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BM going to jail. Unsure if DH will do anything.

Mermar90's picture

Per my last post, BM (36) stole oxycodone and got addicted. She has now been convicted of a felony, took a plea deal (had to do rehab, 10 years of probation, etc), and will be getting 10 days in jail. She's been cooperating with us in regards to visitation time so we never had a need to go get joint custody, however I think that's just on the horizon. I wish we would've done it sooner. I thought we should, but then it seems my DH got a little compacent. BM is really good at playing nice.

BM now thinks it's appropriate that SD (14) bounce back and forth between BM's mom and BM's boyfriend (26), who has been around a little less than a year, while BM is in jail. My SO and I have tried explaining to her that we would prefer to have SD during this time and told her that we are uncomfortable with SD being alone with the boyfriend. There is no reason for it, consdering we have all the time and resources to take care of SD ourselves. Not that we have anything against the boyfriend, but it's just not appropriate this soon into a relationship and makes us uncomfortable. 

BM doesn't recognize our concerns and continues to work around us in her weird, sweet way. I'm sure she's hoping to get what she wants, which is to have SD NOT stay with us the full 10 days. She suggested only a few days, but not the full 10 days. I have no idea why. She won't say, but instead comes up with little, stupid, excuses. My DH is mad, but I am absolutely livid. I was sexually assaulted by a trusted family member when I was around my SD's age, and a lot of women I've talked to recently have a similar story about themseleves or somebody they know. The risk, however small, is NOT worth it. And besides that, DH is her FATHER and there is no reason he shouldn't be able to watch her during this really messed up situation.

So here I am, completely and utterly fired up to push for emergency temporary custody. But that needs to be done FAST because BM is planning on starting her sentence this weekend. I texted DH this morning asking him to talk to a lawyer, but he never got back to me. I hope he is, but what if he isn't? 

I guess there's only so much I can do right? I feel like it might just break my heart if he doesn't do anything. I doubt there's anything I could do, being her stepmom. I try to stay out of things. But what does it say about my DH if he doesn't fight for her? Would I want to have a child with somebody that won't fight for their children?

futurobrillante99's picture

Any chance you can make an anonymous call to child protective services about an unrelated male taking care of a 14 year old girl while her mother goes to jail?

Mermar90's picture

I mean, I could. I'm not sure what that would do? I guess they would show up and check on things, and if everything seemed ok they would leave, right? I guess if anything it might keep him in line.

I know in the past SD has made claims online that he abused her and her mom doesn't love her, but after being confronted she admitted it was a lie and/or a nightmare. She has also texted us telling us her mom and boyfriend were arguing in the middle of the night one time and that it scared her. So there's two red flags.

Even if the boyfriend poses no threat, this whole situation is just so unstable during, what I am sure is, a sensitive, frustraing, and confusing time for SD. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

CPS could just place SD in your SO's care and not give BM a choice. That would be the benefit.

Mermar90's picture

Could they take her away to somewhere else if he doesn't have any legal custody over SD? Like, a care facility of some sort? I'm assuming there's documentation somewhere that shows he's her actual father, but I don't know if that's enough. Otherwise, they might just bring her to her grandma's, where she is often when her mom can't watch her.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Hard to say. Filing for emergency custody is the far better option here, but if he has proof he is SD's father (e.g. birth certificate, court order) and there is nothing in writing preventing him from having her, CPS may hand her over. Or, he'll end up in court with BM's clan fighting for custody from them.

For 10 days, I probably wouldn't argue with having SD stay with a grandparent. With the BF - that crosses the line. Your DH needs an attorney and needs to start hitting back at this before his daughter ends up hurt.

tog redux's picture

So I'm confused - does BM have sole custody or is there just no custody plan in place? If there isn't one, then just go get SD, he has equal rights to her. If BM has sole custody, then I think your hands are tied -it's highly unlikely they'd give emergency custody if Grandma is the plan for a 14-year-old.

I think you need to step back and detach some - it's his problem to deal with, and one you have no control over.

Mermar90's picture

Yes, I believe BM has full custody. I think that's how it works here, unfortunately, when a child is born out of wedlock. Our hands are definitely tied. It would trigger a full on man hunt if my DH went and rescued his daughter himself.

But there is the option of emergency temporary custody if we believe the child is in an unsafe or unstable environment - which I would say her mom going to jail for being a felon and wanting to leave SD with her newish boyfriend is probably unsafe and unstable... It's just my DH would actually have to grow some balls and do it.

I am starting to believe I should step back and detach, but it's hard. I've watched SD come so far and feel so much sympathy and empathy for her. I feel like I see her and connect to her in a way her parents can't. But at the end of the day, she isn't really my problem.

HOWEVER, my DH is my problem. lol. I think it's fair to expect him to try to protect his daughter, right? And to be a little pissed if he just gives up without trying?

tog redux's picture

Yes, if the rule is that she has full custody by virtue of them being unmarried, then no -- he can't go get her.

I just envision BM saying she's staying with Grandma for 10 days and no court will care about that - and you'll have wasted time and money.  Even if that's not the plan, nothing to stop her from lying and Grandma from backing her up.

You can certainly be pissed at him if he gives up, but honestly, this is not a slam dunk court case by any means, so he may be wise not to open that can of worms.

Mermar90's picture

What if we have text messages where BM is specifically saying that SD will be alone with the boyfriend?

Also, she recently posted a video online crying about having gone through a major depressive episode, mind you this is during her court-ordered program where she has two different counselors. She admitted she hadn't been working with the counselors on her depression. She apparently had to call the mental health crises hotline. This was just weeks ago. I would think the court would deem that a little unsafe and unstable?

Not to mention her being a felon and going to jail. 

Also, also - if SD is asked I'm sure she would say she wants to stay with us. She always talks about it and asks her mom if she can. She has skipped birthday parties just to come over. She says she likes to get away from her mom.

And lastly, we do have text messages where SD tells us that her mom and mom's boyfriend were arguing in the middle of the night. She says she feels "unsafe" in the texts. That's pretty damning.

tog redux's picture

Can I be honest? I don't see the point in fighting a court battle for a 10-day visit. I know everyone is concerned about the boyfriend, but even if the court does grant you that time, what then? BM will be even more pissed off and less likely to give time to DH, and you just have to send her back over to the same home 10 days later. BM has probably already left her alone with this boyfriend, on multiple occasions, and will likely do that in the future. Without proof that he's some kind of sex offender, you guys will sound paranoid and accusatory. Just because he's 26 doesn't mean he'll molest SD. And even if you guys do get to court, BM can easily just tell the court she's leaving the girl with her mother and that's that.

DH is the one who has to fight this battle, and if he doesn't want to to do it, I'd suggest letting that go. Make sure SD knows it's fine for her to contact you guys if she feels she needs to.

JRI's picture

This seems like a no- brainer: bio dad and kind stepmom eager to take care of her daughter.  Is there some reason SD doesnt want to come, like staying near friends or a boyfriend?

tog redux's picture

Mothers like this have no desire for their kids to spend one minute more than necessary with their fathers.

Mermar90's picture

9 times out of 10, when given a choice, SD chooses to stay at our house instead of her moms. She tells us it's nice to get away from her mom. Sometimes she seems frustrated with her mom. She has skipped out on birthday parties to come over. We are tough on her, but offer a ton of stability and learning experiences. We also try our best to respect her, which I think she doesn't get at her mom's. I would love to straight up ask SD what she prefers, but I doubt her mom would let her talk to us privately via phone.

She has also mentioned how she hates staying with her grandma. Her grandma can be pretty mean, honestly. I don't even like her grandma. lol.

She is starting dance class up again in-person, and BM initially was trying to use that as an excuse for her not to see us, but we have absolutely no problem driving her to her dance classes, so I don't see the problem there.

As far as school and friends go, that's all entirely online. When she's not doing schoolwork she's on Google Meets with her friends and boyfriend. So I still don't see why we wouldn't be able to have her for the 10 days?

I specifically asked BM to tell us if there was something else we were missing but she hasn't responded. I think what we are missing is that BM just doesn't want us to have her the full 10 days for some selfish reason, but I can't pinpoint it. Wants her boyfriend and SD to bond more? Is afraid SD will enjoy staying with us too much? Is afraid we might twist her mind? 

tog redux's picture

Yes, she's afraid you will try to alienate SD from her, as she probably does from you. BM here never wanted DH to have SS alone for any length of time and did everything she could to avoid allowing it.

Mermar90's picture

She never seemed that worried about it before, but again, she's really good at hiding things and playing nice. I bet she can feel SD slipping out of her fingers a little bit. We've had SD a lot lately due to the holidays and, as far as I can tell, SD loves it. My DH has been teaching her how to cook and she's been soaking it up. The one time SD asked BM if she could come to our place BM told her dance class was more important. I'm thinking dance is just an excuse.

Winterglow's picture

She should not be living with a man she is not related to. End of story... Especially when her father is present. It's not her call to make. Emergency custody ASAP. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

If your SO breaks your heart by doing nothing, then you need to plan your exit from this relationship. SD may not be your daughter, but you can sense something not good in this situation. I can totally understand why you would lose respect for your SO in this situation.

Mermar90's picture

Thank you for your input. It shouldn't, but it makes me feel validated. I often second guess myself.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Yeah, that's a great big NO to staying with the boyfriend, who is about as close to her age as the BM's. If your DH won't take action, i would call CPS. He may be a perfectly good guy, but, just, no. 

tog redux's picture

But call CPS about what? He hasn't done anything, and they won't take the call just because he's male.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Yeah, it looks like the father in this situation may not have any legal custody. In my divorce situation, the other parent has first right of refusal if one parent can't, well, parent. 

advice.only2's picture

So I remember this story and your DH should have started something with the court system back when BM was hiding that she had been arrested at her work...but that's just me.

Personally you are dealing with an addict who gives zero f*cks about anybody but herself and getting her next fix...that's the reality. Your DH should be able to get custody changed regardless given she now has a criminal record.

My DH got emergency custody when Meth Mouth got arrested, she was only in lock up for 24 hours, but he still was able to get custody and retain it until a hearing was set a few weeks later. At that time DH went for 50/50 custody seeing as they had dropped all charges against Meth Mouth. He was awarded 48/51 with Meth Mouth being primary. This lasted until she got arrested again a few months later, after that DH retained custody.

It's only a matter of time before your drug addict BM gets arrested again and then your DH will have to really do something or watch his daughter get raised by a 26 year old stranger.

Mermar90's picture

I remember you too and Meth Mouth. Thanks for your advice. Your situation helps provide some perspective. Did you have to push your DH at all to act? Or did he do it all on his own? 

advice.only2's picture

No we actually worked together on it, but as court dragged on longer and longer then I started disengaging and letting DH decide how much he wanted to get screwed in court.  We had a bad lawyer and I kept telling him to drop them, but he wouldn't and it was a 7 year process of in and out of court to entertain Meth Mouth, she never got custody back though.

Winterglow's picture

It may not be too late for your dh to claim paternity. What is he waiting for? Doesn't he care about what happens to his daughter? She could vanish into the system if he just sits there! 

Mermar90's picture

I went home at lunch and my DH wasn't trying to do anything related to finding a lawyer or research or anything. We have 3 days before BM says she will start her sentence. We could try our damndest to get emergency custody in the next 3 days, but when I went home DH hadn't even started. I confronted him. I told him that I felt like we were both mad and wanted to take action just the day prior, and he hasn't even started anything since. I brought up how few days we have and it sounded like he didn't want to hear it. I then told him how much I cared, and how absolutely frustrating it is for me that I can't do anything about it. I told him it seemed like he didn't care as much - which I think made him mad and he got all quiet. And then I told him that I might stop caring so much because it's too confusing, frustrating, and hurtful because she's not actually mine...

I'm probably in for a good argument once I get home. If I'm lucky I will have pressured him into action. At the very least, I hope he sees my point of view.

futurobrillante99's picture

You said your peace. Let it go, now. Whatever happens falls on his head. I hope you don't have children with him. He seems not to give a fig. ((HUGS))

Trust that SD will call if there is a problem.

Winterglow's picture

I would lose all respect for a "man" who cared so little for his child. What does he think is going to happen to her? OMG. What is WRONG with him?! 

Sandybeaches's picture

Is he legally in court, paying child support her father? If so the way I see and know things to work that trumps and any non-blood related boyfriend of a drug addict, incarcerated mother!  I would keep her right at your house when she comes to spend time with you.  There is no written agreement for where she stays during her mother's incarceration so I would just say that was the plan.  

I do see that your DH is definitely a problem, if after 14 years he has not gone to court and established a visitation agreement.  Especially since the mother is so unstable.  It would also seem that this could not be the first incident with her where visitation and custody have been a problem.  What paperwork does he have from the courts on paternity and such?

simifan's picture

IF your SO truly wanted to be a father, he would have secured his legal rights a long time ago. He is content with playing a "father figure" when BM allows it and under her direction. Why would you think that is going to change now? 

DPW's picture

It seems like so many of the DHs we complain about on here don't take the initiative when it's theirs to take. I seriously wonder how many DHs would have the custody they have now if it wasn't for their partners doing the work for them. 

You've done your job. If your SO will not do anything further, then you know who you are with and thank yourself for not having married him. 

Thumper's picture

DH may likely be awarded a temp custody order.

TEMP order that will likely flip back to BM having full custody.

BM's parents may also chime in and file all papers they can for Granny visitation and Granny custody--you know because of the chillldreeeen need their pill popping mom. They are afraid that absentee dad is only doing this because he doesn't want to pay bm cs. AND he will not ever  let them seeee her again. BS.

That is usually how it works.

I have no opinion of your dh..good OR bad.

 

Drug addicts should not be around their kids until proof of rehab (not a 12step program sitting around sipping coffee and giving testimonies now they found God in jail--IN patient rehab is what I mean) , clean drops, clear hair follicles for 1 to 2 years consistently. JMO

 

 

NYCEastside's picture

Years ago I lived with a man who was a completely irresponsible father and allowed his daughter to live with her alcoholic mother and her boyfried.To make a long story short, at my doing I was able to extricate the 16 year old girl from her mother and she attended high school living with me and her Dad. Although she is not my biological child or even my legal stepdaughter, I was able to help her change her life by providing love, direction, and setting boundaries. All children need structure.. This is a critical age for a young girl. Her mother is a terrible role model and most likely the BM's boyfriend does drugs as well. The fact that your BF is not protecting his daughter makes me wonder what kind of man he is and how you can continue to respect him.

My story turned out well. My "step-daughter" is a smart girl. She got involved with drugs, ran away from home, and did terrible things while she lived with me. However, I never gave up on her. After seeing what was happening to her "friends" (over-doses, arrests, pregnancies, and wasted lives) she got really scared and straightened out. In the interim I dumped her Dad. I am so proud of the person that my stepdaughter has become. She is now an attorney who holds credentials in two countries. 

If you care about this girl, do what you can for her since no one else seems to care. Even if it doesn't work out ,or if she doesn't appreciate it, do it because you are doing the right thing to save a child.

Livingoutloud's picture

I understand dad doesn't have custody but a random boyfriend has even less custody! He isn't even married to BM, isn't even a step parent. Dad needs to get proper court order and shared custody, then he has a child at home, instead of a kid living wuth random 26-year old