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

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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.

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