I have a serious problem; I had a baby boy with my girlfriend and after the baby was born everything went well as I was supporting my baby mama and my baby boy (child maintenance); by that time I was working but when the baby was about six months old I lost my job and became unemployed for a month.
I notified the mother of my baby and her family; unfortunately, my baby mama started acting up, which caused so much tension between us as well as between her relatives and I.
I loved my girlfriend and my only son so much, but she and I argued until I realized things were totally not working between us.
Eventually, I was told never to set foot at her home again and this brought more confusion to me because it meant that they were denying me access to my child.
I stopped providing the child maintenance because I asked myself why I should do that for the baby when I didn’t have access to him.
My question is, do I still have to provide for the child whenever the mother contacts me and tells me that the baby needs something, when I’m denied access and have to keep on asking my ex for prmission to see my boy?
What do I do, as it’s becoming too hard for me to provide for a child that I’m not allowed to visit?
Another thing is my ex is now sending me text messages telling me that she still loves me and she wants us to be together again…but as for me I don’t think I can take her back.
I need to move on just as she had already moved on, and besides, I think she just wants to play hide and seek with my feelings.
Please help me out here.
In cases such as yours I like to rope in those who have gone through the same problems and were able to find solutions…to help people like you who are battling to gain access to their children.
I have asked one of my colleagues to assist because he too was in a similar situation but he never gave up and now he has full custody of his daughter albeit after many confrontations with his ex and her mother, which ended up in a court battle.
Also there are men’s organizations that you can contact for help, one of them being MenEngage Botswana @ (395 7763, www.menengagebotswana.org).
You will probably have to go the legal route so that the authorities can determine a fixed amount for the child maintenance as well as visitation rights for you, but I’m sure my colleague and the men’s organization will be able to guide you better on that.
Your ex’s parents must stop denying you access to your child, and if they’re not going to do it willingly then you will have to haul them before the authorities so as to gain access to your son.
It’s very unfair of them to expect you to provide child support when you’re not able to spend time with the child.
The other route you should perhaps consider is the traditional Setswana way, where your elders can talk to your ex’s elders on your behalf, to find out the amount or number of cattle they want; this is usually over and above paying for tshenyo (‘damage’), after which your ex’s family will give you full access to your child.
This tradition differs from tribe to tribe, so you will have to rely your elders’ guidance after they have asked your baby mama’s family what is expected in such a matter according to their tribe’s customs.
I don’t know what your girlfriend is up to, but maybe she had time to think about this and genuinely wants you and your son to spend time together and get to know each other well.
Her family’s behaviour though, is disturbing, to say the least.
They showed you their true colours when you lost your job and couldn’t support your child for a while.
The fact that they made life difficult for you to the extent of barring you from entering their homestead should tell you a lot about the kind of people they are.
It just shows that they do not have the interests of their grandson at heart because it didn’t bother them that they were denying him the chance to bond with his dad.
If you really don’t want your ex bringing your son to your home because you only want the child and not her in your house, be honest with her and let her know you’re uncomfortable with her coming to your house.
It’s that simple. Suggest to her that you meet at a relative’s house or some other suitable place where you can pick up the child and return him after spending quality time with him.
Yes, you do have to continue with child support so that you can build a good case for yourself, and also, so that the child does not suffer unnecessarily.
Make sure you keep receipts and all the proof of support that you’re providing for your son.
Eventually, your problem will be solved and you will enjoy your right of access as a father again; in the meantime, you need to ensure that your son continues to enjoy your full support.
Sometimes baby mamas use child support money for their own benefit and not for the child; if you suspect that this might happen, when she contacts you to say the baby needs something, buy it yourself and ask her to meet you somewhere convenient to collect.
Whether it’s shoes, clothes, toiletry, or milk/food…do the shopping yourself or ask a lady friend of yours, or sister, to do the shopping for you if you prefer.
That way, at least you’ll be sure that the money was used for its intended purpose.
About the text messages from your baby mama saying she still loves you and wants you two to get back together again, well, you seem to have made up your mind that you don’t want to take her back…you want to move on, especially that you think she only wants to play with your feelings.
Just be honest with her and tell her that you only want access to your son and not her.
Tell her that you also want to move on just as she moved on.
That’s a simple matter to understand.