Issues with phone calls...WWYD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have some serious issues with phone calls. For over six months straight, bio-mom refused to answer her phone to allow us to speak with dsd. After every time we called and left a voice mail, she would send us a text with some sort of excuse. We have saved every text for the record.

So, when we were in court a few months back, the judge ordered regular phone calls on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 7 pm. Our problem is this; when we call, bio-mom starts trying to bribe dsd off the phone. Sometimes with ice cream, sometimes with a movie, sometimes by distracting her with a tv show. Usually, this doesn't work as dsd wants to talk. This just upsets bio-mom.

Lately, when we have been hitting the thirty minute mark in phone calls, bio-mom takes the phone out of dsd's hand and says, "It's been thirty minutes! This call is over!" Then hangs up the phone. No goodbyes, no I love you's to dsd, no talk to you later! Normally, this happens mid sentence... so what is this showing dsd?

We have sent her repeated e-mails every time this happens, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be helping. Bio-mom claims thirty minutes is long enough to chat. Well, the judge didn't dictate how long we can speak for, so our theory is as long as dsd wants, we will speak to her. (Trust me, some days its 5-10 minutes so it's not like every time is 30 min) Also, bio-mom's reasoning she has to get off the phone is because she has to get ready for bed. So in an e-mail reply, we explained we could move the phone calls up earlier to allow more time to talk without interfering with bed time routine, to which she blatantly said no to. Then, last night when we called, the same thing happened. She hung up the phone at the thirty minute mark. The weird thing is, dsd doesn't have school today (monday) so obviously it's not an issue with interfering with bedtime routine.

What do you guys think about this situation? Worth bringing back up in court in April? We have a guardian ad litem, so I was thinking of calling her about this issue and forwarding her the e-mails.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#2 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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I would. I hope something changes for you.
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#3 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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Can you explain who the "we" is that you are referring to? Is it you and DSD's father? And are you the step parent? Is it DSD's father making the calls? or is it you? Also, how old is DSD? I feel I don't have enough information at this point to make a comment (not that mom's attitude is great in any situation, but more information may help to give an idea of why mom is behaving this way).

I will address the "no school today" comment though. With my teen daughter, who dictates her own bedtime, not having school the next day would change when she goes to bed. With my younger child, whether or not there is school doesn't change a thing. If she gets off her bedtime routine even once, she is up late the next night which escalates to the next night and we seriously have weeks of tired grouchy kid trying to get her back on schedule. So, this really depends on the child and the age of the child. That being said, none of my kids have ever got ready for bed as early as 7:30pm at any age, but I do know that that time frame is common for kids under 5 and maybe older depending on the child. That being said, knowing that the calls were close to bedtime, she could have addressed this at court and asked for 6:30pm calls or agreed to a time switch when you emailed.

The reason I am asking about what your role in the family is because it is unclear if DSD's father is the one sending email to mom or if they are signed from both of you, if dad is leaving voicemail or if it's both of your voices on the voicemail, etc. I know that a mom can feel very defensive and act irrationally when having to deal with a new spouse, especially if mom feels these are things the father should be dealing with. I realize that you are a part of this family as well, and have opinions and share decisions with dad, but sometimes it works better in dealing with mom if these things appear to come from dad. For example, dad makes the calls to DSD and leaves voicemail if there is no answer. If DSD is there and talks, dad's spouse is free to join in on the conversation. Emails about issues with the phonecalls should come from dad, even if dad's spouse contributed to the thought process behind the email. If dad is the other legal parent, he should also be the one dealing with the GAL and forwarding emails.

Now, dealing with mom slightly differently may not fix these problems, but it would be something to try and see if a more dad centred approach works better. If it doesn't change anything, then yes it needs to be brought up again next time dad is in court. He needs to address that mom is cutting off phone calls whenever she determines it's been long enough.

My apologies if I have the wrong take on the situation as the dynamics of who deals with mom, wasn't clear from your post.

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#4 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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I think the phone call must become part of the routine, and the situation described here is FAR more damaging to the child than going to bed 20 minutes later.

Yes, I would document it, and if the child was of reasonable age, I would insist on cell phone. I find it absolutely appaulling that a parent has to schedule half an hour three times a week phone call to talk to THEIR OWN CHILD! I might be in a bad mood today, but I see no excuse for treating parent-child relationship in this manner. I wonder how mom would feel if she was allowed to talk to her daughter 1.5 hours a week without saying good-bye.

It turns my stomach inside out to hear the stories like this. There is no defence, and if anyone thinks there is, I dare them to try it out: you are allowed to see your baby four days a month, and then only 30 minutes on the phone WITH PERMISSION of the other parent. *grumble grumble grumble*

My heart goes out to you OP, and to every non-custodial parent who has to fight for the right to be part of their child's life. It's heartbreaking, it's not fair, and it's NOT about the best interest of the child. It's about control, and jealousy, and even nasty thing one parent can do to another just to hurt, with complete disregard for the well-being of a child involved.

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#5 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, let me explain a little further. I am trying to keep the major details out of the picture to prevent some bias. Hmm.

Well, the bio-mom has tried to keep me (step mom) from speaking with the child. Hmmm.... I guess I can not keep the previous details of our situation out. So this might be long....

I got with DH when dsd was 4. (she is turning 8 this week) dsd was in our care, and DH worked, and I stayed at home wtih dsd. We obviously got close, and bio-mom was a few states away but they had frequent phone contact, and visits every month (average) plus holidays and summer.

Well, last Christmas, dsd went for a visit with bio-mom, and she never brought dsd back!! We had a legally binding seperation agreement, but somehow, when the divorce got finalized, they never put anything about the child in it. (pretty weird situation I know) So, it's very confusing, but basically, since the child has been with bio-mom, we have not seen her (she is states away) besides 3 days over this Christmas break. We were never able to really contact her via phone calls because bio-mom and bio-family never answered and didn't return phone calls (just the text message or e-mails of excuses why she couldn't talk)

We are in the middle of a court battle, but as most of you would know, it drags out forever. Not to mention, since we are the dad's side, there's bias towards the mom.

To answer the questions you guys asked, it seems bio-mom wishes me and dsd didn't talk at all, and I know she tries to get her off the phone as soon as me and dsd start talking, but it's a little different because I was there for her everyday of her life, so she is close to me, YKWIM? She cries on the phone and sometimes at night because she doesn't like living with bio-mom and wants to be back home. The issue with bio-mom just hanging up the phone has happened when I (step mom) or DH (father) is on the phone with dsd. It doesn't seem to matter who is talking at that 30 minute mark, she just hangs up the phone after saying something like "It's been thirty minutes! This phone call is over now!" Then click. That's it!

I guess we would feel different if we number one, were the non-custodial parents from the get-go, but that's not the case. I guess we would feel differently if we lived close and saw dsd, but that's not the case. Unfortunately for us, all we have is the option to talk on the phone until court on April 6th. Hopefully, on April 6th when we go to court, the judge will rule that dsd can move back with us over summer as this honestly should be a parental kidnapping case (but thanks to the custody not being included in the divorce, that's not the case)

I know it's very confusing, which is why I tried to leave the whole situation out and just focus on the phone calls, but I can see how it's hard to make a fair assumption without the info.

So ladies, what do you think? ha

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#6 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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Typically I don't moderate how long my dd can speak with her father on the phone at night (they talk maybe twice a week, he has visitation EOW).

Having said that, our time at night is limited. Dd has dance, homework club, skating (this is usually after we get in at 5 pm or later); I also have a two year old to care for.

There's supper and bath time, etc. That brings up the evening pretty quickly. Depending on the age of the child, I'd say 1/2 hour is more than long enough to chat and catch up on some news.

Most nights my ex and our dd talk for about 10 or 15 minutes and that's enough for both of them. The same goes for me - when dd is at her dad's, she'll call me and we'll talk for ten minutes about how her weekend is going.

Neither one of us would expect the other's SO to spend more than two minutes on the phone with dd. For ex, his gf would not call her and talk to dd for fifteen minutes, and mine would not expect to talk to her more than to say hi either.

ETA - I definitely think the mom is being ridiculous a) in trying to prevent phone calls and b) being so rude about taking the phone away and hanging it up. Both my ex and I like parameters though, so we tend to set pretty finite limits on things, expectations, etc.

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#7 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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Okay, that explains so much more. Initially I though there was regular visitation with you and dad and the phone calls were extra so dad had scheduled time to talk outside of visitation. Now, I realize this is your ONLY contact with her. This must be so hard on your family!

It seems to be that mom feels extremely threatened. She spent years having her DD live with dad and his wife and having DD become attached and now that is ready to have DD live with her again, DD isn't as excited as mom wants her to be because DD feels she has been pulled from her home and regular family. So, mom is limiting contact to try and keep the thread away from DD which is just making it worse for DD.

I don't agree with what mom is doing, but I can understand why she feels confused and threatened. She is likely realizing that she essentially gave up her DD to her dad and another woman while she lived in another state and became the vacation visiting parent. She is probably regretting what she did and is trying to "fix" it but doesn't know how so is making poor decisions. And without any legal agreement for custody, she may not feel she did anything wrong. She was ready to have DD come live with her again, so she kept DD to live with her again. This absolutely should have been discussed and decided upon with dad first, BUT seeing as their was no legal agreement, it is possible that she got legal advice telling her to deal with it this way since legally, she was allowed to take DD without any agreement in place. I've heard of legal advice being given in this regard because is she were to talk to dad about it first, dad is likely to disagree and start the legal process to get things worked our properly and dad would likely "win" as DD is living with him and has been. Mom has now muddied the waters since DD has lived with her now too.

With the additional information, I think this needs to be brought up with whoever you can in the legal process to get the phone calls taken care of now. This child went from living with her dad and you to having NO contact and now just getting cut-off phone calls. This could seriously damage her relationship with her father (and you, but sadly I am not sure if the legal system cares about that) if this goes on. Has the GAL responded to your concerns? At eight, the child could have a cell phone that was setup to receive calls only from your phone number and only to your phone # as well. Perhaps this is something the GAL could look into and dad would pay for the phone, have it shipped to her, etc. And she would be allowed to call her dad (and you) whenever she wanted on her phone and receive calls at the appointed times for as long as she wanted to talk.

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#8 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just called DH about the cell phone idea, and I think we are going to start looking into this option.

The judge involved in the case, is very sympathetic our situation, and has blasted bio-mom for continuously lying under oath. So while we dont want to get our hope's up in the situation, we are trusting that dsd will be moving back over summer as that's what we are going to ask for (we don't feel it's fair to just insist she move in april when there's only two months of school left ya know?)

We know the cell phone will not be welcomed by bio-mom. We know it will ultimately lead to more problems. Which, I guess is where we are torn. If we do the cell phone route, dsd will be excited and happy, but completely let down by her mom's behavior, so that's why we don't really want do to it. At the same time, it will show the judge we have tried several options, and none are working. And it would show where the true problem lies.... not with us, but with bio-mom. So it's a catch 22 I feel.

The interesting part is while dsd lived with us, there was frequent contact with her bio-mom and her bio-mom's family. Visitation was never really an issue, and I (step mom) was in constant e-mail contact with bio-mom about everything. Talking about dsd's school stuff, extra curricular activities, etc etc.

I wouldn't say myself and bio-mom were "friends" but we were very friendly, and there really wasn't much of a drama issue whatsoever. This all started after she never brought dsd back. All of a sudden she has huge problems with me, and she keep saying all this negative stuff. I am trying to not take it personally and just accept that she is just feeling guilty for her actions of "abandoning" dsd, but at the same time this is getting frustrating (mind you I have a 17 mo old and am pregnant with another) so it just fuels my emotional side and my anger side. I just feel so guilty like somehow, I have let dsd down. I mean, it just sucks to hear from dsd that she lays in bed crying wishing I would tuck her in at night and sing to her. It just downright sucks feeling so helpless in this situation, all while bio-mom has no interest in making it any easier on dsd because she's focusing on her own spiteful agenda.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#9 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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For the time being, it might be wise to limit the calls to a half hour. The mom is behaving totally inappropriately and you should be able to talk longer than that if DSD wants to, but it might be less upsetting for DSD if she can have a nice good-bye.

What do you think would happen if you sent a package? Would the mom let DSD have it? I don't mean anything major, maybe just some small thing from your home, and a few pictures of the family? Something that might give DSD a bit of comfort. I don't know...

I hope court sees things for what they are, I'm sorry you all are going through this.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#10 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Funny that you ask about packages..... lol.

That's a seperate issue for a seperate time, but basically, in the beginning we sent packages without delivery confirmation and they all came up missing. We sent a few with delivery confirmation after that and bio-mom still said they "never got there" even though we have proof through the confirmation that they did.

After that issue and catching bio-mom in that lie, now she allows dsd to have every package, but the stuff is always missing a day or two later and dsd is crushed. For Christmas we bought her an i-pod with all our favorite songs, and we told her she could listen to it anytime she felt alone and missed us. She loved it and for the first week when we spoke to her, she told us how much she used it, and how every night she slept with it on top of her dresser. Then one morning she woke up and it was gone. And she was all most in tears telling us that she knew without a doubt she put it on her dresser like every other night.

So we have learned to not really send anything. A snowglobe we sent got broken, pictures disappear, toys vanish, mp3 players are gone.... it's just all really, really petty.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#11 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
Depending on the age of the child, I'd say 1/2 hour is more than long enough to chat and catch up on some news.
...
Most nights my ex and our dd talk for about 10 or 15 minutes and that's enough for. both of them. The same goes for me - when dd is at her dad's, she'll call me and we'll talk for ten minutes about how her weekend is going.
...
Neither one of us would expect the other's SO to spend more than two minutes on the phone with dd.
(just quoting so people know what I am responding to... I'm not intending to reply to Ceinwen specifically, just trying to show what I am contrasting... if that makes any sense...)

My step-daughter is 7 and we live long-distance (though my husband does have 34% parenting time). She talks to us most nights she is not with us, and she talks to her mom most nights she is here. I'd say 4 days a week is normal, sometimes more, occasionally less. Some days it is a quick "hi" and maybe something interesting that happened. Sometimes it is an hour or more. Really it depends on my step-daughter-- for the most part, she dictates how long the conversation is.

If we have been on the phone for a long time and betime or homework time is approaching, her mom gives her a time warning, and step-daughter lets us know. Then we help her wrap up the conversation, and if she is having a hard time getting off the phone, we help by planning the next time we will talk, or whatever.

If she has a lot going on a particular day, her mom talk to my husband first or sends him a text to let him know the phone time is limited that day. Bot adults make sure my step-daughter knows that it needs to be a shorter call, and if it is an issue for her, we plan on a time we can talk longer another day.

So, that's just general "how it works" around here. Phone time isn't restricted or monitored, and if there is a reason it needs to be, the adults communicate that. If limiting phone time becomes an ongoing thing, we have a converation about re-prioritizing... because her relationship with her parents should take priority, and it's the grown-ups' job to figure out how to make that happen.

Oh, and sometimes she talks to my husband the whole time, sometimes she talks to me most or all the time. Sometimes she talks to her siblings. If we have friends or relatives over, she might talk to them... it's HER phone time, and she can talk to who she wants to talk to.

In your situation, OP, right now I would plan for a call less than 30 minutes. I would let your step-daughter know that you really want to make sure everyone has time to say goodbye, so you will watch the clock and let her know when it's getting close to time to get off the phone so that you have time to say goodbye. Honestly, I think that's the best you can do to protect her from repeated trauma, which is what is happening to her now. I don't think you should have to limit your phone time, but right now it is being imposed on you and you have to do what you can.

I would give this info to the GAL and also bring it up for court in April and explain what you did. I would probably have your husband send an email to mom right now saying that he doesnt agree with her limiting his daughter's phone contact to 30 minutes, but that because she is ending the phone calls abruptly at that time he will be trying to help his daughter to end the phone call on her own before that time. That way there is documentation that he is objecting to it, and the shorter phone calls are not because he doesn't want to talk to her, but because he is trying to do what he can to minimize the impact of mom's actions. I hope that made sense.

Oh, as for the bribing... if it is not working, I wouldn't worry about it. We've had the same situation, but my husband just called his ex on it and she doesn't generally do it anymore (sometimes it happens that someone accidentally says "why don't we call mom/dad before you do X" and so she doesn't want to talk long... but I don't think anyone does it on purpose as a means to keep her from talking on the phone for very long). Maybe you could let your step-daughter know "if you are excited for ice cream/movie/tv, we can just say a quick hi and I love you so you can go do that, or I'd love to hear about your day first and tell you what's going on around here. You just let me know when you're ready to say goodbye." I do think it is helpful to let kids know that you understand sometimes they don't want to talk and it doesn't hurt your feelings if they don't have much to say (or if they are more excited for ice cream than to recount their school day or whatever...'cuz they're little and sometimes that's the case!)

Sorry, this was longer than I intended.... I'm sorry to hear about the whole situation because it sounds really awful for everyone!!

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#12 of 21 Old 02-01-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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(just quoting so people know what I am responding to... I'm not intending to reply to Ceinwen specifically, just trying to show what I am contrasting... if that makes any sense...)

My step-daughter is 7 and we live long-distance (though my husband does have 34% parenting time). She talks to us most nights she is not with us, and she talks to her mom most nights she is here. I'd say 4 days a week is normal, sometimes more, occasionally less. Some days it is a quick "hi" and maybe something interesting that happened. Sometimes it is an hour or more. Really it depends on my step-daughter-- for the most part, she dictates how long the conversation is.

If we have been on the phone for a long time and betime or homework time is approaching, her mom gives her a time warning, and step-daughter lets us know. Then we help her wrap up the conversation, and if she is having a hard time getting off the phone, we help by planning the next time we will talk, or whatever.

If she has a lot going on a particular day, her mom talk to my husband first or sends him a text to let him know the phone time is limited that day. Bot adults make sure my step-daughter knows that it needs to be a shorter call, and if it is an issue for her, we plan on a time we can talk longer another day.

So, that's just general "how it works" around here. Phone time isn't restricted or monitored, and if there is a reason it needs to be, the adults communicate that. If limiting phone time becomes an ongoing thing, we have a converation about re-prioritizing... because her relationship with her parents should take priority, and it's the grown-ups' job to figure out how to make that happen.

Oh, and sometimes she talks to my husband the whole time, sometimes she talks to me most or all the time. Sometimes she talks to her siblings. If we have friends or relatives over, she might talk to them... it's HER phone time, and she can talk to who she wants to talk to.

In your situation, OP, right now I would plan for a call less than 30 minutes. I would let your step-daughter know that you really want to make sure everyone has time to say goodbye, so you will watch the clock and let her know when it's getting close to time to get off the phone so that you have time to say goodbye. Honestly, I think that's the best you can do to protect her from repeated trauma, which is what is happening to her now. I don't think you should have to limit your phone time, but right now it is being imposed on you and you have to do what you can.

I would give this info to the GAL and also bring it up for court in April and explain what you did. I would probably have your husband send an email to mom right now saying that he doesnt agree with her limiting his daughter's phone contact to 30 minutes, but that because she is ending the phone calls abruptly at that time he will be trying to help his daughter to end the phone call on her own before that time. That way there is documentation that he is objecting to it, and the shorter phone calls are not because he doesn't want to talk to her, but because he is trying to do what he can to minimize the impact of mom's actions. I hope that made sense.

Oh, as for the bribing... if it is not working, I wouldn't worry about it. We've had the same situation, but my husband just called his ex on it and she doesn't generally do it anymore (sometimes it happens that someone accidentally says "why don't we call mom/dad before you do X" and so she doesn't want to talk long... but I don't think anyone does it on purpose as a means to keep her from talking on the phone for very long). Maybe you could let your step-daughter know "if you are excited for ice cream/movie/tv, we can just say a quick hi and I love you so you can go do that, or I'd love to hear about your day first and tell you what's going on around here. You just let me know when you're ready to say goodbye." I do think it is helpful to let kids know that you understand sometimes they don't want to talk and it doesn't hurt your feelings if they don't have much to say (or if they are more excited for ice cream than to recount their school day or whatever...'cuz they're little and sometimes that's the case!)

Sorry, this was longer than I intended.... I'm sorry to hear about the whole situation because it sounds really awful for everyone!!
This is pretty much exactly how our conversations go as well, back and forth. The only different thing is whether or not dd is talking directly to her parents or step-parents. Having said that, we're both in relatively newish relationships, so that may color that area. You said much more succinctly what I was trying to summarize - right down to calling my ex to give him a quick heads up on the days events, or that we're tight on time, etc. We're also both very conscious not to put pressure on dd to talk when she doesn't want to.

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#13 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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It sounds like you have much bigger issues than phone calls, but I can see how that would be super-annoying, especially on top of everything else.

My DSC mother, for what it's worth, does pretty much the same thing. We let her pick the time for the calls, and after a month of her not answering, we asked her to pick a new time, since the old time she picked clearly wasn't working for her.

She typically picks times when the kids are at friends' houses playing, or during movies they are watching. And she doesn't turn off the movie just because we call. They get to pick. Lately, she changes the time window each day and texts us with when we can call, so we adjust our day around hers. But I will say she does not cut them off from calls unless they have specific plans (though she does schedule our calls to be before her plans a lot! even on school nights). Our calls are often short, but can also last 45 minutes to an hour. A recent one was about an hour and a half, but that is rare.

My advice would be to keep sending her messages in writing stating what you want and complaining that she cuts them off. Also, as some others have said, if you know it's going to be 30 minutes, then make sure to wind down and say goodbye so there's less drama for all involved.

Like you, all we get right now is phone calls. The mother in this case has now decided that because all we have is a local custody decree that she will throw up roadblocks to prevent us ever actually seeing the children, since it involves travel which is not outlined in our agreement. So, we have to go to court too. Not sure when, but we'll clearly have to, as phone calls do not cut it. So, for what it's worth, I understand. Good luck to you and your family!

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#14 of 21 Old 02-02-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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"I hope court sees things for what they are, I'm sorry you all are going through this."

Ditto.

This is just a mess, MILES beyond the typical blended-family maneuvering and drama. I don't see what you can do beyond document everything, get the best lawyer you can afford, and pray.
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#15 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the support ladies. The bad news is that we are practically out of money. So, come court time, legal aid will be representing us (sigh)

We have been fighting this for over a year straight and this will only be our second time in a court room (thanks to the other party constantly delaying every chance they could!) We have spent over 30k and we don't have any more money to fight this without it harming the other children in the home (which I simply don't see as fair whatsoever)

The positive side is that the judge is on our side. When we were in his court room before, he looked at us and said I'm sorry, if I had jurisdiction to give you your daughter back, I would. He even said something along the lines of it's evident to me the child was in a loving home with a mother and father (and pointed at me when he said mother) Now, hopefully he hasn't changed his opinion simply because time has dragged on in regards to this.

We would simply have accepted her wrong actions by now if we could have contact with dsd without any issues. It just really hurts when dsd cries when she talks to us saying how uncomfortable she is living there, and how bio-mom and her family said negative things about us here. (Example is I am pregnant and dsd said on the phone "mommy told me you got pregnant to replace me, and that this one is a girl, and she was going to have my bedroom and my stuff since I am not there with you guys anymore") ummm no, not the case at all, and second of all, we don't even know what we are having yet... so it's just constant lies, constant messing with poor dsd's head, and damaging her quite frankly.

I will definitely let everyone know how things go on April 6th. We will be meeting with the guardian sometime soon, and I have planned to show her all the facts, keep emotions out. I want to show her how frequent contact was with bio-mom when dsd lived with us, as opposed to now. I want to show her the same in regards to visits. Also, dsd has told the guardian she wants to live with us, she told her how her bio-mom lies, and how her bio-mom only has her one day a week (it's bio-mom's parents who take care of dsd every other day)

I just hope this all works out. Poor DH has really been struggling, and I have been trying to keep all the case building on my part (I'm also much better at dates than he is! ha)

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#16 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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Well, I come from the other side of things. But I don't agree with how Mom is handling it.

I would likely try to wind up the calls when it gets to the 30 minute mark, just to make it easier on the kiddo.

And... I'd be careful what you wish for from court. My ex filed to restrict my calls to the kids when they were with him (I only called them if they were with him for a week or longer, once, just to say hi, hope you're having a great time). The judge ended up ordering calls once per week - with calls placed from here to Dad's - of a duration of 5 minutes. Yes, you are reading that right - FIVE minutes. Two kids. Once a week. Doesn't mean I followed that order when it came to their talking to their Dad. Nor does it mean he was available to talk to them. <shrug>
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#17 of 21 Old 02-08-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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Yikes! Are you asking to "regain" primary custody, or only for adequate visitation?

It was rough, but my husband won sole custody of his 8-year-old son over similar (though not identical) issues. Mom had custody, but my husband's visitation amounted to nearly half the time. Mom moved out of state and was resistant to the child coming back for visits. (Visits were court-ordered, but she would come up with excuses for shortening them and at one point, requested a Protective Order in the new state. Had she gotten the terms she requested, my husband would have been limited to supervised visits in her new state...eliminating 2 months in the summer, etc...) She also restricted phone contact, with no good reason - she felt (and stated) that too much time on the phone with Dad cut into the child's life with her. She also did her best to limit any contact - including phone calls - between the child and people in Dad's life who were significant to the child. If at one point you were helping raise the kid while Mom lived in another state, I'd say you were significant in the kid's life!!

Bottom line, my husband argued it wasn't in the best interest of the child to be isolated with a parent who was so hostile to and unsupportive of the child's contact and relationships with the other side of his family - and, in contrast, my husband had never tried to interfere in the child's relationship with her. Eventually, the court agreed.

Regardless what you're fighting for, it is essential that you document everything you can. I can't emphasize enough that documentation made all the difference in the world, in my husband's case. So good for you - it sounds like you're doing that.

There is absolutely nothing a court can do about phone contact except take away custody (and I don't know that courts ever do that, over phone issues alone. The almost nonexistent visits would be the more significant issue.) All the court orders in the world still do not provide a supervisor, to reign in the Mom while the kid is on the phone with you. That can't be fixed. Do communicate with the mom about it in writing, so there's a record that you aren't satisfied with how things are going and that she is unresponsive. Make sure you are using a phone service that gives you access to records (Net10, for example, does not.) That way she can't say you're getting more phone time than you are. Good luck.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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#18 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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This is a complex and painful situation. I felt especially sad reading about your dsd being told that you had become pregnant to "replace her". She should not have been told that by her mom.

I have come back to this thread a few times, puzzling over the term 'bio-mom'. I'm not sure if it is appropriate in this situation.

Best of luck to your families in resolving this complex situation.
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#19 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mama_miiteg View Post
This is a complex and painful situation. I felt especially sad reading about your dsd being told that you had become pregnant to "replace her". She should not have been told that by her mom.

I have come back to this thread a few times, puzzling over the term 'bio-mom'. I'm not sure if it is appropriate in this situation.

Best of luck to your families in resolving this complex situation.
Mostly I am saying bio-mom to help avoid confusion, but also there is a key factor that bio-mom left DH and dsd when dsd was 2 years old. She didn't have visitation or phone calls with dsd until after I was in her life (which was at 4 yrs old and bio-mom's choice.... not DH preventing her....we have e-mail proof of this) I stayed home with dsd while DH worked, and I was her room parent in school, primary care person, and "mum" (the name we came up with since I didn't want her calling me mommy like she wanted)

Basically, this is a case of bio-mom being gone, possibly realizing now the negative effects, but it's still no way to behave. You cant just decide you want to be a parent and run off with the child when you had no visitation or phone calls (by choice) from 2-4 then had minimal visitation and rare phone calls from 4-6. You cant just say you are planning on returning the child and run off and start the child on a new life. If a father did this, he would be in jail, or at the very least, I am certain the child would have been returned much faster then in our case this far.

Basically, the life dsd now has down there, is completely under a lie. Bio-mom agreed to bring her back after Christmas break on Sunday.... she failed to, there should be accountability of this. It's a shame that children who are victims of broken homes should have to worry about situations like this.

We have e-mail proof, a seperation agreement proof, and an e-mail from bio-mom openly admitting she lied about bringing her back and now dsd would be living with her. (The only way this should be viable is if you can PROVE abuse or neglect... and even then, you should contact CPS, and have them take the child and give the child to the other parent... it shouldn't be the right of the other parent... which of course there is none of these issues in our home)

We were told by multiple lawyer that we could go down to where bio-mom lived and yank our dsd back and bring her back up here to our home, but how is that fair to this child? This shouldn't be a game of tug-a-war, and dsd is not a stuffed animal we should fight for possesion of... she's a child, with feelings, and emotions that have been completely thrown off by this whole situation.

We are trusting the courts to see we have been acting in the best interest of dsd, and if the worst bio-mom has on us is that she just thinks she can provide better, and she realises she messed up by not being in dsd's life for so long, then I am sorry... that's on her, not on us, and not on dsd.... especially with the constant brainwashing, negative comments, and lack of contact we are having with her. All she is showing is she is using dsd as a pawn to hurt DH. Sure, it's hurting Dh and myself, but I have no doubt it's hurting dsd much, much more.

Kourtney, happily married to my soldier and raising ds 7/08 .... dd 7/10..... and ds 11/11

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#20 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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"We were told by multiple lawyers that we could go down to where bio-mom lived and yank our dsd back and bring her back up here to our home, but how is that fair to this child?"

Eh. I worry that the fact that your dsd will have spent so long in the physical custody of the woman who gave birth to her by the time the court date rolls around. Your desire to be moderate and responsible and to go through the court system may actually result in the court system not understanding that your dsd was kidnapped.

In this circumstance, I think that regaining physical custody ASAP is probably the right tactic. I'm not a lawyer and obviously I don't know all the details, but by allowing the custodial interference to continue, are you not tacitly legitimizing it? As you say, a MAN who pulled this kind of stunt would be in jail.

If you have email proof, then I really think it's a valid option to retrieve dsd, wait for the court date, and just tell the judge the truth - that biomom resurfaced after years of being AWOL, your dh granted unsupervised visitation, his ex kidnapped dsd which was horribly traumatic for all of you, and dh is now seeking sole physical custody.
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#21 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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In this circumstance, I think that regaining physical custody ASAP is probably the right tactic. I'm not a lawyer and obviously I don't know all the details, but by allowing the custodial interference to continue, are you not tacitly legitimizing it? As you say, a MAN who pulled this kind of stunt would be in jail.
Maybe in the beginning this might have worked, but I'm not so sure now that it's been over a year? and they have been to court in the meantime and the judge obviously didn't send DSD back (I believe because they didn't have custody in their separation agreement), so they could be getting themselves in legal hot water now by just taking her again? Then again, I am also not a lawyer, but if OP has spoken to lawyers recently, i.e. since they've been to court, that have said dad can just go take his daughter back, I sure as heck would consider it. Because yes, the longer she is with her mom, the less likely dad will get custody back.

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