XH wants kids to have visits with his fiancee' when he's at work - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I have a situation that could use some of your blended-family experience.

 

My XH is moving in with his new fiancee' (they've been dating a few years, recently got engaged). He has been living in the house next door but will now be 20 miles away (on the other side of Downtown LosAngeles, so minimum of about an hour driving time). My kids homeschool part time (they are in class 2 days per week) and he doesn't want to cut his visiting time with them (I think it's so he doesn't have to pay more in child support). He has suggested that they spend an entire weekday up there instead of the 2 weekly overnights he currently has. The thing is, he works full time so he wants the boys to spend that day with his fiancee' homeschooling them. This will only be for about 10 months, since my oldest will be in full-time high school next year.

 

Another complication is that I am having problems with homeschooling the younger one and want to put him into full-time school but XH is saying that they (he & the fiancee' ) want to help with the homeschooling, too. So, I am expected to send my kids away for a day to not be with their dad but to be schooled by his fiancee', someone I have only met once and have no desire to co-parent with. I'm happy for them and she is welcome to be a special person to my kids but I don't want to parent with her.

 

Am I out of line to think that visiting time should be scheduled when he is actually doing the parenting and not putting it off on his GF?? He has said that only coming down to have dinner with them during the week is not quality time but I am not seeing how spending the day at his house without him is quality time and am I supposed to give parenting time to someone who is a stranger to me?


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#2 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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I think it would be opening a can of worms to agree to the fiancee home schooling. You would have to co-ordinate with her, wouldn't you? Or would it be like you were sending the kids with 'homework' to their place? How do you think the kids would feel about this? I can imagine my kids' reaction if their visit with my ex turned out to be school with his girlfriend... not pretty. Can you rearrange your schedule so the weekday they'd be at the other house is a day off, and have one of the weekend days be a school day? If that's inconvenient, them going on a weekday is a no-go. If you can arrange your time to accommodate this, I would likely voice my concerns that the kids wouldn't be spending much time with him, decline the help with schooling  and let them have the week day.


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#3 of 8 Old 09-12-2013, 03:32 PM
 
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I am a step-mom who cared for a step-daughter while it was my husband's parenting time. Our situation may be different, in that we had 50/50 custody, but maybe my perspective will still have some connection.

 

From our perspective (and her mom and step-dad's) parenting time is parenting time, and each parent can decide how to spend that time. I can take her on vacation without my husband if I want to, and mom can choose to have her spend the night with her step-dad's parents even if it is "mom's weekend." 

 

When my step-daughter is at our house, I parent her equally with my husband. When I am caring for her while my husband is in school or at work, I act as a parent. However, I am in no way co-parenting with my husband's ex. While we might exchange important information at drop-off or pick-up if my husband isn't there (and my husband might communicate with step-dad if that's who is picking her up), for the most part mom and dad are the ones who communicate. If I have information or there is a question that needs input from both houses, I talk to my husband and he talks to his ex. So having your husband's fiance care for your kids while they are at his house may not mean you are having to co-parent with her. 

 

My step-daughter is part of our family. When she is at our house we act like a family. We divide tasks based not on whose biological child she is, but on what we're good at. I tend to help her with homework and sign her up for extracurriculars because that's what I'm good at, and its my role in the family.  But I don't make educational decisions, I don't communicate with the teachers, I don't ask mom if a certain camp or class is okay-- I talk to my husband if I have something to contribute and he talks to his ex.

In our experience, it helps to think about her time at each parent's house and not which parent she is actually with. My husband and his ex set the schedule based on what works for my step-daughter and what works logistically for both houses. Then what each parent does with their parenting time is their business. It keeps us all from trying to micro-manage the other person's parenting. I don't know if this would work for everyone, but it works for us. 

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#4 of 8 Old 09-12-2013, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aricha, I think it's great for everyone to be a family when it's the dad's parenting time. I do not expect my kids to be separate from the GF and her daughter at all (though my younger son would prefer to have some attention from his dad and not have to share him so much), but does it sound fair to request parenting time that is specifically when the father is not available? He only has them 35% of the time, hasn't done any "regular" parenting time for many years. When he started dating this woman, he requested dropping from a 40% visit schedule, spending nearly every morning with them and taking them to school, to an EOW and 2 overnights schedule (less than 20%). I got him to take back more time by telling him how much child support would go up if he cut his time so much. Plus, this isn't about regular parenting time, this is about her taking on homeschooling them (she is not a homeschooler by any stretch)

 

I have come up with a schedule that doesn't have weekday visits and we'll see if he accepts it.


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#5 of 8 Old 09-12-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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Hell no. She is not a parent and does not need to home school your kids. He is the father and if he is requesting more "quality time" then he needs to be spending the "quality time" with them. 

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#6 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 04:13 PM
 
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"Right of 1st refusal" (assuming it's part of your custody orders) may (depending where you live) entitle your ex to leave the kids with any adult who lives in his house (although sometimes it only applies to relatives).  

 

But that's only during his parenting time.  ROFR doesn't enable the non-residential parent to block the primary custodian from enrolling the kids in school, just because Dad would prefer they attend the Academy of His Girlfriend, so he can say they spend X number of hours at his house, regardless whether he's there!  Parenting time is universally defined around the school hours, for obvious reasons.  For example, if you and your ex agreed that the kids should attend full-time school, but he wanted them in his temple's Hebrew Academy and you chose public school, he couldn't make them be absent on "his" parenting time days.

 

It's great when you can settle everything with your ex through discussion and agreement.  But when he's unreasonable and won't back down, you need to proceed forward with what you believe is best for your kids and leave it to him, to try to stop you, if he can convince an attorney its worthwhile.  (Unlikely.)

 

And it's not just about you not knowing the fiancee well.  Presumably, she has no teaching credentials.  Perhaps you don't, either, but you're your kids' parent.  She is not their relative.  She might never even become their stepmother.  What percentage of people who move in together actually wind up married?  I don't know, but it's not 100.  For all anyone knows, she could break up with your husband a month into school and totally disrupt your kids' education.  Even if you knew her well, it still wouldn't be a good idea.

 

That said, you will have zero control over whether this woman becomes a parental figure to your kids.  I'm sorry about it.  I've been there (not with my kids' current stepmother, but the live-in girlfriend who preceded her).  But it's true.  Once you get divorced, you have no say in who your ex brings into the kids' lives or what type of relationship they wind up developing with her - either because they like her, or because their dad lets her do all the parenting when they're at his house.  Try to accept that you can't control it, or it will drive you crazy and make you behave badly.

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#7 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But that's only during his parenting time.  ROFR doesn't enable the non-residential parent to block the primary custodian from enrolling the kids in school, just because Dad would prefer they attend the Academy of His Girlfriend, so he can say they spend X number of hours at his house, regardless whether he's there!

 

Thanx J for confirming that I am not completely nuts about this. I sent a new message today being very clear that daytime visits during the week are not an option, and have offered a schedule that I think will be acceptable to their dad. I'm not sure where this idea of his even came from, I think it was only because he saw no other way to keep his hours with them.

 

I completely accept that she will be in my kids lives and they like her well enough. He's been dating her for nearly 3 years and just proposed so I do expect she'll be their step-mom and I'm fine with that. I bear her no ill will whatsoever. My only real quibble with her is how cold & indifferent she was towards me the one time we met. There are things that he's done and ways he's reacted in regards to her that have really gotten under my skin (like cutting his time with our kids to spend with her or proposing to her on the anniversary of our engagement), but I don't think it's her fault. I am a teensy bit resentful that he left me in the dust and bullies me often while she gets all his good stuff, but I'm not resentful of her as a person, just what she represents. I guess I don't feel the least bit friendly towards her and she probably senses that, though I'm sure she doesn't know any of the reasons why.


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#8 of 8 Old 09-16-2013, 03:52 AM
 
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...My only real quibble with her is how cold & indifferent she was towards me the one time we met...

You sound pretty insightful about the fact that the bulk of your resentments related to her are really about your ex, not her personally.  And they're understandable resentments.  Boy, could I go on for paragraphs, about my own ex's first live-in girlfriend, who shared my name, birthday and an uncanny amount of other life details, but she was only 19 and easily impressed by him.  She had one, neurotypical son - a couple years older than ours - who made my ex feel "little boys" were still in his home, but (at that stage) he often made excuses to skip visitation with our Autistic twin toddlers, who bewildered him.  (And instead of having the sense - back then - to be relieved and impressed that they bewildered me less, he felt it was "all just too hard" and "unfair to him", so he left me alone with them.)   

 

In short, her kid got the level of attention from him, that my kids deserved; and I felt replaced with an "easier" model.  Every little thing about her seemed to represent some way my ex (who'd been my best friend since we were teenagers) thought I could be improved upon.  Which made her pretty hard to like, although intellectually I recognized that she was basically nice.  

 

My POINT is, the longer we were separated and the more I embraced and enjoyed my own life, the less slighted I felt.  I moved on to an "Oh, well.  His loss!" attitude and eventually one of, "Nobody's loss.  At least we realized we weren't right for each other before we spent half our lives together, but we really had some good times, for a while there.  I'm glad he was part of my life.  Hey, maybe he and his new wife would like to come to our cook-out this weekend..."  I hope it will be the same for you.

 

As far as your quote, above...try to dismiss that from your mind, altogether.  Who knows what she had heard about you (from your ex, who surely wants her to believe you - not he - were the main cause of your failed marriage), or how nervous she felt about meeting you?  I'm always impressed by people who can buck up and smile and be friendly, even under the most high-pressure circumstances.  But often *I* can't force myself to act any way besides how I feel.  In her case, feelings of "Oh my God, I just know my fiance's ex is going to hate me.  Please don't let me throw up!" could easily come across as "cold and indifferent".  

 

In my rare meetings with my husband's ex-wife, I'm sure I come across as cold and indifferent.  I can scarcely force words to come out of my mouth and I could more easily climb K2 than make eye contact with her.  I find myself not getting off the phone, or busying myself saying goodbye to my step-son or tending to some frivolous task and almost acting like she's not physically there.  After she leaves, I marvel that I couldn't have been more polite.  But while she's standing there, all the blood is rushing to my head in a barely-contained panic and I'm not thinking clearly.   It's true I don't like her (long story), but I feel a lot of sympathy for her and wish there were some way to heal things between our families and help her be more involved with her kid.  I feel anything but indifferent...but there's no way she could know that, from how I act around her.


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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