Originally Posted by PoppyMama
I think jeannjne is right exceptthat he had been preventing phone contact and preventing the mother from even knowing where her kids were and I think her concerns about the girlfirend are more than dislike.
Certainly, the GF - as described by the OP - sounds like an atrocious and unacceptable influence for a pre-teen girl and the Mom is right to want to cut off or at least restrict exposure to her! My point was only that the GF hasn't DONE anything to the kids that would make a judge say, "Well OF COURSE you ignored the court orders and refused to send the kids home after Spring Break! Who wouldn't?" If the OP were to keep the kids and try to justify it - in part - with her concerns/complaints about the GF, she would come across as a bitter ex who's jealous of the new woman. I'm not saying that's all there is to it! I'm just saying it matters - a LOT - how the OP presents herself to the court.
Unless I've missed something:
* For years, the Mom generally knew where the kids were and had reasonable access to them.
* Just before Spring Break, Dad became reluctant to disclose his new GF's address - and threatened to keep the kids from contacting Mom - in response to Mom trying to negotiate with him to get custody back (keep in mind, she had moved out of state) and Mom also expressing disapproval of the GF. Mom makes it clear to us that she has little regard for Dad as a parent and believes he only cares about keeping the kids for financial reasons (i.e., he doesn't really want them). No doubt, he has picked up on her disdain for him, even if she hasn't expressed it in so many words. So, he feels insulted AND threatened with the loss of his kids. And even lackluster parents usually feel genuine love and attachment to their kids and are genuinely upset by the thought of them moving out of state.
* Ultimately, Dad DID put the kids on the plane to visit Mom.
* Mom has been trying to figure out how to keep from sending the kids back to him. In response, he has threatened to cut off her contact with them. People say things when they're scared and angry, but they don't always follow through. Mom doesn't even send them back 'til tomorrow, so what he'll actually DO remains to be seen.
* Mom has initiated a CPS investigation. In response Dad has been even more reluctant for people to know where he lives. But he IS communicating with CPS and meeting with them. Once the kids return, he'll have to choose: cooperate and let CPS visit, or go into hiding with the kids. Well, WISHING you could run from the cops to avoid a ticket and actually throwing caution to the wind and DOING it are 2 very different things! Same with CPS. He has no history of "disappearing" and moving the kids state-to-state while Mom uses private detectives to track him down. Moreover, Mom describes him as a lazy, path-of-least-resistance sort of person. Going into hiding with kids requires a lot of EFFORT. Especially with kids old enough to figure out how to contact their other parent, on their own! It is very unlikely he would take that course.
* Mom knows the current GF. Between that, the CPS worker and her own children (who can find ways to call, e-mail or Facebook her, even if Dad doesn't want them to), Mom will almost surely wind up with the GF's address, soon.
* Dad is still communicating with Mom.
Her ex is saying things to try to make the OP feel as beleaguered and insecure as he does, right now. It's childish. It's wrong. It's human. The OP needs to deal with the larger issue of getting custody and not react to every threat from her ex as though the worst possible scenario has actually happened. He wants her to panic and be ineffective. Her kids need her not to.