You are here

RTFC-O. Who has read it?

Rags's picture

At my favorite employer, one I worked with for over 11 years, I had a colleague who was the Director of Contracts Administration, he was a JD.  He would regularly use the acronym RTFC.

Read The Fucking Contract. 

The number of Sr leaders do not read the contract that they were responsible for delivering to was always mind boggling to me.  Or have not read the Visision and Mission statements of their organization or the goals and objectives of the organization that they lead.

That jumped out to me from the ether of my 10+ years ago memories of working with him while I have been cogetating a plethora of STalk topics and memories.

I believe that advice is critical for SPs,  though with the caveat to Read The Fucking Court-Order.  It may not be our CO, but  it is a CO that governs a major part of our lives as people married to prior failed family breeders.  Whether  or not we are breeders ourselves, either failed family or with ours babies  with our partner in a blended family marriage.

Regardless of which side of the blended family equation me married into. The CP side, or the NCP side.  The CO is equally impactful on the life of a SParent in the mix.

So, who has actually RTFCO that our mate is bound to?  If under a CO with an X and children yourself, has your mate read your CO?

I have, countless dozens of times.  I was hip deep in the CO less than two weeks after we married.  Which was when the CO was ordered following the SpermGrandHag's attempt to take custody of SS from DW.  

A couple of related questions.

Who has read the supplemental jurisdictional/county rules for the local that the CO you live under issued?

Who has read the State regulations on Custody/Visitation/Support for the State your CO you live under is issued?

Our CO is below, for anyone who is up for some light reading.  I am not sure if is pathetic that I keep this on my hard drive almost 14yrs after SS aged out from under it.


Note:  DW and DickHead were never married. I pushed for that correction to be made, nope. Facts are apparently not relevant in SPermLand idiot Judge rulings.  The hearing was in August and the CO was revised in Oct to address who could accompany then 2yo SS during visitation travel to SpermLand and to add the cumbersum wording on what the end point was for any visitation after SpermGrandHag pulled some hinky bullshit that travel was on our time and visitation did not start until SS arrived in SpermLand.  Which is all a revision on the original judgement of paternity that DW had filed when SS was not yet 1yo.



            FOR XXXX COUNTY


In the matter of the marriage of:                         Case No. F-xxxx


                                                                               TO MODIFY THE STIPULATED

MY DW                                                                 JUDGEMENT OF PATERNITY







            This matter having come before the Court upon Respondents’ Motion for Order to Show Cause for Modification of Stipulated Order of Paternity and Counter-Motions for Modification on the 3rd day of August, 1994; the Court having heard testimony of the parties, having reviewed the evidence and the file herein;





1.         That at all times in which the petitioner and respondent live within 200miles of each other, respondent shall have visitation with his minor son, XYZ, date of birth XX/XX/XXX, pursuant to XXXX County Supplemental Rule 8.085.


2.         That at all times which petitioner and respondent live more than 200 miles from each other, respondent will have visitation with his minor son, XYZ, as follows:


a. During 1994, respondent shall have visitation from September 25 through October 8 and from December 11 though December 22.


b. Beginning in 1995 and continuing through the summer of 1998, respondent will have visitation as follows:

               (1) Two weeks in March.

               (2) Four weeks in the summer.  After two weeks of respondents visitation has passed, petitioner shall be entitled to up to ten days of visitation in the area where the respondent is residing.  Respondent's four week visitation will be extended by the number of days which the petitioner has the child in the middle of the respondents four week summer visitation.  For example, if after the respondent has had two weeks of summer visitation, petitioner visits with her son in the respondent’s area for six days, then after the child is returned to the respondent, he shall have two weeks remaining visitation.  Respondents’ summer visitation shall not include the minor child's birthday on consecutive years.

              (3) Two weeks in September or October

              (4) December 11 through December 22.

               (5) For seven days of respondents choosing, provided the seven days visitation is not within two weeks of any other visitation, and that the seven day visitation takes place in the child's area of residence.


c. For the period beginning on the date school starts in 1998 and continuing there after as follows:

              (1) A five day weekend visit in September or October after September 15th in the area where the child resides so that the child may attend school during the day.

              (2) On even numbered years, winter visitation beginning on the day school gets out until December 24; and on odd numbered years beginning on December 26, until the day before school starts.

              (3) Every spring vacation pursuant to XXXX County Supplemental Rule 8.085.

              (4) Five weeks in the summer; after two weeks of respondents summer visitation has passed, petitioner will have up to ten days of visitation in the area in which respondent is residing.  Respondent’s five week summer visitation will be extended by the number of days which petitioner has the child in the middle respondent’s five-week summer visitation.  Respondent’s summer visitation shall not include the child’s birthday on consecutive years.


            d. Respondent shall inform petitioner in writing at least 60 days prior to any visitation he intends to exercise.  The notice shall include the dates he intends to exercise visitation.  Petitioner shall respond in writing to respondent within 15 days of receipt of notice as to whether or not she will exercise visitation in the middle of the respondent’s visitation, including the dates and number of days the intends to have the minor child.


            e. Times for beginning and ending visits shall be flexible to accommodate transportation arrangements.  Visits shall end after an amount of time less than or equal to the period provided in this order.  Thus, for example, a visit from September 25 through October 8 is a visit for two weeks, and petitioner shall be entitled to the return of the child after 336 hours (24x14) has passed since the petitioner released the child to the care of the respondent.  Said differently, petitioner shall be entitled to return of the child on the final day of the visit, at or before the time at which she released the child to the respondent’s care on the first day of the visitation.


  1. The cost of transportation for all visitations shall be handled by the parties as follows:  Each party shall be responsible to provide transportation to bring the minor child from the child’s location to the party’s location.  For example, Mr. DickHead shall arrange and be responsible for the child’s transportation to Mr. Dickhead’s residence for visitations.  Petitioner shall arrange and be responsible to provide transportation back to her residence.  This may include any acceptable transportation including transportation by grandparents.  Each party shall cooperate in making travel arrangements for the child’s return, including driving the child to the airport, if necessary.
  2. Respondent shall pay petitioner $132.00 per month for child support commencing on the 10th day of August, 1994.


  1. Each party shall be responsible for one half of unreimbursed medical, dental, optical, and orthodontic expenses incurred on behalf of the minor child.


  1. Both parties shall provide the other with their current address and telephone numbers.


Dated this _____ day of October, 1994


                                                                                    JUDGE ____________________








ESMOD's picture

I read my husband's orders.. 

I do agree that while we are not party to these agreements.. if we choose to be a partner to someone that is under the control of an order.. then we are agreeing that we understand their obligations under that agreement.  We don't get to complain when we want to move to arizona when the CO stipulates that the parents will both remain in Indiana for the duration of their children's minor years for example.  We can complain when the parent's are not following their CO and doing things that are outside of it.. that are negatively impacting our lives.. but when it's there in black and white?  we should have an opportunity to look and see if it's something we can live with... including financial obligations.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

It's also my view that a stepparent is morally obligated to tolerate what's spelled out in the CO and CS order. The problem i see on this site is that too many stepparents are married to people who won't insist it's followed and allow their ex to have their way to the detriment of the stepparent's household. Or, like in my SO's case, no CO. Whichever bioparent is the biggest bully or cares the least about the kids "wins" in those cases. The spouses of the losers end up posting here because their lives are so miserable. Yeah, occasionally we get a stepparent who truly is selfish or unreasonable. But, if there is a CO which everyone involved knows and follows, there's going to be less drama. Probably not enough drama to land someone on this site. The stepparents who live with COs that are followed are probably just playing sudoku right now or something. 

ESMOD's picture

I'm positive that we see the "worst" side of steplife here.  The people that are Super happy.. reasonably happy.. or only occasionally frustrated are not generally seeking out a support

And.. too many people (bio parents).. think that they can get by without a CO.. because they are going to be "reasonable".. and that only lasts as long as one person is getting their way..or until you start getting more moving pieces with new partners and the drama from those new relationships.  

Then there are the parents (mostly men).. who are pretty much skewered in court and have precious little access and are simultaneously afraid to upset the ex and/or kids because that could get yanked... and willing to pick up any scraps of time that are thrown out.. often with high financial pricetags to stay in good graces...   They then get new partners and conflict ensues when the new partner no longer wants their spouse to be the beck and call for their EX and kids.  The guys have spent so much time just "giving in and plain GIVING" that any pull back is hugely punished by the former spouse and children who blame the new partner for the change.

Then the last part is we have people that just plain shouldn't have had kids.. men, it seems especially, who have no interest in parenting their kids.. maybe don't even know how.. other than to go "marry that talent".. and the new wife won't love them like her own.. the horror.

But.. yeah.. a good CO is at least a baseline need and hopefully one that both parties are at least willing to live by for the most part.  I'm all for being reasonable switching time when it's warranted.. but it should go both ways..but we often see that doesn't happen.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

So often there will be a first-time poster here. You can't possibly spell out a whole situation in one post, and sometimes what they do post makes the OP seem selfish or unreasonable. But in the comments, almost as an afterthought, it comes out that the CO isn't being followed or there isn't one. Having something be predictable and knowing it's required by law makes it easier to tolerate imo. You know your spouse is following the CO, not acting out of a need to please their ex for whatever reason, and you know when the kids will be in your home so you can prepare. It also minimizes excessive contact with the ex, since you don't have to talk daily and figure out where you want the kids to go and when. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

ETA also, some of the biodads talked about on this site feel they have to "woo" their kids to come to their houses. This creates another set of problems for stepmoms. Following a CO gets rid of the butt-kissing and fear of upsetting the kids. 

AlmostGone834's picture

I'm of a different option that this is more the norm, not the worst based on divorce rates and the universal nature of problems in second marriages with children.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I hope you're wrong. I like to think that somewhere out there, there's a whole world where the only BMs people think about on a daily basis get flushed away after their morning coffee. 

ESMOD's picture

I honestly think that 2nd relationships probably fail because there is at least a 50/50 chance that one or both of the partners was a problem.  So.. why wouldn't their 2nd (and third and fourth).. relationships fail because they are the same person?  

I do think that the complexities of steplife.. bring more people into the mix and increase the chance that problems will pop up.. on top of the others.. 

I'm not necessarily saying that "happy 2nd families" are the norm.. but they are out there.. there are situations that aren't as bad as many that we see here... we tend to see the "worst".. cases. We do see the more extreme negatives.. 

AlmostGone834's picture

Oh no steptalk is just the tip of the iceberg. Head over to the r/stepparents site on Reddit and just read through the headlines. There's 79k members there, loads of posts every single day and it's all the same issues we see here... awful BMs, unparrented kids, drama, money wars, stepparents who wish their kids would just disappear, Disney Dads, etc. They even use the same terminology we use here. 

Yesterdays's picture

It seems like in a lot of situations where drama is ensuing the bio parent seems very afraid... Afraid of dealing with the other parent.. Afraid of things changing... afraid of money issues... However not realizing that a court order will actually protect their interests. Make things more fair. Better than allowing yourself to be treated horribly by manipulative parents. That's why the first question is usually do they have a court order. If not there's often trouble. One parent taking advantage 

Yesterdays's picture

We've read each others. It still comes into play. I'm about to have post secondary expenses with my kids, as is my husband. In my agreement it's all spelled out very specifically however I still anticipate many issues. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

My SO has no CO. Still. He and BM2 have been in and out of court for CS disputes but (shockingly) a CO is not required before ordering CS. 

AlmostGone834's picture

I didn't read mine. I was young and stupid. Fortunately The Skunk Ape never strayed from the EOW agreement and DH never wanted more time and didn't really care if she wanted an extra holiday here and there. 

ICanMakeIt's picture

I started dating my husband while he was in the middle of his divorce proceedings. BM had drug that thing out for so long. By the time it was settled I had been immersed in the back and forth proposals and due to dealing with my sister's high conflict birth dad knew things that should be spelled out to avoid problems down the road. Leave no grey area if possible is what I would always tell him. 

I would say it is fair to say I was intimately aware of the CO.

However as the years have progressed, the amount of direct communication between DH and BM is very limited and always in writing only. She found ways a few times early on to weasel her way out of some things we thought were pretty iron clad. It taught DH a lesson. No compromise, no deviations, and no trust.

She recently made a pretty big ask, and he shut it down with the quickness by quoting the CO to her. Not to be an ass but to show he only does what is in writing. Its maybe the 3rd time he's ever quoted the CO to her. SHE HATES when he does that and always reminds him she is well aware what it says. I guess she forgets how many times she has screwed him over and assumes he'll just roll over. Of course she tries to make him the bad guy like he is harming the kid(s) in some way. Spoiler Alert...he isn't . She isn't getting what she wants is all. 

I'll also add, reading and understanding the same way another person undertands is sometimes the problem. And a lot of these HCBM don't think rules apply to them. 

Rags's picture

Wow,  Though surprising, it shouldn't have been.  I expected that the number of people who have read the CO their SO is under would be much lower.

Thanks for all of the comments and discussion.

I have never seen the original Paternity CO.  As I understand it that one confirmed DW as having full physical and legal custody, established CS at $110/mo.  That is it. No visitation schedule, nothing. Just naming the SpermIdiot as the father and setting the initial pittance in CS.

The one above was ordered at a hearing 4days after we married and 2days before SS-31's 2nd Bday.  DW and SS had moved out of State for University about 10mos before the court date.  The main action of the revised CO was to confirm DW's full physical and legal custody in response to an attempt to take custody of SS, set a visitation schedule, and raise CS from  $110/mo to $133/mo.  We then lived under the above CO for 9yrs.  The final mod reconfirmed full physical and legal for DW, and raised CS to $785/mo for two years and pre-ordered that it drop to $385/mo after that two years remaining there for the duration of the CO.  That final hearing set the status quo for the remaining 6yrs until SS aged out.

Because we were in court 4days after our wedding I was intimate with the CO from its inception.

Our journey as a blended family has always pretty much been a Unicorn of blended family experiences.  We did not have the internal drama. SS was young, we built our family together from as close to day one of his life as is likely possible in a blended marriage.  Our conflicts were as close to 100% SpermClan/NCP related as  you can just about get.

My long time participation in STalk started with SpermClan battles and pretty much stayed in that arena for the most part.  Until we aged out from under the CO and I found myself here, still. 

Thanks again everyone for sharing and commenting.  It gives me a lot of expanded perspective to consider.

Take care of you.


CLove's picture

I read the child support orders.

I also read the divorce documents, which came before.

They wanted "flexibility" and there is not much money to go around, so there werent a lot of detailed instructions/requirements/restrictions. Just the money amount.

Rags's picture

How about our SOs?  Apparently many of us marry people incapable of reading since they clearly do not comprehend the content of their own CO.


Mine can.  Though even my brilliant bride would apparently lose comprehension of the content of the CO upon occassion.

DW: So what do you want me to do? Grrr.

Rags: Umm, the answer is right here.  In the CO.  Do that. (Pointing at the numbered line in the CO containing clarity.)

Then I would run and duck.



Rumplestiltskin's picture

My SO told me for years that his CO said 50/50, and that SO had to pay for 2/3 of expenses and provide or pay for daycare even on BM2's days. When BM tried her failed ex-parte, i finally found out that there was no CO. SO thought there was for 10 years, but was wrong. SO's brother thought he was entitled by his CO from his BM2 to 2 weeks' visitation in the summers. He said they never came because his BM2 never let them. Once they were teenagers, she suddenly let them visitfor what was supposed to be a week. But when it was up, she didn't return calls and was not at her house. It turned out that she left the staye because she needed a break from the girls she had PAS'd and trained to be little monsters. He tried to get her to take them back but it turned out, he didn't know his own CO either. He had been supposed to have them 8 weeks in the summer the whole time. Dumbass. 

Cover1W's picture

I read what I thought was the final version of the CO, but DH informed me years later that it wasn't, it was the final draft. In any case, pretty much everything I read was being followed back then, until the PAS kicked in. It took YEARS for them to get a CO because BM fought it every step of the way (that was also documented and I read all about those episodes/changes/court fights- she was truly horrible and I lost any iota of respect for her after that reading).