Kids spending time with the SO alone - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-12-2011, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So today we get informed by the ex that while she does not have a problem with me being around the kids (I live with their father, so she doesn't really have a say in this although she seems to think she does), she wants the kids to only spend time with her or their father, not with me alone (this new idea has probably come from the fact that I took her daughter out to a movie and to see a live reindeer last weekend while my BF took his son and my daughter to a museum. I am sure the 8yo went to mom and told her what a great time she had with me). It's pretty obvious that I'm a permanent fixture here and nothing negative has every been brought up about me (from her or the kids), so she does not seem to have any specific concerns. I am positive if she did, she would have brought it up by now.

 

I realize that there are a lot of emotions that might be going on with her...she doesn't want to be replaced, she could be upset/jealous that her ex is with someone else, that her kids are spending time with another "mom", etc...but it is very hard to feel sorry for her because she cheated and left her husband, so what did she expect? She's not a stupid person. She knew he'd find someone else eventually.

 

Anyway, we'd like to get the kids for a couple of days over winter break. There is nothing in the divorce decree about who gets the kids during winter and spring break and we are pretty open about which days it is, but we'd like them for 2 days in a row. She is saying no because she knows he will not be taking time off of work and she does not think it is right for the kids to spend time alone with me. She wants the kids to only spend time with a parent and if one parent is not available, the other one should get the kids. We feel like she sees the kids every day and it would be nice to be able to have them for 2 days in a row. He probably will take one of those days off of work, but not both and we don't feel like he should promise her he will take that day off. She never tells us about the kind of childcare she provides for the kids on her days (and we know she's had a man watch them that has a record of child alienation with his previous wife and kids...), so why does he need to explain to her who is watching the kids? Again, I feel like she wants to control every aspect of the kids' lives, even when they are in his custody.

 

She's also requested he pick the kids up from her house at 3:50pm on Mondays starting in January so she can go to work (her schedule changed). Kids get out of school at 3:30pm and the school is a 5 minute walk from his job and our house. She refuses to let him or me pick the kids up at school on Mondays. She wants to pick them up at 3:30pm, drive them home where they will be for 5 minutes, and then dad will pick them up and drive them home where I will watch them until 4:35 when he gets home from work. He'll have to leave work at 3:35 when he can leave at 3:25 to pick them up and then go back to work or I can go get them. It's ridiculous. Personally, I think bouncing the kids around like that is wrong. On top of that, I just realized the 8yo has karate on Mondays at 4:15 now so he'll have to drop the kids off with me, go back to work and I'll have to load them into the car and bring them all to karate! I've suggested dropping Monday night karate, but then the ex will be responsible for taking her the other two days per week (she has to go at least 2 days a week to test up to the next level) and he doesn't think she'll go for that. I am tempted to tell him to tell her to just pay a babysitter until 5pm when he normally picks them up at this point because the whole thing is insane! It just makes sense that we pick them up at school if she has to leave the house by 3:50! Am I crazy? Am I missing something? I don't get it.

 

**ETA She drives right past his work and house when driving from school to her house, so I don't see why she can't drop them off if she doesn't want us to pick them up.

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#2 of 8 Old 12-12-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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Regarding her request that only a parent be with the kids-- many parents have a "right of first refusal" agreement that says if one parent needs childcare, they need to give the other parent the option of providing that childcare. There is normally (and should certainly be) some sort of threshold, like 4 hours. Here's the thing: ROFR goes both ways. If she wants to be given the option of providing childcare every time your boyfriend wants childcare, she has to also notify him anytime she needs childcare. If she expects him to give her a certain amount of advanced notice, she needs to agree to the same notice. ALSO, ROFR doesn't preclude the kids from going over to friend's houses, out to a movie, for ice cream with their grandparents, etc. So ROFR shouldn't interfere with you taking one of the kids to the movies, especially not if your husband doesn't NEED childcare, he is allowing his child to go out to the movies with someone. It certainly wouldn't mean that the kids could never be alone with you (for example, if you all went out shopping, ROFR doesn't mean that you couldn't take one of the kids into one store while your husband went into another).

 

As for the request in changes in pick-up... We spent a long time allowing my husband's ex to dictate how things were going to happen, telling my husband what he could do, and holding us to a standard she wasn't willing to be held to herself. The first thing that finally worked for us to stop having my husband's ex try to dictate everything was to stand up to her and say "We can offer this or this." When she argued, he repeated it. And repeated it. So in your after school situation, he might say: We can pick the kids up from school at 3:30, you can pick them up and drop them off at our house after school, or we can pick them up from your house at 5" (or whatever the actual options are). The "This is what I can offer you" broken record approach when he first began standing up to her allowed him to keep his cool and stay "on message" without getting wrapped up in her responses. Writing it, it makes it sound like something really simple, but any time he changes the game and responds to her differently, she escalates her behavior quite a bit... so there was lots of getting yelled at, getting hung up on, threats about taking away his rights, and general terrible co-parenting in response for a while... but eventually she came to realize that he was playing by new rules and that when he said something he meant it.

 

It's the end of a long day and I'm not feeling very eloquent, so hopefully that made sense... perhaps someone with more mental energy will be along with some other advice soon :)


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#3 of 8 Old 12-12-2011, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They do have right of first refusal, but it is only in regards to overnights. The kids would only be with me during the day and their father would be home by 430pm and be there all night and the next morning with them. It also only applies to when a non-family member is being asked to watch the kids, which I realize I am not a family member now, but we wonder if once we get married, will I be considered a "family member" then? If she wants the kids to be with only a parent, perhaps she should do so herself. She often leaves them with other people, overnight for "sleepovers" supposedly with friends so ROFR doesn't come into play or even leaves them alone at home for an hour or two to go shopping at Wal-Mart. I think the part that bugs us most is that she expects him to do things a certain way, but she is exempt from having to do those things herself. She has even complained when the kids go to a sleepover at their grandparents (maybe once every 2-3 months) because she feels they should be with him or her, not other family members.

 

And yes! Thank you! The broken record approach is exactly what I've been trying to get my BF to do! We know she can't afford a babysitter and it will be unlikely she can find a friend to watch the kids after school and take them both to karate, so she really won't have a choice other than to quit her job or let us pick the kids up. She is so used to him just saying yes to everything, she just assumes he will eventually say yes. And I'm not trying to make her life more difficult or be vindictive. It's less hassle for her as well I would think, not having to drive back and forth across town and sit with the kids at the house for 5-10 minutes with their coats on so they're ready to go when dad gets there since she has to leave at a certain time to get to work on time. The way she wants it seems stressful for everyone. The whole thing is insane. But he says he will give her the two options and that's it (we pick up from school or we pick up at 5pm like the divorce decree states).

 

We've also been discussing how to address her issues with me being alone with the kids. I feel like he should just ignore those comments for now and just address what schedule works for him and what he wants (as far as Christmas break is concerned) without getting into who is watching the kids (he actually has 2 days off that she doesn't realize, but we don't feel that should be her concern. In the past, when he was at work, they would go to his parent's so I don't know why she doesn't assume they could be going there as well). But at some point if she continues to bring it up, I think he will need to tell her in no uncertain terms that I will essentially be a third parent when they are with us, we are partners and I am here to help him with every aspect of our life and family together, and that includes taking care of the kids when they are with him. I think it's unreasonable for her to expect me to just  be a separate person from the family because she doesn't want me to be alone with them. I'm open to speaking to her about anything she'd like, but he is afraid to tell her that and she hasn't said she wants to meet me or even know anything about me (which I think is odd. If someone was spending so many hours a week with my daughter, I'd probably at least like to know a little about them and say hello or something...).

 

So he's sending her an email tonight about all this. We'll see how it goes! thanks!

 

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#4 of 8 Old 12-13-2011, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She is trying to do everything she possible can today to make sure I cannot spend time with the kids alone :( even though she has never once brought up any concerns she might have about me.This is very  frustrating :( At least once we mentioned getting a mediator, she backed down some with other requests.

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#5 of 8 Old 12-13-2011, 06:00 PM
 
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Wow. This woman is a real piece of work.

 

I would be upset about the kids staying alone at that age for her to run errands, too. They are waaayyyy too young to be by themselves. When she brings you up to your BF, just have him say, "Well they are supervised and it's for a short amount of time. I will be home asap, so what is the issue?" If she ever wanted to bring this up in court, bring up that the kids are left unsupervised, it may not be against the law but it won't look good.

 

The issue is you. That's it. It shouldn't be like that, but apparently it is.

 

My DSS's BM literally called the cops on me one night while I was watching DSS and DH was at work. This was about three months before we got married. The cop came to the house, I told him I was Andrew's fiancee and that I was watching DSS while he was working thirds. I gave the custody agreement to the officer and Andrew's work number. He looked over the paperwork, called my husband, peeked in on DSS sleeping. He apologized for getting me out of bed (1 am) and told me to not worry about anything. He said BM has legal grounds to take DSS from me, I may not be married but I am technically the babysitter and the father knew where his son was. He called BM told her there was nothing she could do and gave her the "your son is fine, there was no reason for you to call us," talk. She was infuriated and showed up at DH's work three hours later drunk with three other people. She was in a great state to take care of her son, right?

 

 

So as much as this woman may threaten to do this or that, as long as your BF knows that you are taking care of the kids and it's not overnight so the ROFR doesn't apply, there is nothing she can do. Unless she wanted to go back to court and in that case she would have to prove YOU were unfit (haha, right?). 


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#6 of 8 Old 12-13-2011, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. That makes me feel much better :) I wonder, do you legally become a "relative" to the kids once you are married? I ask because the divorce states a relative can take the kids instead of giving the ROFR and we are wondering if I become a "relative" once we're married. I really want to avoid the whole cop thing for the kid's sake, but I know it could become an issue. She wants to change the ROFR to include any time the custodial parent can't watch the kids, even if it's only for a few hours. We are refusing to do so, but are worried about what kind of backlash that is going to cause.

 

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#7 of 8 Old 12-13-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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Once you are married there isn't much she can do. You are legally recognized as your DH's spouse and would therefor be living with him and sharing a combined financial life, etc. No judge can say, "Don't let your kids be alone with your wife," that's absurd. She may be causing these problems to try and get you to run away and intimidate you. But the truth is she can't choose who he chooses and vice versa.

 

Including that in the custody agreement is unrealistic. What happens if there is an emergency? She is being irrational and on some level, she knows it. Again write all this down. And I don't know how serious you are with BF but I would think long and hard about where your relationship is headed before I got into this battle. I mean that in the most sincere and caring way, too. I got lucky with my DH and I wish you all the happiness and stability in the world. 


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#8 of 8 Old 12-13-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, that's what I figured but then someone brought up that legally a relative might be only blood related. But you're right...you can't tell a parent their spouse is not allowed to be alone with the kids (unless they have some crazy criminal history I guess...which I don't. I haven't even gotten a speeding ticket in over 6 or 7 years). She doesn't intimidate me, but I admit is scares me to think of the money he'll have to potentially spend on mediators and/or lawyers if this continues on the road it's going. We're trying to save up for something that is very important to us and somewhat time sensitive and this will put a big dent in that :( She was dating a man for a while that had a history of abusing children and my BF had to still let that man around his kids which seems insane to me, but shows she doesn't give a crap about her kids well-being as much as she claims she does.

 

I love my BF more than anything. He is the best father I have ever seen to his kids and my kid (who doesn't have a dad and is going through an "I hate you" phase towards my BF - she's 3 - and he is taking it so well and still tells her he loves her every day, etc..) I think dealing with this extra baggage is worth it. I never thought I'd find someone like him..I thought all the good ones were taken. He has his faults (too passive, too willing to say yes to everyone, too easily feels  guilty about being a "bad" dad based on what ex says), but nothing terrible. He is just a sweet, unconditionally loving person. If his ex didn't exist, I don't think we'd ever even argue. He's a little too naive and optimistic though...even after all these years of her abuse, he'll still say stuff like, "Well, maybe this time she'll realize I'm being reasonable with my request" or "soon we'll be able to tame her and our life will calm down." He has a hard time thinking someone could continually be so mean, selfish and evil which isn't necessarily a bad trait, but it's a little unrealistic in this  case I think.

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Originally Posted by csekywithlove View Post

Once you are married there isn't much she can do. You are legally recognized as your DH's spouse and would therefor be living with him and sharing a combined financial life, etc. No judge can say, "Don't let your kids be alone with your wife," that's absurd. She may be causing these problems to try and get you to run away and intimidate you. But the truth is she can't choose who he chooses and vice versa.

 

Including that in the custody agreement is unrealistic. What happens if there is an emergency? She is being irrational and on some level, she knows it. Again write all this down. And I don't know how serious you are with BF but I would think long and hard about where your relationship is headed before I got into this battle. I mean that in the most sincere and caring way, too. I got lucky with my DH and I wish you all the happiness and stability in the world. 



 

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