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#1 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DSD "A" told DH and me that while on a fishing trip with her stepdad, step-uncle and a couple male cousins, she had to pee. Apparently, they were close to toilet facilities and her step-dad opted to hold her over the side of the boat to pee. I'm trying to wrap my head around exactly how he did this, but none of the pictures are pretty. It makes no sense that he would do this, especially in a boat of all males. DSD is 13 and was absolutely mortified. She was so embarrassed that she told DH she is not going on another fishing trip with her stepdad, in order to keep it from happening again.

Both girls have also told us that the stepfather spanks younger DSD, and that one time over a laundry discrepancy (he accused her of somehow lying), he bent her (age 11 at the time) over a table and spanked her bottom with his hand. They are both pubescent girls and I'm of the opinion that his hand belongs nowhere near her bottom. Besides, I completely disagree with spanking a child period. (When DH told his ex that younger DSD "M" told him she was spanked by her stepdad, his ex denied it and said that they don't get spanked. Yet, the news of being bent over the table was confirmed this summer by both DSDs, after the conversation with his ex. Plus, he's heard stories of being spanked on several occasions.

We've known about the boat incident for months and I've suggested to DH that he talk to his ex about it, how he doesn't agree with it, and ask how she is going to keep it from happening again. I think he should also talk to her regarding the spanking. I'm very, very uncomfortable with the fact that he has not talked to her about these things--over a period of months, especially the boat incident. I'm concerned that other things might be happening. The stepdad obviously doesn't respect their personal boundaries. Meanwhile, I don't know that more is happening. But I think DH has the responsibility of, at the very least, talking to his exwife about these issues. I told him this last night (after he had talked on the phone with "A", who told him that during a family function, an older male stepcousin had asked her to show him her privates). "A" told DH that the only other person she talked to regarding it was her mom, as she was embarrassed. She quickly told DH what happened and when he began questioning, she changed the subject because she was uncomfortable with it. I'm thinking that maybe she wants DH to talk to her mom about it so that the situation will be dealt with.

Anyhow, unless DH says something, I don't think anything will be done. I know boys will be boys and kids will be kids, but "A's" mom should at least talk to the parents, as well as respect A's wishes of not being in the presence of this boy at family functions. More of a concern to me, however, is the boating incident. That was wrong on so many levels.

There are other things, but namely suspicions and nothing that I know for sure. DSDs mom and stepdad frequently take them to Hooters, which DH strongly disapproves of. (I disapprove, as well, but my opinion isn't the one that matters here.) I do think DH should talk to his ex about taking the girls to Hooters, and what that does to their developing self-image, but I'm not sure if it's one of the most important things to bring up at this point.

I suspect DH is hesitant to talk to his ex about these things because she has full custody and "allows" the girls to spend time with their dad during the summer. He's afraid she may keep him from seeing the girls at all. I'm of the mindset that he can take her to court and win visitation with the girls if his ex tried to keep them from him. Of course, I'm speaking from complete naiveté.

I told DH that if he didn't talk to his ex about these things (the boating incident mainly, and the spanking secondly) this week, I would call CPS. Was I wrong to threaten to call CPS if DH doesn't talk to his ex? Did I overstep my boundaries? I just strongly suspect more may be happening. I know suspicions are not proof. I suggested he call his ex months ago. It's just so hard to be concerned and yet not able to do anything about it. I feel completely powerless. I love the girls very much, but as their stepmother I feel like I can only stand by.

Please don't hesitate to tell me if I am off-base and need to step out of the situation entirely. I'm already second-guessing myself.

ETA: DH just forwarded an email his ex sent to his workplace regarding DSD "M" wanting to come live with us. Apparently, she is having pretty major issues with the stepdad (who has been married to her mom since "M" was a baby). "M" put a letter inside Bio mom's purse. In the letter, "M" threatened to run away and requested going to live with her dad, instead. She told her mom that she had raised her for 11 years and now it is dad's turn.
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#2 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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You are NOT off base at all. In fact, you seem to be the only one with a modicum of clarity in a sea of denial. It is ABSOLUTELY your husbands responsibility to take action and I have no idea how to get him to do so. However, I think that if, for whatever reason, he doesn't that you should absolutely step in. These things should not continue to be allowed to happen just because it isn't your place...


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#3 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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I thought you were going to say your DSD was 2 or 3 years old - I have held my 2 year old over the boat edge to pee... but 13? That's incomprehensible.

I think what your DSD's stepfather did was completely inappropriate, and I absolutely agree that you (or your dh) should step in, one way or another.

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#4 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I wish I'd listened to my instincts sooner. Did either of you read my ETA?
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#5 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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I did just now. I still believe that the mom needs to have the wool pulled from her eyes regarding her husband.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#6 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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You're not out of line at all. If I were the mother I would be extremely upset and I really don't understand why she isn't. As the father, it IS your husband's responsibility to step in and be an advocate for his daughter. I'm sorry you're needing to deal with this

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#7 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did just now. I still believe that the mom needs to have the wool pulled from her eyes regarding her husband.
I agree, especially as DSD "A" will still live with her mom. Honestly, I have no clue if bio mom is reacting emotionally to DSD's letter to her, or if she would follow through on sending her to live with us.

Regarding what DH should talk to his ex about, I know the boat incident needs to be discussed. What else? Spanking? Hooters? I'm trying to pick the battles (or have husband do so) and he can't choose to battle everything at once.

DH has said for a while now that DSD "M" may choose to live with us at some point. Of course, he's going off instincts, as he's never had such a conversation with either of his daughters. "M" though, has been very sad lately, calling several times a week (we live a distance away) and such.
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#8 of 30 Old 09-29-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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I thought you were going to say your DSD was 2 or 3 years old - I have held my 2 year old over the boat edge to pee... but 13? That's incomprehensible.

I think what your DSD's stepfather did was completely inappropriate, and I absolutely agree that you (or your dh) should step in, one way or another.
this. 13!!!! although even at 2-3 age, I'd put a stop to it if the child felt embarrased or uncomfortable.

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#9 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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I thought you were going to say your DSD was 2 or 3 years old - I have held my 2 year old over the boat edge to pee... but 13? That's incomprehensible.

I think what your DSD's stepfather did was completely inappropriate, and I absolutely agree that you (or your dh) should step in, one way or another.
What she said...
Yes its inappropriate. with some many outside ppl there especially.
if it made her feel uncomfortable then thats not ok.
I would have peed my pants right there in that boat when I was 13.
Having dealt with a man who doesnt like to speak up... yes he needs to speak up and let them know that it was not ok.

I know this is against all the "leave the kid outta it" stuff but at 13 perhaps she would want to ask her mother for advice, what she should have done in the boating situation and just for some support, from you or mom, that its ok to feel uncomfortable. whether for a good reason or not and that sometimes you have to speak up and say "I don't wanna do that, even if you think its normal it makes me feel awkward"
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#10 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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You're not out of line, but....

The fact that no one addressed the issue for what has been apparently several months is a problem. If it was an issue, one of you should have addressed it long ago bu contacting CPS. CPS and the courts are likely to wonder why it is only an issue NOW.
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#11 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I'm with everyone else. 13 is WAY too old for that

Good point about CPS, though, mtiger. That's something to think about, definitely. The next time there's an issue, though, it might be worth reporting? I dunno. *shudder*

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#12 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mentioned reporting the incident to CPS in my original post because I couldn't handle the fact that so many months had passed and DH didn't even talk to his ex about it. As the long distance stepmother, I really have very little control. This did prompt DH to talk to bio mom about the incident. She said they were in the middle of some big lake (not the original story I heard) and there were no other options short of DSD peeing her pants. I told DH that I would have preferred to wet my pants. It's something that shouldn't happen again. I don't think it should have happened period, but I'm not the parent, and I doubt there's anything CPS can do at this point. If something like that happens again, I will insist DH take immediate action or else I will call CPS myself. I'm STILL not happy with bio mom's response. I STILL think the incident was completely inappropriate. But I'm not the parent. If I hear things like that continue to happen, I will act on it. I just wanted to pose the question whether I was out of line first. Being a stepparent is not easy. I feel like I have responsibilities to DSDs and yet no say in their wellbeing.

Thanks for confirming that I should have, indeed, spoken up more.
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#13 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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I have to be honest... Middle of the lake and no other option? I would likely do the same with my daughter. Otherwise? I likely would have suggested she hop in the water for a swim and pee while there.
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#14 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Were you thinking I was flaming you? I hope not, I didn't mean it that way.... I just don't know if I'd wanna chance it being taken as some sort of attack on the other parents. I think you were right and he should definitely have taken it up with her sooner... a lot sooner. There's not really any control you have over that.

Anyway, wasn't sure if you meant my post or not... but I support you.

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#15 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Were you thinking I was flaming you? I hope not, I didn't mean it that way.... I just don't know if I'd wanna chance it being taken as some sort of attack on the other parents. I think you were right and he should definitely have taken it up with her sooner... a lot sooner. There's not really any control you have over that.

Anyway, wasn't sure if you meant my post or not... but I support you.
I'm sorry. I actually edited that portion of my original response. I think I'm just feeling sensitive about the whole issue and especially about not taking a firmer stance in the beginning.

You hit the nail on the head regarding bio mom possibly feeling attacked if we were to call CPS. We're in a position to have younger DSD come to live with us (DH being the custodial parent) in about a month, and we certainly don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. Overall, I guess the ship has sailed, but having posted this succeeded in helping to define my responsibility to the girls and their wellbeing as their stepparent, and that sometimes I need to take a firm stand.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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#16 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to be honest... Middle of the lake and no other option? I would likely do the same with my daughter. Otherwise? I likely would have suggested she hop in the water for a swim and pee while there.
Apparently the water was pretty cold when this happened. I still think I would have preferred to pee my pants, though. I think my problem with it was that she was in a boat with all males (and I intuitively don't trust the stepfather in that way).

Thanks for your response.
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#17 of 30 Old 10-18-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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Yuck. This guy sounds gross. He has no right to humiliate the teen like that. And you're right, all the behavioral pieces together sound suspicious.

As for the older male step-cousin, I HOPE that what you described is not normal behavior & something to be subscribed to "boys will be boys". Your DH should step in & talk to an adult about that, as well.

I have no idea how you should handle this, but wanted to second that your "gut" feelings seem very reasonable.
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#18 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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There had to be another solution on the boat because that was completely inappropriate. I would not let that drop and I really wonder what's going on with the mother that her husband is sexually humiliating her dds and she is either unaware or doesn't think it's a big deal. I would drop the Hooters issue entirely though, it isn't illegal and it's a matter of opinion whether it's inappropriate. I don't think your dh has that kind of control over what goes on when they are with their mom. I take my kids to Hooters on occasion...it's all about the wings.
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#19 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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That is completely inappropriate. I would look into a custody modification and bring these things up. If they continue or happen at all again, I would not hesitate to call CPS.

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#20 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is completely inappropriate. I would look into a custody modification and bring these things up. If they continue or happen at all again, I would not hesitate to call CPS.
Is a custody modification a legal thing? Bio mom currently has full custody of both girls, and is soon giving DH full custody of the younger daughter. They don't really go through the courts, though. They have an agreed upon amount for child support. DH pays it. DH has the girls in the summer and they live with their mom. That is soon to change with the younger daughter, as she will live with us. But we live a great distance from bio mom. DH and bio mom have always been amicable. Basically, they make decisions regarding the girls on their own, not involving the courts.
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#21 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There had to be another solution on the boat because that was completely inappropriate. I would not let that drop and I really wonder what's going on with the mother that her husband is sexually humiliating her dds and she is either unaware or doesn't think it's a big deal. I would drop the Hooters issue entirely though, it isn't illegal and it's a matter of opinion whether it's inappropriate. I don't think your dh has that kind of control over what goes on when they are with their mom. I take my kids to Hooters on occasion...it's all about the wings.
Thanks for your perspective. I agree that DH doesn't have that control, which is why he hasn't brought it up to bio mom yet. I do think, though, that he absolutely has the right to communicate his feelings to bio mom about her bringing the girls to Hooters. I don't personally believe that it's the most important thing to broach with her now, however. I think the boat incident and spanking are far more important. We're trying to keep things calm until after we have custody of younger DSD. It feels like such a tight rope to walk.

Thanks for your perspective. It was helpful, especially concerning my concerns about Hooters, which I don't think anyone else touched on.
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#22 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Hmmm...I don't know how that works, then. Everyone that know of that is divorced has a legal agreement-maybe it depends on the state you're in?

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#23 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yuck. This guy sounds gross. He has no right to humiliate the teen like that. And you're right, all the behavioral pieces together sound suspicious.

As for the older male step-cousin, I HOPE that what you described is not normal behavior & something to be subscribed to "boys will be boys". Your DH should step in & talk to an adult about that, as well.

I have no idea how you should handle this, but wanted to second that your "gut" feelings seem very reasonable.
Thanks for your response. DH did talk to his ex about the male stepcousin. His ex tried to write it off as a "kids thing similar to playing doctor." My opinion is that at nearly 14, she's too old for that and she was obviously uncomfortable with what happened. Bio mom said that she and DSD had talked about it and that she thought they were both willing to write it off, but that she guessed she could reexamine it. She did say that she told DSD she didn't have to go to functions where this boy would be present. I also intuited from the beginning that his ex was willing to ignore it. I think that's precisely why DSD brought it up to DH, even though she was uncomfortable discussing it with him. She wanted some action to be taken.
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#24 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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No way should you feel out of line! He sounds creepy, and the other relatives are definitely creepy, and the lack of concern is maddening! Sorry, but her father needs to grow a pair if he cares for his children.
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#25 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response, mizliz72. To be fair, since my original post DH did talk to his ex regarding several of the things I initially wrote about. As the noncustodial parent who lives states away from his children, he wants to pick his battles. If his ex wanted to (if she felt threatened by DH or that he may try to have the kids taken from her) she could prevent the girls from visiting us. Then DH would have a long court battle to gain access to his daughters. This is because they haven't gone through the courts regarding visitation. They've never needed to.

I agree, the stepdad creeps me out to no end. I'm not even slightly comfortable with him.
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#26 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 10:27 PM
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To be fair, since my original post DH did talk to his ex regarding several of the things I initially wrote about. As the noncustodial parent who lives states away from his children, he wants to pick his battles.
Inappropriate touching/exposure is pretty serious, from my perspective. How much worse would things have to get before your DH would not need prompting to address the situation?

I hope that when your DH goes to court for full custody of one daughter, that he pushes for joint legal custody of the other daughter.

Hooters is a non-issue, to me. Yeah, the place is gross and tacky (and the food is crap, on top of it)....but the cover of Cosmo is more offensive to me and it's right next to the check-out at the supermarket.
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#27 of 30 Old 10-19-2010, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Inappropriate touching/exposure is pretty serious, from my perspective. How much worse would things have to get before your DH would not need prompting to address the situation?

I hope that when your DH goes to court for full custody of one daughter, that he pushes for joint legal custody of the other daughter.

Hooters is a non-issue, to me. Yeah, the place is gross and tacky (and the food is crap, on top of it)....but the cover of Cosmo is more offensive to me and it's right next to the check-out at the supermarket.
My husband is not going to court for custody of his daughter. His daughter simply decided she'd like to live with him and the mom agreed. The court is not involved. There can't be joint custody of either child, as the parents live so far apart.

Nobody knows that inappropriate touching happened. As for inappropriate exposure, the guys in the boat were supposed to have turned their heads and tried to give privacy. As I've stated, I still think it was inappropriate and DH feels the same way. Meanwhile, he can't travel back in time and talk to his ex any sooner. He can only change his response time going forward.

ETA: I'd like to point out that if DH makes his ex feel that he's questioning the stepdad's motives in this way, she could very quickly and easily keep him from seeing his daughters for some time. That would definitely not be to their benefit. Things just aren't that simple.
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#28 of 30 Old 10-20-2010, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for your responses. I posted this thread some time ago and the conversation that DH needed to have with his ex has happened. If something of such magnitude happens again, his response time will be much sooner.
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#29 of 30 Old 10-20-2010, 12:29 AM
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My husband is not going to court for custody of his daughter. His daughter simply decided she'd like to live with him and the mom agreed. The court is not involved. There can't be joint custody of either child, as the parents live so far apart.
Personally, I think that is a bad idea. What's to stop the mother from claiming that your DH "kidnapped" his own child?

As for joint legal custody, it simply means that both parents have equal input and responsibility regarding the child's upbringing, including educational and medical matters. I live in RI and my kids' dad has lived all over the place because he's still on active duty. He currently lives in VA and has been overseas as well. We still have joint legal custody. I have primary physical custody.

For example....since there is no court agreement, if something were to happen to one of the girls (like a car accident), and a decision had to be made regarding life support, your DH currently has no legal say in how that is handled. If his ex is decent enough to take his feelings into consideration, that's fine and well. But since you've portrayed their relationship as him having to walk on eggshells with her lest she cease visitation, it doesn't sound that amicable to me.

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Nobody knows that inappropriate touching happened. As for inappropriate exposure, the guys in the boat were supposed to have turned their heads and tried to give privacy.
I consider the spanking to be inappropriate touching. YMMV.
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#30 of 30 Old 10-20-2010, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Personally, I think that is a bad idea. What's to stop the mother from claiming that your DH "kidnapped" his own child?


As for joint legal custody, it simply means that both parents have equal input and responsibility regarding the child's upbringing, including educational and medical matters. I live in RI and my kids' dad has lived all over the place because he's still on active duty. He currently lives in VA and has been overseas as well. We still have joint legal custody. I have primary physical custody.

For example....since there is no court agreement, if something were to happen to one of the girls (like a car accident), and a decision had to be made regarding life support, your DH currently has no legal say in how that is handled. If his ex is decent enough to take his feelings into consideration, that's fine and well. But since you've portrayed their relationship as him having to walk on eggshells with her lest she cease visitation, it doesn't sound that amicable to me.



I consider the spanking to be inappropriate touching. YMMV.
Regarding the spanking, I consider that inappropriate, as well. I find it unnerving. However, I don't know that it would qualify as sexual abuse. Even though I totally disagree with it, a lot of people spank their kids. It speaks to me personally and makes me (as well as DH) uncomfortable. And DH has communicated to his ex that the girls are not to be spanked period, and she has agreed to this.

When I mentioned his ex possibly keeping the kids from him, it was regarding how she may respond to us calling CPS. She's never kept the children from him in the past, but she also hasn't felt threatened in that way. Right now DH doesn't *know* why stepdad did what he did. He doesn't *know* that it was a sexual thing. He did make it clear that it is not to happen again. DH is certainly keeping the communication open with both girls and if anything else sounds weird, he'll address it with his ex or take further action, depending on the severity of the situation.

DH and his ex have already drawn up an agreement that they're both signing regarding custody of the girls. They'll still communicate about the big issues. For instance, I'll be homeschooling DSD when she moves in with us, and her mom agrees with that. If she disagreed, we'd school her in another way.
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