Dealing with a vicious ex-wife w/intent to harm

stressedgirl38December 19, 2008

My fiance and I have been together for more than 2 years. He has 2 young girls-6 & 7 1/2. Finally the divorce got settled, the house was sold, the ex received all proceeds from the house, receives a huge amount of child support each month. The matrimonial agreement explains custody well(enough?) I have it memorized.

A little background: 2 1/2 years ago, she had been cheating on him for about 3 of their 6 year marriage. He stuck around for the kids. She has a borderline personality disorder. She used to abuse him. Finally she beat him pretty good and then had him removed from the house. He filed for divorce. She in retaliation, filed for divorce also and an order of protection against him. But then took it back. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Well, Here it is 2 1/2 years later. The divorce and custody has occurred. Their house has been sold. And she keeps harrassing him and me. I met his children over 1 1/2 years ago. She and I met over a year ago. In the course of the last year and half, we went to bring the children home, she was passed out drunk and we could not leave the children. We caught her drunk driving with the children earlier this year, and we called the police. We spent months in court with temporary orders of protection against her on behalf of the children because she keeps doing drugs and drinking around the children and having different men enter their lives. She also won't feed them breakfast, barely lunch, only relies on school for that and feeds only fast food or canned food for dinner. Won't do homework with the kids and unless the older child is sick, she won't bring them to the doctor when necessary

The youngest child is depressed and stressed out. Mom, pushes her away, doesn't want to interact with her much, neglects the child when she isn't feeling well or has an issue, finds her an interuption and the child is beginning to compensate. Not in a positive manner. The oldest has several emotional and mental disabilities, which mom blames everything only on medicine as reasons for laziness and neglect and lack of desire. The child is treated as the baby that "mommy" loves, as is told to me, and constantly stunted in any advancements that can be made for her. Anytime someone, school, my fiance, family, etc. has tried to assist with the oldest, mom blocks it. The 2 kids keeps looking for love and support from my fiance and I and we give everything we can. We go to all the parent teacher conferences, school meetings, doctor appt's, etc. When we have tried to get the kids involved, mom has blocked them from socially interacting with others. So we have taken up the roles. But it is difficult. They reside with her. The end result of court was that the children still reside with her but the judge placed and order of protection against her, fixed for 1 year.

In June, she threatened to take out an order of protection against me and then again last week because she did not like the fact that she had send her daughter to school sick, refused to pick her up one day when they tried to send her home, and then the next day, she was unavailable via phone and my fiance was an hour away. I was 3rd on the list. She will call my home, my cell phone, screaming at me, demanding my name, my personal information, threating to harm my person, to take out an order against me. My fiance and I reside together. She is angry with him, I understand that. She doesn't like the fact that he is there for his kids. And she doesn't like the fact that I am there for his kids.


What do I do to protect myself though from being harmed? I avoid her at all costs. But it doesn't seem to be solving the problem.

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One thing you can do is document everything. Keep a diary with dates and times. This can come in handy when and if any of this ends up in court. It sounds like you may already be doing this. Keep doing what you are doing by calling police or children services when apropriate.

To protect yourself do what you would normaly do to protect yourself. Stay aware of your surroundings and make sure you are around other people and in a safe environment when you have to be around her. If you have to pick up the kids, take a friend. It is better to be safe then sorry, right?

You might check out the BPD forum at people there may be able to help you and give you a little insight about dealing with someone with this difficult personality disorder.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 6:50PM
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who got custody? if she does drugs in front of the kids, and drives drunk with kids, dad should get full custody. why does mom still have it? i find it strange. unreal. are you sure she really does drugs? does judge know? is fiance also somehow troubled? otherwise I would assume judge give kdis to dad, not mom. she does not feed the kids, passes out drunk, drives wiht them drunk etc and yet they live with her. i find it hard to believe. does dad even want custody?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 9:30PM
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Stressed....I would think that if all that you have posted is actually happening with the biomom and the children then there should be documentation occurring. Child Protective Services, school counselors, police reports and so on. You said that there is a protective order against her in regards to you, correct? In ordering that she would have to be considered a danger to you but the judge does not consider that to be an indication that she may be not treating her kids ok? I'm not a lawyer and I know that it is difficult to get all the facts out on the first post but it is a bit confusing.

I have been given some great advice and resources concerning a situation of my daughters...she is 20. Please go to the parent forum and locate that post and then skim through it. You will find a website, books and great personal advice.

I would not rest until the children were in their father's custody if I were him. The hand writing is on the wall and something must be done if at all possible.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 9:45PM
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Let me clarify some confusing facts, and I am grateful for the responses so far. Dad and I keep going to court trying for a custody of the children.

The judge is aware of the drinking and drug issue which was the most recent, May 2008, for going back into court. That is what initiated a new order of protection which we took out on behalf of the children to protect them from her. Then the final outcome was that the judge said mom could still have residential custody of them but that the judge was placing a fixed order of protection on behalf of the children ordered by the courts against mom.

Originally 2 1/2 years ago when things were originally in family court, CPS, got called, they said nothing, closed the case however mom tested positive for drugs twice in the courts and yet they still let her have them. In 2007, the police were called but they made nothing out of it.

I have everything documented, but the judge didn't want to look at it and the child liason only acknowledge to the judge that there were issues. When This past may came about, CPS came to look at both households but her residence was the home being sold so it was being packed up for moving at the time so things were cleaned up and CPS always gives notification of when they will be coming by. It is a merry-go-round, I know. Her newest issues are that when the kids were sick recently, she was not available via phone, dad was over an hour away from the school and I being 3rd on the call list came and picked up the kid with a 101 fever. She went crazy on him, the school, me. She threatened me, him, the school, intimidated the kids. It was a mess. I just don't know what to do anymore. She is getting more and more erratic in her behavior amongst all of us. The kids are suffering, I am always looking around me, my car, etc. Fortunately, she doesn't know my last name or where I work. But the threats keep coming. And the neglect doesn't get any better. We have a home all set for the girls, the school is aware, with school teachers we constantly got to go to meetings, I have the textbooks, the homework assignments, mom doesn't go to any appt's. The last set of parent-teacher conferences, we went and she went to Montana of a week with her BF. My life I tease went from a smoothe sailing boat to a lifetime movie...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 12:07PM
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Um, what exactly does this fixed order of protection say? I find it really hard to believe that a judge would grant an order of protection and still allow residential custody, unless the dad's home is just as bad.

It makes no sense. AN order of protection is designed to protect from abuse, and if the judge actually did order one, then abuse is acknowledged, and contact between the abuser and the children minimized.

I dont find it hard to believe that Dad filed for an order, but I do find it extremely difficult to believe that one was granted, and the mom still kept full time custody.

What are the conditions of the order?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 1:33PM
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In the two years that you and FDH have been together the biomom has never heard your last name? And she doesn't know where you work? That would not be difficult to find out if she cared to.

I agree with kathline....

I also think perhaps you are having a difficult time telling us the entire story seems very fragmented and it is difficult to understand. Sorry.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:20PM
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why do you go to parent-teacher conferences? you are not even married. it is dad's or mom's job. this story sounds too messed up and uneral to make any sense out of it. like believer said it is too fragmented and you probably not telling us everything.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 5:36PM
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I'm thinking because of your marital status stressedgirl38 or lack thereof it has been an issue with the authorities?
I'm sure the BM is a case, yet she must be feeling totally out of control to act this way. And the more you do, the worse she feels about herself?
I think she is full of hot air, needs an enemy and you're it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 6:37PM
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I have kept my private information very secretive from BM. We have not disclosed to her where I work nor have we disclosed to her my last name. She knows my residence. BD and I reside together. She has seen my car. I drive all the time. However, with threats coming my way, the less she knows the better.

BD and I both attend all the school meeting together so that there are always 2 sets of ears to hear all the info. She has ruffled many feathers at the school with her behavior. BD has gotten many phone calls about BM tantrums with the principal even though he has no control over them and all he can do is sympathize with the principal. He tries to speak to her about the childrens school work, eating habits, clothing issues, health, medications, etc. but is met with resistance.

When we went to court we did not have legal representation because we can not afford it anymore. And though we have many police reports, photographs, phone records, times sheets, records of conversations, if all facts are not presented in a certain manner of record as evidence, the judge does not want to see it or acknowledge it. That is how things got screwed up in court. So, the judge placed this fixed order of protection stating that BM may not commit acts that may endanger, harm, hurt, threaten, etc. the children. But it is not concise like the previous ones so it does give us leeway to work on a list to work against her but also lots of freedom to do things to the kids. The judge does acknowledge that there is a problem but due to lack of presentation of evidence, she gets to keep the kids, and thereby keeps making things rough on them. I got a 7 1/2 year old and a 6 year old who both at times who have looked at me crying at times telling me that they are sad and they don't know why. They are so depressed. I know they need therapy. And when we tried to put them in therapy she was against it. Arrgh...Then she said she was going to put them in therapy then cancelled the appt. because she had other plans.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:50AM
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This still sounds strange to me. No way, no how would I let my Xs SO attend a teacher-parent meeting (as distinct from an open house type situation, where many people are there, and confidential information is discussed). I would be surprised if the school did not feel an obligation to disclose SOs presence and name to the mother.

I am also surprised that school principal would complain about one parent's "tantrums" to another. If the school personnel are aware of any neglect or abuse, they are obliged to inform appropriate personnel. Perhaps the principal was communicating that mom was furious that SO was at conference and it would have to stop.

This seems strange to me -- the entire situation.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:23AM
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There is nothing strange about SO attending a school meeting with the BD especially if the BM dosn't show up for them and is frustraiting the teachers and they live together. If dad has added SO as the third emergency contact, it is not strange at all. Dad has the right to take who he wants with him unless his parental rights have been desolved and it sounds like they haven't.

Congradulations on keeping your personal information private. It looks like you are doing a good job of protecting yourself. I can see that this is a very frustraiting situation. Judges are very wary of information presented by the other parent, they have a conflict of interest cloud over anything they say. They are also not so quick to move a child out of their home. Of course it depends on the judge.

It sounds like you are doing everything you can for the kids right now. Keep supporting them the best you can and keep phoning in the violations to get your documentation. The more vigelent you are the better, at the very least it may but preasure on mom to do a better job and that can held the kids too.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Excuse me, Dad does NOT have the right to add attendees at a parent teacher conference in my district. I have always said where both parties agree, its fine to allow steps. Parental rights are not transferrable. Its not like allowing use of a car.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:46AM
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Emergency contacts include babysitters, neighbors, aunts, etc. That does not extent the righ to of the school to discuss condifential info with the.

There are many types of SMs (although here OP is fiance) -- but where children doesnt live with dad, this is a sitation I find it highly likely that my school district would not release confidential info.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Does the mom have full custody or is it joint custody?

If it is joint custody, then the school would allow the dad's new partner to attend meetings, etc. If its sole custody, then only the dad would have access to confidential interview info. At least where I live.

As for not revealing last names, and places of employment, I think thats a good idea.

I still think there is a lot more to the story though. For one thing, a principal who calls an ex to complain about their former spouse? EXTREMELY unprofessional and could get the principal fired.

Also, the OP says that the ex wife beat the husband up pretty badly and the cops were called. If that were the case, the history of DV would be brought into a custody dispute.

Has Mom actually been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with BPD, or is that a layman's diagnosis. If she has an actual psychiatric diagnosis of such, that also would have been a factor in a custody dispute.

ALl I can think of, reading this, is that the propensity for violence is not just on the mom's side, and the reason the mom still has custody is because there are problems with the dad's home, or history, as well.

Unless of course, there were unprovable allegations made in the court case, which the judge must overlook, since accusations dont always equal reality.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 12:16PM
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"I got a 7 1/2 year old and a 6 year old who both at times who have looked at me crying at times telling me that they are sad and they don't know why."

They don't know why but it's pretty obvious to an outsider... their parents are using them as little weapons in their fight with each other. Dad is trying every trick in the book to prove their mom is a lunatic that is incapable of taking care of them and/or abusing them. The evidence doesn't support it or the court would have changed custody or ordered counseling. BM doesn't want to agree to counseling probably because she fears dad & his girlfriend are requesting it to gather additional 'evidence' against her to take custody of her kids. The courts aren't going to uproot kids to go live with dad & his live in girlfriend. The fact that they haven't even made a legal commitment to each other shows a little instability. Courts know that 50-60% of marriages fail, but marriage shows stability. Using an argument that you can provide better (financially) is likely going to just result in paying more child support. I strongly suspect that dad wants custody to get out of paying child support and maybe that is what the court sees as well. Mom may not be perfect, not saying she's a great mom, but the courts obviously don't view Dad as any better.

If you continue to work on building a case to 'win' custody, the result is going to be destroying two children's lives. That probably isn't your intention but the case has been before the court and the court left the children with their mother. Leave it alone. My 'advice' is to stick to the current order... dad should visit when he's supposed to, pay his support when he's supposed to, do EVERYTHING he's supposed to. If she prevents him from seeing the kids, document it. If she endangers the kids, report it to the proper authorities and let them handle it. (and your boyfriend should be the one determining what he feels is 'endangered', not you) In fact, he may ask an attorney, Judge or law enforcement officer what constitutes 'endangered' because if he continues to nit pick at everything the mom does, he will be seen as being unreasonable and he will be seen as the problem. The court can reduce or limit his contact with the kids if he's making a mountain out of a molehill over every little thing. The court can also see the difference between a bad mom that is harming her kids and a mom that just has a different lifestyle or parenting style. The courts are not going to remove kids from a custodial parent just because she doesn't live life the way the other parent wants her to. The court may tell them that if they wanted to have a say in how the other lives their life, they should have stayed married/together. But, I can also tell you that the courts DO NOT like to see a case brought back to court over and over again when they just ruled on it a few months ago. You've been together two & half years and say you've been to court several times. If he didn't go to court for custody before he met you, the court may view it as 'new girlfriend is pushing this' and gives less credibility to his allegations.

I would also like to add that I find it concerning that you have 'hidden' your personal information from her for two years? If my kids were going to be around a SO for two years and she was living with their dad, I would DEMAND her information. She has an absolute right to know who is around her kids. She has no right to harass you but as I read the previous posts, I believe she may feel YOU are harassing her in trying to take her kids away from her. If she is harassing you, the courts can give you an order of protection and if you already have one, I don't know how she can NOT have your full name. The order would tell her she has to 'stay away from SUE SMITH', not 'stay away from SUE, the lady your ex lives with'.

As to conferences, I'm sorry kkny.... surprise I don't agree with you. I agree if the parents are having one conference, they should get approval from the other parent to bring a spouse or SO. However, if they are having separate conferences, they should be able to bring whoever they want. I don't know what 'confidential' information you think is discussed at conferences but at my step daughters conference (that I attended but her mom did not), all that was discussed is her talking in class and how she can improve her grades. Her grades were disclosed but that isn't really confidential, no different than her dad showing me the report card. If he didn't want me to know that, he wouldn't let me attend the conference.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Ima, I dont know how your local school district interprets privacy requirements. Mine will only send report cards to parents, will only allow parent teacher conferences to a parent or one who acts as a parent. That is a little less stringent that legal guardian, and might include a stepmother who acts as a parent on a full time basis. (and NOT EOW, as some stepmoms have said they do everything a parent would do, but then it comes out they only do it EOW). Schools have an obligation to protect students privacy. My X has every right to have his SO in his life, but she has no rights to my DDs life.

But back to OP, this situation is still strange to me -- that OP says she goes to parent teacher meetings, etc but that mom doesnt have her name but wants to harass her.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 1:08PM
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kkny, my point is that if dad gets a report card & shares it with his SO, he can do that. If he goes to conferences, he is able to consent to having SO there. It's splitting hairs to say it's breaking confidentiality. If he goes to the conference alone and goes home & repeats everything back to his SO, it's not any different than saying he gives his consent to her being there.

Unless you have an order excluding her from attending meetings, it really isn't up to the other parent to decide. That's if they have joint legal custody. If you have sole legal custody as well as physical, then that's a different story. I would agree that an EOW step should not be allowed to attend alone. As a custodial step parent, I have gone to conferences alone with my husband's consent. Of course, I am acting as a parent.

I don't think a parent should have to sit in the same conference with the other parents spouse or SO if it makes them uncomfortable. That is more of a respect thing than a privacy thing. In my opinion, the privacy thing is out the window because they could go home and discuss all that was said anyways. There is no privacy in that case unless you also get an order prohibiting them from discussing the conference with their SO... not too many courts will issue that order. (they might, but not likely)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 1:21PM
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I dont think it is splitting hairs -- it is expanding step involvement. Would you allow stepparent to meet with child's therapist and recieve confidential info? Maybe you would. But if you wouldnt, parent can discuss with whomever he wants, same as report cards, etc.

If the school has a lot of divorced parents they could be forced to have a lot mroe conferences. In any event, each school has to interpret privacy requirements to the best of its ability. We dont agree -- I dont think an EOW stepparent should be allowed at all. As to you being custodial step parent, I am not aware of any P/T meeting at my school with a step where the non-CP hasnt basically disappeared.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:03PM
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I had to laugh at this...

"I am not aware of any P/T meeting at my school with a step where the non-CP hasnt basically disappeared."

Does the school discuss with you who they have P/T meetings with? How would you know if they are confidential. (I just have to ask!)

BTW, I do meet with SD's counselor. Her mom still hasn't even met her new counselor once. She's been invited to but I guess she's too busy.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 5:40PM
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Another thought, maybe you should look at why your fiance, the kids dad, hasn't moved more aggressively to get full custody. The drinking, the drugs etc should be more than enough, if that can be proven, to move the kids permanently to him. I agree with Imamommy that it sounds as though both parents are using the kids in a pretty nasty fight.

This is your fiance's fight not yours. I know it is probably hard to detach from so much drama around two young kids you care about. But, it's on their dad to carry the ball on this. If he's not able or willing that is something to think about. When I was dating DH and his son was in school it never occured to me that I should attend P/T conferences or anything else like that. That was for SS parents to do and it was just not my business as the girlfriend. BM probably seriously resents the level of your involvement and it may be driving some of her behavior.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:16PM
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Ima, my DD goes to a very small school district where everyone knows each other. Everyone knows who is divorced, where X lives etc.

I am sorry your Stepchild's mother hasnt been available.

Just becuase you met with stepchild's counselor doesnt mean every district would allow it if mom objected.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:21PM
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if it is a stepmother, then it could be OK for her to attend conferences under specific cirucmstances (for example stepkids actually reside with dad and stepmom etc.) I can see why and how stepmom would be present there and it is fine. but OP is not married to kids father and NO it is not OK for anyone's boyfriends and girlfriends to attend parent teacher conferences and listen to somehting what is attended to kids' family!

Ima why do you compare your situation? Your SD lives with you, dad has custody, and you are married to her dad. OP is not married and kids don't live with her. it is a very different story.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:25PM
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FD, I'm not comparing my situation to OP's. I am making my point and nobody HAS to agree with it, but it's MY opinion that I am entitled to. The thread isn't about attending school conferences and I responded to kkny's comment as a side note. It wasn't intended to start a debate. As a parent, if I wanted to take my next door neighbor, my best friend or my sister to a conference with me, I can have whoever I want there. I am a parent and can give consent to have someone there with me, regardless of any relationship. If I don't want 'confidential' information shared, I would go alone. If I bring someone, then I am consenting to that information being shared in front of them. That's my opinion and whether the schools across the country would allow it, I don't know and I don't really care. I have attended many conferences without the father of the child being there, my stepdaughter and also the three children of my boyfriend... I wasn't even married to him but I went to conferences, I helped them with homework and I was even room mother for a few years in various classrooms. Nobody ever even questioned my relationship or legal status. I never claimed to be their mother or their stepmother, I referred to their dad as my boyfriend. So, 21 teachers and three schools didn't care.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 11:05AM
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FD and KKNY,

Why do you make all the rules and statements about what is acceptable and what is not? If I went to my SS's school conference and his mom did not like it I would tell her tough s@#t. Just because she is his mom does not make her my boss or my dh's boss. You should also not pretend to know what is acceptable in other people's families. When I was living in the same town as my SS I attended many school functions, helped out in class, and picked him up from school and I was only his dad's girlfriend/fiancee GASP!! It may surprise you, but his mom was totally okay with it and even asked me to help out in the class. It may also surprise you to know that many stepmoms care about their SKs and do not go to teacher confrences and the alike to dig up info or be hateful, but rather to be supportive of someone they love. If these are your rules for your kids' stepmoms that is fine, however, where do you get off making rules for other families and stating what is okay or not?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 12:35PM
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Mom1sma2 -- If parents can agree on steps attending that is fine. There is a diffrence between helping out in class than a confidential parent teacher conference. If my Xs SO ever showed up at a confernece, I would not talk to her about but the school. My DDs school district policy is that they do not disclose any confidential information to any one other than a parent or legal guardian.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 6:58PM
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mom1sm2, this is my opinion. you have yours. in my opinion steparents can attend conferences but boyfriends and girlfriends cannot. boyfriends and girlfriends are not family. maybe you think otherwise and it is OK. i never said stepparents should not attend conferences. OP is not a stepparent, she is dad's girlfriend and she does nto even live with the kids. so i am not sure why you argue. are you dad's girfriend? is that why you argue? otherwise i do not understand what is your point. yes if you are just a girfriend, you should not go to conferences in my opinion.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:24PM
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if mom has custody she can certainly object to girlfriends attending school conferences. if parents share custody or they both OK wiht it it is a different story. but it is not what happens in OP's situation.

mom1sm2 of course many SMs take care of their stepkids and actually raise them. It is not the case in this thread though. if you want to discuss your own situation then you should provide more detail. i thought it was about OP's family arrangement not yours.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:34PM
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In our case I go to all the girls school functions. There have been a few times I have gone WITH OUT Jonathan because he was working. The school never questioned me or demanded a note of permission from the mom. In fact she is on the DO NOT PICK UP list adn they never questioned that either. J just told them the situation and they said OK. No letter from a judge required.....just his word.
That's in Georgia.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 11:47PM
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Same in CA. DH asked me to call the school to make sure BM doesn't pick up SD early anymore... I called them (nobody questioned my authority) and told them she is not to pick up SD and gave them a copy of the court order that shows her time starts at 2, so she is not to take her out at 11 or 12 like she had been. On minimum days, SD is to come home and BM is to pick her up from the house at 2.

BM is still on the emergency card so if there is an emergency, she will be contacted. But, she has to have DH's permission to pick her up early.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 12:30AM
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My husband's X has been diagnosed as NPD, narcissist personality disorder. We've been together for over 25 years having to deal with her stalking and harrassment. The daughters my husband so foolishly had with her are now full grown adults, living on their own, and their psychotic freak of a mother still won't leave us in peace. The endless years of her harrassment have left me feeling so traumatized and violated, I feel as if I've been raped on a daily basis.

And oh yeah, although my husband's X had full custody (joint custody was practically unheard of at the time and mothers were usually automatically awarded sole custody), several times she just left the girls with us for months at a time while she moved in with some new guy or even across country. During those times I took the kids to school and attended all their parent-teacher conferences by myself...and that was all before my husband and I actually got married and were still just living together. Never once was I even questioned about my lack of any kind of legal relationship whatsoever to either one of their parents.

To protect yourself from continuing to be harmed? Obviously, I don't clue one.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 1:29AM
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Ok so I agree it's a bit of an unclear story that is posted by OP. Just some things don't make sense. BM sounds like a piece of work, and I can relate to that because the BM in our situation is of a similar kind.

You wonder why BM is so angry with you and if you are in danger. You probably think that she has no reason to be so angry with you, after all you look after these kids much better than she does and BM should be happy that you are a nice person etc etc. But that is not going to happen, EVER.
It's how Iamom said it: "BM probably seriously resents the level of your involvement and it may be driving some of her behavior."
The more you get involved, the worse it will get I reckon.
It doesn't sound like BM is planning to actually physically harm you, even though her behaviour is erratic.

As for not getting custody even though BM drinks, neglects kids, takes drugs etc.. I would like to just share something of our own situation. Of course I don't know the whole story by OP, but I do know this:
sometimes the whole system just DOES NOT WORK.

In our case BM is an alcoholic,not drunk out of her mind every night but on a regular basis let's say. On those nights she either promises the kids ponies and plasma tv's for their rooms, or she has a bad one and gets abusive. Mainly verbally abusive (screaming and carrying on into the early hours) but there have been incidents where she got physical, although that's usually with the partner, not the kids.
When BM and FDH had just split up she attacked him in his sleep once. he went to the police the next day and filed a report.
The after effects from drinking are that BM stays in bed all day next day and kids don't go to school. They have to look after themselves and in our book that is neglect; not feeding kids breakfast, lunch or tea. SD12 burned her hand two years ago when she was cooking dinner because BM was still in bed. Anyway, drifting...

Back to the system;
FDH has kept a diary for 3 years
There are police reports on BM's outbursts
FDH involved CPS, but they assessed kids as being not in danger after they gave BM a phonecall..??
School has been involved (but principal sticks head in the sand)
So then FDH contacted the school inspectors, who said to have faith in the school and to leave it to the principal; passing the buck back..
and finally we did try to get shared care in the courts after BM kept breaching the court order (by keeping the kids away from FDH when it was his time to have them)

No shared care for us and the stuffing around by BM is only getting worse now.
So there we are, back to square one.

And yes; it is strange to me too that the courts will not acknowledge BM's alcohol related problems. They just did not want to have a bar of it. Of course we did not have backup from CPS which could've helped the case.
You might think that I'm not telling the whole story because it sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly what it is. RIDICULOUS.

FDH and myself are in a long term relationship; we own our own home, FDH changed jobs to suit the school hours for the kids so he could look after them (no new girlfriend here pushing the FDH for custody, only a willig and loving dad trying to look after his girls himself) We did not even try to get full custody, we did not want to take drastic actions and take the kids away from their mum. A psychologist advised us to consider shared care, so the kids get the brake from the chaotic lifestyle at BM and have a bit more time with their dad. But noooo, no shared care for FDH, not going to happen!!

The only thing we get out of this; is knowing that we have tried to help these girls, as much as we can, so now we focus on the time when they are with us.
And that would be my advice to OP; don't take over the mum-role in your household it is not going to work. In a perfect step-world you could be that and it would be an extra for the girls; but in this emotional roller coaster you do better to back off. I mean also when it comes to the parent meetings etc at the school. I wanted to do all those things too when I got together with my FDH, and the girls liked my involvement and even asked for it. For them it was exciting to have a 'mother-figure' interested in their activities, but I tell you I still learned that it is better to back off a bit. Show an interest in the things they do when they are with you, spend time with them etc etc, but the parental responsibilities stay with the parents, not you.
It's ahard thing to do, but it is better for your skids. If BM feels that threatened by you she will keep fighting like a lion and that is what hurts the kids. It might feel annoying that you have to back off while you want to do the right thing by the kids; but try it. The kids will see you for who you are anyway, as a loving and caring person who is there for them. They really will.
And don't see it as a defeat, you are really taking control here, making this decision and hopefully affecting BM's behaviour in a positive way. The bigger picture!!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 1:47AM
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