If things weren't bad enough...

perdue2April 10, 2009

Normally I post on here as a SM, but now I find myself having to defend myself as a BM. Quick background...

Ex and I divorced in '03, agreed on everything, divorce OK. Typical custody agreement, shared parental custody with me as primary, and he with liberal visitation. We divorced because I moved to another state to set up house; he was to close on everything at former home, and move down. We had problems, lost our home due to poor business choices on his part...we needed the brief separation. That was in '01.

Fast forward...it is now '09, and he is still not here. We have both since remarried, and he purchased a home here with DD's SM. However, he is only here 1-2 weekends a month. When BD cannot make it down here, I have still let DD go to BD home with SM. It helped her develop a relationship with BM, and gave us both a break. Since SM wants to do it, I have no problem. DD was going there 1 day during the week (BD not there), but with the new SF and new Step-siblings here, it was important for us to bond. So I asked that we stick to EOW for a while. SM was not happy, and let DD know it. DD complained at first, but now seems OK with it. The only time she says anything is after she's spoken with SM. Anyway, this upcoming weekend is BD weekend and holiday (Easter). However, I was informed that BD could not make it down. Now, any of us who have custody agreements know all about first right of refusal. So I decided that I would like to keep her for the holiday, being our first year as a SF. DD was disappointed b/c she'd planned a shopping trip w/SM over the weekend. So I told her that she could do both, go with SM Friday into Sat. evening; then be home for Sun., Easter. So she told SM, who was not happy.

Next thing I know, I am getting a call from ex, who is reading me the riot act about how my DD has a family at his home too and what about them???? I told him about our plan to split the weekend, but that was not enough for him. I told him that the holiday had been on the calendar since last year, and that it wasn't my fault that he just couldn't make it down here for it. After he proceeded to tell me that I was being unreasonable and controlling, I reminded him of the first refusal right that I rarely exercise. He went off and told me that he was sick of the "way things are" and he would see me in court. He then hung up. I called him back and told him that the only thing he would succeed in doing would be destroying our DD's life. I feel so bad for my DD. She hates being put in the middle and absolutely hates when people argue, especially when she's involved. Now we are talking court? It will get downright nasty if it gets to that point. If her BD has not put her first in his life before, what makes me think he will do so now? I have made more concessions for BD and SM than I can list. There was a point that we could work together, but now SM wants to stir the pot, thinking that they will get custody and she will get the child she can't have herself.

I am a good mother. I have no drug or alcohol addictions. I do not abuse my DD. I put my DD's needs first...always have. She struggles right now with adjustment to new SF, but there are no grounds for him to take me to court other than things are not going the way they want them to. I know I have no worries about custody; the judge will either scold him or laugh him right out of the courtroom. But my concern is the impact it will have on my DD. She struggles enough already with middle school (she's not one of the popular kids), and stepfamily issues. She's mentioned suicide once or twice and has been in counseling since SM entered her life. DD tells me she no longer knows who to trust (meaning me, SM, BD, etc.) or who she can beleive.

Add the problems we've been having in our newly formed mixed household of (now)5, her stress level is sky high. I just don't know which way to turn! Any advice? Help please!

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Wow!! I would be upset if I were you. If he does not even "live" in that home and your nice enough to let dd still go there when he is not going to be there him and sm should thank their lucky stars!

I would assume that if he takes you to court you would be able to get the visitation agreement modified to fit his current living situation....then his wife would really be piss**!! Wonder if he has thought of that....

I bet his wife is just giving him a hard time because he can not come there and then your dd won't be there...so she is now home alone for the holiday. Not your problem though. I think that on holidays it is for the family. If she is not going to see her father then she should be with her mother!

Maybe just call your ex back now and tell him that this is ridiculous. If he was going to be there you would send dd...but he is not and you want the time with her. Let him know that you have been more than accommodating and if he wants to go to court then his wife could loose all her visitation that does not involve him. Plus with the reduced visitation his child support may increase. And nothing that happens in court will get Easter back for his wife. I would also think about telling him that since you were willing to split the weekend with his wife and they threw a fit you will just keep dd the whole weekend with you!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:27AM
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Does custody say that you have primary and your husband has visitations or it says you have primary and his WIFE has visitations (I am being sarcastic here). there is no agreement about visitations with stepparents (in absence of bioparent). it is OK to visit stepparent but there is no obligations to do so.

Does the paperwork say that DD must visit stepmom in absence of dad? I doubt it.

i think you should keep very precise documentation of how many times your X is not in his house and how often DD actually sees him and how many times she spends weekends wiht SM isntead of dad. With that documentation you should go to court and show how often DD actually sees her father. I think maybe his visitations should be reduced since he doesn't see her at all. One weeekend a month? and he plans on gettign custody? LOl. based on what? on his involvement wiht DD? yeah right.

Now I think SM wants to spend that much time with DD (wiht dad not even being here) because she has no children and is bored around hoilday season. But too bad. Not your problem. I am bored on occassion because DD is away to college but I do not insist that my niece enetrtains me every time I am bored. I know my brother and SIL want my niece at home for the holidays and if I am bored I can go to their house visit but I would not dare inisting to have her for the hoildays. It shouldn't be any different wiht SM. i sympathize wiht childless people but I do not think other people should lend them their children.

Unbelivable. Your X can take you to court, he has nothing to stand on. yes you are the one to have DD for holiday when X is unavailable. And if SM is bored she should go volunteer in the chidlren's hospital.

My advice is to docuemnt everything and ask an attorney what si the best action. yes SM wants DD to herself. And you should be proactive.

I am always for peaceful agreements and never argued wiht X but if he would inist DD goes sees SM when he is not even in town I would take him to court.

I am sorry this story made me aggravated. How dare your X and SM to stir the pot.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:35AM
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i agree with mom2emall that perdue was way too accommodating and I would stop it immidiatelly and no, I would not wait for X to take you to court, i would take him to court and revoke all visitations that SM has wiht no dad in town. when dad is not in town DD is to be with her mother. end of story. the only reason it has been going on is because SM is lonely and wants a child around. SM should find some other ways of spending holidays. This is ridiclous and needs to stop now.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:43AM
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I would keep DD for the whole weekend. I am a mom and a step-mom so I also see both ends of it. Tell your ex that his little wifie-poo is getting to big for her britches. File the motion yourself if you want . I don't think ex would go to court anyway, they can say it all they want but if he can't make it home for holidays he likely won't go to the trouble anyway. Why isn't the little wife going to be with her husband if she don't want to be alone. They can do their shopping trip some other time.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 10:02AM
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I doubt he is going to court. If he travels that much, the court isnt going to support his custody demands. If SM shows so little judgement she is pushing this, its time to stick with the ROFR. Hopefully SM will grow up.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:34AM
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You are being very nice to sm.. I am a bm and a sm.. Your ex should be greatful. I am very liberal with my ex also, BUT HE APPERCIATES IT.. and he deserves it.. My dh's ex hates that her son loves me and wants to spend time with me.. I hope the judge lets him have it good... SM is being selfish and she has no rights. When my husband goes out of time bm pulls ROFR so we only plan his trips around his parenting time...

Sharing the weekend with sm is more than is expected from anyone..Cudos to you for being a loving and caring mom and putting your childs needs before your own... I wish there were more BMs like us out there...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:47PM
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Thank you all. I know I am justified in taking my DD for the holiday. I also know that any court proceeding is going to go badly for both he and SM. My main priority here is my DD who has been through enough already. She enjoys the time she spends at her BD's home even when he is not there. She has developed a relationship with SM and likes her, which is what makes the whole situation worse.

I cannot call BD, so I sent an email (I can use this as documentation as well). I pulled up the legal statutes in our state, copied and pasted them into the email. I thoroughly explained in no uncertain terms where I stand in all of this, and that I was prepared to do whatever it takes for my child. I reminded him of how things 'should be', and how they actually are. Luckily, the statute also included points that the court uses to determine modification, which I highlighted for him.

I am afraid that me taking him to court will just make me out to be the "bully" in DD's eyes. Although ROFR is not explictly mentioned in our paperwork, I am told it is implied and is often not seen as enough to warrant a court date. So as long as I am within my legal rights, I'm not going to pursue it legally. If SM wants to push him to do so, it just makes me look even better in the long run, in everyone's eyes.

I'm sure this is not the end of it, but I'll keep you posted. BTW, I am allowing DD to go with SM after all, with SM dropping her back off on Sat. I beleive in my case, it will work out better in the long run.

I am open to any additional advice though!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:57PM
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I have a question?

Would anyone change their opinion on this if it was grandma and not SM? If dad left his kids with his parents during his scheduled time? and if that's okay, why? What if he left the kids with someone else... related or not, would that change anyone's opinion?

One of the problems our attorney discussed with us is, when you stray from the written order, it may set precedent. If the order says every other weekend but the CP lets the NCP take the child every other week for an extended period, where the kids become accustom to that, then the courts would not necessarily side with mom if she were to get pissed off at dad and try to cut him back to EOW. He'd stand a better chance of getting the court to give him every other week.

Depending on the age of the child, their wishes should be considered as well. If she has developed a close relationship with SM because she has been allowed to visit when dad is away, it is unfair for her to not be allowed to if she wants to spend time there. Likewise, it's wrong for SM to put a guilt trip on the child too. It really sounds as if the child is stuck in the middle and no matter what she chooses to do, one of the 'moms' in her life is going to be unhappy and she'll feel like they will be upset with her. That's a lot of pressure for a kid.

Honestly, if it's possible for you and your ex to talk it over... I would try to disregard the first phone call he made when he threatened court and a custody fight and try to start over when you are both calm. He was probably upset because his wife was upset, not a good time for him to call you. This is your child so he should discuss this with you and work it out without his wife. I know it's a lot easier said than done and I don't know if your ex would be willing to discuss it with you, but it's an idea. It sounds like you have been reasonable and giving so I have to assume he was just angry when he called and that for the most part, you get along.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:08PM
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Sad fact is that my ex and I used to get along, no problems...and I do mean that. We used to go as far as taking DD out to lunch, together. However, since SM entered the picture, he is a totally different person. I am sure that he too, is stuck in the middle b/t SM and me when it comes to DD. And the only time he seems to call to speak with me is after DD has spoken with SM, and SM has a problem. So I know where the source of the problem is. But as far as I am concerned, this is where the ex needs to set his wife straight as to how it is supposed to work. However, it is possible that he doesn't understand how things are supposed to be either. In hindsight I realize that I should not have been quite so flexible. I thought that by being flexible it would somehow make a difficult situation better; guess I did not anticipate how controlling SM would become. Can't go back, just have to find a constructive way to move forward. I have been more than reasonable and have been taken advantage of for it.

Now I just need to find a way of making DD understand this. If I find that anything has been mentioned to DD this weekend about this though, I will exercise every legal right I have.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I hear ya... some people, you give an inch, they take a mile! (and I'm talking about SM there) and I agree, your ex needs to set his wife straight. Unfortunately, he has to live with her everyday, so he is more likely to try and appease her before you. That's too bad because it's so much better for everyone, especially the kids, if the parents can get along.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:43PM
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"Unfortunately, he has to live with her everyday"

Alot of irony in that statement Ima! Thanks for the giggle...I'm sure it was unintentional! LOL

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:59PM
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Perdue -- its going to be tough, especially if SM has money to take DD shopping, etc. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 7:01PM
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If SM has money and wants to take her shopping, then great for my DD. No money in the world can buy love and respect. As long as SM is not discussing issues b/t BD and me with DD, I'm OK. I emailed SM prior to p/u to let her know that she is not to discuss this matter with my DD, that any question DD may have needs to be directed to BD or me. If I find out otherwise, all bets are off...including visitation when BD is not there. I need to know that my DD is not being manipulated when BD is not there.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 7:47PM
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Good luck, my Xs SO told my D I have an affair. Not true. Anything to make herself look better. In the end, all she has done is created issues. Accept that some people just care about themselves.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 8:01PM
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