Dear Barb—Ex parte

Dear Barb:

I need some advice.  I met this girl in a bar and we had a wild night of sex.  Three months later she came to me and said she was pregnant.   At the time I had some concerns about whether the child was really mine, but she assured me it was.  We got to know each other and even moved in together.   Once our daughter was born, everyone said she looked like me and I knew she was my child.  We continued to parent together, but with the stress of the child and financial pressures, we began to argue.  Eventually, I moved out, and we agreed to share custody of our daughter so no money was exchanged for child support.  Everything was going smoothly, I had my daughter one week and her mother had her one week.  Then I met someone else.  My daughter and her get along great, and we’ve decided to move in together.  My ex is fuming! She doesn’t think I should leave our daughter alone with my girlfriend, or even allow her to bathe her or care for her in any way.  I told her I think she is being ridiculous, but she is starting to make it difficult for me to see my daughter.  Since we didn’t have anything legally written up, I don’t know what I can do about this.   My girlfriend tried a heart to heart with my ex, but I think my ex may be jealous that someone else has come into the picture.  Do you have any suggestions about how I can work this out so everyone is happy?  Especially my daughter.  Thanks, Greg.

Hi Greg:

Thanks for your letter.  Your situation is all too common.  I agree your ex may be jealous, or she may have some other reason why she doesn’t want you to see your child.  You said your girlfriend has talked to your ex, but I think you need to talk to your ex and find a way to reassure her that your child is safe.  It is normal to be leery of a new person coming into your child’s life, especially someone you don’t know.  Spend some time with your ex discussing her feelings, then if she is willing bring your girlfriend in, the three of you can sit down and have a discussion.  If you can’t get anywhere, then there are other things you can do.  You can get legal help through Alternate Dispute Resolution, which may include using a mediator, or through arbitration, or through the use of a parent coordinator.  You can find a parent coordinator in your area by calling Family Services in your province and they will direct you to the proper facilities.  You may find the following  government website helpful, as it provides information for Family Mediation in Ontario through the Ministry of the Attorney General: