Custody


#1

I was reading another post about the mom having custody and then got into some minor legal trouble and having to do jail time and if that was enough for the ex to gain custody. THe response was from “stepmother” and then Erin from Rosen. Stepmother responded saying "If she has court ordered custody, the other parent would need to file for modification of custody on the grounds that there has been a change of lifestyle. Normally, that means remarriage, relocation, change of income or ability to care for the child… ".
My question is this: the ex voluntarily quit her job and now lives off her new husbands income, medicaid, and food stamps. It seems at least once a month or so she is calling saying she needs more money to buy this or that because she had three other kids and she isn’t working. My response to that is if she can’t support the child with the cs that is sent to her plus the extras we send (it is a lot all the time, but more than some would do), why should we have to pay her more cs? Why not have the child live with us and be through with it. That would be one less off govenrment assistance and she would have what she needs. Is that grounds for modification? My husband keeps saying that it isn’t, he would have to prove she is unfit. Just wondering. It gets to be a little nerve racking every time you turn around she “needs” somethings else…and it is always the same… she had three other kids to care for and can’t afford it. Thanks for the input.


#2

My opinion on what you wrote.

I think the CS has more to do with you personally. If your husband says there is nothing that can be done, then listen to him. Is his child abused? Is she on drugs? Does she abandoned his child?

If you say no to any of these, then no there is nothing. It doesn’t matter if a mother is on assistants. She seems to be in a small hard spot right now with no job. It doesn’t mean she is a bad mother.

You married him knowing that he was responsible for a child. You need to respect that and understand that the child come’s first before you do. I don’t want to sound mean at all, I am not trying to be. I am just stating the facts.

If she needs money for this and that, go out and buy it for his child. Maybe that would ease your mind abit.


#3

If the ex wishes to increase the support she is receiving the burden will be on her to file a motion to modify child support, and she will have to convince a judge that her voluntary unemployment is not in bad faith, even still the court may impute income to her, to the amount she is capable of earning, whether she is working or not.
While being on government assistance alone is not enough to move forward with a modification, if your husband believes that the circumstances have changed dramatically to the extent that it is no longer in the child’s best interest to live with her he may file a motion to modify custody and child support. The courts look to any and all factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. If the ex can no longer provide a suitable home for the child, and is not able to provide the proper care the court will award you custody of the child provided you are fit and proper parent.


#4

Thanks for both of your input. First to young_fool: there are a lot of factors also included in this that are not stated. Secondly, the money is not the issue. Our concern is if she chose to stay at home and give up a 2500.00 income, that is her little red wagon. She has three other children and those children come first. If my step daughter needs something while with her mom, they call us claiming they have three other kids and only one income and can’t afford to buy this or that. Usually, the child gets what she needs. She has a full wardrobe out our house and anything else you can imagine. Why should we have to help support my step daughter while living in our house, plus send child support, and then also buy her clothes, shoes, school supplies, etc while in her mothers care? I know it looks like I just don’t want him to have to pay, that is not is at all. That is his child, and we make sure she gets what she needs. You really don’t know how this woman can be. We can send brand new clothes to her house, she will take them to a consignment shop or sell them on ebay, stating they didn’t fit the child. You give her extra money, it goes towards herself or the other kids. My stepdaughter is always the last to get. One example and i know it is not an important holiday, but last october she took all four of the kids to get cosutmes and bought the other three one and told my stepdaughter, she guessed she had better call me or her dad because she didn’t have the money to buy her one. How does someone do that? Yes we got her a costume and she went trick-or-treating.

Now that all of that is said, to Erin. We have had some information given to us over the weekend. One main concern we have after all the info we received, was that DSS has been called several times to his ex for neglect. The kids were found to be playing in the pool by themselves, riding their bikes with no helmets in the highway by themselves, etc., all while she was in the house watching tv or chating online. The person who called and left this info, stated they couldn’t be positive if there had been any abuse towards my stepdaughter, but they knew for a fact that the oldest son is abused constantly. He has behavioral problems and she (the ex) doesn’t know how to handle him. Also, she is in therapy due to she tried to commit suicide last September and possibly depression. Why she wasn’t taken to a hospital, Im not sure. All of which we are just now finding out about. (She always gives us the “pretty picture” details) My husband is trying to get in touch with DSS and see if they can give him any info as far as his dauhgters safety is concerned. I told him he needs to speak with a lawyer. His ex won’t discuss any of this with him, tells him she can’t talk right now and then won’t answer the phone. Also, we got a call saying she moved herself and the child in with my husbands parents over the weekend. Not for sure, again she will call from her number, and when he calls his parents, they don’t answer. Again, she has no job or income other then cs, and from the info we got, seems to be rather unstable.
What is the next step we need to do as far as his daughter is concerned? We just don’t want her to be moved from house to house every other week or so. We feel she needs a stable home, she is 11 and the teens years are coming and we know that what she needs. We just don’t want to jump the gun sorta speak.
Thanks


#5

First, I’d like to say that I applaud you for taking such an interest in your stepchild’s welfare. I understand that it’s not about the money but with all the other issues, the money is an irritating fact of the situation. Even if the situation were better and the ex were taking care of the child, the money would still be an issue since the ex keeps telling the child they don’t have money and is calling the other parent.

My husband pays $500 a month in child support with joint custody and equal time. We have their closets full of clothing at our house. They have everything they need and a lot of what they want. He takes them to appointments for doctor and dentist. He makes sure that their homework is done and that the oldest has his daily medication. He has never called to ask for more time, to ask her to pay for something, or to ask her to take them somewhere for him.
At their mother’s, they wear whatever they can find…normally it’s not theirs and either belongs to their mother’s boyfriend or something that their grandmother gave them. The things they wear are not clean and do not fit. They are told that she doesn’t have money for school supplies, forgets to have his medication filled, does not sign their homework and doesn’t care if they are late for school or want to lay out. The oldest is responsible for making sure that he takes his medicine for ADHD. This results in my husband being called to take his medicine to school. She constantly calls asking for him to pay for something and she’ll pay him back, asks him to rearrange the schedule so she can go out, and calls to ask that he pick them up from school or drop them at her mother’s for her.

The only reason that you need to file for modification of custody is that your spouse, the parent, would provide a more stable and responsible home than the child currently has. Once you have established a new custody order, and schedule, you can file for modification of support. Based on her not working by choice and the other issues you mentioned, your chances are good that the courts would see that for the time being, the child would be better cared for by the other parent.
You two will need to gather all the facts. If you can, find out from DSS if there is an investigation. Keep a journal, if you don’t already, of dates and things of interest. Find out where she is living and what the arrangements are…did she move in with your husband’s parents because she left her husband? Did she move in at all? Get the child’s school records for grades and abscences. Provide all the information on what the schedule and arrangements would be if the child lived with you, including visitations with the mother.


#6

Based on the information you have submitted your husband should file a motion to modify custody. I would assume the ex was a different person and more stable at the time the last order was entered. She seems to have lost sight of what the child needs, that along with the events you describe seem to be a substantial enough change in circumstances necessary for the court to intervene and reevaluate the current custodial arrangement.
If DSS has been called, and the child is being neglected you need to move forward now. I suggest your husband schedule a consult with an attorney immediately.


#7

Thanks for all of the input. We know she moved out from Thursday until Sunday and then sometime between 6pm Sunday and 7am Monday she had went back to her husband. (My husband seen all of her clothes in the back bedrooms at his parents on Friday night when he picked uo his daughter, she didn’t even know we had her; she left to got to her grandmothers). I have had two calls today stating she is at the house and the back of her suv was packed with boxes and clothes. My husband has tried calling and of course, there is no answer. So we are unsure as to what is going on at this point time.
I know that it sounds terrible to even speak of taking a child away from a parent. My husband has always been to optimistic one saying that maybe it isn’t what it looks like…you knoe she has a total of 4 kids, life can be stressful. And yes it can. We have two children together and I couldn’t imagine not being with them every day. But with light of everything that has come, I have to look out for the wellfare of this child and possibly the other three. I am a nurse and know there is a fine line between sanity and “being crazy”. The thought that runs through my head most is if she has tried to commit suicide before, even if it was by taking pills (not the best method for suicide, very slow painful death if it occurs at all), what happens if things get worse and then kids come home and she has taken her life by more lethal means? No child should have to witness that.
Thanks for all the advise. I just want what is best for my stepdaughter. No Im not her biological mom, but have been a part of her life since she was 2, so in a sense she is mine. I worry about the things she has been through and what is to come. Again, thanks for everything and I will keep you posted.


#8

Its nice to see how much you care for your stepchild. I wish you all the best.


#9

I’m sorry you went through all this. You are an awesome step mom. It’s wrong for the mother to do what she did. I agree with the attorney that you should take the steps and take everything back to court.

It seems to me, after you explained everything that she is more or less using what is there for a child for her own benefit. Placing your step daughter last. I really hope all works out for you guys and things get done, and go your way.

Best of wishes.


#10

Young_fool: thanks. I know reading that first post seems like it is about the money. Way far from it. I have always siad that if she were a single mom working two jobs trying to make ends meet and needed ANYTHING, we would help. But that is definatley not the case. Thanks for understanding and yes all of our children come first. sometimes it is important for mom and dad to have a little alone time, but mostly our kids are first. They are the light of our life and it breaks our hearts that my step daughter has to live in the stuff she does. HE spoke with her last night and asked if she was glad to be back “home” (with her stepdad) and she said “no”, he asked why and she said she would tell him later. I am grateful that my children as well as my stepchild loves being with us and doing things with us. But i guess a lot of that is because we do put them first and love them. Again thanks for any and all advise and will keep you updated.


#11

If you don’t mind me asking, how old is your step daughter?


#12

She is 11, will be 12 this year. My husband doesn’t want to do anything “drastic” for the sake of being made out to be the “bad guy”. The last time we had to go to court fot this kinda thing, his ex told the child he ws taking her to court to take the child away from her beacuse he didn’t want her to love her mom or have anything to do with her. So therefore, he is wanting to get all his facts straight and in order before he goes to court. Hope it makes sense.


#13

Makes complete sense. My husband’s ex did much the same thing when he filed for custody. He filed because his ex threatened to take them and move off. She let them read the court papers and told them that he was taking them away from her. This meant that they automatically chose the to stay with her. He didn’t want to force them to stay with him and therefore he let the children decide in the end. They chose to keep the arrangement so that they spent equal time with each parent. So, after all the drama, they ended up keeping the same arrangement they had to begin with.

The best advice that I can give you on this matter is that IF she does this again, the response that you two should give the child is that you are not taking her away. She will still see her mother but she will be living with you the majority of the time. Let her know that this is being done because you believe that this is best, not because you want to hurt the other parent. Make sure that she understands that this is not directed at the other parent but is being done for the her, and that it may not be forever. If at all possible, stear the conversation away from the other parent. Talk about her room at your house or what you all can do as a family with the extra time…if she brings up the court case, let her know that she does not need to worry about it because her father is taking care of it.

Keep in mind that in a few years, she’s going to have friends at school, boyfriends, and hopefully all this stuff will have faded in her memory. In 6 years she will be almost an adult and then all this will not matter…


#14

I agree with stepmother.

I was wanting to let you know, that if your step daughter wants to live with you and visit her mother. She should be of age to ask the judge. If you feel up to it, talk to her.

Good luck and I wish you guys the best.