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Lauren973's picture

So today was my second day picking up STBH's daughter from BM to deliver her to school. Remember she begged us to do this because a) her car wasn't running and couldn't afford to have it fixed and b) she could not afford the gas to get her to school (1 mile).
When I arrive, BM is putting daughter in her car, see's me, and they get out. As I am putting daughter in my car, BM begins to tell me that her attorney had asked for STBH to release ANOTHER 5k from the proceeds of the sale of the marital home (after 10k was released to secure apartment). He refused, and told his attorney that he would discuss no financial settlment until she agreed on 50% parenting time. She says, until she gets more money she will not let him take her daughter beyond his visitation.
Now, we had been prepared to simply take her to court over it, and we would likely win at this point. But when we went to the exchange last wknd, she BEGGED us to take her to school, and kept saying her daughters mental health was suffering because she needed to see her daddy more! We said yes, of course. We will take her for five days this week, and I will take her to school.
Result? STBH has been joyous at the thought of having his daughter, and once again, his hopes are shattered. She does this all the time. To BM, their child is no more than carrot to dangle in front of STBH to get more money.
3pm I retrieve daughter from school to deliver to mom again. WHAT SHOULD I SAY TO HER???She keeps dropping the notion that her attorney is a county judge here. I have done a google search and found that there IS a county judge with the same name but he appears to be in his eighties, so this would be her atty's father. Is there any way I can find out for sure?
Its really sick, I mean it just seems an awful lot like blackmail. He can't SEE his daughter until he makes an agreement to give her more money??? He is current on CS, and obviously we actually give more (school, clothing, pool membership).
I am going to have to face this woman this afternoon and can NOT avoid speaking to her when I do - so what tack should I take?

Comments

Lauren973's picture

I have not yet told daughter that she will not (as previously planned) be able to come spend the next five days with daddy. If I don't tell her SOMETHING, her BM will lie to her about why and say daddy didn't want to. Furthermore, there is the school administrator who is expecting her father to be taking her to and from school this week. If he doesnt do it, BM is likely NOT to take her to school (even though she DROVE AWAY in her car this morning.
Just another way to make us look bad.
UGH!!!

Anne 8102's picture

My standard line for BM regarding anything I don't want to talk to her about is this: I'm sorry, I can't really talk about that. You'll have to take it up with DH.

~ Anne ~

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

BIOMOM's picture

Is what the proceeds from the sale of the house have to do with visitation. Shouldn't there be some written statement about who gets what from where?

Visitation should not depend on dividing up assets, should it? After all, this is a child we're talking about. Not a used car!

None of my business, I know, but do you/fiancee have an attorney?

Keep me posted!

Janice

Lauren973's picture

your business - thats why we post here! Smile
The question of things being written up about who gets what where is the whole point. neither party has enough money to fight this thing for years. Her atty wants a meeting to discuss finances. Currently she has residential custody, but she has really screwed up a LOT of things in recent days and she COULD lose custody if it goes to court. Our atty says there is no point in meeting to discuss money because the parties are too far apart on basic issues - aka., custody. Our atty says they will meet if she will agree on custody split, she says she wont agree on custody until finances are settled.
the daughter is a pawn.

Lauren973's picture

The issue is LONG involved and very complex. Currently STBH has weekend visitation every other week. He wants 50% legal and residential, which is sort of the default setting in NJ. On top of that BM recently took daughter out of country without permission and her 4 y/o has never been vaccinated for ANYTHING. There are also other issues which lead us and our atty to believe that we could gain custody.
STBH and BM are still married. The only assets were the recently sold home and its contents, and a 401k. They were married for only four years, seperated now for four more. There is a restraining order protecting STBH and communication between parties is on again off again. The main problem is:
BM (small business owner in a supposedly failing cash based business) demands 50% of the proceeds of the house (now in escrow) 20k of 401 k (half of which was used to pay mortgage on the house she resided in for 4 years, and 350 dollars a WEEK in child support in lieu of alimony (currently CS is 90$ a week based on finances of STBH)
STBH could give a crap about the money except that it could be used to fight for custody. His BOTTOM line is 50% parenting time and joint legal custody plus turning over the passport of daughter after BM took her out of country twice to third world with no vaccinations.
Basically BM won't discuss custody till STBH agrees on finances. All of this is to occur in a mediation agreement out of court. BM has NEVER operated on good faith, not once.
STBH has the ball in his court because if it went to court, this is A) not an alimony case (he's paid a few hundred k in support over last four years and is current on CS) Dirol would probably be granted 50% custody and possibly more due to mothers legal record and international trips. Also, while he was suffering financially, she went to paris for ten days and Costa rica for 5 meanwhile claiming she needs this money desperately.
350$ a week for 18 years is more than we have seen on ANY CS schedule. It seems her atty has simply added money desired for alimony into his request for CS.
Hope that clears it all up.
Its a white traash mess I stumbled into. To me it sounds like "you give me 5k and write on paper that you will agree to our financial terms, and we will let you see your daughter".
Meanwhile STBH would give her EVERY dime in exchange for his daughter, but he can't SAY that because his attorney warns it sounds like buying the child.
SOOOO F*%&^ up.

Lauren973's picture

the initial custody order was put in place, father was the sole provider with a 2500$ mortgage to pay, and 270 a week in CS. BM was, by choice, a stay at home mom just about to open a cash based business. Thus the only time available to STBH for visitation was every other weekend. He works 18 hour days. He did however take her on any day he was available or for any hour not working. That was before she assaulted him (she is bipolar) and he got a RO. After that, as there was no contact allowed between parents, things reverted to the court appointed visitation schedule as every time they did the exchange she would violate RO. She was arrested five times for violations.
It seemed things were on her side until events of late when she took daughter out of country.
Now we have standing to gain custody.
Plus, a year or more passed since that time, and now the divorce papers have been sent.
As for your question about holding out... well, there's more to the story. She CLAIMS she has no money and she can prove it, as her business is a CASH based business. The reason she and STBH seperated was because she admitted to him she was working at a brothel. We are convinced she has a lot more money than she claims. For her, this is about her hatred for STBH, and her belief that she is entitled to be taken care of for the rest of time.
She also worked for 500$ a day as a make-up artist, and quit that by choice to open a consignment store.
We HAVE held out. STBH was initially paying 270$ weekly plus mortgage her car payments, triple a and additional supplies for daughter. She didnt think this was enough and took him to court to get him to pay for ballet lessons and a pool membership. When the courts looked at his finances, they REDUCED her CS 125$. She took him to court AGAIN for school, and they reduced it further to 90$ a week. We then went for several months (almost a year) paying nothing in addition to that, and seeing her ONLY on opposite weekends. Of course that kills her father and she is suffering mentally.
I decided to pay for her schooling for two reasons 1) she is better off in school than with her mother, and her mother has already chosen to go on a vacation to costa rica rather than pay for school. 2) it will show that I care for her daughter when the courts look at it.
Other than that, she only gets 90$ a week.
and yes, it is all based on whim and mood with BM. She cannot speak a sentence without contradicting herself. Just this morning she said " I promise that i will NEVER keep him from his daughter, I've always promised that but at the rate this is going I am going to just take her to South carolina and he will never see her again."
How do you work with THAT?

Krissy's picture

Okay.

Without trying to sound like I know what the hell I'm talking about, my advice would simply be to call your lawyer NOW and file a petition for joint custody. BB doesn't get to say that she won't discuss it. A hearing will be set and she better be there. Period.

As far as the financial issue goes, your lawyer is right that a judge WILL NOT want to hear about money when it comes to custody. Judges do not like to decide custody when there is a parent who seems motivated by financial interest. Clearly, your STBH offering to give BB more $ for joint is not him looking to benefit finanically, but the lawyer is right that he will seem as if he sees his child as having a pricetag.

Custody and support are independent of one another except in deciding how the time spent with one parent impacts the amount of support. If you gain joint custody, you may still have to pay support to the mother, but not as much as you would if she retains primary physical. I would get into court immediately and take care of this. Document everything, tape phone convos (if you are in a dual-party consent state, you must let BB know you're doing that), keep logs of contact. I hear of so many people that are afraid to go to court because of the threats from the custodial parent. But the bottom line is that the courts are there to mediate when parents cannot agree, and just because one parent has custody DOESN'T mean that s/he gets to call all of the shots and demand things using veiled threats as leverage.

Don't say a word to her. Smile, nod, tell her, as Anne said, that if she wants to discuss these issues that she can call STBH. Bye!!

Good luck. It will be okay!!!
Krissy

OldTimer's picture

Than it's pointless to meet about it if both parties are so far past compromise, than you need to take it to a judge to mediate the situation and settle this matter in court.

As far as BM questioning you, you simply say with a smile, that it's between her and DF, not you and you can not comment nor is it your place to comment on the subject because it does not involve you but her and DF. Say nothing more if she keeps pestering, and ignore her. The only subject you have to discuss is SD at the time and that is because you are picking and dropping her off, nothing more, nothing less. Treat it as a business transaction.

Wink StepMom

Man has the intelligence to change his life,
Sometimes, he just fails to use it...

Lauren973's picture

her threats are working with him. As are her false promises. I just learned that he agreed to go to this meeting. If she says she will grant 50% custody, he wil agree to any financial offer on the table even if it is 350$ CS for eighteen years, even if he has her 50% of the time.

I give up. I can't advise, and everyone involved seem to think its not my business even though I am living with him, and will have care of daughter when custody is granted, and i pay her schooling.

I am seriously ready to give up. I am just SICK TO death of this.

I guess he will make our graves for us by being cowtowed to that psycho extortionist every damned time.

thanks for listening and advising.

Anne 8102's picture

DON'T EVER LET HIM BUY A CAR. This man has no idea of how to negotiate and he'll get soaked by a dealership.

My husband is the same way... he would cave in and give BM whatever she wanted, just so he could see his kids. Well, seeing his kids is not a privilege Her Royal Highness grants him, it's his right as their father. You start out asking for the moon, then negotiate your way to a fair settlement. You don't start out giving the other party whatever they want. What she's doing IS extortion. He needs to make it his rule not to negotiate with terrorists, because in my opinion, that's what these BMs are who use their children as weapons to hurt their ex. (Yep, we just bought a new car and, as usual, I did the negotiating while he kept our daughter occupied. DH is a total pushover.)

I think it most certainly IS your business and anyone who tells you it isn't is a moron. You have a vested interest in how this thing plays out, you have a right to be heard and while your input might hold no sway on how he handles it, you have every right to choose to leave the relationship if his previous history will adversely affect YOUR future. For that reason alone, he should at the very least give you an ear and consider your points. If you can't make joint decisions now, how will you do it if/when you get married? If you have no say in this, then I'd seriously consider letting him know that you'll not continue footing the bill for schooling and you will not be her babysitter, chauffeur, caretaker, etc.

Aaarrrggghhh. I know, it's aggravating. That's just the lay of the land in Stepparentville.

~ Anne ~

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Krissy's picture

When we first started going to court, BB and STBX had decided on an agreement that we would have X amount of time and that the support would be X amount of money. Again, the AGREED on this. Less than two months later, BB filed for a modification of CS and it was granted. The fact is that the custody in my state determines the amount of CS. So, technically, they had an agreement but since it was not on par with the state mandate for support, she could ask for an increase. So...if your STBH is totally gung-ho on doing this, I don't see why he couldn't go back and ask for a mod later based on the custody being joint. However, if this is all going into a divorce decree, I don't know how that might change STBH's options in trying to alter the points.

All that aside...I am concerned that STBH is about to make a decision that will have major ramifications for you and he's not taking that into consideration. I know you've tried and that you're SO done with the constant talking about it...but if you are going to be expected to care for this child, you are part of the decision. And if you are going to be going without financially to do this...that is also something you must be allowed to have a say in. I know that this is his child, but you are not insignificant and you need to exercise some control here. It seems like there are other options to explore re: custody, but STBH is speeding down this track so fast that he can't stop to think about how he might be able to get what he wants AND not destroy your financial security. This is NOT just about he and his child. YOU are involved too, as are any future children that you might have. For us, STBX wanted another child until things with the CS went south, then we couldn't afford it (thank God in retrospect)....I would just really think long and hard about this and how STBH's making this decision will really affect your life. Are you going to be able to deal with the consequences?

Take some time to reflect. Think about what you are willing to do and what you are not. Put YOU first for once and see how it feels. Smile

Krissy

BIOMOM's picture

And unless the laws have changed a great deal since my divorce(s)
(Yep, twice) I wasn't even entitled to alimony! Unless you were married for 10 or more years, alimony was a non-issue. Please check.

My first divorce was many many moons ago, but I distictly remember my lawyer telling me not to bother. I was married almost 4 years.

The second divorce, well.... I would have paid him alimony just to leave me the f*ck alone! Wink

Am I talking out of my a$$? About the alimony I mean......

Janice

Lauren973's picture

STBH's lawyer has told him that it is not an alimony case. Apparently her lawyer told ehr she should expect alimony for at least a year but not perpetual. The claim that they will drop alimony if he pays 350 weekly in CS is bunk. Furthermore the highest schedule we've found for CS would be 275$ weekly and that would be if he were in the highest income bracket, which he is not.
It is indeed extortion. And he fell for it. He's going to pick up his daughter now. We'll see how that goes. The meeting is tomorrow.