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Uh oh... DSD moving out of town

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Biomom called DH yesterday to say that they are planning to move out of town... 5 hours away... this month!!!

This is breaking my heart. We currently have DSD about 10 nights per month. Biomom figures that one month in the summer will be adequate from now on. That would mean we go from having DSD 30% of the time to having her less than 10% of the time.

DH has no legal agreement of any sort with BM. He always just said he trusted her. He has paid child support consistently, at more than what is in the local guidelines. And he is on the birth certificate - DSD has his last name, but BM has told her she plans to change it when she marries her boyfriend! But I don't know if DH has a leg to stand on, legally speaking, in terms of going to court about this.

I'm wondering, for people who are in an out-of-town situation, what sort of arrangements do you have? I think we should have DSD for the whole summer and all her school holidays. That still adds up to less time than we have with her now.

Poor DH, I know he is really upset. He is meeting with BM on Sunday... Apparently she claims she is surprised that he isn't okay with this.

Also, how do we approach this with DSD? I don't want to pretend to be happy about it when we are not.
post #2 of 35
You're in BC?

Yes, he absolutely has a 'leg' to stand on, from what you're describing. Go see a lawyer! He doesn't necessarily need to just take whatever she's offering.

Re the name change thing, my dh dealt with this at one point. She needs his permission or it's no go.

Did I mention to go see a lawyer?

If you're looking for a good one, rather than just cracking open the yellow pages, one way to look would be to see if any practicing family lawyers teach at the law school in Vancouver (if that's where you are), or who teaches the bar admission courses. That's often a good indicator of quality, which can be hard to find when you don't know where to look.
post #3 of 35
I'm not sure how it works in Canada, but in the US (or at least in my state) both parents have to consent for one parent to move a child far away from the other parent. I would absolutely talk to a lawyer.

Also, I don't think that you have to "pretend to be happy" for dsd's sake. My grandmother moved my mom halfway across the country from her father when she was a little girl, and my mom thought that her father must not care about her all that much if he would allow that. She found out recently that he tried to fight it and lost (it was the 1960s), but it would have spared her a lot of hurt feelings to have known earlier. You can say that you are upset, will miss her, etc. without placing blame on her mother for moving her away. Good luck!
post #4 of 35
Yes, I wouldn't drag your stepdaughter into the gory details, but I'd say that her mom has let you know about these plans, and that you'll have to see what you can work out around continuing to have meaningful time together, because that's really important to you.
post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Mammastar, that's very good wording. Wow - I wish that kind of thing came to me easily but it doesn't, I guess I focus on the negative too much. I'm learning, though, slowly.

This is particularly upsetting as I feel like I've just started to really connect with DSD in the last month or so... I've been trying some of the Playful Parenting ideas and it has really worked - I was being too adversarial with her before and we were creating some bad patterns, and I was really excited about breaking out of them. I was actually feeling like she enjoyed our time together in the past couple of weeks.

I just keep thinking about her bedroom sitting empty for the next 4 months... :
post #6 of 35
It bites that her mom is pulling this on you so quickly - I would suggest your husband not agree to anything on Sunday, so he can talk to a lawyer.

Courts have even prevented custodial parents from moving away with the child where it would interfere with access. They also have flipped custody. Not that either would necessarily happen in your case, but perhaps you could get an access order or agreement that's more meaningful, or an order against her moving while the details are hammered out?

We live on the other side of the country from my stepkids, and got an order for more than what your stepdaughter's mom is offering, with us having had less access than you before we moved.
post #7 of 35
Yeah, one month a year isn't enough. My Dh has 2 weeks in the summer with his dd (the agreement set up when they lived in the same city, minus the every-other-weekend part). The kids are practically strangers to us now.
Dh should have gone to court to fight but has always feared it the girls would hate him for making their mom so sad and feared court could give him a worse deal that what he had. Like a pp, I think the girls took it as we don't care!
By the time we had any $ to think of going to court, the girls were already at the point that they didn't want to be away from their friends and church for the whole summer.

Yeah, here in the US I've known several moms that have been told by the court that they couldn't move with their child to a city 2hrs away.

By the time Dh realized this rule, his ex had already been out of state for 3yrs and he felt that would hurt his case for him to wait so long. He had a crapy lawyer that didn't set up the "what ifs"
post #8 of 35
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I'm not sure how it works in Canada, but in the US (or at least in my state) both parents have to consent for one parent to move a child far away from the other parent. I would absolutely talk to a lawyer.
Yep. And, plenty of people have their plans quickly changed when they realize the adult can move, but the child cannot. Again, as the pp, I am in US, not Canada, but a parent cannot just move away from an involved parent here. Even if you don't have a formal agreement, if there is a steady history of visitation, that should be enough. Our lawyer told us that many times, the custody is reversed if the parent moves, or at least that is was will happen, but the other parent often chooses not to move to avoid that.

CALL A LAWYER. I assume she waited till the last minute on purpose.

We are not allowed to move out of the county. Or, WE can, dss cannot, even though we have custody.
post #9 of 35
See someone quick. She can not UP AND LEAVE without HIS PERMISSION. That is illegal in most states, look on line. I am in Colorado and I can not move more than 30 miles away without his permission. I would go and have something LEGALLY SETUP! Dont let her leave till you have something accomplished, otherwise it will be harder.

Hang in there.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Just a little update: DH is filing court papers today to try to stop the move. Failing that, we're asking for interim custody so that DSD can stay with us and finish the school year at her present school.

I get to serve biomom with the papers tonight... not really looking forward to that but it needs to be done asap and by somebody who knows who she is, other than DH, so... me.

We've discovered a plane ticket for DSD will cost over $450 (not the $200 that biomom told us) because as an unaccompanied minor she can't get the cheapest fares, and on top of that there is a fee of $75 each way. And even though spring break is next month, biomom says we won't get to see DSD in March because they can't afford it! I just don't get why she would think we would be okay with that. DH is so upset he actually cried - a first in our 4.5 years together...

Thanks for all the support.
post #11 of 35
Good for you.

FYI, Air Canada is changing their unaccompanied minor policy effective April 1, so they can only go on direct flights. In our case, that's going to have a big impact, and we're hoping it won't screw up access, so heads up!

Unbelievable she'd think it was a-ok to just cut access like that, especially given his previous level of involvement. I hope you've got a lawyer?
post #12 of 35
oh mama, I just want you to know that your story is on my mind. I'm sure it'll all turn out fine but until then (((hugs))) Please keep us updated. Your DSD is so lucky to have so many adults who love her!
post #13 of 35
I was just about to say what everyone else has said - call a lawyer, get papers going which it sounds like you are doing.
There *is* a stipulation in the Family Court Act which your DH can go on, making it so she cannot leave the province, city, country unless both of you agree to it, and judging by the sounds of it, she won't be allowed to go.

Also about the name change thing, she cannot do it without your DH's consent. It is against the Family Court rules, and unless he signs his permission, there is no way she can have the name changed. Granted when that child is no longer a minor, the child can change their name. But being your DSD is still a minor, this won't happen.

Good luck with everything, and im sorry this person is like this toward you and your DH...
post #14 of 35
Everyone has had great advice so far...
• No she can't change dsd's name w/o consent if your dh is on the birth certificate
• My Dh is a long distance non custodial parent- (long story) BUT get this in the system ASAP! Do not let her go with dd- there are residency issues if she leaves and establishes herself elsewhere and the cost becomes incredible to order her back ...sigh, we know
• Our legal arrangement is EO spring break, odd years a week including Christmas, even years a week including New Years and 6 weeks in the summer. We pay all transportation costs. In our case she'd let us see them more but the cost is prohibative and they are older and really don't wnat to come more- friends become so important, they actually only come for 3 weeks in the summer right now- by their choice

post #15 of 35
How did serving the papers go? We are in Manitoba and when my ex and I split up he put an order in place that I couldn't leave the province. Not that I was planning this since my family is here. We live 2.5 hours away from my bonus dd and we pay all transportation cost but are going to court on Wed to either have her drive some of the way or have a order in place to not pay support.
I've been thinking of you and your family. I bet she was p.o'd when you served her!
post #16 of 35
Oh this breaks my heart....don't give up.

The money you invest in the attorney now will be money well spent for all they years of heartache it can save in the future.

The court can order a number of things at her expense, even if the move is allowed.
She may decide that it is just too expensive to be flying DD back and forth and change her plans.

The time that is lost between a child and her father (and you) is something that can never be regained just because a (selfish) mother has a whim to move somewhere else. Who knows, the move may even be an attempt to reduce her father's influence on her - that would be shameful, but not unheard of.
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking of you and your family. I bet she was p.o'd when you served her!
Um. Yep. I served her on Friday. The court hearing is next Wednesday. She has been calling DH non stop to yell at him. He finally hung up on her last night. This is SO stressful for him and he just doesn't know what will happen. He tends to believe the things that she says to him, such as:

-She is the primary caregiver so he has NO say in anything
-The judge will think he's being selfish, trying to take a child away from her mother
-He is lucky he gets to see his daughter at all
-He is not her guardian

You get the picture. She's begging him not to take this to court, saying it will only make things worse for him. Right, the court really takes a dim view of parents who want to be involved in their children's lives. She's now offering 19%. At least that's an improvement.

I'm really hoping we can stop this move. It's worrying because they decided to make this move at the drop of a hat, and they have no job to go to. Not sure how they intend to support two adults, an 8 year old and a baby...

DSD is (i hope) unaware of the court case - at least she hasn't said anything about it. However, she has been making a lot of comments about how much DH and I love her.
post #18 of 35
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post

-She is the primary caregiver so he has NO say in anything
-The judge will think he's being selfish, trying to take a child away from her mother
-He is lucky he gets to see his daughter at all
-He is not her guardian
If all this was true, and she wasn't worried at all, why would she keep calling you??? Good luck on Wednesday and keep us posted.
post #19 of 35
Sorry she's being a pain. I would just call screen for now and let it all go through the lawyers. Sounds like she's worried at losing the total control she's created for herself.

And it's wonderful your stepdaughter knows how much you and her dad love her!
post #20 of 35
How did the hearing go? I'm thinking of you and your family today, mama.
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