My situation is pretty unique in my opinion, I know we all feel like that but there are a few details that seem to separate me from most other step moms. For starters my husband was never in a relationship with his daughters mom, They hangout a couple times and slept together once. Also, my husband wasn't the only person she was sleeping with, her and her girlfriend at the time were both sleeping with his best friend at the time, with the intention of getting pregnant. My theory is that it wasn't happening fast enough for her and so she decided to branch out and my husband was just the one who fell for it. He got to meet his daughter one time when she was a few weeks old. after that, mom blocked all communication. The next thing my husband heard was a state pursued paternity test so they could start collecting child support. Paternity results came back right around the time bonus daughter was 1yr. within a few weeks mom had up and moved to a non neighboring state. He had a public defender for the child support case but we all know that they don't give a crap about custody, children having relationships with both parents or anything that has to do with the best interest of the child, its all about the money.
When we were still just dating, he on a whim tried to contact her again, after many failed attempts. This one didn't fail though. his daughter was 3yr old. Over the course of a few weeks he got to talk to his daughter over the phone, just for a few minutes at a time cuz ya know 3yr olds. She called him daddy and said I love you and left him messages. Which to me was strange cuz she had no idea who he was. Being as he and I were just dating, I didn't insert myself into the situation. It wasn't important that I built a relationship with her yet, it was crucial that he did though. His daughters mom had tried the whole "I want us to be a family, and daughter to have both parents in the same house, I want to make this work, we can be happy together", my husband tried to nicely tell her that he had never had those kind of feelings for her, and he was already in a relationship that he couldn't walk away from. After a few weeks of this, his daughters mom called him asking if he could send her 300$ because her grandma was in the hospital dying and she needed gas to make it back and see her. She gave the pretense that "if you can get me the money, Ill let you see our daughter while were in town". He told her he didn't have the money but to let him see what he could figure out. He tried to call her the next day, having scraped together half of what she asked for, but she had already blocked him from every form of communication. My husband felt completely defeated, and couldn't see a way to get himself in her life.
I spent the next 4 years trying to find her. We could do the initial court case ourselves, with no lawyer, if I could just find an address so we could have the paperwork served. I had also tried to message her myself, once after we got married and then again after we had our daughter. Daughters mom ignored all attempts. I got lucky because mom had gotten a possession charge and it was public record. Her address was 15 minutes away from our home, and we drove passed it every time we went fishing at our most frequent lake. But when I drove to the address to make sure she lived there, it was abandoned. A few weeks after that, his daughters moms ex girlfriend, the one who she was trying to get pregnant with, contacted me, giving me her new address. Again I went to the address to make sure she was actually there. a few days later, we had the sheriff serve her with papers.
After 10 months of her not filing a single piece of paperwork, not showing up to 5 hearings, lying to the judge when she did show up and not completing any of the requirements for being granted custody, we had an agreed parenting plan. He was to have visits every Tuesday and Thursday, and every other weekend from Friday to Sunday. We started slow though, because she didn't know him as her dad. We did a couple dinners and park adventures with mom (and her boyfriend who they had told Daughter was her dad) were present. Then we went to a few hours without mom, where mom would come to our home after a few hours and we would all eat dinner together. When we started taking her for a few hours without mom joining us is when the problems started.
She had stayed the night with us, just for one night at a time a few times and out of nowhere she would become very emotional at bedtime and want to call her mom and go home. We let her because we didn't want to force anything. Then she started calling my husband on Tuesdays and Thursdays and asking if she could skip her visit, usually because mom was taking her siblings to go do something fun during our visit time. It didn't take long before we realized that mom was having her call and telling her what to say, knowing my husband would never want to push her or make her uncomfortable, and he didn't want her to miss out. We told mom several times that we needed to start sticking to the schedule and it took 2 months before mom ran out of excuses. it was all "oh I thought we weren't starting that until next week. Add that she would send daughter out of town for weeks at a time to her grandmas house in a different state. Daughter was missing a ridiculous amount of school due to being out of town for weeks and because mom wouldn't get her up in time to go to school. Mom blamed it on Covid and the fact that daughter was premature, had pneumonia as a baby and had asthma.... Daughter doesn't have asthma, and only had pneumonia once when she was a baby and was only a couple weeks premature. The school bought it though, and never turned her in for truancy. We got our final order in October, having started it in December. After the final order things just got worse.
Daughter was sent out of state with grandma, without my husband agreeing to give up his parenting time, she would stay longer than he was told she would be, missing even more school. Mom would have her call at least once a week to get out of visits. Everything was completely inconsistent and mom was acting as if my husband just didn't get a say in anything. the following January things got really bad. Mom decided to kick out her long term boyfriend, and immediately moved in with her neighbor/new boyfriend. Telling all 3 of her kids that he had hidden cameras in the apartment and was watching them, and that he was going to break in and kidnap the youngest sibling (his son) and so it wasn't safe for them to stay there at night. The neighbor/new boyfriend also happened to be the dad of Daughters best friend. There was a lot of drama at their apartment, mom being assaulted in the hallway (for running her mouth) in front of her kids, cps being called multiple times, and daughter (at the time 9) and her oldest son (at the time 11) being left in the apartment all evening by themselves to care for their 3yr old little brother. Mom even joked to me one time about how she was at her neighbors smoking and lost track of time and when she came home she found Daughter eating a bowl of melted velveeta cheese, because she was hungry and didn't know how to make anything for dinner.
in March Mom and her boyfriend decided to move, to get away from the drama in the apartment building. They moved to a trailer park that is on the other side of town, kinda. You have to drive into a neighboring state and then back into ours to get there. We asked several times if she was going to keep daughter in the same school or if she was going to move her to the school closer to where they lived. She always responded that she didn't know yet. My husband had given her his opinion, that maybe going to school closer would be better, seeing as the drama from the apartment had spilled over into the kids at school.
Over the summer Daughter was supposed to spend a whole month with us. That ended up being cut short due to mom planning a trip for daughter to go visit her grandma out of state. My husband agreed to it because he knew that daughters relationship with grandma was important. This time though, he set a specific day that he expected her to be back for his parenting time with her. That didn't happen though, when the day came and he texted mom to see when he could pick daughter up she told him that daughter wasn't back yet and she was unsure when her mom planned on bringing her back. stating that she would call daughter later and ask her when she wanted to come home. (note: mom let daughter make these types of decisions all the time).
Over 4th of July weekend, which was my husbands holiday and weekend, I received a call from a hospital, i missed it but had a voicemail. It was from daughters mom stating that she had been involuntarily admitted to a Psych hold by the police. I immediately called her boyfriend to find out what was going on. He said that they had been drinking, and they got into an argument. While they were arguing, daughters mom went to a neighbors house and then came back having sliced her arms with a box cutter. We chose not to tell daughter what was going on and when mom contacted me again, from the psych floor, wanting to talk to daughter, I convinced her that daughter not knowing what was going on was best, all telling her was going to do would upset her and make her worry. We kept daughter for a couple extra days after mom got released to give her a chance to steady herself.
After the summer, Instead of moving her to the school closer to their new place, she put the kids in school in the neighboring state, 20 miles away from where she lived, using her boyfriends, daughters moms address.She was a week late enrolling her in school also. She refused to tell my husband where she was putting her into school at, claiming she didn't remember the name of the school. the second week of school though it was our weekend and daughter brought home paperwork from the school for a parent informing us not only of what school she was in but also that she was missing several vaccines. Mom had told us that all of her vaccines were up to date but she could never find the records to prove it and refused to give us the info for daughters doctors office. She also refused to give us her inhaler for her "asthma" or her insurance card in case we needed to take her in for something during my husbands time. It was always that she didn't know where it was, or needed to order a new one, or she would look for it.
Daughter started to cancel more and more visits, hardly coming over at all during the week. She was spending the night at her friends house (moms boyfriends daughters mom) several nights during the week. soon staying the night at this friends house more then she was home with her mom. It didn't take long for us to realize this was the only way mom was getting her to school. On the mornings her mom did take her to school (usually Mondays and maybe Tuesdays) she was close to an hour late, every time. So my husband started offering to keep daughter an extra night on his weekends and take her to school on Mondays. Moms new boyfriend helped with this a little, telling mom that it made more sense for Daughter to stay with her dad and let him take her to school then for her to stay the night at her friends house.
Moms and her boyfriends drinking got really out of control. She would call my husband, when we had daughter and tell him that her and boyfriend were fighting, and he put his hands on her and she didn't feel safe and asking my husband to come get her. He told her that if she felt unsafe that she needed to leave or call the police. She never did, and we found out later that he wasn't the only one she was calling. She called us, her oldest sons grandparents, her parents, her boyfriends parents, her boyfriends daughters mom and her biological mom several times a week wit similar stories. Daughter started telling us about the fights her mom and her boyfriend would get into and so my husband had a conversation with mom. A few actually. He would offer help, to take daughter for a few weeks (letting mom see her whenever she wanted) until mom could get herself out of this situation. Mom refused the help. He had several of these conversations over the course of a couple months. All while daughter was being bounced between our house, friends house, moms house and brothers grandparents house, every week.
Moms boyfriend reached out to us, without her knowing and told us what was going on behind closed doors. Stating that mom couldn't keep a job for more then a couple weeks, she was drinking as early as 10am most days, she would put her hands on him, and throw things at him when they argued, she was picking the kids up from school drunk and then driving all over town with them until the middle of the night, stopping at peoples houses to drink or smoke or borrow money or buy drugs. leaving the kids with whoever she could and sticking the kids in the middle of their fights. He also informed us that they were being evicted from the trailer and he would be ending the relationship at that point. My husband felt as though he should try and have one more conversation with her, to try and get her to let him help. He told her very bluntly that this is the last time he was offering help, and that if she didn't take it or something didn't change, that he would be making the change himself. She just started crying, begging him to not take her kids away, that she had always been there for her kids, even through her meth addiction she had her kids.
A week later they were being evicted, as in they had 3 days (that weekend) to move all their stuff out. That Friday, Her boyfriend called me and told me that she was already drunk, and picking fights with him. He set his phone down so I could listen and she was very clearly intoxicated. Over the next couple hours her boyfriend stayed in communication with me, she had 2 interactions with police by 2p that day. I went and sat across the street from the trailer park because i feared she was going to try and pick the kids up from school while she was drunk. around 4p her boyfriend called again, telling me that she was being admitted to another psych hold, because she passed out drunk on the toilet and wouldn't wake up, when paramedics arrived she made comments about wanting to hurt herself, drink herself to death or jump off a bridge. and that she had already arranged for her oldest grandparents to pick the kids up from school, the youngest kids dad would pick him up.
We picked daughter up from her grandparents house the next day and kept her through the weekend. Mom got released on Monday and my husband told her he was going to keep daughter for another day. We decided we weren't going to return daughter the next day. He texted her mom telling her that he was going to keep her that night also, take her to school in the morning and pick her up after. Stating that after he picked her up he would call mom and they could meet somewhere and talk about what is best for Daughter right now. Mom called about an hour later asking if we were bringing daughter home, claiming she never got the text message that he sent. He explained what he had said in the text message and that because of her erratic behavior and drinking that there needed to be a change made so that daughter wasn't subjected to these things. Mom became irate, claiming that she hadn't passed out drunk on the toilet and she had gone to the hospital voluntarily. I already had the police reports that proved that to be untrue. My husband told her again that he would call her when he picked daughter up from school and they would meet and talk about it. The next morning I dropped my step daughter off at school and before I got home my husband called me stating that the school called him to let him know that mom had pulled daughter out of school. He tried calling her and she didn't answer. So he showed up at her work asking her why she had pulled Daughter out of school. Daughters mom responded that it was because he kept her and he was trying to take her away. Realizing the conversation wasn't going to go anywhere he left. Mom had taken daughter to her sisters house, which is where she was staying now. We went by the house but no one was there. Shortly after we left moms sister texted me saying we could stop by to see that daughter was safe and the house was clean and everything. When we showed up, mom immediately started asking why he was trying to take daughter away from her (in front of daughter). He explained that he was just trying to make sure that daughter was safe and stable while mom got back on her feet. Mom argued that no he was trying to keep daughter from her, claiming that she was al better, and didn't need to get back on her feet and everything was fine. He gave daughter a hug, realizing this conversation shouldn't be happening in front of her. When he turned to leave he told daughters mom that he better see her at his visit the following day or he would be taking her back to court. Mom responded with "I guess Ill see you in court then".
We filed for an emergency hearing for temporary custody the next day and got an attorney within a week. He texted everyday that he was supposed to have parenting time and for almost a month got no response. When she did finally respond he had asked if she was going to let him see his daughter or not. Her response was "are you going to drop all of this ridiculous court crap". We went to court a few weeks later, mom claiming that she couldn't access the efiling system and that is why she hadn't filed anything, that she already had affidavits and proof that my husband was lying she just couldn't upload it and that when she went to the clerks office they told her she would have to pay the 300$ filing fee... My husband and I had already paid the filing fee and the clerks would have helped her file everything in person. She also stated that she took her daughter to school everyday (we filed daughters attendance records that showed different) that she hadn't been intoxicated or passed out the day she had been admitted to the hospital (we filed the police reports stating otherwise) and that the only reason she had been drinking was because of an abusive relationship. The judge gave her 2 days to get her paperwork filed. When she did file everything it was all dated for the day after the first hearing, Proving that she hadn't had everything ready to file already. Shocker.
At the next hearing she kep contradicting herself, stating that she wasn't drinking anymore but that she was an adult and she could have a couple drinks a few times a week if she felt like it. She also had her mom present on the call (it was a telephonic hearing) who kept interrupting the judge and trying to speak on her daughters behalf. The judge said he would make his decision by the end of the day, the following day. Within two hours he filed his order giving my husband temporary complete control, custody and care of his daughter. mom is to get parenting time the 1st, 2nd, and 4th weekends a month from a specific time to a specific time (tailored by the judge to fit both parents work schedule), with a supervisor that has to be agreed on. Mom also has to submit to a mental health and substance abuse evaluation, giving them the police reports AND discharge recommendation from her psych hold (because she claimed there was no recommendation for therapy or treatment from the hospital) and proof that their either was no recommendation for treatment or that she was following the recommendation for treatment and provide all of it for our attorney, at which point she would no longer need a supervisor.
There are so many details here that i missed! Mom has also been telling people for daughters whole life that she was the product of rape, along with her older brother who she got pregnant with in high school. An issue that I had addressed several times, being a sexual assault and abuse survivor myself. She had told me that "you just didn't know the type of person he was back then" She had been unaware that I have known my husband since he was 16 years old.
Keep an eye out for the next chapter or drama since we've had full custody.