Legal woes...wwyd?

lovehadley

I know this isn't a legal forum by any means, but I just wanted to get some input. My fiance and I are both feeling pretty frustrated and not sure of what step to take next.

Before I say ANYTHING further, can I please say--no flamers. Seriously. I am just not in the mood. If you don't have anything RELEVANT or constructive to say regarding my post...I really don't want to hear it!

Attorney called this afternoon, late. He had spoken with the GAL today and got a hold on where we are.

Basically, the GAL is insistent that STBSS attend school in his BM's district. His reason is that she has sold him on the idea that she is a SAHM. (IMO, she's really not...if you have to collect welfare for BOTH your kids in order to stay home, then you need to get a JOB.) I do not understand that mentality. But anyway--she convinced the GAL that she is "always available" and therefore, he decided STBSS should go to the school that is 1 mile from her house.

My fiance is gainfully employed--he works 6 days a weeek. I just do NOT understand, nor does our attorney, why the burden of transportation is being put upon the party that works for a living. BM has ample time to drive her son to and from school; my fiance does not.

The GAL admitted to our attorney that, unfortunately, since the school district is year-round, he was forced to make a decision FAST and that he didn't really have enough time to evaluate. He said he made the best decision he could with little time.

He did say that if BM moves (they are month-by-month on their lease and STBSS also told us they might be evicted because they have to hide their dogs from the landlord--lovely.) Anyway--if BM moves, and STBSS has to change schools, then he will automatically go to our district.

If BM gets another DWI, with or without her son in the car, the GAL will reccommend primary custody be given to us.

But those are two big "ifs." The DWI thing is just a chance thing. She drives drunk all the time--but it's really just luck--she could go two weeks and get one, she could go ten years. You just never know. Our attorney really pushed us to hire a PI to have her followed and to call the police and report her drunk driving--to kind of expedite a DWI if you will.

He says we should proceed ahead with the depositions...we do have a fair amount of ammo on her. One ambulance trip to the ER last year--she had alcohol poisoning. Multiple police calls to her house with her ex-boyfriend; we think there have been one or two to the home she lives in with her current boyfriend, but not sure. We have emails from her cousin stating she needs prof. help, that her drinking is out of control.

But we just don't feel that confident. Our attorney seems to be blindsided by everything that happens...we don't want an attorney who gets caught off guard, but this guy (who really is supposed to be excellent) seems shocked by every move by the GAL.

WWYD? It seems unlikely to me--that if STBSS is settled in school and happy--that a judge will pull him out, unless, like the GAL said, something big happens, like a DWI.

So why would it behoove us to proceed with the deposition and trial?

I really don't know how we will manage the transportation to this school. I am completely out of the morning loop because I have to drive my DD to school.

I told my fiance I would be okay with doing one set day a week for pick-up if we are on a 3 day schedule, or 2 if we are on a 5. But I can't really do more than that. I may get flamed for saying this--but I do have my own child to think about too. And if I have to pick STBSS up at school at 4 pm--in rush hour traffic, his school is about a 45 min drive from my daughter's school. I would pick her up at 3:10, and drive 45 mins to his school. Then I would be going with traffic on the way home and it would honestly probably take an hour. There is no easy way to get there except to take two major interstates in the peak of rush hour. Like it or not, I have DD to think about, and I cannot see myself having her be in the car for close to two hours after school. That just doesn't seem fair. If it were just me--I would do it--but not with her. and then for STBSS---he won't get home until pretty much 5 pm when he is with us. I know kids do after-care and all that...but that just seems so late to me. I don't know...

My fiance totally agrees with that, as well. But it is going to be tough for HIM to do it, as well. He can't just up and leave work to pick his son up at 4--well, not if he wants to make any money!

My heart broke for him today because he got all teary and said that if all his time with STBSS is going to be spent driving in the car, maybe he is better off with every other weekend and then at least the time will be quality. :( But I know that's not what he WANTS at all, and I know he's not to that point anyway.

We are both still hoping that somehow this can be turned around.

We are considering using some sort of nanny service and paying a driver? DH was guessing $25/day and at 5 days a week, that would be $250/month.

The GAL did say that he is expecting BM to be "on call" every day and that if my fiance calls her, and says no one can pick up STBSS, she needs to get him--and keep him at her house until my fiance can get there. She promised the GAL she will be "reasonable" and "understanding." Haha. I wil believe that when I see it.

New GAL? New attorney? Take it to trial and hope that the judge looks harder at the facts and the history here?

Pray she moves and changes schools? or gets a DWI?

WWYD?

Thanks!

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kkny

Where I live, its tough to find help. I have been flamed for using an aupair (for, I know, dont laugh) a 16 year old. But it gives me a responsible driver, and allows me to work full time, and I dont miss that much time with DD, its just I couldnt count on being home when needed. IMHO you have to look at not only losing work, losing hours from work, but benefits, pension etc.

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lovehadley

"But it gives me a responsible driver"

That alone is a great reason to use an au pair, or some other person found through a nanny service. Not saying that those companies don't make mistakes, but I think they do their screening pretty carefully and certainly require background checks, driving records, proof of car insurance, etc.

I don't think an au pair for a 16 yr old is so strange, sounds like a good solution. And if she is a young au pair, then your DD probably thinks she is cool, right?

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kkny

Yes, DD did. But frankly I had no choices. I wasnt going to go on welfare and I wasnt going to have DD standing at the curb waiting for a ride.

Others have commented on seeing if you could pay the mom to do additional driving. I can imagine you are ready to choke at that, but the bigger issue is the DWI. Unless she only drinks at night, that is just unworkable.

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imamommy

kkny, the ONLY reason I have ever made a comment (flame?) about your au pair is that stepmom's have been criticized for doing the SAME thing your au pair is paid to do. I think it's great to get help, wherever you can find it.

and I agree with your comment on the DWI. I was one that suggested paying the mom to drive but hadn't thought of her alcohol problems. I think all evidence of substance abuse needs to be highlighted to the GAL and Judge.

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bunglogrl

A nanny/driver is a good suggestion. Any chance your future DH could just handle this entire mess? As you said, your daughter is your priority. No need to stress yourself over his issues now or you'll be coming to his rescue forever. BTDT since my DH's ex is also a welfare scammer who got her first job only after the youngest turned 19. This is likely the first of many battles to come.

My DH had to settle for some summers and every other weekend. He wasn't happy about it, but he would never have expected me to play chauffeur, babysitter or legal advisor. I was his shoulder to cry on when he became frustrated with his ex or lawyers over custody/support modifications over the years. When the steps were school aged he worked two jobs to afford his CS payments (plus paying back the state). His work hours weren't flexible enough for him to be here with them after school every day.

I think that sometimes, as women, we are too willing to make someone else's problems our own. We focus on those we love and neglect our own peace of mind in the process.

What would I do? Listen and comfort him. They'll figure something out.

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lovehadley

bunglogrl,

I totally hear what you are saying and part of me agrees. But we also came to the agreement that last year was my last year of teaching--I have no plans to go back in the fall. We are getting married in Sept. and--hopefully this isn't TMI--we will start trying for a baby right away! :)

So since I will now be a SAHM and DH will be pretty much supporting the family, I feel that carpool/driving/childcare primarily falls on me. BUT that said--I would never put my two children in schools that are 45 minutes driving distance apart! So I'm not sure how much this particular issue with STBSS's school falls into the range of normal "mom" duties.

I half to temper this, though, with the fact that I run the household--I do all the laundry, grocery shopping, house-cleaning, cooking, etc. So while I might not be going to contribute significantly financially, I am a key player in having our lives run smoothly.

I feel it is fair and expected of me to do a PART of the driving. That's why we talked and I told him I would do 1 day a week if we are doing the 3 days, or 2 days if we are doing the 5. I told him I wanted those to be set days so I can plan accordingly, and he agreed.

Thanks for your thoughts :)

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eandhl

lovehadley, in your situation could you consider every weekend being a 3 or 4 day weekend? In other words. Pick up SS on Fri after school and drop him off at School on Mon? Or pick up early Sat AM and drop off Mon at School? Lots of quality time with SS and gives mom weekends off for what she wants to do.

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tamar_422

"He did say that if BM moves (they are month-by-month on their lease and STBSS also told us they might be evicted because they have to hide their dogs from the landlord--lovely.) Anyway--if BM moves, and STBSS has to change schools, then he will automatically go to our district."

I know this will probably sound cruel and heartless, but since the GAL did mention he really didn't have time to fully evaluate the situation, and the bio-mom has all sorts of issues that would seem to make son's home life with her unstable (and that's being kind), why not tip the landlord off to the dogs?

eandhl had a good suggestion about extended time over the weekends. While you might end up with less time (3 nights vs. 4 nights), you certainly will be spending less time in the car, so the time son has with you is more quality time, vs. time stuck in the car at rush hour.

Lastly, if you suspect she regularly drinks and drives, I would not hesitate to hire a PI to help catch her in the act. One incident is all you need.

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lovehadley

"I know this will probably sound cruel and heartless, but since the GAL did mention he really didn't have time to fully evaluate the situation, and the bio-mom has all sorts of issues that would seem to make son's home life with her unstable (and that's being kind), why not tip the landlord off to the dogs?"

It's actually already done. Our attorney told us to get on that when we met with him earlier this week. I had a friend of mine call anonymously and just leave a message acting like she lives in their neighborhood, and complaining about the dogs barking all the time.

It felt so shady doing that but our attorney pretty much did say that if we want anything done, we are going to have to make things happen.

We really hesitated to do it--if they get evicted, STBSS will lose his home over there, and we don't like knowing we are responsible for that. But we both strongly feel he will be better off living more with us.

Plus--since BM is on a month to month, anyway, the termination of the lease was bound to happen anyway---so I guess we are just trying to expedite it.

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fiveinall

Can you not request a new GAL? If BM has had DWI's I am just shocked that a GAL would see this as a good enviroment for a child to be raised in. Especially since she was taken by ambulance for alcohol poisoning... This just doesnt feel right to me...I would go to trial it sounds like your only shot! And I woul definately hire a PI!

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catlettuce

I would have a serious problem with my kid living with a practising alcoholic that is not in recovery.

I grew up watching my Dad slowly die of alcoholism and he did at age 43 when I was 15. It still affects me to this day. He wasn't a bad person, very sweet in fact but he absolutely broke my heart.

I'd do whatever it takes to get your SS out of that living situation, if you & STBDH see all of that then there is much more you are not seeing.

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kkny

Where I live if someone has a DWI with a child in the car, they add a child endangerment to the charges (which I think is correct). While I am agast at DWIs, not certain what GAL can do if none occured while child not in car. I think GAL has to focus on how these things affect child, not looking at them in a vaccuum. Also where I live they take plenty of people to hospital in ambulances for alcohol (maybe concerned about lawsuits -- who knows).

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kkny

Ima, as to your comment of aupairs v. stepmoms. I have always said aupair drives, does errands, helps around the house. I think the difference is I have said I think the parents should be the ones to have substantive discussions with doctors, teachers etc regarding children, not the stepparents.

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theotherside

"It's actually already done. Our attorney told us to get on that when we met with him earlier this week. I had a friend of mine call anonymously and just leave a message acting like she lives in their neighborhood, and complaining about the dogs barking all the time."

I think that is beyond shady. What a sleazy attorney, and what a horrible, horrible thing to do!!!! Not only was it dishonest, and you are responsible for him (and his mother and his baby sister) losing his home, but ALSO LOSING HIS DOGS!!!! How can you do that to a child??? A child that you claim to care for. Are you going to adopt his dogs as well?

After my H left, he suggested that we "get rid" of some of our animals - I think that, perhaps even more than leaving, even more than the adultery, infuriated our children.

I have always believed that there is something inherently wrong with people who don't want any pets, and I when I managed some property for a relative, I refused to do so unless she allowed the renters to have pets.

If it comes out in court (and I am sure it will, because of course the mother is going to figure out who ratted her out), this will absolutely adversely affect your husband's chances of keeping even 50/50 custody.

Why on earth are you harping on the month-to-month lease? Lots of people stay in the same apartment/home with month-to -month leases for years.

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imamommy

OMG!!! This kid has an alcoholic mother with a history of moving around (unstable) and you are worried about her losing her dogs????? LMAO

Perhaps if she wasn't taking on the responsibility of pets that she isn't supposed to have, then she wouldn't need to go get welfare. Pet owners are supposed to be responsible and pets can be costly with food and vet bills. That is money she should reserve for her children, especially if she isn't working and her income is child support and welfare. That means the father's of her children and the State is supporting those dogs. I find that inherently wrong!!!

And it's funny that you think it's dishonest to tell the truth to the landlord, but it's not dishonest for her to lie in order to have the dogs there? If she had permission and paid a pet deposit, then she wouldn't have to worry about the landlord finding out...

and yeah, lots of people stay in month to month tenancy for years (sorry but they are NOT 'leases' if they are month to month) but this mom has a history of moving several times in the past few years.

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catlettuce

Frankly not only do the kids deserve to NOT live with a practising alcoholic that drives drunk, the dogs deserve better too.

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theotherside

She could have moved several times in the last few years whether it was a month-to-month lease or a year's lease, so that is irrelevant.

I have NEVER paid a pet deposit, and I have rented places with as many as three dogs, two cats, a couple of guinea pigs and a reptile. I agree that she should not have signed a lease that specified no pets, but according to you she didn't sign a lease. She should have found a place that allowed her dogs, but that is certainly not the boy's fault. You don't get rid of your pets just because you fall on hard financial times. Pets are essential to raising healthy, well-adjusted, responsible kids, and if you get rid of your pets every time you hit a bump in the road, what are you teaching them about commitment?? Dogs and cats don't easily adjust to new homes. Isn't it hard enough on the boy that he lost his intact family - how can you expect him to give up his canine family as well??????

I am HAPPY to have my taxes go toward food and veterinary care for pets for people who could not otherwise afford to have them.

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imamommy

"I am HAPPY to have my taxes go toward food and veterinary care for pets for people who could not otherwise afford to have them."

Me too, the elderly is one thing.. taking food out of a child's mouth is another.

What is even funnier to me is that this subject (pets) has reminded me that just after BM moved away, leaving her daughter with us, she bought another dog for several hundred dollars. She left her other daughter with grandma and much to grandma's dismay, she also left her big, untrained dog with grandma. (as well as her cat) So, she wants a new dog, GREAT. But she's refused to pay one penny for her daughter for ANYTHING. Yet, last weekend, she couldn't come pick up her daughter because she says she had to take her dog to the vet in the middle of the night and she was too tired to drive and pick up her daughter. And did I mention, she won't take her daughter to the doctor because she doesn't want to be stuck with the co-pay? I just find it ironic that one person thinks pets are so wonderful for kids, but I know a kid that thinks the pets are more important than she is. Hmmmm.

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lovehadley

"I agree that she should not have signed a lease that specified no pets, but according to you she didn't sign a lease"

I never said she didn't sign a lease. When BM and fiance met with the GAL together, she brought a copy of the lease that shows her name is on it. They had a 12 month lease but the landlord wouldn't renew it for 12 months, it is only month to month now.

And I am harping on that because it is relevant. BM could move any day now, at some point, the landlord is going to not renew for another month--if he wanted them to stay long-term, he would have renewed it at the 12 month mark, don't you think?

The chances of STBSS having to switch schools is higher than it is for our home. And the GAL even said--if she moves and he has to change schools, he will attend our district automatically.

I think it's really ridiculous that they have these two huge dogs, knowing they are NOT ALLOWED to have pets. The first dog was her boyfriend's and he snuck him in AFTER they moved into the house--because they could not sign a pet deposit, the landlord had a firm policy on NO PETS period. THEN--and this is the funny part since BM is on state assistance--last year, 4 weeks before their baby was due, I might add, they paid $1500.00 for a new purebred puppy.

Your tax dollars at work.

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lovehadley

"Isn't it hard enough on the boy that he lost his intact family - how can you expect him to give up his canine family as well??????"

I wanted to add--STBSS HATES these dogs. And I don't blame him. The few times I have been to her house, all I see is slobber and nasty ungroomed animals. They are both bulldogs--and last time we picked STBSS up there, the one dog had this red "cherry" thing oozing on it's EYEBALL. BM said that her boyfriend didn't want to buy the medicine needed for it. So not only are they excellent parents, you can see they care just as well for their animals.

Seriously, STBSS doesn't care for the dogs a BIT. He has a hamster at our house, and a hamster at BM's, both of which he ADORES, but the dogs--he could care less about. He even tells us how gross they are.

I think the dogs are more the boyfriend's deal, anyway.

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imamommy

"and if you get rid of your pets every time you hit a bump in the road, what are you teaching them about commitment??"

What is she teaching her kid about commitment when she has this boyfriend, then that boyfriend... and now another baby but isn't married to that babies father. and I'm not claiming to be holier than thou, but how can you snap that comment at the OP with all the information you have about the BM??? You really are funny....

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theotherside

lovehadley,

I should have made it clear that I was responding to ima, not you, when I said that she had said there was no lease.

Of course the boyfriend should provide medical care for the dogs. It appears from your post that they are his, and I know he is not receiving TANF.

PEOPLE SHOULD NOT LOSE THEIR CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY ARE POOR. The poor are more likely to be forced to move regularly. I think it is just as likely that the landlord wants a month-to-month because he is planning to raise the rent. He might be planning on selling, and waiting for the housing market to recover, but that probably isn't going to happen any time soon.

If the boy does not like the dogs, WHY? Has his father bought him a dog of a breed of his choosing? Every family should have a dog or at least a cat. My kids are of the opinion that every child should individually have at least one dog or cat, not to mention a variety of animals of other species.

How on earth do you know all these details about the cost of the puppy?

Bulldogs don't need a heck of a lot of grooming. They do slobber, but so what. A little dog slobber never hurt anybody. Babies slobber too, and almost all of us love them. I hope that his father is teaching him that dogs are to be loved. It sounds to me from your post that you are encouraging him to dislike those "nasty" dogs. It is clear that you don't like dogs.

You mentioned before that the amount of state assistance she is receiving was relatively small. It certainly wasn't enough to make a dent in the living costs for two adults and two children. Why is it such a big deal to you?

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pseudo_mom

"Why is it such a big deal to you?"

Because if it effects the kid it effects her.

If children are happy ... you are happy
If children are sad ...you are sad

Atleast thats how it works with normal people.

But then some of us are not dealing with normal people ...

The only agreement that works is when the parents agree if one of them feels like they got screwed then all bets are off... someone is going to be miserable and make sure the kid knows why they are miserable ... so they can use their child as a weapon. Atleast that is my experience.

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lovehadley

"How on earth do you know all these details about the cost of the puppy?"

Because BM has a crazy family, and a mother herself who tells my fiance every wrong thing BM does.

And also--because BM goes back and forth (well, used to) between being awful to my fiance and myself and confiding in us. When she was pregnant with her DD last year, she was the most friendly to us that she has ever been. She actually used to call me (much to my dismay) for advice. She and her boyfriend fought the whole time she was pregnant pretty much and she would actually call our home crying.

If you want to hear the most insane thing--when she was about 35, she and her BF got into a huge fight that pertained to her drinking. (And I think her BF is an a*shole so I am not trying to make it sound like BM was entirely at fault.) He told BM to get out of the house and BM actually called US and asked us if she and STBSS could live at OUR house for "a few weeks."

I seriously about died!

It was really bad. My fiance tried to skirt around the issue but after a day of her literally begging, he had to tell her that his SON could of course stay at our house as long as he needed to--but that BM could not.

THAT pretty much undid things for her. She was IRATE with us.

That plus the fact that I called her out on her drinking all through the pregnancy, too. But, seriously, she would actually call ME for support--she would fiance crying and beg to talk to me, and ask me what she should do, should she leave her baby's father, etc. Most of these times, she was sloshed, and although I tried to be kind--I suggested she go to AA, go to counseling, stay with her parents for awhile, take classes at a comm. college--eventually I had to disengage and not take her calls.

I swear it had something to do with her pregnancy hormones that caused her to be nice to us. Or perhaps she felt so alone in her relationship, which I can certainly sympathize with, and she felt we were good people to confide in. We truly did try to help her as much as possible. We even said to each other AND to her that it was a turning point in our relationship.

But her mental stability deteriorated even more after the baby was born, and after the whole fiasco with wanting to STAY with us (which is just so insanely ludicrous, and we had never been THAT close with her to give her the impression that would be acceptable), things just fell apart.

Then STBSS issues in school really worsened, and my fiance filed for full custody this past spring.

SO--in short--BM herself has given us all our information over the years.

In regards to STBSS not liking the dogs--I nor my fiance have NEVER said anything negative about the dogs to him! Heck, I have only seen them a few times myself. He just doesn't care about them--and the times he HAS commented about them, he has said stuff like "Odie is gross" or whatnot. He NEVER talks about walking the dogs, feeding them, playing with them, anything. I doubt anyone in the family pays much attention to them at all.

"Every family should have a dog or at least a cat."

That is a highly subjective opinion. We do have a cat, and will probably get a dog at some point in the near future...but geez, I don't think every family should have one. I think families that have the time and money to responsibly care for a pet should have one--if they want! Not everyone is an animal lover.

I'm not arguing that pets can be wonderful companions and great for emotional well-being. We always had a cat growing up, and we had the BEST dog for 12 years.

BUT I would not go so far as to say that "every family" should have one.

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pseudo_mom

So how many divorce decrees ... have a provision for the family pet?? ... can you actually get "pet support" along with spousal and child support... if they are such beloved members of the family why not!!

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barefoot_diva

Well, there you go. Here's *holding thumbs* that she's never caught driving drunk with the DOGS, huh? Bet you'd be pretty steamed then.

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imamommy

Regarding the lease comment. TOS said: "Lots of people stay in the same apartment/home with month-to -month leases for years." All I was saying is that by nature, a month to month is NOT a lease. A lease is a set term to guarantee the tenant stays for the duration of the term. I just thought an 'educated' person such as TOS would know the difference. How can I say if the mom signed a lease or not? I don't even know her.

I'm laughing too hard at the rest of everything TOS said in that last post to think of anything else..... TGIF

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kathline

I would caution about reading too much into the fact that after the 12 month lease is up, it has gone month to month.

Where I lived, all leases were 12 months for the first year and then after that, they were month to month. That was the legality of it. I dont know what state you are in, or province in case you are Canadian, but its possible that the month to month thing is local law.

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monoral75

Lovehadley,
The first thing to learn about these forums is to ignore TOS's attention seeking, threadjacking babblefests. She only ever posts to argue and stir trouble along with her little freinds.

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kkny

I think month to month is a lease. The tenant has legal posession of the premises. oops, now Ima will say I am giving legal advice. So lets just say that is my understanding. And at the risk of my getting flamed, yes every study I have seen says divorced fathers end up better financially than divorced mothers. So pointing out to GAL that dad has better housing will not likely be anything he hasnt heard.

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lovehadley

"its possible that the month to month thing is local law."

It's not local law. I have never heard of such a thing. I know many people that have renewed a lease for the same amount of time after the initial lease expired.

Month-by-month IS a lease, yes, but it simply means that every month, the landlord (or the tenant) has the option to say "I want out of the deal." If a person has a longer-term lease, then the tenant is protected under the law--the landlord CANNOT terminate the lease, unless, of course, the tenant is not paying.

So the bottom line is, a month to month lease means there is less certainty about the longevity of the tenant's stay in the home.

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pseudo_mom

In Mass ... if there isn't a lease .. you are called a "tenant at will" if you do not pay the rent you move out you do not have to give notice you can just pack up and go but on the landlords end he has to give you 30 days notice in the event of any change ... he wants you out by March 1st.... he has to notify you before he has to notify you no later than January 28th or you can wait till April 1st to move.

If he waits til you pay the rent on Feb 1st there are not 30 days in feb he has to wait to april 1st for it to be legal ...

In mass you can also hold your landlord responsible for noise your neighbors make there is a statue that says "you have the right to quiet enjoyment of your residence" so if your up stairs neighbors party like rock stars and they don't stop after being told to and the landlord does nothing else he can be held responsible for their actions.

I moved on that statute got to "break my lease" they were tenants at will I had a lease he tried to sue me for loss of income because I broke my lease I countersued and won... he had to pay my moving expenses.

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kathline

I just checked the tenancy laws for the state of Missouri, on the Missouri AG website.

After a 1 year lease expires, there is no need to renew. It is automatically renewed unless the landlord gives notice. The landlord is obligated to continue the tenancy for another year, without the tenant being required. The tenant , however, after the first 1 year lease is up, has the right to move with sixty days notice.

So, as I said, dont read much into the fact that there was no renewal signed. The landlord is still bound to a one year term by Missouri law, since he didnt give them notice. BM , on the other hand, can move with sixty days notice.

Now, the landlord can still terminate the tenancy for cause, which could possibly be the no dogs thing. But do you really want it to come out in court that you are the kind of person that sneaks around and tries to cause trouble with someones landlord?

I agree, if this woman is an alcoholic, then your husband should have custody. Get your ducks in a row and prove it, rather than make accusations you cant back up with solid evidence, and I think you will do fine. Dont jump to conclusions about things though. And dont make claims you cant back up. Family court sees accusations all the time. If you can prove them you will be taken seriously. If you cant, then.

ALso, a GAL is appointed by the court, as a childrens advocate. If your GAL is recommending that your husband spanks, that its not a serious issue to have a drinking problem, and if your GAL hasnt ordered social studies of both house holds, to determine what is best for the child ( which after all is his job), then you should request another GAL. This guy isnt doing his job.

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lovehadley

Hmmm. About the lease, then I really don't know. Our attorney seemed to think it was a big factor in regards to stability of the school district.

I don't know about the GAL issue, either. This guy is really supposed to be one of the most respected GALS in the county.

I spoke with a friend of my dad's who is an attorney and he said this man has an excellent reputation among the judges.

our attorney was very pleased when this GAL was assigned, as well.

So I just don't understand where he is coming from. I don't understand how we can present him with ample emails from BM admitting she has a drinking problem, emails from her cousin stating she has a drinking problem and needs psychriatric help--and 15 voicemails on digital recorder from BM herself ranting and raving, drunk in half of them.

The GAL has not talked to teachers, schools, hasn't done a homestudy or ANYTHING. Our attorney told my fiance to bring a family photo album of the last 5 years to his first meeting with the GAL---we spent hours putting one together (I am soooo bad about keeping all my photos on the computer instead of albums!).

The GAL didn't even LOOK at it and when my fiance suggested he keep it, he said it wasn't necessary.

So who reqeusts the new GAL? Us or the attorney?

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theotherside

It is quite difficult to evict tenants, at least in my state. Before you ask, I have had experience in managing property (experience I would just as soon never repeat). It took months to evict a group of tenants who were not even paying the rent, who had caused extensive damage to the property, and who were not even the people who had signed the lease.

Of course my opinion is subjective. That is why it is an opinion. I firmly believe that every child should have a dog or a cat. Hamsters are fine, but you have to admit they aren't as good at returning affection as a dog or a cat - not to mention they only live about two years.

I think the fact that your attorney would suggest something that pretty much amounts to entrapment is highly unethical, and the fact that you took that advice could destroy any hope your fiance has of every getting any additional custody.

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imamommy

do you even know what 'entrapment' is? I don't get what you are referring to, As to unethical, that is your opinion. In any lawsuit, there are methods of gathering information, such as private investigators. If the investigation were to show that the other parent is committing a crime, would it be unethical to tell the police?

You are entitled to your opinion on pets (dogs & cats) but not everybody WANTS to own a pet. Responsible people should own pets if that is what they want. If someone has a pet just because 'every child should have one' but they are unable to afford the cost of food or care, then the pet is neglected. Pets are like children, you should only have them if you WANT them, can AFFORD them and can TAKE CARE of them. Too many people ignore those things and only think of the fact that they WANT them, without regard to what is best for them.

and it's just my opinion that it's unethical for a property manager to insist that tenants be allowed to have pets if the property owner does not want pets in their property. My dad leases out the house he built with my step mom now, and the last tenants had a dog that pee'd all over and he had to replace the carpet. Once that happens, the next dog that comes along can smell the pee no matter that they replaced the carpet. It's the OWNER's decision. Not the property manager.

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theotherside

It is hardly unethical - if my relative didn't want me to be her property manager, she was free to find someone else.

Of course you should raise your pets (and your children) responsibly, but no one should be so poor that they can't afford to feed a dog or a cat as well as their children. No child should be denied a pet because of poverty.

Yes, I know what entrapment is. Although this situation doesn't involve prosecution, it is highly unethical to try to get the mother evicted in order to increase the father's chances of custody. That is just plain wrong.

If a PI obtains information illegally, then that is wrong as well. The ends do not justify the means.

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pseudo_mom

Well I wish IMA was in Mass because I would have hired her yesterday!!!! :)

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justnotmartha

"but no one should be so poor that they can't afford to feed a dog or a cat as well as their children. No child should be denied a pet because of poverty."

Well, duh. But the rainbows have gone away TOS. There are a lot of things that 'should be' in this world. Reality is accepting that they aren't and finding the most contsructive way to deal with them . . . like not getting pets is you can't afford to feed your kids. Which will the kids remember more - Spot, or the horrible feeling of being hungry for days on end?

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tamar_422

TOS, I just want to make sure I understand this. It's immoral and wrong and lying for a member of the military to hide their sexual orientation, but it's not wrong for a bio-mom and her gross boyfriend to hide their dogs from their landlord?

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imamommy

tamar, you'll notice TOS stands on every side of the fence on every issue. If she can argue against what a stepmom says, she will change her stance to suit it. That's what makes just about everything she says a riot!

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theotherside

I never said it was wrong for her not to reveal her sexual orientation - I said it was wrong for her to pretend that her partner's son was a relative. There are lots of things that are no one's business, including sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, etc.

Although I don't think landlords should be allowed to prohibit pets, just as they are not allowed to prohibit children in my state except under very limited circumstances, it was wrong if she signed a lease in which she agreed to not have pets. However, that doesn't make it right for lovehadley to get her friend to pretend to be someone she wasn't in order to get the mother evicted in order to increase the father's chances of winning custody. She can't even say that she did it out of concern for the landlord - she just wanted to destroy the biological mother's life, and didn't care if she left the poor boy homeless in the process.

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imamommy

Well, if lovehadley had called me, i would have reported it to the landlord. It wouldn't have been to be vindictive, even if that was her motive. Mine would be that if a landlord does not want pets, they have the right to know that animals might be destroying their property and thus lowering the value of their property. I'd do the same if I knew the person living there was prone to slamming doors or putting holes in the wall or throwing parties where the premises could be damaged.

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theotherside

Hmmm... - why does the word "busybody" spring to mind?

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barefoot_diva

Hmm, this one is a double-edged sword. I truly get where you are coming from. If the legal system isn't helping the child then you nudged it along. Sometimes when you are let down by the ones who are meant to be on the childs side, you are forced to take matters into your own hands. I get that.

On the other hand, karma can be a real mean b!tch.

Love - my very honest opinion? You need to take a step back and see how deep in this you actually are. You are starting to lose rationality. There is nothing wrong with loving your stepchild, showing concern, helping, even fighting their corner, but I have seen this many times before. You are doing the fathers job here. I commend you for going as far as you are going to protect this child, but I have seen this in clients, AND I have been here myself many years ago, where you stop supporting your partners decisions and actions regarding their child/ren, and you start taking over.

If someone had said this to me years ago, when I was sitting up at 3am researching family law while my husband, and the father of the children I was doing this for, was fast asleep in bed, I would have been SO offended!! No doubt you will be too ;)

I have written the lawyers letters, liaised with child services myself, posted on forums desperate for advice. Hoo boy, been there, done that, eventually burnt that damn t-shirt :) You need to take a step back and look at this from the outside.

Now ... I truly hope that your fiancee gets full custody of his child, if only for the drunk driving issue. That, to me, is a non-negotiable issue. Your frustration with the legal system is absolutely valid. Where the child could potentially be put in serious danger, further action must be taken. I wouldn't suggest getting a PI to get involved in any situation unless there is serious and VALID reason to believe the children could be in danger, but for no other reason. BM's life and choices are her own, and none of your or your fiancees business, even when the child is with her, UNLESS there is the potential for serious harm.

Unfortunately hiring a PI may backfire on you very badly in court if nothing substantial is found, so be sure you have valid grounds of real concern for the safety of the children to justify this.

You need to get yourself a more aggressive lawyer, and you need to pull out EVERYTHING you can find about her drinking problem. I would be pushing for TEMPORARY full custody while she addresses her drinking problems. The courts will appreciate this far more than if you are seen to be swooping in and 'taking' the child away from their mother.

If you feel she has a genuine problem, help her to get help, even if it has to be enforced through the courts. If she screws it up, and the path of a rehabilitated alcoholic can be a long one, then you protect and care for that child for as long as it takes for her to get herself sorted. If she DOES get herself sorted, then doesn't that benefit the child?

Always see everything you do and say as how the courts and the judge will see it. Put yourself in their shoes. Are you behaving like a wronged, scorned, vindictive stepmother? Or are you genuinely putting the interests of the child first? Are you willing to step in and take care of the child so that the mother can get help? Are you expressing a desire for the child and the mother to have a peaceful, loving relationship? Do you appear to be acting out of love, or spite? It doesn't matter what you actually think. In the family courtroom, sometimes you have to play the game to get the results you want, especially when the system is letting you and the child down.

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silversword

Barefoot Diva "Hmm, this one is a double-edged sword. I truly get where you are coming from. If the legal system isn't helping the child then you nudged it along. Sometimes when you are let down by the ones who are meant to be on the childs side, you are forced to take matters into your own hands. I get thatÂOn the other hand, karma can be a real mean b!tch."

That was exactly what I was thinking. I had several opportunities to get my ex in trouble and now, two years after the divorce, am really glad I didnÂt go that route. Most people will crash and burn on their own.

Like you said, protecting the child while trying to encourage the BM to be a more stable mother is the best solution. BMÂs are important, and the more stable she is the more stable the child will be.

TOSÂ "Although I don't think landlords should be allowed to prohibit pets."

LOL! LOL! LOL! (wiping tears from eyes) Have you ever owned a home? Have you ever seen what an animal can do to your property? If you want a pet, and the place you are living doesn't allow them you should move or buy your own place.

And, I donÂt think following someone around and then calling them on their mistake is entrapment. When a husband and his mistress cheat in a hotel room the PI who follows them is not entrapping them. That would fall more under the act of putting a call girl in a room, then calling a man into that room, or putting alcohol in her car, then calling the police on her.

LovehadleyÂI donÂt think getting the BM evicted is the best solution. ThatÂs just going to make things more unstable for the child. The thing that scares me the most is the alcohol abuse, esp. since she's driving while impaired. I'd hate for your SS to be involved in an accident. I understand the drive may be difficult. How old are your DD and SS?
WWID? Back away from the fire. Slowly. Sounds like the BM is on the edge already. Who has primary custody? I would encourage my DH to go for primary physical custody. Gather evidence as ethically as you can, youÂd never want it to come to light with your kids that you sabotaged the situation. Know that itÂs not permanent. If you have to drive more, IÂm sorry, but thatÂs what IÂd do. Have your DD do her homework in the car. Find a friend along the way that you can drop your DD off with while you pick up SS. Put one of them in aftercare (depending on age, of course). My daughter loves aftercare, gets all her homework done and often does not want to leave when I pick her up after work. Best of luck to you. It really sounds like youÂre in an awful situation.

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finedreams

if mom drinks that much so she can't even be trusted to drive kids to school, why does she have a custody and not dad? I do not get it. mom should not have custody, she should be able to have visitations of course but not be primary care giver. I mean if she has a drink at night when kids already sleep, it is one thing, but if she drives drunk or drinks when kids can see why does she have custody?

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theotherside

It is unethical because 1)the motivation behind telling the landlord was to get her evicted in order to improve the father's chance of gaining custody, and 2) because the "friend" who called to complain lied and impersonated a annoyed neighbor. Even if the dogs had been barking, they sure weren't bothering her since she didn't live anywhere nearby.

I do own my own home. I have also rented homes on several occasions with multiple pets, and have never lost a damage deposit.

I have never seen an animal do anywhere near the damage that was done to my relative's property. Dogs don't smoke in bed and set fire to the mattress. Cats don't get drunk and take a hammer to the living room molding.

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sylviatexas1

"if mom drinks that much so she can't even be trusted to drive kids to school, why does she have a custody and not dad?"

That wouldn't make sense, would it?

& the GAL isn't going along with the wishes of dad & his fiancee, & yet dad's attorney has a high opinion of the GAL...

maybe mom's flaws & problems are being exaggerated?

We're getting one perspective, which is that dad is great & mom is a total write-off & therefore it's okay for dad & his new fiancee to do whatever it takes to get her child away from her...

& things might not be that clearcut.

Another perspective might be that the behavior of dad & dad's fiancee show poor judgment (fiancee plans to quit job, get married, take on another woman's child, & immediately "try for a baby"),
self-serving "morals" (if dad has full custody, how does that affect his pocketbook? enough to affect OP's ability to be a stay-at-home mom?),
& appalling ethics (doing everything they can to ruin mom's life, get mom evicted from her home, get her arrested, *whatever it takes to get that child away from her*).

not saying that things are the opposite of what OP has posted, just that the posts don't necessarily reflect things entirely realistically.

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lovehadley

In answer to the questions about why BM has custody....

I really am not sure why.

BM has had 2 DWIs--one is on her record, one was a suspended sentence that doesn't reflect poorly on her record. She has 1 other alcohol-related traffic incident---accident and the police let her call someone to pick her up.

The GAL pretty much said that if she drinks herself into a stupor, so long as her son is with us, it doesn't matter. We know she does drink when he is with her, but how much, we have no idea.

Basically, the problem is, there is no proof of anything actually endangering her son.

As far as my fiance's pocketbook and full custody, I get so disgusted when people say things like that. He LOVES his son dearly and would do ANYTHING for him. He has always had 50-50 custody, and still always paid for all of daycare, all extra activities, health insurance, etc. He NEVER balks at spending money for his child. EVER.

We had a childhood support settlement conference this last week, and it is not bad at all. My fiance has to pay the STATE $500/month. $234.00 of that will go to BM every month. The remainder will go to the state to pay back the balance she had been receiving previously in state assistance.

So basically BM is getting $234.00 in child support. AND the other details were ironed out--BM is now court-ordered to pay half of health insurance, half of extra-curriculars and half of all school expenses.

But my fiance has always paid for everything himself all along, so having primary custody wouldn't change anything wallet-wise. This is ALL ABOUT him wanting the best for his son.

As far as my ability to stay home, I have some money left over from an educational trust--not a ton, but enough to supplement our income for a long while if need be.

The GAL has no idea we are planning to have a baby, either.

I think this is truly a case of us having a lot of accusations and some evidence--but nothing hardcore. We have no real proof that she is a danger to her son.

Frustrating system IMO.

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theotherside

Perhaps the reason you have not been able to obtain real proof that she is a danger to her son may be that she is not.

The woman clearly is in a different socioeconomic class than the one in which you were raised. Of course she felt out of place at a Catholic school that charged 11 or 12 K for kindergarten. That is what one of the most expensive Catholic HIGH SCHOOLS in my area costs, and I live in an area that is much more expensive than St. Louis.

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imamommy

TOS, if your ex husband offered to pay for your child to go to an excellent private school that you could not afford, would you decline? Would you insist your child attend a public school? What if the public school was in a high crime area? What if the public school had poor performance?

Could you set aside your feelings to let your child have a better education? and would it make a difference if it were a scholarship and not your ex husband paying for it?

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lovehadley

"That is what one of the most expensive Catholic HIGH SCHOOLS in my area costs, and I live in an area that is much more expensive than St. Louis."

How do you know?

My daughter's school's tuition is over 13K a year. I attended a private high school--graduated 9 years ago---that is now at 18K a year. (not sure what it was when I was there)

My fiance and I felt that we were doing a great thing by having STBSS attend that school last year. We were so disappointed that it didn't turn out better. This year, my fiance had looked extensively into a school that is geared for children with specialized learning needs--not necessarily children with learning disabilities, but more just kids that don't fit the "typical" school structure mold. This school we looked at doesn't even test the children until 4th grade--it is a very hands-on school with extremely small class sizes, and it seemed GREAT for STBSS.

BM completely vetoed it, wouldn't even consider it because she just wanted to do the public school next to her house.

"Perhaps the reason you have not been able to obtain real proof that she is a danger to her son may be that she is not"

I don't disagree completely. We don't KNOW that she has ever been drunk and in a car with him, or even that she gets drunk when he is at her house. I don't really think he is in physical danger. But as the CHILD of an alcoholic myself, I can certainly attest to the fact that when a parent is alcoholic--regardless of whether or not the child is physically in danger---mental/emotional damage is being done. The long term affects of living with an alcholic parent are devastating.

BM left a 5 minute voicmail to me last night--DRUNK--ranting about how even when my fiance and I get married, I will still be nothing to her son, I am a NOBODY and she hopes he hates me and my daughter forever. And on and on and on...

Anyone who behaves like that, who continually gets SO DRUNK that they lose control and make raging phone calls obviously has a problem.

BUT the courts don't see it that way. And I think it's a damn shame. BM is doing her best to alienate her son from his father, from me, from our family.

Obviously, this message will be played for the GAL but I doubt it will matter much. The GAL's theme seems to be--as long as she is not putting her son in harm's way PHYSICALLY, nothing else matters.

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finedreams

Huh? "Every family SHOULD have a dog or at least a cat." Says who?

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theotherside

That depends - are we talking about a secular independent school or a parochial school? There are very few parochial schools that I would want my child to attend. Is the school incredibly inconvenient to get to? Is it an appropriate school for MY child's needs? Is my child going to feel uncomfortable if everyone else there is richer than Croesus and flaunts it? Am I going to be welcome as a volunteer? There are a lot of people who firmly believe in a public education. I don't happen to be one of them, but it appears that the mother may be.

I don't drink, but if she is not putting the child in danger, then I think it would be worse for the child to lose his mother and baby sister(as in having his father gain primary physical custody) than to continue with the 50/50 - especially when his father clearly spends little time with him, and the person who does, doesn't even like him.

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kkny

LH,

I live in a high COLA area too. There are moderate priced Catholic schools and a very few ones that approach some of the non-Catholic private schools in cost. In the moderate ones, children and parents are more likely to see a wider range of socioeconomic levels. I take the train in the morning with the soem of the children that attend an expensive Catholic HS, and hear them talk. It might be that the childs mom felt uncomfortable in the kindergaren school.

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lovehadley

"especially when his father clearly spends little time with him, and the person who does, doesn't even like him."

I do NOT dislike my STBSS. I care about him very much--I have played a significant role in raising him since he was not quite two. Is it the same kind of love I feel for my daughter? Well, honestly, no, it's not. It's not the same die-for-you, unconditional kind of love. I think it is unusual--not saying it doesn't happen--for a stepparent to have that kind of love for a stepchild, particularly when the other parent is involved in the child's life.

But I do LIKE him. I don't LIKE a lot of his behaviors, but I don't blame him. I truly believe there is some underlying issue--he might be depressed or have some other sort of chemical imbalance. I think a LOT of his behavior is also learned. He says very hurtful things when he is angry, he lashes out at people---this is exactly what his mother does. Then he doesn't understand when he is out of his "rage" and people are still irritated with his behavior. Again, this is just like his mom. She sh*ts on people and then expects them to "get over it" once she is done and acting sane again.

I don't like the way STBSS's behavior has changed over the last year--but I do like him. There is a very sweet, affectionate little boy inside him, and that little boy is still around much of the time. It is my hope, and my fiance's hope, and also BM's hope that the issues tormenting him can be addressed and remedied. All of his behavioral issues started with kindergarten.

He has been sent to the principal's office at school twice in the last week and both parents were called in for a conference.

BM has FINALLY admitted that the school last year was not a bad place--that her son's issues weren't caused by the teacher or other students. Fiance said she broke down in the conference and cried and said "it's not the school, it's him."

As sad as that was to hear--we think it is a GREAT first step. Rather than blaming the teacher or blaming the school, or blaming us--she told fiance that she wants to find him a new counselor, and that she knows she needs to be on the same page as us in order to help her son.

She admitted to the teacher that she has messed up with her parenting of him. For example---the week before last, STBSS came home with a purple circle. (They have a stoplight system at school----green is a great day, yellow is a warning, purple is two warnings and red is a trip to the principal's office.)

He tried to color over the purple with green and it was quite obvious. BM called him on it and he started to cry and said he had tried really hard that day. She actually TOOK HIM TO THE STORE and let him pick out a new Littlest Pet Shop set because "she was proud of him for trying."

I guess her boyfriend got ALL OVER HER for that and told her that her son is never going to learn to do the right thing if she rewards deceitful behavior. My fiance was really upset she did that, as well, and brought it up in the conference at school.

BM admitted to the teacher that THAT is how she has always handled things--that she feels guilty for the way his life is, sad that he struggles in school, and she just wants to make him happy.

Now--as a mother---and also as his stepmother--that hurt my heart to hear how worried he was about the purple. It makes me sad that he was scared, and upset.

BUT I also think that what he did was a pretty serious thing that needed to have been addressed---and if my DD had done that, I would have given her a consequence. I might have FELT sorry for her, but I certainly would not have REWARDED an action like that.

That action alone kind of sums up how BM parents. I'm slightly hopeful that she seems to recognize that her parenting style needs to change--that she is not doing her son any favors by parenting out of guilt.

Her drinking most certainly affects her parenting. For example-just the other day, she was out the night before drinking because she called and was obviously drunk and was ranting and raving at my fiance--he ended up hanging up on her. The next day she was depressed and probably feeling guilty--so she went to her son's school for lunch with a Happy Meal for him. (He is in the middle of a 5 day stretch with us, so she misses him.)

The school asked her to leave because a parent lunch needs to be scheduled through the office--and also because you are not allowed to bring fast-food to school. Well, STBSS saw her, and apparently she was CRYING, and he got very upset and kept asking his teacher why his mommy was sad. Then, understandably, he acted out and had a horrible afternoon, and got a red and went to the principal's office.

Thus--the conference was called.

SO--while her drinking might not physically affect STBSS--it certainly affects how she parents him, and thus--it affects him.

KKNY, I do know his mother felt uncomfortable in the school. Initially, I felt bad for her about that--but her behavior kind of takes away any sympathy I might have had. But I do think you are right.

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theotherside

They don't ALLOW her to eat lunch with her son??? Both the custodial and the non-custodial parent are allowed by law to visit their children in school in my state, and they don't need anyone's permission - they just can't wander the halls unsupervised without a visitor's pass. The school can't tell the children what they can and can't bring for lunch - that is ridiculous. I could send a happy meal with my kids every day if I wanted to (not that cold french fries would be very appealing). How is a happy meal any different from the chicken nuggets and french fries that schools serve every week, anyway?

He is not being deceitful, he is just being a little boy. He wants it to have been a green day, so he is just trying to make it so. It is sort of like when little kids do something they are not supposed to, and tell their moms, "Don't watch me." Children of that age have not internalized the difference between right and wrong - to them, if there is no evidence of "wrong" behavior, it didn't happen. Surely you know that, if you are a certified kindergarten teacher.

I think it is AWFUL that your fiance is sharing information with you that his exW shared IN CONFIDENCE in the meeting. You are NOT A PARTY to this conversation.

IT IS NOT HER SON. HE IS A LITTLE CHILD! The special education teachers/administrators in the public school system are supposedly trained to be able to help children with behavioral issues. If they don't know what to do, they are required to call in consultants to help. They should not be blaming a six year old boy.

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imamommy

"I don't drink, but if she is not putting the child in danger"

She doesn't have to put the child in physical danger to cause damage from her drinking. I grew up with an alcoholic and I wasn't physically harmed by her drinking, but the emotional and psychological scars can last a lifetime. It can affect how you feel about every aspect of your life. Unless you have been there, you can't possibly know that someone would be better off living with an alcoholic just because she is his mother. If she has a drinking problem, her daughter shouldn't be living with her. She's going to destroy that child as well.

"He is not being deceitful, he is just being a little boy. He wants it to have been a green day, so he is just trying to make it so."

So, when he changes an F to an A on his report card, that isn't being deceitful either, he's just trying to make it so because he wants to have straight A's? Rewarding a kid for doing the wrong thing at ANY age is teaching your kid that it's okay to lie and they can learn to justify ANY wrong. SHAME ON YOU TOS... Six year olds do know if something is wrong, thats why he cried and told her 'he tried!'. A three year old may not know that concept but a six year old does. (heck, a kid that knows he has to lie, knows he has to lie for a reason... they understand that much... that the truth isn't going to get him what he wants) DUH!!!

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justnotmartha

Ima's got you on this one, TOS. If you let him get away with it now how do you not when he is older? At what age does it become deceit? IMO, you have to take a firm stance against lying or hiding the truth from the get go or it will become a way of life. Lying and deceit are the easy way out of a bad situation, and most people prefer to take the easy way. If you don't teach them a better method of remedying a problem when they are young and impressionable you will end up with one heck of a untrustworthy adult.

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lovehadley

"If you let him get away with it now how do you not when he is older? At what age does it become deceit? IMO, you have to take a firm stance against lying or hiding the truth from the get go or it will become a way of life."

I really could not have said it better myself.

My fiance is very open with me about these things because I play a significant role in raising his son. Since I am caring for him quite a bit when he is with us, it is important that I be involved and know what's going on. It's as simple as that.

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mom_of_4

My kids school has certain things that are and are not allowed to be brought for lunch. (but, I will say they are ridiculous rules given the lack of nutrition in their meals served to them from the school) And, although we can visit the school anytime, we can not sit in the class, have lunch with our child etc etc without making an appointment or arranging it first with the teacher or office.

I am going to have to go with the above here and say yes lieing and deceit need to have consequences. I would be less upset and hard on my 5/6 year old than my 11 year old but I certainly would not have taken them out for a toy because they "tried" or tried to cover it up rather.

It is not awful that her husband told her what happened in that meeting. Not only was it important for her to know as a caregiver to the kid but as husband and wife I would hope that as my Dh and I do... they share everything.

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theotherside

Well, if I knew his mother, I would advise her to NEVER say anything to her exH that she didn't want the whole world to know, or anything that could possibly be used against her by someone who wanted to make her homeless, ruin her life and separate her from her child.

No, no, no. THE CHILD IS SIX! Six years olds are NOT CAPABLE OF FULLY COMPREHENDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORLD AS IT IS AND THE WORLD AS THEY WANT IT TO BE. They believe in magical thinking - if I wish something, it will come true. He doesn't understand that the
reason his mom is upset with him (if she were) is because he misbehaved - he thinks it is because he brought home a purple circle. So he changes the circle to green - and, in his mind, it's all good.

I don't think either reward or punishment is appropriate - the mother could try to explain why he shouldn't change the color of the circle, but even after an explanation, he probably won't get it.

A three year old would be way too young to grasp the stoplight concept at all - long before he got home he would have forgotten that he misbehaved at all. Three year olds are practically babies, and a lot of them are barely speaking in sentences, and sometimes not even that.

It seems like a lot of people here expect kids to mature far faster than they generally do. A six year old boy, and especially this six year old boy, is still a very young child.

One of my kids' kindergarten teachers gave a good example of the typical comprehension of kids of this age. The soccer coach told the kids to line up side by side so the could count off. Never mind that they had no idea how to count off - they couldn't even figure out how to line up side by side. The teacher told the coach that you have to take each child by the shoulders and place him in position, one by one. These were typical kids, not kids with any learning disabilities or impulse control issues.

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theotherside

mom_of_4

So if your daughter told you something in confidence, you would share it with your husband? How about your best friend? Would you let them know if advance that anything they said can and would be shared with your husband? And what if he felt that he had a right to share everything with his identical twin brother (if he had one)? And that man shared everything with his wife?

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mom_of_4

"So if your daughter told you something in confidence, you would share it with your husband?"
more than likely... especially if it was something I felt he needed to know

And what we share as husband and wife has nothing to do with best friends twin brothers... and so on. It is how we work. It is how my parents worked. I knew even growing up that there was NOTHING one hid from the other in any way shape or form. I knew that talking to my mom meant that she would tell my dad or vice versa... they just encouraged us to talk to whoever we felt most comfortable at the time... Sometimes it was my dad sometimes my mom but there was never any question that the other would know about it.

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theotherside

Sometimes there are things that a daughter, in particular, doesn't want shared with her father, and even less so with her stepfather. Unless it were to save someone's life, if my daughter (or son for that matter) asked me to keep something confidential and not share it with my husband (when we were married) I would, and I would expect him to do the same. Anything else is disrespectful to your children, and not conducive to an open relationship with them, especially during their teens.

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colleenoz

I can't help but feel that treating young children as if they were incapable half-wits is part of the reason why adults in modern society seem to mature much later than they did in previous generations. After all, in mnay countries (and in previous generations) six year olds are contributing to the family income or even supporting themselves. Just the other day on the radio I heard an older woman describe how her first paid job was as a five year old, babysitting younger children while their parents worked. By the age of 15 most younger people had left school and were in paid employment, though often still living in the family home and paying board and lodging from their wages. By the time they were 25 many women already had married and were raising several children.
Six year olds should have been shown by their parents how to behave in company. Certainly I can't remember my Grade 1 class having issues with lining up. I don't think we do our kids any favours by treating them as babies until they're 25 and then expecting that they would somehow have magically assimilated the behaviours they need to be functioning adults.
Sorry for continuing the hijack :-)

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mom_of_4

I guess that is where I differ. I didn't have a problem knowing this growing up and it is just a fact of life for us now. I don't think it is disrespectful and so far none of our kids have had issues coming to one or the other. We dont make it obvious but for instance my ss confided a few things to me a few weeks ago. One of which was asking about the divorce. I thought it important for DH to know and told him so he could address it later... which he did just in a round about way.

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lovehadley

"The soccer coach told the kids to line up side by side so the could count off. Never mind that they had no idea how to count off - they couldn't even figure out how to line up side by side"

not sure where this occurred--but having taught K for 4 years (and a lot of student teaching/classroom experience before that) I can tell you that I have NEVER had a problem asking a group of 5/6 year olds to line up. If I tell my 15 kinders to go line up on the side of the gym, along the white line, they do it. It might not be a perfectly straight line, but they DEFINITELY grasp the concept of forming a line.

A 6 year old (who actually will be 6.5 next month) is MORE than capable of knowing the difference between the truth and a lie. He colored over the purple because he was scared of getting in trouble--period. Isn't that the main reason people lie--for fear of some sort of consequence? STBSS knew exactly what he was doing and he DOES understand why his mom (or dad) is upset with his behavior. To assume otherwise would be an insult to his intelligence.

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kkny

My X has agreed not to have any serious discussions about DD with or in presence of his SO. Its not her business.

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lovehadley

"My X has agreed not to have any serious discussions about DD with or in presence of his SO. Its not her business."

Yes, but KKNY, isn't yours a different situation? As I understand it, your DD only sees her father OUTSIDE of his house, at restaurants and such. She does not live with him (and, thus, his SO) part of the time...correct? She is also, what, 16?

My STBSS is 6 years old. He is with us HALF the time. And I spend a lot of time taking care of him when he IS with us. Like it or not, I am a "parental figure" in his life. No, I am not hi mother but I am still someone who needs to be in the loop when it comes to what's going on with him, etc.

Plus, my fiance and I are best friends! We share everything! If you cannot talk about something to your partner, who CAN you talk about it to?

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theotherside

lovehadley,

They could line up one in the normal fashion, one in back of the other, but most 5 or 6 year olds I know would never have had the occasion to line up side by side until they started in organized sports, and the point is that having never done so, they couldn't figure it out from verbal instructions only. Six year olds are not very good at abstract thinking, which is the point of telling this story.

colleen,

Yet this story WAS from a different generation, if a generation is considered 20 years, because the child whose teacher recounted it is close to thirty.

I know that children are forced to work at very young ages in some other areas of the world, but I don't think anyone here would actually think it is a good idea for a six year old to babysit. Little children used to work in the mills, because they could fit in small spaces to untangle the yarn when the loom jammed, and quite a few of them died.

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kkny

I assume my X and SO are best friends. I was his best friend for a number of years. Yes, legally he can share with you what he wants. Someone here mentioned a grandmother rule, as in SM should be welcome whevere GM would. I think that some discretion is advised.

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lovehadley

"Someone here mentioned a grandmother rule, as in SM should be welcome whevere GM would. I think that some discretion is advised."

I think that is really dependent upon the individual circumstances. Yes, in your DD's situation, where she is an older teenager and doesn't spend much time LIVING at her father's house....no, it's probably not appropriate for SM to be involved and know about what's going on in her life.

But a LOT of stepparents, including myself, are VERY involved in raising their stepkids. STBSS is with us 50% of the time--honestly, he spends as much time with ME caring for him as he does his mom. I play MUCH more of an active role in his life than his grandmother does. He has one grandmother (on BM's side) and she sees him WAY less than I do. Grandparents are not usually involved in day-to-day life of their grandchildren, they don't do homework, baths, carpools, etc. If they DO (as in some grandparents that babysit a lot) then I believe they should be pretty informed as to what's going on with the kids.

There is a girl in my DD's ballet (and from her old preschool) whose grandmother has her and her sister almost all the time. Every day after school. It is GRANDMA who takes the girls to ballet--grandma who picked up from preschool--and I've run into GRANDMA at our local pool several times this summer with her granddaughters. I think she is in a position comparable to a very involved stepparent--and I would bet anything that she knows how things are going academically, beviorally, etc. at school and other places.

The bottom line is-if you are responsible for a child much of the time, in a parental role, then you need to be informed and know what's going on.

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lovehadley

"no, it's probably not appropriate for SM to be involved and know about what's going on in her life."

And I actually need to clarify---I DO think it is appropriate for your ex's SO to know what's going on in your DD's life---to as much extent as your ex wants to tell her.

Does that make sense?

I don't think she should attend parent-teacher conferences, or speak to your DD about a report card or something--but, really, if your ex wants to talk to her about issues, what is the big deal? It's pretty common for people in a relationship to value the other's opinion.

Are you dating anyone? I assume that if you were, you wouldn't hesitate to say to him--"oh, I'm so proud of DD because...." or "I'm very concerned about DD because ____happened." Right?

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theotherside

First of all, if you are spending as much time with him as his mother is, I think that is WRONG. It is one thing for you to babysit once in awhile, but if, as you have described, he spends little time with his father, he should be living full-time with his mother and visiting his father when the father is actually available.

If it is something that you wouldn't share with a friend, or if it something that you know your child/ex has told you in confidence, then you should keep your mouth shut about it. You should NEVER share information with someone who you know would use it to harm/embarrass the other person.

BTW, did your fiance know what you did to try to get his exW evicted? Did he approve? Did she actually get evicted?

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lovehadley

"if it something that you know your child/ex has told you in confidence, then you should keep your mouth shut about it."

I don't disagree completely. I am sure I told my mother things about my period or whatever---stuff that would have embarrassed me if she had told my dad--and honestly, stuff that probably would have made my dad uncomfortable, as well. I think it's okay for certain things to remain between parent/child and one parent to not know. If it's anything SERIOUS, like pregnancy/birth control/school issues or any number of other serious things---then I think it is WRONG for parents to keep things from one another. The child, no matter how old, needs to know that both parents are on the same page.

BUT we are not talking about that here. We are talking about a school conference discussing STBSS's behavioral issues. I think it is ENTIRELY appropriate for my fiance to relay the conference to me. I repeat--as a caregiver for him, I need to know what is going on. EVERYONE needs to be on the same page with how to handle these issues--even BM admitted that in the conference.

We are talking about STBSS doing counseling WITH his mom and dad, and then after a few sessions, I and BM's boyfriend will attend a few as well.

Like it or not, TOS, we are ALL involved in parenting this little boy. You might not agree with that or think it's right, but that is the reality of the situation. It DOESN'T work for only mom and dad to be in the loop, and for me to be a "babysitter."

Sorry if you don't like that. But it seems to me that the majority of the stepmoms/step-moms to be on this forum ARE in positions similar to mine---where they are playing an active role in raising stepkids. I think you should ask yourself WHY that bothers you so much.

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lovehadley

"BTW, did your fiance know what you did to try to get his exW evicted? Did he approve? Did she actually get evicted?"

Of course he knew--he was sitting in the attorney meeting with me when the attorney brought it up. He was the one that found the phone number for me to call.

BM is not his ex-wife, for the record. They were never married.

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theotherside

Well, did she actually get evicted?

I know EXACTLY why it bothers me that you are doing so much of the child care. The PARENTS in this case are supposed to have fifty/fifty physical custody. If the child is not in the care of one parent, he should be in the care of the other, unless for some reason neither is available, such as would be the case if both worked, for example.

I am VERY bothered by the many cases I see where the father supposedly has "custody" but his wife/gf is actually doing the child care. So many times men just want to make themselves feel good by pretending to be a custodial parent while not doing much of the actual child raising.

In many cases, the mother and father WERE on the same page when it came to child raising issues. Then the father gets involved with someone else and all of a sudden he is on HER page, which is often not even in the same book. This doesn't seem to happen as often with mothers, though it does sometimes. In general, either they are more prone to sticking to their guns about child raising philosophy in spite of what their new SO thinks, or their new SO's are less likely to insist on putting in their two cents than are female SO's.

NOBODY who doesn't have a biological or adoptive parental bond with MY child should get to have any say whatsoever in how she/he is raised.

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kathline

You know, TOS, my husband and his ex have 50/50 physical custody.

His ex works during the day, and puts the kids into after school care, and on summer vacation, into full time daycare.

My husband works during the day, and I do not. The kids come home after school on our days, to me, and I take care of them til their father gets home. In summer vacation, the kids are home with me all day during our time.

I find it sort of silly to insist that mom or dad be the only ones that are ever allowed to watch the kids. Of course, I get input, just as mom's husband also gets input. We have to share our homes with these kids, after all.

I do leave any major problems , or any major decisions concerning his children to my husband. I never contact mom directly. She doesnt like me. I dont like her. I let my husband communicate with her, when its necessary ( which is fairly often)However, my husband DOES discuss children's issues with me, and I would expect no less, since policy involving the kids does affect my life as well.

So yes, I do have a say in how my stepkids should be raised, just as my husband has a say in how my son should be raised. There is no way around that when you share a household.

This past summer, my husband was allowed to work from home, which was fabulous for his relationship with his kids. He did most of the tending to the kids, although I still did the regular household stuff. We are going to do it this way during summer all the time now, because everyone enjoyed it.

Of course, all that being said, I think that Hadley , from the tone of some of her posts, is less worried about having a say in how the child is raised, and more worried about changing the way her husband thinks the child should be raised. Hadley wants it done her way, and its important enough to her that she has thought of leaving her fiance several times over it. Trying to change someone else is a lousy way to start a marriage. It doesnt work and besides, who gives someone the right to try to change someone else anyway?

I would suggest that wanting to leave because you dont like the way a birth parent raises his kids, does not bode well for a stable long term marriage, and that marrying, while being very unhappy with the other persons baggage, is likely to be a mistake. At the very least, this marriage should be postponed.

But thats just my opinion, and certainly not my choice to make, nor my circumstances to live with

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lovehadley

"In many cases, the mother and father WERE on the same page when it came to child raising issues. Then the father gets involved with someone else and all of a sudden he is on HER page, which is often not even in the same book."

Well, I can tell you that was NOT the case with my fiance and BM. They have been at odds as long as I can remember. Ironically--the first time I met him, we went on one date, and I heard a TEENY bit of the drama he had been dealing with with his ex, and I didn't go on another date with him for THREE MONTHS. I did NOT want to get involved. I eventually did because I really, really felt a strong connection to him--that's why I finally went on a second date, and the rest is history.

"NOBODY who doesn't have a biological or adoptive parental bond with MY child should get to have any say whatsoever in how she/he is raised."

But the thing is--I have my own daughter, as well, and my fiance and I love one another and want to share our life together and raise our family. How we parent one of the kids DIRECTLY affects the other child. As parents, we HAVE to be on the same page with BOTH kids and that means we BOTH make decisions about rules/values, etc. The same would be true if we have another baby---or if we had NO stepkids, and they were all bios.

I do agree that major decisions regarding STBSS should involve only BM and dad. But when it comes to basic household rules/expectations/ideals, then my fiance and I work together for our house and family and BOTH children. If BM doesn't like that, too bad.

You can say that's how you feel, that stepparents should not be involved---and I respect that opinion. I happen to have a different one. If you ex ever remarries, you might find that you have NO CHOICE but to accept his new wife having a role, however minor, in your kids' lives.

BM balked to the GAL about STBSS being with me after school--and the GAL told her that it doesn't matter. What DAD does on HIS days doesn't matter. He told her that dad could get a full-time nanny on his days, and it wouldn't matter.

I know there is first right of refusal, and BM brought that up, but the GAL was VERY insistent that is very rarely enforced. He pretty much told EACH parent that on THEIR days it is up to them to parent how they see fit, and to provide care for STBSS how they see fit. We have hired a driver for STBSS for two days a week--fiance will still continue to do morning drop-offs because those are more workable for us--the afternoon pickups are not. The GAL agreed to this, as well, because we went through a professional nanny agency, and this person has a background check/driving record on file. Again, BM balked and said she would rather pick him up and take him to her house, and have dad pick him up after work--but the GAL said no.

Now--I do know the GAL took into consideration the fact that we have a wedding coming up. He told BM that he doesn't put as much stock in a boyfriend/girlfriend as he does a wife or soon-to-be-wife. He was very careful to put in his record everything about when and where we are getting married.

So I do believe he views that in a positive light, and that's why he shot BM down on that issue.

Children are entitled to spend time with not only both parents, but also both FAMILIES. My daughter is going to be his stepsister, and at some point, DH and I will have another child. That child will be his half-sibling. We are a family like any other, and he is entitled to spend time being a part of THIS family---this is not exlusive to his dad.

They are still living in the same house.

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kkny

And yet your DD has no contact with her father. So you dont really understand how it feels when a non-parent steps in to care for your child. And your child doesnt understand.

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imamommy

" * Posted by theotherside (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 26, 08 at 23:05

Hmmm... - why does the word "busybody" spring to mind?"

and

" * Posted by theotherside (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 10, 08 at 14:04

Well, did she actually get evicted?

I know EXACTLY why it bothers me that you are doing so much of the child care. The PARENTS in this case are supposed to have fifty/fifty physical custody. If the child is not in the care of one parent, he should be in the care of the other, unless for some reason neither is available, such as would be the case if both worked, for example.

I am VERY bothered by the many cases I see where the father supposedly has "custody" but his wife/gf is actually doing the child care. So many times men just want to make themselves feel good by pretending to be a custodial parent while not doing much of the actual child raising."

I think you answered your OWN question TOS.... Why should anything anyone else does, bother YOU???? (especially since your own kids don't visit their own dad much if at all)

***********************************************************************************************

" * Posted by kkny (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 10, 08 at 14:51

And yet your DD has no contact with her father. So you dont really understand how it feels when a non-parent steps in to care for your child. And your child doesnt understand."

Neither do you... according to you, your ex's SO has limited contact and hasn't 'stepped in to care for your child."

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kkny

The point is when Dad and GF fight for more custody, and then Dad doesnt really spend time with child, there is a disconnect. I dont believe TOSs X nor mine fought for more custodial time. If mom wants the time, and Dad cant spend it with the child, she should get it.

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imamommy

She (BM) should also get a job and help support her kids...

Lots of things SHOULD happen.

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kkny

I dont agree, if Dad can afford mom to stay home, why shouldnt she. But child belongs with one of his parents, as long as they are available.

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imamommy

It's a different situation when the parents were married and dad agrees to support mom after the divorce. In many cases, the parents were not married and dad has no obligation to support his exGF just because she had his child, even if his current wife is SAHW. Some mothers want to use their kids as a meal ticket and the reality is that both parents are responsible for supporting the children. A marriage may create a contract where the spouse is obligated to support the other spouse, but absent a marriage, that obligation DOES NOT EXIST!!! EVER!

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theotherside

"If mom wants the time, and Dad cant spend it with the child, she should get it."

Absolutely. The right of first refusal is a part of many people's parenting plans.

It is interesting that lovehadley cites the GAL as if he were an authority when he happens to be in support of her position, but denigrates him when he is not.

My exH did remarry, and his wife has absolutely no say in how my children are raised.

According to my lawyer, his lawyer told him not to even THINK about trying to get custody. Fifty/fifty would never be an option either, in part because he lives about 45 minutes away, and both he and I know that would be completely unworkable at that distance.

If you want to say no eating in the living room, that is up to you. Presumably that would apply to your daughter's friends as well, and you certainly have no hand in raising them. However, you have no call to have input into decisions such as where the child attends schools, or whether he has to do his homework at a certain time, etc.

ima,

What does expressing my opinion on a message board have to do with your statement that you would interfere in the dealings between a landlord and tenants, all of whom are adults, and whom you don't even know?

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theotherside

"Now--I do know the GAL took into consideration the fact that we have a wedding coming up. He told BM that he doesn't put as much stock in a boyfriend/girlfriend as he does a wife or soon-to-be-wife. He was very careful to put in his record everything about when and where we are getting married."

I assume that the GAL has no idea that you've been waffling back and forth on that issue. It seems that your fiance has a vested interest in acting like a "good father," picking up his son at the pool, etc., so as to not run you off.

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kkny

Ima, if you giving legal advice that a non-spouse is not entitled to be a stay at home parent, I dont know your authorities. In any event, the reality where I live is that the system is supposed to make certain the child has equivalent life at eather parent.

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imamommy

I'm not giving legal advice. I just think it's common sense. Unless a couple enters into a contract, none exists. A marriage is a contract. Making a baby together isn't a contract to each other, but it does create obligations to the child. That is based on common sense. If you can cite an authority that a non spouse is entitled to be supported because they have a baby together, Please do tell.

and child support may be based on both parties incomes and a low earning CP may get a larger support order from a high earning NCP to create a more equivalent lifestyle, but that doesn't mean the CP can be a stay at home loaf. At least in CA, the law says it's the obligation of BOTH parents to support a child. If CP is wealthy and living off assets or trust fund, then they are contributing to support and can stay home. I don't think that is the 'norm'.

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kathline

There are several states, however, that specifically exempt women with young children from being attributed an income for support purposes, because taking care of hte kids is considered her job by the courts, while the kids are young ( more common in southern states_

There are also states, like arizona, who deduct the value of imputed daycare off of an imputed income to a woman who stays home, to determine if she has the potential to even make enough to be over the self reserve amount, and thus is not liable for financial support.

States have different rules.

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justnotmartha

**This doesn't seem to happen as often with mothers, though it does sometimes. In general, either they are more prone to sticking to their guns about child raising philosophy in spite of what their new SO thinks, or their new SO's are less likely to insist on putting in their two cents than are female SO's.**

I couldn't disagree more. SD's mom would waffle on her parenting stance depending on which man she had in her life - everything from where SD slept, what she ate and wore, thumb sucking, manners - you name it. If the flavor of the month said it should be a certain way, that is how it was. SD would get extremely confused as a young child and then very hurt as she got older because she saw mom based everything around what 'her man' wanted. She still refuses to get involved in SD and her step dad's battles, and there are many. She just lets step dad say/do what he wants, and I've been witness to step dad picking a fight with SD like a 6 year old child would.

I think parents make their priorities, and when keeping a man comes before their child you won't see a lot of 'sticking to their guns.'

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lovehadley

"It is interesting that lovehadley cites the GAL as if he were an authority when he happens to be in support of her position, but denigrates him when he is not."

My point is simply that on THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE the GAL agrees with us. There are OTHER issues that the GAL seems to agree with BM's point of view--ie, where he should attend school.

Kathline, I am certainly not trying to CHANGE my fiance. I love him dearly. We are BOTH trying to change our approach to how we handle a very stressful situation. It's the same thing as disenaging or detaching with love....if I hope that my fiance can detach from BM, that's not me expecting HIM to fundamentally change.

We are BOTH trying to change our attitudes about this whole thing and I personally feel that's a positive thing.

Also, to clarify--my fiance has ALWAYS had 50-50 custody right from the start when his son was not quite 1 year old. The 50-50 is nothing new.

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theotherside

How did he manage that if he was a single parent? He found a daycare center that was open till seven, and on Saturdays?

ima,

I am sure you are familiar with non-marital contracts, or "palimony." The contracts do not have to be written, and they may be merely implied.

As Kathline pointed out, it is not true in all states that CP of young children are expected to contribute financially to their support. In Massachusetts, the CP is not imputed income if the youngest child is under six, and the cost of daycare is always subtracted from the CP's income when computing the amount of child support.

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lovehadley

"How did he manage that if he was a single parent? He found a daycare center that was open till seven, and on Saturdays?"

NO, TOS, he didn't. The 7pm store hour is a new thing--he just opened a second branch of his car dealership which is open until 7.

He used to pick his son up from daycare around 5:30-5:45.

BM did watch her son on Saturdays because, in the car business, fiance has ALWAYS had to work Saturdays. He would leave early every other Sat and pick him up from her around 3 pm.

Thanks for asking! :)

I don't know about other states, but we recently found out that in THIS state, BOTH parents are expected to contribute to the child's support. Hence, BM is being court-ordered now to pay for half of health insurance, half of school-expenses, and half of extra-curriculars. It hasn't been determined yet HOW this will be enforced, but all this will be addressed at the settlement conference.

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theotherside

lovehadley,

Did I miss your answer to the question of whether the mother actually got evicted?

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lovehadley

Yep, you sure did! Buried in one of the sidetracks above:

"They are still living in the same house."

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kkny

Lovehadley,

I cant figure out all the pieces to this. Dad is paying years of back support to the state for years, but has had 50/50 custody.

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lovehadley

BM & my fiance broke up when their son was almost 1.

Did a 50-50 split right from the start, but NEVER went to court.

The arrangement was: my fiance paid all of daycare, all health insurance, all med. expenses, and anything else that came up. Also GAVE BM two cars over the years from his dealership.

Meanwhile, BM never worked, and lived with different boyfriends and with parents for awhile, as well.

BM went to DFS and collected Temporary Assistance. Told DFS she didn't know where the dad was---we have PROOF of this, as our lawyer was able to obtain her temp. assistance paperwork. So basically, BM lied to the state. Told them she wasn't getting help from the dad when, in truth, she was.

State gives her money/food stamps and is now coming after my fiance for a portion of the money/benefits she collected over the years.

At a court date a month ago, the state attorney was there and they set an amount of $500 for my fiance to pay every month--BM will continue to receive $234 (which is what she was receiving in cash benefits from the state) and the rest will go to the state to pay back the balance.

What do you not understand?

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justnotmartha

What I don't understand is why the he!! dad is having to pay back the state because mom lied. How that makes any sense, as she was receiving monetary help from dad AND only had the child 50% of the time (obviously the state thought she had him all the time as dad was supposedly MIA)is beyond me. I think she should be hit for fraud, personally.

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kkny

I suspect there are missing pieces here. Like Dad is making a lot more than he lets on. Maybe cash business? Partially? I suspect Dad knows there are weaknesses here.

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lovehadley

NO, KKNY, wrong again. My father is a stockbroker and he has personally overseen the finances at my fiance's dealership for the last three years.It is NOT a cash business, ALL income is reported, nothing is under the table.

I think the reason the STATE doesn't seem to care about the fraud is because DAD is here for them to recoup the money. Sadly, according to our attorney and even the GAL, welfare fraud is not uncommon. BM was lying on all the paperwork for years, saying dad's whereabouts were unknown, and that she lived with her parents and paid rent to them. (In reality, she lived with them for a month or two, and with two different boyfriends the rest of the years.)

The state is just so overloaded with cases they simply don't have time to investigate every little thing. And, as our attorney said, $5000-6000 in the grand scheme of things is not that much money.

NOW I will say that my fiance has taken some steps to report the fraud--but if anything comes of it, we will just have to see.

What I do know is my fiance screwed up big time by NOT going to court in the beginning to ascertain his rights, and protect himself, and his relationship with his son. If he had gone to court in the beginning, NONE of this would be happening now.

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imamommy

Welfare fraud is not uncommon. They can recoup an overpayment from a recipient that is still receiving it. Otherwise, they will go after the other parent, who is usually listed as an absent parent. (Or they go after who they think they can collect from)

However, if he has proof he paid her money or had his son half the time, then they can't make him pay double and if they are making him pay (even though he has proof) then he has a terrible lawyer or something is not being said. (of course the laws in every state vary, so what might happen in CA may not apply in other states)

I agree that EVERY parent should, in the beginning, get a DNA test and be legally declared the father if there is no marriage and if support is paid out without a court order, keep meticulous records of EVERY payment. (of course, the courts may decide some things are gifts and not support)

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imamommy

"you certainly have no hand in raising them. However, you have no call to have input into decisions such as where the child attends schools, or whether he has to do his homework at a certain time, etc."

A step parent that lives a parent with 50/50 or custodial step parent DOES have a hand in raising. I have input on whether my SD goes to public or private school, especially since I would be paying for part of it. I may not make the final decision, but I certainly have input. I also decide when my SD does her homework when she is in our home. In fact, when she was having trouble in school, I decided on my own to print out extra worksheets for her to practice in the areas she was having trouble. I worked with her after school and her grades improved. If her mom wants to b!tch about her daughter doing better in school, she can tell it to the Judge. I decide what she eats in our home. I decide if she can go outside and play. I decide if she can have friends over or if she can go to their house. If I am the one that is driving her here and there or watching other kids that she might want to come over, I get to decide if I want to do it. If she wants her mom to decide, her mom can come take her. Her dad can give her permission but unless he is going to leave work to take her, then I get the final say. If he tells her no, then it's no. He gets the final say on that.

You may not like that not every child in the world is being raised by only mom and dad, there are lots of kids that live with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, family friends and foster parents. The adults in charge of the child is in charge of making decisions, PERIOD.

Major decisions like surgery... well, if she's laying there with an injury, damn straight I'm going to authorize treatment first & then call her parents. If it were my child, I wouldn't take a few minutes to call someone first, I'd want my child cared for immediately. If it were a planned surgery, then of course the parents can discuss it and decide what to do.

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finedreams

kids lie about their poor grades (or other misfortunes) when they don't want to be grounded, are afraid of punishment, don't want parents to be angry etc. The only solution to it is to not ground and to not punish and do not be angry. DD used to lie (or withholding the truth) about grades at some point, but she quickly realized that there is no point in lying because I don't ground or punish. But if I know about grades in appropriate times, i might give suggestions for improvement. She figured that lying takes you nowhere. So she never lied and it made both of our lives much much easier.

So if you want kids to be truthful, then stop grounding routine, it only teaches kids to lie more. This is just my general experience as a mother and as an educator. I am not refering to anyone's partricular situtation.

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finedreams

about not being married...I think that the mother of the child should not be punished just because kid's father never married her. when i hear this kind of situation i don't have much respct for a guy who does not marry mother of his children. if he does not want to marry, he should not be making babies and, no, I do not want to hear stories how women get pregnant on purpose blah blah, it is an exception, not a rule. and yet so many men do not marry mothers of their children and then claim: well she is not my exwife, just exgirlfriend. so what does it say about him? hhhmmm Just my opinion.

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lovehadley

"i don't have much respct for a guy who does not marry mother of his children"

Oh, I completely have to disagree here.

MARRIAGE does NOT fix one mistake. It only compounds a problem. I wholeheartedly agree that people (both women AND men) should not be having unprotected sex if they are not either already married OR in a relationship with someone that they love and WOULD marry.

BUT--that is just not how things always work. I got pregnant quite accidentally when I was 20. We were NOT very committed to one another and the FIRST thing my dad told me when he found out was "whatever you do, don't marry this guy. That will only make things worse."

I did not feel upset or slighted because my DD's father didn't ask me to marry him. He obviously felt the same way, and that's FINE. We would have been divorced a year later.

Yes, we made a "mistake" in getting pregnant, and BOTH of us were at fault, not just him, not just me---it took BOTH of us to create DD. (And I use the word mistake in quotes because OBVIOUSLY I don't feel she is a mistake. She is my heart! BUT--I think you all know what I mean...my pregnancy was not planned, or well-timed)

In an ideal world, no one would have babies outside of marriage and no one would divorce and there would be no stepfamilies. BUT--that's not how life is. People DO get pregnant with people that they don't want to spend the rest of their lives with, and I personally think the SMARTEST thing someone can do is not make a bad situation worse.

Marriage does NOT fix anything.

Ima is right--when you have a child with someone, and you're NOT married, you have a committment and obligation to THE CHILD.

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finedreams

marriage does not fix anything, but then i do not understand why people have children if they are not willing to make commitments. accidents happen of course but not as often as it is been told. don't tell me that every unmarried couple with kids got pregnant accidentally while using birth control...hmmm. i don't think so.

and it might be OK to have kids not being married, but then why do women have to hear such logic: she was not my wife just a girlfriend so i should not be helping her. i find this demeaning for a woman.

once again my (maybe old-fashion) opinion

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lovehadley

"then i do not understand why people have children if they are not willing to make commitments. accidents happen of course but not as often as it is been told."

Oh, well, I wasn't using BC when I got Pg with my DD. We are just being STUPID. Maybe I should say that instead of saying accident! LOL.

I never said a man who has fathered a child shouldn't be helping an ex, even if they weren't married. I just don't think it is the father's obligation to SUPPORT her. This was all in response to someone (KKNY or TOS, I think) saying that if a man can afford for a second wife to stay home, then he should be paying for his child's mother to stay home, as well.

I don't think this is true. A man OBVIOUSLY has an obligation AND moral responsibility to pay child support AND contribute to the support of his child---CONTRIBUTE being the key word. Both parents are responsible. If a woman gets ENOUGH money in child support to stay home and not work, then that's great. But I think a LOT of women try to stretch that child support to make it enough to not work, and then the child is the one that winds up suffering because mom doesn't have much money.

For example--my STBSS's mom hasn't really worked in 5-6 years. She has had a job here and there, but I don't think any one of them lasted for more than a month. She goes out and drinks, and then is hungover, and calls in sick. She's been fired 3 or 4 times in the time I've known her.

Her own AUNT fired her because she was working as a home health care assistant for her aunt's medical company--GREAT JOB, paying $17/hr--and her aunt had to let her go because she continually wouldn't show for work.

She lost another great job in the medical field( making $15-16/hr, I think) because she lied on her employment app. about having a DWI, and the corporate office found out when they did her background check. Fired.

Then she got PG with her current boyfriend, and now her baby is 8 months and she hasn't even attempted to do anything. And they are STRUGGLING. I mean, utlitiies being shut off, her dad had to step in and start making her car payment, etc.

Her boyfriend lays tile for a living but his income alone is obviously not cutting it.

I personally have NO sympathy for someone who doesn't at least TRY to better themselves. She has been collecting benefits through the state (not for her son, anymore, as her $234/month is now being paid by my fiance) but still for her baby. If someone really needs the subsidies from the state, I think that's FINE--IF they use it appropriately and don't intend to live off the state forever. BM could have the state pay for daycare for her baby, and she could get a job--even a part-time job, 20 hrs a week, would be better than doing nothing.

I'm rambling now...obviously, I feel strongly about this...anyway, my point is, I don't think it is my fiance's obligation to support HER so that she can stay home. He has always fulfilled (and exceeded, IMO) his obligation to his son, and he's done A LOT to help BM, as well.

He paid $150-200 a WEEK (depending on his son's age) for daycare from age 1 until KINDERGARTEN. He did that so BM could WORK and make MONEY and not have to worry about care for their child. He GAVE her two cars--and I am not talking clunkers here, one was a Lexus RX 300 with 70K miles (that's nothing for a Lexus!) and the other was a brand-new Mitsubishi Eclipse.

He paid for a new set of tires on her Lexus when hers were bald--because she didn't have the money and he didn't want their son riding around in a car with bald tires.

Paid for his son's health insurance from the time he was born.

Paid for all birthday parties, for swim lessons from age 2 on, for tumbling lessons at the Y for two years, for all school pictures--basically, every expense that came up, BM would call fiance and say "he needs this" or "i want him to do swim lessons" and fiance would pay for it.

And all this time, BM never really worked to contribute to her own son's care. Instead, she LIED to the state, said she didn't know dad's whereabouts, said she lived with her parents, and paid them rent--and collected benefits.

I think my fiance would have been better off to have gone to court in the beginning--established his rights--had child support set and just paid that. THEN BM would have probably had to split the cost of daycare, split med. expenses, and everything else.

Hindight is 20-20, though...and now I am WAY off topic!

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lovehadley

". He has always fulfilled (and exceeded, IMO) his obligation to his son"

That doesn't really sound the way I meant it, either. I don't think a parent can ever exceed an obligation to a child. I just meant that I feel if both parents are supposed to be contributing to a child's suppport, my fiance has done WAY MORE than BM has EVER done.

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imamommy

Finedreams, I guess a good point is that a woman that doesn't want to be 'demeaned' should prevent a pregnancy until the guy marries her. After all, she is the one that goes through pregnancy and childbirth and is likely going to be the one raising the child alone, according to KKNY. She can say 'marry me or we aren't having sex!', but I don't see it happening that way. Getting pregnant and then telling a guy 'now you have to marry me' is unfair and seen as deceitful by most guys. That's when guys feel 'tricked'. Yeah, they might be partially responsible, but it takes two. I've never, not for a moment, felt that any of my ex's had ANY obligation to support me. My kids were entitled to be supported but not ME. I worked and supported myself. (and my daughter's father and I were engaged and he did plan to marry me. Luckily, I learned he was a cheater BEFORE I made the mistake of marrying him)

My husband might have married his ex because he is the kind of guy that tries to do the right thing. But, she got pregnant when the relationship was going south, and besides that, she was (and still is) married to her first husband. he couldn't have married her if he wanted. She's told every guy she gets with that she's divorced and right now, she's planning her wedding to her current boyfriend so who knows if he even knows she's still married. She's been collecting support from her husband for 12 years (after an 11 month marriage) and that's because she has a contract with him called marriage. I don't think she deserves to be supported by my husband.

But, under your theory, since HE'S the custodial parent, does that mean that SHE should support him if he decided to quit his job and stay home to raise his daughter? According to TOS, that should be okay since I shouldn't be the one taking care of her, he should. So, maybe mom should go get a job and support my husband. I like that plan!!!!!

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finedreams

it is not about pressuring anyone to marry. i just disagree that if the guy did not marry a woman he has the rights to say: oh she was not my wife, just a girlfiend. well duh. you didn't marry her so she was not a wife. common sense. if she would be married at least he would not be able to say: I don't have to help her, she was never my wife.

guys feel tricked? what guys? guys who do the right thing do not feel tricked, and if they are afraid to be tricked then maybe they should keep you know what you know where. and stories about accidental pregnancies not an excuse either.

I don't know who needs to support who but not being married to parents of your children isn't any kind of good excuse for anything in my opinion. general comment about people not taking responsibility. in fact I think children would prefer their parents were legally married even if it didn't work in a long run. there is never a guarantee. but it does not mean we should avoid responsibility for our children.

again my opinion. that's what I believe.

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imamommy

FD, did your exH support (spousal support) you while you were raising your DD? Or did he send 'child support'? Could you have lived on what he sent or did you have to work? Could you have afforded to be a stay at home mom?

If he at one time had a legal obligation to support you (through marriage) and after divorcing you, he didn't continue to support you so you can stay home, then why on earth would a guy that never married you have an obligation to support you so you can stay home and not work?

I agree with "maybe they should keep you know what you know where." but what responsibility does the girl have? Nobody said anything about avoiding responsibility for our children, the father should be held responsible to support his child. Not many people can (or should) completely live on the child support. The intent is for both parents to work and contribute toward the child. In some cases, a stay at home parent may be able to live off the child support and spousal support if it's enough, but they should not live off just the child support. Spousal support can only be ordered if you were once spouses. If they were never married, there can be no spousal support, therefore it would only be child support and it's intended to support the child, not the child and his/her parent.

*****I'm not an attorney so this is not legal advice, just my opinion based on my understanding from a business law course on contracts:*****

As for 'palimony', that is a little more complicated that an 'implied contract'. There is usually some sort of agreement, such as one works while the other goes to school and then when they graduate, they reverse and the other goes to school. When a GF works while her BF goes to med school on the promise that once he's a doctor, he'll marry her or put her through school and then he gets done and dumps her, then she relied on his promise and that is a verbal contract.

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lovehadley

FD, I have not read ANYTHING in this thread that says a father should not have to support his child because he and mom were not married.

This whole sidetrack got started because somebody said that if dad's wife can stay home, then BM should be able to stay home, as well.

And that's how the debate started....about how dads are obligated to HELP support their children, and not to support their exes, as well.

Truth be told, marriage is no guarantee that a woman will be able to stay home after a divorce. I would venture to guess that the majority of women do end up having to work when their marriage ends.

Like Ima said, if a woman gets and can live off of spousal support, that's one thing...but, unless the BABY DADDY (forgive me, I just couldn't resist using that term!) is Eminem or something, most women are just not going to be able to make it on child support alone! LOL.

Child support is meant to be a PORTION of the financial support the child is entitled to from BOTH PARENTS.

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finedreams

imamommy, When we decided to have a child we decided it would be great if I could stay home maybe working part time jobs until DD is a little older to attend preschool. X was put in a child care right after his birth and he was strongly against doing it to his child. I agreed. We got divorced while DD was still little but it did not mean he had to take his word back or we had to change our plans in regards to DD. I stayed home for some time after divorce. Yes it was enough for me to stay home at that time. I did not want to stay much longer because DD was not that young anymore and needed to go to preschool and I got my degree and wanted to get back to my career. So i did.

The reason i stayed home is that it was the best for our child at that time. X is no good as a partner but he is devoted to his children. There was no spousal support through courts. In fact there was nothign ever done through courts, just whatever we decided benefited DD.

No i do not think that men have to support their exwives necessarilly unless it is mutual decisions and unless men can afford it. But I do not think that the fact people are not married is any excuse for anything.

yes, of course girls also have responsibilities as guys. they also should keep their you know what in you know where. lol not much different from guys. the only difference is that guys get away with it and find multiple excuses (like not being married). girls end up doing it all alone.

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theotherside

No man can be "tricked" into getting a woman pregnant. If he really doesn't want to get her pregnant, he can practice abstinence or use condoms (that he himself has purchased, if he is worried about the far-fetched possibility of her poking holes in them through the wrapper).

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finedreams

poking holes in condoms? you crack me up. hahaha

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theotherside

Actually I read that scenario in a novel recently - I thought that as a plot device that scenario had a few holes in it as well.

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dirt_yfingernails

Child support is for the support of the child, period. To help with a portion of food, housing, etc. and clothes, etc. for the CHILD. BM has no business using for anyone but the child. Not for her to stay home, go to parties, vacations, etc. If she gets spousal support, then she can do those things. If no spousal support and she can't make it on her child's support then go to work. The financial arrangements in her X's house (new wife doesn't work for example) are none of her business as long as the child support is paid.

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