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Main Forums => Custody Issues => Topic started by: bluecat on Oct 06, 2009, 07:56:23 PM

Title: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 06, 2009, 07:56:23 PM
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]Hello,

I’m not sure exactly where to begin.  I have a question regarding modification of a consent order signed in August 2009.  I guess i'll start with the basics.  The BF and I were never in a relationship.  Our child is now three and when she was about 5 months old, he filed a lawsuit against me because he wanted more time with her.  This more time meant her staying up past her bedtime by two hours and for me to stop breastfeeding so it wouldn't get in the way of him seeing her.  he wasn't suing me for custody, he just wanted more time with her.  up to that point, he saw her almost every day.  two and a half years later, we finally have a consent order.  he is now again threatening to take me to court if i don't agree to pass his visitation time to his wife while he's deployed.  The consent order only refers to him, so I’m not worried about that.  But, can he file for a modification and at what point do my attorney’s and I get involved? 
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[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]Regards.[/COLOR]
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: mdegol on Oct 06, 2009, 09:13:42 PM
I have heard of these cases before.  It will be interesting to hear from people in this situation. Is there a biological sibling? In that case, there is an argument because the child should have contact with sibling. Also, does stepmom and child have a strong relationship? Sounds like there is tension, and I know that it is frustrating when threatened with court, but when stepparents are a part of stepchild's life from a young age there is a bond (I know there's bonds in lots of other cases too). I see this situation from both sides, since DH is extremely bonded with son (his SS) partly since he was involved from birth. And son's stepmom, who was also involved from birth, is always fighting with me because she wants to be acknowledged as important (really is a complex on her part though, I have assured her many times that I respect her role in my son's life. But it is annoying. (http://www.deltabravo.net/forum/Smileys/default/wink.gif) )

Anyway, to answer the question, he can always file for a modification. If there is a significant change in circumstance, then the judge will hear it. My approach is to see what he does and then go from there. If he files and you don't want to go to court, you'll prob have to reach a compromise of some sort.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: eagleeyefam on Oct 06, 2009, 09:15:50 PM
Legally the wife really has no say other than she is his wife. She has no legal parentage to the child.

This is just my opinion.....
Now, this wife of his is a part of your childs life. Dad is going to be deployed so she won't get time with dad. WHy make her give up time with her step mom as well? This child has probably formed some sort of relationship with the step mom. It really wouldn't be fair to eliminate them from each other just because dad is deployed. It's going to be difficult enough when dad comes back to adjust to yet another change. But add in the fact that step mom and child haven't seen each other at all while dad was gone ads just one more stress.

If you are able to discuss things with dad and step mom (I know this isn't alwasy easy) maybe you 3 could sit down and talk about something that would work for all of you. Perhaps step mom could have 1 weekend a month and maybe 1 afternoon during the week. That way there is a continuous relationship there. Whatever schedule you guys decide on is really up to you and step mom. But I think by spending time with step mom, the child gets to have a closeness to her dad as well, even tho he's far away. By now I'm sure your child has associated dad and step mom as a unit.

I hope I'm making sense. The three of you could put aside the court issues and even avoid a future court battle over this. Let dad know that you respect the fact he wants child to be with step mom, but at this point you are willing to compromise with a schedule thats suitable for you and step mom.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 06, 2009, 10:16:13 PM
Thank you  for responding.

There are a few more details I'd like to share.  He will only be deployed for 4 months, visitation is already at least a week each month.  The request (demand) is to have the same schedule as if bf was home.  They plan on traveling during one of the visits. The original request was that our daughter would be with sm on christmas, but were willing to let me have her for christmas... I honestly and in complete good faith have encouraged an open relationship with bf, sm and myself.  my daughter has a hard enough time adjusting each time she comes home and i feel whenever i can give her a break from traveling back and forth I should. There are no other children and the bf and sm live out of state.  unfortunately, this whole converstation was held at a public place in front of our daugther and the first hint of my not agreeing the bf said there was a law and he would take me to court if i didn't agree.  I'm happy to offer for the sm to visit.  I already feel that she is away from home too much as it is, but it's what we could finally agree on to keep the bf from insisting on having a judge hear the case.  Unfortunately, there is never a response I can give to try to reason that would be understood by the bf because above all, having his way is the most important thing.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MomofTwo on Oct 07, 2009, 04:15:49 AM
He sounds like a great guy (http://www.deltabravo.net/forum/Smileys/default/undecided.gif), letting the child spend Christmas with her own mother when he won't even be home.
 
Tell him his orders apply to him and do not mention her.  Tell him you are willing to work something out so she can see SM while he is deployed but you want it in writing as to what that agrement is.   Tell him if he is deployed, you will not give up holidays with the child. 
 
Cover yourself in case this goes to court and do this in writing so you can show and have proof you were willing to negotiate, that is important in court.
 
You can always file for and ask for Right of First Refusal - you should do this.  This says that in case Dad is not able to take his time with the child (if it is more than 24 hours or however many hours you want to specifcy), then you always have the option of having the child first, before SM.   You want to consider long term as well, one week with the child works now assuming she is not school aged.  You are going to have to come up with a new schedule in the future as well.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: ocean on Oct 07, 2009, 04:23:11 AM
Your child has TWO homes, mom's and dad's so she is not away from HER home. The courts would probably give her some time just because she is young and needs consistantcy. They will probably bring up that step mom will bring her to see his family during the 4 months. If he is not home this Christmas then offer to switch years and you get this year and he gets next year instead. I would let her go the one week a month with phone contact each day.

What is exactly the schedule now on paper? Once child goes there it will be hard to get her early if step-mom does not agree. Maybe ask to go to mediation instead of court?
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: mdegol on Oct 07, 2009, 03:10:41 PM
How far is this traveling? I agree that you should give child a break from all this intense traveling. Maybe dad likes it, but doesn't sound good for child to have to travel so much. Maybe let stepmom visit with child in area that you live. Many adults couldn't stand that much traveling. I understand what you mean about adjustment. Constancy is not good if it is constantly bad for the child. If the child is showing adverse effects, you should document this and try to do something about it. A schedule like that is never going to work for school anyway across a long distance.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: rjmurdock on Oct 07, 2009, 03:17:08 PM
  I can tell that your biggest issue is the demands. BF is threatening you and demanding you to do things and I believe that is what is putting you off. You need to try and set those feelings aside and consider what is best for your child. As a stepmom myself who has been involved since the birth of my SS, the bond that my SS and I feel is almost the same as him and his BM. He would be just as upset not seeing me as not seeing his father. I don't believe she should get her for Holidays but you should consider letting her have an alternate time to celebrate christmas (ie the week after or the week before christmas). Your daughter has two homes and when she goes to visit her father she is also visiting her SM. She should get to continue this relationship. This is what she is used too and you should try to maintain the stability.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Momfortwo on Oct 07, 2009, 03:48:13 PM
He's in the military.  That's a job known for moving soldiers around constantly.   

I would fight him.  He's not going to win and he's not going to be able to get his parenting time assigned to a non-parent (the stepmother is a legal stranger in the eyes of the law).   

The child should be with you while the father is deployed.  If the stepmom lives close by, you can let her visit your child.  But she's not going to get his parenting time.  Nor should she.  She's not the mother, you are.   
 
BTW, that law that your ex is referring to doesn't state what he is claiming.  All that law does is revert the parenting arrangements back to what they were before deployment. 
 
What this means is that if the arrangement was 50/50 physical at the time of deployment, it would go back to 50/50 physical when the deployed parent gets back.  The parent who was not deployed could not try to get the parenting time permanently changed based on a deployment. 
 
It says nothing about a stepparent having the right to the deployed parent's time. 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 07, 2009, 05:24:07 PM
I wish that people would stop being so territorial with children's affections.  Having a parent leave for deployment can be extremely hard on a child.  Not only do they not get to see their parent, but they also worry about them and whether or not they will ever come back.  Why would anyone want to add to that stress by making it so they can't see the rest of that part of their family either - and also worry that they may not only lose their parent but a whole section of their family?  What a horrible thing to put a child through!

Allowing them to continue their visitation schedule and spend with their step-parent during the deployment allows the child some measure of comfort an consistency while their parent is deployed.  Also, communicating with a deployed service member can be challenging at best.  Who is more likely to go the extra mile and ensure the child communicates with their deployed parent (which also goes a LONG way to alleviate the worry of the child)?  The service members spouse, or their ex who states they have "never had a relationship" with the other parent?

Whether you like it or not, your child has a relationship with her stepmother.  She is a part of her family regardless of whether or not she gave birth to her.  Just like aunts and uncle's.  You wouldn't expect someone to get jealous if their kids love their aunt or uncle, would you?  So what's the difference, besides being territorial because of the name "step-mother"?

I am a step-mother, and my husband is in the military.  So was my father, and my parents were divorced.  I know what I'm talking about from both sides.  My husbands ex also tried to deny the kids time with our family while my husband was deployed.  Guess what the judge said?  He said that my husbands parenting time was his parenting time - and if he wanted the kids to spend time with their grandparents or with their step-parent during his parenting time he could do so.  He said that it was "important for the children to have a relationship with their step-parent."

BTW - First Right of Refusal rarely applies to situations where a step-parent would be available to care for the child.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Momfortwo on Oct 08, 2009, 03:53:24 AM

I wish that people would stop being so territorial with children's affections.  Having a parent leave for deployment can be extremely hard on a child.  Not only do they not get to see their parent, but they also worry about them and whether or not they will ever come back.  Why would anyone want to add to that stress by making it so they can't see the rest of that part of their family either - and also worry that they may not only lose their parent but a whole section of their family?  What a horrible thing to put a child through!

 
And I wish stepparents would stop overstepping their boundaries.  It is hard on a child being away from a parent for extended periods of time.  It's even harder when they are away from both parents.  Which is why it is better for the child to be with the mother over the stepmother. 
 
Judges have also been known (and this is more likely than what happened in your case) not to give the stepparent the deployed parent's parenting time.  Why?  Because the stepparent has no legal standing and no right to parenting time.  A judge may order visits (but they wouldn't be equal to what the parenting time is) depending on the circumstances and how close they live to each other. 
 
BTW, it is common for ROFR to apply to stepparents.  The whole purpose of ROFR is to give the other parent more time with the child when the other isn't available. 
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MomofTwo on Oct 08, 2009, 05:38:52 AM
Absolutely agree with Mom42 on ROFR - it is very common for this to be used when only a step parent is available and not the parent to care for/spend time with the children.   

Also agree with Mom42 - a step parent is a legal stranger and many judges will not side with giving them a deployed paren'ts parenting time over biological parent. Visitation ... maybe, and again based on the circumstances -length of deployment,  current schedule, distance, age of child, additional siblings... Parenting time is considered a  fundamental personal privilege of a parent and most courts will not view with giving that time to a step parent.  Only recently did one state change their view on this (giving deployed parents parenting time to a family member) and the person being deployed is to  have to actually notify the courts prior.  This is already facing great legal challenges.

I have seen cases go both ways but most times, biological parent retains custody while other parent is deployed with some sort of possible altered visitation schedule for the step parent.  They do not take precedence over a parent.   

The law that is in place is that a parent not deployed, cannot go to court and file for custodial / visitation schedule changes when the other  parent is deployed.  That is the law in place to preserve the relationship of the parent/child.  There is no law or governing statutes that protect a step-parent/ child relationship when the other parent is deployed.   What needs to be done is to focus on the parent that is deployed and devise an altered schedule of allowing video conferencing for the deployed parent when they are gone and cannot facilitate their visits.  The child knowing they are safe and having the ability to see that parent and talk to them is far more important than anything else.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 06:25:24 AM

And I wish stepparents would stop overstepping their boundaries.  It is hard on a child being away from a parent for extended periods of time.  It's even harder when they are away from both parents.  Which is why it is better for the child to be with the mother over the stepmother. 

Judges have also been known (and this is more likely than what happened in your case) not to give the stepparent the deployed parent's parenting time.  Why?  Because the stepparent has no legal standing and no right to parenting time.  A judge may order visits (but they wouldn't be equal to what the parenting time is) depending on the circumstances and how close they live to each other. 

BTW, it is common for ROFR to apply to stepparents.  The whole purpose of ROFR is to give the other parent more time with the child when the other isn't available. 

 
I guess I'm not clear on what you consider step-parents "overstepping their boundaries".  What exactly do you feel a step-parents boundaries are?  Do you think that forming a close relationship with their step-child is overstepping boundaries?  Or, maybe, maintaining that relationship while her husband is deployed is overstepping boundaries?
 
I'm also not clear on what you think the difference is between "visitation" and "parenting time".  Because, legally, there is no difference.  The only difference is in the terminology used.
 
Anyone who has a familial relationship with the child has a legal standing to request time with that child - be it grandparents, aunts and uncles, or step-parents.
 
And, the children have a right to have a relationship with their step-parent.  What a weird situation it would be for a child to spend time every week, or every other week, with an adult and never form any kind of bond or relationship with them.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 06:42:34 AM

Also agree with Mom42 - a step parent is a legal stranger and many judges will not side with giving them a deployed paren'ts parenting time over biological parent. Visitation ... maybe, and again based on the circumstances -length of deployment,  current schedule, distance, age of child, additional siblings...

Again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology.
 
 

Parenting time is considered a  fundamental personal privilege of a parent and most courts will not view with giving that time to a step parent.

Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege".  And I believe it is the right of a child to be able to spend time with, and have a relationship with, all of the people in their family without feeling like they are betraying their loyalty to another member of their family.
 

Only recently did one state change their view on this (giving deployed parents parenting time to a family member) and the person being deployed is to  have to actually notify the courts prior.  This is already facing great legal challenges.

Not sure what singular case you are referring to, but there have been many instances of this in the state where I live, and also in many other states.  My husbands case is one of them - and I'm pretty sure that's not the "only once" you are referring to.

I have seen cases go both ways but most times, biological parent retains custody while other parent is deployed with some sort of possible altered visitation schedule for the step parent.  They do not take precedence over a parent.

No one was discussing the step-parent having custody of the child.  We're discussing visitation with the child while the father is deployed.  Continuing visitation doesn't give the step-parent custody.


The law that is in place is that a parent not deployed, cannot go to court and file for custodial / visitation schedule changes when the other  parent is deployed.  That is the law in place to preserve the relationship of the parent/child.  There is no law or governing statutes that protect a step-parent/ child relationship when the other parent is deployed.   What needs to be done is to focus on the parent that is deployed and devise an altered schedule of allowing video conferencing for the deployed parent when they are gone and cannot facilitate their visits.  The child knowing they are safe and having the ability to see that parent and talk to them is far more important than anything else.

 
Yes, that law was passed last year to protect the thousands of service members who find themselves served with divorce/custody paperwork while they are deployed and unable to respond.  I think the least we can do for the men and women who give their lives to the service of this country is protect the relationship they have with their children while they are away.  In my opinion, part of that relationship is the family dynamic.  The familial relationship the child has with both sides of their divorced family is important.  Just as the CP has routines, rules, and family traditions that they follow with their child, the NCP has the same.  And the step-parent is a part of that family unit.  Neither family unit is more important than the other - they are BOTH important to the child. 
 
The child should be able to maintain as much stability as possible, and that includes the relationships that child has with the NCP's family.
 
What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections.  As I stated in my first post - if you wouldn't have an issue with a child visiting their aunts and uncles or grandparents, then you shouldn't have an issue with them visiting their step-parent.  The step-parent is a part of the child's family.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 08, 2009, 07:37:11 AM
I see both sides of this........what is legally allowable (depending on the state involved) and what would be the right thing to do by the child.  In situations like this, I truly believe that it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.  We personally have no idea what exactly the relationship is between the step-parent and child....and if there is a significant emotional attachment, IMO there should be at least SOME kind of visitation/parenting time established while the father is deployed.  To do so otherwise would be a serious disruption in the child's life. 
 
In a previous post it was mentioned that contact with deployed military members is iffy at best, but I've seen and heard instances of video phone contacts with family.  Given that it's difficult enough to set this up, it would be almost impossible for a military member to request this for TWO locations, let alone one.   And I know that they make an extra effort around the holidays to make this happen, if at all possible.  Wouldn't it be tragic for the child if they were to find out that they could have talked to and actually SEEN their father and never got that chance?  If this child is old enough to realize why Daddy is away for so long, then they are also old enough to understand that it is a dangerous situation.......the child's stress of worrying about the father should not be compounded by severely limiting contact with the very people who are also closest to him.
 
Bottom line, it really doesn't make a difference what is legal or allowable, it's whatever can be agreed to in court and what the respective families can work out for the sake of the child.  And that is soley based on the emotional attachment the child has with not only the father, but his entire family as well.  It's what's best for the child.....and isn't that what we're here for in the first place??
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 07:56:02 AM
One more thing -
 
If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MomofTwo on Oct 08, 2009, 08:06:39 AM
Regarding "again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology"  You are correct, but out of respect to all NCP, I was using a more appropriate term.  Visitation has the connotation of just that, a child visiting their parent and not actually residing with them.  In many states, there is a push to stop using the terms CP and NCP because of the negative conotation to the non primary residential parent.   

Regarding "Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege"... I disagree.  Parenting time/visitation, or whatever you choose to call it - is a right, not an obligation.  There are many ncp's who have visitation on paper, yet don't bother with their children.  I don't care to argue semantics..bottom line is, call it what you want, but time with their children is not an obligation.  My ex hasn't called or bothered to use his vistation to see his children in four years.  He apparently has not felt obligated to bother with them.  I don't disagree children should know both sides of their family, but it is most definitely not an obligation.  (don't get me wrong, personally it is - parents ARE obligated to their children, but we all know a NCP who doesn't use their visitatin can't be filed with contempt for not doing so. So, it is a right/privelege, not an obligation).

I was not referring to one case of a step parent being given the parenting time of a deployed person, I was referring to state statutes actually reflecting this.  The only state to do this is Tennessee and in that state, it is facing opposition already.

"What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections..." I disagree, but that is only my opinion.  I think Kitty summed it up perfectly, it is wrong to assume all step parents have a loving relationship with their step children.   Each case needs to be evaluated individually on their own merits and based on the best intersts of that child(ren.)   I was in no way referrring to anything more than a legal perspective and legally many states do not allow parenting time to be assigned to anyone other than the biological parent.  Custody agreements are between two people and the court.  That agreement does not (unless otherwise specified) apply to anyone else and most states do not allow you to designate your parenting time to someone else.   

Again, I am not taking a stand that a step parent should or should not see the child while the parent is deployed.  I have been in the situation where my step-daughter came to spend time with me/her siblings - when her Dad was not around.  I loved her and welcomed her to do that every time it occured....but had she or her mother wanted to amend that, at any time I would have done so. Not because I didn't want her around, but because I understood and out of respect.  For the record, she is legally no longer my step daughter but I talk to her every week and she is still always welcome to visit and she does.   
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Gestalt on Oct 08, 2009, 08:34:58 AM
One more thing -

If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.

What? That makes no sense. CP is not obligated to give up the time that she is guaranteed by the court order because dad's lifestyle choices end up costing him time with the child.

Before people start bashing me as a soldier hater- hubby is a 12 years vet- his service was a choice. In making that choice he accepted both the benefits and the consequences of enlistment.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 10:30:39 AM


One more thing -

If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.


What? That makes no sense. CP is not obligated to give up the time that she is guaranteed by the court order because dad's lifestyle choices end up costing him time with the child.

Before people start bashing me as a soldier hater- hubby is a 12 years vet- his service was a choice. In making that choice he accepted both the benefits and the consequences of enlistment.


CP is getting time that was guaranteed to the NCP by the court due to the NCP's service to our country.  So, in making up the visitation, she's not losing any time.  By not allowing the make up the NCP is losing time and the CP is gaining.

I think that saying that it's a "lifestyle" choice is a bit myopic.  It's a little bit more than that.  Especially since refusing to an order to deploy can get you court marshalled.   It's not like he is missing his visitation because he chose to take a trip to Spain - he was ordered to deploy.

Don't forget that you have the choice of your lifestyle due to the sacrifices that our service members make.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 10:58:49 AM

Regarding "again - there is no legal difference between "parenting time" and "visitation" - the only difference is in terminology"  You are correct, but out of respect to all NCP, I was using a more appropriate term.  Visitation has the connotation of just that, a child visiting their parent and not actually residing with them.  In many states, there is a push to stop using the terms CP and NCP because of the negative conotation to the non primary residential parent.


Yes, I get that.  You said that a judge wouldn't give a step-parent the NCP's parenting time, but would maybe give them visitation.  I was saying that there is no legal difference between the two terms. We're on the same page.


Regarding "Parenting time/visitation is not a "privilege"... I disagree.  Parenting time/visitation, or whatever you choose to call it - is a right, not an obligation.  There are many ncp's who have visitation on paper, yet don't bother with their children.  I don't care to argue semantics..bottom line is, call it what you want, but time with their children is not an obligation.  My ex hasn't called or bothered to use his vistation to see his children in four years.  He apparently has not felt obligated to bother with them.  I don't disagree children should know both sides of their family, but it is most definitely not an obligation.  (don't get me wrong, personally it is - parents ARE obligated to their children, but we all know a NCP who doesn't use their visitatin can't be filed with contempt for not doing so. So, it is a right/privelege, not an obligation).


Yes.  Parenting time is a right.  NOT a priviledge - which is what you originally stated it was.  And we're not discussing an NCP who doesn't want to exercise his visitation.  We're talking about a soon-to-be deployed service member who wants his child to maintain a relationship with his side of the family while he is deployed.



"What it boils down to is being territorial with a child's affections..." I disagree, but that is only my opinion.  I think Kitty summed it up perfectly, it is wrong to assume all step parents have a loving relationship with their step children.   Each case needs to be evaluated individually on their own merits and based on the best intersts of that child(ren.)


I totally agree that a child should not be forced to spend time with a step-parent while their parent is away if that child does not have a relationship with the step-parent.  My statement about being territorial was in response to MomforTwo's post that said:  "The child should be with you while the father is deployed.  If the stepmom lives close by, you can let her visit your child.  But she's not going to get his parenting time.  Nor should she.  She's not the mother, you are."  Which was, in my opinion, territorial.  (She's not the mother, you are.)  There was no credence given to any relationship that the child and step-mother may have.



I was in no way referrring to anything more than a legal perspective and legally many states do not allow parenting time to be assigned to anyone other than the biological parent.  Custody agreements are between two people and the court.  That agreement does not (unless otherwise specified) apply to anyone else and most states do not allow you to designate your parenting time to someone else.


I don't think that there's any statutes that say a parent can't allow their child to spend time with someone else during their parenting time, or vice-versa.  I think that is usually handled on a case by case basis.  It would get a little hairy otherwise... I mean, what if the kids wanted to spend a couple nights with grandma while they're on dad's parenting time?  It's the same thing.


Again, I am not taking a stand that a step parent should or should not see the child while the parent is deployed.  I have been in the situation where my step-daughter came to spend time with me/her siblings - when her Dad was not around.  I loved her and welcomed her to do that every time it occured....but had she or her mother wanted to amend that, at any time I would have done so. Not because I didn't want her around, but because I understood and out of respect.  For the record, she is legally no longer my step daughter but I talk to her every week and she is still always welcome to visit and she does.   


I think it's awesome that you have a great relationship with your step-daughter, and that her mom was willing to share her affections with you.  Unfortunately, there are people out there (and apparently on this board) who are not so generous, and who are basically only "giving" their ex's visitation with the kids because they "have to" due to court order.  They view the children as their property.  I don't agree with that point of view.  I think that those parents need to get over themselves and realize that their kids are going to have a relationship of some sort with their step-parents, and that it's better for the kids if it's a good one, so they should stop trying to interfere with it.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: CuriousMom on Oct 08, 2009, 01:22:43 PM
As rjmurdock stated in a post above, father's approach wasn't very tactful and demanding from the beginning.  I think anyone given that ultimatum would be defensive at first. 
 
I think depending on the relationship between child and step-mom, there should be some sort of contact while father is away to keep some normalcy in the child's life.  I can't say I agree with step-mom stepping in taking over dad's full CO schedule, but I guess that would depend on the relationship between every one.  I realize that some step-parents do play a vital role in the step-child(s) life, but until the law recognizes them as such, they do get shut out.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Gestalt on Oct 08, 2009, 01:42:54 PM


One more thing -

If the CP decides not to allow the father to exercise his parenting time through his wife while he is deployed, then the CP should allow the child to make up all the time they missed with their parent immediately upon his return.


What? That makes no sense. CP is not obligated to give up the time that she is guaranteed by the court order because dad's lifestyle choices end up costing him time with the child.

Before people start bashing me as a soldier hater- hubby is a 12 years vet- his service was a choice. In making that choice he accepted both the benefits and the consequences of enlistment.


CP is getting time that was guaranteed to the NCP by the court due to the NCP's service to our country.  So, in making up the visitation, she's not losing any time.  By not allowing the make up the NCP is losing time and the CP is gaining.

I think that saying that it's a "lifestyle" choice is a bit myopic.  It's a little bit more than that.  Especially since refusing to an order to deploy can get you court marshalled.   It's not like he is missing his visitation because he chose to take a trip to Spain - he was ordered to deploy.

Don't forget that you have the choice of your lifestyle due to the sacrifices that our service members make.

Yes but it is really no different than taking a job that has tons of travel, that is a choice, but the choice costs time with the kids.

And I totally agree that had dad handled it differently mom would likely have been more cooperative. But giving a step parent the ncp parenting time is ridiculous and certainly opens the door wide for future overstepping scenarios.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: pcdad on Oct 08, 2009, 02:01:18 PM
What I am finding out since coming onto this site is that it seems everything boils down to filing the right papers everytime life's circumstances change - thus tying up the already clogged legal world, costing endless amounts of money when money is already tight, vindictive CP making the NCP spend money on lawyers to fight for their privelage or right (whatever way you interpret it) and taking money away from what families could spend on more productive matters.  Yes my husband and I chose to move out of state, fortunately my ex and I have for the most part left the visitation issues out of the jurisdiction of the courts and were adults about our son.  He is 16 so we take into consideration his changing lifestyle.  We don't run to the court everytime we have issues, we straighten them out between each other.  After all WE are the ones that called it quits, my son didn't call it quits with either of us.  Now on the other hand I see evil in my husband's ex-wife.  Even tho she quit her job months ago and supposedly is only living on CS - $550/mo.  She seems to have an endless supply of money to run to her lawyer to block any and all attempts at my husband taking part in his daughter's life.  She limits phone access to 1 day every 2 weeks, denies my step daughter ANY contact with her dad's family and step-brother.  And all we can do is spend more money on lawyers, filing fees, process servers, and a guardian ad litem that so biased to our case it isn't even funny.  Hubby's Ex may think that she is winning this "battle" but SD is almost 12 and getting very defiant about her mother's power of trying to block her relationship with her father and family members.  Who do you think is going to lose in the long run?  Mommy dearest that is who.  Meantime step daughter suffers terribly.  I keep holding out hope that someone new in the legal system of that county will step in and review this entire mess and say "WHOA" but until that happens we will not spend any more money battling a court system that is completely messed up.  We do our damndest to reinforce our love during the "monitored" phone conversations we are allowed.  I keep telling her that her mother cannot take her love for us away and our love for her.  We do tell her that she needs to talk to her counselor (mom has her going to the county social worker weekly) about what her mother is doing and how unhappy it makes her. 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 02:56:03 PM

Yes but it is really no different than taking a job that has tons of travel, that is a choice, but the choice costs time with the kids.

And I totally agree that had dad handled it differently mom would likely have been more cooperative. But giving a step parent the ncp parenting time is ridiculous and certainly opens the door wide for future overstepping scenarios.

 
It's a LOT different than taking a job that has tons of travel.  One, you can't just quit the military - especially when you have been ordered to deploy.  It's called desertion, and it results in a court martial.  That doesn't happen in any other job.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Momfortwo on Oct 08, 2009, 03:01:59 PM

I guess I'm not clear on what you consider step-parents "overstepping their boundaries".  What exactly do you feel a step-parents boundaries are?  Do you think that forming a close relationship with their step-child is overstepping boundaries?  Or, maybe, maintaining that relationship while her husband is deployed is overstepping boundaries?

I'm also not clear on what you think the difference is between "visitation" and "parenting time".  Because, legally, there is no difference.  The only difference is in the terminology used.

Anyone who has a familial relationship with the child has a legal standing to request time with that child - be it grandparents, aunts and uncles, or step-parents.

And, the children have a right to have a relationship with their step-parent.  What a weird situation it would be for a child to spend time every week, or every other week, with an adult and never form any kind of bond or relationship with them.

 
Overstepping their boundaries would be thinking that they are entitled to the deployed parent's parenting time. 
 
Yes, children have a right to have a relationship with the stepparent.  But that does not take precedence over the child's right to be with an actual parent  when one parent is not able to care for the child for long periods of time.  Such as when a parent is deployed to a war zone. 
 
The difference between parenting time and visitation is that the parent gets parenting time.  Anybody else, it's just visiting. 
 
And, typically, judges leave it to the parents to allow visits to grandparents/aunts/uncles.  And typically side with a child being with the parent over the stepparent when the other parent is deployed. 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 08, 2009, 04:12:36 PM

Overstepping their boundaries would be thinking that they are entitled to the deployed parent's parenting time. 

 
I think that it was the father, not the step-mother, who was requesting that the child spend visits with the step-mother while he was deployed.  So how was the step-mother overstepping her boundaries?
 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: mdegol on Oct 08, 2009, 06:04:13 PM
It doesn't seem right (and really when you think about it a step parent takes a huge risk when they get close to a child) divorce is a factor when thinking about rights of stepparents. Think about this: Mom and Dad divorce. Mom and StepDad divorce, Dad and stepmom divorce.....and now think about visitation. A mess for the child. I think this is a good argument for keeping life simple...but I guess all of us learned that lesson late!!

In any case, stepparents CAN overstep boundaries, just like mothers (or fathers) can be too territorial with their kids. Often both are happening at the same time. With everybody. There is a language I hear a lot on here like NCPs do this....CPs do this.... I thought that was a little bit what this website is about...to dispell stereotypes??

But some stepparents CHRONICALLY overstep boundaries. I have one of those on my side. (After dating bf 3 weeks, put crib in HER home for my son. Yikes! Has said she can raise my son better than me because she is a high school teacher who learned to deal with learning disabilities. Well I am a college professor! I think this qualifies as overstepping boundaries). And I am sure, especially in the beginning (prob now too at least in my heart), that I was too territorial with my son! It is hard to think of another woman replacing you even if it is for a brief period of time!! And anyone here who says they never did either, well is either a saint or a ......

Anyway, Stepmom should not get same visitation as child. Sets a very messy precedent.  Why would it be stop with military? I mean, there are lots of good reasons that NCP can't spend time with child. What if they die (I don't mean in combat, I mean any NCP, like of a heart attack) I mean if parent can always say that child can spend time with who THEY want during THEIR parenting time... why can't grandmas raise the kid instead of mom and dad keep visitation? Mom decided grandma should have her parenting time. Mom wants to party for a year or so. Well, most people will say dad should get custody. He should raise child over grandma. If unmarried mom went to military, does grandma get mom's court-ordered visitation while she is away?
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Momfortwo on Oct 09, 2009, 04:14:20 AM


Overstepping their boundaries would be thinking that they are entitled to the deployed parent's parenting time. 


I think that it was the father, not the step-mother, who was requesting that the child spend visits with the step-mother while he was deployed.  So how was the step-mother overstepping her boundaries?


 
The stepmom could easily put an end to this by telling her husband that, while she would like to see her stepchild, she is not entitled to have his entire parenting time while he is deployed. 
 
That would pretty much take the fight out of the father.  Can't go to court if the stepmother told him that she doesn't think she is entitled to his parenting time. 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 09, 2009, 07:01:35 AM
So you're saying that the step-mother is overstepping her boundaries because she is not telling her husband what he should do regarding the children?  What?  That doesn't make any sense.
 
You're also saying that step-parents should tell their spouses that they don't want to spend time with their kids when they're not around?  That's ridiculous.  Doing that basically means that blended families will never be a real family, and the step-parent will always be an outsider.  Very unhealthy.
 
You're basically insinuating that an "evil step-mother" is behind all of this - and that the father couldn't possibly want his child to maintain contact with his side of the family while he's deployed.  He's only doing it because his "evil wife" is standing behind him wringing her hands and making him.
 
It's his parenting time - he should be able to do what he wants with it.  Including let the child visit with other members of his family.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles and the step-parent.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: 4honor on Oct 09, 2009, 09:03:52 AM
Let me be the voice of reason... I hope.
 
OP said the BF will be deployed for 4 months. That equates to 4 visits. Put aside your gut reaction to HOW Dad/BF/NCP made his wishes known (sometimes they are demanding pricks and sometimes they are just concerned fathers and we need to chalk it up to OUR perceptions of their ability to communicate). Think about what would happen for the child in each of 3 possible situations for the child.
 
If the schedule stays the same, she will barely get used to BF being gone, but her SM will have some sort of ongoing contact which the child can participate in while Dad is gone. Mom is doing her best to maintain. SM is doing her best to maintain.  She has someone to talk to about how she feels about Dad being gone without feeling guilty about it. Before she knows it he will be back and she will continue with the same schedule she has always had. The least amount of change has occurred FOR HER given this situation neither of her parents has any control over at this time. Think of this as the "when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemonade" option.
 
Now look at if BM/CP says, "No, she shouldn't have to go to her Dad's house those four months since he won't be home." Child is away from her normal routine (the hardships of travel and all) and her father's family for 120+ days. She is finally getting used to the feelings of abandonment she is likely to feel -- because even if old enough to understand, feelings are not rational and her Dad WILL be gone. She settles into her world as she knows it  at Mom's house, and tries to forget those feelings of having half her world ripped away for just long enough to instill some insecurities. She gets a childlike handle on the fact Dad is gone, her schedule is messed up and Mom is trying but its just not the same. She feels guilty because she can't feel the way Mom wants her to feel and that adds to her stress. She feels guitly because no matter how much she wants to think her Dad will be safe, she is worried about him and that  feels like a betrayal to Mom cause she is with mom but worried about Dad (120 days in a row remember).  I imagine this child will have a stomach ache until her father comes home. Think of this as the "When-life-gives-you-lemons-suck-it-up-and-drive-on" option.
 
Finally, look at a hybrid of these two. Child goes to Dad & SM's house while he is deployed, but she either does not go as often, or goes for less time each time she does. Child will have a place to talk to SM about Dad being deployed. She will get a few opportunities to talk to him (maybe see him on the computer if timing can be arranged). She will feel less stress about him being gone, but not as much as if she had more access to him (but you can't always get what you want.) She will however, have the problem of missing the trip to Dad's family (which she will have to hear about for a few years from cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents when they reminisce about the trip she missed.) She will also have longer periods between times at Dad's house (which she likely already has some sense of time between trips to dad's) and this will mess with her internal clock. It will take a few months after Dad returns for her to readjust to the previous schedule. This might work out, or it might not... depends on the child. We'll call this the "when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemon-meringue-pie-no-lemonade-no-lemon-bars-oops-sorry-the-lemons-spoiled-while-I-was-deciding" option.
 
I have named the options according to how a CHILD will view them. Sure, kids are resilliant, but they HATE change.
 
OP, you have portrayed your consent order as saying one thing, but if you are misinterpretting it, and you fail to let the child go to Dad's house on the given days in that order, you MAY have to answer for contempt charges when he returns... whether he wins or not, you both lose, and so does your daughter. Is this hill a big enough one to die on? Is it worth the turmoil to everyone to demand your way while he is gone? After all, you are the one trying to change things from the consent order given the new temporary situation. The order is new. Judges hate to hear from people when the order is new. You are not likely to get this into court BEFORE he leaves, but you are likely to have to answer for any denial of parenting time/visitation after he returns.
 
If you are worried about it setting a precident, then write him a letter stating:
 "The manner in which you communicated your desire for no change in DD's schedule while you are deployed was  (fill in the blank -- condescending, irritating, irrational, whatever). Even giving you the benefit of the doubt, it came across as controlling and demanding. I was at first inclined to refuse.
However, after careful consideration of what is truly in DD's best interests for this temporary period, I suggest DD's schedule be (fill in the blank) which will allow for continued contact with your wife and extended family and provide the best opportunity for DD to speak to you while you are away.  Just to be clear, if I had not felt this was what is best for DD, I would not have backed down from my previous stance. I am not afraid to fight for her, but would prefer we not to fight over her.
In the future I would appreciate it if you communicate in a business-like manner and treat me with at least the same respect with which you might treat any stranger. I will attempt to offer you that same courtesy."
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 09, 2009, 09:26:41 AM
PERFECT..............thanks, 4honor.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Gestalt on Oct 09, 2009, 01:22:51 PM
I just want to remind that the set visitation is "at least a week per month".....it's different than just giving sm a weekend here or there while mom gets a break.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: 4honor on Oct 09, 2009, 03:22:31 PM
Gestalt > No reminder needed. I understood that it was for "at least a week every month."
And I never said anything about this being for the benefit of the mother, but alluded instead to avoid a detriment to this 3 yo child.
Wanna bet whether BF has talked to DD about him being gone and how she can talk to him from his house? That child is gonna freak if she cannot go to BF's house while he is gone and talk with her Daddy.  (My kids benefitted greatly by seeing their dad over the internet while he was in Iraq. Skype was very helpful in keeping our costs down.)
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Momfortwo on Oct 10, 2009, 06:50:03 AM

So you're saying that the step-mother is overstepping her boundaries because she is not telling her husband what he should do regarding the children?  What?  That doesn't make any sense.

You're also saying that step-parents should tell their spouses that they don't want to spend time with their kids when they're not around?  That's ridiculous.  Doing that basically means that blended families will never be a real family, and the step-parent will always be an outsider.  Very unhealthy.

You're basically insinuating that an "evil step-mother" is behind all of this - and that the father couldn't possibly want his child to maintain contact with his side of the family while he's deployed.  He's only doing it because his "evil wife" is standing behind him wringing her hands and making him.

It's his parenting time - he should be able to do what he wants with it.  Including let the child visit with other members of his family.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles and the step-parent.

 
No, I am not insinuating anything about the stepmother.
 
All I said was that the stepmother could put a stop to his actions by simply stating that if he's not available, the child should be with the other parent. 
 
The keyword here is HIS parenting time.  He's not available.  So the child should be with the other PARENT.   And the other parent is not the stepparent. 
 
What's unhealthy is for a child to be away from BOTH parents for a long period of time.  In this case, the deployment is going to be for 4 months.  The child should be with his mother while the father is deployed.  This way, he is with at least ONE parent instead of away from both of them. 
 
Personally, if my kids had a stepmother and my ex were away for an extended period of time, I would let my kids see the stepmother, she just wouldn't get my ex's entire parenting time.  Why?  Because she is not the parent and is not entitled to my ex's parenting time.  It is also better for a child to be with a parent over a stepparent. 
 
 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 10, 2009, 07:50:47 AM
Give it a rest................no one is saying that the stepmother should have all of the father's parenting time while he's gone.  What we ARE saying is that to cut the child off completely from the father's family while he's gone would be extremely detrimental to the child, especially given the circumstances that the father is in.
 
Which is why if they cannot come to an agreement on an improvised visitation schedule while he's gone, then the only resort is court.  And given that the father is being deployed, that won't happen quickly enough.  So if the father is requesting that the child spend all his parenting time with the stepmother and his extended family, but the mother doesn't want the child to go at all, then a compromise would be to have the child spend at least part of the visitation time with the stepmother and extended family.  It's called compromise and negotiation...........same thing that's always done in custody disputes.
 
The OP asked for advice on how to handle it..........this is it.  Compromise.  Don't cut off the child completely from her father's family.  At her age, she will not understand it and by spending some time with his family, she just might get to see and talk to him if the opportunity arises.  But also given the situation, she probably shouldn't spend the entire ordered time (1 week a month) with her father's family.  Personally, if it were me, I would still allow some time with father's family, if for nothing else but to give the child some continuity.  But it would need to be monitored carefully to see how she handles it, give that father will not be there.
 
Anybody else got any better 'ideas', other than just projecting opinion?  In other words, what can be done instead of what can't be done.......?
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: rjmurdock on Oct 10, 2009, 08:45:13 AM
  I would like to add especially in a situation where the step parent has been involved since birth. That a child as young as three sees themselves as having three parents. I know my stepson does. Many of these post are referring to step parents as lesser parents and although legally they are to many of us step mothers four months away from my SS would be just as bad as four months away from my biological children and vice versa it would be detremental to my SS not to have parenting time with me as well. As step parents many of us form mother child bonds with our step children and is upsetting to know that if something were to happen like a situation like this it becomes too bad for stepmom your relationship with the child doesn't matter or is not as important. It all of a sudden doesn't matter that you got up in the middle of the night to calm the infant or helped with potty training or helped them become the children they are because biologically they are not yours.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: snowrose on Oct 10, 2009, 10:02:32 AM

If you are worried about it setting a precident, then write him a letter stating:
"The manner in which you communicated your desire for no change in DD's schedule while you are deployed was  (fill in the blank -- condescending, irritating, irrational, whatever). Even giving you the benefit of the doubt, it came across as controlling and demanding. I was at first inclined to refuse.
However, after careful consideration of what is truly in DD's best interests for this temporary period, I suggest DD's schedule be (fill in the blank) which will allow for continued contact with your wife and extended family and provide the best opportunity for DD to speak to you while you are away.  Just to be clear, if I had not felt this was what is best for DD, I would not have backed down from my previous stance. I am not afraid to fight for her, but would prefer we not to fight over her.
In the future I would appreciate it if you communicate in a business-like manner and treat me with at least the same respect with which you might treat any stranger. I will attempt to offer you that same courtesy."

 
Excellent!  Thank you for considering the child first.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 15, 2009, 12:46:30 PM
Well, I'm surprised at all the responses that my original post has received.  I've tried to read everything to understand all the different points of view on such a sensitive topic.  I, the CP, have tried to encourage a healthy relationship with the Step Mom (SM), NCP and myself.  I have never refused to allow contact with the child.  At this point the child is not aware of the NCP deploying, so does not have the feelings that her father is in any danger.  I do not express any ill feeling about the father in front of the child, because it is not the child's fault that we can't get along.  I have offered to have the SM still visit on a modified schedule, but this offer was refused.  I am not being vindictive and have not said i wouldn't allow any communication with the NCP's side of the family, however, I have not even been asked what I would willingly to do.  The request is either all or he will take me to court.  The NCP is vindictive in the way is has chosen to handle every issue that he decides to bring up.  It's always been I have to agree or he's going to take me to court.  He has constantly changed his own requests even after I had thought we had come to some kind of agreement.  I do not want my child to feel that she cannot talk to me about her father or anything else, I want her to be able to speak to me about any concerns and always try to answer or explain in such a way that makes sure she is happy.  I'm very aware that allot of people do not act in such a way and put their dislike of the other parent first, but I do not.  I have always tried to separate my personal feelings about the father from any decision i need to make.  The SM is not the one fighting the issue, it's the NCP.  I know how the constant back and forth travelling affects my child but cannot seem to convince the NCP that this situation has any effect at all on her.  Unfortunately, even when i try to discuss our views on a particular issue and how to handle it.  The NCP will take the opposite approach even after we agreed on something.  I'm not absolutely sure how the SM views everything that is going on, but for the NCP it is more about getting his way.  I have no reason to not help facilitate a relationship with his side of the family, but I'm also her mother and am trying to raise her and give her some kind of stability.  I'm the one who has to constantly reassure her that she's going to be coming home and that she's not going anywhere for a while.  As she get's older I can then explain more how things are, meaning, why is she going back and forth.  And I don't intend on explaining it in any way that would cause her any kind of stress or guilt, or that she had to choose between anyone.  My child's happiness is most important and a break from travelling everywhere, which is what they do, would be good for her.  I at no time said i wouldn't allow anyone to see or talk to her.  She's still young and still needs a mother's reassurance.  If a mother wasn't important then god wouldn't have set the world up this way.  I feel a step mom is a "mom" by the title given, meaning, a step mom is not the BM.  However, step parents are important figures in a step child's life.  They are like a mother, providing love and guidance to the step child.  But children still see the Father and the Mother as their parents.  There are situations when a child no longer identifies a SP as such, because the BP is not acting as such, and then the child identifies the SP as the real parent.  The NCP is not my ex and I do not have any issues with the SM and their relationship. It's the father that I have a problem with because he opposes everything I say or do.  Even when I tried to include him in a decision, I would tell him how I felt about it and like most people, they would tell you how they felt and then discuss it.  Instead of talking, he said I was controlling everything and dictating how I wanted him to do it.  Even a simple guideline as to her daily schedule was taken as a demand as to what he had to do, not that it was a simple guideline and if say she became fussy around a certain time it meant she was probably tired.  It has been like that for just about everything.  You know, I don't even know what she gets for christmas or her birthday...they won't tell me and nothing comes home with her.  She shouldn't have to live two completely seperate lives, but the only thing at this point that I feel I can do is answer her questions and talk about her father and SM in a positive way.

I've tried to address comments made and want to say that I am not trying to do anything other than what's best for my child. 
 
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: ocean on Oct 15, 2009, 01:22:11 PM
You can explain to her that she has two houses...her mothers and her fathers. As a SM, I take care of the skids as my own when they were here. I am the one to cook, make them take baths/showers, dress, and do the daily activities. Is there any way you can talk to the SM if she willing to? (since she will be taking care of her)  For a year I talked to the BM instead of my husband because we talked out things smoother. You could always beat him to it and file a modification for when ex is deployed. YOu can say.."mother is willing do go to half way point once weekend a month for child to see fathers family while he is deployed. When father returns, it will resume the normal schedule. The weekend will occur on the first weekend of the month from fri at xx to sun xx. Fathers family is welcome to visit anytime with 2 days notice in home town"
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 15, 2009, 02:08:18 PM
Thank you for your advice ocean, it seems it's too late, he's already filed a motion.  He was unwilling to comprimise on an alternate schedule even though he told his lawyer i flatly refused (which I did not).  I don't think I can speak to the SM because he is very controlling and she would ultimately follow what he wanted.  The Ffather and SM live over 5 hours aways and his family lives a few states away and the SM's family lives a few states away.  The request is for the SM to have visitation, but to have her family and his family visit.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: ocean on Oct 15, 2009, 02:18:58 PM
Call his lawyer (spend his money...LOL) and offer the one weekend...that the bio parents have rights first and you are willing for them to see her but not at the same level as the father had. And of course it would go back once he returns...
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 15, 2009, 02:40:13 PM
Can you remind me when he will actually be deployed?  This thread has gotten so long I'm not sure I can find the information if it's here.  the reason I ask is because if it's within the next couple months, he may just be shooting himself in the foot, because I doubt the courts would work quickly enough to get this resolved before he leaves.
 
I agree with ocean......contact his atty. and make an offer...at least to show that you are willing to make a compromise and to work this out without going to court.
 
One suggestion I would make.........if, for whatever reason, this is not resolved before he leaves, contact the SM after he's deployed and offer her some kind of schedule.  I think you might find that after your ex is gone, you and the SM should be able to work something out temporarily, especially if we're talking about over the holidays.  Your daughter will be excited about seeing them then, I am sure.
 
Sure would like to be a fly on the wall when his atty. finds out that his client lied to him.....
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 15, 2009, 04:07:08 PM
He's leaving very, very soon.  He's petitioning for special circumstances and will testify by phone or something like that.  We both still have council and his attorney probably won't speak to me.  The ink isn't even dry on the consent order.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: snowrose on Oct 15, 2009, 07:27:37 PM

You know, I don't even know what she gets for christmas or her birthday...they won't tell me and nothing comes home with her.
[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]

I'm a little confused.  Why would you think that gifts they give her should go back to your home?  And why should they tell you what they bought her?  Those are items for the child while she's in their home, aren't they?

I mean, in a few years she'll be able to tell you on her own what she got from them.  But at this point the child's father isn't obligated to tell you what he bought her for her birthday.

Quote
She shouldn't have to live two completely seperate lives[/FONT][/COLOR]
[/SIZE]

In the best possible world, she wouldn't have to.  But in this imperfect world where you're not a couple with her father this is what life has given her.  She'll survive and possibly even blossom, as long as both sides treat her well.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 15, 2009, 08:29:43 PM
Snowrose,  I can see your confusion.  I didn't include my reasons for making such a statement.  No, I don't think they should have to tell me, but I asked to share in teh excitement.  And no, I don't think the gifts should have to come home with her.  However, I ask out of excitement, to share something that is important to our child.  Furthermore, the NCP says he want a coparenting relationship and that he wants to know everything about what's going on in our child's life. It's a contridiction on his part to want me to share everything with him and nothing with me.  It's more about communication and sharing to better know what's going on with our child.  Like being able to say, "You got a such and such, how cool is that...I bet you were excited..."  Recently, was our child able to take something from our house to his...who is that benefiting and why does it matter to the NCP?  I would ask all those who read my posts keep in mind that my situation is not like everyone else's.  Nor is anyone else's like everyone else.  I'm not explaining anyone else's situation but my own.

About your statment regarding that their gift's were bought to be at their house.  It's not about their house, it's about the gift was bought to be enjoyed by the child.  And whatever joy that child has is to be for the child and the parent's to witness.  If a child can't take their gift where they want to, then is it really theirs?  Not in the child's eyes.  I've seen this first hand with many children and it's about the parents who put such a restriction on a child and a parent who does that are the one's drawing aline between each parent.  Things that seem small to a parent make a big statement to a child.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 16, 2009, 04:32:01 AM

At this point the child is not aware of the NCP deploying, so does not have the feelings that her father is in any danger.

How will you explain to your child why she isn't seeing her father and step-mother for four months?


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I do not want my child to feel that she cannot talk to me about her father or anything else, I want her to be able to speak to me about any concerns and always try to answer or explain in such a way that makes sure she is happy.
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I'm confused about what this has to do with the issue at hand.  Does the NCP try to tell you not to say certain things to the child?  What kinds of things?

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I know how the constant back and forth travelling affects my child but cannot seem to convince the NCP that this situation has any effect at all on her.
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So is the issue that you don't want the child to spend time with the SM, or that you think the travel is too much on your child and see this as an opportunity to give her a break?
 
 
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I have no reason to not help facilitate a relationship with his side of the family, but I'm also her mother and am trying to raise her and give her some kind of stability.  I'm the one who has to constantly reassure her that she's going to be coming home and that she's not going anywhere for a while.
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If your child is feeling stress about not knowing what her schedule is, you can help her by getting a calendar and noting the days that she will be going to visit her dad.  Show her how to read the calendar, and how to count the days.  This will give her a tool to comfort herself.  She can see when she'll be leaving and when she'll be coming back.
 
Usually it isn't the traveling that is hard on them - it's not knowing when you're going to be where.  To a child "awhile" could mean anything - so she thinks she could be leaving anytime, and has no way of knowing in advance.  This would be hard on anyone.  She's definitely old enough to understand a calendar and how to count days.  We did this with my youngest SD in her school agenda, and she still does it four years later.  Now she also writes down vacations and other events she's looking forward to.
 
There are also some good books you can read with your child that she might relate to:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Two-Homes-Claire-Masurel/dp/0763619841/ref=pd_sim_b_1 (http://www.amazon.com/Two-Homes-Claire-Masurel/dp/0763619841/ref=pd_sim_b_1)
 
http://www.amazon.com/Moms-House-Dads-Kids-Feeling/dp/0743277120/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b (http://www.amazon.com/Moms-House-Dads-Kids-Feeling/dp/0743277120/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b)  This one is probably a little too advanced for her right now.
 
You might also read Mom's House, Dad's House - for you.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Moms-House-Dads-Making-Homes/dp/0684830787 (http://www.amazon.com/Moms-House-Dads-Making-Homes/dp/0684830787)
 
 

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She's still young and still needs a mother's reassurance.  If a mother wasn't important then god wouldn't have set the world up this way.
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Yes, she does need the assurance of her parents.  Dad's give reassurance too, and they were "set-up" as part of the equation as well.  Reassuring your child doesn't mean you have to always be with her, or to protect her from uncomfortable things.  There are things in life we all have to learn to deal with, and the best lesson you can teach your child is how to make the best of difficult situations.

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I feel a step mom is a "mom" by the title given, meaning, a step mom is not the BM.  However, step parents are important figures in a step child's life.  They are like a mother, providing love and guidance to the step child.  But children still see the Father and the Mother as their parents. 
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My stepkids see both sets of parents as their "parents", and they refer to us all that way.  Especially as young as your child is, she won't even remember her step-mother not being there.  I know that it isn't the way you've always dreamed of raising your child - but it's your child's reality.  She is an individual, and her relationships with others should be respected.

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Even when I tried to include him in a decision, I would tell him how I felt about it and like most people, they would tell you how they felt and then discuss it.  Instead of talking, he said I was controlling everything and dictating how I wanted him to do it.  Even a simple guideline as to her daily schedule was taken as a demand as to what he had to do, not that it was a simple guideline and if say she became fussy around a certain time it meant she was probably tired.
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You have a unique situation because you and your child's father did not have a committed relationship.  Neither of you committed to being together forever, yet here you are with a child together and you have to deal with each other for at least the next 18 years anyway. 
 
CP's often feel that they know "better" what their children want and need than the NCP because they spend more time with them.  When they try to tell the NCP this it feels hurtful because it feels like they're being told they're not as good a parent as the CP.  Your ex may be feeling defensive because he hears you saying that he doesn't know how to take care of his daughter.  It sounds like he loves her and cares about her a great deal.  So, try not to worry about whether he's doing things just like you would when your daughter is with him.  Your ex is going to have different ways of parenting than you, and he and your child will work that out between themselves.  You have to respect the other parents role as a parent and not treat them like a babysitter.  I'm sure that's not how you're intending it, but I'm sure you understand why it sounds that way to the other person when you start giving them instructions.

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It has been like that for just about everything.  You know, I don't even know what she gets for christmas or her birthday...they won't tell me and nothing comes home with her.  She shouldn't have to live two completely seperate lives, but the only thing at this point that I feel I can do is answer her questions and talk about her father and SM in a positive way.
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I understand that it can be hard to feel like there is a whole piece of your beloved daughters life that you're not involved in.  But, unfortunately, you can't change that.  She does have to live two seperate lives, and that's something that you and her dad risked when you had sex.  I'm not judging you, I'm just saying that you took the risk and now you have to deal with the consequences and so does your child.  Life would not be better for your child if she didn't have her father in her life - so try to be happy for her that she has a loving and involved father.  There are too many guys out there who wouldn't be doing what your ex is doing.  Be happy for your child - not sad for her.
 
Your child is an individual, not an extension of you.  You really have no right to know these things unless your child chooses to share them with you.  A lot of parents make the mistake of "interrogating" their children when they come back from the other parents house.  This isn't fair to the child.  What and when she chooses to share with you should be up to her.




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No, I don't think they should have to tell me, but I asked to share in teh excitement.  And no, I don't think the gifts should have to come home with her.  However, I ask out of excitement, to share something that is important to our child. 
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But it's not your excitement to share.  It's your childs.  And, since you and her father are not together, she has the right to have exciting and memorable experiences with both her parents without feeling like she has to tell the other parent about it.  She may feel some guilt about having fun with the other parent - especially if she thinks you're home alone with no excitement of your own.  Let her have her time with her dad - and her dad should do the same about her time with you.
 
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Furthermore, the NCP says he want a coparenting relationship and that he wants to know everything about what's going on in our child's life. It's a contridiction on his part to want me to share everything with him and nothing with me.  It's more about communication and sharing to better know what's going on with our child.  Like being able to say, "You got a such and such, how cool is that...I bet you were excited..."
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You and your ex should share parenting decisions, medical information, school information, etc.  You should not have to share details of your private life - which is what you're asking him to do.  If your child wants to share those details with you of her own accord, and not because someone is questioning her, great - but otherwise, it's not yours to share in.
 
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About your statment regarding that their gift's were bought to be at their house.  It's not about their house, it's about the gift was bought to be enjoyed by the child.  And whatever joy that child has is to be for the child and the parent's to witness.  If a child can't take their gift where they want to, then is it really theirs?  Not in the child's eyes.  I've seen this first hand with many children and it's about the parents who put such a restriction on a child and a parent who does that are the one's drawing aline between each parent. 

 
First of all, the joy that your child has when she receives gifts from her father or his family is for them to share - not for you to share.  You're not giving or receiving the gift.
 
This is always a contentious issue.  Especially because things don't always make it back to the "house of origin", and it can be frustrating to have to keep buying the kids more stuff because they take it to the other parents house and it never comes back.  No one has unlimited financial resources.  NCP's often provide a bedroom, furniture, clothes, toys, toiletries, etc. for the child when they are with them - because they want the child to feel that it's their home too and they're not just a visitor.  On top of that they pay CS so they child can have all of those things at the other house too.  It's a rough pill to swallow - and your ex may feel that he wants the things he buys her to stay there so she'll have things to play with while she's there.
 
Everyone tells their child that they can't bring certain things certain places - because they're not appropriate (a PS2 at school) or because they could get lost.  It's no different with this situation.
 
Please don't feel like I am being unsupportive of you.  I am offering an alternate view of the situation.  You have a rough time of things because you and your ex never learned to work through your differences and cooperate in the context of a relationship.  But, you also don't have all the emotional baggage some other people do.  You can learn to work with your ex for the betterment of your child. 
 
As far as the deployment thing - my view is that consistency is important, as is the child's relationship with the SM and her father's side of the family.  But that's my opinion.  You have to do what you feel is right and in your child's best interest.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: CuriousMom on Oct 16, 2009, 08:50:05 AM
bluecat -
 
My son's father is the exact same way.  It's his way to the T or he's filing.  Kitty had a great idea, contact the SM and see if both of you can work something out.  If he's that controlling with you, he probably is the same with her.  Without his presence, maybe both of you can work on something.
 
I personally see nothing wrong with allowing your daughter as she gets older to take items back and forth, as long as both dad and you agree to make sure they are returned.  Or if it's something siginificant, explain that you would like it to be left at home and is there something else small she could take.  I think it promotes that mom and dad can work together on some things.  My brother and his ex-wife have always done this.  My neice is now 8 and she knows what she takes to the other house, she must leave with when she returns to the other parent. 
 
Regardless of whether or not we get to play it with the child first, etc. - it's exciting for the child which is most important.  I think if your child wants to share their excitement from the other parent's house, you should share in that excitement regardless of your personal feelings.  It's bound to happen at either parents' house.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MrCustodyCoach on Oct 20, 2009, 06:12:54 PM
Oh, where to begin!

First - there is a lot of misinformation in this thread.  The first one being that there were recently enacted laws that do a number of things on a Federal Level - one of them guaranteeing that deployed military folks are not subject to any changes in their parenting agreements/orders while deployed.

Further, some states laws have gone so far as to protect the deployed person's right for the visitation to continue with his/her family while deployed.  In some cases, a power-of-attorney can authorize that a step-parent retain the rights and be responsible for video conferencing and phone conferencing with the deployed parent as can be made available.

Despite some of the obvious "territorial biological mother" replies in this thread, the new family IS family after divorce and specifically in the case of deployed parents, may have more rights than you think.  Being an involved family member is not just relegated to biological parents and, despite the inappropriate delivery by the father in this case - dismissing his rights or the step-parents potential rights is inappropriate, to say the least.

UT: Bill HB401 Protects Military Personnel from Custody Changes During Deployment (http://www.mrcustodycoach.com/blog/law-protects-military-personnel-from-custody-changes-deployment)

Expect to see more of this and, it's absolutely appropriate despite the outcry from ex-wives who will refer to it as a step-parenting "over-stepping her bounds."
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: bluecat on Oct 20, 2009, 08:51:21 PM
Thank you MrCustodyCoach.   I do believe that a SP should continue to have contact with the child while a NCP is deployed.  In my situation, because the visitations are more than just an everyother weekend schedule I don't feel that the SM should have the same visitation schedule as written in the consent order (the order does not address visitation with anyone else other than the NCP).  I thought we, SM, NCP, CP, would discuss and come up with an alternate schedule with my child to be with me for Christmas.  This conversation took place at a fastfood joint while the NCP was picking up the child for his visit.  Before they left it seemed that they understood my feelings about christmas and we would be able to discuss the schedule.  The next conversation was by phone and the only other time we spoke.  I couldn't talk at the time, and asked that he e-mail an alternate schedule and we could talk about it.  He informed me that he was asking for the schedule as it was written and if I didn't agree he would file a motion to have it changed to state the SM could exercise his visitation.  He did file but stated I flately refused all visitation.  How would his attorney or a judge feel about that once they knew that he lied?  The child's schedule won't really be disrupted because this is a new schedule (NCP has changed the schedule whenever he decided it wasn't working for him) and this new schedule is date specific for the next 2 years.  There was mention of the child being upset or worried about the father being deployed, but I'm not going to explain what a deployment means.  The child is too young for that, I will just say that he is away working.  Also,  the SM is in the service.
 
Can the NCP use the deployment as a significant change in circumstance knowing he would deploy when he signed the consent order?
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MixedBag on Oct 21, 2009, 05:48:31 AM
Bluecat...

I think your answer in court is just as you stated here -- you didn't REFUSE all parenting time, you simply wanted the time adjusted due to the absence of the father.

I'm retired military -- and both a CP and NCP....

Yes, deployments are/were part of my job/career so in many senses, they should be "foreseen" and inevitable.

As the CP, if my girls' dad was deployed and he said "I still want them to spend time with SM" -- the girls' relationship with their SM would be first and foremost in my mind.  In this case, I know that they wouldn't want to go see her because of the bed she made regarding their relationship.  If dad said "go see my mother (their grandmother)" then I'd feel differently and assess the situtation from there.

As the NCP, I take the position that time defined in the order is my time to determine HOW my son spends it.  (Yea, kinda a double standard, on the surface).  Even during my longer periods of time with him, I've "sent him to go spend time with Oma and Opa (my parents)" because they don't live near either one of us and dang it, they are his grandparents.  But there's no relationship or other problems to consider (not like for my girls and their grandparents).

I personally think dad will get the court to add that during his deployments/TDYs etc, that he can choose how the child(ren) will spend their time and with whom.  BUT You won't be found in contempt....that's my humble opinion k?

Oh yea, also -- as the NCP, I am well aware that my son's dad goes on frequent, and I mean frequent business trips out of town which leaves him with Camilla.  If I was local -- as in can get son to school every day -- I'd be asking the court for right of first refusal as opposed to leaving him with Camilla.  Her past behavior is what influences that decision.  But I can't do that because I'm too far away (750 miles) and she should be thanking her lucky stars for that.

So I can see both sides......and I think that if your relationship with Dad and SM were better, you would probably feel more comfortable with letting your child go as opposed to thinking "NO, he/she should be with me."
 
One last thing -- after dad deploys, contact SM and see if you two can work something out.....don't let this court action stop what progress you may already have made.  And if SM agrees to some time, that will really help YOUR position in court -- and will sorta make dad pretty mad as it will weaken his position in court.  And I bet she bites!
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: gemini3 on Oct 21, 2009, 06:57:30 AM

Oh, where to begin!

First - there is a lot of misinformation in this thread.  The first one being that there were recently enacted laws that do a number of things on a Federal Level - one of them guaranteeing that deployed military folks are not subject to any changes in their parenting agreements/orders while deployed.

Further, some states laws have gone so far as to protect the deployed person's right for the visitation to continue with his/her family while deployed.  In some cases, a power-of-attorney can authorize that a step-parent retain the rights and be responsible for video conferencing and phone conferencing with the deployed parent as can be made available.

Despite some of the obvious "territorial biological mother" replies in this thread, the new family IS family after divorce and specifically in the case of deployed parents, may have more rights than you think.  Being an involved family member is not just relegated to biological parents and, despite the inappropriate delivery by the father in this case - dismissing his rights or the step-parents potential rights is inappropriate, to say the least.

UT: Bill HB401 Protects Military Personnel from Custody Changes During Deployment (http://www.parentingtime.net/blog/law-protects-military-personnel-from-custody-changes-deployment)

Expect to see more of this and, it's absolutely appropriate despite the outcry from ex-wives who will refer to it as a step-parenting "over-stepping her bounds."

 
MrCustodyCoach, I think the federal bill you're referring to is the Service Members Civil Relief Act.  If so, it does not guarantee that deployed service members are not subject to changes in their custody agreements while deployed.  What it does do, is provide a "stay" of pending civil actions (custody/visitation proceedings included) for at least 90 days, upon application of the SM or his attorney or on the court’s own motion.  The judge then has the discrection to extend the stay if the service member is still deployed, and does not have any leave the he/she is able to use in order to appear.
 
BTW - I love your blog, and I frequently refer people to your low/no contact posting.  It's worked wonders for my husband in dealing with is PEW.
Title: Re: Will it stop?
Post by: MrCustodyCoach on Oct 21, 2009, 09:21:43 AM
Agreed... and my post might not have been as clear as you stated it.  When they return, they have the same custody arrangement as when they left.  This was put in place because so many servicemen would go overseas to fight and return home to find everything gone... wife, kids, cash, cars, house gone into foreclosure, etc.

Utah appears to have gone a step further.