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Skids might live with us

mariah75's picture

I'm 51, been married to my husband for 12 years. I have one young adult son who lives with us. He has a hard time being independent, has adhd. I live in a small 1,100 square foot ranch house with just us 3. Well my husband's kids live about 7 hours away and always lived with their mom and half sister. My husband only visited them once a year, called them occasionally. Well their mom passed away recently and now the grandparents are fighting for custody. Kids are 13 and 15. My husband wants to get full custody but I am stressed out of the thought of them living with us. I'm done with that phase of my life, I like my privacy and don't want to raise kids. Our house is way to small for a family of 5. My son said he doesn't want them here. I suggested to my husband that they stay with their grandparents, to avoid more disruption in their life, and then they visit us in the summers, but he is adamant about full custody. Honestly just the thought of them moving in makes me wanna tell him to move out. I know I sound cruel but I can't help the way i feel. Please help with any suggestions. Selling my house isn't an option because I lived here 20 years and don't wanna move. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Your situation is what ALL stepparents should consider could happen: BM died and your DH wants his children with him.

Your husband's children are minors and his responsibility. Even if the grandparents win a custody battle, there is always a possibility they could get sick, die, or become physically or mentally incapable of raising the children. And you are back at your husband being responsible for his children.

If your home is not an option, he could buy or rent a home in that area. 

ndc's picture

Has your husband asked his kids with whom they'd like to live? At 13 and 15, I think their opinions are very important.  Especially if they're close to the grandparents and the grandparents live near them,  I could see the kids choosing them over a father who was a mere day's drive away yet only saw them once a year. They've lost their mother - they may not want to give up their school, their friends and their sister to live with 2 strangers and a dad they've only seen once a year for the vast majority of their lives. 

But . . . If they do want to live with their father,  that's his obligation.  They're still children.  We all know going into this that we're only an ex's heartbeat away from full custody. If you don't want to live with his children, your option is to have him move out and live elsewhere with his kids, either staying married or not. 

mariah75's picture

He just never took the initiative to see them more often. Yes the kids seem very close to their grandparents (BM's parents).

shamds's picture

My husband lives 4hrs from his family, even longer with usual holiday traffic jam and thats one way. He still manages the drive 4-5 times a year. 

if your husband couldn't be bothered to see his kid more than once a year, acting like he's heavily invested in their lives now just seems like a double standard.

like he's seriously wanting to pull them out of school, away from their friends, their close family so soon after their mums death and completely uproot their lives.

also if they're in primary or high school, they don't want to move away most of the time because its such a major disruption. Expecting they suck it up because he's the bio dad and what he says goes takes no account of their lives and future.

when my husband divorced his ex, she got custody of the daughters. Barely few yrs later she takes off with them and cuts off all contact. Hubby tried to find eldest sd at her university she attended but nothing.

many years later after we had met, married and had 2 kids aged 1 & 2.5, eldest sd contacts hubby and tells him biomum claimed she had an imaginary illness and palmed off youngest sd (about 8-9 at the time) to eldest sd to care for. 

such was her hatred of my husband that she didn't care to contact him. Hubby was paying court ordered cs always. Hubby chose to not pursue custody of youngest sd who was 13 at the time. They were living in a home of hubby's rent free, eldest sd paid for utilities with the money/allowance hubby sent and she was 23 at the time. Sd was going to school etc and we had 2 kids, hubby knew sd's were in contact with biomum and her batshit crazy family, they had threatened hubby before many times during their marriage and divorce. Hubby wanted to protect us from that and knew he couldn't protect us from that toxicity. 

so youngest sd hubby has never tried for sole custody as she is in a routine and appears happy with her life although i have noticed subtle signs she wants to say something about her sister because she's like her mum, meddling, controlling etc. hubby knows bringing youngest sd into our home will create unnecessary drama in our home environment and marriage and he needs to protect it. 
sd is provided for whilst she is a minor  and till she attends and finished uni. Hubby meets up when they are free which is hardly even so he plans well in advance trips with us or to us as he works overseas.

Winterglow's picture

Have you sat him down and talked this through? Has he considered the fact that his costs will be doubling (his responsibility to feed, , clothe, pay for their furniture, the utilities they use, not yours)? How present is he going to be for them once they are there because you are not going to raise them for him? Where does he think they're going to sleep and keep their belongings? How about schools? Has he looked into that yet? He needs to face the reality of the situation. Does he realize how hard it will be on them not only losing the only real parent they had but being taken away from their environment, their friends, their schools, etc.

To be honest, I think the grandparents have a pretty good shot at custody because the judge will take a look at the single visit per annum and decide that your husband isn't exactly stellar parenting material and that he probably wouldn't know where to start. What is going to happen to the half-sister? Because if she's going to the grand-parents then the chances are that there will be an effort made to keep them together?

If I were you, I'd be plugging for the living apart solution. Let him get a house/apartment for him and his kids while you retain your home (your home is your investment, I wouldn't sell and sink the money in a bigger place). Let him feel the full brunt of dealing with unhappy teens. That way, you keep your peace and quiet and he will have a hard time dumping his kids on you. And everyone will have sufficient space to live. Another bonus to this is that if the grand-parents win custody, he's going to need a place for them when they come for visitation. This once a year nonsense cannot be tolerated. 

Alternately, you could divorce him and leave him on his own. 

Are his kids male or female?

SteppedOut's picture

Your house doesn't even accomodate the needs of the kids - you have a three bedroom home. Two of those rooms are already being utilized. Two rooms are required, but there is only one available. 

Additionally, I feel like moving the kids away from their entire life after losing their (only real) parent is selfish on your husband's part, IMHO.

If he wants to take custody of them, he should relocate to where they live. No good will come from uprooting them and making them live with someone they really do not know.

mariah75's picture

I wanted to ask also, am I over stepping my boundaries if I call and reach out to the grandma with my concerns? I've never spoken to her before, but I would tell her I'm concerned with my husband getting full custody because 1.) he works a lot, overtime, plowing in the winter etc. How would he take them to their doctors appointments, counseling, school activities and so on. 2.) our house is small, and my son has mild autism. My son needs structure, and can't tolerate a lot of commotion. I don't think he would do well if the kids lived with us. 3.) I work full time so I'm not accesible during the day either. 4.) I think the best thing for them is stability right now, and removing them from their home to a different city 400 miles away would be too much right now. I think my husband should slowly go back into their lives with baby steps. These are some things I would tell her, but I don't know if it's not my place to call her.

Winterglow's picture

I wouldn't call her. However, yoiu have some very valid points - have you brought them up to your husband? What is his motivation for wanting full custody seeing as he won't be available much anyway? Is he planning on changing jobs? If he couldn't find time for them when their mother was alive, how is he going to find time now?

Another thing I meant to ask you was if you could afford a drawn-out court battle? Fighting for custody can be a very expensive process. Has he spoken to a lawyer yet?

mariah75's picture

Anytime I try talking to my husband we end up arguing. He gets vicious and mad when I bring up those concerns. 

Winterglow's picture

He doesn't get to throw a hissy fit when you are trying to discuss matters that concern you both. Tell him to calm down so that you can communicate like mature adults. The subject cannot be swept under the rug and things never get better if you just ignore them. Maybe an impartial third part such as a counsellor could help you both talk this through and help you find a solution that is agreeable to both of you.

Mominit's picture

Do not call her unless you want to end your marriage. And if you're willing to do that you may as well just do it ahead of time. If he finds out you called, he will be mad forever. Guaranteed. You may as well get the divorce papers now. If he doesn't find out you called immediately and the grandparents win the children, you will have that dirty little secret to keep forever. Which is not a good marriage. You can say all of these things to your husband, but no, you don't get to go behind his back and call with absolutely no ramifications. 

You would be better off to have him buy or rent a place in their area to live in for two years. So they don't have the upheaval and you don't have to put up with people in your house. He has lived with you and your son their whole life, and now, although you hate it, he needs you to have his back, and that looks like a step too far for you right now. So either you figure out how to live with his kids, you support him and he loses his kids anyways, or he moves out for two years and you guys stay married with two homes until such time as he can come back.

The kids just lost their Mom. If he's not willing to let them be with their grandparents so they can finish school on their terms, he should step up and put them first for a change. His responsibility (their NEEDS) should trump other peoples wants.

ndc's picture

That would be a huge overstep. As much as I think I'd like the grandparents to know all that (because I think your H is incredibly selfish and not considering the best interests of his children at all), I don't think you should make that call. 

la_dulce_vida's picture

Going around your husband to speak to his ex-inlaws and giving them inside information to help their custody case would seem like a deep betrayal to your spouse.

Everything you typed should be said to your husband, directly.

And if they can't fit into your current house, let him know that if he wins this case, he'll have to find a place of his own because you've lived there 20 years and won't be selling it.

justmakingthebest's picture

I understand your reservations but those are his kids. Just because he has shirked of real parenting until now, doesn't mean that can continue. He needs to step up. Those kids lost their mother, they need their dad. It sounds like it is time to move. Your son will have to adjust and be kind to his step siblings and you guys need to find a way to make it work. 

CajunMom's picture

Your husband's lack of seeing his kids over the years is going to impact this situation. While he is their bio dad, they barely know him. They live 7 hours away, have their own lives, friends, and schools set. They are close to the grandparents. Your DH should be talking to the kids and asking them what is best for them. Up rooting them from a solid life just because he's got "guilt" or whatever else is going on is wrong.

While I will agree when we marry a man with kids, there is always the possibility of his kids being with us full-time, your DH's behaviors set you up to think that would never happen. I mean, he saw his kids once a year??? I simply cannot see how any judge would award him full custody based on his behavior their entire lives. And is it best for the kids???? They've lost their mom (who's been the only parent for years as your DH surely did not fill his duties), they are grieving and need their firm foundation of family and friends right now especially. 

I think your DH is only thinking of himself in this situation and needs to take his blinders off....if he really loves those kids, he will do what is best for them, not him. If he finally wants to step up and be a PARENT, then he needs to TALK with his kids and get their input. Nothing wrong with that at  their ages and with this terrible life event they are dealing with.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I agree that it would be better if the grandparents could keep them, especially if they live in the same area as the kids. It sounds like they have had a much larger part in raising the kids than your DH has, with your DH seeing them only once per year. I also question your DH's judgement, if he's 100% adamant that he gets full custody now, after he couldn't be bothered with them for years. He sounds like the type that would push them off on you. No telling what kind of behavior issues they may have, or how they were raised at BM's. The only issue I have with your stance is the fairness aspect. Your adult son lives with you. I'm a BM as well as dealing with my SO and his kids. I don't think it would be fair to say my kids can live at home but not his. That's part of why we don't live together - I want to be able to live with mine but not (most of) his due to behavior and BM issues. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Your DH is an absentee parent. He doesn't know HOW to be a full time parent, nor does he have a lifestyle that will allow him to be one. It's obvious he's thinking emotionally and hasn't considered the myriad details, or how much work kids are. AND you can't even have a rational conversation with him? Ugh. He'd absolutely dump those kids on you, and you can bet they'd be filled with resentment. ALSO, if he challenges the grandparents, he may find himself paying a lot more CS plus many thousands in attorney fees for a case he lost.

Since you can't talk rationally about it, instead maybe start sand bagging him with lists and things he needs to do? "Okay babe, we need to talk to a real estate agent about getting a bigger house. I've made a list of repairs you need to take care of around here ASAP. Have you looked into school districts yet? We'll have to buy in a good one, which comes at a premium. Youll want to get a different  job, too, since you'll need to do drop offs, pick ups, and be with them after school. And you'll have to contact the kids' schools to get their transcripts so you can register them here. Have you retained an attorney yet? You'll need one for the custody battle. Then we're going to need furniture for each kid's bedroom ... you'll have to add them to your health insurance, and source doctors and a dentist. Oh, and a therapist, too. The court will probably order family and individual therapy for the kids, so ..."

Maybe when he's faced with reality - with the ruinous cost, amount of effort and scrifice required, and is told you can't help him because forging a relationship with his kids is SOO important and he MUST do these things himself to build trust and rapport with them - perhaps then he'll tap out. For his kids's sake and yours, I hope so.

Dogmom1321's picture

Sounds like your DH is being incredibly selfish. He has no relationship with his kids and the parental figures have been the grandparents. Also, refusing to talk to his wife and take you into consideration at ALL? Is he on the deed to the house too? If this is a hill for him to die on, then he needs to move out honestly. 

Can he even AFFORD a custody battle? Does he have the money and TIME to fully support two teens? Sounds like with the bedroom situation he can't even PHYSICALLY accomodate them. DH needs a reality check. If he won't listen to you, then write down all of your concerns to give him. Maybe he will read it, maybe he won't. You can always then threaten him to hand over the list to the grandparents. Maybe that will finally get him to listen. 


mariah75's picture

No, my husband is not on the deed. I owned my home before I even met him and he moved in after about 10 years.

la_dulce_vida's picture

If you don't have a prenup, you should check with an attorney. His name might not be on the deed, but if you're married, all income is typically considered marital income. Even if you're the only one paying the mortgage, your income is marital income so, in essence, is part of his income. That means if you two ever split up, he could be entitled to part of the appreciated value of your home during your marriage.

Dogmom1321's picture

Good news for you! Check your state to make sure... but where I am, only the person who is on the deed has the legal rights to the house. If you were to split, DH would have to be the one to move out and you can stay put. 

Mominit's picture

If the kids inherited her home could he move there and pay the bills to keep the utilities on?  It would be cheaper than renting a home.  The kids don't have to move out of the home they know.  The grandparents (who probably control the money and the inheritance) might be willing to allow him to stay there rather than selling the house and saving the money for the kids' futures.  Just a thought outside the box.  Of course they may just prefer to move in there themselves or to move the kids in with them.  Whatever best preserves their inheritance for them down the road.

notarelative's picture

Grandparents might sound like a solution, and while they might want custody, are they capable of it? Some grandparents are young and capable. Some are older and capable. Others, whether old or young, should not have custody. 

My husband wants to get full custody

Not really. If he did they'd be at your house now. As soon as he was notified of BM's death, he would have gotten in the car. He would have stayed with them until the funeral was over and brought them home. Whatever custody the court ordered at the divorce is void. Unless his legal rights were removed by the court, he has full custody after the BM died. He might be saying he wants them to live with him, but I doubt he really does. 

Merry's picture

This makes a lot of sense. Has he spoken with the grandparents? Met with an attorney? Is there anybody advocating for the best interests of the kids? Are they seeing a grief counselor?

This shouldn't be about what DH wants--it should be about what's best for the children. What is he doing to determine that?

shamds's picture

And grandparents will be getting custody? In that case a judge may favour the skids and half sister living together or in same town, not 7 hours away with once a year if lucky reunion.

the skid is 15 and half sister 13 so in high school. Their schooling environment, friends etc is essential to their success at school. Even when you have a parent getting a job o/seas whilst kids are in high scchool, the other parent stays in their town and doesn't relocate o/seas. Why? Because of the instability and its not an appropriate time to uproot their lives and have it severely impact their schooling and way of learning. Its not as easy as picking them up and moving them 7 hrs away into a new town, new school and think they'll adjust instantly especially after their mother's death.

Your husband getting vicious at you stating the facts that your household can't afford court costs and if hubby were to win, your household can't afford the extra mouths to feed. He's gaslighting you when you are stating the reality he's put to bed for so long. 

i'd make it clear that he's on his own with regards to unnecessary court costs etc and these don't come before the mandatory household budget.

your husband can completely avoid court by discussing with his ex mil/fil about their living situation. Make it clear he intends to visit them more regularly. 

the grandparents fighting for custody indicates very strongly that your husband was an absent parent to them. Sure he may have been working out of town, driving interstate regularly, paying his court ordered child support, but the kids weren't important enough and neither was their relationship important enough for him to make time for them. Just sending cs doesn't make up for it.

my sd's live in a state next to hubby, Just over an hours drive away if no traffic jam and thats one way. When sd's are free during holidays and long weekends, hubby will do his best to plan an outing for lunch or visit his dad a few states away (4.5 hrs drove away) thats without a traffic jam and one way only. 
but sd's are currently 17 & eldest sd is 28/28 from memory. They have their own lives and busy with friends, school work etc so after covid border lockdowns eased, it might be 2-3 times a year if lucky.

so your husband needs to put his ego aside, think about what is best for his kids. Work with the grandparents and prove to them gradually that he intends to make up for the lost time. 

you also have a duty to make it extremely clear you are not the surrogate mummy for them. You aren't gonna put your life and responsibilities aside to cater and take on the bulk of parenting, nurturing and raising these kids that were his responsibility that he shirked upon. That hubby wanting custody he needs to understand that he's stating he will raise them except he has no intention to. Instead he intends to suit for custody, then dump them in your home for you to deal with whilst he buggers off for work. 
thats utterly selfish of him and does not factor in you health, mind and wellbeing. I don't sugarcoat things for my husband, i lay things out directly no matter how harsh they are. Hubby does the same to me even though he might tone things down a bit

Harry's picture

With his kids now? Why is Superdad sitting on his fat as* away from his kids making all there big plans . You must stand up to DH. And tell him he needs to buy a bigger house. It a good school area.  Set up care for his kids before he takes them.  You are not going to be the primary care person. 
You will help out .  But as he not primary with your kid.  You will not be primary with his kids. 

mariah75's picture

I wanted to add that my husband never took the initiative to have any kind of relationship with MY son. My son was 11 when husband moved in, and he hasn't talked to him, or done anything with him whatsoever. Basically they just bump into each other in the hallway occasionally and that's it. No hi, no how was your day, no hey what's up. Nothing. Never spent time with him. That's part of where my bitterness stems is, why should I be expected to be caregiver to his kids when he hasn't acknowledged mine in 12 years. I just have a feeling if they move in, I will feel angry all the time. I'm not a mean person and I hate feeling this way.

ndc's picture

You could let him know up front that your level of involvement with his kids will be similar to his level of involvement with your son. I'd be more inclined to tell him that he and his kids would need to live elsewhere, though.

Winterglow's picture

I can't say I blame you. He apparently has no interest in kids, whether his own or not. What exactly is his motivation to have his kids even though he can't be bothered with them? Does he even understand that these are human beings?

Stepdrama2020's picture

If your DH gets custody YOU will be raising them. He is only bio on paper.

Im gonna guess the skids will want to be with the grandparents. They have the devastating loss of their mama, their grandparents will be the only semblence of normalicy for them.

That being said, I cannot see your marriage being good if they do move in. It will be all on you.

Frankly I would have little respect for your DH since he shows little interest in his own, and treats your son like he doesnt exist. I sure hope your son is doing ok. That must kill his self esteem having a step daddio who doesnt give AF. Imagine also how hard it will be for your son if you get invaded by the skids. The skids will be traumatized, and understandibly so. My heart breaks for your son though. None of this is good.

You need to think of you and your son and the ramifications. I suspect that DH is saying he wants custody to look good, but he will expect you to to do the work.

PLEASE keep us posted



Rags's picture

of your DH toward your then 11yo.

Get rid of that turd of a DH and he can figure out how to deal with his children now that his X is gone.  I am not sure I would allow an unenvolved parent/mate to bring children they didn't care enough about to have a relationship with for a decade+ to suddenly get all daddy of the year and want to bring them into my life, home, and family when they have loving family capable and dedicated to caring for them.

Fortunately, I have not had the extreme situation you are dealing with.

Take care of you and your son.

Good luck.