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Frustrated with DSS's mom and Cell phones, 2 phones in split custody situations?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We have DSS 1/2 time, Monday to Monday schedule, he is almost 12.  Here we are a family of 5, there they are a family of 2 (mom recently divorced again).

 

The situation now is that we got dss a cell phone almost a year ago, he's on contract with our family plan, we don't have a lot of money but felt he needed one and have never asked her to help pay.  Basically he has unlimited texting/phone.  DH and Ex agreed that internet and picture/mulitimedia texting was not available until he's older.  Our thinking was that he got a newish phone good for talking and texting ...camera etc.  Pretty basic for his first real phone.  We wanted to give him a chance to see how responsible he can be with it.

 

So, yesterday he comes back here with a brand new phone with multimedia texting and has basically switched over to that phone, on her plan. 

 

We are pretty frustrated because of course he is going to use the new fancy phone but we have him on contract and we still have to pay for the other phone...and now he is telling everyone this new number so we are paying for a phone that he isn't using. 

 

We are just so frustrated because she was fine with him having a phone, she didn't have one for him, but used the one we paid for all the time to text/call him (which is what it was for of course) now she puts him on a contract with her line and we are stuck paying for something he doesn't use, not to mention the stability of having one number for people to contact him on.  This is usually how we communicate with him when he's not here.

 

I just don't understand why she would do this.  Isn't it odd to have two phones, one for each house?  What's wrong with a little stability for him?!  I feel like she does this stuff to be the "cool" mom and just erases all boundaries we set, even if she initially agrees on them with us...she changes them to suit dss or when she feels insecure and wants to "1-up " us.  I am really tired of this devisive crap, it's like whenever we say no to something she changes and says yes, almost to spite us.  There really was absolutely no reason for him to have a new phone. 

 

So do we drop it and just pay the bill?  I feel like she's created a situation where he has to "choose" between households again.  It's so sad and frustrating.  I really thought we were getting to a better place.  Darn.

post #2 of 14

Do you think she might be trying to make up for leaving her husband?  If he was attached to her husband, and she left him, then she may feel the need to "buy" his affection to keep him happy after having left a man that he liked.  You know, unreasonable and ridiculous to us, but if she's feeling guilty, guilt can make people do weird things.

post #3 of 14

 

I understand your frustration, but this is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. Within the realm of what is legal, it's none of your business what she buys him or why, and none of her business what y'all buy him or why. 

 

If the internet aspect of it bothers you, then take the phone away when he walk into your house and hand him his other phone - the one that YOU think is appropriate. You have the right to set the standards in your home - but it's worse than useless to get all het up about the different rules at his other home. 

post #4 of 14

Hmmmm. If my exh did that to me - I admit, I'd be puzzled and a little wild. Did your dss ask for a new phone? Maybe he wanted one like all his friends? I don't know. If she knew that he had a phone, and she used it to communicate w/him - why take on the cost of a new phone yourself?? Very strange.

post #5 of 14

We have a very similar phone "turf war" going on here, with my 11-y-o DSS, who lives with us (his mom's across the country).  I imagine it will become more and more common, as it becomes the norm for middle schoolers (and younger) to have cell phones, even in intact families.  So, eventually courts will have rules about it that help parents manage their instincts for oneupsmanship and passive-aggression.  Unfortunately, it's every family for themselves, right now!

 

No, I think it's completely unreasonable for a kid (even if he were 18) to have a different cell for each parent.  It's too much to expect him to keep track of, at 12.  It sets up completely outlandish expectations for what kind of luxury and excess he should expect to be able to provide for himself, as he grows up.  Besides, honestly, now that he has the "fancy" phone, what motivation does he have, to use the more limited one, to call you guys when he's with his mom?

 

I think you should approach her - as firmly as you think is judicious - to pay the termination fee for the phone plan you have for DSS.  You can't do anything about her willingness to undermine you, as far as deciding your SS was too young for the full bells-and-whistles phone package, until he proved himself responsible.  But, as an adult in the first world, she cannot claim ignorance of the financial penalties to you guys, of stopping use of a cell phone mid-contract, whether you terminate or just keep on paying for a dead phone.

 

Of course, you have to decide how far to go with it.  The costs of dragging her to court over this alone would probably make that a senseless endeavor...unless you represent yourselves, or take her to small claims court instead of family court...or unless you already have a list of other issues to deal with and you could just tack this on.  Or was there a mediator in your case that you could affordably employ, if she refuses to help with the termination fee?  Say, talk about it with the mediator in a conference call or e-mail thread, instead of actually meeting with her?

 

If all else fails, is there another phone on your plan that's closer to the end of its contract (i.e., it would be cheaper to terminate that contract than to terminate your SS's)?  Perhaps you or your husband could switch to DSS's line.  Of course, you can just switch the SIM cards and keep using your own phone.

 

post #6 of 14

My thing is, I'd be keeping the existing phone because no 12 y.o. in MY house is going to have a damn internet phone. I think it's inappropriate and unsafe. I'd hand the fancy phone right over at dropoff and not even let it through the door. 

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

My thing is, I'd be keeping the existing phone because no 12 y.o. in MY house is going to have a damn internet phone. I think it's inappropriate and unsafe. I'd hand the fancy phone right over at dropoff and not even let it through the door. 


Yup. I don't think he needs two phones, and there was a discussion that the phone you bought him was what was appropriate for his age. If mom has changed her mind, she needs to have a discussion with Dad, not just make the change. Since she didn't you should feel free to enforce the rules in your house as they've been agreed to. At the very least I would hold onto the phone when 

he is with you, but I like the idea of leaving the phone with mom and not even invite that into your house.

post #8 of 14

I think the thing here to recognize is that people will take control over things in their lives - when they feel they have very little control in other areas.

 

As far as going to court or mediation, I think that's a lost cause. Maybe she doesn't like the phone he has? The very most you can control is not allowing the phone during your parenting time... just as she can refuse to let him use your phone during her parenting time.


Childish? Yes. But it's reality. A friend of mind went though something similar. Her ex bought her dd a new car - right after she had bought her one. You want to see an enormous fight? So, this kid had to drive a different car each week, with both parents maintaining the car and insurance.

post #9 of 14

 

Wow. That puts the phone debate right in perspective. jaw.gif

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post


Childish? Yes. But it's reality. A friend of mind went though something similar. Her ex bought her dd a new car - right after she had bought her one. You want to see an enormous fight? So, this kid had to drive a different car each week, with both parents maintaining the car and insurance.



O.M.G.  That is absolutely ridiculous!!!  Lucky for my ds, he won't ever have that happen b/c I'm not buying him a car.

post #11 of 14

I know, right?! Thankfully my ex and I use it as a joking point when things get tense between us. "Yeah, well - I'm gonna buy her the first car", lol.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Wow. That puts the phone debate right in perspective. jaw.gif

post #12 of 14

I just don't understand why she would do this.

 

Maybe she just got herself a new phone, and they said, "Hey, an extra line is only $9.99!!  And this is a snazzy free phone to go with!!"  And because she's just not that good at contract law, didn't realize that she's going ot have to pay out tookus for all the extra multimedia crap on the second line.  I'd bet dimes to doughnuts it's got nothing to do with you.

 

Isn't it odd to have two phones, one for each house? 

Well, yes.  But kids have two sets of clothes, two backpacks, two sets of expectations......

 

What's wrong with a little stability for him?! 

Nothing's wrong.  But a snazzy new phone isn't instability.  It's just a snazzy new phone.

 

I feel like she does this stuff to be the "cool" mom and just erases all boundaries we set, even if she initially agrees on them with us...she changes them to suit dss or when she feels insecure and wants to "1-up " us.  I am really tired of this devisive crap, it's like whenever we say no to something she changes and says yes, almost to spite us.  There really was absolutely no reason for him to have a new phone. 

 

Well, maybe not. Whose idea was it to get him a phone in the first place? Maybe she felt 1-upped if it was your idea, and especially that you're paying for it. Perhaps she hates that he'll hold it up, and be all, "Haha! My dad loves me enough to get me this.  You are too poor/cheap/nasty to buy me anything better. You suck!" Maybe she doesn't feel like she can buy him much, but if it was free (or close to free) phone, and it's a minimal cost for her, why not?  Perhaps she doesn't value your boundaries.  Maybe she just forgot about the agreement.  Maybe it is just to spite you.  

 

So do we drop it and just pay the bill?  I feel like she's created a situation where he has to "choose" between households again.  It's so sad and frustrating.  I really thought we were getting to a better place.  Darn.

 

I think you're stuck with the phone line, and the bill.  He's not going to want to give up that snazzy new phone, and it'll just turn into a major pissing match.  Your best bet is to call the phone company, explain the situation, and see if they will be nice about it. 9 times out of 10, they'll at least dumb-down the fees to like, $9.99 a month, if you're all nice and sweet to them.  Does your mom, or MIL want a phone, and perhaps be able to kick in for the line?

 

Pissing matches are worth about the value of the piss in them--which is to say absolutely nothing.  I'd just be wary of sexting, especially for the young-enough-to-be-dumb.  Not that an 11yrold is going to create the sext, but that he might get one from his buds to giggle over--and then be charged with child pornography and have to register as a sex offender. It does happen.

post #13 of 14

Maybe the phone was her ex DH's and she figured since she's already paying for it, and it's new and cool why not give it to DDS? 

 

It is frustrating that you have to pay for the other phone.  Have your DH talk to her about it (or do it yourself if you're comfy with that).  Maybe you can have the new phone switched over to the old plan?

post #14 of 14

The first thing to remember is that him having another phone doesn't cost you anything extra. It's absurdly wasteful, but at least it isn't outside of what you've already budgeted. Having said that, I'd either restrict the other phone at your place if the internet apps bother you, or reassign his phone to someone else or put it on the lowest plan til the contract is up. Totally wasteful. 

 

And yes, it's silly the other household did this.

 

 

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