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BM trying for full custody

squeegie_beckenheimer's picture

We had a feeling this was coming. BM has been threatening to take SD8 away from us since FSD11 stopped coming to stay with us every other week last November.

The papers were delivered on Saturday (yes, of course, Valentine's Day). The affadavit has countless lies & uses quotes out of context. Big shocker there. She's using the "keeping the girls together" line as her reason for wanting SD8 full-time. (We would have her every other weekend. Although, she's adding in Monday to the "weekend", more than likely to cover Monday holidays. This way we have SD8, not BM. You might think I'm joking, but we've had SD8 almost EVERY day there was no school. So since I work for the state, I get all these holidays off, but have to spend them taking care of SD8. Which I wouldn't mind if she knew how to entertain herself. Instead, I get interrupted every 10 minutes. I should keep track of how many times she comes in here while I'm typing this!)

Let me list out the changes BM claims in the affadavit to have seen in SD8 since FSD11 stopped coming to our house:

1) Increased moodiness (not at our house)
2) More defiance (at least she's putting the "more" in there because SD8 is always defiant & stubborn, but we haven't noticed anything different)
3) Emotionally distant (not at our house)
4) Angry (not at our house)
5) Sad (not at our house)
6) Tearful (not at our house, unless it's homework related!)
7) Confused (no more than usual!)
Dirol Not as cooperative (this kind of goes with #2, doesn't it?!)
9) Not the sweet, fun loving child she was just three months ago (she actually seems HAPPIER since FSD11 isn't with us anymore)

So my question is, if BM is seeing all this stuff, maybe the problem is at BM's house? Because honestly, SD8 seems to be thriving here. The first weekend with FSD11 here, I expected waterworks. Nope. SD8 was happy as a clam. And that has not changed. The only change I've noticed is SD8 being a little more secretive about things & this is why. When my husband asked her about BM wanting to change custody, SD8 already knew about it. But she was told not to mention it to us unless we specifically asked. So this poor kid has been holding that on her shoulders for months. She then went to tell my husband that she did not want to live with BM full-time. She said that she also told BM the same thing (BM must have loved that!). SD8 wants the every other week schedule to remain the same. The idea of seeing us 4 days a month upsets her. So if SD8 really did tell BM this (which she seemed really honest about), then BM is lying in the affadavit when she claims that SD8 living with her full-time is in SD8's best interest. If we are doing nothing harmful to SD8 & she openly wants to be with us every other week, how is it in her best interest to take her away?

After our talk with SD8 yesterday, she seemed very happy (probably relieved) & the 3 of us had a better day than we've had in a long time. Also, the knot that has been in my stomach for the last month or so is gone. I had been wondering what she was going to do & when. Now I know. I'm still worried about all the crap we're going to go through & the money we're going to lose, but I'm trying to block that out until we get there. It does make me angry because my husband & I have been saving money for a house & we almost have our down payment. I have a feeling we may not be buying a house this year now. I want to cry whenever I think about this. We work so hard. We've been in this apartment for almost 3 years, working towards paying off debt & saving what we can. The longer we are stuck here, the longer our life & dreams are on hold. We'd like to start a family of our own, but the idea of having a baby in this place is overwhelming. We could do it, but we have such a lack of space now. Adding in all that baby related stuff...yikes! But it is doable if it happens.

Then when I think about BM, my blood boils. This woman can't even take care of SD8 every other week & she wants her full-time? This is only being done to hurt my husband because BM is angry that she now has FSD11 all the time. Plus, if SD8 is in BM's care more often, BM can do all kinds of things & we'd never know. She's already leaving them home alone for 3 hours at a time, how long until it's all day or overnight? How would we ever know unless SD8 told us? How long would SD8 go without bathing? (Because some weeks at BM's she doesn't bathe at all.) How many times would she go to school in dirty clothes? (Because BM rarely does laundry & she certainly doesn't buy new clothes for SD8. That's our job. Us & hand-me-downs.) How often would SD8 do her homework? (Because BM never checks up on this & SD8 lies, saying it's done. We check!) The list goes on & on. Believe me, this will all come up when we talk to a lawyer. And documentation, pictures, etc.

BM is a leach on society. She takes every handout possible. I'm sure her lawyer will be paid through tax dollars. Her mediation fee was. She probably gets off on the fact that she gets all this free help, while we have to spend our hard-earned money...all because of her! Sometimes I hate the fact that our state gives so many handouts. If only I had gotten knocked up by "accident" TWICE. I could have gone to college for free, extended my teenage years another decade, had tax dollars pay for my kids' daycare while I'm off hanging out with kids closer to my kids' age than my own. Maybe I'd be living in my dream house by now, too. Damn, what a moron I am!


squeegie_beckenheimer's picture

FSD11 & SD8 do not get along very well. SD8 adores her big (half) sister, but FSD11 has never wanted much to do with SD8. Classic sisters maybe? But my husband says that from an early age, FSD11 has never had patience for SD8 & I've noticed, is VERY jealous of her. And that only worsened as they got older. FSD11 constantly berates SD8 & NEVER wants to spend time with her. So imagine our reaction to BM constantly claiming that the girls are so unhappy when they're apart, that they need each other. This relationship only exists in BM's head. Plus, SD8 seems to enjoy the time away from FSD11. She mentions her sometimes, but never says that she misses her or anything like that. And trust me, if she missed her being here, we'd know it. SD8 isn't shy with her feelings!

We did ask SD8 about the behavior changes that BM claims to see. SD8 hesitated & said that she is like that sometimes at BM's, but she couldn't explain why. After prompting her a bit, she said that she might be sad because when she sees FSD11, she remembers that she doesn't see her every other week anymore. (She does still see her at school & daycare) I wonder if maybe it upsets SD8 that when she does finally see FSD11, FSD11 still treats her like crap. SD8 probably expects FSD11 to be excited to see her & she's not. Or maybe she does get upset, I dunno. Also, my husband asked if SD8 gets upset because BM mentions things a lot. And SD8 said BM does this sometimes. I wonder if BM does fun stuff with FSD11 while SD8 is with us & then "accidentally" mentions it in front of SD8. We know of at least one instance that BM did this. I'm sure that upsets SD8. What a slimy thing to do. Oh, and BM got a kitten for SD8 (not for the whole family, just SD8) a few weeks ago, plus has been leaving "I love you" notes in SD8's backpack (something she never did before). Do you think she's trying to butter her up?!

stepmom2one's picture

I am sure that why she is acting that way. Be sure a GAL talks to SD, she will tell them how she wants to be with. It will be considered by a judge I am sure.

MommySc's picture

The courts would do a "home study" to check on the validity of any statement, and interview the children, granted they are old enough. As you say, most of the issues you are bringing up seem to happen at her house. If you are smart, you will request a home study at each residence and BE PREPARED. When the investigator (usually a social worker) comes, show how the children are thriving with you. Have notes from neighbors, babysitters, family friends, teachers, etc- that show they are doing well with you- and the problems mentioned in the papers are limited to the BM's home.

You can also note to the home study investigator that the child has expressed not wanting to live full-time with the BM and also that BM has tried to "instruct her" in terms of what to say/not say- which courts do not favor parents that utilize the child in these types of situations.

She does have a good point- that children should be kept with their siblings to the extent possible. I'd have to agree with that- it's the healthiest thing for kids to at least be kept with their siblings, if parents did not stay together. At that point- you may just want to request having both children on the same visitation schedule- to keep the message consistent, no matter which household they were to end up in.

If you can show you are providing a safe, loving home and the children prefer to be there, you will have a solid case for maintaining custody.

However- to do so- means doing your homework and doing everything you can to prove that you are the more responsible party. Courts don't care about heresay, they care about facts and what can be proven. Show grade reports, activities, letters, etc. That will beat someone's "stories" anyday.

Good luck!

squeegie_beckenheimer's picture

Thanks for the input on the home study. We have actually been advised to request DCF (Dept of Children & Families) to do surprise visits to both of our homes. Which would be fairly similar to what you're suggesting.

Don't take this as an attack on your comment, but I have to vent about this...

BM wanting to "keep the girls together" is a front. First of all, they are HALF sisters! This drives me insane. Yes, they have the same mother, but they have different fathers. The main reason I get tired of hearing anyone side with BM on this is because BM acts like these kids are never separated. This is a lie. For 6 weeks every summer & for 2 weeks for Christmas, FSD11 is with her father. SD8 is not with her. Does FSD11 call or send letters or email during their time apart? Never. Does SD8 ask to do those things? Never. Does FSD11 come back & hug SD8 & tell her how much she missed her? Never. FSD11 treats SD8 the same as she could care less that she even existed.

Now, for the past 5 or 6 YEARS, my husband has taken care of FSD11 every other week. He did so because a) BM took FSD11 away from her father (legally & physically), so he couldn't do it and b) my husband feared for FSD11's welfare being left full-time with BM. During this time, NO ONE offered ANYTHING to my husband to help financially with FSD11. And trust me, he was struggling. I'm not sure what would have happened if I hadn't come along to help him. He rarely asked for help from BM because at one time she was supplying items for FSD11. That stopped shortly after I came into the picture. BM seemed to think that it was now our job to do everything. (This was also at the height of her college time; where parties & booze were more important than her kids.)

So for 5 or 6 years, it was normal for my husband to have this kid that isn't his. Why didn't FSD11's father then also have SD8 during summers & Christmas? Because a) she's not his and b) those times are spent with her father or mother. So...if you're still following this...if FSD11 only has her mother here because her father is several states away & that is their arrangement, who does FSD11 live with? Why does my husband even factor in here?! This is insane. The idea that in order to see his daughter every other week, my husband also has to take someone else's kid is crazy. Yes, there is history & up until recently FSD11 did live with us every other week. But FSD11 does not want this. She proved this in every way possible over the last year. She wants to be with her mom; the only reason she would still live with us is because "Sometimes Mommy needs a break from me.". (Her words! I have the email!)

FSD11 will not be coming back to live with us. Period. We are nothing but baby-sitters to her and BM. If our current arrangement of FSD11 living with BM full-time makes my husband happy, me happy, SD8 happy & FSD11 happy, and the only person that has a problem with it is BM, what does this say? My husband & I know BM. She admits that her social life is more important than her kids. She's pissed that she's stuck with FSD11 & can't just leave every other week.

So you might ask, why does she want SD8 full-time then? hurt my husband. she can get more welfare $$$. have more freedom. As long as she has FSD11 or her parents to watch SD8, she can still come & go as she pleases. She won't have to deal with my husband & I asking where SD8 is because we'll be out of the loop. As things are now, we ask questions & BM has already advised SD8 on what to say. If BM hasn't done this, we get answers & sometimes they are cause for concern.

The bottom line is simple: They cannot force FSD11 to live with us. If they could, our lives would go back to the hell they had been most of last year. We'd be counting down the days until FSD11 turned 18. If she was my husband's daughter, this would obviously be different. If she was my husband's daughter, we'd make her go to counseling to figure out what is wrong.

If BM succeeds in taking SD8 away from us, the system really is sexist. Anyone that knows our situation knows that my husband takes way better care of SD8 than BM does. If BM has her full-time, there will be major concerns for her welfare & well-being. And my husband will lose his daughter. Seeing her every other weekend will help destroy the bond they have & will give BM more than enough time to brainwash her with lies, just like she did with FSD11.

StepG's picture

We trying to get SS 50/50 and BM has thrown up the excuse of being with half brother. I am sorry but I feel that Bio mom and dad trump any half sibling. Our SS has told his mom in front of his dad that he wants to live week with dad week with mom. SS is also 8 years old. Our BM is also a leech on society. She does not bring to the table or match what H pays her in child support she lives with her boyfriend and says we look bad on her for getting food stamps but that is what they are there for. You lazy person you... you have the ability to work but just won't do it. Classic case of Champagne dreams with a beer billfold. I wonder how much the courts consider half siblings and the time. I think the time should always be split even btw mom and dad unless special circumstances. When BM has more days she feels she has the power to control and neither parent should have control over when the other sees his/her kid. We get SS one day a week and every other weekend and any extra time is based on if BM is in a good mood or not. I know what you going through

squeegie_beckenheimer's picture

I had actually read one of your last posts the other day about this. We should chat sometime because it's so hard to find someone else in these shoes. It is a weird situation & a lot of people don't understand it. I'm sure to a lot of people, we're evil for wanting to take siblings away from each other. But that's not quite the whole story! And it's only every other week. These kids are used to being separated for periods of time & they seem to enjoy the time apart. If BM was so interested in the kids being glued together as a set, she should have had them with the same man!

What if my husband & I have children together? Do we get to keep SD8 full-time then so she can be with her half-siblings? Would we expect that? Of course not. We're reasonable people.

Anyway, we definitely should talk more!!! Smile