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Thread: Stepparent Interference

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Stepparent Interference

    I have been divorced over three years. My ex-husband and I share joint physical care and legal custody of our two children. We have always been able to resolve all issues of parenting and have never had any problems.

    Recently, my ex-husband remarried. Since, he has become very argumentative and unwilling to abide by the Consent Judgment of Divorce. His spouse wants to control the situation. She thinks SHE has custody of my children during my ex-husband's parenting time. We have always abided by First Right of Refusal, but now she thinks that SHE can receive custody of my children while HE is at work. She went as far as calling the police last week and again yesterday.

    My children are devastated. Their stepmother tells them that I am going to lose custody of them.

    I don't know what to do....

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by BestInterest
    I have been divorced over three years. My ex-husband and I share joint physical care and legal custody of our two children. We have always been able to resolve all issues of parenting and have never had any problems.

    Recently, my ex-husband remarried. Since, he has become very argumentative and unwilling to abide by the Consent Judgment of Divorce. His spouse wants to control the situation. She thinks SHE has custody of my children during my ex-husband's parenting time. We have always abided by First Right of Refusal, but now she thinks that SHE can receive custody of my children while HE is at work. She went as far as calling the police last week and again yesterday.

    My children are devastated. Their stepmother tells them that I am going to lose custody of them.

    I don't know what to do....

    I don't know your whole situation, but what is wrong with the children's stepmom keeping them while he's at work? I am a stepmom to two girls and my husband works on the weekends as well. I pick them up, I keep them, and I'm the one who returns them to their mother. My husband wants no contact with his ex unless absolutely necessary because she likes to cause trouble. The stepmom is family, not some strange babysitter so I wouldn't think that the First Right of Refusal would be implemented. I know that I certainly would fight for my stepkids to stay with me instead of their mother because it would seem like she was trying to be controlling and keep me away from them as much as possible.

    On the other hand, I never would say anything to upset the children about their mother, so if your children's stepmom is not being a good role model and seems to be causing a stressful situation for them while in her care then you should absolutely consult with a lawyer to see what can be done. If she's not really doing anything wrong and the reason is that you just simply don't like this woman, then I'm not sure that there's much you can do. Maybe you should try getting along with her since she's a permanent fixture.

  3. #3
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    Talk to the father of the kids and ask him to tell hsi new wife to backoff and stop interferring with the parenting relationship. If he does not rein her in, I suggest filing a contempt motion and I suggest documenting all of her interference with date, time, words spoken, trouble caused, etc... and in the contempt motion ask the court to instruct the husband to not have the children if he is not going to be there to supervise and to not leave the children in the care or control of his wife, the stepmother, since her influence is negative for the children and an interference in the parent-child relationship. Be all about the best interest of the children.

    I also suggest talking with your attonrey or local counsel to get their ideas about how to deal with this. Most attorneys offer free consultation.

  4. #4
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    Default not clear onthe step mom?

    I agree with the last post..I am a step mom would loves and cares for my stepdaughter just as much as my husband...I pick up my step daughter from school 3 days and week and when my husband goes out of town and it's our week with our daughter she stays with me.... I am her mother not a stranger.....why wouldn't you let her pick up your children???? I know that most ex-wives do not like the new "wife" but unless she is abusive you need to get over it....

  5. #5
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    Default i know how you feel

    i know how you feel if everything was o.k. before she arrived then she should butt out .I take it that the husband dont have the back bone to stand up to her?

  6. #6
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    Default Stepparent Interference

    My ex-husband has had serious relationships with other women over the past few years. There has never been a problem with jealousy or interference. We always put the children first and made all decisions based on their best interest.

    The ONLY thing that has changed is the addition of an interfering stepmother. She has never been able to get along with the father of her daughter, and she is jealous that I had a good relationship with my ex-husband (now her husband).

    I have gone out of my way to avoid conflict. She has enrolled my youngest son in a different school in the same school district. She has changed my other son's school schedule. She has kept information from me regarding their schooling. (She obviously does these things and has my ex-husband authorize everything.)

    Once I learned that she speaks badly of me in the presence of my children (only when my ex-husband is not around), that was the final straw. My children are very anxious and depressed, because they know that Mom and Dad were always respectful of one another. Now, she has them fearful that they will be taken away from me.

    She wants control and doesn't have it. She is willing to do anything to gain control. That makes me very nervous.

  7. #7
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    Default Why?

    Why is she the one enrolling your son in school? why didn't you?? Just curious???
    I am the step mom in our case and have a fine relationship with the "ex"..... But i would never enroll my step daughter in school not my place.......

  8. #8
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    When my ex-husband and I divorced, I moved out of the marital home and to a different school district. Although my children's primary residence is with me, I kept them in the school district that they were already in. I didn't feel as if my children had to make so many sacrifices after the divorce. I continue to drive them to and from school (which ties up approximately 4 hours of my day). All of their school paperwork is mailed to their father's residence, which he always forwarded to me.

    Anyway, his wife talked him into putting my son in the same school her daughter was going to. My ex-husband and I discussed it, and my son assured me that switching was okay with him. I would've preferred to keep him in the same school, but I knew that "Stepmom" would get an attitude. So... I went along with it - to keep peace.

    Needless to say, "Stepmom" is going to demand more and more; whether I go out of my way to avoid conflict, or not. She has over-stepped her bounds, and my ex-husband needs to set things straight. I just hate dealing with crap that shouldn't even BE.

  9. #9
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    Default jealously lies with YOU

    this woman isnt jealous of your kids she is jealous of your relationship you have with your ex husband .she is feeling insecure and the ckildren is the only way she can get at you.i have already dealt with this situation and LOST . keep your eyes open and you mouth shut and just log a everything .and a tape recording device on the phone would be a god send! if you need future advise just contact me

  10. #10

    Default I Know Did it too

    I am the step mom and agree with charlotte.....I keep my husband's ex within my arm's length by controlling my husband and how he interacts with her....... I hated the fact that my husband had contact with the EX so little by little I took control of all the dealings with the ex........I know what the stepmom is doing because I did it too....... However after 5 years of deaing with it I am tired and am giving up control it is not worth it...................BUT i don't agree with Charlotte in the fact that you should keep your mouth shut....these are your children and if someone is not acting in the best interest of them you need to stand up whether it makes the step mom mad or not.................. I always put my step daughter's best interest at heart but just dealt with her mom so my husband didn't have too...that way i got what I wanted....if enrolling your son in a different school is not a big deal, then let it go..but if you object then deal with your husband not the step mom call him at work or at home when you know she isn't there............that would of really got my goat if my husband's ex did that.....................Hope it all works out well!
    ps just wondering what kind of custody/visitation ya'll have?

  11. #11
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    Default Ridiculous...

    Quote Originally Posted by BestInterest
    I have been divorced over three years. My ex-husband and I share joint physical care and legal custody of our two children. We have always been able to resolve all issues of parenting and have never had any problems.

    Recently, my ex-husband remarried. Since, he has become very argumentative and unwilling to abide by the Consent Judgment of Divorce. His spouse wants to control the situation. She thinks SHE has custody of my children during my ex-husband's parenting time. We have always abided by First Right of Refusal, but now she thinks that SHE can receive custody of my children while HE is at work. She went as far as calling the police last week and again yesterday.

    My children are devastated. Their stepmother tells them that I am going to lose custody of them.

    I don't know what to do....
    I think it is ridiculous at the drastic change of behavior in men when they get remarried. My ex husband and I have always agreed on $ and visitation UNTIL his recent 3rd marriage. Now every single week we have issues on both matters. The funny thing is that he married a single mom who is currently battling her ex for support but then turns around and acts like its a tragedy that my ex husband has to actuall support HIS children....double standards???

  12. #12

    Default Track the interference

    There is software to track the interference and it is admissible in most cases. visit www.ourdivorceagreement.com and look at the optimal software. It also provides a forum for u to communicate with other parent privately. They might act better if they know they're being watched.

  13. #13
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    I agree - if they know they're being "watched" they may try harder to be more amicable.

    But I sure do know what you're dealing with. my ex got remarried finally, and instead of it being a good thing, his new wife has completely alienated him from our kids. He doesn't even come to visit them anymore and says it's because he can't afford to because he pays too much cs. It obvious it's coming from the new wife since he didn't have problems before! SHE is the bad seed.

    But I also know what it's like to be a stepmom too. It's really, really hard to fill the mother role while the kids are there, but to backoff on some issues because they already have a mother. It's confusing at times. But I ALWAYS defer to my step kids mother - she is thier mother and I respect that IN THE BEST interest of the kids. (not because i like her, cuz I don't).

    So like others have said, document everything and it wouldn't hurt to consult an atty to find out what your recourse could be if she is really out of control. That way, you can tell your ex what your actions will be if necessary and hopefully he'll take control of her before it gets too out of hand.

  14. #14
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    Default Have your tried to just talk with her?

    I am a step mom - I am all about the KIDS FIRST- they did not ask to be put into the situation they where born into...

    a) Who ever stated above about taping- you need to look into how your state laws work - that could bite you in the BUM and YOU could be arrested - it is HIGHLY against the law in MANY STATES!

    b) IF you two were on a civil meeting grounds - I would just tell her that she is WAY across the line, but seeing from what I have read - that is not the case - you need to just tell her flat out - "that in the eyes of the courts - all she is a third party and she can legally be made to back off!"

    c) If you do not say anything - she will keep going and push for even more.

    These are YOUR kids. I think that TRYING to make a "workable - open line of communication with her", would benefit everyone - but if that is not the case - talk now or live with her actions!

    Not all step parents are "evil" - the ones that do TRY - still get the short end!

  15. #15
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    Default Powerstruggle?

    Ok so let me get this right. You and your ex had a agreement about the children and school and custody. He remarried and now this new woman has taken a position of basically having to deal with the children on her own. And now she is making decisions on her own and he is allowing it. They did ask you if it was ok for your son to change schools and you agreed (correct me if I'm wrong). But now she has taken it further by pushing you out of the picture concerning all the other issues (mail etc) that comes from the school.

    Ok so the powerstruggle is between you and her and more then likely both of you are demanding that he do something about this? Or is she just doing what she wants and he's letting her? Or is she slowly working on taking control of everything, making you feel like your being pushed out of the picture?

    I have a tendancy to think your being pushed out of the picture here.

    So what are you going to do about it?

    The whole reason you and your ex worked things out this way was so that the kids didn't have to change schools homes etc. But now does that still apply?

    I suggest going to the school system and having them mail things to you too. Make sure you explain the situation clearly. That your the joint custodial parent and would like to be notified when things are going on. Take some time and visit with the teachers and make yourself known.

    IF... there is a problem then you have grounds to have a issue with your ex and his new wife for interference. To me if they have a problem with this, or she does, then it will be clear that she is trying to railroad you. I would suggest you attempt to discuss this with your ex. And if necessary a attorney about the violation of the joint custody agreement. Document as much as you can.

    You will find out real fast what this woman is about if you step up to bat as mom and take charge of participation as much as possible. And then you can point these things out to him and he can either get her straightened out or he can do nothing. Then is when you make your choice.

    I find that most men enjoy someone taking over. I might be wrong but the source of trouble may not be her as much as it is him for allowing this. Plus hey... it get's him off the hook of having to deal with this daily.

    Think about it.

  16. #16
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    Default Stepparrent

    First of all stepparrents have no rights to there spouses children. I was there and know. You can care about them all you want, but they are not yours. If your spouse leaves you you have no rights to ever see those children again, so let the parents deal with the children. Just be there adult friend. I have seen so many stepmothers fight for more time and even custody of there spouses children, for there spouse, and usually they split up and the children lose there fathers again, so think twice before you believe everything he tells you. If he really wants to change any of the custody arrangement he will do it, but it shouldn't be you pushing him.

  17. #17
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    Cool What happened?

    Why did she call the police?? Did you go to their home to cause trouble? Why would she have anything bad to say about you, if you have been agreeable with them? Why are you nervous about them receiving custody of the children if you did not do or say anything wrong? Unless you have done something to interfere with your ex husband's relationship his new wife really would have no incentive to take your children away from you.
    I am sure you are not going to admit to anything that may have led to the situation at hand. But for the sake of your relationship with your childrens you better think hard about anything you've done to interfere and resolve the issue with her now. You have to respect others to gain their respect.
    I know how possessive mother's can be when their ex remarries. And when youe ex dated another person it probably did not have the same affect on you as much as remarrying someone else. Alot of times mothers are the ones who cross the line and when the stepmother retaliates by being the active supporting parent in their husband's life then the mother cries about the step mother taking the children away from her.
    LIKE I SAID, IF YOU DIDN'T RESPECT HER SHE WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE. The least she can do is be nice to your children and it would make your life miserable. Imagine if she and your husband gained custody of your children. But you did nothing wrong for the court to decide against you, DID YOU?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleMomIL
    I think it is ridiculous at the drastic change of behavior in men when they get remarried. My ex husband and I have always agreed on $ and visitation UNTIL his recent 3rd marriage. Now every single week we have issues on both matters. The funny thing is that he married a single mom who is currently battling her ex for support but then turns around and acts like its a tragedy that my ex husband has to actuall support HIS children....double standards???
    Apparently most men are just complete total IDIOTS. For some reason they are all to stupid to see that they are being screwed by their ex until a NEW woman comes around to point it out to them!

    OP - If you have residential custody, go and enroll YOUR son in the school district YOU live in. When you do, make sure that you tell them that they are NOT to give any information to the step mom and that she is NOT allowed to make any kind of decisions or changes to YOUR child's schooling and she is NOT allowed to attend any PARENT teacher meetings of any kind. If you have the ROFR, use it. If dad is not notifying you of the times that he is unable to be with HIS child, haul his *** back to court for violating the order. As a matter of fact, haul his *** back to court NOW for parental interference. Step mom will be put in her place by the JUDGE. Judges really seem to hate step parents sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.

  19. #19
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    Yes you can do exactly what ceara advised if you are confident enough that the Judge will not go against any of your prior involvement. NOT ALL JUDGES THINK ALIKE. LET'S HOPE THE JUDGE YOU GO TO DOES NOT HAVE STEP CHILDREN ISSUES.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpang
    Yes you can do exactly what ceara advised if you are confident enough that the Judge will not go against any of your prior involvement. NOT ALL JUDGES THINK ALIKE. LET'S HOPE THE JUDGE YOU GO TO DOES NOT HAVE STEP CHILDREN ISSUES.
    I have always wondered WHY any parent would ever let a step parent go this far over the line before doing anything. I've had several of my ex's girlfriends call over the years and try to discuss MY children with ME. (children HE has nothing to do with) Even when he got married, his new wife actually called me and introduced herself as MY CHILDREN'S STEP MOTHER!!! None of these women EVER got past the introduction. It is not some other woman's place to call me and tell me she's dating (or even married to) my ex. If HE thought I needed to know, then HE needs to tell me.

    I have been a step parent, I know how it works. There are 2 types of women. One that knows that she is and never will be the child/ren parent, and accept that fact. They still love the children, but they never cross that line and try and make themselves more then what they are. Then you have the ones whose entire goal in life is to try and push mom out of the picture and take over everything.

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