS was older and a little more mature. I think that was what msmamallama was trying to point out - not trying to imply that he was a child molester.
- PinkRedYellow and Whiteroses like this
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