tiny kitten's picture

Letter from the school

All right! First blog post. First off, a little background.
My SO and I will be 25 later this year. BM will be 26.
SO was 17.25 when SD7 was born. He married BM a few months before he turned 18, and BM insisted that they go in with her mother to buy a house in a crappy housing market. At the time they were living in the eastern states of Australia.
The marriage didn't last long, about a year. She cheated on him from the beginning. Never wanted to marry him, really. Never wanted to be a mother, just thought that it made her "cool." Like smoking, I guess.
Anyway. So after about a year, BM kicked him out of the house they'd bought with BM's mother (herein referred to as MGM- maternal grandmother.) SO moved out, was studying, and working- sending money to care for his daughter. Not long after that, MGM insisted that SO move back in, as she was sick of playing mummy to SD while BM sat on her arse and played computer games, completely ignoring her child.

So SO moved back in, but he and BM weren't in a relationship.
Around the time SD turned two, BM signed over custody to SO, and left the state to shack up with someone. SO never wanted to be in the eastern states, he just followed BM so he could be with his child. So he got some legal advice, and was told that because BM left the state they were in, and abandoned her child, giving him full custody, he was legally able to return to Western Australia, where he was born and raised. So he did.

Eventually, BM came to WA too. She got visitation. A few months before SD turned five, I came into the picture. SO and I have been together for 2.5 years, living together for one.

Last year, BM got what she wanted- 50/50 custody. She's never worked a day in her life, just abuses the system, and wanted 50/50 for the money.
We began a week on/week off schedule around January, just before SD7 started year two at primary school. She's just finished her first semester.

So now to the title of this post. SO wants to go back to court and get the 50/50 reversed. He wants to have it switched to 9 days with us/ 5 with BM- 5 for BM being at the very most. SD7 isn't coping.

We've been keeping in touch with her teacher because we've been concerned about her. The teacher has said that she's noticed some anxiety on BM's weeks, as well as her being emotional. Her report card is nowhere near as good as it was last year, when SO had primary care. She was 'High' and 'Satisfactory' in every area last year. This year, she's down to only 'Satisfactory' with a handful of 'Limiteds' thrown in.
BM rarely does any reading with SD on her weeks, not even her homework. And she's constantly missing days for no reason, including at least two occasions when BM took her ice-skating forty-five minutes away, rather than school, ten minutes away.

She tells SD horrible things like SO's family isn't her real family, that only BM's family is her real family (and SD is DEFINITELY SO's daughter). Of course she also tells SD that she 'had a fight with Aunty AlsoASlut, I never want to speak to her, we'll never see her again.'

So she doesn't care about SD7's emotional needs. Doesn't care about her educational needs. Doesn't care about setting a good example for her. Just wants the money and to make SO miserable.

On top of the evidence of her being a massive bitch, and the falling grades, the comments from the teacher (written in black and white) that SD is often overly emotional and anxious, we also got a letter from the deputy principal.
"SD has less than 90% attendance. Poor attendance is not good for a child's emotional or educational well-being. She is deemed as being 'indicated at risk'."

Things are just falling into our laps right now. We've also requested a copy of ALL of SD's absences, to prove that 90% of them fall on her mother's weeks.

If the family courts here actually give a damn about the child's wellbeing, as opposed to the parents' rights to screw them up, then we're just about ready to file.

So that's that. Sorry for the length, and congratulations if you made it this far Sticking out tongue

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

You are very lucky that the

You are very lucky that the courts take that into effect. My SD's are from a state in the U.S. that is known for mother's rights. In the past, DH has proven that BM drove with the kids and has never held a driver's license. That the SDs missed over 30 days of school in one year. That SD10 has 3 teeth that are rotted out and BM is refusing to take her to the dentist (and she tried to block us from doing it as well). They have head lice every time that they come to visit us. Furthermore, BM has a bed bug infestation in her home and the bites occasionally show up on the SDs. Its a mess. But the courts in the home state do not care. He consulted with several lawyers and was told that his chances are slim to none.

tiny kitten's picture

I'm hoping they will, at

I'm hoping they will, at least! It just kills me to see her so utterly miserable. And maybe I'm being idealistic, I've not really been involved in the court process before.

I'm sorry to hear about the experience your DH has had. I just don't understand why parents should be able to get away with that sort of thing. The injustice rankles.

tog's picture

How is the Family Court

How is the Family Court system in Australia?

He may have a chance, given BM's history of abandoning her. As you are doing, find every bit of evidence you can that the problems occur on BM's time-if the school can give you attendance records, lists of days that she failed to hand in homework, etc, that would help. Most schools here won't "take sides" between parents (as in, write a letter saying she is anxious on BM's days), but you can get whatever objective evidence exists that shows the patterns.

If they stick with 50/50, you might want to change to a 2/2/5/5 schedule (two days with you, two days with BM, then alternating weekends-so the longest she is with BM ever is 5 days) so she isn't away from your home for so long. It might help her emotionally and academically.

tiny kitten's picture

I don't have much experience,

I don't have much experience, but I know that mentioning the abandonment has resulted in it being waved off because "it's in the paaaaast."

I don't think 2/2/5 would work in our case- SD would just barely get used to being at one place before heading to the other. At the end of last holidays, because of when they fell, we had a similar arrangement. She became extremely clingy and didn't want to be away from SO. They went with MIL to the art gallery around that time, and MIL told me that at one point when SO excused himself to the bathroom, SD got upset.

The school gave us a list of counsellors that work with kids, as well. We'll be going through that, trying to find one that bulk bills. Hopefully that will help, too, having someone to talk to without having to tell them what she thinks they want to hear. That way, even if court doesn't o anything, we can know that we are trying as hard as we can to help her cope.

tog's picture

That's a good idea. I would

That's a good idea. I would think 7 days away from your SO would be hard for her. Maybe some other arrangement with a shorter time in each home, but more than 2 days?

SS always really liked the 2/2/5/5, it's what they had before BM went batshit crazy and started endless litigation to get sole custody.

tiny kitten's picture

It's something to think

It's something to think about, at least. She didn't do too badly being with her mother from Sunday-Tuesday morning, and us for the rest of the week. It meant we could never do anything on Sunday, but it would be worth it if it made her happy. And it was nearly 50/50 then. BM was just SO insistent on that tiny bit of extra time, to get that tiny bit of extra money. That seems to be the problem with a lot of skids/BMs on here. Problems start when someone wants to "fix" something that isn't broken.

Sweet Pea 128's picture

It's nice to see you and DH

It's nice to see you and DH working so hard for his child. I wish she had never shown up in WA. Is the money her concern because she gave the poor girl to her dad. I feel for your SD. I hope you can do something!!! Make sure you gat a counselor that can testify in court should that be needed. I wish you the best!!

"This marriage is an unGodly soap opera mess!" My counselor at my last session.

tiny kitten's picture

Thank you God knows SO and I

Thank you Smiling God knows SO and I aren't perfect by any means but BM just doesn't have a maternal bone in her body. We wish she'd never come back to WA, too. If she had have stayed gone, well, SD was two and she never would have known any better.
Whether the counsellor would testify/write an affidavit is definitely something we'll be looking into.
After reading the things that people have posted, it does put our problems in perspective. Obviously what's going on isn't healthy for any of us, but it could be SO much worse.

imaSmom's picture

It's sounds like your sd

It's sounds like your sd would benefit from an EOWE schedule with her mother who sounds massively irresponsible and selfish . Much like my ex, little to no stucture happens in his home, no homework, reading or any kind of educational stimulation. My daughter has asked to go live with her dad so she can "do whatever she wants". Not a good sign for him since court is right around the corner for him. I hope the Jude asks to speak with her. Honestly, limiting time with her toxic poor excuse for a mom is what's best for her. As your sd gets older she will see her mom more but will also understand that stability is with you guys.

The freedom, the strength, the will to do as I damn well please.

tiny kitten's picture

I would love for her to have

I would love for her to have an EOWe schedule with her mum. I'm pretty sure SD herself has suggested it in the past. But I think BM would have to do something much worse for that to be put in place. It's that rock and a hard place thing. Do we want BM to put SD in a really dangerous situation in order to get what we want? Or do we want to risk the long term emotional damage that SD could suffer if BM continues the way she is, being emotionally neglectful and irresponsible, but not doing anything overtly illegal or physically dangerous?

SecondGeneration's picture

What is your SO pushing for?

What is your SO pushing for?

Given what you've stated it would be logical to say to push for an EOWE schedule during the school term and 50/50 during school holidays that are longer than 2 weeks.
Basically if you can do that then you can prove whether or not it is BMs influence affecting her behaviour in school, ofcourse if absences still continuously occur on the one day that BM is responsible to drop her off at school then you can probably get that taken out but to show that you are trying to remain fair is helpful.
Generally speaking if you are seen to be having the kids best interest but at the same time not to be harming the relationship between child and other parent you might just get lucky and get what you want.

Keep doing what you are doing, document and document.
Also good to point out that actually EOWE and 50/50 in school holidays is still very good for BM since she actually gets the benefit of having MORE time with the child when shes not in school, and thus, available for proper "parenting" time.

tiny kitten's picture

He's hoping for 9 days with

He's hoping for 9 days with us/5 with BM. He figures a judge would be more likely to agree to it than going straight from 50/50 to EOWE, it would give SD a decent amount of uninterrupted time with BM, her grandmother and her half brother, and SO would still have time to fix the damage- making sure homework is complete, etc.

BM won't agree to anything less than what she has now, so it would actually have to go to trial. When she first got visitation back he offered her something slightly less than what she was asking for, and she actually said "no, I won't accept that. Centrelink won't pay me enough."
But yes, it would be beneficial for her. I know how hard BM finds it to take that four minute train ride to the school on her days. And she'd never have to worry about pesky school hours clashing with her desire to go ice skating Evil

I had EOWE with my dad when I was young, and it worked out really well for us. I spent more time with my dad when we had visitation than I did before my parents split. And because my dad and I tended to butt heads a bit, it helped our relationship- it's hard to have arguments when you're only there one night.

SecondGeneration's picture

Ill keep my fingers crossed

Ill keep my fingers crossed for you, I know nothing about how it works over in Australia. Im in europe and well, its biased to mothers here too.

However you have documentation about her education and at the end of the day that means something in court, issues with BMs being a bitch dont count but if its causing her harm then hopefully they will change it

tiny kitten's picture

Yeah, her being a bitch won't

Yeah, her being a bitch won't mean anything out of context, but we have documentation of her bitchiness hindering SO's ability to communicate with her, which is very important with the arrangement we have. Stuff like withholding relevant information, selecting times for swimming lessons that SO has repeatedly told her he won't be able to get her to that session time, and wanting to change pick up/ drop off times at her convenience with an hour's notice. So that on top of the fact that she pretty much terrorises SD is what I meant by bitchiness, sorry I didn't make that clearer, and I understand where you're coming from Smiling We know we won't get anywhere by showing up at court saying "BM's a big fat meanie, so we don't like her. Give us primary care, please." Sticking out tongue