Rights as a step-parent or not?


#1

As a step-parent, I dont’ think he HAS rights of visitation unless you have written it up in an agreement somewhere. He does, of course, have visitation rights for the son you had with him, but I don’t think the step-son has to visit. Seems he’s abused the courtesy you’ve extended to him already. If he sends a gift, just send it back if you want (or feel it’s not appropriate).


#2
quote:
[i]Originally posted by comingclean2[/i] [br]If he sends a gift, just send it back if you want (or feel it's not appropriate).

After everything that has happened in the past and my stbx’s reactions, I have come to the conclusion that it is inappropriate for me to allow my son to keep gifts from him when he is not visiting or speaking with my stbx.

My stbx likes to use gifts he gives or offers that he extends (for both children) beyond his court obligation to show “what a good guy he is” and how I am “taking advantage of him and using him for money.”

This attitude and behavior has resulted in me not accepting offers of financial help.

I plan on returning the gifts to him unopened.

Legally though, is he allowed to keep asking for visitation, phone calls and to offer gifts - even though I tell him to stop? His response is that he will not stop until my son or his father tell him to… but I have sole legal custody of my son, his father only has “liberal visitation.” His father does not wish to speak to my stbx because he feels he is not stable and it is a waste of breath and common sense.

I’m just tired of the poking and prodding with this issue as he continually dismisses what I say as my son’s mother and custodial parent.


#3

This guy sounds like a jerk (sorry).

He is asserting a lot of control by saying he’ll only listen to the child or the childs FATHER as to when he stops asking for requests for visits? That you have no weight in the matter? He’s saying that because he KNOWS the Dad won’t talk to him, and that as a mother–you probably wouldn’t make your son tell the step to buzz off. The child is probably intimidated by the whole situation.

I know it’s hard, but keep your wits and just keep saying “NO”. Send the gifts back. I still don’t think he LEGALLY has rights to visitation, but I guess he can always ask since you do have a child together. If your Ex husband won’t tell the guy no, and you don’t want your son to talk to him about it (in which I understand), then you are the ‘mouth’ for your son. Hopefully, it will be a back and forth game that will get old for the step-dad. I still don’t understand why the child’s Dad won’t speak in his behalf if he cares about his son’s welfare.

Kinda borders on harassment in my opinion, though how do you 100% prove it. It may be seen as more of an annoyance than harassment in their eyes.


#4
quote:
[i]Originally posted by comingclean2[/i] [br]This guy sounds like a jerk (sorry).

He is asserting a lot of control by saying he’ll only listen to the child or the childs FATHER as to when he stops asking for requests for visits? That you have no weight in the matter?


I will not make my son say anything to him. Yes, he is intimidated due to issues of how he was treated during the marriage. AS for it being harassment (which is what it feels like to me) I’m not really sure. All I can do is continue to document me saying no - and him asking over and over again and sttaing he won’t stop until my son’s father or my son tell him to stop. (Funny, because during our marriage my stbx said said that whatever my son’s father said didn’t matter. He changes with whatever is to his advantage.)

I have sole legal custody, so in all honesty it is what I say that matters (I would think.)

I’m just trying to figure out how much of him “testing the wire” is considered too much. I am managing to protect my son from being directly affected by this - but I am the one “suffering the blows” instead. Which is fine, it is my job as his mom.

Just trying to figure out what legal standing I have and if he has any at all as he claims. Is he legally allowed to ask non-stop even after the repeated times he has been told no?


#5

No, he does not have a right to visitation with your son unless he adopted him.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#6
quote:
[i]Originally posted by Helena Nevicosi[/i] [br]No, he does not have a right to visitation with your son unless he adopted him.

He never adopted him, never offered to adopt him or even made attempts to do so.

Does he have a legal right to keep asking me for visits and phone conversations and to keep buying him gifts after I tell him he can’t see him or speak to him and there will be no more gift exchanges?

Is there a line between being a persistent jerk and harassment in this matter?


#7

What he is doing IMO is bordering on harassment (though how you would prove it? I dont know). However, he is also asserting he freedom of speech. The fact that you have a child together means you will always have some connection/communication with this man. All you can do is continue what you’re doing and make sure he doesnt’ see how much it bothers/pisses you off. He will feed on that for sure! Hopefully, he’ll tire of it. You could also keep repeating what Helen said…that he has no legal right to visitation.


#8

You are in murky territory. There is no legal right for him to ask for visitation, but no law that prevents him from asking you if he can see him. If his language is threatening or abusive, or he actually takes your son, that may be the point where the line is crossed. At this point, it might be best for you to be consistent against his persistance, hopefully he will tire of it. Remember, just because he calls does not mean you have to pick up the phone. Non-emergency issues can just as easily be dealt with over email. If he leaves a message for the child you have together, simply have the child call him back. It takes two people to engage in conflict and if you remove yourself from the equation, you may find that the situation improves very quickly. I wish you the best of luck.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#9

I liked what Helena said. I KNOW it’s hard to remove yourself from the equation, but you must. I remember being in that situation with nasty emails that I IMMEDIATELY spouted out retorts to working myself up emotionally. I was wasting emotional time and just fueling his anger and frustration over choices he made.

Remember that YOU are in control here, but him. YOU have to power to starve him of that need to control. YOU have to power to rise above his behavior. I’ts kinda like training a dog. If you ignore the behavior you don’t like, sooner or later, the dog will not bother you with that behavior. But it takes patience! BE STRONG!!!


#10

I agree too and that is how I am trying to handle it now. He just emailed me today to tell me he is sending gifts for our son together and my oldest son for his birthday, he stated what he bought him and he tried to get a gift I’d approve of and he wrote:

“I am asking you to keep whatever issues that you and I have between you and I, and allow ****** a gift on his Birthday.”

I’m trying to figure out how to handle this. He is trying to make me look petty with this email rather than looking at the entire picture and situation.

Ugh!


#11

My divorce will be finalized by 1 Oct 08. The path with my stbx and my oldest son (his step-son) has been difficult. My son has come home in tears and my stbx has repeatedly used him as a pawn in his games during this divorce process. I discontinued visitation with him in Nov 07 (it was not court ordered because my stbx never asked for it, I just offered and allowed it initially) due to an incident with my son. When I spoke to the school counselor about the incident and their relationship during our marriage, she then spoke to my son and recommended that I cease visitation with his step-father because emotional and mental abuse was occuring and his was not healthy for him.

In Dec 07 after much proding I allowed my stbx to give a Christmas gift to my oldest son. Yet another incident occured with a gift that was not appropriate for his age (a violent rated M video game for a child that had just turned 11 years old.) The situation was bad because my stbx whispered in my son’s ear that he got him a Christmas gift he knew that his mom wouldn’t like, while standing in front of me. I terminated any connect again.

Then in May 08 my stbx wa leaving the state and my son begged to see him again. So I allowed it. My son came back and was very upset within a few days when it became obvious that my stbx abused his trust and was using him to ask questions and probe for information.

My son has told me that my stbx was not really nice to him until after we left the house, then he started treating him like he did before I gave birth to the son I had with my stbx. My son has said he doesn’t want to see him anymore because my stbx ends up hurting his feelings. My son’s father has stated that he does not want our son to see my stbx. The times I have allowed it he was not happy with be knew I was handling the situation the best way I could. My son’s dad also doesn’t wish to speak to my stbx because of his dislike for him and how he has treated our son.

He continues to ask for contact and to exchange gifts, I continue to tell hin no. He has stated he will continue sending my oldest son gifts and asking for contact because it is his right as his step-father. He has further stated he will not stop until my son’s father or my son tell him to stop. I have sole-custody of my son, his dad has “liberal visitation.” I will not place my son in the sitatuation where he has to confront a grown man, that is not appropriate. My son’s dad refuses to speak to my stbx because he feels he is not mentally stable nor with his time.

So now I need to figure out what rights does a step-parent that has never addressed his rights as a step-parent to the court, nor does he pay support for his step-son, really have? He has never asked the court for visitation (and all the proper court-orders are in place and the final divorce proceedings have been filed and served, I am awaiting the final court date.) Does he have rights?

Do I have rights in this in a way to address his disregard for my repeated requests to leave my son alone? This was even addressed in court when I attempted to get the protective order. What is the legally appropriate way to handle this? When he sends gifts mail them back return to sender? If he gives them to me in person and refuses to keep them mail them back to his home? I have addressed this repeatedly and I feel like a broken record.

What do I do?