iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2013
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 11:29am

Hi guys, I am new to this board and have never posted about this topic before, so please bare with me. I'll try to keep it short.

I have a 4year old daughter with my ex husband. We were married, and separated when our daughter was 6 months old. He was jobless, and didnt have a permanent residence, so daughter stayed with me. At that time there was no formal agreement for visitation, and father rarely took initiative to see his daughter. He finally got a job, and an apartment. I filed for child support. I was working full time and paying $800 per month for daycare, plus was left with rent for our apartment, and all of our bills from the marriage. Father lost his job again, but had moved his GF in to his apt, so she was supporting him. At that point, I could not afford daycare PLUS all of the bills, so I began taking our daughter to his place every morning before work, and picking her up every night.....this is where things really started to go down hill. I recieved mesages from him saying exactly this: "If i dont see some money from you, your free daycare service is going to end" and that was just the beginning.

During this entire period of about a year, not one time did dad request a visitation shedule, custody, or even a divorce. Shortly after this, I got the opportunity to transfer with my job back to my home town out of state. I asked dad if I could take our daughter with me, and agreed that she would visit every 2 months, and even said I would drop the child support case. (hind sight is 20-20) this was the worst arrangeement ever. Once I got out of state, I informed dad of our address, phone number, daughters daycare info. In 6 months, not once did he contact us. Not once did he call, write, check in, nothing. Then out of the blue, I get a NASTY email from his GF saying that I kidnapped my child, they are pressing charges.  threatening me, insulting me, etc..... and I dont even KNOW her! This went on for months, meanwhile I formally filed for divorce, and child support. 

We attended mediation. She wrote a letter to the lawyer BEFORE mediation began, and painted a picture of me as a horrible baby kidnapping monster... she had to be asked to leave during mediation. WE finally agreed on a visitation schedule, which was, until school started, daughter would spend 6 weeks with dad in Feb/Mar, the whole month of May, The whole month of August, I think half of September and half of October, he had her for 2 weeks before x mas and 2 weeks after (including the holiday) into the next year, he had her for Feb, May, and then for the entire summer (2 months) When School started Daughter was to be with me during the school year, and with him during all holidays and summers, except we rotate xmas and thanksgiving. Father was living in a DIFFERENT state altogether a this point, because he and GF moved for her to finish her degree.

At somepoint, father lost his job or jobs, and quit paying child support. He hasnt paid anything for 15 months. They moved to the same state I live in, saying that they had jobs and home lined up. Turns out, there was no job lined up, and they were living with some strange man that they had NEVER met! They have since moved in with another couple, whom they also had never met and live in the basement of that house.

During ALL of this... GF has been sending me nasty emails, posting blogs about me online, posting stories on Fathers Rights sights saying I am alienating him. Very rarely do I get communication from my ex. If I do, its always filtered through her first. The latest accusation from her is that I am "alienating " the father. But let me clarify this.... Our daughter has been back in my care for one month now....and has not recieved so much as a phone call from him. There have been 4 skype sessions avaialable for him to take advantage of, and he did not participate. He has our address, our phone numbers, her school information, and not once has he contacted us. This is a regular occurence.I even offered for him to have her every other weekend, which he also denied.

Now, my ex has asked me for 50/50 custody...... Mind you, he is still unemployed, and living in someones basement. I told him no. I told him that if he could get a permanent address and job, and keep both for atleast 6 months, if he would call his daughter on a regular basis, make an effrort to attend the Skype sessions, we could sit down and talk.

Since I left the state we both lived in, I have lived at the same address, for almost 3 years. I am remarried, and my husband and I recently purchased a house. Well, we close on it Friday. Now, his GF has told me that I should have consulted with THEM before I made a PERMANENT plan, such as buying a house.... I should state that the house is only 11 miles away from where we live now, and is in the same county, so our daughter will be in the same school. I was then asked by them both to quit my job, have my husband quit his job, back out on the closing tomorrow, withdraw daughter from current school, and move even closer to dad and his gf. I have been accused of being an alcoholic, because I gave my daughter a cherry, out of a cherry-limeade.......from Sonic.... My husband was accused of being a transient because daughter told dad that he stays in hotels.....He works out of town occasionally and has to stay at a hotel....... It is ALWAY like this... I have to walk on eggshells because I never know what they are going to misinterpret.

I could go on, and on, and on about this. There are literally over 40 emails from this woman. Not from him, from her. I have been accused of being an alcoholic, because I gave my daughter a cherry, out of a cherry-limeade.......from Sonic.... My husband was accused of being a transient because daughter told dad that he stays in hotels.....He works out of town occasionally and has to stay at a hotel....... It is ALWAY like this... I have to walk on eggshells because I never know what they are going to misinterpret. Then when I finally tell her enough is enough and put her in her place, she cries victim and says "well you need to discuss it with him"......HELLLOOOOOO......... Thats what I have been trying to do all along, but I am not going to facilitate his relationship with his daughter. All of the doors are open for him to walk right into, and he chooses not to. He is almost 40 years old, I shouldnt have to hold his hand.

I see ALOT of step-moms calling the BioMom psycho, crazy, incompetent, bad parents etc.... What I dont see, is step mothers encouraging fathers to do the right things. Its so much easier to blame the mom, and play victim. I have literally done everything that I know to do.

The reason I moved out of state was to provide a stable home environment, which I have done, to advance my career, which I have done, to provide consistency, and a great home life close to family which I have done. I still stand by my decision to move out of state, and now that he lives here, that point is moot.

What do I do from here? I cant MAKE dad call his child. I WILL NOT seek his or her approval before my husband and I make OUR life decisions together, unless it is something that would directly effect the other parties. I WILL NOT agree to a 50/50 custody arrangement, unless they are in the same school district, because I will not have our daughters education disrupted.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999

I would start by sending a very polite email to both gf and ex that all communication regarding the child is to come directly from the father.  Are they even married?  It doesn't matter one way or the other, but you have no obligation to communicate with his wife, and especially not the girlfriend.  I would also keep and print out every single email you get from her, print out or screen shot every blog post from her, whatever you have so that next time you are in court, and you need to, you have them all with you to prove you have not initiated any of this.

Personally, I would go back to court and ask for full custody with every other weekend visitation and that's it now that she is in school.  If you want to not worry about child support, that is up to you, but i would want it on the books regardless and if and when you get any, put it in a college fund for her.

Lastly, you have no obligation whatsoever to quit your job, move, back out of your house closing, none of it.  Even in normal custody arragements I have never seen any court make you seek permission from anyone unless you are moving more than 50 miles away or out of state.  I know its hard, but do what you can to keep things as even keeled as you can, ignore the step mom/gf as much as possible.  Once you have emailed both her and the father that you will only accept communication from the father, stick to it and ignore all of her emails regardless of what she puts in any of them.  If you need to block her altogether then do it.  It is his burden to prove that he indeed is trying to contact your daughter wtih phone calls, text messages, whatever.  it is his burden to prove that you are denying all of it.  I know it can be expensive, but go find a good custody lawyer to have on your side.

Musiclover will probably pop in, she's a divorce attorney and may be able to give you some more suggestions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Actually I think Arryl covered the bases here.  Obviously this woman is a nut, so I would just refuse to deal with her.  I would not respond to any email that she sends--you know you are doing the right things for your DD and it's not your fault that she misinterprets things.  I really hope you have a good lawyer here because in this kind of case, it will be worth it to spend the money.  I would not let your DH off the hook for child support but the fact that he hasn't regularly been paying c.s. will look very bad for him.  I agree with saving all her crazy emails and I would also document all contact.  You should be the primary custodial parent.  I would actually not even want your DD to sleep over there unless you know that their living environment is safe.  You said they live in the basement of someone's house--is it even an apartment or just some room they are renting?  What do you know about the landlords?  

An online friend of mine has been going through some kind of strange issues like this w/ her kids' stepmother.  The SM is basically trying to be the mom & push the real mom out of the picture.  My friend has been in court many times and just now finally she asked for a social worker to do an evaluation and the social worker really gets it that the SM & father are damaging the kids because of the stuff they do to try to alienate the kids from their mother (the false accusations reminded me because they accused her of being an alcoholic and using drugs, none of which are true).