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  #1  
September 1st, 2008, 09:08 PM
raelynn's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 806
I haven't posted in this forum before, so I apologize for my first post being ridiculously long.

I have sole custody of my 8 year old DD, and her dad has "generous access" according to the court document.

My DD goes to her dad's every 2nd weekend (he lives an hour away - he used to live close by, but moved farther away a few years ago). She spends 3-4 weeks in the summer at his house, every 2nd Christmas (still goes 5 days or so over New Years when it's my year).

DD's dad and step mom are very insistent on having DD enrolled in as many activities as they can get her into. Over the summer during their 3 weeks, she went to reading camp, space camp, soccer camp, overnight camp, first aid camp and a couple others. She did not have any down time, so during the time at my house, we went camping or stayed home so she could be out playing with her friends.

Last school year (and the year before), DD was in gymnastics and ballet out in the town where her dad lives, every Saturday morning. When she was much younger, she was able to go every 2nd weekend, but then it came to where she "needed" to be there every week. Since DD was so excited, for the last 2 years, I not only gave my ex his weekends, but he had her from 6pm Friday to 1pm Saturday of my weekends as well. Or at least he was supposed to have her back at 1pm. He was late almost every time bringing her back. A few times, he didn't bring her back until supper time, ruining our family plans for the day. He doesn't own a cell phone (refuses) and I couldn't get ahold of him, nor did he call to say he was going to be late. I spoke with him repeatedly and it continued to happen. At the end of the school year last year, I told him that if he wanted DD in activities, he had to enroll her in the city where I live, and I will bring her on my weekends.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, he brings up gymnastics and bowling lessons again. DD's school work is terrible, she is WAY far behind, so I originally had said "no, she needs to get her school work caught up" - he agreed and even told DD in front of me "how does that sound, you get caught up, you can go in more activities?"

He then called me that night (after talking to his wife - he calls me to regurgitate what she's said to him), and says "well I think it's good for DD's self esteem to be in gymnastics and bowling." I told him "that's fine, put her in something in the city and I'll take her on my weekends." He blew up and said that was unacceptable and wants this year to be like last year. In the end I hung up on him when he started personally attacking me.

I didn't speak with him for 2 weeks, and DD was at his place over this long weekend. They chose to enroll her in gymnastics and jazz dancing, and told DD they were going to "fight with me to get her on my weekends so she can go." Then the step mom told her "your mom doesn't want you to go in gymnastics and jazz" and "your sister is going to forget you when she only sees you every 2nd weekend, and start thinking you're just a stranger." (her sister with them is 17mos).

I have NEVER said a bad word to DD about her dad or step mom, because I know it will come back to bite me.

I think I am being extremely fair by agreeing to take DD to lessons on my weekend, despite that we may have family plans of our own. I have DD in piano lessons and skating lessons during the week, so it's not like we do nothing at our house. I would put her in gymnastics and jazz during the week also, but I think it's too much, especially with her school work being as bad as it is.

I am at a loss with how to react or respond when DD tells me about the things her step mom (most of the bad-mouthing comes from the step mom) and dad say about me. They make it very clear to DD that they don't like me, and have even told her "we want you to live with us full time and see your mom on weekends" and 2 weeks ago the step mom said "your mommy put your daddy in jail because he didn't pay his child support." WTH? Her dad has never missed a month paying his CS (I'll give him credit for that at least).

I don't know what to say to DD without stooping to their level. I refuse to insult them, because I want DD to look back and see me and my DH as 2 people who loved and supported her relationship with her dad/step mom, not 2 people who tried to make her hate them, as they are doing to us.
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  #2  
September 2nd, 2008, 09:02 AM
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WOW!!! This is a hard one! ITA with you about not wanting to stoop to their level! My first instinct would be to tell them that they are wasting their money because she will not be going to his house on your weekends!!! It sounds like she has a lot going on with piano and skating lessons to begin with. If my child's school work was suffering, I would probably cut out all extra curricular activities!!

I will just tell you what I do with my DS's. At my house they are allowed to participate in one sport at a time. I have been very clear about this with my ex from day one. Last year, my XH decided to put Chandler in fall baseball and football at the same time. He was signed up for football first and that was the only one that I allowed him to participate in at my house. We did not go to any baseball practices or games on my time. This was so hard to do and DS got very mad at me but eventually he understood that when I said one sport at a time, I was not going to change my mind just because his dad decided to sign him up. I really think that my ex thought that I would give in as well but did not. He has not enrolled either boy in more than one sport at a time since

I think that if I were in your situation, then I would set your DD down and explain to her that she is involved in too many things. Explain that you want her to pick 2, if one that she picks is at her dad's every weekend, then I would allow her to do the same thing that she did last year. I however, would pick a meeting place (even if it is in your town) to get DD back. I would tell my ex, you get 1 month, if you are not at the meeting spot by 1 p.m. every Saturday then it will end and I will put DD in (dance or gymnastics which ever her choice was) in my town!!!

I have been through the mom and bio mom (in DSD's case) saying bad things about me to the kids. I handled it by telling my kids that I feel that the other person had an inappropriate conversation with them and that those are things that an adult should not discuss with a child. I have never, ever said a negative thing about my ex, kids step mom, DH's ex or DSD's step dad in front of the kids. DH and I always have a very positive attitude about the ex's and their spouses when talking with our kids even if they are telling us something that was said about us or our house. You continuing to respect your ex will pay off in the end. My mom always (and still does) talk very negative to me about my dad. The only thing she has done is push me closer to my father and farther from her. I can remember even as a child that it hurt my feelings when my mom said bad stuff about my dad. Your DD will see through what they are saying to her!
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  #3  
September 2nd, 2008, 07:55 PM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
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Location: In the enchanted forest
Posts: 5,257
<span style="font-family:Georgia">~No worries, we all start somewhere, glad you were able to find our forum & felt comfy enough to post.

~IMO, I wouldn't allow my bio-child (or anyone for that matter) to watch any of my kids w/ out a phone line to be able to get in touch w/ my child or the person caring for my child in case of emergencies. Period. But that's me. Also... him being late, we all have our moments (I've been guilty & so has my ex) but there is also a fine line of abusing it too. If it happens more than half of the time, and a conversation has been made to your ex & he's STILL bringing the child home late, it's time to say something on the lines of discussing or revisiting the legal document/order "or" perhaps the child can be picked up at his house from you or you meet half way to make things easier, either way, something has to happen to make everyone's lives better & easier & fare.

~When it comes to "ANY" extras (in most legal circumstances) they need to be discussed "AND" agreed upon on both ends, otherwise, if the parent (the one who has the sole physical custody or even if it was 50/50) whom ever insists on this activity w/out the other party in agreement, they would be responsible for full cost & transportation. The fact that he went ahead & did this w/ out you agreeing isn't right & at the same time him pitching a fit, well..sounds like he is used to getting his way in general "AND" w/ you, since you mentioned that he often abuses the time when he brings DD back home to you & it seems like his regard for YOUR time & YOUR life is pretty much shoved off to the side, not right. It's time to sit down & talk about this, seriously & calmly, perhaps at lunch, over coffee & in public but if you don't it's going to get worst. You are not on the same page & it's affecting your lives & in the end, the daughter is going to be caught up in the drama & used, not right at all. You can explain how you appreciate how these activities are great, you're happy that he wants her to do them & you love that he wants to spend so much extra time w/ your daughter but there has to be respect on both ends & you end isn't getting the respect you'd like, give him examples & try to work from there.

I didn't speak with him for 2 weeks, and DD was at his place over this long weekend. They chose to enroll her in gymnastics and jazz dancing, and told DD they were going to "fight with me to get her on my weekends so she can go." Then the step mom told her "your mom doesn't want you to go in gymnastics and jazz" and "your sister is going to forget you when she only sees you every 2nd weekend, and start thinking you're just a stranger." (her sister with them is 17mos).

~No matter how flat you make a pancake, there are always 2 sides. I say this b/c I am only hearing your side & it's hear say. Did the step-mom tell you directly these EXACT words? If you don't know that 100%, then this is hear say. Not saying that she isn't speaking negatively or that she isn't playing games. It's VERY common for ex's & their new spouses to put the other one down to make them look better. What they don't realize is that the child WILL or DOES already see that the adults in the situation that are speaking poorly are just shooting themselves in the foot cause the kids will end up resenting the parent putting the other down. If step-mom or bio-dad want to put you down "OR" make you look like the bad cop, then you need to sit down w/ your DD & talk to her honestly about WHY she can or cannot do certain things. Kids are smart & if you aren't being truthful, she'll draw her own conclusions & perhaps blame herself for what's going on, which you do not want her to do.


~I want to commend you for NOT taking their negative road in putting them down in front of your DD, take it from someone who's BTDT, it's only going to make things worst & you'll have brought yourself down to their level. Continue to be a positive role model to your DD, try to explain why she can or cannot do things w/ out bringing up her father or step-mother & just let the cards fall where they may. She is a child but again, smart, she'll soon discover what they are like & how they are manipulating her, if she's already figured that out.


~Glad to have you on the boards, I am a co-host for BF. I have a child from a previous relationship, his bio-dad is married & expecting twins. My DH was married before me & had a son from that marriage. We have 2 children together, thus far all boys. I am a step & bio mom. I get along w/ one step mom & don't get along w/ a bio mom at all. I've had many CS issues, I've been to court & all sort of other things. If I haven't done it, someone else on this board has. Everyone here is helpful & kind.

Let us know if there is anything we can do.

Take care & keep us posted
~C</span>
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  #4  
September 2nd, 2008, 09:34 PM
raelynn's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 806
Quote:
Explain that you want her to pick 2, if one that she picks is at her dad's every weekend, then I would allow her to do the same thing that she did last year. I however, would pick a meeting place (even if it is in your town) to get DD back. I would tell my ex, you get 1 month, if you are not at the meeting spot by 1 p.m. every Saturday then it will end and I will put DD in (dance or gymnastics which ever her choice was) in my town!!![/b]
The problem is that my DD wants to do it all, and if I ask her to pick 2, she'll pick the 2 that she's enrolled in at my house because she doesn't want to hurt my feelings. I really don't want to share my weekends with him at all. Last year was the most stressful year of my life when I had to deal with him every single weekend, I am looking forward to having a break from him and lowering my stress level, especially since I'm pregnant. I have never stopped phone calls, so she can phone him and he can phone her whenever he wants.


Quote:
Did the step-mom tell you directly these EXACT words? If you don't know that 100%, then this is hear say. Not saying that she isn't speaking negatively or that she isn't playing games. It's VERY common for ex's & their new spouses to put the other one down to make them look better.[/b]
Thanks for the welcome! With regards to what my DD said, she came home so upset yesterday, almost in tears and said "if someone doesn't see a person for 2 weeks, are they going to be just a stranger to them?" She tried to keep it hypothetical, as she was confiding and when we said "no, people can remember for 2 weeks. Even the cats remember you after you've been gone to your dad's for 2 weeks this summer." And she said "<stepmom> said Emily isn't going to know who I am, only seeing me every 2 weeks and I'm going to be just a stranger to her."

This isn't his "new" spouse. They've been together for 8 yrs (same as me and my DH) and they've been married since 2001. It just seems that as time goes on, the stepmom is getting worse and worse with what she's saying to my DD. I do believe my DD, even if DD is not reiterating word-for-word, she's telling us what she's hearing/understanding them say, which IMO is even more important than what was actually said.
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  #5  
September 3rd, 2008, 01:36 AM
Ellemphriem's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dreamland...........
Posts: 2,646
Hi,

Your situation is indeed a hard one I am the other side of 'darkness' so to speak as i am stepmom to the daughter of my husband from his first marriage. Of course i don't know her 8 years as yours do, but only 2, but i know what i do with her. We have never enrolled her into any activity of any kind exactly because we have her only every second weekend, a week in Christmas and a month in the summer. And any activity would need more attending than that to be able to flourish. Well, that to my opinion. I have seen her talents and at the age of 9 she paints beautifully. I would have loved to place her somewhere to follow painting lessons, but it is utterly pointless. Besides i have asked her informally if she would like something like that and she said no i prefer to do it at home with you guys, so we simply bought as more painting parnaphernallia as possible from what she asks and needs to do her hobby. Other than that we just take advantage of the little time we have with her to have a nice time, go for walks, shopping, lunches and so on and so forth, because to be honest it is too little I am trying to understand why they are making her have so many activities and how can any of them flourish just in such a sort period of time

As to the rest and how her stepmom talks i don't know. Be careful maybe she twists things slightly. I have seen my stepdaughter. As funny as it may sound sometimes she puts her mom down in front of us. Does she think that with that attitude she is gonna earn points with her dad or something? It is not right and i keep telling her that....I agree with the other post. Unless something valid comes in hand don't count them word for word. What she said about the kid being a stranger to the baby was not right nevertheless. We expect our first and we never said something like that. We only said that you are going to see your sister every other weekend and maybe that is little but we'll make the best of it. I don't know what the stepmom thought she was accomplishing by saying something like that Maybe she was rubbing off on her husband and his need to have the child more by his side? (The wrong way of course don't misunderstand me).

Ah, these situations are never ever easy.....I really wish you guys the best


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  #6  
September 3rd, 2008, 04:29 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: In the enchanted forest
Posts: 5,257
Quote:
This isn't his "new" spouse. They've been together for 8 yrs (same as me and my DH) and they've been married since 2001. It just seems that as time goes on, the stepmom is getting worse and worse with what she's saying to my DD. I do believe my DD, even if DD is not reiterating word-for-word, she's telling us what she's hearing/understanding them say, which IMO is even more important than what was actually said.[/b]
ITA, what was actually said vs what a child understood is most important but I wanted to make sure that realizing that there is a significant difference in a child's mind can be sometimes substantial.

As far as step-mom getting worst, putting the guilt trip on her & doing these things, doesn't make it right, better or easier. I haven't had that sort of manipulations on my DS' step-mom...YET...but I have experienced it w/ my step-son's bio-mom a lot, and to this day, it gets worst & escalates w/ every situation. The part that has made things horrible is that it's torn our family to shreds. The child doesn't want to spend time w/ his father & siblings anymore b/c his mother has said "this isn't your REAL family" I know that she actually said this b/c she told me this & my DH this. Also, she is always up for fighting w/ my DH, sadly my DH entertains her arguments & argues back. I just ignore the situation (or act like I am) & then she stops bothering me, and has. But again, my DH continues to entertain her arguments & they fight all the time, in front of the kids, threaten court, it's horrible.

I don't know what else to say other than confronting your ex about this. I'd let him know that your DD is upset & why & see what he says. If he denies or defends his wife (which he'll probably do), then by saying "I can't have DD coming home upset like this anymore, I hope you & your wife have a conversation about things that a child shoudlnt' hear & this is one of them"...etc... or how ever you want to word things. Basically, if you had a decent relationship w/ step-mom I'd "maybe" ask her directly but I am going to say that you don't, cause if you did, she wouldn't be saying these things at all.

Sorry for what you're experiencing.
~C
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  #7  
September 3rd, 2008, 04:45 AM
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I personally believe that when you fill up a child's every waking moment the way they seem to be wanting to do, it overloads the child. Kids need downtime too! I agree with previous posts that it should be limited to two things and that you should have a talk with your ex about this. It does sound like he's not going to be too receptive in which case I would seek legal advice. As far as the step mom talking bad about you, that is completely unnacceptable! My DH's ex is a complete and says crap all the time about me! I can always tell when she's been doing it because of the change in attitude when the girls are with us. I have NEVER said a single word to them about her, though nor would I. Think about it. Children understand that they are "half mom and half dad" and when you speak ill about one parent to them and express anger or hatred toward that person you're basically hating half of them in their eyes. As Byanna's_mommy pointed out, eventually it will push her away from her dad and step mom and closer to you because essentially they're rejecting a big part of who she is.
Can you talk to the step mom? If so, I'd ask her for coffee one day (prefferably when the kids are in school and your ex is at work) and talk to her calmly. Tell her that your DD has said some things that you're a bit concerned about and ask her if that is what she said. Tell her that although you are thrilled that she loves your daughter so much and you're so happy that she and your ex are so involved in her life, you would prefer that she not say things like that to your DD because it confuses and HURTS her! Also explain to her that school work is important and that your DD is not capable of maintaining so many outside interests and keeping up with her schoolwork. Tell her that instead of enrolling her in all these different activities, perhaps a better idea might be to get her tutored during those weekends she's with them so that she'll be equally successful at school and gymnastics and dance and all the rest.
As far as their plans for your DD infringing on YOUR time with her on the weekends--NO FREAKING WAY! That is YOUR TIME and they have NO RIGHT to make ANY commitments that would require time every weekend UNLESS you agree to it! Tell them if they insist on doing that, they are just wasting their money because your DD will not be there every other weekend. PERIOD! They have the right to make whatever plans they want to on their weekends...they do NOT have that right on your weekends.
When it comes right down to it, this is a power struggle over a child and the child is the one who will lose the most. It sounds like both you and your ex are committed to your DD's happiness and success and that's great! (I wish my ex would show a little love for his kids sometimes!) What they're doing, however, is undermining that happiness and success. They seem to want to control enough of her time that the next LOGICAL step is for her to move in with them. "Why don't you just let her stay here tonight. I know it's your weekend but she is so tired from Gymnastics this afternoon and we can bring her home in the morning." This later becomes automatic and I can see how before long, you are in court and they have a long list of friends and activities to show she is at home in their town and "we'd like her here all the time and besides, she really only goes to school at her mom's house and she has such a full life here with us"....worst case, of course, but let's nip this in the bud!
I'm glad you found this board. There are a lot of great people on here with experiences that help them relate to what you're going through...besides you may be able to help some of us too! lol
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  #8  
September 3rd, 2008, 08:24 AM
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If her going there every Friday night puts that much stress on you then just don't do it! If you want to just go by the time/visitation stated in the court papers then simply tell him that is what you want to do. Ultimately you get to make that decision. Explain to your daughter that you want to enjoy your weekends with her. That you don't have a lot of free time during the week because of work and school and you want to enjoy as much family time as possible! You don't need all of that extra stress while pregnant! GL

I really think that sitting down and talking with stepmom is a good idea. This helped tremendously with my sons' stepmom! We are finally building a wonderful relationship.
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  #9  
September 3rd, 2008, 09:54 AM
raelynn's Avatar Super Mommy
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I have talked to the step-mom on numerous occasions. The problem is that she is very nice and polite to my face, and despite that she and I discussed my DD's schooling (she's a teacher!), she will then deny the conversation took place and do the opposite. She lies a lot, she and my ex scream and fight with each other constantly (DD says the fighting is non-stop), she's just a miserable person in general. Trust me, if I felt that talking to her would help even a small amount, I would do it in a heartbeat. It's all been going down hill since she called me up a couple years ago and screamed "you're going to burn!!!" (my ex was putting the moves on me constantly - and I threatened to tell the step mom, and he said "do it, she won't believe you anyhow" - and then he went and told her that I kissed him!) They are both totally dishonest people who seem to have their own agenda for everything, despite whatever we agree is in the best interest of DD.
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  #10  
September 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
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If things are truly that bad at your ex's house, why haven't you filed in court for them to be investigated by CPS? At this point your child's mental health is being jeopardized by this constant back & forth drama (lies, fighting etc. that you mentioned). If that's the deal, then I'd be at my nearest family courthouse in a second. That's bull & sorry, but if you can't have a conversation w/your ex to be able to co-parent in a positive manner, then either he needs some Parenting Classes or maybe dealing w/ a mediator would be another way to go. Seriously... this sounds unhealthy. He's still hitting on you (in a sexual sense) & then blaming it on you & she's threatening you? C'mon, that's a bit much here. Time to put the wheels in motion, get to a Family Courthouse or see a Mediator, something has to happen, if not for your sanity, but for your daughters well being. It's now not just about you dealing w/ drama, this could potentially send your daughter (if it already hasn't) into a deep depression. This isn't right & if you are expecting another child, it's only going to put more stress on the situation, trust me, I've BTDT, & that's exactly what it does/did for me.

Again, this is JMO based on personal experience & from what you are telling me. If I am missing something then I apologize if I am leading you on another path, but from the sounds of it, I am reading "you're going to burn!!!" that's a threat, period. That in itself would be grounds for a restraining order & CPS charges to make sure your daughter is safe in their home. The rest of it is more ammunition for you to get the ball rolling & get things where they should be, not where they are. I am not trying to say that this is your fault, it's not, but at the same time, it's time to do something about it instead of trying to battle it on your own. You said so yourself that talking to either of them are a waste. Maybe a judge needs to tell them how it's going to be "OR" a mediator can mediate what has to happen moving forward or perhaps CPS needs to pay them (your ex & the wife) a visit to see what's going on over there & talk to your daughter & have your daughter tell CPS what she's been telling you. I'm sure they'd love to know that your daughter is being lured into feeling guilty & bad about things b/c of what her step-mother & father are telling her.

Sorry, this stuff makes me sad/angry. I hate to see people use children to get what they want, and it's obvious that something is going on w/ your ex & his wife in doing just that. "NO" child should have to be in the middle. I've had my own personal drama w/ my ex, but my DS hasn't been partial to those conversations, he doesn't know what court is, what CS is, he hasn't a clue what that all means & I am happy about that. Do I have a perfect situation w/ my ex & his wife? NOPE, in fact, far from it. But at the end of the day, I don't let my son go w/ out counsel if needed & if I had to take a legal route to get my son's needs cared for (legal, financial or emotional)I'd do just that. Too many people sit around & let things go on that are so wrong. My DH is one of them. He sits back & allows so much garbage to be thrown back & forth & his poor son is stuck in the middle. Makes me so mad! It's garbage, pure garbage.

I have more input on this but some of it is personal on my end & if you want to chat, PM me & we can talk more about it. I have some info that would help but I don't want to keep going or offer info that isn't wanted either.

I wish you a lot of luck & prayers are sent for your DD

~C
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  #11  
September 3rd, 2008, 11:52 AM
raelynn's Avatar Super Mommy
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I appreciate your reply. I've considered going to court several times, but have been advised against it by court councilor (sp?) and a lawyer. Because I cannot prove anything that's gone on, it's heresay and could be construed as me trying to take my DD away from her dad. I was also told (yesterday in fact) by a court councilor, that I stand to lose some of my power if I take him to court. As it stands, my ex does not have guardianship but she told me that a judge would grant him that in a second if he asked for it. This would open the door to my ex being able to meddle in her schooling (which of course, he doesn't agree with my choices on where she's being educated - she is in a Catholic school because the class sizes are smaller and it's just better quality education in my area. We are Christian and have tried to raise DD with Christian values, meanwhile my ex and his wife tell my DD that God isn't real and that there's no such thing as heaven etc).

I was also told yesterday that if he took me to court to try and get my weekends, he probably would not get all of them, but could very well be granted 3 out of 4, for example.

I have been told in every case, to stay out of court if possible because I'm not going to get what I want, even if I feel it's in my DD's best interest, because the judges are so pro-father and because my ex has taken her religiously every 2nd weekend since she was 8mos old and has never missed a month of child support, that they look like model parents on paper.

I've taken DD to a psychologist, but DD refused to talk, so that led to nowhere. I've been advised against putting her back in counseling because DD is older now and will figure out why I'm bringing her, and once again, not talk.

My Ex does not hit on my anymore, he stopped that after the blow up from his wife back in 2004 (I think? I have it all documented). I am just so frustrated because things go just fine as long as his wife keeps her mouth shut. My ex and I get along fine, we have a good conversation, then he goes home, his wife disagrees and he calls me and regurgitates everything she has said back to me, and then the battle begins again.

I drive a school bus, the bus my DD takes. My DD is hyper and has had some behavioural issues on the bus. I mentioned them to her dad, because I have to treat DD like any of the other children on the bus, even if it means writing her up with the school (the problem with that, is that the write up slips get sent home to parents, which is funny since I wrote it, so I was going to send it to her dad's house and he could deal with it). This was the last olive branch I handed them in trying to co-parent. What did his wife do? She changed her status message on Facebook to "____ is wondering why the REAL mother can't handle her own daughter on the bus? Oh that's right, you're just the bus driver. Gag me."

This is what I deal with. <sigh>
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  #12  
September 3rd, 2008, 04:40 PM
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What an evil !!!! I thinkj perhaps you have been misinformed about the court issues but then I don't live where you live so I don't know for sure. However, I would definitely do SOMETHING if your DD is bearing witness to their screaming matches. That is way too stressful for kids to have to deal with--especially if it involves name calling and four letter words--which I sure would not put past these two! Your poor daughter! No wonder she's having trouble in school! This has got to be eating her alive! ITA that something has to be done for her sake as well as yours. No one deserves to have to deal with that kind of crap! I think a call to Children's Services is definitely in order!
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  #13  
September 3rd, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
She changed her status message on Facebook to "____ is wondering why the REAL mother can't handle her own daughter on the bus? Oh that's right, you're just the bus driver. Gag me."[/b]

This is the most immature, childish thing I have ever heard!! She needs to grow the hell up! That statement pisses me off. Co-parenting is about discussing the good and the bad.....that does not mean that you could not handle your daughter. Wouldn't you LOVE to see how your ex or his crazy wife would deal with your DD at their place of work! I am quite sure that driving a bus full of kids is not an easy task at all. I am sorry you have to deal with such an idiot!

Around here, CPS would follow up on any report made (because they have to) but would not deem parents fighting and making a child feel "guilty" as abuse. As a matter of fact, the judges around here really look down on parents that make "false" reports of abuse as a way to gain something in a custody case. Even though to us, as mothers, this really seems like psychological abuse, it would doubtfully be seen as such by the child protective services.

The facts that your ex has paid child support and made all visitations, and you allowed your DD to go over there every Friday last year (which I am sure they have documented!), would really help your ex if he were to take you to court or if you take him. My personal opinion is that at the very least he would get joint guardianship and possibly extended visitation which would mean more whole weekends! I am so sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place and it really sounds like your ex knows this. Unfortunately, we have very little say over what takes place at the other home! GL I really hope that you find a resolution and can stop stressing so much. Take care of yourself!
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  #14  
September 4th, 2008, 05:50 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
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Are you saying that there is no court order in place now? From what you're saying, that sounds to be the case. Is he on your DD birth certificate? If the answer is "yes"...even if there is no court order in place discussing custody, if you went & TRIED to get a passport for her, you would need a release from her bio-dad, yes...he would have to sign ALLOWING her to receive a passport from YOU (I know this from personal experience). Once you go to court, will the judge grant the bio-dad legal rights? your lawyer is 99% right UNLESS your ex doesn't bring it up. But let's review the legal rights shall we? This states that he has a "say" in medical, educational & religious issues, a say...not control. You don't need his signature or all sort of hoopla even once that legal right is granted. Legal rights are not custody, totally 2 separate issues all together.

Will the judge grant your ex visitation? Most definitely but that isn't a bad thing, at this point he already sees his DD so how would that be any different? Would he get more visitation? That "might" happen but it depends on "if" he brings it up or you bring it up, otherwise the judge wont be discussing it since the issues aren't about visitation rights at this point. Your concerns are about the well being of your DD & that "may" be hearsay but having to seek legal or professional council is not a bad thing & should be done based on what has or could happen in regards to your DD.

He's her father & has a right to see his daughter. Does that mean he has a right to make her life miserable & use her to be nuts w/ you, no. Legal rights & physical rights & visitation are all separate issues, also so is CS. 50% legal rights other than that, 100% sole physical custody & there is no visitation rights. If your ex "asks" for visitation, he's probably going to get it, every other weekend & maybe 1 time during the week for a few hours (if he lives w/ in close proximity). Again, this is all based on "if" he wants this & "if" the judge sees that it's right. If this is his daughter, he SHOULD have legal rights to his child & he SHOULD have visitation rights as well. Will your time be taken away, wont be abnormal when it comes to the basics.

Sounds like this lawyer you have is putting the fear in you so that you DON'T take your ex to court or file certain concerns b/c you don't want him to have legal rights to your daughter & visitation. That is not an excuse to let him get away w/ manipulating things, and his ex wife manipulating things, if that is what in fact is going on. Even if it's hearsay, which you want to be careful w/, bringing up a concern for your daughter's well being & file a complaint on him & his wife, isn't a bad thing, it's going to make someone investigate the situation, offer services to them & perhaps order parenting classes, not a bad outcome & it would help.

You have a lot on your plate but having someone put fear in you & allow fear of joint LEGAL custody (which means blah...) is not a reason to allow this drama to continue. You & your ex have the right to lead a NORMAL, PEACEFUL LIFE, not chaos or craziness. You all have a legal right to live a peaceful life w/ out this drama. Also, I am not sure if you've considered this, but I want to throw this out there from personal experience.
Have you ever thought that this going back & forth w/ your DD is upsetting to her & her way of voicing her disklikes of it is by making things up or acting out? I say this again, from personal experience. My DSS would constantly tell his mother how bad I was, how abusive we all were to him, how we didn't care for him, the list went on. It was completely fabricated & his mother believed her son, he would cry to her & all this hoopla. In the end, it was his way of manipulating the situation. Children are smart, they have feelings of hurt & confusion but they don't have the voice to articulate what they are confused about or how to handle things, so their interpretation of what is real & made up can be jumbled & that's when you get the "hearsay" & end up upset thinking that something else "might" be going on. This is not to discredit your DD or you, but it is a possibility. My DSS did it to his dad & all of us. And at one point my DS did it w/ his bio dad & me as well. Kids can't say "I don't like this & this is why"...so instead, they lie, make up things, or take a small situation & blow it out of the water. It's what they do when they're upset. Something to consider.

At this point you have to either you do something about this legally or you don't. If you don't out of fear, than moving forward you can't complain about what is going on b/c you have had an option/way out to fix things. If you do something about it, & it continues, you have a right to modify full custody based on the safety & well being for your DD & until the judge dismisses it, that would remain in full force. I've BTDT, on both ends. I've seen the results & seriously, your council's info is accurate on "some" levels but it depends on if your ex obtains legal council "and" actually wants it. Then it has to be granted from the judge, she/he has the ultimate decision, not you, not your lawyers, not your ex. I used to be you, I used to complain & get upset & everyone else upset & feel horrible all the time. Finally I decided enough was enough & now I am able to do things & allow the legal system to do THEIR job, it's so much easier knowing that there are people/services out there that can help you & you don't have to be in the middle or the mess or try to fix all of it alone. It's overwhelming, I understand 100%.

I'm not trying be mean, I want to help you. But worrying & allowing your DD to be upset, run back & forth in the middle of everything, having your ex's wife threaten you, well... that's not a reason NOT to move forward legally. Once you get the wheels in motion, it's not as scary as it seems. Again, I am speaking from personal experience. Legal council can help, just find the right attorney for you, all first meetings are 99% free, after that fact they want approximately $2k to obtain their services & then they work from there, what ever they don't use, you get back & if they need more (which in most cases they don't) you will get that back. My DH was able to do this & get money back in his case. In my case, my money was used & I had to cough up more in the end, all $ was well spent & honestly, I don't regret a thing. If I could say I had any regrets, it was I didn't do it soon enough, same w/ my DH's situation, he waited much too long to take things & get his life back in control.

Don't know what else to tell you. I've exhausted all my ideas & personal experiences to help you. At this point, you have the information you need to move forward or not. Also, you have the ability to obtain ANOTHER legal opinion other than this person you just talked too the other day. It's time to really take a step back & realize what "IS" important for you & your DD well-being & what needs to happen to ensure that. This is a big stress for you, but what's more stressful at the end of the day, you or your child dealing w/ adult issues? No child should be in the middle like that. It changes who they are & they grow up angry w/ what they've had to deal w/, and it's a good reason to be mad later on in life wondering "why" anyone did that & "why" they had to put up w/ it. I was also one of those kids & for many years, I blamed everyone else & was a very angry person. Now I've learned to let that go, but as a teen, I was angry & it was based on me being in the middle of adult issues.

If you continue to allow your DD to be in this situation & not do anything about it based on fear, you aren't helping her & yourself. Things will get worst & once you say "I mean business" it will just continue & probably escalate. I hope you make the right choices & only YOU know what those are.

I've said all I can say in this matter so I wont comment again on how things could happen since I don't have all the facts. But I wanted to add personal experience & allow you to process it & proceed w/ what you feel is right in your heart.

HIH & GL
~C

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  #15  
September 4th, 2008, 06:48 AM
raelynn's Avatar Super Mommy
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I do have sole custody of her, on paper (court order). It says her father has "generous access" and that I have sole custody. DD has a passport and we've traveled outside the country twice without any issues.

What the councilor told me could happen, is because the court order that I have now, has me with all the power, I would lose some of that if he were granted guardianship, which he does not have now.

I am at a loss of what to do right now. The gov't offers 2 courses, one called "Parenting after separation" and the other is something like "communicating after divorce" - both are free and I think I'm going to take these courses myself to gain any insight in the situation. I highly doubt my ex will voluntarily take these courses.

If I could afford to spend thousands on a lawyer, I would in a second. We don't qualify for legal aid or any type of assistance so my choice would be to put my family in debt, or go to court without a lawyer which I don't want to do.
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  #16  
September 4th, 2008, 08:33 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
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Lawyers are not cheap, but where there is a will there is a way. Twice I had to come up w/ over $2000.00 upfront. We got help from our family & slowly paid them back b/c we didn't have that sort of money lying around, probably never will.

Sometimes you do what you have to do to make things work out & get the help needed. It's wonderful that you are looking into those programs but if it's only one sided, how would that resolve what's going on at your ex's house? Both of you should be co-parenting on the same page, otherwise, this won't help.



I saw that you are a "Certified Canadian Child Restraint Systems Tech." what part of Canada? I was born & raised there, New Brunswick. Now I am a citizen of the USA, been since 99 cause I knew I wasn't going back to live.

Take care of yourself, you have a baby on the way, you don't need more stuff amplified when you are w/ child. But you already know all that, this isn't your first rodeo.

(((HUGS)))
~C
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  #17  
September 4th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Around here, CPS would follow up on any report made (because they have to) but would not deem parents fighting and making a child feel "guilty" as abuse. As a matter of fact, the judges around here really look down on parents that make "false" reports of abuse as a way to gain something in a custody case. Even though to us, as mothers, this really seems like psychological abuse, it would doubtfully be seen as such by the child protective services.[/b]
I agree to an extent. To have a child witness constant fighting and name calling and possibly vulgar names at that could be considered abuse in that it exposes the child to the words that are not appropriate for a young child to hear and if they're also bringing the bio-mom into their fights and verbally trashing her "Your B**** of an ex doesn't know what the F*** she's doing" kind of thing, that is psychologically abusive. I think all of us would agree it is not a healthy environment for any child and is not something a child should have to witness every weekend. If it is as bad as she's saying, I think it could very well be construed as abusive and if nothing else, could result in a period of "probation" where the dad might have his visits monitored for a while. It's worth checking into anyway. This isn't really a custody case unless the father makes it into one so I can't see it being held against mom. However, if she allows it to continue and sometime down the road dad decides to go for custody, it would look like mom is making it all up to keep custody. I say report it if for no other reason than to get it on record.
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  #18  
September 4th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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I guess that I didn't read anything that lead me to believe that ex and wife were cursing at each other. The only thing that I read is that they fight constantly. I do think it is wrong to fight in front of children. If they are calling you names in front of your DS that is very wrong. I am not sure if I misunderstood. They way I understand is that step mom is leading your DD to believe that her little sis will forget her and saying things about your parenting style to DD, and putting guilt on the child about where she lives. Which is terrible and wrong. I just have not read anything that I could imagine being considered child abuse.

I do think that something needs to be done about the situation, I just don't think that going to CPS is the way. Again, this is my own personal opinion. Lawyers are very expensive and I agree, where there is a will there is a way but not everyone has family that they can turn to for money to help with these situations. You might speak to a different attorney. I know that around here some will let you pay out your retainer fee but will not work on your case until the full amount is paid. I know that there is a "clause" in DSD custody papers that says that neither parent can talk negative (actually says defame) about the other parent or anyone in the family. The consequences are going to a period of supervised visits, however, there has to be prove that this is taking place. I think the most important thing for you do right now is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!!!

If I am wrong and there is abuse taking place, then I would be the first to say, go to CPS immediately.
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  #19  
September 5th, 2008, 04:58 AM
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You're right, she didn't say that is how it is. I just said that if there is constant fighting going on in front of her, in light of how they've treated bio-mom and all, it would not surprise me if that's what is happening and IF it is, it needs to be addressed. Raelynn said that the step mom is just a miserable person and that they fight constantly. Being the ex of another miserable person and someone who also fought constantly during the first marriage, I pulled on personal experience and suggested that if it is as bad as that, it needs to be addressed formally. My ex and I used to fight all the time and when I would suggest that we go into another room, he'd blow up even more. I've spent the last 6 years trying desperately to undo all the damage that was done during those years and trying to show my children that love doesn't mean screaming at each other and that is not how marriage is supposed to be. If there is one thing I learned over the years it's that although kids are resilient and can overcome a lot of what they endure growing up, they are by no means impossible to scar and those scars remain long after they're grown and out on their own. Retrospectively, someone should have called CPS on us and it probably would have been the best thing for my kids. When I think back to what they witnessed during my marriage to their father I cringe. There was never any love shown nor respect for one another. There was a significant amount of abusive behavior on the part of their father that I had a responsibility to deal with but because I was so miserable myself, (at one point suicidal) I allowed to continue. I will never forgive myself for that even though my kids have forgiven me and say that they understand. It doesn't matter. It was MY JOB to protect them and to make sure that they had a decent life gowing up. I failed miserably. My oldest got the worst of it and although he has definitely overcome much, I still see the remnants of that childhood in his actions and attitudes. His father kicked him out of the house at the age of 17 because he could not get along with him or control him. He was a good kid and remains a very good man but his father being the control freak that he is, fought with him constantly and verbally and physically abused him. Michael's only sin was that he was strong and refused to be controlled....and tht he was about a foot taller than his father! lol (little man's syndrome) Neither Michael nor my middle son Steven talk to their father much anymore. Tori talks to him when she has to. Tori thinks of Tom as her dad now and we've even talked about how if her dad had given up his rights, Tom would have adopted her. On father's Day this year, Tom got the gift and a card from her that SHE picked out and bought (ironically with money her dad had given her) and her own biological father got a card that she rushed out at the last moment to buy and just signed "Tori". Toms card had a long, hand written note on it about how much she appreciated him and loved him and that he had always been more of a dad to her than her father ever had.
My point is...and yes, I do have one, lol...is that IF abuse like that is going on (and I do believe it is abuse if it's as bad as that) it needs to be addressed. If nothing else, a phone call to CPS to ask if they think something should be done formally or if they think she's overreacting is in order. A simple "Am I making too much of this or do you think this is wrong" can, if nothing else, put HER mind at ease about some of the things going on.
Sorry for going off on my own little tangent there...those of you who know me, know it's typical. lol
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  #20  
September 5th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Dani-
WOW! I would have to say that in your case that was definitely psychological abuse. What you and your kids went through is very extreme. I am very sorry that your kids had to go through that.

I think that we comment on our personal experiences. My parents fought all the time....yelling, screaming but they rarely cursed in front of us. We knew that they were not happy and I was so happy when they divorced when I was 17. My mom put a ton of guilt on me for loving my father (even though they were married) and always said bad things about him. While I was hurt (feelings) by this, I don't feel like I grew up in an abusive home at ALL. It really depends on what is actually taking place at Dad's house and it is so hard to know for sure. If a call to CPS would ease your mind then that is what you need to do. I work for a child welfare department (clerical not a case worker), so I see very extreme cases of abuse! Maybe I am a little desensitized or something?! Like, I said, if a report is made then an investigation will be done. Maybe that would be the only way to find out for sure what is taking place at Dad's house and find out if the fighting is that severe. However, you can call CPS to ask questions (at least here) without making an actual report. I do think that you have to protect your child. I am in no way saying that you should not use every resource you have to do so.
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