Stepkids want their own car
I've been reading here for a long time, but have never posted until now. I have two teenage stepkids; DH has 60/40 custody and has been extremely high conflict with BM since their divorce 6 years ago. I gave BM the benefit of the doubt early on because divorces are hard on everyone, but have seen her do/say some horrible things to her children, not to mention the rest of us (false claims, stalking, etc). I do not trust her and have zero contact with her, but if I see her at the kids sporting events, am respectful for the kids sake. Here's the main reason for the post:
The oldest (DSD) drives and last year BM bought DSD a new car, which DSD is free to use as long as she's at BM house. DH was against a new driver having her own, brand new luxury car, but DH was not consulted and BM claimed she could do as she pleased at her own home. DH didn't like it, but couldn't argue or stop it so he let it go. During visitation with DH, DSD is not permitted to use her car; it has to stay at BM's house. DSD is frustrated with this arrangement, but DH allows DSD to use his car if it's available since we also have my car. So far it's actually been fine - we have worked out driving for all the kids and their activities just as we did prior to DSD learning to drive.
This year, BM offered to let DSD use the car during DH visiting time, but there were some significant stipulations. Given her letigous nature, I am highly uncomfortable having this car at my house at all. Here's a rundown of the rules, some of which seem reasonable while others seem.... excessive. My comments are in brackets:
- No one other than DSD and DSS may ride or sit in the vehicle unless advanced written approval is granted by BM. [I can see why BM wants to know who is riding in the car, but this suggests that DH and I would allow her to go off with unsafe or unfavorable friends, of which she does not have any.]
- DH, HowBoutScottyDont, and their joint children are explicitly prohibited from riding or sitting in the vehicle. [DH and I never planned on using the car, nor would we have our young children in it since they are in car seats in our own cars.]
- Emergency situations are not a reason for violoating the above two rules. [This is odd...]
- DSD may only use the car to transport herself and DSS to school, sports, and between their parents homes. Any other uses of the car, such as social gatherings, require advanced written permission from BM.
- DSD may not use the car to go to the grocery store for her father as part of her chores. She must use DH car for that purpose.
- All expenses incurred during DH visitation must be paid by DH.[Not sure what these expenses are... just gas?]
- The car must be parked in the garage at all times when not in use. [We don't have room in our garage for this.]
- The car must be refueled, washed and vacuumed inside before DSD and DSS return to BM's home. DH must incur the expense for these professional cleanings. [Really? I get the refueling, but professional cleaning?]
- DH must pay a percentage of the car insurance equal to the amount of time DSD and DSS are with DH and using the vehicle.
- Any damages incurred not covered by insurance that occur during DH visitation must be payed for by DH.
- If these terms are not followed to the letter, the car will no longer be available for DSD to use during visitation with her father.
- To ensure compliance, frequent, random checks will be made by BM or someone in her family. [Creeeppyyyy]
So basically, before we received this list of rules, DH was planning on offering to refill the tank before the kids returned to BMs house on Sunday evenings. Neither of us ever expected to drive or be driven in the car, although the the note about us not being in it in the case of an emergency seems odd. Beyond that, he felt that usage of the car was really between DSD and BM to include agreements for upkeep and maintenance. Of course, any rules we already had at our home would still apply - curfew, no drinking and driving (DSD should not be drinking at all but we have caught her in the past), limiting the number of kids in the car per state guidelines, etc. Once we saw this list, it seems to me that this is going to open DH up to litigation - i.e. if there is a scratch on the car, BM will claim it occured during his visitation, and therefore he must pay for repair. BM has spent about $350k in legal fees to include their divorce, so she and her lawyer are well-acquainted.