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Topics - Luving StepMom

Pages: 12
General Issues / What age is okay to stay home alone?
« on: May 12, 2009, 08:33:16 AM »
My stepson's BM wants to have him stay home alone at her house this summer. He is 11 years old, and my husband and I feel strongly that he is not ready for this yet with his maturity level.  We think he's okay to stay maybe an hour or two by himself, but not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  And the frustrating part is that we live in the same town, and my husband works from home. So he is home and AVAILABLE for my SS to have supervison. BM just does not want to drive him to our house (8 miles, about 15 min).  And she refuses to pay anything for any type of summer programs.  She lives in a neighborhood that is not good - older kids that are not good influences live near him and are home alone this summer too.
My question is what can we do about it... if anything?  If we call CPS when he's home alone will they do anything or will they think 11 is old enough?  He's in 5th grade, and she does not have a home phone, but she does have a cell phone that he usually has with him there.

Dear Socrateaser / GAL question
« on: Nov 12, 2005, 07:31:38 AM »
A friend of mine recently received papers in the mail setting a court date and requesting to appoint the mother of his 2 kids as a guardian ad leitem for the purpose of a name change for the children (she's remarried).  

Do you know why she would ask to be appointed as a GAL rather than just ask for the name change?  

I have only heard of a GAL being appointed for custody, abuse, etc to represent the children as an third party, so how can the mother also be the GAL?

Thanks for your help....

Dear Socrateaser / First right of refusal
« on: Sep 01, 2005, 05:42:03 PM »
Hello Soc - just a quick and hopefully "easy" one for you tonight...

Do you know if every state has a "first right of refusal" law that says if the parents live in the same town the child should not go to a daycare if the other parent is available?

I have read my state's guidelines for visitation and don't see anything - the state is South Dakota.

The reason I ask is that BM's hours are changing and she will be working until 8:30pm. She would rather have a babysitter at her house than let my stepson come here with his us.  They haven't gotten too far into the debate yet (I'm sure there's more to come) but we wanted to know if there's law to stand behind the fact that it would be better for him to be with his father than a babysitter.

Also, could that be considered a substancial change of circumstances?  Granted, if push came to shove she'd probably quit/change jobs if meant losing custody, but we have a lot more - just not that substancial change.

Thanks for your help!

Dear Socrateaser / Probably a crazy question
« on: Aug 11, 2005, 08:29:49 PM »
My Stepson is 7 and a half years old (going into second grade) and he still has "accidents".  They are sporadic, sometimes a few in a week and sometimes he'll go a few weeks without any.  But the point is he has them more than any kid should at his age and my husband and I have been trying to help him.

We think the accidents are a result of the stress he feels put on him from his mom, and without going into too much history we had a custody eval done about a year ago in which the evaluator said that BM has a lot of anxiety issues and should seek counseling before if affects the child. She gave examples of how it could show in the child and one of them is stool hording.  BM has agreed in the past that this is a problem and she has said she took him the to Dr and that this is "normal".

So - we took SS to the doctor last spring and he gave us a stool softener to give to him daily (and he said it's not normal, of course).  We got his medical records which showed she never did take him to the Dr like she told us.   BM then freaked out when she found this out and changed her story, claimed he does not have accidents at her house and that we are making all this up.  She then refused to give the medicine that the Dr ordered because she said he didn't have a problem and didn't need it.  

At this point we got another follow up note from the Dr and had our attorney write her a letter stating she should give him the medicine.  She has not complied with the orders, and she has actually told SS not to take the medicine because it will make him sick.  So he has been stressing about the whole thing and we decided just to lay off everything for awhile and see how it went (we also stopped giving him the medicine at our house).

He still continues to have accidents.  How do we proceed?  We have documented each occasion it occurs, but we have no "proof".  We have talked to his teachers and after school teachers and no one has noticed his accidents.  We're sure this is because he has become very good at "hiding" it by trying to clean up his pants himself, etc.  

There are many other issues with BM relating to the care of my stepson, and she is very dishonest and will lie to cover herself if she thinks it will somehow reflect poorly on her.  

Where do you suggest we go from here?

How do you suggest we document the accidents to prove it so it's not just her word against ours?

Thanks for your help with this "messy" situation.  :)

Dear Socrateaser / Child Support and commission
« on: Jul 26, 2005, 07:44:41 PM »
Hello Soc -

BM has stated she will be filing for more support. My husband works on base + commission.  The state is South Dakota.

1.  Is commission figured at a different rate when it comes to the calculations? Because those checks are taxed at a much higher rate would that make a difference?

2.  Does the child support referee take into account the extra money that we spend on SS beyond child support? We buy him school supplies, give him lunch money, and buy him clothing, etc, etc.  BM does not send any clothing to our house.  

3.  If so, what do you suggest we need to produce to prove this? We have kept logs (date/amount/what for) but I'm not sure if we have receipts for everything.

Thanks for your help!

Dear Socrateaser / Need supporting case law
« on: May 31, 2005, 05:41:55 PM »
My DH and I have an upcoming hearing and we are asking the judge for 50/50.  We have a custody evaluation that says 50/50 would be the best situation for the child at this time (we recently moved to the same city as SS so we have the opportunity to see him more).

The problem is that we live in South Dakota and the court system seems to be about 10 years behind everywhere else.  Our attorney has been reseraching to try to find case law to support us, as her attorney has listed various cases in SD that recommended against shared parenting (but they are from 10-50 years ago, nothing recent).  

What I'm wondering Soc is if you know of any case law or anywhere specific we can search to find cases where the court has recommended a a change from joint custody (mother is primary) to a shared parenting (50/50).

Even if there's no precidence set in SD, I think if we could reference strong cases from other states that may help...?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Dear Socrateaser / Significant Change of Circumstances...?
« on: Apr 12, 2005, 07:13:43 AM »
My DH and I filed for a change of custody last summer (state is South Dakota).

We went through a home study and the evaluator praised DH (good role model, great parent) and said that BM is not a good role model, more of a parent than a friend, needs financial and emotional counseling, BUT the bottom line of her recomendation is that the child had not been damaged enough by the BM to recommend a custody change.

So last November DH and I moved to the same city where SS/BM live. BM has not made ANY changes, and actually things have gotten worse. We want to file again for a custody change because we believe the evaluation would be different now that SS would not have to change schools, etc and based upon the fact she has not made any of the evaluator's recommended changes.  

Our attorney says that moving to the same city is not enough for a significant change of circumstances.  

DH also now works out of the home, so he can pick up SS from school almost everyday (if he was allowed to).  

BM has also recently refused to give SS medicine that a Doctor prescribed. SS is 7 and still has "accidents" in his pants, so the Doctor told us to give him a stool softener daily. She has refused. Granted this is not life threatening, but it is an example of neglect in my opinion.

Where can we go from here? Are any of the above "significant" enough in your opinion?


Dear Socrateaser / Daycare payment issues
« on: Feb 26, 2005, 07:21:56 PM »
I'm going to try to make a long story as short as possible... DH and BM have joint legal, BM is the primary guardian. BM enrolled SS in a daycare that DH did not agree with, mostly because the daycare refused to give DH any information about his son - how he was doing etc.  DH lived 90 miles away from SS and we did not get any info from BM about SS so he relied on daycare, etc in the past to inform him about behavior, etc.  Daycare stated because his name was not on the "enrollment papers" that they could give him no info, even when DH offered to show them the divorce decree which states he has joint custody (he first tried to be nice but they were not cooperative).  In the decree DH also had daycare seperated from child support because BM has had issues with not paying daycare, so DH is to pay his 62% portion directly to the daycare.  BM ended up agreeing to switch daycares mostly because DH wrote her a letter and said that he was not going to pay for a daycare that did not foster a relationship between him and SS (in addition to the fact that BM owes DH over $600 in past due abatements and daycare fees he has overpaid).  He said he would begin paying once that amount was caught up.  He also wrote the daycare a letter explaining the reasons he was not paying and that since his name was nowhere on the account they should seek BM for any payments.   BM switched daycares about 4 months ago and now DH gets a "bill" from the daycare stating he owes them $400 for past due services on the account he was enrolled in.  What the heck?  His signiture is no where on that account, and he clearly made them aware of the situation in numerous letters.  Is this legal - can they go after him when his name was not on the account?  We think BM went back at the end and added his name, and gave the daycare permission to bill him because he has never been billed or given any communication from the daycare.  He has always paid his portion in full 30 days in advance.  Any advice??   Thanks so much.... it is truly appreciated.

Custody Issues / Should we take SS to a psychologist?
« on: Mar 20, 2005, 06:43:14 PM »
SS is having/has had problems with having "accidents" in his pants a few times per week (pooping accidents).  SS is 7 yrs old.  DH took SS to the Dr just last week after years of going back and forth with BM and she had claimed she had taken him and that it was normal.

Dr prescribed a medicine (Lactulose) which is a gentle stool softener, and BM is refusing to give it. Told SS he is not to take it at DH's house (even though he already had) and that it would make him sick.  We believe that his pooping problems are directly related to anxiety he feels from his mom, she puts unneeded stress on him and lies - to him and to us. We think she has also told him things that he is not to tell us, therefore the poor kid has a lot on his shoulders.

Right now they have joint custody and she is primary caretaker. DH and I have SS on Tues and THurs nights and every other weekend.  WE are currently in the process of asking for a change so that DH is primary, based upon many things that have happened over the past year (I won't go into that too much right now).  

Some people have suggested we take SS to see a psychologist and spend some time to get him to "open up".  He is a very well-adjusted kid and he seems mentally "fine" to us, but I'm afraid she is telling him things that aren't healthy and I don't want this to affect him in the long term.  

My question is:  if we take SS to see a psychologist do we have to tell BM?  What will that look like to the court?  Our main objective is to just find out and make sure he's okay...and the pooping problems could be a result of other things going on in his life that he hasn't talked to us about.  

We don't want to cause any problems and BM will FREAK OUT if she would find out we took him to a psychologist without telling her. But she will also FREAK OUT if we tell her, and God only knows what else she will tell him and make things even worse on him.  Should we wait it out - we are in the middle of a custody evaluation by a social worker and she may recommend a change anyway, just based upon the documentation we can provide.

Father's Issues / How to get out....
« on: Nov 12, 2005, 07:37:46 AM »
I have a friend who has recently (this week) split up with his wife. He has 2 young children and he wants to make sure he has a chance at custody (as least joint) with his kids.  I know the best thing is for him to stay in the home and keep the kids and have her leave, but this isn't really an option for him as she won't leave. In addition, when he is in the home she trys to make their discussions physical by pushing him, blocking doorways, and he is concerned she's going to claim domestic violence when that's not the case so he felt he had to leave.  

He also has concerns she's not mentally stable, but has no "proof" of this besides his word vs hers.  He didn't want to leave the kids with her, but he knows she will track him down and physically take them if he trys to take them.  So where does he go from here - any advice on some of the first steps he should take to make sure he doesn't screw things up for chances of custody with his kids?

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