Adult Stepdaughter ruining my marriage......HELP! ADVICE?
Long time lurker, first time poster. I have a long one here, but wanted to get all the details and background in...
I married my wife a number of years ago, when she had 3 & 4 yr old daughters. The dad was many states away and non-existent for years at a time. The 4 yr old was a "pill" to say the least, and we never got close. However, I never called them step-daughters, treated them as my own, and was proud to be an "instant parent". We had another daughter in 2000. The dad only paid child support occasionally for his two daughters, and that was only when the state was garnishing his wages, but then he'd quit when they started garnishing and take another construction job to avoid the state, and the last time I remembered he was like 25k behind in child support. This was not my problem though, and I didn't get involved, and didn't need the money to raise my family.
When the oldest was 14-15, she became very rebellious, breaking our rules on a regular basis, like when we were going out to the movies and we told the girls "no company", she would invite boys over and I would find out later, courtesty of my 7 year old "snitch". The confrontations led to statements: "I hate you, I wanna live with my real-dad" etc...
It got to a point that we told her "okay", we'll pay for a plane ticket, you fly out and spend the summer with him and his new family, and see how you like it. We "want you to be happy" etc.. It wasn't two weeks into it that she wanted to come back, because he had similar rules and regs. So...we let her come back, and she was pretty good for a couple weeks, and then it all started again, the defiance, attitude, disobeying the rules etc..
Shortly after this, behind our backs, the father was making promises to the oldest one, telling her that he'd file for custody of her, he'd buy her a car, get her her own room in the house etc.
I now know this was a ploy, and that if he got custody of "one" of the daughters, it cancelled out his child support and he didn't have to pay any. I strongly believed, because he never sent christmas cards, called etc for years at a time, this was his only motivation...
One day we get a call from the dad telling us that he "got custody" of her, and he needed her out there the next week, but we didn't believe him at the time. In a short period we found out that he gave an address to the courts that we lived at 7 years prior, 7 years earlier, so they sent the documents to that address, we didn't get it, they held the custody case in our absence and filed an order granting him custody in our absence. When we found out, we were furious, and because the dad is a deadbeat, jumping from construction to construction job, has a criminal history etc....and we are professionals in the business world with a six-figure combined income etc, it would be an easy sell in the courts and we'd get custody back, we sought an atty.
Before finalizing plans with the attorney, and paying thousands of dollars to fight this, we had a talk with the daughter about "what she wanted", and she was adamant that she wanted him to have custody. She was now 16, and "almost" an adult, and we questioned why we would fight to get custody back, when she didn't want to live with us. We erred on the side of giving her what she wanted, and bought her a plane ticket back to him. In retrospect, maybe that was a big mistake..?
Living with him didn't work out, and she didn't want to live with us either, so in a compromise, she went to live with widower grandad near her dad, and did okay for about 2 years. Then she met a girl with a coke habit, and shortly before graduating from high school, got busted buying cocaine with her friend, arrested and spent 3 days in jail before grandad found out and bailed her out. She claims, (and I mostly believed her, mainly because she has been tested weekly for a year straight and is on NOTHING) that she doesn't have any habit, just that her and her friend smoked marijuana 12-15 x and her friend let her try powder-cocaine twice, and this attempt to get cocaine in which they got busted was the third time.
We flew out and worked with the DA on her behalf to let her finish high school, and because she had shown interest in joining the Air Force, got the DA to agree to a contract that if she went in a branch of the military for 4 yrs, served the term successfully, that she'd never be brought to trial on the charges and they would disappear.
We brought her back home with us for supervision in leiu of house arrest, she got a job as a cashier at a big department store, roomed with the middle daughter in our 3-bedroom house, I took her to the recruiting station and got the ball rolling, and the Air Force didn't want her because of the criminal history, but the Navy said we could do a waiver, so we got that rolling and things looked great.
Then, she didn't like our rules, specifically the ones about the hoodlum boys she was interested in coming out to our nice house in the country, and insisted she could get an apartment nearby and make it on her own. (disappointingly to me and the wife, she likes black boys, the more hoodlum with the baggy pants, the better) We helped her get an apartment, and everything seemed good for the moment.
Then we get a call in tears from her to come to the store and get her car and possessions, but wouldn't tell us why. We get there, meet the manager, take possession and find out she's been arrested. The details was that as a cashier, she was putting money on gift cards and then coming back when off duty and purchasing stuff to fix up her apartment, to the tune of $6000.00.
We refused to bail her out, but she had some cash at her apartment which we picked up for her to post bond. She lost that job of course.
In her first court appearance, the judge asked about an attorney, she said she didn't have the $$, nor a job, so I assumed they would appoint her one after she filled out a financial affidavit to that effect. On principal, the wife and I refused to pay for an atty for her, her problems, she's gonna have to figure it out. The court re-set the case, and the next time, same story, no money, no attorney, no job, so they re-set the case again. The third time, she now had a job, so the judge told her to save some $$ and get an attorney. Fourth appearance, she still doesn't have the money, same story.
She has two jobs, but hasn't gotten paid at either yet, and looking at her finances, I don't think she can save for an atty and pay her rent.
Since she broke her contract with the DA in the other state, by not going in the military by October of last year, now she's going to have to face the charges there (they don't know about it yet). She now has a court case here, and will probably do jail time in the other state when they figure out she isn't in the military yet. I don't know what advice to give her, but I almost want to call the DA in the other state and let him know what has transpired so they can go ahead and issue a warrant for her and get this thing on a roll and over with.
She now wants to move back in, to save $$ for the atty here supposedly, but I don't want her to for various reasons, not in any particular order:
1. Although we live in a very nice, big, house on some acreage in the country, it is only a 3-bedroom and my well structured, hard working, staying out of trouble, straight-A student middle daughter, who is already signed up for college classes because she graduates soon, shouldn't have to share her room and be inconvenienced by the screwup daughter.
2. Although I think she is clean now, the oldest has a drug history, and I just don't trust anyone with a history of cocaine in my house or around my valuables and guns.
She also has a history of "theft", so I don't trust her for that either.
3. We are white, and the oldest thinks she is black, only watches black tv, listens to black music, has a black hoodlum boyfriend, and talks like she is black, AND I DON'T WANT MY YOUNGEST ONE INFLUENCED BY THIS! The middle daughter is old enough to see how much of a screwup she is, but the little one is very impressionable.
4. With the black hoodlums the oldest hangs out with, I don't want them coming out to visit, figuring out where I live and that my house is an easy target for a burglary, nor do I want them in my house, and my youngest thinking interracial dating is okay.
The oldest stays out all night with her hoodlum friends, sleeps till noon, lives like a filthy pig, has two odd minimum-wage part-time jobs, one at a pizza parlor working till midnight, and another selling clothes at a store in the mall, both minimum wage, instead of taking my advice and finding a real job, during normal business hours. She can't make ends meet at her $300/mo apartment for whatever reason, I don't know what she spends her money on?
5. I don't want her up all night/sleep all day routine to affect my sleep/work schedule.
6. I know she'll turn my middle daughter's room into a slum.
7. She's just plain nasty with her hygeine and the bathroom, clothes on the floor, cigarette butts on my front porch etc..
8. She's gonna spend more money in gas going to and from work, because we live 30 miles out of town where she works.
9. I just don't like her. She's lazy, shiftless, slovenly, dishonest, talks like a female gang-banger, and frankly I just don't want her around my family.
Now, my wife is mostly on the same sheet of music about not helping her out and letting her deal with her own problems as I am, but she is her first daughter, and she feels obligated to help her (bail her out as I call it) in a time of crisis. I think we've done enough and spent enough to help her with the first time she got in trouble, and I swore I wouldn't help again. Would I if this were my youngest biological daughter? That's a question I've asked myself, whether I'm being fair, and I honestly don't know the answer to that one.
We've spent thousands, travelling back and forth across the country 3X for her court cases in the other state. The wife wants to let her move back in against my wishes now and this created a BIG FIGHT, where I threatened to leave with the little one.
Every time we talk about her, it is a fight for that matter..
I'm just so overwhelmed about this, I am actually thinking about divorce and fighting for custody of my little one, just to get this step-daughter out of my life for good. I love my wife, and when the step-child is not in our lives, things are great, but I fear that she is going to be a ball and chain forever, and continually cause a rift in our marriage.
Sorry it was so long, but needed the details in there.
Anyone else gone through something similar?