Ex signing kids away (Update #16, 25) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure which way to go now.. Do I go to a court house to file papers? Do I need birth certificates or divorce papers when I go? My husband would adopt the boys, but do we wait to file for that AFTER my ex signs them over, or what?


My ex E-MAILED me this morning that he is ready to sign papers. To sign away the kids. My older two boys are his, but my husband has been around since my middle son was a baby, so it's like he's their dad.

He is in a bad spot right now and has never been capable of being a good father. He now has three more boys at his home. He says he doesn't have the money or emotions to continue to support the boys and he realizes they have a good life here with me.

The ex lives a couple thousand miles away and rarely even speaks to them on the phone. My oldest doesn't care much about him day to day and my middle son only seems to care because my ex and his family are another audience for attention when he does get to speak with them. Otherwise, as far as "This is my dad and it would devastate me," I don't think we have to worry about that.

Of course, not getting support $$ will be a hard adjustment for my family, but the stress relief is worth it. I will never worry about them wanting to live with him or traveling to see him until they're adults.

And if I die, my kids won't be separated from the dad who has raised them or from my third son and this baby.

Anyway, just needed to get it out I guess. Not sure which way to go to start the process. :

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#2 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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Talk to an attorney. In most states I'm aware of, the kids' bio-dad can only sign his rights away at the moment someone else is available to adopt them (so there won't be any gaps).

Good luck!

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#3 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Talk to an attorney. In most states I'm aware of, the kids' bio-dad can only sign his rights away at the moment someone else is available to adopt them (so there won't be any gaps).

Good luck!
Talk to a lawyer. What ProtoLawyer says is what me and my Husband's lawyer has told us- My Hubby is adopting my son between NY and MA.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#4 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Did you have to have a home study done and how long do you have to be married for the new husband to qualify?

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#5 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found the info I need, I think. We should be able to file stepparent adoption papers this Thursday, serve the ex with the same papers, get "investigated" by a social worker, and then get a court date. Not sure how long it will all take, but it seems fairly cut and dry.

Looks like I don't need a lawyer either. My 12 year old will have to agree, but not my 9 year old.

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#6 of 27 Old 10-23-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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I just found the info I need, I think. We should be able to file stepparent adoption papers this Thursday, serve the ex with the same papers, get "investigated" by a social worker, and then get a court date. Not sure how long it will all take, but it seems fairly cut and dry.

Looks like I don't need a lawyer either. My 12 year old will have to agree, but not my 9 year old.
Sounds good (and good luck!)...every state is a little different. Here, they usually waive the home study and all that for stepparent adoption, unless the termination of the other parent's rights is not by mutual consent.

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#7 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 01:32 AM
 
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I really admire you. I have a ex of my own and so does my husband. Both of us brought our own children with us and have made our own babies as well. Complicated brady bunch. Not by any means to say all but most mothers I know are too busy worrying about their next paycheck from the ex to ever consider what is best for the whole family. It sounds like you are doing this for the right reasons. Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.
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#8 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Sounds good (and good luck!)...every state is a little different. Here, they usually waive the home study and all that for stepparent adoption, unless the termination of the other parent's rights is not by mutual consent.
I wonder if they will do a home study or just talk with us about the adoption? I don't see why we would need a home study when I am the mama, you know?

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#9 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really admire you....Not by any means to say all but most mothers I know are too busy worrying about their next paycheck from the ex to ever consider what is best for the whole family. It sounds like you are doing this for the right reasons. Good luck to you and I hope it all works out.
Awww thanks!!

I have already heard it - about how I shouldn't ever want the ex to sign away rights because he should pay or I deserve to get money from him.

Don't get me wrong, it's going to be hard to lose the support $$ -- even though it seems low compared to other mamas. It will be a big adjustment as I use it to cover so many of the kids' expenses.

But somehow we will manage and we feel like this Is our family. We don't WANT to get support from someone else who isn't anything more than sperm at this point. He isn't raising my kids and when he was present, he wasn't a good dad. My family is all here in this state, being raised by a good dad now.

And my hubster is SO on board to adopt the boys. He's so worried that if anything ever happened to me, he would lose the boys he's raised.

The biggest issue for us outweighs the money. It's making our family whole and protecting our kids.

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#10 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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Usually with a step-parent adoption the homestudy can be waived. See an attorney. You do everything all together. You'll need a 'termination of parental rights' from your ex and then a step-parent adoption for your husband. We've done it twice and it went very smoothly. About $800 for each child with all the court fees and such and completed very quickly, less than 30 days

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#11 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Holy crow - $800 per child in 30 days? How does a "normal" family come up with $1600 in 30 days? You know, the kind whom make decent money but still live paycheck to paycheck? Yikes, I still have midwives to pay in the next 30 days too!

Of course, if we can bypass the attorney and just file things with the court, hopefully that will help. Otherwise this will have to stretch out for a few months to pay fees.

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#12 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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Holy crow - $800 per child in 30 days? How does a "normal" family come up with $1600 in 30 days? You know, the kind whom make decent money but still live paycheck to paycheck? Yikes, I still have midwives to pay in the next 30 days too!

Of course, if we can bypass the attorney and just file things with the court, hopefully that will help. Otherwise this will have to stretch out for a few months to pay fees.
I say 'only' because compared to a regular adoption, a step-parent one is a piece of cake and 'cheap'! Our attorney took payments over several months. And also 'only' 30 days is great and amazing compared to a traditional adoption also.

You can do it yourself, which we tried, but we found it to be way too scary to try on our own and not one of those things we were willing to risk do it yourself legal. If you don't word the termination correctly, your ex could come back and challenge it. If you don't get things signed correctly, you could get to court after paying your fees and find out you have to start again. It's also more complicated dealing with interstate adoptions whereas ours was only an in-state thing.

After investigating doing it ourselves and feeling we couldn't risk it, we started ours by calling a local attorney who had a free consultation and we went from there. You could always start that way as well!

Oh! ETA: I'm guessing that the attorney could probably do the terminations, and the hold them for a period of time while you paid the rest of the fees.

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#13 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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was giving a compliment not an insult.
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#14 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You can do it yourself, which we tried, but we found it to be way too scary to try on our own and not one of those things we were willing to risk do it yourself legal. If you don't word the termination correctly, your ex could come back and challenge it. If you don't get things signed correctly, you could get to court after paying your fees and find out you have to start again. It's also more complicated dealing with interstate adoptions whereas ours was only an in-state thing.
I *think* we will be okay on our own because it looks like we can print the forms off http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp...optqna-1.htm#2 and hand them in. I believe the court clerk can tell us if we need different forms for an interstate thing.

Then once the judge has signed off on it, it's legal. I told my mom we could do it on a knapkin as long as we can get a jugde to rule on it, you know? I hope I am not wrong, but it seems cut and dried.

Still, they might advise us to get a lawyer and we wouldn't disagree.

I haven't heard back from the ex since I wrote him back that just trying to relinquish rights might not work. courts don't like it. But an adoption would help.

He may be really upset about that - but what's the difference? Give up your parental rights so you don't have to pay support but not allowing the kids to be adopted by the father raising them seems hypocritical.

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#15 of 27 Old 10-24-2007, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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was giving a compliment not an insult.
Oh I know! I took it as a compliment. I was agreeing with you.

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#16 of 27 Old 10-25-2007, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So here's what we have been up to today...

We went to the courthouse to see the family resource whatever-he-is and he gave us the consent forms to send to my ex.

We filed the stepparent adoption petition - and they told us that only my husband is allowed to enter anything into the clerks from now on since he's the one petitioning to adopt. Weird, huh? I mean, I am the mom with custody and he's my husband!! But whatever, as long as it all goes smoothly.

We then jet across town to juvenile probation where we leave our paperwork to be entered into their system and this guy will call or write us to complete his report for the judge. Sounds like lots of paperwork will be coming from him.

Once the consent comes back from the ex, I return to the resource person with them.

THEN probation guy enters his report and we book a date with the judge.

I am told the judge brings our family a cake! How funny. I guess he's gung ho about adoptions.

No lawyer needed. And the resource guy is awesome.

It's going quickly so far and depending on paperwork, I guess it should go fairly quickly altogether. My mom might even be here for the court date and my baby... who knows?! We're going to invite a few family and friends to the court date.

We're planning on giving all three boys gifts and maybe have a small family party. It would be SO nice if the baby were here so we could have pics with all of them together on adoption day, even though it would also be nice to have this all done by then too.

It was really strange filing papers and paying fees for my own kids to be adopted by the guy they know as dad. Kind of surreal. :

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#17 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today my 9 year old said something eerily familiar to what I have been feeling. He can be a deep kid and he said there are holes between him and Dad (my husband) and being adopted would fill the holes. I believe his term was "We will be unholeable" and "Unholey" which I found to be SO FUNNY. I asked him if he meant WHOLE, and he said yes. Love that kid :

My 12 year old wants to be SURE his bio dad is accepting this and asked to see the signed paperwork when it comes back. That was surprisingly mature. I told him absolutely he could. He's on board now too, but we haven't mentioned the name change yet!

The adoption paperwork covers the new name. So once that's signed by the judge I imagine all I need to do is notify schools, doctors and social security.

They will be taking my husband's last name so finally all in this house will be under his name (except me, the difficult one). I think hubby really wants to have me change mine but is respectful enough not to ask. I am tempted. The lure to feel really whole is there, you know?

I am finally getting my dream of a "whole" family. We would have been fine as is forever, but this just feels so good.

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#18 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 08:19 AM
 
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My 12 year old wants to be SURE his bio dad is accepting this and asked to see the signed paperwork when it comes back. That was surprisingly mature. I told him absolutely he could. He's on board now too, but we haven't mentioned the name change yet!
My son's like that. He didn't agree to my Husband adopting him until he was sure that, "It wouldn't hurt my Biological Father's feelings." Then he decided to keep his last name as another middle name (his third) and take my Husband's last name as his last name. He said he didn't want his Biological Father to feel rejected.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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I am finally getting my dream of a "whole" family. We would have been fine as is forever, but this just feels so good.
I'm so happy for you!! Thats wonderful.

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#20 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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He's on board now too, but we haven't mentioned the name change yet!
The adoption paperwork covers the new name.

They will be taking my husband's last name so finally all in this house will be under his name (except me, the difficult one). I think hubby really wants to have me change mine but is respectful enough not to ask. I am tempted. The lure to feel really whole is there, you know?
Just so I understand, you are changing all your son's names to your husband's name but they don't know about it?

My father gave up parental rights of my brother and I at the same time my dad (step dad) adopted us legally. I was 8 and my brother was 11.
The name change was left ENTIRELY up to us.

We were asked if we wanted to keep our birth names/father's name or if we wanted to change our names to our new dad's last name. My step dad married my mom when I was just three, so he'd been my dad for 5 years before legally adopting us.

I really think the last name should be chosen by the child/ren on an individual basis.

I also think it shouldn't be discussed directly after the child has been punished. I was in my room because I'd been in an argument or something with my dad. I was mad at him. My mom came in my room right then and asked me about what I wanted regarding the last name. I was mad at my dad, but felt guilty and mean (toward my step dad) if I'd said I wanted to keep my father's name. So I said, yes, I'll change my name. I regret the reason why I said yes, but in hindsight, knowing what I know now about my father, I'm glad I did change my name. On the other hand, I sometimes wish I still had that name. It's the name of my other brother and sister that my father had with his second wife. I met them all when I was 19. I'm now33, so you can see it's not an experience that's ever forgotten.

I've had my birth name, my adopted name, my last name was changed for my first marriage, then back to my adopted name after my divorce, so this marriage, I didn't change my name. Sometimes I really wish I could have been offered my mother's maiden name. I would have liked that. It wouldn't have given me so many identity issues if I remained linked to someone I was actually related to, even if not to my father. I wonder why it's not the norm to take the mother's last name. I wish it was.

Well, sorry for rambling. I just thought my story might give you something to think about from someone who's been through it.

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#21 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband has been their primary dad for 8 years already. Wow, time flies! My 9 year old knows and approves the name change. My 12 year old doesn't know yet. This adoption thing has only been discussed with him for two days and he needs time.

See, he's overly protective of his father's feelings and status, even though he's never had to be. We've always maintained a very positive attitude about their dad despite how I truly feel about him. Anywhoo, my son's views are pretty skewed sometimes. He thinks a little differently than your general 12 year old on some things.

We try to let him absorb things that are the most important and present the rest when he's ready. Two days and him not seeing proof that his bio dad approves is not long enough.

He will know before the adoption is done, for sure.

We were going to leave it up to them whether they keep the name, change to my maiden name that I use, or change to my husbands. I think it would be best in the end if all 4 of my kids have the same last name so there's no feeling of division past biology.

Life with my oldest can be very very stressful and he needs to know as he goes into his teen years that he is always 100% "like" his brothers to us. We think it would be best if they all shared the same name and think it should be our decision at this time.

We've actually always told them that when they're an adult, they can change their last name to anything they want because they've asked us before if they can and we've said their dad would have to approve it so it probably won't be until adulthood. Funny how things change. Their bio dad is okay with the name change now.

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#22 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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I can totally understand the need to let things sink in for a couple days.
I wish I'd been given that chance, to let it sink in and have time to think about it, ask questions, be that involved, etc.

I don't think the name being different causes feelings of separation.

At least not for me, although we all had the same name.
I wished mine were different.

The biggest problems for us was my brother getting away with stuff because he was the oldest and a boy.
He did way worse stuff than I ever dreamed of doing, but he got away with it because he was a boy.
I perceived favoritism when it didn't exist because of my own insecurities.
My sister, being the youngest, and being my dad's 'real' child, always bothered me.
I was very aware of her being his. It was nothing my parents did or didn't do. It was all my interpretation of events.
I was a very sensitive child. I didn't like change.
I didn't want to share my daddy (my step dad) with anyone, certainly not another girl and give up my position as the baby, the only girl.
It was obvious to me, though, physically, that she was 'his'.
He had blonde hair, blue eyes. My mom had light brown hair, blue eyes.
My brother and I, dark brown hair, brown eyes.
My brother moved out at 18, and even during my teen years, I felt the odd one out, especially when we were in public.
The three blue eyed people were obviously related to each other and I was just the 'other'.

So, again, I'm rambling. Sorry.
But my point, I think, is that the name ended up being less important than everything else.

FTR, I think how you are handling things is wonderful.
I like how you are giving him the chance to think things through, no pressure.

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#23 of 27 Old 10-26-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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See, he's overly protective of his father's feelings and status, even though he's never had to be. We've always maintained a very positive attitude about their dad despite how I truly feel about him. Anywhoo, my son's views are pretty skewed sometimes. He thinks a little differently than your general 12 year old on some things.
I can totally relate to your son's feelings.
Even at the age of 11, I was concerned about my father's feelings and felt a big hole in my life without him.
Although, in reality, he was never rarely involved in my life and only under strict supervision.
I think your son's feelings are perfectly normal and they sound so familiar.

My father gave up parental rights to me and my brother when I was only 8.
I later found out he was so willing, because he already owed back child support in the amount of 11,000 for each of us, a total of 22,000.
So, part of his motivation to give us up was the fact that he wanted out of the CS
The other reason was, IMO, that he had remarried and replaced us with another boy and girl, so didn't really 'need' us anymore.

Yet, my point of view remained that I thought I'd lost my father.
I thought he was missing us and was heartbroken.
I completely fantasized and idealized my missing father.

He once wrote me a letter on my birthday (11th, I think) which my mother let me read. That only perpetuated my fantasy about him. He had nice handwriting. I wasn't allowed to contact him until I was 18, yet I didn't try to until I was 19. Maybe I didn't want my fantasy ruined by reality.

Eventually, it was. He's a snake. He's actually in jail right now for what he did to his other daughter and I feel awfully lucky that my mother protected me so much.

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#24 of 27 Old 10-27-2007, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The biggest problems for use was my brother getting away with stuff because he was the oldest and a boy.
He did way worse stuff than I ever dreamed of doing, but he got away with it because he was a boy. I perceived favoritism when it didn't exist because of my own insecurities.
This happened in my family growing up - and yet we looked like twins and were 14 months apart, with the same mom and dad! We were just treated differently because of gender.

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It was obvious to me, though, physically, that she was 'his'. He had blonde hair, blue eyes. My mom had light brown hair, blue eyes. My brother and I, dark brown hair, brown eyes.
The three blue eyed people were obviously related to each other and I was just the 'other'.
I did a great job (accidentally) picking my hubby I guess. We all look alike. When my third son (his first) was born, I took photos of all the boys with daddy and had them developed and the developer gushed and gushed about how much all of hubby's kids looked like him.

Hopefully the name thing won't be too troublesome for anyone and just fade into the process.

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I can totally relate to your son's feelings.
Even at the age of 11, I was concerned about my father's feelings and felt a big hole in my life without him.

My father gave up parental rights to me and my brother when I was only 8.
I later found out he was so willing, because he already owed back child support in the amount of 11,000 for each of us, a total of 22,000.
So, part of his motivation to give us up was the fact that he wanted out of the CS
The other reason was, IMO, that he had remarried and replaced us with another boy and girl, so didn't really 'need' us anymore.
My ex's core motivation was money. He says he just cannot support them any longer. He also has three boys "of his own" with his new wife. While he also says things like how great my husband is, how the boys can be a family here with him, etc. I think he's TRYING to justify and be a good guy, but the core reason is money. I don't ever plan to tell the kids that!

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Yet, my point of view remained that I thought I'd lost my father.
I thought he was missing us and was heartbroken.
I completely fantasized and idealized my missing father.
The boys do that too. Totally normal I think, though it breaks my heart. No matter how many years and talks later, my oldest will sometimes ask about why we can't get back together, even though he loves his step dad.

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He's a snake. He's actually in jail right now for what he did to his other daughter and I feel awfully lucky that my mother protected me so much.
I hope this helps remove the possibility of a hard future with the bio dad too. His own father is like yours and it seems my ex is slowly becoming him in some ways. He is not a good parent, he is an alcoholic and unstable mentally. He doesn't make wise decisions and his wife perpetuates the problems.

I went thru hell when my kids were tiny and going on overnights and weekends with them. Among other things I found inconceivable, they would lock themselves in their room for sex marathons while my sons were left to putter round the house at 1 and 4 years old with a step brother that was in between their ages but very very aggressive (to the point of throwing my 17 month old down the stairs).

He also took the kids on overnights at his father's house or had his father living with them for a while. His father being a known molester of his sister and possibly the older brother. I had to stop that FAST. It was the only time I witheld the kids from visitation until he made his father move out or stopped taking them to his house. I could just see one of the boys waking to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night while daddy is passed out and grandpa greets them. *shudder*

While my ex sometimes tried, I don't think he realized just how awful he was raising kids!

I moved across the state after a while - with one reason being so he would have less time with them. Finally he allowed me to move with my husband 3,000 miles away. I will do anything to protect them, whether my kids understand it or hate me over it. If I let them get hurt, I could never forgive myself and you cannot go back. So I fight to keep them safe, despite how unfair things might seem to them.

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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#25 of 27 Old 11-03-2007, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got the relinquishment papers from the ex today! So if the investigator would contact us with paperwork and etc, we could definitely do this!!!

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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#26 of 27 Old 11-07-2007, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And of course he's already stopped paying child support

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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#27 of 27 Old 11-08-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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Well.......depending on how the relinquishment was worded, he might be within his rights to stop child support. I'd definitely check into it. Once it's finalized, he definitely doesn't have to pay support any more.

~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

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