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Bribing custodial parent for visitation

Mamabearof3's picture

Is this a bad idea? I'm thinking since DH really wants to avoid court and if things get messy it'll end badly most likely. So maybe have DH message BM and offer her some extra under the table CS at the end of weekend visitations? Is that a horrible idea? How much would be appropriate to offer? We wouldn't want to offer too much obviously. Moneys not exactly endless here. And they're not really struggling at all but who couldn't use more money? I think it mite work. Especially if she thinks it's something her and my DH come up with and not me lol. She hates me so much. Idk. Just thinking. After seeing SD and knowing all the past. I just feel so bad. She's almost 16 but she's only a freshman and she's got so many more years of living under her moms control. And if she stays stuck it could easily last (being moms puppet) well into adulthood. 


Mamabearof3's picture

My best friend just said the same thing. I really am exhausted and thought I had an epiphany but I probably didn't. 

CastleJJ's picture

You cannot fix this situation for SD. She is a product of this situation; a situation that you and DH cannot fix, especially if you are trying to avoid court. Your SD has been wishy washy about visitation, like on 08/07 where you blogged that SD didn't want to be far from BM.You are hoping that SD will "see who her Mom really is" and pick you guys, but she is 16 and if she wanted to pick you guys, she would have already. It is unlikely she will ever see BM the way you see BM. This girl is basically PASed out. You need to disengage from this situation. 

Is giving BM extra under the table CS a terrible idea? YES. One: it is counted as a "gift" and does not count toward court ordered child support and two: you are setting a precedence that you are willing to pay more, so BM could use this to get CS increased or she could blackmail your DH, demanding even more money for visitation. 

Mamabearof3's picture

I think SD does see her for who she is but doesn't want to. I think that's why she's clearly struggling with depression. Part of it anyways. But you're right. We can't do much more than we have I guess. I wish my DH would have done more long ago. I wish she didn't have to pick between homes. But co parenting takes both parents anyways. But yea it's a bad idea. My DH was riding his Harley to work when I text him the idea. He'll message back soon and tell me the same thing everyone else has I'm sure. 

CastleJJ's picture

Hindsight is always 20/20. Maybe your DH did the best he could in the situation he was in. It may not seem like it now though. Just keep being there for her, but don't expect any significant changes. SD is going to have to come to terms with her childhood and her relationship with BM all on her own, either now or in adulthood. 

SeeYouNever's picture

Terrible idea, bribe money turns into extortion money real quick. Pretty soon she will be asking for money at the beginning of the weekend in order for him to see his kid. 

tog redux's picture

I remember being where you are and desperate to not lose SS to BM.  Now I realize it was always going to happen how it did, with SS being alienated. And now that he's back, at age 21, he's still just like her and neither of us want him around. 

Sorry, by 16, the damage is done. I always said my SS would rather believe BM's lies than believe she's a liar, and they are still enmeshed and dependent on each other. 

What you are describing is not a bribe, it's extortion on BM's part, and will just give her even more power and lead to more trouble. You are better off learning to accept the circumstances and focusing on your own life and happiness with or without SD in it. 

Mamabearof3's picture

Yea we're not doing anything I guess besides what we been doing. It is what it is unfortunately. 

ESMOD's picture

I will be a slight dissenting voice from our experience with a HCBM.  My husband didn't outright "bribe" his EX.. but there were times when a small amount of money to "buy gas" to make the exchange work... well, 20 bucks to a financial trainwreck like our BM was often enough to get her to be more cooperative.

I did go and look briefly at an earlier post though.  This SD is 16? and she doesn't want to leave her house/mom?  Honestly, that is not a good sign of her mental health status.. or her mom's.  2 hours isn't 20.  That she is so reluctant to leave her home for 24 hours??? that seems like an issue that a therapist should help her deal with.

Is she becoming agoraphobic? Is she depressed?  Is her mom exerting some control over her? 

I mean, a 16 year old is darn near supposed to be ready to drive.. and maybe a 2hr drive would be a little much right now, but she should not be really "allowed" to have a preference and just say "no thanks.. I'm not coming.. can't leave my mom"

Either mom is mentally unstable.. or she has a crippling attachment to her mom that needs to be addressed because it's not normal for her to be unable to leave her mom for a day or two.

But, it's 2 hours.. I 100% think that your DH should be making the drive several times a month to see his daughter.. It's not that far.  I drive that distance 3 days a week round trip to work.  It's important for him to lay eyes on his daughter.. to work on the relationship.. perhaps get her more comfortable so she might be interested in doing a brief.. possibly overnight visit.


Mamabearof3's picture

I made the trip for years up until last summer myself. My husband works 80 hour weeks so I did a lot to make up for that. But he did do some of it himself. But yes SD shows many signs of mental health issues. She struggles with friends. And her mom is quite unstable mentally as well. My husbands done years of therapy himself for anger management. He was told by a doctor (not his therapist) he is likely bipolar but he refused to continue with them or go through them for therapy. That was a long time ago. I personally believe my husband is on the spectrum after spending 12 years with him. But yea my SD hygiene is a huge red flag for mental issues as well. But everyone gets mad if I bring it up. She cut us off for months after offering to get her therapy for her emotional break downs. Her mom publicly admits SD is her favorite of her 3 children and 3 step children and they're very enmeshed with one another. BM hates me so SD is just staying away from us was my assumption initially. However her visits to other family and friends have stopped this year as well so idk, it's more than just BM issues with me it seems. 

Mamabearof3's picture

Step daughter has mentioned several times over the years that BM gets very stressed when SD mentions me or visiting us. To the point that her blood pressure is bad and she's had blood pressure has caused her to pass out before so I do think that BM is causing a lot of weight on SD shoulders to not stress her out by asking to visit anymore. SD even asked me to send small prints of our family pictures that she can put in her scrapbook and no more wall prints because she said her wall is full of other stuff. But I think it has more to do with not wanting BM to see us in her home. 

Harry's picture

You are fighting a losing battle.  If you are going to have any relationship with SD. I really doubt it  it's going to be when she is an Adult.  In her 20's.  She loyal to BM. Wants her own way .   So just give up.  What going to happen will happen. 
Before it becomes all your fault.  

You have your bio kids, have a big happy family with them.  Do, go, have, all you want with them and enjoy that time. Take that trip to Disney, camping, to the lake, ocean, what ever.  Your kids are only young once. Do not waste that time over SD 

1dad4kids's picture

I didn't read all the comments but from my experience it won't matter. Whether she takes the money or doesn't. 

DH offered to pay BM full support to have SS11 full time, meaning they wouldn't split CS like they do now. 

BM refused claiming it wasn't about the money but took DH to court for what she thought was owed back pay. 

I wouldn't have him waste his time. But if he does decide to, make sure it's not under the table. Make it written and the agreement written too