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Court update: Mostly a win and yet, I'm still annoyed

LuluOnce's picture

DH and BM had court today. DH's lawyer wanted to negotiate everything they could and get to a partial agreement before they went in front of the judge because BM is less argumentative when she's not standing in front of the judge and often times, she wants stupid things we don't care about so we "trade" for something that we really do want. Most of this (except the money part) was an agreement between DH and BM via their lawyers. 

What we "won": 

1. Supervised visits remain in effect until BM can prove she's mentally stable.

  • This section was very vague. States she should be medically compliant and cooperative in regular therapy appointments.

2. BM's ex-boyfriend cannot be a supervisor.

  • Not only that, but BM refused ever single supervisor DH suggested and refused to use a visitation center so the only person who can supervise is GBM, and she lives hundreds of miles away so we are not at all sure how this will work out. My guess is BM hasn't thought about this either.

3. BM and skids need to attend joint counseling to begin making amends, especially since BM says "that never happened" to everything that got us here. 

  • This was the case worker's recommendation and while I'm not a fan of BM, I think it would actually help the skids' and BM's relationship. 

4. BM gets every other Saturday visits instead of every single Saturday visits.

  • DH offered alternating Saturdays and Sundays, so BM could still see the skids every weekend but BM says she "only has two days off"* and can only see skids on Saturdays and Wednesdays. They already have Wednesday visitation. See below for more info on why I think this is total BS. 

 

What we "lost":

1. Six month return date was not granted. Per the judge, BM is welcome to file to remove supervised visits next week or next year. It's up to her.

  • We think this might, maybe, give us 6-12 weeks before BM files again and we're back in court? We were really hoping to stop going to court for a while.

2. DH is responsible for half of the joint therapy visits between BM and the skids.

  • Since he is already paying for the skids' individual therapy, DH requested that this cost be on BM, especially since the fact that they even need therapy is because of BM's actions. Judge said it needs to be split 50/50. While technically "fair" BM hasn't (and never will) pay a dime for all of the other medical and therapy costs she's already supposed to be paying for 50% for so I have no hope we will ever see a penny of this either and it's one more thing DH is responsible for. However, we think there might be some ways around this... like he can pay his half to the joint therapist right then and there and she can turn around a pay her half. The wording in the order is again, vague. 

3. BM has additional time on Wednesday nights, which means the kids get home much later than their bed time and that will suck, especially for YSD8 who is bathed and in bed by 7:45pm because that kid needs 11 hours of sleep or she turns into a gremlin.

  • This is one of the minor ones we "traded" on. It's not the end of the world, but it is annoying. Especially because BM was so inflexible about her work schedule for the alternating weekends. She claims to work 20 hours a week, but says she only gets Wednesdays and Saturdays off. Umm... okay, so you are working 4 hours shifts? And there's no other time whatsoever when you can see you children that's not during their bedtime? Hmmm. Sure, Jan. 

 

It's not bad. It's not bad at all. But I'm not sure it's great either. The schedule will likely become an issue because I don't think GBM will be here consistently to supervise visits, so then BM misses a lot of regular visits but... will maybe still be attending joint therapy? And the skids are supposed to go alone with her. Each one alone. So does that mean two or three nights a week we are at a therapists' office with the skids? One for their personal (same day) and one or two for their joint with BM (which may or may not be on the same day)? And also, if BM supposedly doesn't have any additional evenings due to work, when is the therapy going to happen? Will it happen at all? Should be take bets? 

Anyway, it's done for now. We get a little bit of a break and I'm sure we will have some drama flare up soon enough. But, our big issues were resolved (no ex-boyfriend supervising and no to every single Saturday) and the rest will be what it is. 

Even though I consider this to be a positive outcome, I have zero happy feelings about steplife at the moment and some honestly pretty mean thoughts about BM. She's made such a huge deal over telling the skids how "she's not going to see them again for a very long time" and guilted them about "how sad she is that never gets to spend time with them" and they have been really upset about how sad she is. But then here we are in court and she won't do jack shit to get more time with them. I wish she's just go away. Let the grieve and get some closure instead of being stuck in this sick cycle of hope and loss with her. She sucks. 

Comments

STaround's picture

I was very upset about the ex-BF being a supervisor.  Unless he had some qualifications, like teacher or social worker, I did not like that. 

I also do not beleive her schedule.  I suspect she is working off the book somewhere.  GRRRR

LuluOnce's picture

I hadn't thought about that, but this would actually make sense. She owes the IRS a lot of money and gets wage garnishments fairly regularly. If you aren't on the books, you can get a garnishment. There's just no way she's that strapped for time if she only works roughly 20 hours a week -- an refuses to provide her schedule. But DH wasn't going to help her find more time to spend with her own children. She either wants to or she doesn't, and it looks to me like she doesn't. 

I've wondered if she actually "wants out" of all parenting but doesn't want to say that because the cult of motherhood states you are a failure if you don't love every second with your kids, so she's using this as... kind of like, suicide my cop... where her parenting time is killed but it looks like its someone else's fault. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Biohag isn’t your ex or responsibility or problem. Do not pay any court or therapy costs.

Their spawn have half her DNA. They probably will become crazy, themselves.

You don’t seem to have kids. Why do you stay in StepHell? Love is not enough. D*ck isn’t enough.

ABOVE ALL ELSE: IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE!

FLEE! RUN! SCRAM! GIT! Save yourself before it’s too late!

Gimlet's picture

This isn't true for every situation.  I get that many situations suck and I think your advice of "Run!" is good for a lot of people.

But posters like Lulu are smart, strong women who know what they are doing and they are choosing to support their husband and skids.  Sometimes others just need our support.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

StepHell is not worthwhile. LuLu doesn’t seem to have kids with her DuH. Stepbrats aren’t worthwhile, either.

LuluOnce's picture

I get what you are saying SayNo. I know you feel really strongly about this, even though I don't know the backstory about why you feel so strongly about this. I don't know if you've shared it and I've just missed it, or maybe you are like me and more often a commenter rather than an OP. 

I definitely experience periods of intense stress, frustration, sadness and pain in my steplife. But I've also felt those things many other times, completely separate from steplife; times when I've been single, times when I've been married (to my first husband, no steplife and child free), even times in other shorter lived relationships and some close female friendships.

You are right that steplife (specifically the BM in my steplife) is causing me these current problems, but I know that these problems aren't actually specific to steplife. Anger, stress, sorrow... those are just parts of any life. Even if I became a reclusive plant/cat lady, I'd still end up feeling some of these things because, I don't know, maybe my favorite cat would choke on my prized begonias and keel over and die and I'd be devastated! LOL. I don't think we can live a full life and escape these uncomfortable feelings. 

So of all the problems I can have, I choose these and I am 100% okay if you wouldn't or think I shouldn't. I respect that and yet I still feel solid in my choice. I do love my husband. I agree love isn't enough. But we also have respect, tenderness, kindness, courtesy, intimacy, and trust. I do love my skids. Maybe the love I feel is nothing compared to the love I'd feel for my biokids (if I had or wanted to have any) but since I have nothing "better" to compare it to, the love I have for them feels amazing and brings me a lot of joy. Even if I'm not their mom.

There are so many things that I enjoy about my life. You're dang right court and BM are not on that list! But that's why I'm so grateful for this site! It's fantastic to come on her and discharge some of my current frustration on a site where everyone can relate in some way and so many of the members make me snort laugh with their responses, or make me examine my own thoughts and responses. 

All of this to say, I hear you. I appreciate your comments. You may not believe me. You may think I'm crazy for saying it! But, I'm happy in my marriage, even during these stressful times. I don't want to run. I just want to chat with my internet friends and share some of my steplife story in a place where lots of other people have tackled many of the same issues. And that includes you. Even if you disagree with me entirely. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I still feel you are making a huge mistake and wasting valuable years of your life and I fear, money.

I don’t understand childfree types taking on stepkids. You have the stress and expense and aggravation without the adoption or biological connection.

No, you don’t feel the same about the SDs as you about your real kids if you wanted any. It is not in the same ballpark.

 I fear for you in the future. Sad You deserve better than the stress, worry etc.

 

tog redux's picture

She won’t attend joint therapy. This type never does. She doesn’t want to take responsibility or hear that she’s done anything wrong. Or waste her time. So don’t worry on that one. 

LuluOnce's picture

Tog, I almost hope you are right, despite the fact that OSD really wants to have therapy with BM and I think that if BM were to participate fully, it might be helpful.

We have reports and reports from BM's mental health doctors saying she won't fully participate in her own therapy. But yet BM was oh-so-agreeable to joint therapy with the skids during the case worker's interview. I simply can't imagine that she'll 1) pay for it, even 50% of it and 2) be honest when she gets there.

At the same time, I think, "How can she not?" Whether her end goal is child support reinstated or to actually parent her kids of a combination of both, I feel like she has to go to make this happen, right? 

Of course, if BM is as "broke" as she claims, can she even pay her portion? Is that the convenient excuse for not going?

Somehow court always creates more questions than answers. 

tog redux's picture

I've been in the child mental health field for 30 years, and I've seen this type often.

Her goal may be to get the kids back, but she believes fully in her heart that she lost the kids because DH alienated them, or he lied to the court, or whatever.  As soon as a therapist suggests she may have a part to play in this she will either try to fire that therapist, or she won't attend anymore.

If she saw something in herself that needed fixing, she would do it. She doesn't see anything wrong.  Or if she gives lip service to her issues, she still doesn't intend to fix them.

People change when they see a need to change, not when court orders them to.

She will just keep going back to court hoping for a judge who believes her "truth".

beebeel's picture

If you don't think bm will actually show up to joint therapy, your DH should suggest she pays for the first visit, he pays for the second, and they keep alternating. I agree with tog and I doubt your DH will ever pay a penny because she will have a new excuse each week as to why she can't make it to therapy.

LuluOnce's picture

DH suggested the exact same thing. He said, "Great. Then we go once, I've made a good faith effort and the rest is on her." The judge did say she had to call the therapists and work with DH to schedule it. BM isn't a fan of doing things for herself, so I think GBM might do it (and pay for it) while she's still here. 

I'm sure you've read some of my other blogs, but BM actually gets a good deal of money in alimony and makes a couple thousand a month at her part-time job. She isn't really broke, she just doesn't like to spend her money on anything that's not "fun". So it's still possible she will divert some funds from her shoe and hair budget and actually pay for joint therapy, especially if she think she just has to go a few times and then she gets the skids (and CS) back. 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Is she ever ACTUALLY going to have visitation if GBM lives so far? It has to be supervised. Right?

LuluOnce's picture

I think so, but I don't think it will be 100% consistent. She'll miss a few weeks here and there.

GBM and BM have a very weird dynamic. Although GBM lives hundreds of miles away with her elderly husband (a good 15 years older than GBM and not in the best of health), GBM leaves him for weeks or months at a time to "care for" BM. Currently, GBM has been here for about seven (ish?) weeks I think. BM told DH that GBM is going home for a couple weeks and then will be back, but she didn't say for how long. So unless BM initiates joint counseling, there will definitely be a three week break. 

Will it actually play out this way? Not sure. But historically, this is how it works when BM gets supervised visitation so I'm not planning on much changing. I know they argue a lot and at some point, GBM ends up calling DH to say she's going back home because BM kicked her out. Then in a few weeks they makeup and she comes back and they start this cycle over again. 

MommyT's picture

I don’t get the not paying her half of medical bills thing. This is a court mandated order so you tell the therapist that you will pay for 50% of the bill and the other 50% needs to be billed to BM. This is a common thing in the family therapy department. That’s how our psychologist did it. Moreover, one time DH has to cancel because he was stuck in traffic and he ended up having to ph for the whole bill because he didn’t give enough notice. Again, all of this is general court mandate. Stop paying her bills or at least stop letting her get away with it.

tog redux's picture

At my place of business, we wouldn't do that, the guarantor would be responsible, and it would go to collections if that person did not pay.

BUT, DH can take BM to court to get reimbursed. 

LuluOnce's picture

MommyT, the therapists my SDs see now are outside of court. They do not and will not "work with" the court so BM and the skids cannot do joint sessions with the therapists they already have. We are fine with that, the skids are fine with it and amazingly, even BM is fine with that. The decision was made to select a new "works directly with court" therapist for the joint therapy with BM and skids, and I'm hoping that's what makes the difference with the payment.  

The current therapists work the way Tog describes her office working. One person has to be the guarantor, payment in full at the time of service, parties can request reimbursement from each other per the marital settlement agreement (or whatever other agreement they have). Obviously, as DH is the one who put them in therapy when BM had this psychotic episode and lost custody, he is the one who pays and then he submits a request to BM to reimburse him for her portion. She has not reimbursed him once, and we truly never expect her to, but that was his reason for asking that she pay 100% of the joint therapy sessions, since he is paying for 100% of the skids individual therapy. 

But hopefully, since the joint therapy will be with a "works with the court" kind of therapist who deals with these orders all the time, there will be the option of 50/50 split payment at time of service. Also, BM can't take the skids by herself. DH has to be there (he has to wait in the lobby, of course) but then when the session is over, both adults who are responsible for payment are standing right in front of the therapist needing payment -- let her pay her half and him pay his. 

Of course, I have done absolutely no research on this and this could just be my little payment plan fantasy and maybe it works the exact same way with the court-involved therapists too. But in that case, I cannot see DH agreeing to be the guarantor. 

tog redux's picture

We would take a split payment upfront - we just wouldn't let DH pay half and then bill BM for the other half, because as you know, we would never get paid! 

It's crazy how the court lets NCP women get away with not paying bupkis for their kids, even when they have the means. 

Notup4it's picture

It is so frustrating dealing with an impossible ex.  I am really not sure why judges give people who mess about with orders a billion chances/no consequences but then come down on the responsible one?! My guess is it is just easier for them that way???  She should certainly be paying half and your DH shouldn’t be guilted or forced into paying her portion.... where is her accountability??? 

Our situation is totally different but we also deal with an impossible and personality disordered ex- it isn’t easy!! And I know people say “it is his ex he needs to be the only one dealing with it”- and although I agree with that it is impossible for it to not deep into our lives and impact us as well.  I have tried soooo hard just to keep it all at arms length but when DH has to pay for all these extras or has to jump through hoops it is impossible for it not to impact life in general.