Not much a parent can do...

lovehadleyAugust 6, 2009

SS told DH last night that he can't take a bath or shower ar his mom's house anymore. DH asked him why and he said because the "hot water is broken."

I am SURE that their gas must be disconnected.

DH said "well, what do you do?" and SS said that his mom takes him and his little sister over to grandma's house to take baths.

It just sucks. :( Things are obviously really bad over there and there is not much, short of filing a motion to modify, that DH can do.

I don't know when it would be *enough* for him to do that. At this point, would the courts care?

It's one thing to hit rough times, have to cut out extras, etc. I can understand that. But when BM tells DH they have no food, and when she is complaining that she doesn't have enough gas to drive to pick SS up, and now this with the hot water....I mean, at what point do you step in?

It's sad. :(

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Document document document - Dhs lawyer will be able to supbonea gas company if needed. Dates. write down what said.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Maybe a call to CPS would be better than filing court papers. They will evaluate if the situation is bad enough to put SS with dad while mom gets her situation in order. If dad goes to complain and mom says she just doesn't have enough money, they may increase child support to mom. (but if dad can show mom has sufficient income but is misusing the money... the court would probably be interested in that) But, it would be an expensive battle to prove mom has the money but isn't spending it on caring for SS. If CPS believes taking kids to grandma's to bathe is acceptable, then it's also likely the court would think so too. They punish parents for being poor or going through hard times, but they will if money is being misused.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:36AM
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no heat, no water, no light falls into neglect (don't know if no hot water is good enough reason but could be).

document and yes it should be addressed. i had students who complained that there is no water in the house and they can not take showers or do laundry and no heat in the winter, it turned out that everything was disconnected, mom was doing drugs elsewhere wiht her BF and brothers were there by themselves with no water, gas or heat in the winter. We are talking about high school students who knew how to address it, tell it at school so we can contact the authorities. But your SS is too young, he won't know. so it is your DH's and your job.

If they trully have no utilities, it is good enough reason to have SS at your house until they get back on their feet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:40AM
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I meant they don't punish parents for being poor...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 12:24PM
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I wouldn't say BM is "misusing" the child support, but rather that she's trying to stretch it to support their family of five. Given the joint custody, DH pays a low amount of child support, only $277/month. A good portion of that goes to the state to pay back a portion of the benefits BM received for years. I don't know what percentage BM gets---DH said he "thought" she said something to him one time about getting $130 of it. Once the balance to the state is paid back, she will get the full $277 but that will take years.

The real issue here is not the child support but the fact that BM's DH's job has tanked, he pays c/s for his other DD and she also lives with them about 40% of the time; and they have a baby. And BM has not worked in years.

I am not one to kick someone when they're done, but this situation frustrates me because BM could do something about it. She could get a job---part-time, if nothing else. I know it's hard to work with a baby--BUT her *baby* is coming up on 2. AND she does collect benefits from the state for her baby, and I remember her saying that the state would pay for her to go to daycare if BM were working or in school. (BM was considering doing a 1 yr LPN program.)

It just seems to me---she should do SOMETHING. Go back to school---or get a job at night when hubby is home---or whatever. But don't just sit around and wait for things to get better when your kids are suffering!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 12:42PM
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how does she get benefits for her baby if she is married? i understand her DH is unemployed, but I doubt it actually qualifies for government assistance.

i don't understand how some people get benefits. at some point I needed help, had no insurance, I went back to school, worked low paid job wiht no benefits and my ex's workplace filed bankruptsy so he was unemployed as well. i asked for state health insurance for DD for just for a short time (and i was not married then). it was denied based on the fact that i worked, even if a pay was low. what a joke. at that same time i had a coworker who was also single wiht one child and was getting paid MORE than me and her child received medicaid for several years! i was told it depends on a case worker. what a joke!!!

this woman is married and gets benefits, how????

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 2:06PM
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"this woman is married and gets benefits, how????"

Because she lies. The state doesn't know she's married to her baby's father. They weren't married when the baby was born and BM was on state health insurance, WIC, temp. assistance, food stamps, all that jazz. She uses her parents' address as her home address, so the state thinks she lives at home and is single. The state actually filed a collection suit against her husband, and last winter sometime, BM told us that money was being garnished from her husband's paycheck to pay the state for money BM was receiving. Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul! BM gets X amount of dollars/benefits from the state, but then they turn around and take it out of her hubby's paycheck. It's stupid, really.

We've reported it to the fraud hotline, it's come up in court but no one cares. Welfare fraud is very real. I never really knew it could happen until BM.

That's how she collected benefits on SS for so many years. She and DH had never gone to court or had anything put in writing. DH paid for daycare, paid for SS's health insurance, extracurriculars, etc. In the meantime, BM went to the state and said she was a single mom, didn't know where the dad was, etc. DH got a notice from them about 3 years after she'd been collecting benefits---that's how long it took them to come after him!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 2:21PM
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Stability is a very important component when courts think about the best interests of the child. That's not so much about money, but the parent should be able to provide a comfortable standard of living for the child. For SS's sake, I would suggest DH seek full custody. BM's family instability, which seems to have been going on for quite some time, certainly qualifies as a change in circumstances. I would never want my child living under such circumstances, particularly knowing that given BM's failure to do something about her situation, it may be more long-term.

That being said, DH should have a honest conversation with BM before doing anything to see if BM would consent to giving him full custody temporarily until her family finances improves.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 3:16PM
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wow, she commited welfare fraud and continues to do so. wow. that is why part of CS goes to state because she lied, i get it now but she continues lying!!!! they don't know she lives with her DH? wow. that's illegal.

i agree with marie, it is not like it is 3rd world country and people have no hot water or running water, hot water is pretty much a given in the US, not having it indicates a serious problem!!!! yes DH got to do something about it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 3:32PM
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Since he is "friends" with mom he needs to get her on the phone and ask her "what's going on?"

Being without hot water is not a crime/or neglect if she has electricity she can boil water in a microwave... she can use an drip coffee maker to get hot water.... CPS will go to the house to make sure everything is ok but being without hotwater is not neglect or abuse. Even if there is no food in the house, they will not even bat an eyelash all she has to do is say .... going shopping ________ and having dinner at my mom's tonight.

Not having any utilities is not a case of neglect unless its been months... couple weeks CPS frowns upon it but nothing they can fault her for although they will help her get it back on but it is not neglect/abuse.

If he is showering at grandmas mom is doing something about it ....

If grandma knows there is no hot water maybe not helping mom turn it back on is a way of keeping her daughter inline...

Even if files a motion to modify ... he won't get it as IMA said they do not fault you for being poor.

He has to get her to agree and just do it with out the courts involvement .... he will have to say hey I know its your 5 day stretch but can I come get _____ and let him shower over here tonight I'll bring him home around _____ or drop him off in the morning whatever ... since he is "friends" it should be an easy conversation if she feels threatened in any way it will not happen at all.

The noon time thing next time you go to court for what ever file a motion to have it modified ... to whatever is convienient for hubby ... since mom is a sahm her schedule is flexible even though she may not be.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 3:59PM
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actually, love's DH has a pretty good chance of winning a motion to modify. i've won more difficult modifications than on these facts. yes, courts don't fault a parent for being poor, but if you have a poor parent and a wealthier one, both equally able to provide love and it comes down to who is able to provide the basics and stability, and one clearly cant, more times than not, the parent more financially stable will win, especially if that parent is paying child support at or near the legal limit and its not helping the disparity. that is precisely why home studies are done and are so important. (and that is also why family law lawyers get such a bad rap for making money such an important factor in custody cases).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 4:34PM
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Ok great dad wins custody ... its not like the boy will never go to his mom's again if dad wins custody... he will still have to visit with mom, yes it could be modified but if you have paid any attention to loves posts .... her hubby isn't home much and she cannot be with the boy because bm makes a federal case out of everything ....

So basically their best bet is to offer SS to come over during her 5 day stint and eventually it will become habit .... and modified later on "well we have been doing this for xxxx amount of time"

And since he is not paying "near legal limit" they could adjust it so he is paying legal limit and see if that helps the situation and they can revisit it in 6 months or a year later .... why chance it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 6:53PM
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" her hubby isn't home much and she cannot be with the boy because bm makes a federal case out of everything ...."

He's going to have to start being at least a bit more available. I am going to be tutoring again this coming semester, probably only 8 hrs/week in a local school, but I just accepted a fundraising position with a non-profit agency that works with children. It's a flex schedule and, really, I can work as little or as much as I want, but I told them I would plan on working around 15-20/wk. So my schedule will be busier than it has been. Most of this will be during school hours, so I will still be picking the kids up, etc. but I am just hoping hubby can really work on being home at a decent hour. He's done well with it the last few months--has been taking SS to work with him a lot, and when he doesn't, he is home early.

I have been keeping SS a little more each time. It's going well. I am trying to trust that since the truth is on my side, things will be okay, no matter what accusation BM makes...BUT if something else happens like has happened before, I really will have to put my foot down for good.

As far as the legal limit...I don't really get what that means. When DH and BM went to court in July of 2008, the court initially set c/s at $680 or something, with a portion of that going back to the state. This was the same time they gave BM residential custody. DH paid that amount for about 3 months, but in the meantime, he switched attorneys and at the next court date, his attorney said this is bogus. She showed what BM was capable of making---she used to work, when she was 22-26 yrs old as a home health care something, and she actually made pretty decent money. She has some sort of credential in that field, not sure what is. She never really went back to work, though, after having SS, and then she and DH broke up shortly thereafter when he was 10 months. She has not worked or really done anything since then. So DH's attorney convinced the judge that given their joint custody arrangement AND the fact that BM is capapble of making X amount, DH was paying too much in child support...that lowered the child support to $277. I think what really cinched it was the welfare stuff. The judge was (according to the attorney) pretty irritated when he heard that BM had been on welfare for a considerable length of time. The GAL was mad, too. BM presented herself as a "SAHM" and said how she was available for SS, etc.

So after the c/s was re-calculated, then DH won residential custody for school purposes a couple months later.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 10:26PM
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love, that's precisely what I meant . . . that the child support that your DH is paying is what he is required to pay by law based on the custody arrangement and income level of the parents. As I said, with a good lawyer, he should be able to get a modification in custody. Throw in BM's other behaviors and the chances improve quite a bit. As a parent, there is no way I would allow my child to live under such circumstances while I am living comfortably and there's a possibility of doing something about it. Its one thing to have a different lifestyle at each home due to the difference in financial circumstances of the parents, but to not have the basics at each -- food, adequate shelter (electricity, hot water, emergency telephone service, etc.) and clothes just doesn't wash and its hard to argue that living under such circumstances is in the best interest of any child when there is an alternative.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:10PM
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"her hubby isn't home much and she cannot be with the boy because bm makes a federal case out of everything ...."

well then he should be home more.

yes dad works during the day but then SS goes to school during the day and doesn't need babysitter.

how do other people have children? people who do not have stay at home steparent or any spouse at all? somehow they manage, right? so how the fact that DH works, prevents him from having a child full time? some people make it sound like unless there is a stepparent, kids can't live at home full time. Stay at home stepparent is rather unusual circusmtance, don't know anyone IRL.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:04AM
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It's not that he works that prevents him from having SS full time. It's the court case. If DH could have gotten full custody, he would have....we just don't have *enough* for him to win full custody as of yet. DH's attorney is seriously the best of the best. She is one of the most sought after divorce/custody attorneys in our area, has been recognized nationally, etc. She is excellent and has done a lot for DH---got him residential custody for school. This is HUGE. It will make things soooo mcuh easier on us. Instead of SS going to school 25 miles from our home, he is going to the school that is .79 miles from our house! When he gets older, he can ride his bike if he wants! It's an EXCELLENT, blue-ribbon district and it also means that from here on out, SS's activities, friends, etc. are going to be HERE. This makes it so much easier for DH to be involved, easier for me to coordinate the kids' activities, do pick-ups, etc.

Anyway, after this last go around, when DH got the addendum about no-drinking added to the parenting plan, his attorney said to document everything carefully and to "prepare" for a custody case down the road. Unless something drastically changes with BM, it will happen down the road....but one time of having the hot water shut off is not going to be enough. If the woman can try to drive intoxicated with her child, and that doesn't give my DH full custody, it is going to take a lot more than lack of hot water for DH to win. I know it sucks and it seems like it should be a no-brainer but it's just not. We have to keep documenting.

As far as asking BM to let us have SS on her stretches, there is just NO WAY she would agree. I know based on her drinking and her other behaviors, it sounds like she would be this deadbeat parent that doesn't really care----but just the opposite. She is SO dependant on her son and would NEVER willingly give him up. She is not the type to just dump him with us and leave. She would take him in a heartbeat if DH would give her extra time with him. She does love him immensely, like I've said before, almost to the point that she can't seem to function without him.
So I just do NOT see her ever willingly agreeing to give DH extra time.

Back to DH having full custody---I mean, he certainly could do it with or without me around. He has always had joint custody, and before I was involved, he managed fine. I did not really start taking more responsibility for SS until the kids started kingergarten. Before SS started kindergarten, he went to the YMCA daycare and DH would pick him up on his way home from work. I mean, if it came down to it, DH could hire a sitter after school, etc. He would figure it out, even if I were not around.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:55AM
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If given all that you've disclosed on here, your DH couldn't get custody, I suspect (a) there is much more to this story on both sides (there usually is anyway), (b) you live in a pro-mother jurisdiction (very possible as there are still many such de facto jurisdictions). I don't doubt your DH has a good attorney, but sounds like BM's may be better. Well keep documenting and good luck.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Everything I have disclosed is true, marie, and there is not "more to the story." I mean, sure there are always two sides, but in this case---BM has a drinking problem, DH does not, DH has consistently provided for SS, BM has not, etc. I am sure BM would say that DH is an @$$hole, whatever---but we cannot change the hard facts that BM is the one who has screwed up over and over here. DH is not a perfect parent, no one is, but DH has NEVER put his son in danger or emotionally abused him like BM has. I actually kind of resent you insinuating otherwise.

I don't know if we live in a pro-mother jurisdiction or not. We live in Missouri.

In fairness to the custody thing--I don't know if he could get it NOW if he tried. Maybe if he took it all the way to trial, he would.

When they STARTED this court case, about 18 months ago, DH was told he could not get full custody. He didn't have much of anything to go on then. NOW he does. And that's why I said we need to keep documenting. It is one little thing after another which will probably add up to a big something in the end.

BM's attorney is not better by any means. Her first attorney was not even a family law attorney---her attorney she used this last go around was a bulldog-type, and a lot of talk, but at the end of the day, she couldn't deliver. She was INSISTENT that BM would not sign the agreement about no-drinking. BUT our attorney, the GAL and the judge teamed up and said it's either that or supervised visition. And her attorney told BM to go ahead and sign.

I have come to realize with court that it is not usually one "big" victory but many small victories (ie, school district, child support lowered, no-drinking addendum, etc.) over the course of time.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:19AM
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Love I know your situation and I know that work doesn't prevent him from anything and he is not the type of guy dumping everything on a woman. I know your DH does what needs to be done. I was quoting pseudo's point that since dad works full time and mom makes a case if you watch SS, dad cannot have SS full time. that just made no sense because plenty of custodial parents have children full time yet there is no stepparent at home or no stepparent at all.

most certainly lack of hot water is not good enough reason to take children away and no one should take SS away from his mother, she is not deadbeat. I thought more of a temporary custody until she can get back on her feet.

And i am still concerned if she continues drinking since no one knows to what extend. I mean if she has a glass of wine at night might not be a big deal but you have no ways of knowing. maybe that's why they have all these money problems, they spend it on alcohol. alcohol is expensive. or maybe they are not. who knows what they do.

I know families where everyone sits around in a living room after dinner and smokes pot all together, everyone including children, it is called "family time". people do bizzare stuff.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:20AM
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"most certainly lack of hot water is not good enough reason to take children away and no one should take SS away from his mother, she is not deadbeat. I thought more of a temporary custody until she can get back on her feet"

FD, I don't disagree at all. I just don't think BM would ever voluntarily give SS to DH, even temporarily. If things continue being bad, then DH will have to at least broach the subject with BM and offer. And of course she will decline. At some point, then, DH will need to decide if it's necessary to start the court case all over again. If that happened, we would HAVE to take it all the way to trial b/c BM would NOT give her son up without a fight.

I think they do spend their money on stupid things, not necessarily just alcohol, but anything. I think they get really behind on bills, b/c her DH gets paid sporadically, and then when he does get a large check, they blow it on dumb stuff, like dogs, new flat-screens, etc.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:25AM
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love, maybe she would be willing to let him bring SS over for dinner and a shower... then drop him off. She is obviously having issues with hot water and food in the house and he can present it as helping her out.. ie. I can't give you money but I can feed SS dinner & make sure he comes home clean.. or he can take his concerns to someone that might pry into the situation deeper... maybe find there's more going on and it would make her look bad/worse. She might be willing to do it if it's presented the right way.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 1:17PM
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love, I was not insinuating anything. my point was, it seems that BM may have her own ammunition or at least be able to make the picture not seem so rosy in DH's favor. again, two sides to every story and there is no such thing as a slam dunk case.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 4:39PM
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"it seems that BM may have her own ammunition"

She truly doesn't though. What's funny is that despite all the accusations she makes (ie, I abuse SS, etc) BM has NEVER said a bad word about me or DH in court. I think this is because SHE is always the one on the defensive. Both times they've been in court has been initiated by DH.

I guess I should temper what I said about full custody with stating that DH has never really gone for full custody. 18 months ago before all the bad stuff really happened (or before it was documented) he was told there is not a chance you will get full custody. This was the first go around where he did wind up winning residential custody.

Then this last time DH wasn't trying for full custody, he was just trying to get BM to get some treatment for her alcoholism.

I don't know what would happen if we went ALL OUT, took this to trial and really forged ahead. After the last 6 months, he very well may get it---if he got letters from teachers, the counselor, etc. And if things continue to be bad, he might at some point have to do tha.

I do know that his attorney said this statement saying BM cannot drink while SS is with her is GOLD for DH should he ever file a motion to modify.

I also think one problem Dh has had w/BM is that she doesn't come across the way she soundsb given her actions and lifestyle. She is attractive, dresses well, and can come across fine. (When I hear the things I'm saying---no hot water, no food, drinking, etc. I picture a trailer park mom in sweats. BM is just not like that. She loves to go clubbing, wears cute clothes, etc. So she can come across *better* than she sounds and I think, especially the first go around with the first GAL, he thought she was *better* than we made her out to be. It wasn't until he found out she was really on welfare when she'd told him she was a "sahm" that he turned things around and recommended DH get residential.) She had also lied to him and told him she was married---at the time, she wasn't. He was really angry when he found out she had lied about that. At that point, in the courtroom hall, he told her to "pack up her two kids and her boyfriend and move our town." (meaning the town DH and I live in.)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 8:29PM
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