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Old 07-30-2010, 09:51 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 5,448
Mess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the rough

Legally she has no more authority than a babysitter. In practice, if the father backs her up, then she can say what she wants, he is putting his authority onto her words. If he gives her permission to cross the border with them, then she has permission. I realize it's annoying but there is little you can do about it.

In terms of legal recourse, if you can't afford a lawyer your options are limited. Are you considering self-representing? You could do this with plenty of research and practice. You need to know the forms and the rules inside out, and you should go to the courthouse and sit in on court cases as much as you can. There are lots of resources and people here can help, but it is still a difficult task, and it is a full time job while it lasts.

Regarding things like choice of schools, you should set up a meeting with you and the father at their current school's office. You should discuss it there and go over all the options, without the step. If your ex does not agree to this, at the very least you need to have a heart to heart talk with your child and explain that the step is neither there parent or guardian, and they are giving bad advice. Ultimately they will choose to work at Tim Hortons if they want to.

As much as you feel that the influence is all coming from the step and not the father, it is equally unfair if all the influence come from you. Some decisions won't go the way you want, and your children will make up their own minds.

If you have evidence that she is seriously undermining you or engaging in parental alienation, you could have a case but it is hard, long, you would need a lawyer and expensive assessments. If it is not that extreme, then it is just a difference of opinion and you really shouldn't think the courts can settle that for you. I can't advise you on this, you are there, we are not.