I was unable to find the "OC Handbook" but the following was in the healing library. Lots of helpful suggestions on starting this horrible journey.
Q: What if there is an OC? Submitted by PHOEBE
A: This complicates so many things in a marriage I cannot answer it all but will hit on the highlights. There are many questions that need to be answered when it comes to dealing with an other child. First you must find out if the child is the H with a DNA test? Seek out a family attorney to consult with. This is a must because a family must know their rights. Too many get empty threats from the OP involved and they do not know any better so tend to believe many things untrue. Try to protect yourself and your children of the marriage legally.
Does the married couple want contact or no contact? NC or C are not easy, keep in mind wait to make an informed decision. I want to make it clear it is usually easier to heal a marriage without contact with the OP/OC initially. Contact can always be established later on after the marriage is repaired or far along as it can be in the healing process to consider contact with the OC.
It is a personal decision to include OC in your household or not. Neither choice is good or bad. Consider that it may be great to have the OC involved in 2 seperate families that are amicable or it may be detrimental to the OC to have to deal with 2 hostile environments. Many times the OC was not planned and the adults involved cannot get along, take a step back and think long and hard about the child's best interest.
The OC is no more important than the COM or the BS. You do not have to change your lives around to accept anyone. I know you may want to fix everything for your Spouse but you must let him take responsibility for his own actions. DS this is some of what I have to say about this if someone has already answered it you can add it. This is a complicated situation with too many variables
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Q: How do I deal with continued contact with OW because of OC? Submitted by Bee-Trayed
A: The decision on how to handle an OW/OC situation is a deeply personal one. Some BS find that they have it in their hearts to make the OC a part of their lives; others do not. There is no right or wrong answer to this situation. However, when it is the WS's choice to have contact with the OC then certain "battle" lines must be drawn with the OW, to facilitate the re-establishment of trust in the marriage.
This is best accomplished by establishing a clear understanding between the BS and WS of what will and will not be acceptable or allowable boundaries. Here are some hypothetical:
NC whatsoever with OW/OC
Contact with OC possible but with BS present
Neutral zone for visitation; no visits at OW's home, etc.
Legally drawn up contract stating acceptable parameters for OW to contact WS.
These are just a few sample suggestions. Remember, once there is an OC involved, and paternity has been established, BOTH parents have rights. Make them work for you. It is unbalancing and counter-productive to find yourself on the defensive with the OW.
Establish, with the assistance of your spouse, what your "comfort zone" and rights are with the OW, then send a clear and UNIFIED message to the OW of what you will and will not tolerate. This helps the BS to re-establish some control over a situation that is tragic for all concerned, but in which they, along with the OC, are also a victim.
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Q: What do we tell our kids about OC? Submitted by Bee-Trayed
A: Many BSs express concern over telling their children about the existence of the OW/OC. Fear of emotional trauma to the COM, damage to the parental relationship between the WS and COM, or other negative consequences relating to the A abound. How, or if, a BS decides to divulge this information is also highly individual and neither right nor wrong. Family dynamics, the ages of the COM, and other factors unique to the BS's family environment influence the decision.
Relying on one's instinct is probably a good place to start. If there is any uncertainty as to the affect disclosure may cause, then it is probably better to wait until a more opportune time arises. Children are resilient, but that does not mean they should be unnecessarily wounded or burdened with this knowledge.
Examining one's motives for exposing the OW/OC's existence may be one aspect to consider. Preparing them for a possibly unpleasant encounter with OW/OC at a future date might be another. Knowledge is power, but not if it creates a destabilizing environment for the COM. Consider all options and then take your time making the decision. Choosing the right time or place, and striving to neutralize the emotionally charged nature of the subject, can make the difference between a "successful" disclosure and a devastating one.