Treading Thin Ice

sminnjNovember 30, 2008

Just when things seem to be smoothing over and are going great and everyone gets along.....something else happens...

DH and BM split when SD(8) was 3. He has not had her for one single Thanksgiving since then. They share X-mas. (Although he never gets xmas eve or morning) So this year he proposed that they switch off every other Thanksgiving and switch off every other X-max Eve/Morning. The parent that has Thanksgiving is not the one to get Xmas Eve. So BM quickly agreed that was fair and a good idea. Thanksgiving rolls around and BM calls at about 12p saying it was the first year she had not had daughter for Thanksgiving and could she have her for dinner at her Dad's at 2:30....since we were eating at 5. DH said no, because he didnt want her to have to eat 2 meals and they already agreed he would have her this year. So of course she started crying and hung up. She called back to talk to DD and told her that 2 of her cousins from another state were up visiting. Of course the child wants to go see her cousins but sulked in her room for a couple of hours instead cause she could not go.

I guess BM's plan was to have DD cry to her Dad that she wanted to go with her Mom to see her cousins. It bothers me so much that she has to do these things and use DD to get what she wants and hurting DD in the process. And she doesn't even see it.

DH gets her on Wednesday nights and every other weekend starting on Friday thru Sunday night. On the BM's weekend, the child stays overnight at her Grandpa's house on Friday and on her Grandma's house on Saturday. So her Mom drops her off on Friday and doesn't see her again until Sunday afternoon. I asked SD why she doesn't stay at her mom's on Saturday and she said because Saturday is her her mom's night to "go out on the town". Keeping in mind so now she sees her kid not at all on the weekends. DH asked her today if she is going to use a "babysitter" he would like to be the first person called. She said she would rather not because then he could get his child support lowered since DD would be with him more days of the week.

I pretty much stay out of my opinion when asked....but it drives me nuts seeing the way this child is treated by her mother. For the past 3 weekends that we have had her, on Sunday when we get ready to take her back to her mom's she has expressed that she did not want to go and would rather stay at her Dad's. There are other issues at home with her Mom that are a completely different story....

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Do they have a custody agreement in place? What does it say in re: holidays, ROFR (right of first refusal), etc?

If there isn't one in place, I'd suggest he get one with some guidelines for holidays, etc. He can include ROFR, which will enable him to get his daughter if mom would rather be "out on the town". And if partying is that important to mom, maybe he could just file for custody, then she'd have plenty of free time. And she wouldn't have to worry about Dad's CS being lowered...she'd only have to worry about how much she pays.

It amazes me the double standard that custodial mom's have when the custody changes to dad. My SD came to live with us this year, and her mom went to great lenghts not to pay any CS. However, she regularly reminded Dad (when she wanted CS increases) that "it was the least he could do" and that he had "no idea how expensive it is to raise kids" and "just becuase they don't live with you doesn't mean you shouldn't be financially responsible". But now that the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, she certainly has changed her tune. And to think, she and her DH easily make twice as much as we do.

Oh well...they can have their money, house and fancy cars. We have what's important...the kids, who have figured it all out. Just keep doing the right thing by your SD, and it really will pay off in the end. She will know who really has her best interest at the forefront.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 4:56PM
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Thank you for letting me know about ROFR. I have never heard of that before but it does make sense.

My parents divorced when I was 6 and as I got older and older I definitly noticed who had the best interest in mind. I just would rather her have a good relationship with her mother then growing up and resenting her later.

Thank you for your advice.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 5:44PM
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"I just would rather her have a good relationship with her mother then growing up and resenting her later."

My SD9 came to live with us when her mom found a new boyfriend that lived 3 hours away. This was very shortly after a heated contested custody trial, she just handed over SD to us. It devastated SD to say the least. I was put in the position of being the one to comfort her and at the same time, her mom was telling her that we were the bad guys that took her away and won't let her live with mom. Her mom has been nasty towards us, yet one of my biggest worries has been what BM is doing to her own relationship with her own child. Every time she does something to hurt her daughter, I reel from it because I am a mother of a daughter and don't understand how she can be doing this to her own child. Yet, over the last year I have slowly realized that all I am going to do is make myself crazy and stressed over 'their' relationship. There is nothing anyone else can do about how mom handles her own relationship with her own kids. Only time will tell if SD will forgive or resent. It's not my problem and my focus is on building a better relationship with SD, no longer worrying about her mom's relationship with her. (Don't get me wrong, it still pisses me off when she does things but I try not to even think about it, let alone worry about the impact it will have for them later)

Custody agreements are great but they should be in writing, even if you've never gone through the court. Nobody should ever have to go to court to get a custody order and have a Judge tell you when you can see your kids, etc. Custody trials/proceedings can be time consuming and expensive and the end result is the court making the decisions regarding your kids. The parents should be making those decisions. But, when one or both parents are so blinded by anger or hatred of the other parent, it becomes necessary I guess. If it's possible, the right of first refusal should always be part of the agreement/order. My SD's mom also leaves SD with babysitters/family to go out on her weekends. She only has 3 weekends a month and doesn't even utilize all her time with her daughter. Since she lives so far away and lies to us (we never find out until later that SD went to a babysitter), DH isn't offered that time with SD. The result is that SD is beginning to resent her mom for not spending her time with her and leaving her with other people. SD's going on 10 and starting to question her mom on these things and while it saddens me that she can't have the close relationship with her mom that I can see she wants, I have to disconnect myself from the situation because it isn't my problem to solve.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 9:53AM
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I definitly see what you are saying. I will have to try and not let it get to me so much. The whole reason we found out that she was left with someone else on her weekends with her Mom is because we can literaly see her Grandmothers house from our kitchen window. Weekend after weekend I would notice SD getting dropped off there on Friday's after work, then getting picked up on Sunday morning. I minded my own business, I mean who's to say what happened in between. But SD finally said something to her Dad after I asked her what she does every Saturday night. So now he has caught on. And BM did agree yesterday to let him have the choice of having DD if she was not going to keep her. He told her that he didn't have enough money for a lawyer to get the child support lowered so she shouldn't worry about it. lol. She would rather leave her child (and she has another huge handful of a kid (4) ) with her 88 year old grandmother all weekend then let her Dad have her. The woman can't even drive! And is usually passed out by 5pm on a few bottles of wine. (The Grandmother I mean)

Well this weekend is our weekend, so next weekend we will see if she lives up to letting DH have her. I thought we were not going to get to see her this weekend either because it is her little sisters birthday. But apparently her Mom is not throwing a birthday party for her because "she wants to concentrate on Christmas). Oh Brother :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 6:12PM
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