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#1 of 22 Old 10-25-2005, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has any of you ever had mom take dad to court repeatedly because she couldn't stand to share the children, especially with stepmom?

Mom has taken my husband to court every year since I met him to try and take full custody. They have 50/50. Her justification in her declaration is that she doesn't want the kids alone with me or she doesn't want me to go on field trips at school, etc.

This is very expensive for us. She has lots of her current husband's disposable money to play with. We have to borrow. On top of that...her household income is more than double ours, we have 50/50 custody and we pay her child support because she chooses not to work.

Has anyone ever been in this situation? How did you get the other parent to stop?

We are going for a psych-eval next week then back to the judge for a final judgment. I wish there was something I could say to this evaluator that would get him to realize this woman is only interested in alienating me and controling the children, plus she is eager to get more child support.

Last question...has any of you stepparents been involved in a psych-eval? Especially where most the reasons why the other parent wants custody are about you?
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#2 of 22 Old 10-25-2005, 09:13 PM
 
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We keep being dragged into court 'cause dh ex thinks "mothers shouldnt have to pay child support".

Once in mediation though, she did mention that she didnt want me to be alone with them ever. The judge looked at her asked why and of course, she had no real reason. Then he asked dh what I do - sahm. The judge curtly said to her, "well, I think its quite impossible to impose limits on who spends time alone with them when their primary residence is with their father and stepmother. Is this something that you would like to pursue? Because it is within your rights". She dropped it. I took that as a cry for help and I really started to encourage the kids with phone calls, emails, etc to their mom. It helped relieve her worry of me "taking over" and it helped the kids too. We became closer too because of it. (me and the kids, she still hates me ) But the plus side is, she stopped (for now) taking us to court. But the year isnt over yet

Anyhoo, that being said, I'm sorry you're getting such a raw deal. I cant figure out WHY you should be paying support when its 50/50. Thats crazy! Whether she's a sahm or not, its 50/50 physical custody, therefore both of your living costs for the child would equal the same. AT least thats how 50/50 works here.


So, is this evaluation both ways? It should be. Anyway you could ask for it?

Sorry I have nothing else to add. Just a big fat hug and hope things work out in the end for you, dh and the kids.
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#3 of 22 Old 10-25-2005, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, it's a full evaluation with parents, stepparents, and children in different scenarios. I would love to be alone with her and the evaluator. She wouldn't be able to keep it together. She feels threatened by me and that drives her behavior, if she was alone with me, perhaps she could get it all out. I doubt it though.

Yeah, 50/50 physical and legal. Her household income is doubled ours, but stepparents income is not considered in support. She then complains if she has to purchase a jacket for them.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-25-2005, 10:52 PM
 
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Your atty. needs to ask for compensation for your legal costs based on the fact that she is repititious in her trying to modify custody w/out ever being successful. I mean can't they make a case against her b/c obviously her accusations are unfounded or unsubstantiated if she isn't winning? Talk to atty about this. My ex always tries to ask for compensation when he doesn't deserve it, and my atty got po'd b/c he kept draggin me into court over stupid stuff so he asked judge to make him pay. Of course that's another story.
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#5 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 03:52 AM
 
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I am going to chime in on the other side.

Your husband has a obligation to provide for his child/children. Just because his child's mum has done well for herself in her new marriage does not negate his obligation. The fact that she is a SAHM is good for the child/children. I am a SAHM for my kids sake, my ex and his new wife are always complaining that I have a "Sugar Daddy." My husband makes about a third what my ex does, we are just better at how we use it.

Child support goes to the kids, food, a roof over their heads, clothes, tutor, sports programs, dance lessons, swim lessons, and transportation to take them to school. (alternative language program that bio wants them to go to) I am not out buying diamonds and furs, I am providing the best life I can for my children.

As for mom not wanting the children to spend time alone with you, that is a territory thing. Have you tried to honestly talk to her? My ex works 12 hour shifts, and I do not want the kids to go to their house only to have his wife take care of them. She has enough to do with her four kids.

I will say, I am encreasingly frustrated by the attitudes of some second/third/fourth wives of men with children about the childsupport issue. The support does not go to the mom's. IT IS FOR THE KIDS, so that aspects of their lives do not have to change just because mom and dad are no longer together.


Edited to add.... 50/50 might mean joint custody, primary residence with mom. If that is the case, then he most certainly owes support.
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#6 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 04:09 AM
 
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Boobybunny, that post rocks The only thing I'm going to add is that from outside a relationship, you can have NO idea how that couple work their finances and it puts a lot of strain on a relationship when a childless man suddenly has to come to terms with just how much money his gorgeous, loving stepchildren actually cost to feed and clothe.
As far as the other question goes, though, I would seriously consider asking for your costs to be paid- I don't know how you'd do it in your state but it's a very simple process in the UK.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#7 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 11:19 AM
 
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It sounds really tough!

I agree about asking your lawyer about the costs consequences to her of bringing all these frivolous suits to change custody. Here, though, even if you are awarded costs it doesn't cover the whole thing, but it may discourage her.

Do you get the same judge each time, or could you? Sometimes it is helpful for the same judge to 'follow' a matter and get a feel for who's the problem parent.

Here, too, the income of the stepparent does not count towards child support, and if there is 50/50 custody, the parent who earns more pays some towards the parent who earns less.

I know that being stressed about the child support has nothing to do with you not wanting to support your stepkids. It's really rough when you pay for everything just as if they lived with you full-time, and pay for a good chunk of stuff at their other parent's house, and pay for your other children, AND get stuck with huge legal bills because of the other parent's behaviour!! Sometimes just telling yourself that "it's for the kids" doesn't cut it, when you're under that kind of pressure, and it can be very hard being the household that's tight on grocery money because you're sending dollars "for the kids" to the other house, where there's private school and ski holidays aplenty. Not that I know anything about that....

If there is anyway you can de-escalate her behaviour and not bite into conflict, do it. We've accepted her messing with dh's contact with the kids and not fully abiding by the court order, because we simply can't afford more conflict, and we don't think it would do any of us any good, financially or emotionally, including the kids. On the other hand, if she's actually trying to take away 50/50 custody in your case, I guess you have to respond, but if it's smaller stuff, I'd try to let it go for sanity's sake.
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#8 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 11:37 AM
 
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If money is tight for you because of your partner's having children to support, then I have to say tough titties. Get a better job, cut down on your extra expenses. I did before childsupport started to come in.

The children come first. I bet the kids would not be in private school if he did not pay support. Support betters the lives of the children.

It is not a case of lazy moms living off your husbands "welfare." Most childsupport amounts are between 300 and 700 a month per child... NO ONE is getting rich off of that amount.
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#9 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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I have to say that I see both sides of this. I am a divorced mom, married to a divorced dad.

My dh's ex also doesn't work. She also has access to far more money than we do, and lives a much higher lifestyle, new van, six bedroom house that is totally paid for. In our case, the kids are all in school, so she isn't being a SAHM all day for them.

We don't mind paying support, we love the kids and want the best for them. It is irritating to still be supporting *her* when she could obviously get a job. The truth is that she doesn't need one, she has a ton of money now. The legal system says that she doesn't have to claim that money toward support. The fact that her bills are substantially lower also doesn't figure in. It's simply the money we make versus the money she makes, not the money she has. Actually, our lawyer says we could win a court case against her and be able to count the money, but we can't afford the thousands it would cost to do that. Nor do we want to continue the cycle of constantly fighting in court.

We are also in court a lot, because she has free legal (relatives). It costs us $250/hour or more. They delay the case, don't send in the paperwork, run up the bill. That's all money that could be going to college for the kids, or some other thing, that now goes to our lawyer. Our legal bill for last year alone was over $10,000.

She also wants the kids in private school, expensive afterschool prgrams, etc. It's not that we don't, but there isn't enough money on this end to do those things. We can't pay child support, alimony, and ongoing legal bills, and then pay an extra $200 month for activities. She can afford her half, she can afford the whole amount, and sometimes when she loses she pays for the whole thing. Yet in court, she is unemployed and penniless. She has nothing in her own name, not even the telephone.

We pay over $2700 a month in support, plus alimony. She may not be getting rich off that much tax free money, but she wouldn't suffering too much either, even if that were all the money she had. However, the kids are definitely suffering from endless fighting between their parents.

My own ex and I decided to do what was best for the kids. I got less than I could have in court because I wanted there to be as little animosity between us as possible. I also wanted him to have money to do things with them. I see how depressing it is for my husband to not be able to afford to do things with his kids because we have no money left. I got what I needed, not what I could have gotten. We get along well, and if I need extra I ask him. He has always come through so far. Our kids seem better off knowing that their parents still function as a united front, even if not in the same house. That means more to me than whatever extra money I could get by going back to court over and over.

So I think it's a matter of priorities, too.

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible---St. Francis of Assisi
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#10 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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Yeah, 50/50 physical and legal.
The child is in both homes physically 50/50.
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#11 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My thread was about going to court repeatedly. I mentioned the child support, but my whole concern was about the repeated court. It looks like this child support caused a strain on all. I will give you our experiences with this child support issue.

The child support, in this instance, does not go to the children. Mom complains constantly that she wants us to purchase things for the kids because she simply doesn't want to. She enrolls them in activities, takes them to the emergency room (when there is no emergency), etc and puts on the paperwork that my husband is the only person legally responsible for them.

Mom is a shopper. She loves to spoil herself. There are times that she does purchase extravagent items for the children then have them bring pictures of it to my home and tell us that her husband purchased it.

In therapy, mom complained, "Why do I have to provide clothes for the children?" Her husband stated, "I support the children you don't." (speaking to my husband). Apparently for the first year of their marriage she continued to get welfare and kept it from her husband. In this state the c/s goes to pay back the welfare. She told him she wasn't receiving any financial help from my husband and let him think he was supporting the children. When she was reported to welfare fraud, welfare stopped. For the second year she received the child support directly and kept that from her husband also. My husband got a print out from the c/s office and showed it to her husband so he could see she received the $$$ all along. He was in shock. All the while she spent this c/s on her lifestyle and not the children. Instead her husband said everything that was purchased for the children and the household expenses came from him.

Our story feels fictional at times. I am definitely not a "second" wife that is against child support. I had no problem paying it when she was single. In fact, we gave more at times to help her out. I do, however, have a problem with her double dipping, letting both men feel they are supporting these children, and watching the children not see a dime.

Mom is quick to let the children know they have more $$ at her home. For example; If I purchase a pair of shoes for my stepdaughter, mom tells her to tell me that she has 20 pairs at her house. Mom goes as far as to tell the children that they should want to live at her home because she can purchase more stuff for them than we can.

My case is unusually different. I receive c/s for my son. I tell him when I get it, how much it is, and how I spend it. I feel that he needs to know his father is contributing to his needs. His father rarely sees him and for a while, my son felt I paid for everything and his father didn't help. Now he can see his father's money being spent. It comforted his father also, to know that the c/s was being spent wisely. Also, I give my son a portion of the c/s for allowance. I make sure to let him know this allowance came from his father and not me.

I do feel that if his father and I had 50/50 custody and my household income was at least doubled his, I would not ask for child support. Since I have our son 98% of the time and his father's income is nearly 4 times as much as mine, I have no problem receiving it.

Now I hope this clears up a lot of confusion with you all. I saw some posts where I was accused of mismanaging my finances, against c/s, having "second wife" issues, etc. This is not the case at all.

I have "equal rights" issues. I have "what's better for the children" issues.

This is a very sticky situation and shouldn't be dismissed as a ranting new wife. I went to far to explain myself, but I hate to see people take a sentence or two and think they know everything about it.
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#12 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:20 PM
 
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'Nuff said.

On the topic of going to court repeatedly, if you're dragged into it again, could you bring up her child support shenanigans (the deception, it not going to the kids) and ask for some kind of an order that it go into trust or that it be paid directly to certain of the children's expenses (school, extracurricular, etc0? If you were in court anyway, that is.
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#13 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never thought of that. That's a good idea. Of course mom will fight it tooth and nail. We'll have to present it in a positive manner.

We are beginning the process of a psych-eval. Perhaps we can bring it up there.

Thanks for the advice.
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#14 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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Why cant people see that being dragged into court over and over again is NEVER good for the kids? It wastes $ - going to lawyers instead of the kids; stresses out parents which in turn stresses out the kids.

I agree with the pp about fixing the support while you are there already and asking for costs. The last time we were in court there was alot of dragging of feet on dh ex's side. Not sending info we requested; etc. When we gave them a date to send the info by or pay ALL of our costs, they quickly sent the info. The judge also recommended it. We had the same judge all the time. He was quite fed up with the shenanigans. ( l just love that word )

Its hard. It really is. Its hard enough dealing with things like this when the person is reasonable.

Have you guys done mediation? All together? It might help.
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#15 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"My own ex and I decided to do what was best for the kids. I got less than I could have in court because I wanted there to be as little animosity between us as possible. I also wanted him to have money to do things with them. I see how depressing it is for my husband to not be able to afford to do things with his kids because we have no money left. I got what I needed, not what I could have gotten. We get along well, and if I need extra I ask him. He has always come through so far. Our kids seem better off knowing that their parents still function as a united front, even if not in the same house. That means more to me than whatever extra money I could get by going back to court over and over."

This is from a post earlier. I asked for less c/s with my ex also to keep things peaceful. He definitely could afford it, but he wanted to feel that he was able to get a deal out of the thing. I let go of $50/month and he felt like he won the lottery. He was happy and so was I. My husband's ex sees that we cannot afford things, but went back to court and requested more c/s when she found out my husband got a small raise. Now it went up an extra $100/month. This was after she married a man with lots of disposable cash.

She cannot associate taking more $$ from my husband means taking more $$ from her children. Now if she needed it, by all means I would give it to her, but she doesn't.
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#16 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 01:52 PM
 
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My own ex and I decided to do what was best for the kids. I got less than I could have in court because I wanted there to be as little animosity between us as possible. I also wanted him to have money to do things with them. I see how depressing it is for my husband to not be able to afford to do things with his kids because we have no money left. I got what I needed, not what I could have gotten. We get along well, and if I need extra I ask him. He has always come through so far. Our kids seem better off knowing that their parents still function as a united front, even if not in the same house. That means more to me than whatever extra money I could get by going back to court over and over."
And that is sooo how it should be. My ex quit his job to stay at home with his new dd. Legally, I was entitled to the amount he would paying if he was working b/c you CANT just quit your job. My lawyer recommened that I put a lein against his house and car. But who would that have helped? It would have dragged us into court; fighting again; putting stress on our ds (b/c no matter if you dont talk about it, kids pick up on it) and his dd losing out b/c one of her parents couldnt stay home with her. It made no sense to damage both of these kids for the sake of "winning" or "being right". He said he'd still help out. Which he does. Its less than half what he was paying but every bit helps. We dont fight, my ds is happy, his dd is happy at home with her daddy, it all works out in the end.
The way it should be.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 03:02 PM
 
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Let me see if I get this, while the mom was single, you had no problem paying CS, but now she is married and you think you should pay less.

It sounds like this mom might have some borderline issues. If you continue to have to fight her like this, you may end up with full custody. Why don't you attempt to do that now... you are already in court, with the evals and such.
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#18 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 04:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stressedstepmom
"My own ex and I decided to do what was best for the kids. I got less than I could have in court because I wanted there to be as little animosity between us as possible. I also wanted him to have money to do things with them. I see how depressing it is for my husband to not be able to afford to do things with his kids because we have no money left. I got what I needed, not what I could have gotten. We get along well, and if I need extra I ask him. He has always come through so far. Our kids seem better off knowing that their parents still function as a united front, even if not in the same house. That means more to me than whatever extra money I could get by going back to court over and over."
This is so wonderful! I was the child of divorced parents, and it meant a lot to me not just to know that somehow mom got child support from dad but to actually SEE my father open up his wallet and pay for things that we needed, or be able to take us out to do things. It helped him and my mom being a united front, and helped my sister and I see him as a parent and not just a money tree so we had a better relationship with him when we grew up. (And, I think, better relationships with men in general.) Bravo, mama!

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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#19 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Personally, I think you should go for making her pay for your attorney fees. Our attorney has asked for fees the last couple of times we were brought to court. Although we haven't actually gotten any fees yet, we were able to come to a compromise agreement on fees, and so far, so good.

Going for full custody seems like it might be harmful for your child/children. It I understand correctly, you aren't complaining about support, etc, simply the ongoing litigation.

I am biased by my own situation, obviously, but I do think there's a point where a parent shouldn't be able to use the law to harrass the other parent, nor to drive them to the poorhouse.

Parents should always be obligated to pay for their children, that is not in dispute. The dispute is when one parent has much more money than the other, yet uses legal manuvering to get out of paying his/her far share of support or to continually harrass the other parent. In our legal system, it is often the person who has the most money who wins, not the person who is right. In our case, there are many issues we could "win" if we could afford to fight them through. However, when faced with the significantly more money the other party has to spend on attorney bills, there is often no choice but to eat it.

As to support, it seems unfair for one parent to pay 100% of the support of a child when the other parent clearly has money, and the ability to work. We're not talking staying home with an infant or young child here. We're talking the parent of school aged children, who has independent income to care for herself, refusing to acknowledge that she has an equal responsibility to provide some financial support for her children. In this case, the father spends 50% of the time with the children, so the mother can't even argue that her "support" is paid in personal care of the children. Both parents are providing equal personal care, and one parent is providing no financial care of her children, plus causing the other parent additional money by repeatedly
causing him additional legal expense.

I am a SAHM myself, and totally think that children should be entitled to that. However, if your children are in school, and they spend half their time with their dad, it seems that you could get a part time job at least. If you choose not to, then you should still be obligated to provide some of the financial support your children are entitled to, however you choose to do that. The father shouldn't be forced to subsidize the mother's life choices forever.

My $.02

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible---St. Francis of Assisi
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#20 of 22 Old 10-26-2005, 08:39 PM
 
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I agree going after attorney fees might help stop the games.

Iriony and woman can be a sahm and she is doing it for the children. If a guy decided sahd he is bieng lazy and is often forced into a job to support his kid. I do not think there is an easy solution to this problem but it is a double standard.

Some people don't know when to stop. My dh worked with a man that was working two jobs so he could pay child support. He got stuck with all the bills. His ex went back to court to get more money since he was making more money on his second job. Thankfully the judge felt sympathy and realize the situation for what it was.

Also save your reciepts. For everything shoes to kleenex. Record everything you purchase/pay for.
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#21 of 22 Old 11-01-2005, 02:58 AM
 
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Why do you save the receipts?
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#22 of 22 Old 11-01-2005, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can tell you why we have to save receipts. Mom has stated for 8 years that Dad purchases nothing for the kids. She says they don't have any new clothes in our home and he only pays child support to her. We save receipts to prove that we do purchase back packs, jackets, shoes, etc that they use at both homes. I know it sounds stupid, but better safe than sorry.
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