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Frustrated by my lack of control (Vent)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a DSS 5.5 a DS 2.5 and a DD 8 months. We have my DSS half time although we have an old custody agreement that only gives him to us EOW one night a week on the off week. My issue is this: DSS's mom is moving (again) and wants him to go to school in our school district (we really want this too.) but in order to do this we will either have to lie and say that he does not stay overnight with her at all or legally change the custody agreement to make us the residential parent for school purposes (she does not want to do this). So I am frustrated because all of us think it is the best thing for him to go to school with us but because she is afraid of court or doesn't trust us he probably won't end up in our school district. We are willing to lie but the affidavit will say (essentially) that he never stays with her. I just wish that I could make things happen how I want them to happen and not have to worry about DSS mom and dad getting there stuff together. I know that I have no say and no control in this I just wish I did.

We all have a pretty decent relationship so this is not saying anything negative about DSS Mom I am just frustrated that in the step parenting situation i have so little control.
post #2 of 12
I hear you. Being such a large part of someones life who you love and care about, yet get no say in any decision making, is frustrating.
Obviously you care that your DSS gets a good education and it seems mom and dad do too. I would not be above lying to make sure that one of my kiddos (and that includes "step") gets the best thing for them.
I am curious though, as to why mom refuses the modification. Is there something she is worried about losing? IE flexibility, support, say in your DSS's life? If that is the case, I think having your husband find out WHAT the fear is and finding a way to address it in the new agreement might make her more likely to acquiesce to the new arrangement.
Best of luck mama!
post #3 of 12
Wow. Your school district sounds pretty strict! Around here, you either just enroll the child or at most have to show a utility bill. No one asks to see custody agreements or anything like that. DSD lives at each house about 50% of the time, and either parent could have enrolled her in their district. The parenting agreement wasn't even close to done when she started kindergarten.

How long have you guys had the 50/50 on a casual basis? If it has been a while, you might want to revisit your agreement anyway. She'd have trouble objecting to changing to 50/50 in court if she's been voluntarily participating in it for a long time (that is what our lawyer told us, anyway). If your DH likes the current arrangement, getting it solidified in court is really the best way to protect it.
post #4 of 12
Don't lie. It's wrong, it's bad parental modelling, and it could come back to bite you.
post #5 of 12
Are you sure this is the way it works in your area? Around here the child can go to either school district that the bio parents live within regardless of where the child actually sleeps...even if they never visit that parent. I don't understand why a school district would not allow your stepson to enroll. A parent is paying the school taxes for that area.

If not, does your district do school of choice? We can go to any school district around here that has an open spot. We just have to fill out the proper paper work. If there are too many from other districts, it goes to a lottery system for the extra spots.
post #6 of 12
Shouldn't have to lie. Just tell the school that your home is the primary home for deciding where the child goes to school.

They shouldn't ask for more information than that. You don't have to tell them that the REASON it is the primary home is because you prefer this school district, just that it IS the determining factor.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
DSS's mom hates court. We had a very bad oppositional relationship when we went to court the first time in order to establish visitation. We asked for joint custody- she fought it. We asked for shared parenting- she fought it. Ultimately we lost big in court. My DH who obviously knew her and her limitations decided that anytime she asked us for anything: money, for us to have DSS more or less we would always say yes. So this is what we did. When she started working we told her she could claim DSS every other year for tax purposes, we always give her extra money (besides child support) when she asks for it, we take him less or more when she asks and we do all the driving. In return he have gotten everything we wanted from her for DSS: We have him at least 50% of the time, We have flexible visitation and custody and now our biggie she wants him to go to school in our school district plus as an added bonus DSS has parents who get along, work well through conflicts and issues with each other and try to do what is best for him.

We have discussed going to court to officially change visitation/custody but she states that "she does not do court" has anxiety about it. We could push the issue but is does not seem worthwhile to reintroduce the anxiety and hostility back into DSS life to fight for something we already have. This is hard for me. I am in law school I think everyone should have an agreement to protect their interest and right now the agreement we have nowhere near protects our current issues but again I have no control and I can recognize that this is what is best for DSS.

The issue with school is that we missed the enrollment for Kindegarten (in March) because we had no plans at that time to enroll him in our school district. So now he have to enroll him as a new student which requires DH has to do a affidavit stating that he stays with us most of the time, which is true, but he also needs to say that he does not have overnights a significant period of time anywhere else. I guess we could put that he does stay with his mom and just have her sign an affidavit that he stays with us most of the time and our home is his residential home purposes. I don't know. I feel concerned about it and don't want DH to lie but I also don't want her to feel like it is too complicated so she decides to just put him in her school district. Ahh so hard to find the right thing to do and if it was up to me I would have DH do an agreed entry for custody and have her sign it and he could go file it but it is not up to me. Blech.
post #8 of 12
You should listen to your gut reaction. YOu're a law student, so you know you shouldn't lie on an affadavit.
Perhaps if you went to a mediator, this could alleviate her anxiety. It seems like an issue that could be easily resolved, seeing as you all want the same thing as far as school goes.
post #9 of 12
Based on your signature, this may be an unnecessary comment, but I'm going to make it just in case. Custodial laws are often enforced and practiced quite differently than they are written and sometimes it is simply a matter of giving the proper people a copy of the law and pushing them to let you exercise your rights as written. I have even had cops and prosecutors respond to me with astonishment when I've pushed them to check the actual wording of a law they "enforce" all the time but haven't actually read in years (or ever).

Where I live (Indianapolis), our law allows kids to attend the public school in EITHER parent's neighborhood, regardless who has custody. But you will not find a school employee nor even many family law attorneys who know that. Parents get told all the time - even by their own lawyers! - that their child can't be enrolled in the school near the non-custodial parent.

This may not be the case where you are, but it's certainly worth reading the original documents (i.e., the law) for yourself, before assuming that your only choices are to lie, to spend thousands returning to court, or to send your SS to a lesser school.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was not going to lie in an affidavit, I am just the stepmom so I don't do the affidavit, anyway I wanted to say thanks becasue I realized I was overthinking the situation. They didn't say we had to turn in the form about current residency it is just one of the forms for people who are just starting in the school district but we are not transferred into the school district we have been here for 5 years so I am going to just have DH go to register DSS with the same information he would if we were registering either of our other two kids in school and this would mean we would not have to turn in the affidavit. So thanks for helping me find the clarity.
post #11 of 12
I agree with PP about asking her about mediation. Its not like court you can get all your papers signed there and the mediator in our case even filed them all with the court for us. It would relieve her anxiety and be more like the 2 or 3 of you guys just sitting down to get the school thing squared away. Obviously you can do what you want after the agreement is signed, and its not like you would tell her she couldnt have/see him.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
She won't do meditation we already mentioned it. She would possibly sign an agreement we wrote up if she agreed with it and we could file it as an agreed entry but for now we are just going to register him in school without affirming anything.
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