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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-28-2010, 01:52 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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Default HELP, Please Read and offer any suggestions

Hello, I am in the "Stepmother" role in a very sticky situation. I am the girlfriend of the father in the situation, if anyone could offer any suggestions that would be great.

My boyfriend and his ex separated a couple of years back. They were common law not married but have one child together with the mother also having a child from a previous relationship. They argued a lot and my boyfriend did not want to leave his child at the time. His ex called the police and had him charged with 3 counts of assault (to get him out of the house) and has told me that they were false (not that anyone believes that). He ended up pleading to one count.

For about 6 months my boyfriend took both children for visits. The mother then decided she no longer wanted her older child coming (the older's child had not seen his bio dad in over 6 years). She would regularly disappear on vacations, post pictures on the internet of herself falling over drunk with the child in her arms and cause a great deal of problems.

Moving ahead they had a one year long custody battle which ended this year mid august, she had written all of the horrible things about my boyfriend that she could thinking he would no longer be allowed in the childs life. Throughout this time she continued to disappear from time to time but would always come back to get the child in the end.

We had OCL involved and they determined that at this time both parents are capable but sole to the mother with decent access to my boyfriend (first 3 weekends and extras because they live far apart). We opted for a fairly specific court order because they dont get along.

Since the court order in August the mother FREQUENTLY has been violating the court order. My boyfriend wanted to file a contempt motion but we cannot afford a lawyer and he is worried that a judge will say deal with it because it has been so soon since the order was endorsed. She has not denied any access but she had moved and refuses to meet the terms of the order based on this and frequently exposes the child to adult conflict though the order outlines she is not to.

Can OCL be called back in. She also moved in with her older child's father who she described in the OCL report as an alcoholic who is in and out of rehab and a bad influence (to explain why she keeps him away)

NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:05 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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Sorry another note, when we asked her to comply with the order she indicated "that she will call the police and say that my boyfriend commited a violent act and then have the access changed if you[we] do anything she doesn't like"

My boyfriend is terrified of the family court system and thinks that she can do this because she can get legal aid (she is on welfare),
  #3  
Old 09-28-2010, 03:39 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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I hope you guys have all these threats in your email?? And then printed and saved in a binder for future use in the event she does try and pull some stunt?

First of all, your b/f needs to be the forefront here. He should be the one doing all communication with his ex if he is not already. I don't want to offend you in any way, but you are not party to the agreement. You are there to support him and bounce ideas around, but he is the one that needs to express these to his ex.

That said, what you b/f needs to do is be clear about his goals and how he intends on achieving those goals. Depending on what his ex is refusing to do per the order, he may be better off letting slide due to the cost/benefit of an action. But understanding that it may create a precedent that he doesn't want set.

First and foremost he should move all communication with his ex to email for records purposes and because it will allow any emotions that may be stirred to be calmed prior to hitting "send". He needs to advise his ex that he intends to follow the court order, and that he expects that she will also. A simple email to her stating that:

"pursuant to clause X of our court order/agreement dated Y, each parent is to do [insert wording here]. It is my position that it is the children's best interests to abide by such clause and will continue to do so. I respectfully request that you also abide by said clause and ensure that [what the heck the issue is] is remedied."

From there, document, document and document. If she comes back with some venom filled hate email, laugh and say to yourself "thank you" as she continues to step on rakes in the yard. She is setting herself up for a fall by not being willing to coparent.

And as I seemingly am suggesting every day now, keep communication strictly relating to the child and the agreement. If there is an issue, you state the issue and your request in a child centric manner. Don't get into anything that doesn't relate to the child. Email her as if you would email your boss or a client. Treat everything moving forward as if it were business, nothing personal (even though it is as personal as can be). But always stick to keeping the focus on the child and the child's best interests, like advising her that

"
Dear Nutjob,

Pursuant to clause [whateverthehellitmaybe] of our court order, neither parent is to speak negatively to the child of the other parent, nor involve the child in adult discussions. Due to instances where I have witnessed you speak negatively of me to the child, I respectfully request that you cease and desist from speaking negatively of me to or infront of our child moving forward.

I believe it is in the childs best interests to have a safe and loving relationship with each parent, and will continue on my end to ensure that our child understands that each parent is there for him/her and that he/she has two safe and happy households.

Respectfully,
Awesome Dad."

From there you document her reply. You document any comments the child should make like "well mommy says you suck". After a few instances, you drag her to court and request a parenting after divorce class as she apparently does not understand what a child is to be subject to. If you have to back again, you go for contempt. Rince and repeat.

Also, you can use the Family Law Information Centres that are local for help if necessary.

Edit - also he should never be alone with his ex if possible. Always have a witness and he should also buy a digital voice recorder and have it on during all parenting exchanges. That will hopefully help protect him from any further false allegations.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:54 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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Hammerdad, thank you for your comments. The reason that I am left to the communication is that his ex has requested and has now been endorsed 2 times is that I am to be her only method of communication with a log book to be the only exception where they are to discuss the child only nothing order related, leaving me responsible for any others including drop off an pick up and trying to get her to allow my bf to speak to the child on off days.

Do you think the material change in circumstance will have anything to do with any possible outcomes?
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:43 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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I can't see how a judge would put a third party in the middle, effectively killing any chance of co-parenting, but I digress.

Anyway, I would ensure all communication is done by email. Also, any change to the order would depend on what the change in circumstances is. Did she move outside of the children's regular school district or to another city etc?

Communication books are good, I had one. The only other communication with my ex is via email, and so far I am content with the results.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:54 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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I agree with you on the co-parenting but she has mentioned that the only way she can maintain her sole custody is if they are unable to coparent. My boyfriend is not concerned with the terminology he just wants to have a relationship with his son so he said keep sole, there are certain exceptions to the rule for education and healthcare in the order so its not true sole custoday anyways.

She moved cities and moved in with her ex who she coined an alcoholic who is in an out of rehab in the children lawyer's report. She intends to change the child's school very soon, not really sure what she is waiting for.

The commnuication log is great but she refuses to communicate via writing, we have tried letter and now try and at least keep it to text messaging, I can print right from my phone so that seem OK at the moment.

I spoke with the clinical investigator today and she told me that it is a definate change of material circumstance and that she could not comment any further. We don't want to go back to court but her new boyfriend is not building a good relationship with the child.

On my boyfriends last access the new boyfriend tried to hide and the other child involved (who is 11) accept my boyfriend's son back from the weekend as the mother was at a party. The child is becoming more and more depressed and has been crying to my boyfriend to come and live with us.

These things are never easy and my boyfriend does not want to cause a great upset to the situation either.

Anyways thanks again if anyone has any other feedback from this it would be great! Thanks in advance to new replies
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:55 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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Also the biggest problem here is that my boyfriend's son is only 6 and is not "old enough" to be asked where he wants to live.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:11 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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tell you bf to always make sure he has a tape recorder or someone with him when he sees the ex. No sense in taking a chance with her.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:11 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherSTEPmother View Post
I agree with you on the co-parenting but she has mentioned that the only way she can maintain her sole custody is if they are unable to coparent.
The typical "I don't have to cooperate, because if I do that means we can get along and I don't get what I want" scenario......I hate that....

Quote:
My boyfriend is not concerned with the terminology he just wants to have a relationship with his son
At least he has his head on straight. If he stays child focused, he will eventually gain much ground.

Quote:
so he said keep sole
Not sure what you mean here, it conflicts with your first statement. Do you mean so he can gain sole?

Quote:
, there are certain exceptions to the rule for education and healthcare in the order so its not true sole custoday anyways.
Do the exceptions provide that each parent must consent to any changes? If she plans on moving the child from his school, and advises you of such, you can object and state that per your agreement you do not consent to the change in school as the child is familiar with the current school and it wouldn't be in the childs best interests to change schools.

Quote:
She moved cities
How far is the distance and does the order provide relocation restrictions, in that she cannot move Xkm without the previous consent from Dad or a court order? If not, that is something that should have been considered before.

Quote:
and moved in with her ex who she coined an alcoholic who is in an out of rehab in the children lawyer's report.
Depending on the level of danger the child may be in, it could be reason to call the CAS, but I wouldn't until or unless I had some proof of danger or harm. Otherwise you look like the angry ex out to get the other parent. And I would also have a mandatory reporter call if you had to, like a teacher, counsellor etc.

Quote:
She intends to change the child's school very soon, not really sure what she is waiting for.
If you have that in writing, see a few points above.

Quote:
The commnuication log is great but she refuses to communicate via writing, we have tried letter and now try and at least keep it to text messaging, I can print right from my phone so that seem OK at the moment.
Text is also ok, but try to move to email. For any other communication or interaction with her, have a digital voice recorder running.

Quote:
I spoke with the clinical investigator today and she told me that it is a definate change of material circumstance and that she could not comment any further. We don't want to go back to court but her new boyfriend is not building a good relationship with the child.
I would recommend getting the child into counselling. Try and focus on bettering the childs ability to cope and move forward. It is best for the child to have someone neutral that they can confess in.

Quote:
On my boyfriends last access the new boyfriend tried to hide and the other child involved (who is 11) accept my boyfriend's son back from the weekend as the mother was at a party. The child is becoming more and more depressed and has been crying to my boyfriend to come and live with us.
Not sure what you are getting at here. Either the ex's b/f hid, or he hid the child in an attempt to deny access etc. But either way, the b/f should not be responsible for exchanges and should not be involved, much like you. If he tried to deny access, I would call the police and have him charged with kidnapping. Your B/F is the father, ex's b/f is nothing and has ZERO rights to the child.

Quote:
These things are never easy and my boyfriend does not want to cause a great upset to the situation either.

Anyways thanks again if anyone has any other feedback from this it would be great! Thanks in advance to new replies
He may not want to rock the boat, but he needs to have a comprehensive journal and take a proactive approach to dealing with her. She may not email, but he sure can and should (reminding himself to keep his emotions in check and keep it child centric). But document, document and document. Get involved with the boys school, talk to teachers and get him into see a counsellor on dad's time if possible. Take an approach that is in the boys best interests and helping him cope with this obviously trying time.
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