Reddit is rallying around a father who doesn’t want to co-parent with his in-laws. The dad took to AITA to explain where he’s coming from and it’s a difficult, heartbreaking situation all around.
“Two years ago, my wife died from a genetic illness. There are many different layers to the horror of the tragedy, one of which is that we were getting divorced at the time,” he began. “…We’d rushed into marriage without a plan, but we didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. We planned everything for our divorce, where we would each live, how we would handle our son’s schedule, everything.”
His wife passed away before they could sign the papers. Now, her parents want the Reddit user to uphold the original agreement — only with them as co-parents. That ask gets even tricker.
“My MiL, who has the same genetic condition, is very sick and might not have long left,” he explained. “She, FiL & SiL have pushed for a lot of time with my son, which I absolutely support and accommodate to the best of my ability. However, they get upset if I ever say no.”
The in-laws believe that, because of the agreement that was drawn up prior to their daughter’s death, “her time” belongs to them. They are frustrated that their son-in-law won’t abide by this. “I know MiL probably doesn’t have a lot of time left, and I want her to spend as much of it with my son as possible, but I’m still his Dad,” he said. “I’m his stability. He needs me, especially while he’s coping with the loss of his mom.”
Still, they’re getting more and more aggressive with him: “SiL said that I’m a disgusting person and son will cut contact with me when he’s older and realizes I deprived him of precious time with his GM,” the Reddit user explained. “He’s at their house right now, and I’m picking him up tomorrow afternoon. SiL has been texting me all night saying to leave him there for longer and that if I don’t I have a sickness in my soul.”
The dad wonders — is he TA in this situation? Reddit responded with a firm no. This was all on the in-laws, many, many people said.
“It sounds like she wants the kid as her emotional support animal while she is dying,” one person wrote. “It’s terribly sad but the poor kid already went through it once with his mom, he is going to need breaks from the pain and sadness and get some normalcy.”
There seems to be a selfish element as well, another person added, and the in-laws are not thinking about their grandson’s needs. “He has already lost his mum, and I’m sure I can’t understand how hard that was, and now he’s being forced to watch his gran die the same way regardless of how he might be feeling,” a Reddit user noted. “Of course, spending some time with family is important, but the in laws haven’t considered his own needs. What if he needs a break? What if they’re putting a lot of pressure on him to ‘perform’?”
Many others pointed out that the original agreement is null now. “I understand in-laws want time with kid but their logic that divorce agreement (that wasn’t even signed) somehow became theirs agreement after mother’s death is ridiculous, and any lawyer can confirm this to OP!” one person explained. “OP you are [the] father of this kid and NTA! And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!”
What do you think the OP should do in this situation?
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