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You Asked: Do I Have to Put up With my Ex-Husband?

Dear Sugar--

I am a mom sharing custody of our daughter with my ex husband. My ex is a good dad but a terrible person to deal with. He is a free spirit who lives on a boat, his bathroom is a bucket and he takes dangerous sailing trips with our daughter. For example, he plans to sail to FARALLONE ISLANDS which is the ROCKIEST WATER IN THE WORLD - Our daughter is only 4!

I said no to one trip last winter (she was 3) - he wanted to sail to Mexico for 6 months. I have a court order that neither parent can take her outside the United States. It is to protect her from these crazy sailing trips, but at the same time it is against me.

This year I was planning to spend 3 weeks in Europe with my family but my ex is refusing to sign the court ordered permission slip. Do I have to put up with his fit (he told me it is because of the trip to Mexico that I didn't let him make) or do I have some other options. Thank you for any advice.

-- Looking-out-for-my-Daughter Linda

To see DEARSUGAR's Answer,

Dear Looking-out-for-my-Daughter Linda--

First of all, I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through such a tough time, but I give you credit for wanting to do what's best for your daughter. Since you share custody with your ex-husband, he has just as much a say in what your daughter does as you do. The court order that you have says she can't leave the U.S. - is that until she's a certain age? If so, perhaps you could put off your trip until she's legally old enough to leave the country.

I can understand why you are hesitant to let your daughter sail with your ex so perhaps you can compromise by allowing him to take her on a vacation that you agree on so they can spend father/daughter time together. I am not sure how your custody agreement is laid out, but you should talk to your lawyer to find out what your options are.

Since you are going to be in each other's lives forever, you are going to need to work on your relationship. Although you don't agree with your ex-husband 100%, he's still the father of your daughter. I know you are trying to do the right thing and protect her from harms way, but try and think about how she must feel too. If you keep communication open, and you're honest with each other, I'm sure the 3 of you can work on a better relationship where she won't feel pulled in different directions. Good luck to you Linda.


Join The Conversation
cubadog cubadog 10 years
My sister is in a somewhat similar situation with her ex although he would never try to sail anywhere with my nephew thankfully he is too lazy. You need to pay a visit to a family law attorney to have the custody arrangements modified more than likely he will want to avoid court so a mediator should be able to hammer something out. Outside of that there is not much you can do the court order that has been drafted also pretains to you even if you want to go to Europe. A suggested be sure to document everything and keep it in a safe place.
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
Good Advice DearSugar.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
Her safety is the primary concern here. He may be able to just about look after himself on his own on these sailing trips but a four year old girl? If I had been taken on a sailing trip at the age of four I would have FREAKED and cried the whole time! I would imagine she would be pretty much the same! Compromise. Agree to let him take her somewhere for three weeks and then you can go to Europe for three weeks.
LisaK LisaK 10 years
OMG go talk to your lawyer right now. If it means sacrificing your trip with her to Europe so she does not have to go with her father then do it. Her safety and well being she be the first concern.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
First of all, good for you for taking the steps to keep your young daughter out of harms way. Your ex's trips might be great adventures for your daughter when she is older, but right now she is far too young! I agree with the previous comments that unless you make some changes to your custody agreement, you really can't make too much of a fuss about your ex denying your daughter the trip to Europe. True it is petty of him, but legally it is his right to refuse to grant you permission. So your two options are to either accept that the trip is just not going to happen this year, or to go back to your lawyer and try to hammer out a new agreement that you and your ex can both agree on. Good luck!
demeter demeter 10 years
If he is not allowed to go outside the US with your daughter, then you shouldn't be able to either. Fair is fair. I know his trip was much much longer, but it's pretty much one in the same.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
sounds as if you need to consider going back to court to modify the custody arrangement. you will need a family law specialist. make sure it's someone who is knowledgable about international custody issues. it should be fairly easy for your attorney to establish that the trips proposed by your ex are inappropriate given your daughters age. from there he can request a special order from the judge allowing you to take your planned trip outside the country. your ex cannot hold your daughter hostage, so to speak, because he doesn't agree with your decisions. start keeping a diary of all contact with your ex on visitation issues. it should include the date, issue and how it was resolved (on left). since court dates are sometimes set pretty far out i wuold suggest you call an attorney soon (read next week). you should be able to get a referral for a certified family law specialist with international custody rights experience from your local bar association. the cost will probably be about $250 an hour, over all cost will depend on how cooperative (or not) your ex is. this will set the tone for future disputes between you and your ex so try and keep things as pleasant as possible. remember, you have a life time of birthday parties, school events, etc ahead of you.
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