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#1 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really needing some other perspectives, so any advice would be appreciated.

BG: DD is currently 14. Her father and I shared custody 50/50. DD asked me to file for a custody change a year ago because her father would frequently leave her home alone, put her down, use her feelings and statements against her, etc. Please believe me when I say that DD's father and stepmother are emotionally abusive -- very difficult to prove in court.

It took the whole year, months of court-ordered therapy for me, DD, and DD's father. At the end of this process (one court date, two mediation appointments, endless therapy), the mediator recommended that custody be given to me. We still have joint legal/physical, but DD's father now only has EOW, which makes the visitation split 83/17. End BG.

Now for the current problem:

DD is still dealing with her father/stepmother being emotionally abusive. They flat out ignore her, make her the butt of jokes at get-togethers with their friends. dismissive of her feelings/aspirations/hardwork, etc. She's told me that she is done. Completely done. Part of the new custody order is that DD and her father need to attend counseling together. I know for a fact that he has not taken her.

I have encouraged her to talk to her father, work things out, etc. I have NEVER talked bad about her father. NOT EVER. I work very hard to encourage her relationship with him. However, she is now going to tell him that she does not want to go with him anymore. Not until he and his wife treat her better. According to her "Like a human should be treated." (and yes, these are her own words -- she is a very advanced, mature, intelligent 14 y.o. She is just starting HS in Aug., but she already has 40 HS credits, for example).

What should I do? I really am at a loss here. TIA!
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#2 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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That is horrible! I will never understand some parents and people!!! I have no real advice other than to support your daughter and to continue to be strong.

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#3 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FireFrog View Post
I am really needing some other perspectives, so any advice would be appreciated.

BG: DD is currently 14. Her father and I shared custody 50/50. DD asked me to file for a custody change a year ago because her father would frequently leave her home alone, put her down, use her feelings and statements against her, etc. Please believe me when I say that DD's father and stepmother are emotionally abusive -- very difficult to prove in court.

It took the whole year, months of court-ordered therapy for me, DD, and DD's father. At the end of this process (one court date, two mediation appointments, endless therapy), the mediator recommended that custody be given to me. We still have joint legal/physical, but DD's father now only has EOW, which makes the visitation split 83/17. End BG.

Now for the current problem:

DD is still dealing with her father/stepmother being emotionally abusive. They flat out ignore her, make her the butt of jokes at get-togethers with their friends. dismissive of her feelings/aspirations/hardwork, etc. She's told me that she is done. Completely done. Part of the new custody order is that DD and her father need to attend counseling together. I know for a fact that he has not taken her.

I have encouraged her to talk to her father, work things out, etc. I have NEVER talked bad about her father. NOT EVER. I work very hard to encourage her relationship with him. However, she is now going to tell him that she does not want to go with him anymore. Not until he and his wife treat her better. According to her "Like a human should be treated." (and yes, these are her own words -- she is a very advanced, mature, intelligent 14 y.o. She is just starting HS in Aug., but she already has 40 HS credits, for example).

What should I do? I really am at a loss here. TIA!

How long ago were you finished with court? Can you file contempt for not going to counseling?

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#4 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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Well, if he hasn't taken her he is breaking the order. Does it give him a time limit in which to take her? If he's breaking the order you can file a show cause (that's what it's called in NC). He will be reprimanded by the judge. What is the legal age for children to get to decide if they want to go or not? She should be close. Even having her talk to the judge herself would be a good option. GL mama. I know what you're going through. My DD has the exact same issue, only she's 9 and not as mature as your DD.
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#5 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately, the new papers were only filed at the end of May, so it's only been two months. My lawyer said we could not re-file until Jan or so. But DD is says she cannot stand it that long.

I am just concerned about getting "in trouble", ya know?
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#6 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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I say this hesitantly, because:
1- The smartest, most wonderful 14-year-old girls are still full of hormones and potentially hyper-sensitive, and you're not actually seeing or hearing what's going on, right? You're just hearing her version?

2- While I tend to regard people in this forum as friends and take them at their word, after everything my husband went through with his ex, there's always a little voice in the back of my mind that reminds me she was completely convincing to her various support networks that my husband was a violent, abusive, kidnapping monster and she was a heroine for circumventing court orders to keep their son away from him... and she also insisted she wasn't a parental alienator.

If you really believe she's being abused (and she's old enough that most states would listen to her opinion about her custody arrangements) maybe the position she should take is that she will refuse to comply with court-ordered visitation until he either begins complying with the court-ordered counseling, or improves his behavior toward her on his own. If he chooses the latter, he might come pick her up from your house for a short dinner once a week - just the two of them - so they can see how it's going. After all, he has no chance to show better behavior if she refuses all contact with him. But if he doesn't care about her ultimatum, then she could probably use the ego-boost of being given the power to cut him off and start teaching herself not to be hurt by him.

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#7 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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Having literally just BTDT.... (my DD is 18) listen to your daughter. She has much more at stake than some crappy weekends with people who don't care to treat her properly. Her self esteem is at stake, and her relationship with her father is a very influential one.
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#8 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
if he doesn't care about her ultimatum, then she could probably use the ego-boost of being given the power to cut him off and start teaching herself not to be hurt by him.
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listen to your daughter. She has much more at stake than some crappy weekends with people who don't care to treat her properly. Her self esteem is at stake, and her relationship with her father is a very influential one.
I am not in a blended family and don't know the legalities, but I think young women, especially, deserve to have their "no I won't be abused" voices heard and respected.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#9 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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Unfortunately, I think the problem is that the OP will be the one who gets in trouble with the courts for "denying" the father his visitation rights should she not force her daughter to go on weekends. Whether he chooses to pursue this or not is up to him, but I think the OP risks losing custody based on this? My experience is with a younger child, so I am not certain.

It sounds like the best recourse would be to see if the judge would be willing to hear your daughter face to face to see if she could convince him to change the schedule to, perhaps, the dinners or something similar, especially until he begins to comply with the counseling.

Good luck-I think it is very improtant that your daughter's voice be heard as well, but the legal system makes this a tricky situation for everyone. I don't suppose her dad would be open to changing the visitation unofficially?

Also, you could focus on teaching her some coping techniques to deal with her dad and stepmom that might empower her? I'm not sure of any offhand, but perhaps that would be a good interim measure until you can work out a change in visitation-and it never hurts to learn to stand up for yourself. Maybe even a physical self-defense course might be empowering, as well as something emotional.

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#10 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, everyone, for your responses. Your words of encouragement are heartening for me. It really helps to know that others validate what my DD is feeling.

I also appreciate voicing your concerns. I have those same concerns, but it is hard to give you the full version of events so far. We have already tried giving DD "coping" skills. She has been in personal therapy for on and off since she was 7 and full time for the last year (every week or two).

Also, she has been to a handful of sessions with her father to work on their relationship, but he has not taken her since March even though it is court order for him to take her.

As for her being "hormonal", that is a good point to raise. However, two different therapists and the mediator have seen and can verify that she is not over-dramatizing the situation. If anything, she has spent years (and I mean YEARS) down-playing the amount of emotional trauma she has experienced.

Just one easy example is the time DD received a B is Algebra as a 7th grader (which is 2 years advanced in this area). Although there were certainly areas she needed to work on, she was told that that "We (father/stepmother) are not proud of you." That she hadn't work hard enough and so what she had done wasn't good enough or worthy of any praise. Her father admitted to me that this was said, in front of our co-counselor. And an apology or attempt to smooth it over was never made, despite the fact that the co-counselor explain how damaging that kind of attitude is.

As for going to the judge, we just got the new papers signed at the end of May, so we are not able to return for at least 6 months.
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#11 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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I wonder if the dad and stepmom really want her around in the first place? I wonder if they might be willing to reduce custody even further, if something could be done to sweeten the deal for them? Like reduced child support or something like that?
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#12 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Treasuremapper -- you are not the first to ask that question, unfortunately even DD has said that. (not that I would ever utter it in front of her, or let anyone else, either.)

However, there is no child support order in place at this time. Ironically, we are going to court for that in 3 weeks because he won't even pay the half of medical he is already required by the court to pay (notice a trend here -- not following the court is becoming his mo).
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#13 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Treasuremapper -- you are not the first to ask that question, unfortunately even DD has said that. (not that I would ever utter it in front of her, or let anyone else, either.)

However, there is no child support order in place at this time. Ironically, we are going to court for that in 3 weeks because he won't even pay the half of medical he is already required by the court to pay (notice a trend here -- not following the court is becoming his mo).
Why can't you go back to court earlier b/c he is not going to court ordered mediation?

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#14 of 25 Old 07-22-2009, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure why it has to be 6 months. My understanding was that the court wants you to get used to the new visitation and work together to make it work. Obviously, THAT isn't working here.
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#15 of 25 Old 07-23-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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Unfortunately, I think the problem is that the OP will be the one who gets in trouble with the courts for "denying" the father his visitation rights should she not force her daughter to go on weekends.
I think Mom has some clear legal insulation in the fact that:

1- The court has already recognized a problem in the father-daughter interaction: the percentage of time the daughter has to spend with father was significantly reduced - at daughter's request - and the court saw fit to order counseling.

2- Dad is refusing to comply with the counseling order, which will definitely be viewed by the court as unwillingness to correct the issues that led to the reduction in his parenting time.

3- If it comes down to Dad claiming he IS complying with counseling and that Mom is inventing his cruelty to daughter, the daughter is plenty old enough to be considered credible when she confirms Mom's version of events. (And she doesn't even have to do that in open court, in front of her dad. She's young enough to be seen alone in chambers, if she wants to, or she could also make use of the custodial evaluator, whose job it is to be her voice in court.)

4- If Mom is being advised it's too early for her to take Dad back to court over noncompliance with counseling, Dad is likely being told the same thing by his attorney. If Dad cares enough to take Mom back to court and demand his court-ordered parenting time - and that hearing doesn't happen for several more months - Dad will look pretty bad, if in all that time he STILL has not complied with daughter's reasonable-sounding ultimatum to either go to counseling or make efforts on his own to treat her better. Again, the court has already agreed with daughter that there's a problem.

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#16 of 25 Old 07-23-2009, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think Mom has some clear legal insulation in the fact that:

1- The court has already recognized a problem in the father-daughter interaction: the percentage of time the daughter has to spend with father was significantly reduced - at daughter's request - and the court saw fit to order counseling.

2- Dad is refusing to comply with the counseling order, which will definitely be viewed by the court as unwillingness to correct the issues that led to the reduction in his parenting time.

3- If it comes down to Dad claiming he IS complying with counseling and that Mom is inventing his cruelty to daughter, the daughter is plenty old enough to be considered credible when she confirms Mom's version of events. (And she doesn't even have to do that in open court, in front of her dad. She's young enough to be seen alone in chambers, if she wants to, or she could also make use of the custodial evaluator, whose job it is to be her voice in court.)

4- If Mom is being advised it's too early for her to take Dad back to court over noncompliance with counseling, Dad is likely being told the same thing by his attorney. If Dad cares enough to take Mom back to court and demand his court-ordered parenting time - and that hearing doesn't happen for several more months - Dad will look pretty bad, if in all that time he STILL has not complied with daughter's reasonable-sounding ultimatum to either go to counseling or make efforts on his own to treat her better. Again, the court has already agreed with daughter that there's a problem.
Thank you so much for confirming all of my thoughts -- you just said it much more clear then I seem able to.

I am also struggling with my own irrational fears of the court system. I feel strongly that my daughter and have the right to stand up for ourselves, but her father has gone out of his way to try and make me appear "off" and manipulative of DD. The dark little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that nobody will believe us and that trouble is headed our way. Thank you, everyone for helping me to override that voice and support my DD.
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#17 of 25 Old 07-23-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I come from a house with an emotional abusive parent (mom actually, not dad) and I can tel you that even when you have high self esteem, you have a hard time not pushing yourself down. when you get used to these type of comments, you're through.. she's a very strong level headed woman in the body and life of a teen. I wish you nothing but to rediscover the strength you have inside.

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#18 of 25 Old 07-23-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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4- If Mom is being advised it's too early for her to take Dad back to court over noncompliance with counseling, Dad is likely being told the same thing by his attorney. If Dad cares enough to take Mom back to court and demand his court-ordered parenting time - and that hearing doesn't happen for several more months - Dad will look pretty bad, if in all that time he STILL has not complied with daughter's reasonable-sounding ultimatum to either go to counseling or make efforts on his own to treat her better. Again, the court has already agreed with daughter that there's a problem.
It may be too soon to take him back to court and have the order MODIFIED, but you can file a contempt motion.
He could file a contempt motion the first time you "denied" him visitation. You may be able to file a contempt motion based on the fact that he hasn't gone to counseling with your daughter as the order required. The issue for me would be whether the order set forth specific intervals at which counseling should occur. If it has been 3 mos and still no appts have even been made, that's somewhat compelling.

Contempt hearings are basically a request to the court to enforce its previous order and/or order appropriate relief. I'd look into that. To CYA, I would make sure your daughter continues to go to counseling and I'd consider keeping a record of these events somewhere.
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#19 of 25 Old 07-24-2009, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There were no specific intervals set forth by the official paperwork, but the mediator specifically told him that he needed to take her every two weeks. The last time he took her was in the middle of March, which is over four months ago.

In addition, the mediator admonished him that HE needed to be responsible for the counseling, not expect DD to ask for it (that was his excuse for why he didn't take her during the initial time period, either. Because "she didn't ask for it.")

So here he is again, not following through, which is one of the major problems DD has with the way he treats her -- she is never a priority. Even his poker buddies are more important then her (literally. Like, he hasn't seen DD in two weeks, but he leaves her home alone from 5pm until after midnight on his weekend to go to a friend's house for poker night).

And now I am so frustrated because DD had the courage to lay it all out for him -- the ignoring her, leaving her for poker night, making fun of her, etc -- and he still isn't listening to her. Even though she has made it crystal clear that she would go back until he starts working ot treat her better, he keeps insisting that he is just "rescheduling" their weekends. UUGGHHH!!! :

It is so hard to just hold the space and stay out of their relationship. I see how much pain she is in -- and isn't adolescents hard enough without this crud, too? -- and I just want to scream. But I know that this is her "battle" and I can only support her the best I can. Of course, he is already accusing me of interfering. Oh well, it is a losing battle to try and convince him I am not the devil incarnate, so I guess I should quite trying. LOL

Anyway, thanks for those of you who have gotten this far!! I really helps to just vent a little.
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#20 of 25 Old 07-24-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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Since she is in high school I bet there is many more activities for her to get involved in that will take up the week ends.

Tell her to get involved and enjoy these activities. Band, drama, glee club, et can take up a lot of time. This will make his weekends even shorter until you can refile.
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#21 of 25 Old 07-24-2009, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since she is in high school I bet there is many more activities for her to get involved in that will take up the week ends.

Tell her to get involved and enjoy these activities. Band, drama, glee club, et can take up a lot of time. This will make his weekends even shorter until you can refile.
This is a great idea -- but it was one that she had tried already. He was catching on and not letting her go. Instead, he would drag her to his parties/get-togethers and then proceed to ignore her or make fun of her.

I suggested this idea to her, also. And she said she is fed up. That she can't deal with him and his wife any more.

Have any of you had experience with this? Do the police get involved? And what happens if they do get involved?
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#22 of 25 Old 07-24-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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This is a great idea -- but it was one that she had tried already. He was catching on and not letting her go. Instead, he would drag her to his parties/get-togethers and then proceed to ignore her or make fun of her.

I suggested this idea to her, also. And she said she is fed up. That she can't deal with him and his wife any more.

Have any of you had experience with this? Do the police get involved? And what happens if they do get involved?
If the police get involved and your dd still refuses to go, I don't think they can make her. They'd just tell him to go back to court.

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#23 of 25 Old 07-25-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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moondiapers -- thank you for the reply. It's reassuring to know that. I want DD to have a relationship with her father, but it needs to be safe and healthy for her.

She did tell her father that she wasn't going this weekend, but it took 5 different times before he would listen to her. She had to text, email, voicemail, and talk to him in order for him to finally acknowledge that she was not coming over until he took her to counseling and worked out a plan to treat her better. It was so hard for her, but I am proud of how she stood up for herself. She never yelled and she was always respectful (I heard all of the conversations and I saw all of the texts/emails that she wrote).
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#24 of 25 Old 07-25-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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Contempt hearings are basically a request to the court to enforce its previous order and/or order appropriate relief.
Exactly. So Dad could file for contempt against Mom, but would be made to answer for his own contempt regarding counseling, in the process. And Mom cannot necessarily be held to task for a 14-year-old's refusal to see Dad, in the same way she could be if daughter were only 5 and could be forced to get in the car and go...

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#25 of 25 Old 07-25-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And, I made sure the I had DD available to go with him. In other words, I in no way stopped or interfered with the father's right to exercise his visitation. DD did all the talking -- all of the ideas and words were her own. He chose not to show up and get her, even though he could have.
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