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Help with Stepdaughter visitation demands

Mommabrewer's picture

I don't know where else to go with this and I don't know how to label it.... I just need help:

My husband has been estranged from his daughter for about 2 years. He has recently  been taken to court and lost joint custody legally and the mother was given permission by the courts to change the child's last name to her stepfather's.

Now, 2 years after not getting regular visitation and 3 months after the ruling, my husband has restarted communications with the mother and has ed to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. According to the mother, the 9 year old has some demands regarding seeing him:

One of these is that MY daughter (her step sister) is not allowed at ANY visits and my son (her 1/2 brother) is REQUIRED to be there... And the mother refuses ANY contact with me, but I'm allowed to be at the visits. 

I feel I should stand up for myself and my daughter. What would you do?

Mrs Fireball's picture

Bless her heart.

She's only nine and she doesn't know what's best. She is in no position to make these demands.. If your DH is letting her call the shots, then you have a huge issue. 

Mommabrewer's picture

I believe it is partially coming from the mother. I think she's being coached into some of this. But even still... 

The mother is requiring a meeting before any visits where the only attendees are the mother, my husband and my MIL. I am not allowed. I'm heartbroken and furious at the same time.

Letti.R's picture

Why was visitation not addressed in the new court order?
Your husband should legally petition the court to get it addressed if it wasn't.

If it was addressed and stipulated in the court order, the mother is obligated to make the child available for visitation.
She can not willy-nilly set conditions for those visits.
Tell her to pound sand!
Also if it was addressed and she refuses to produce  a 9yo for court ordered visitation requirements, BM is in contempt of court for violating the court order.
Call the police.

The mother (and supposedly child's) "demands" are laughable.

STaround's picture

1.  Why did  your DH lose joint custody and why was the mom allowed to change the kid's name?  That is very unusual.

2.  What is the history with your DD and your SD? Were there any allegations of abuse, even if unfounded?  Teasing?

In any event, fine for the mom to refuse any contact with you.  

Mommabrewer's picture

1. The BM took him to court and he didn't respond properly and couldn't afdord an attorney. So when he showed up to the final hearing, he was not allowed to do anything but cross examine and everything he said was objected and sustained. 

2. Actually the SD bullied my DD. My DD WAS always good to her. The BM has always disliked my DD.

twoviewpoints's picture

May I ask what caused the estrangement between a seven year old and her father for two years?

I sounds like that after a two year (possible?) abandonment period, BM took Dato court to relinquish his parenting rights... thus the ability to allow the girl's surname change.  Did , or is, the stepfather adopt the child? 

It also doesn't sound as if any visitation rights were given to your DH. If that is the case, any time allowed between child and bio-logical father would indeed be at BM's discretion. Read the final court papers and know exactly what happened at the final hearing.

Is your DH still under a child support order? 

Chmmy's picture

I also had a step daughter who was coached to give demands at 9-10 years old. This was with my first husband who died in 2014. We started seeing her when my kids were babies, she was interested in getting to know her lil brothers. Her mom didnt like this as she gave up her childhood to raise a baby while teenage dad was out doing as he pleased. Now that he was mature, he was ready to be a dad. Not fair but he tried.

Eventually things fell apart and he was estranged from her for almost 20 years due to things her mom said and also my xH's behavior...they were very young & he was stupid. She was 30ish when he passed away. My kids were 20 & 18. She drove about 10 hours to come to his wake. SD said to me she always thought they'd work things out but now its too late. We've spent time with her & her kids...Im a grand step mom! It's kindof uncomfortable as we all dont know each other even though we say we are family. Just know that sometimes its too late to fix things and a parent/child relationship is always important. This poor girl was 30 years old and realized she let her mom's anger estrange her from her dad. Of course she always wanted to please her mom.

Mommabrewer's picture

That's exactly what is going on. It's so sad.

justmakingthebest's picture

I don't think I would give into these demands. If SD wants to see her dad she is welcome to be a part of your family but not with terms like this. Would your DH be willing to go along with telling BM - No?

Since SD's name was changed is your DH still on the hook for CS?

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

Wow. I am sure there is more background to this. I can't imagine a judge allowing a BM to change the name of a child with an involved biological father. 

Which leads me to believe that the relationship was very wishy washy to begin with. 

With that said - if your DH is trying to build a relationship with his daughter then he needs to start that on his own.  You are both wrong. It should be him and her, outside the home, for short visits. Once they establish a common trust and respect THEN add in the others. To me it isn't giving into BM's demands, but doing what is best for the child.

I would also involve a great child therapist who can help guide father and daughter into the right direction. 

Mommabrewer's picture

You're exactly right! Thank you for helping me step outside my feelings and see the rational approach 

STaround's picture

Would look for an counselor to do family counseling who is experienced with step families.  One of my friends, another SM, found a great one.  The first things the counselors said to the kid were:

1.  It is only natural to want your parents to get back together, but that is not going to happen.  Your dad is married to SM now.

2.  It is OK to have feelings, your feelings are what they are.   But everyone, including you, dad and SM have to act in a civil way.  

Then she listened to each party, and came up with compromises.  Everyone gave in a little.  My friend did not like having to nag the kid.  The compromise was no food in kid's room, and kid had to do her own laundry.  My friend would not complain about room being a mess.   If kid did not do as agreed to, DAD had to take care of, and would check her room twice a day.  

notasm3's picture

Your DH can see her OUTSIDE of your home.  I personally wouldn’t let her near either of my children if I were you.   She sound like trouble. 

Mommabrewer's picture

There has always been turmoil when she is invloved.

Want2's picture

“I feel I should stand up for myself and my daughter.”

Not sure what you mean by this, you said SD bullies your DD so maybe it’s best not to force them together 

tog redux's picture

This will not be popular, but DH needs to either:

1. Find a way to hire an attorney and go back to court to fight this properly, or:

2. Let this little girl go.  Offer to give up his rights so stepdad can adopt, or if not, just don't see her.

BM is in control of everything now, do you think she's going to agree to a therapist? Nope. She has your DH firmly by the balls and any contact with SD will be controlled by her in every way. He'd be doing his DD a favor to let her go and let stepdad be her father.  This half-assed at-BM's-whim visitation is not going to create the close relationship he hopes for with his daughter.

My SS19 was alienated for over 3 years. When he came back into our lives, it became very clear that he is still BM's puppet. He can only have as much relationship with DH as BM is going to allow, whether he knows it or not (he doesn't. at this point).  It's a superficial relationship and he disappears whenever he feels challenged at all.  I don't know if he will ever have a real father-son relationship with DH, he's too controlled by BM.

SD is young enough that she can get on with life without BM using her as a weapon against DH. At least until BM leaves Stepdad and uses SD as a weapon against him.

 

Plantmom's picture

My SD also gave similar demands at the same age. She wouldnt agree to see DH unless he would take her on vacations or to expensive activities. She never wanted to be at our home just out somewhere where he could spend money. It was like that was the only way he was allowed to show love. She wanted him to travel 3 hours to her town to just have breakfast with her. He wanted to have more than an hour if he was going to spend 6 hours traveling. He could not afford the 9 year olds demands so he just didn't see her. I told him time again that this should be decided by the parents not the child but he thought SD would miss him as much as he missed her and eventually agree to see him. That hasn't happened and their relationship is as bad as ever. 

Notup4it's picture

It almost sounds like court was just a way to show dominance.... why after 2 years and lawyers/court to get your DH out of her life does she all of a sudden want back in? That sounds very fishy. 

The fact that your DD would have to be out of her own house (without her brother and mother) sounds like a play to destroy your family.  

Youe DH can see if she is willing to meet with him casually outside the home until a relationship can be established if he so desires. But I’m certain the whole thing is one giant play to get inside your home and destroy the family. 

Shnorkels828's picture

I totally agree with this! It is so sad that some BMs can control their own daughters enough to make them stop visitation with their dads. Unless your husband was unfit, i don’t see how a court could allow that and also let her take stepdads name.

Your DH needs to be firm that he can see her outside of the home (without your son) for small visits. If she wants to be able to come to your home to have a relationship with her dad and brother then your daughter will also be there- that is the family now and SD needs to get over herself. I would even try to go back to court so that it is in a court order. Because Unfortunately if BM is the one causing this, then SD probably won’t get over it, because she will have her mom trying to alienate your DH more. I doubt a court would say to send your DD away while SD visits. 

DrizzlyHateful's picture

I just wouldn't go visit the little shit, nor let your bio