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Step Mom Custody Concerns

Anewmom's picture

Hi Moms,
I’m looking for some advice!
I’ve been with my husband for six years now and he has a son from a previous relationship that he has 20% custody of - so he’s with us every other weekend and alternating major holidays.
We recently just had a baby of our or own.
The other day my husband brought up the topic of having his son with us full-time because he is annoyed with the mom and doesn’t feel like she’s helping him enough with his schooling etc... And she has also mentioned the potential of them moving to her home state of Texas so she can have more family support.
I don’t think my husband wants his son to be moving out of state so now he’s thinks that all the sudden we can take him on.
I absolutely am not interested in having my stepson with us full-time.
Especially considering I’d be the one dealing him for the most part since my husband schedule is quite unpredictable.
We had a brief conversation about this over the weekend and he was disappointed with my reaction.
I told him that it’s not what I signed up for AND that I came into this relationship being comfortable with the custody arrangement as it was.
I have a enough to focus on with our new baby & my own career AND I’m not looking to take on his son full-time.
I would be one thing if my stepsons mother was mentally ill or behaving badly to the child...but they just don’t get along and my husband just wants more control I think...and that’s not my problem.
So I’m wondering if any moms of been similar situations and how you dealt with it without causing too much drama between you and your husband.
Thank you.

beebeel's picture

So you never spoke about this before you married him? Before you had a child with him? How is this never a topic of discussion until things are about to change? :?

Yes, most stepparents deal with changes in custody and visitation. It was unrealistic of you to assume things would always stay as they are now. Custody changing didn't cause drama between my husband and me because I never told him to be happy to see his kids less.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Here here.

I know my partner and I have talked about this till we are black and blue. While I like having him to myself I know if he could have his kids 24/7 there would be no discussion. I'd come home from work and they'd just be there. And that's ok. Honestly it's something I love about him.

I also live in fear that BM will run and my partner won't be able to see his children which would wreck him.

This isn't to say I'm lesser in his life but I expect him to care for his minor children like the parent he is. I can always walk away. I don't NEED him. They do and so in that since they come first. I can put in place rules and demands but I could never imagine telling my partner no to having his kids.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I couldn't either. I watched BM hurt the girls. So when she sent him a message and said she didn't want them until she "get's her life back on track" and now with us aiming to take her to court and get official legal and physical custody.. That wasn't even a question to me... He talked to me the first time she ditched, and I gave him the go-ahead. I KNOW his girls are important and honestly she caused them enough pain and they didn't deserve that...

Now with court, DH has my support 100%. I'll back everything, I mean I'm even paying for the lawyer. The girls are always going to be there, that's not in question. You either accept it and support him (still expect him to parent by all means!) or you have to make a decision to get out... When someone has a kid, any decent person worth being with isn't going to just walk away from that kid. They're going to want to be with them as much as possible. If they don't, then to me it sets a question on what kind of person they are.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

My thought is if there is ever that big of an issue and we can't handle it I'm the one who leaves because the kids need their dad. When he starts slacking as a parent and expects me to do all of it we start having problems. I've made if very clear I'm not above checking out. I've got family very close that will let me stay as long as it takes, be it a day for him to get back on track, a week for him to really see what he's doing and the possible outcome if things don't change, and up to a month or so for me to find my own place.

They are children and someone has to take care of them. It's either us as a team or him. I can't picture dating a man who would tell his children to get lost.

AGAIN I understand that some children / almost adults become impossible to live with but these aren't children who need their dad's support. These are kids who need serious help. No one wants the problem young adults we hear about. We tolerate them because they are "past gone". If his little ones turn into that either it's his fault and I'm out or they need help that we can't give. I don't know exactly how to explain that.

You also have the option of disengaging. You can stay in the relationship without being involved with the kids. You have no responsibility or say. That's not the arrangement I want with my partner but I understand why people get there. However people who disengage also seem to understand the kids gonna be there. It's a final effort to save the marriage in my eyes. You basically live as if their aren't kids but you don't tell him he can't have them.

I do realize that I don't know everything. I don't know the ends and outs of things but as many said. You should have a basic idea of what is possibly the worst case is and you need to think about how you are going to handle it. If you can't handle the idea that the kids may HAVE to come live with you then you shouldn't live with a person with minor children.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

DFTT, I agree completely... I couldn't picture being in any sort of relationship with someone that would just toss the kids to the curb, to me that speaks volumes about what kind of a person they are, and that's not painting a good picture in my eyes...

You hit it straight on the head Smile

zerostepdrama's picture

Honestly I don't think DH and I ever talked about it until I basically told him no way would his girls ever come live with us and that wasn't until things got bad with them. DH has never brought up anything in regards to custody when it comes to my BS.

ETA: Thank goodness they are adults now and I don't ever have to worry about it!

pixielady's picture

DH and I talked about it before we got married. I told him the only way SS could live with us is if his mother died or disappeared, and if that happened that he would have to move out at 18. I did not sign up for taking SS on for reasons like: SS wants a change of scenery, SS isn't getting along with BM, SS wants to use our place as a crash pad, SS wants to live with us in our state to go to school, etc. etc. I was clear that if DH and I didn't agree on this, that we would not get married.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

But you did sign up for this and it is your problem. Entering into a relationship with an adult who has a minor child means you have to be aware that any moment it can change. BM could drop dead or just disappear at any moment. No it's not what you thought would happen but it was a very real possibility your being faced with. Don't like it than divorce him.

This man isn't going to just let his ex take his child from him. Put yourself in his place. You guys break up and he moves away with your child and suddenly you don't see them except maybe over the summer if the child hasn't been alienated from you. That's what he's looking at and your saying too bad don't care. You don't seem to understand that he deserves a relationship with his child too and he's not just a babysitter. Ideally every parenting relationship would be 50/50.

You have multiple choices. You can either say it's me or the kid then don't be surprised if he picks his child. You can hope it goes away but as I pointed out its always one moment away. You can also support him while setting up demands on how he will parent the child.

The thing is this isn't just something that's going to go away. It's the mans kid. That child needs his father in his life more than you need your partner. It's fine to not want to be in charge of the child but your asking for a fight if you tell him no.

ESMOD's picture

To a certain extent, I agree that when you marry a person with children that there is always a potential for your household to become the primary residence of the children (or the only residence).

However, she states that her husband has an unpredictable schedule and that means she would be saddled with more of the care requirements of the child. I don't think that THIS is necessarily always a given.

If she doesn't feel that she can provide all the care the child will need (cuts into her work or whatever)... she can tell her husband that he will need to find some help for her. That might be a housekeeper. It might mean after school care. But, he doesn't get to unilaterally make a decision and make her do all the work.

however, if at the root of it all, she can't accept the kid being there, this may not be the relationship for her right now.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I agree that she shouldn't be responsible for all the care. That's an issue as it is right now. I thought I included that she needed to discuss that with him.

But yes if the kid being with them 24/7 is that big of a problem they really need to look at their relationship. There's a lot of factors that go into it but the fact stands that this is the man's child. We'd be appalled if anyone suggested a mother just give up on her kid without good reason and there doesn't seem to be any reason here. It's just "I don't want him around."

Dad and the kid are a package deal until the child is an adult in my eyes. Yes there are many cases where we have read about truly horrible children who in my mind need to be put in an inpatient psychiatric care setting if not jail.

Totheend12345's picture

Its hard to get full custody I don't think you will have to worry about it. Maybe having him more at one time due to distance. I am sorry your having to go thru this

Willow2010's picture

I think a lot of women come into a relationship thinking that custody will never change. (This board is FULL of them) But it does. More than a lot of people know.

I get what you are saying. There is no way I would have lived with SS when he was smaller. NO WAY. But I also did not live with my DH for years because I always knew there was that chance.

You basically have 3 choices….
1). Let skid come stay in your house and tell DH that HE has ALL of the responsibility for his son.
2). Tell DH heck no and divorce.
3). Live apart until SS is MUCH older.

Good luck. I get that most people don’t think things like this will happen and is sucks when it does.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Number 1 doesn't have to be an all or nothing. You can work with your DH to figure out what you are ok doing for his son and what your not. Maybe you're ok helping to get the kid around and on the bus to school in the morning but DH needs to provide after school care and a care for the weekends. Maybe your ok cooking a "family" meal but your not making anything special. Maybe you will not be picking up after his son and that all gets left to your DH. Maybe your partner needs to pay for the kid to go to sleep away camp over the summer if he can be there to parent the way you feel he should.

It can be all or nothing but we shouldn't expect one parent to do everything in ANY relationship. If I do laundry my partner does dishes. If he cooks I'll make sure the kids get their baths. Or on days that I think SO is failing to live up to his responsibility as parent I say see ya and he does it all while I take a day off at my moms and when I come back he's better.

Now step families are special because you do have that right to say "not my kid, not my problem" but that's going to have an impact on other things you need to consider. If DH is paying for a baby sitter all the time that may mean he doesn't have money to spend on a date night.

Aniki's picture

When your partner has children, there is ALWAYS a possibility they will have 100% custody. What if BM is incarcerated, incapacitated, or dies?? Your husband will be 100% responsible for his child, who will then live with you full-time.

If you make this your hill to die on, you may find that your husband will be happy to let you focus on your baby and your career... divorced.

If your husband DOES get full/primary custody, then BM will be paying him CS. What about after-school activities for his son? Even a nanny or housekeeper who will help take some of the burden off of you. DH needs to consider how he would care for his son if YOU are not an available resource to help him.

Rags's picture

We had it from the opposite direction. My DW retained full physical and legal custody though the SpermClan did initiate custody attempts upon occasion. We fought those tooth and nail and handed them their asses any time they tried.

I would not wish spending more time with that shallow and polluted gene poll on anyone I didn't like much less my SKid who I like very much.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

We have the Skids full time... Since last June. I don't have one of my own... But if BM is threatening to move.... Then I understand your husband's sentiments. Is SS badly behaved? Because what could happen, if she tries to move your DH can file a petition to keep SS here, BM will then have a choice (I think, our BM didn't try to move, she just ditched, but I researched some back when she would throw threats at the wind of taking the kids and running with them so DH could never see them again) she can either lose custody of the kid and he stays with DH OR she can decide to not move.

One thing, you have to understand where your DH is coming from. If she moves to Texas, then he could lose the relationship with his son... I don't know how the marriage ended... But especially if it was because of something on her part... That wasn't his fault, and I'm sure he treasures his relationship with his son. If his son leaves, your asking him to give up his child for you... Which to some extent I get you wanting that, since you're his wife, but on the other side, that's putting your DH in a SUPER sucky situation. It sucks, but while you should be his first PRIORITY, the kid is his first RESPONSIBILITY. Which puts you both near the top of the totem pole. Have you thought about talking to him about maybe having a condition? Such as, IF BM moves then SS can come full time, if BM doesn't move then the schedule could remain the same or possibly he could get a little more time with him on the stipulation that he needs to find a way to arrange his schedule to help.

This isn't a way to slight you I'm sure, he's probably just worried about losing his son, if BM moves off with him it's possible she'll alienate SS from him as well, which could completely kill the father/son relationship, which I imagine would hurt your DH something awful.

I do think taking the kids on more time is something that both parties need to be involved in deciding, if you feel you can't handle it, then be honest with DH, don't phrase it like "I hate your kid and I'm happy with this schedule." Try something more along the lines of: "I'm glad you want a relationship with your son and I support that! But I don't know if I can handle having him here full time with your schedule and my own stressors." Then try to come up with a compromise for both of you. I've learned men (or at least my DH) go onto the defensive really fast if they feel like you're just shooting it down. They think they're "logical." They're really more emotional than they think, they just present it in a manner that makes it seem like logic. So you shooting it down probably threw him on the defensive.

I'm a full time parent (I'm a step, but I'm the parent!) And yes it's stressful, but I wouldn't change it. DH gets the relationship with his girls, the girls are FAR better off, and we've found a way to compromise a bit so he's helping more and I feel less stressed (I LOVE my skids, but they still cause me stress!) I know it doesn't work for everyone and I think a large part is determined by your relationship with your SS. If it's good and he's obedient then at least take a little bit of time to think and talk about possibilities with your DH.

There's always a possibility of custody change if you marry someone with kids. That's part of the package.

Aunt Agatha's picture

Skids should come with a warning label: ‘Custody can change at any time.’

Definitely it’s your husband’s job to figure out care for his son, based on what you are willing to do. The skid is not your responsibility. If you left him, he’d have to figure out care too.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Your kidding right?

Aunt Agatha is joking that the child should come with a warning label. She's not implying that the child should say anything. It's a joke.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

It's a figure of speech. The whole point is that the "normal" woman entering into a situation like this is blinded to the possible negative aspects.

Harry's picture

Your SO must First make arguments with his work schedule to be home at normal hours to parent his kid. And find after school programs for SS. Places for SS in the summer when school ends for the year ect,ect. Just not drop SS in your lap.
You have to have the right to make and I force rules of your home. Yes things changes, you SO can fight in court to stop BM from moving