Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Scared of the Unknown” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Scared of the Unknown” whose new boyfriend was expecting a baby with a friend he got pregnant shortly before they met. She really liked the guy and wondered whether this was a situation they could work through. It’s been a few months now and the baby has been born. Keep reading to see whether the LW is still with the boyfriend and how they’re doing now.

I wrote in a few months ago about my new relationship with “Mike,” who was expecting a child with another woman. I wanted to tell you how much I loved and appreciated your advice, as well as all of the comments (except for the one about my being bitchy???). You (and those who made comments) could not have been more right, and it was so nice to know there were other happy couples out there who started out in similar situations. I have since vacated fantasy land, and we are still together, very much in love, and happy. We took a week-long vacation together in January, which was absolutely perfect, and we are talking about moving in together at the end of our leases in December. It’s been 10 amazing months, and I wouldn’t trade what we have for what I thought I wanted in a million years, and I love you for encouraging us to give it a chance! While not yet the longest for either of us, this is by far the healthiest, strongest, and happiest relationship we’ve ever had. We’ve talked marriage, but we both agree that it’s a couple years away – we are both in our late 20’s and in no rush.

Mike’s baby girl was born three weeks ago, and he was there to witness the birth and support the mother. I have to admit that it shook me knowing he was experiencing that with another woman. I had no idea it would be as hard and painful as it was, and I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been in that situation would be able to fully understand the multitude of feelings and emotions. It was very hard because I wanted to support him and be there for him. He was so understanding, communicative, comforting, and just plain sweet. We talked a lot and worked through those feelings and his feelings in the days that followed. All is back to normal (better and stronger even), and we are working through logistics and what we need from each other.

My update also comes with yet another question. There have already been a couple of relatively minor issues with the baby’s mother thus far (e.g. they had agreed the baby would have his last name, and she changed her mind at the last minute), and I’m not sure how I should handle those and inevitable future difficulties. He has agreed to and wants to pay 50% for everything (including daycare costs, her hospital costs, her additional health care costs for the baby, clothing, formula, diapers, etc.). He is even 100% supporting her financially
for some of the time she will not be receiving pay during maternity leave. I should note that he is not rich by any means – this will be a financial hardship for him. She is beginning to demand more (and more than he can afford), and he is extremely reluctant to go to court because he doesn’t want to cause trouble between them. He is really trying to let this stuff go and appease her for the baby’s sake.

My problem is that I don’t know what to do when this comes up. Up to this point, I have just listened and not offered my opinion or advice unless asked for it, and even then I proceed cautiously, rationally, and calmly. I realize this is not about me, the primary focus is and should be the baby’s best interest. I don’t want to do anything to stress my
boyfriend out or cause any tension between him and the mother. I want to support Mike, but I don’t want to put my nose where it doesn’t belong or cause trouble.

Don’t get me wrong; I have my opinions. I actually think going to court would be to Mike’s (and the baby’s) benefit and would provide structure and eliminate all ambiguity (especially as it pertains to child support and his visitation rights). But I’m petrified of saying it because I don’t want to cause trouble between him and the mother. Just in case this comes across the wrong way, I’m not worried that I can’t talk to him about it. I know I could tell him anything. I just don’t want to say anything when this is none of my business or when it will make him any more upset or irritated with her.

I should say that the mother and I never had a chance to meet prior to the baby being born (she lives a couple of hours away right now), but we are planning to meet in a couple months with the baby when she returns to the area. What I would like is for us to get along and have a good relationship (being friends would be great but I can’t expect that). No matter what feelings I’ve had about her in the past — I have thought her to be, at times, selfish, unreasonable and immature — it is really important for everyone involved to get along and respect each other for the baby’s sake. She knows about me, realizes we are serious, and knows that I’m going to be here for the long haul.

Like I said, I’m just looking for advice on how to handle (or not handle) issues that come up that affect the man I love and plan to spend my life with. I want him and his baby’s mother to have a good relationship with a fair division of responsibility and for the baby to know nothing but love from everyone. I only want any role I have to be positive. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciated the advice everyone gave last time, and I will take whatever advice you have for me this time with an open heart and mind.

First of all, good for you for being open to a loving relationship despite it not being packaged the way you’d always imagined. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy navigating these changing roles in your and your boyfriend’s lives as he welcomes his baby girl into the world and embraces fatherhood. And I’m sure, as you are too, that there will be more uneasy moments ahead. But it sounds like you are handling everything with maturity and that you and your boyfriend have wonderful, open communication. So, going forward, I would keep those lines of communication open and not be shy about expressing your feelings about the situation as it affects or pertains to you. And that’s the crucial part — as a still relatively new girlfriend (of ten months), you need to focus on how things affect YOU and not your feelings about how the situation affects your boyfriend — unless he asks, of course.

For example, if you’re starting to have discussions about a possible future together and potentially marrying and having a family of your own, it would make sense that the custody and child support arrangement your boyfriend makes with his daughter’s mother be of some concern to you. And you can begin framing discussions that way. You can say that if he plans to have a wife (like you, maybe) and additional children in the next few years, he needs to think carefully right now about his financial future. Let’s imagine for a minute that your boyfriend didn’t have a kid, but instead was considering some other huge financial commitment, like buying a house or applying for medical school. Wouldn’t you, as someone who is beginning to think about a future with this person, want to be part of the discussion around these things? Like, wouldn’t you want to know if he imagines having a family in that house and, if so, would he want your input in choosing one? And if he were considering several years of schooling and potentially going into tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, wouldn’t you want to know how he thinks this will affect the timeline of getting married and having kids? If you’d just met or only been together a couple of months, those sorts of conversations would probably be premature, but after ten months together — and in your case, some intense, emotional bonding through unique life circumstances — I think it’s okay to broach conversations around the topic of one’s financial future and how it plays into a marriage-family timeline.

Obviously, your specific scenario is more complicated than just buying a house or applying for school because there’s a child and another woman involved — a family, essentially, that isn’t yours but could be by extension one day. But that shouldn’t mean you can’t express some of your fears about how the situation may affect you and your goals. And if your boyfriend specifically asks what your opinion is about how he should navigate terms of child support and custody, don’t be shy about expressing them, but do so delicately, and reiterate that these decisions are ultimately between him and the baby’s mother.

That said, it would be naive to think that those decisions don’t affect you, especially in terms of building a future with this man. If he’s unable or unwilling to make fair agreements with the mother of his child and he ends up living in financial hardship for the foreseeable future, that’s definitely something you need to weigh in the decision to continue moving forward in this relationship.

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

101 comments… add one
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Good update. No advice for you, but I agree that its in everyone’s best interest to at the very least come up with a written agreement about visitation, custody and support. Is he on the birth certificate? That makes a very big difference as to how quickly he may want to act in getting these issues hashed out.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Ok, here’s my advice. Next time your boyfriend vents about the issues relating to his baby, ask him if you wants your advice or if he just wants you to listen. Its really that easy.

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      • avatar

        Nadine March 5, 2013, 3:47 pm

        Perfect advice.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark March 5, 2013, 1:28 pm

    He needs to see a lawyer stat. Expecting her to be rational here is foolish and absurd especially when she presently views him as a blank check. Which, frankly, he deserves because only an idiot knocks up somebody he barely knows… Really, people. It’s NOT that hard. Use a fucking condom. And use it properly.

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    • avatar

      EricaSwagger March 5, 2013, 2:20 pm

      Totally agree. The LW sees how good of a person her boyfriend is, the baby’s mother sees how supportive he is, but I just see him as stupid. Great person or not, in a situation like this you HAVE to protect yourself. Not having a legal child support/visitation schedule is just dangerous for everyone involved. Things might be okay now but who knows what could happen down the line!

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      • avatar

        *HmC* March 5, 2013, 8:04 pm

        I agree that it’s dumb of the boyfriend not to protect himself, but I don’t think that a legal child support/visitation schedule has to be part of that. A lot of couples work those things out between themselves and don’t have to waste taxpayer money and the family court’s time, and I think that’s a good thing. They should write it down just to have proof of it in case they need it. But he can always get a legal visitation schedule later, if necessary, like if the mother withholds contact. That said, I think the important thing is that he get a paternity test ASAP. Otherwise, if he continues acting like the father (paying, spending time) and a later paternity test shows that he is not the biological father, he could be ordered to continue paying anyway in some states.

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    • avatar

      mf March 5, 2013, 2:37 pm

      Yes, he needs to see a lawyer. Sometimes these issues can be worked out by having your attorney draw up a custody agreement. They may not even need to go to court.

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    • avatar

      Sarah March 5, 2013, 2:40 pm

      If you refer to the original letter, it was actually a friend of his… not someone he barely knew. And they used a condom which broke AND the chick claims to have used Plan B. Learn to read. Really, people. It’s NOT that hard.

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 5, 2013, 2:45 pm

        CLAIMS to use plan B being the operative word… no reason to be trusting something for the next 18 years when you can just as easily trust BUT VERIFY and get it all taken care of and arranged. Plenty of friends have done worse to each other than take advantage.

        If nothing else, heaven forbid, there needs to be something in place should something happen to the mother so you don’t end up in a crazy custodial situation involving grandparents.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 2:49 pm

        There is NO WAY that was truthful. The odds of a broken condom and using Plan B but it failing are the same as me hitting the lotto I think. (not that you were saying she was truthful about plan b)

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      • theattack

        theattack March 5, 2013, 2:53 pm

        *ahem* I had a condom mishap (not breaking, but slipping off), and I took Plan B TWICE within the timeframe and still ended up pregnant. It can definitely happen. So go cash in your lottery ticket, LBH. haha

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Really? Sorry to have said it then. I’m seriously surprised though. Is plan B really not that good?

        (thanks for not saying I made an asshole assumption)

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      • theattack

        theattack March 5, 2013, 3:03 pm

        haha, No I get it. Didn’t hurt my feelings at all. It is HIGHLY unlikely to happen, I definitely recognize that. I think I probably just got pregnant immediately after the mishap so Plan B couldn’t have worked. I come from a long line of super fertile women, so my body was just stronger than the meds I think. Of course, it’s easier to lie and say that you took all the precautions if you’re under scrutiny than it is to tell the truth, but I can’t totally discount what this woman said as false because I’ve been there.

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      • avatar

        Elle Marie March 5, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I think Plan B has something like an 80% effectiveness, but it’s more effective the sooner you take it. If you have to drive to the store, wait in line, buy it and come home before taking it, or if you have to wait until the next morning (or later) to get to a store that sells it, that delays taking it as soon as possible.

        Basically, my understanding is that Plan B works by interrupting ovulation. If your body has already ovulated, then Plan B will not be effective. The thing to keep in mind is that while 80% is very good, the remaining 20% (1 in 5 users) may experience a pregnancy.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:10 pm

        thanks!

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      • theattack

        theattack March 5, 2013, 3:15 pm

        And this is the issue with living in a rural area. I had to use precious time to go to multiple pharmacies to find someone who carried it (conservative, Christian area), and I ended up having to drive to another town to get it. I don’t know if it would have worked without all of that mumbojumbo, but it’s possible.

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 5, 2013, 3:15 pm

        So basically, keep a stash in the house in case the condom breaks?

        I kid, I kid. Sort of. I had to use it twice due to a condom break. He always checked after we had sex. Luckily, it worked.

        And please know that I’m not advocating Plan B as your primary form of birth control. Overly sensitve people, don’t go crazy on me.

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      • theattack

        theattack March 5, 2013, 3:18 pm

        That is so irresponsible of you to suggest that Plan B is good for your only birth control. I can’t believe you would ever say that 😉

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 5, 2013, 3:00 pm

        You are clearly magical theattack 🙂

        Feel free to share those lotto winnings LBH!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:02 pm

        I’ve decided to donate my winnings to creating a better condom. One that just stays on forever and never breaks 🙂

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ March 5, 2013, 6:38 pm

        I hear you. I’ve got one kid that’s the result of a perfectly good condom and two kids that were the result of birth control pills (that were deemed ineffective thanks to interactions with other medications!). All of this after my parents were told that I’d never give them grandchildren when I was a baby because of surgery I’d had after I was born.

        Nothing is 100% effective except for abstinence (unless you happen to be the Virgin Mary or Anakin Skywalker’s mother) and death.

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      • avatar

        EB March 5, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Yeah but if I remember correctly they also had unprotected sex another time after said condom broke since they figured, “What the hell she is going to take take plan b…”

        And in my opinion “the learn to read” part was kind of unnecessarily condescending

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      • avatar

        EB March 5, 2013, 3:00 pm

        Yeah just double checked and the LW’s update near the end of the comments says they did have unprotected sex in addition to the condom breaking incident

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 5, 2013, 7:59 pm

        Oh, well so long as they were well acquainted in the most casual sense. Yee Haw! Babies for every one!!

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    • lynn

      Lynn March 5, 2013, 2:40 pm

      In agreement about the lawyer. But one correction — he had been friends with the girl since HS.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 1:30 pm

    In my opinion, he should definitely petition for paternity and draw up a formal document outlining child support and vistiation rights. You could try to keep courts out of it, but I think in the long run it will end up messier. If for some reason the mother decides to end visitation etc I beleive it will make things easier for your BF if he has already established (legally) a roll in this childs life. Obviously I’m not an expert- but I do have two uncles currently battling the mother’s of their children for visitation and it is not pretty. Both women as blatantly disregarding court orders, with holding visitation, etc and no one saw the terrible ways they are acting coming. So, protect yourself.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 1:31 pm

      Oh, and kudos to you for trying to do the right thing. If you’re seriously talking about comining your lives (moving in together or marriage) you get to voice your oppinion.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 1:42 pm

      “Both women ARE blatantly disregarding court orders”

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  • theattack

    theattack March 5, 2013, 1:38 pm

    I think it’s pretty unwise to go about visitation and child support informally. These situations are so volatile, and what’s working now might not always work in the future. People really need to protect themselves legally. I don’t think it’s overstepping your boundaries to mention to him that you think it would be wise to legally establish these things. If he doesn’t like the idea, it’s his call, but you could mention to him that you are seeing a lot of risks in not taking action, and presuming he wants to see his child, those risks could be pretty steep. At least ask him if he’ll go to a consultation with a lawyer.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar March 5, 2013, 1:49 pm

    I think you are right. Certainty the courts give in custody and support arrangements is best for all parties. It allows him to budget accordingly for his needs and responsibilities and the mother to budget for her and the baby’s needs if the baby lives with her. This is someone you have open and honest communication with – tell him what you think…particularly in light of conversations about moving in and having a future. It just makes good sense all around. And if he needs to couch it gently to the mother he can tell her he is getting his affairs in order now that he is a father and his accountant/lawyer/financial advisor has advised him to solidify his responsibilities to his child – so that is what he is doing. Caring for his child is his responsibility…but 100% supporting the mother? Having a baby doesn’t absolve someone from the responsibility of looking after themselves…and their child. And I say this as someone who will be covering my share of my house hold bills post baby the same way I do now.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 1:51 pm

      I’ll further that point by adding that child support paid by the parent who the child does not live with full time is usually (in my experiences, at least) a percentage of their income that is WAY less than 50%, in fact, less than 20%. Why is that? Because its presumed that the parent with the child full time is also contributing to the child’s costs.

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      • FireStar

        Firestar March 5, 2013, 1:57 pm

        As it should be. He sounds like a nice guy but he does no one any favours by being taken advantage of. That baby should have the example of both parents loving and supporting her.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary March 5, 2013, 2:00 pm

    I think that Wendy has great advice. You have a right to voice your opinion and wonder how you fit into this situation. If you are going to solidify moving in with your boyfriend, you have every right to talk frankly about finances. I think you and your boyfriend have done an amazing job of dealing with this non-traditional family dynamic. I agree with everyone else that your boyfriend should get something in writing about visitation/child support. It doesn’t always need to be some scary courtroom battle. A lot of times it’s mediation where your boyfriend would be in a room with the mother of the child and one other person. Just to get something down in writing is important. It is also important to have child support officially established so that your boyfriend has proof of the amount of money he is giving to support the child and where it is going. Theoretically, the mother could say “I’ve been supporting this child on my own I want full custody”. While this is unlikely, it’s not unheard of. These are steps people take to protect themselves and protect the child. Good luck with the situation, and I’m sure we would all love to hear another update!

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Sorry I’m not sorry. It is rude to insinuate that she trapped him. I doubt she is living her dream life either.

    Your boyfriend needs to go to an attorney. How often does he see his daughter? I’m assuming there was DNA testing? Visitation should be figured out as well.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 2:57 pm

      Second the DNA test. Some might take it as harsh, since they agree they had sex around the time of conception, but better safe then sorry.

      My cousin just signed assuming parental rights for a child he doesn’t know is his biologically and he has no real relationship with the mother. She was apparently sleeping with my cousin and a guy she was breaking up with alternatively or something. He’s now legally obligated to take care of this child indefinitely. Cray.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Did you know that (and my facts are a little messy, but mostly correct, or at least were correct when I was still in school) if your wife has a baby, and you believe it to be yours for at least 6 months, you are on the hook for good, even if you prove that she duped you. Its that you “held yourself out” to be the parent. Totally crazy!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 3:18 pm

        DUH LBH – have you not been following the Kris Humphries, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West drama? Kris will be presumed to be the father (assuming they’re still married when she gives birth).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:21 pm

        Idk about all that, but what I do know is Kim Kardashian really is a pretty awesome and smart young woman. I’d go so far as to say role model even. I think its great we’re all lucky enough to be exposed to her on tv.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 3:18 pm

        Yup, I beleive it. I just found out PA has enacted legislation where an unmarried woman can not just list a man on the birth certificate, the man has to sign an acknowledgement of paternity. I personally think it is a great idea.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 3:19 pm

        GREAT idea.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:22 pm

        If he doesn’t want to be on it, good luck getting him to sign that or forcing him to show for court about it.
        (Not saying there isn’t a huge upside to it, ftr.)

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Apparently the woman can pettition for paternity testing and a man can be suppenoda for DNA testing if he was refusing to sign the parternity agreement. So she has legal avenues to “force” a guy into being the father legally. Just as the father has legal avenues to prove or disprove paternity.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:50 pm

        That’s exactly what I meant good luck on accomplishing. Its fairly easy for some people to ignore a subpoena.

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    • avatar

      EB March 5, 2013, 3:04 pm

      The only thing more pathetic than a woman trying to a trap a guy into fatherhood, is a guy dumb enough to get “trapped”.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 3:06 pm

      I concur.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 3:19 pm

        With which part? Keeping talkin’ to me baby.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 3:33 pm

        That he should get custody/visitation and child support set in stone.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 3:34 pm

        Lame. I thought you were concurring about how it’s rude to insinuate she trapped him.

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      • avatar

        Lydia March 6, 2013, 4:51 am

        I concur with that.

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  • Jess

    Jess March 5, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Idea: Could they go to a mediator or lawyer to have a custody arrangement established WITHOUT going to court and petitioning for custody? Seems like there is a way to reach an agreement and have it legalized without the need for an expensive, emotional custody case.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 5, 2013, 2:47 pm

      yeh, there is. It definitely depends on the state but not everything is a dramatic court scene. And since the mother and the father are seemingly on good terms about their visitation agreement, all they need to do is finalize it.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. March 5, 2013, 2:41 pm

    I would advise your BF to talk to an attorney and get everything in writing. It sounds to me like the woman is taking advantage of him. I have seen it happen many times. He does have an obligation to take care of the child, and paying half of the birth expenses is definitely the right thing to do, but he doesn’t have to be her meal ticket for the rest of her life. And he shouldn’t be afraid to talk to her about these things. Like we always tell people on this site, if you can’t talk about your problems, there is something not right about the relationship. And he will have to maintain some kind of relationship with her for the sake of the child. Maybe nothing bad will happen. Maybe they’ll be gloriously civil for the rest of their lives and never see the inside of a courtroom. But you never know.

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  • avatar

    MMcG March 5, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Not to be a lawyer and all… but this guy needs to go to Court. I wish people didn’t think court = terrible relationship and drama. In many cases it can be a place to get good advice and sort through important legal issues.

    Like my contracts professor used to say. Contracts aren’t for when things work out, it’s for when things don’t just in case. That goes double for child custody and visitation issues.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Yes agreed! I don’t think it needs to be this big dramatic “I’m taking you to court!” More just “lets get everything in writing so there’s no confusing and hurt feelings”. If anything they need to do it for visitation – who gets the holidays?

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 5, 2013, 2:59 pm

        Exactly IWTTS!

        Most people would never buy a house or transfer property and fail to record the deed because doing so would be offensive to the old owners or indicate that you didn’t trust them. That’s the proper thing to do to protect ALL parties! I had to go to a courthouse to get papers to get married. Hell many places you have to go to the Courthouse to get your dog licensed. It’s not a scary place, it’s a boring municipal building with lots of paperwork that has been glamorized by TV shows.

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  • avatar

    ktfran March 5, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Just to add to everyone else’s advice, I would have your boyfriend, LW, keep a record of what he’s contributing now. That will only help him if things become contentious. I also echo pretty much what everyone else says.

    And, kudos to you for handling everything so well. This dude is lucky to have you in his life.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl March 5, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Tell him to get a lawyer and a paternity test. Don’t leave things up to good faith because I’m guessing that Homey Mama don’t play that game. While I may be mistaken, I’m feeling like the mama thought Mike would be her Golden Ticket to marriage and baby before you came along.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 2:58 pm

      I believe its “dat game.”

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    • avatar

      No_Clever_Name_Yet March 5, 2013, 3:22 pm

      I agree with landygirl completely. This could really be a case of the woman going after whichever man is most gullible and willing to support her. I think the man should make sure the child is his by getting a paternity test and then decide (with legal help!) whether he wants to be on the hook for all kinds of child support. This is serious money and should not be done lightly!

      Once he starts supporting her, the courts might make him pay even if he is not the father. He should be really careful not to get snookered.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:33 pm

        All these ‘she’s after his money’ and ‘trapped’ comments leave a really sour taste in my mouth.

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      • avatar

        No_Clever_Name_Yet March 5, 2013, 8:04 pm

        You should first pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to your ex-spouse over 10 years and then see what taste that leaves in your mouth. 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:26 am

        I don’t really get your argument. If you have a child with someone, you SHOULD be taking care of your child financially. That’s what child support is. Its not here’s some cash for the kiddo, but here’s some extra for you too. You’re not paying your ex-spouse, you are giving money to support your own child. I find people who make comments like that are bitter.

        A man cannot be trapped into having a child. He can be stupid and careless, but not trapped.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 5, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Yes, he definitely needs to get things worked out with a lawyer! People lie that’s that. My friends baby mama works at a daycare, and there kid goes to this daycare, and he has been paying half of the bill, but she has been lying to him about the cost, she did not disclose that she gets a %50 discount. So now that her pissed off ex-boyfriend called him to let him know this little secret, and some other shady things she has been doing, he now has a court date (unfortunately not until Dec.) to see if he can get the $5,000.00 she owes him.

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      No_Clever_Name_Yet March 5, 2013, 4:26 pm

      If he can prove it by date, the Family Law court can order her to pay. Or reduce his future obligations. If he is really lucky, she will piss off the judge and get slapped with stiff penalties.

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    LW March 5, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Thank you so much Wendy for your amazing advice once again! Writing to you originally was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I really liked the comparison of preparing to purchase a house or go back to school. We’ve talked it out quite a bit. He is just trying to do the right thing and be a good father, and he has been great about keeping me involved. Let’s be honest – I love your advice and that is exactly what I’ve been trying to do whenever he talks about it. Thank you so much to everyone for the advice and kind words.

    She and I are going to meet in a couple weeks, and I’m going to do my best to make her comfortable with me and be welcoming to her. I do think having things solidified through some sort of mediator or through the court system would be best for everyone at the end of the day, but I think he will come to that conclusion on his own if things start to get really bad.

    IWTTS – what is rude is to tell someone you do not know she is being bitchy when you don’t know the entire situation. I obviously had a reason for saying what I did, and it’s only been supported by her recent behavior. I didn’t provide every single detail about what she did and what happened because it wasn’t and isn’t relevant. I don’t think she tried to trap him. But I do think she was ready for and wanted a baby in her mind, and I actually think it could have been with ANY guy. And to your point that she isn’t living her dream, she was actually thrilled to be pregnant and is thrilled to have a baby now. It’s actually exactly what she wanted, which she has verbalized. Look, do I like her? No. Do I understand her? No. Do I think she is trustworthy? No, and I feel that way because she has constantly proven that she cannot be trusted. But I do respect her as the mother of his child and will never ever give her any hint as to how I felt. It is what it is. You have a right to your opinion, but I know the reality of the situation. The reality is that I love him, and I want her and I to get along. There is no changing the situation, and I’m a strong believer in everything happens for a reason. I love his baby girl already, and seeing how much he loves her, only reinforces the way I feel about him.

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      No_Clever_Name_Yet March 5, 2013, 3:24 pm

      I have only two words for you, LW: Paternity Test!

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      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 3:28 pm

      I got a shout out! Woo hoo. Good luck lw.
      p.s. Oh snap Iwanna!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      Iwannatalktosampson March 5, 2013, 3:28 pm

      Once again, agree to disagree. Also – good luck with not giving her any hint as to how you feel about her when it’s seeping out of every one of your pores.

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        Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 4:32 pm

        speaking of pores, have you ever had so much peanut butter that you could smell peanut butter seeping out of your pores?

        also, this morning i picked a blackhead – and picked it and picked it and picked it – until i realized it was a freckle. i can’t get a break!

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        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:34 pm

        wanna hear a really gross story?

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        Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 4:35 pm

        YESSSSSSSSSS

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        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:42 pm

        Ok, but remember I asked first…
        So a long, long time ago I was picking at someone’s blackhead. Pick, pick, pick. It won’t come out. Finally get it and…its MOVES! It was a lice bug or something I guess. I screamed and ran. Gives me the willies to think about it still.

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        ktfran March 5, 2013, 4:45 pm

        Or a tick. Gross!

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        Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Wow fuck. Maybe my freckle was a lice bug. Now i’m paranoid. Come pick it for me.

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        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:48 pm

        Just reading the word lice makes me itch.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 5, 2013, 4:40 pm

        My boyfriend gets this real bad with garlic. Like, literally everything (his sweat, sebum, eye gunk) will smell like it.

        Annnnd sorry, that was gross. Also, oops, I’m blasting his exocrine system problems (can I hashtag that?) all over the internet, I guess.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid March 5, 2013, 8:22 pm

        Garlic. I eat so much garlic I can smell it falling out of my skin. Luckily I feed my manfriend the same food so we BOTH smell like my little Italian grandmother.

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      GatorGirl March 5, 2013, 3:29 pm

      Paternity Test!!

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      EB March 5, 2013, 3:46 pm

      LW, I give you major props. I think you are being a wayyyyyy bigger person than I could ever be if faced with your situation. I didn’t get a bitch vibe from you at all and since I can be a pretty big B myself, I like to think I have pretty good bitch-dar 😉

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      Jac March 5, 2013, 4:50 pm

      He shouldn’t wait until things get bad to talk to a lawyer. He should call one right away. Having a formal agreement will protect him, the child, and the mother. If he waits for things to get bad, it will make the negotiating much more difficult and stressful, and ultimately more expensive. What if things got bad and she refused visitation? Is he ready to start a costly legal battle?

      A formal agreement will help you negotiate situations that will arise in the future, and it will be necessary to understand the legal ramifications. For example, will he keep paying if she meets and marries someone else? What would he do is she wants to move farther away? Who would become the guardian of the child if both parents died? How much input does he get on decisions like health, methods of raising a child, schooling, etc . . .

      Please, please do everything to encourage him to get lawyer and work this out. If not for him, you, or her, do it for the little girl who deserves a stable upbringing and isn’t put between two warring people.

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        lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:56 pm

        Great comment. And even if they aren’t battling, it’ll still be nicer for the kid to have a set schedule and know when she’s with dad and when she’ll be with mom.

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    • katie

      katie March 5, 2013, 7:18 pm

      so, im only pointing this out because no one else did and i cant help myself…

      “what is rude is to tell someone you do not know she is being bitchy when you don’t know the entire situation” says the LW who thinks that maybe her boyfriends baby mama got pregnant on purpose and is a pretty shitty person *despite* never meeting her and meeting the boyfriend after said pregnancy happened.

      ironic, yes?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 6, 2013, 9:37 am

        Haha.

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    Addie Pray March 5, 2013, 3:33 pm

    IWANNA WAS THE BITCHY COMMENTER, BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Iwanna, you need to simmer down.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark March 5, 2013, 8:01 pm

      I know… I feel soooooooooo left out.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ March 5, 2013, 8:54 pm

        You have been a bitchy commenter before, and will be THE bitchy commenter another time. let IWTTS have the glory today, for you shall bask in the glory another day.

        Boy, that sounded like a really religious Hallmark card.

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        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:28 am

        Hahaha. Its all because of your nice comment to the forum writer who has trouble making friends. I read what you wrote and waited for the sun to dissolve. You lost your cred! (in all honesty, it was very nice to hear your comment)

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Michelle.Lea March 5, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I totally agree with BGM up there, get a lawyer. He should not be supporting her 100%, they weren’t married at the time. Child support yes, but complete support? not so much. All of this needs to get lined out ASAP, and legally.

    LW, I think I said it before too, but you have to talk about every single detail with him on this. This will be your life too if you stay. If you think there are issues now when the baby is still small, they will grow HUGE very quickly if they dont take care of it. Now. My husband’s wives/kids situational stress is so minimal, for which I’m thankful, but a lot of it was that we already talked it out at the very very beginning. I have had no surprises in 7 years.

    And you can’t project onto the mom, or the kid will know it. I don’t care if you hate this woman with every pore of your being, as long as that child is taken care of and safe with mom, you keep it together and to yourself, and you do it for the child.

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    Lurker March 5, 2013, 3:52 pm

    Been there, doing that (being a stepmonster). I normally don’t comment because everything I would say gets said by someone else, but I have some personal experience with this and there are things not being said, so here is my 3 cents.
    1 – Mediation is a great tool for finalizing visitation and child custody. The mediator will have a set calculation based on incomes and custody to determine what is a fair amount for the father to be paying in child support. Also, a consistent custody schedule is imperative so that he has guaranteed time with the child, but also so you can plan your time with and without the child.
    2 – You should be able to speak up with your opinions as to what is fair and right for both him, his child, and you. His instinct will be to do whatever he can for the child because he loves the child so much. As a side effect of this, you will always be considered second, and will sometimes get ignored, taken advantage of, taken for granted, or walked over. Sometimes (often) he will not even realize that he is being unfair to you. You need to be able to speak up and express you opinions, wants, and needs, and he needs to be able to listen and understand. If you cannot talk about all this freely and without anger, you will have problems.
    2a – When he has disagreements with his babymama, it is important that you be on his side, and tell him often that you are on his side. That will work wonders toward making things work out.
    3 – Being a stepparent is tough. In fact, it sucks. You are often expected to take care of your stepkid like they are your own, but not allowed the rights and priveledges that come with being a “real” parent. I cannot tell you how often my opinion is discounted or ignored and how many times I don’t get to go to graduations and events because there are limited tickets and I don’t make the cut, but I sure am good enough to do the cooking and cleaning and driving and stuff. A large portion of your life and schedule are completely at the mercy of your stepkid, boyfriend, and baby mama. I am not saying this as a warning, but to let you know that when things get frustrating in the future, you are not alone.
    I also don’t comment because I tend to run on about things, as you can tell. I don’t mean to scare you, or come off as a bitter and mean stepparent. In fact, stepparenting can be fun and rewarding. And my husband is such a great guy, he is very much worth all these frustrations. I hope your boyfriend is worth it as well. Good luck.

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      LW March 5, 2013, 5:31 pm

      Lurker – I had to respond to your post. I really appreciate your sharing your own experience. It can be hard because it feels like no one else understands. He is really the only person who understands. Thank you very much for the advice, it was very helpful. Those are all reasons why I want to be on good terms with her. I’d even like to be friends with her but that would have to be on her terms of course. I’m hoping that being part of the baby’s life from birth will help, and all he and I can really do is be there for each other and communicate. Thank you very much for your much value perspective!

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      • Crochet.Ninja

        Michelle.Lea March 5, 2013, 5:49 pm

        if by ‘he’ you mean your boyfriend, no, no he does not understand your side, or what you will be going through in the coming years. that’s why you have to be able to talk to him plainly – and tell him if he’s treating you badly, or ‘differently’ when the baby is there. he may sympathize, he may know that you’ll have some stress with this, but honestly, be specific with him when things happen.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle March 5, 2013, 3:59 pm

    I know nothing about legality or anything the rest of the commenters covered nicely already anyway, so I’ll just throw this out there: NOT going to the courts increases the chances of him & the mother of his child getting together as a family one day, I think. No, I don’t have any statistics, but this is just my personal assessment of the situation. And I realize maybe it sounds out-there? Like out-of-nowhere? I’m not trying to unnecessarily worry you, BUT

    It seems to me that, as involved as “Mike” is, how much money he’s giving, plus his willingness to work things out outside of court…I dunno, things are heading in a “Let’s just live together to make it easier” direction.

    And that’s my strange take on it, based on this update. Feel free to ignore me.

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      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:00 pm

      Hmm, does sound kind of out there, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

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    LW March 5, 2013, 4:42 pm

    IWTTS – Lol yes, I don’t like her! I think she did a crappy thing, and you have no idea what it was like to see someone do this to someone you love. Everything she did, I won’t get into because it’s pointless now. The only reason I’m talking about it now is because I’m defending my position and why I felt a certain way. I don’t hate her, and I don’t think she is a bad person. I think she is just misguided. I am however mature enough not to allow that to cause problems between her and I. We are both going to have to deal with each other, for what will likely be a very long time, and I’d rather limit the stress in my life and everyone else’s by being friendly and welcoming to her. I’m sure my feelings about her will change even once she and I get to know each other. So if expressing any dislike I have of her in a safe and anonymous setting makes me a bitch, so be it. Thank you everyone though! All I can control is my behavior, and I plan to make the best of the situation, whatever happens.

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      lets_be_honest March 5, 2013, 4:44 pm

      What crappy thing did she do? I assume you don’t mean getting pregnant.
      Ok, reading on, it seems she did many things. I am super curious what they were.
      Keep in mind you are getting only 1 side of the story here before you judge her, but maybe its warranted.

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        LW March 5, 2013, 4:56 pm

        I don’t want to get into the details because it’s upsetting (and I don’t want to give IWTTS any more ammo!). She was just very immature and inconsiderate about the way everything was handled and lied to him a few times about things relating to the baby. I should point out, he doesn’t badmouth her or anything like that. He has a lot of respect for her, as he should. The thing is, this is the most brutally honest man I’ve ever met, and he is very thoughtful and mature about the way he handles things, particularly about this situation. I’m trying to just put that stuff in the past and move forward. It’s just hard to see him go through this.

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    AKchic March 5, 2013, 4:56 pm

    As someone who has children by multiple fathers and has to deal with custody issues, let me say that yes, you are doing the right thing by staying out of it as much as possible. No woman wants a girlfriend interfering with a parental issue.

    However, your boyfriend DOES need to take some precautions. He needs to save every receipt, and document every expense he puts out for the child and the woman. Why? Should communications break down and SHE take him to court, he can back up any claims he has stating how much he’s paid out to her thus far (when she invariably attempts to say she’s gotten nothing from him).
    He needs to make sure any and all agreements they have is in writing, just in case.

    Now, I’m not saying this is going to be easy, for any of you. She is going to be hormonal for the next few months, and sleep deprived and stressed out. He is going to feel guilty for not being there to help out all the time, and wanting to do more, and overstretch himself in the finances department. You are going to want to be the shoulder to lean/cry on. Everyone needs to do their part, sure, but not overstretch themselves. You need to know your limits, and he needs to handle his finances appropriately and not break himself by helping her too much. The mother needs to make sure she has other support systems in place, and if needed, proper gov’t assistance where needed. If your boyfriend’s financial help makes her ineligible, and she accepts it “under the table” and he knows, he may be charged with helping her commit fraud in some states, so he needs to be wary of that as well.

    I agree with you that a legally binding agreement is the way to go. Court may not be necessary. An attorney/mediator can work with them instead and draft up a decent plan without having to deal with a court fight.

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      LW March 5, 2013, 4:58 pm

      Thank you very much for that. I completely agree with everything you said and really appreciate your honest feedback.

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    *HmC* March 5, 2013, 6:19 pm

    A good guy friend of mine got his ex-girlfriend (she was his ex at the time too) pregnant about a year ago. He started supporting her financially and emotionally, was there for the birth and the baby took his last name. Then a few months later upon my insistence he finally asked for a DNA test. And the baby wasn’t his. I’m just going to put that out there.

    Maybe I’m too brutally honest in relationships for some people, but if it were my boyfriend (heck I did it to my friend) I’d be pretty insistent about the DNA test if there were any question about paternity. It’s rude I guess, but I think that’s only logical considering what’s at stake.

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    Lo March 5, 2013, 9:42 pm

    LW, with respect to child support and visitation rights, a family law mediator may be able to help resolve some of those issues without the need to go to court. I’d further add that many states have free legal aid organizations which put forth materials that can help your boyfriend and the mother work through these issues (In Illinois, a great website is Illinois Legal Aid Online – many states have similar resources). Just so you know…court is not the only option.

    You sound really grounded – more so than many of the LW’s on this website – I wish you guys the best of luck. Be sure to shower that baby girl with as much love as you can! 🙂

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    Leslie March 7, 2013, 5:55 pm

    WWS. You’re feelings are very real and very important as well. Don’t forget that. Please encourage your boyfriend to see lawyer and get a custody agreement sorted out. My boyfriend and his son’s mother are a CA and she’s still difficult about things but it definitely helps when he needs to put his foot down.

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