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Author Topic: New Here--don't know how to cope  (Read 3305 times)

neutron11

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New Here--don't know how to cope
« on: Jun 07, 2011, 01:15:33 AM »
Hi, all!
I'm still learning the ropes so please forgive the lack of knowledge. My fiancĂ© (soon to be husband) has a wonderful 3 year old. His relationship with the BM was very brief and they never got married. She lied about the father of the baby and left the country while pregnant. She was married at the time (though being separated for several years) and her husband was a foreigner. She put her husband as the father in the birth certificate (though it was impossible he could be) and lied to my Bf, saying the child was not his. When child was 3 moths old she said it was his and he asked for a paternity test. She took 4 months to take it and finally it was clear the baby was his. He gave her all his support, double of what state required for child support so that she didn't have to work and could stay home taken care of baby. With the help of her husband, we presume, she got a passport and left the country with the baby for over 20 days without saying anything to BF. When BF found out, he was very upset and decided to take her to court for full custody of child. They had a parenting evaluation and it was positive to BF (the evaluator recommended 50/50 custody and in fact said BF was the most stable parent but given the child's age, evaluator didn't recommend change of custody at that point but when child is in 1st grade, evaluator recommends another evaluation). BF was upset about the evaluation, especially because psych test presented BM as a control freak, drama queen and attention seeker, while his test was excellent (balanced, honest ,and with no mental issues). He's trying know to get into mediation to reach an agreement with BM but  we know it's to no avail. She won't agree to anything and drag us to court. Now, my issue is that BF gets so upset for every little things BM does. She obviously have many issues (was abused when a child and a very dysfunctional family). When she feels threatened (which is very often) she attacks. It's actually rather sad. BF wanted to take his son to the doctor for a rash and she went nuts. She claimed he was out of line and wanted to submit son to invasive tests (an allergy panel she recommend) without any proof anything was wrong. This is after BF simply asked her if she had taken him to doctor as she said she would (she made a big deal out of the possibility son was allergic to cats). BF simply told her it would be good to make sure son was healthy and take him to doctor (she sent 5 emails in 40 minutes threatening him to  drop the issue if he didn't want to stop seeing his son! WTF?). Ok, the problem is not that, I know how BM operates and she will overreact and freak out when questioning her authority... she is after all a control freak. I don't care about her. It's upsetting but I know she will eventually calm down. The problem is BF, who goes ballistic over her reaction and says his son shouldn't be raised by somebody like her. We have this phenomenal fights and I'm at my end's witts to deal with this issue. BF ends up upsetting me more than BM! We are about to get married and seriously I'm having serious doubts this will ever going to change. How do you deal with your BF, DH or OD being completely irrational? I know he has his reasons to behave the way he does (trauma from a relationships that was toxic at best) but still.... we are thinking about having children very soon and honestly I don't think I can handle two crazy people at once. ! Please advise, share! 


ocean

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Re: New Here--don't know how to cope
« Reply #1 on: Jun 07, 2011, 04:27:31 AM »
Welcome!
Court is very, very stressful. It sounds like you are getting closer to the end of the first phase. There were MANY days/nights that my DH and I would be overly stressed about the trial.

Does he have anything in writing now on when he has child? Stick to the schedule. If not, see lawyer/court will give you temporary orders so you are not dealing with mother as much. Read this site for great hints on what to put into the order so it it concrete, no room for her to wiggle. If she uses a daycare, ask that you pick up child there so you do not have to see her. Or ask that mother does not get out of car or say anything at exchanges. Child comes out of house with small backpack to you. Since you have child 50/50 you should have a lot of his stuff by you anyway.

Start to distance yourselves from her. NO contact unless you have to now. Make a pact not to talk to her on phone. Change all numbers except his cell for her to leave messages. Use email/text to answer her. Only answer if you MUST and a few words to cover the answer "yes, pick up at 6pm", IGNORE everything else.

Document everything that is going on. When you get to mediation, ask for Joint legal and him having final medical decisions as mother has refused to take child to dr. Get recommendation from dr in writing.

Get your lawyer moving, set up mediation if your state requires it. Set up dates, get in. If it does not work, ask for trial to be set.

Make time for your DH and you. Go for walks, exercise, read a book, take a bath. Will he go to counseling with you? Sounds like he is very stressed.

I will say, in our case, the mother never got over it. We are still dealing with it years and years later. Maybe put off the wedding/children until after trial. Things should calm down once you get perm orders. Then you document her actions in a book and see where it goes.

Some people do not talk at exchanges, but send a notebook back and forth. Says when appointments are, what the child ate last, diaper changed...whatever. You can start this.

Just because the evaluator says 50/50 does not mean a judge will do that. Usually they go with them BUT if you have more evidence before court, it may change things.

Dr issue- If he has anything in writing now to the 50/50 or joint custody (and even not), on his time with child, take child to dr. Do what needs to be done. Then tell her what the dr said. If you have child for few days, then if it was brought up in court, your BF will have dr recommendation and prescription to have the test done and bring child to lab next day to do it. Sometimes, by telling mother every single detail before it happens makes your life miserable. When he has child, he is the parent. Unless it is a major issue, he parents. Just like she does not say every little thing.

It is a long long road. Most of us here are here because we have dealt with it for many years. It will be an uphill battle for another year probably (trials take forever...).   Have a sit down with your BF or write him a letter, then have a talk. You need to be on the same page and support each other. Only you can answer if you will be able to handle this. There are things that you can do to avoid dealing with mother every day BUT during trial it is a little tougher. Do things by the current order, ask for extra time in writing, in court order ask that mother must ask you to babysit over anybody else including her husband or other family. Is there other family that can take BF out and talk to him? Give him a break every once in a while especially during trial?

For you: Go see a counselor yourself. They will give you ideas and get you to think about what you want. Take some time for you.
Post on here with questions...and if you do stay, read here for many great ideas so your life will be a "little" less stressful.

gemini3

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Re: New Here--don't know how to cope
« Reply #2 on: Jun 07, 2011, 05:53:58 AM »
Well, you came to the right place.  There are several regulars on the board who are second wives and have dealt with this kind of thing for years.  I'm one myself.  You have a couple of issues - the legal issues and the relationship issues. 
 
When it comes to the legal issues, the best thing you can do is stay in the background and be as supportive as possible to your husband.  The recommendation for 50/50 is actually a very good one.  While it does seem like life would be easier if you guys had full custody, 50/50 is what's best for the child unless BM puts them in serious danger.  Honestly, it sounds like things are fairly good on that front for you all.  I have heard, and lived through, some horror stories.  So try to look on the bright side.
 
There are some things that I would recommend that your fiance ask to be in the parenting agreement, and maybe you could share those with him.  Read the sample parenting plans on this site - they all contain really good information that should be in any good parenting plan.  Things that help to avoid repeated return trips to court in the future.  In addition to what's on the parenting plans on the site, from my own experience, I recommend that you also have a paragraph granting addiitonal parenting time in the event of a death in the family, and that each parent will sign a HIPAA release allowing the other access to all medical records.  If the court could order co-parenting counseling, that could also be very helpful (although that is highly dependent on what counselor you get).
 
When it comes to the relationship issues, you have to stop fighting with your fiance about the ex.  She's winning when you do that.  Don't let it consume your every day.  I understand where your fiance is coming from, because it can be so frustrating to realize that the courts are not somewhere that justice is served.  They very often don't recognize problems, and don't really act "in the best interest of the child".  More often than not, he who lies most/best wins in family court.  It is really hard to come to terms with that, and to feel so out of control with what is happening to your own child, and to feel locked into a stalemate with someone you really hardly knew at all.
 
There are some things you can do to help make it easier for you and your fiance to be a united front instead of this dividing you.  The child is very young, so you are both at the beginning of a marathon, so to speak.  You're going to be dealing with this stuff for the next 18 years at least.  The first is, let him decide what course of action is best.  After all, it's his child, and he's the one who ultimately will deal with the consequences of all of this.  Your role is to support him and give advice when he asks for it.  Not to push him into one course of action or the other.  Here are some ways that my husband and I deal with all of this:
 
1.  Our bedroom is an "ex-free zone".  We don't discuss issues we have with her in our bedroom.  Ever.
 
2.  He decides, ultimately, what plan of action he's going to take.  He's the one that's going to have to be in court, so he has to be the ultimate decision maker.  I definitely make requests/recommendations.  But he makes the final decision.
 
3.  We practice low/no contact with his high-conflict ex.  (http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/appropriate-means-of-contact-with-high-conflict-personalities/)
 
4.  He keeps me in the loop with what's going on with her so that I never feel blindisded by a huge mess.  This is important because I think the need to keep the shit from hitting the fan can make us kind of obsessive about this stuff.  If I know he'll tell me when there's a problem I don't worry about it as much.
 
5.  We went to counseling fo a while to help us keep our relationship strong in the face of all the drama. 
 
Hope this helps.

neutron11

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Re: New Here--don't know how to cope
« Reply #3 on: Jun 07, 2011, 10:13:47 AM »
Thank you so much, Ocean and Gemini3! I know we have it easier than other people. I have been looking at all the information around here so I'm well aware that our BM is not as bad as others. I think a 50/50 custody is the best for the child because BM, despite all her issues, is not a bad mother. She loves him dearly. My BF simply can't stand his son to be raised with her as role model. She has lied so much and made such outrageous accusations without any proof and yet, the court didn't seem to care about her lies. That's what really upsets BF. You got him so right, Gemini3! He is such an honest person and he feels he has done everything right to communicate and support BM and yet she always used their child as a bargaining chip to get whatever she wanted. Now we have temporary orders that are more restrictive (before we could see child as often as BM wanted, which was pretty often but completely at her whim). Now it's better because we have a clear schedule and BF and BM can't only communicate in writing. That is sooooo much better! And still, in the occasions they communicate (through email or text-message), he gets extremely upset. He immediately wants to answer to her over the top emails (which he finds very offensive) but I have told him he should never answer unless it indeed requires the exchange of relevant information with regards to child. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't  but he knows that, on that issue, I'm right. He's seeing a therapist and that's helping him so I know he's trying really hard to keep it together. I just talked to him last night and set up some ground rules for communicating about BM. I understand his need to vent but I say, that's enough, he should stop. The problem is that he doesn't have a best friend where we live, somebody he can simply have a beer with and tell all his problems so he vents ALL the time with me. The new rule also establish that we won't talk about BM in front of child and thanks for giving me the idea of the bedroom as a "free BM's talk". That's great. I honestly don't want to be involved  as much but he constantly asks for my advise and opinion so it's hard to detach myself from the whole situation. I just can't wait till we have permanent orders and can go on with our lives.... hopefully!. I know there is going to be much more drama before this is over. Thanks so much for the advice! It made me feel less alone in this situation. :)

boilergal

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Re: New Here--don't know how to cope
« Reply #4 on: Jun 28, 2011, 12:56:58 PM »
OK, this won't be popular advice but I'm going to say it anyway...
 
If you were my friend and I saw all this going on  I'd say "Don't marry him!"
 
I know you love each other but her reactions and his reactions to her reactions are not likely to change and that will cause a world of stress on your relationship and marriage.  It might get easier when the child is 18 or 21, but you have a lifetime of dealing with the mother ahead.
 
I will also predict that once you are actually married to the father it will get worse.
 
I've dealt with my own version of this (not as bad as you are describing) and know of many others who have had it worse than you describe.
 
JMHO


 

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