Originally Posted by Springshowers
Why was the Mom allowed to move so far? That seems too far.,
In the US, non-felon adults have the right to move wherever they want. So, many courts see revoking child custody if a CP moves as an illegal punishment for exercising a legal right. Many times, the NCP has the burden of proving why moving is more detrimental to the child than being separated from the parent they're accustomed to living with.
Even though moving a child away from the NCP can be an integral part of parental alienation - and courts recognize this - actually keeping a CP from moving with the child can be difficult or impossible. Moving the child away without giving the NCP proper advance notice
is even more characteristic of alienators. Nevertheless, once it happened, there may not have been much the dad could do besides wasting money asking the court to slap the mom on the wrist, after the fact. That's exactly how it was for my husband, with his ex wife. In the end, my husband got custody of his son - and the way his ex handled her move was
cited as part of her overall pattern of alienation - but she had to do many more clearly egregious things, before the court considered revoking her custody.
Originally Posted by Sivamet
...We tried planning a special trip to the aquarium but the mother found out and took her first. Or if we do do something that she really enjoys the mother has to top it...
Unless and until the relationship with your SD improves, you should never tell her about your weekend plans. Let her be pleasantly surprised, even if it's something simple. If she's somewhat alienated, then building her up for a fun weekend won't actually excite her the way you hope; it will mostly give her mom a chance to find ways to stifle her enthusiasm.
If Mom copies or competes with you guys' activities, after the fact, that's a whole different dynamic. I'm sure it's frustrating. But remember that underneath it all, Mom is sending the message to her own daughter: "What your dad and step-mom do with you is actually so neat that I'm jealous."
Originally Posted by Mummoth
I don't think it's a great idea to move there... what's to stop her from moving again? Exactly. Especially if Mom and Step-Dad moved away from their own families, where they don't have jobs and can't afford a house...maybe their main motive for moving was to complicate the OP's husband being an involved parent.
Originally Posted by Sivamet
...I used to make coloured pancakes on Sunday and put them into shapes or make smiley faces but the mother started doing that too. Or we'd make cupcakes, do special crafts and now our nighttime routine includes writing in our secret diaries, all of which she says her mom now does. We had gotten a family dog and she loves her so now her mom is getting her a dog, it seems no matter what we try to do, the mother will do...
1) Your SD describes her activities with you guys so positively that Mom wants to copy them. Some step-kids always tell their moms they hated every minute of visiting Dad, no matter how fun Dad and his family tried to make it. She is interested in spending time with you guys!
2) This is an insecure mom, afraid her daughter will love/want her less, if she grows attached to you or your husband. Mom's not a simple, hateful monster. She thinks she's in competition with you and she's afraid of you.
---A) Possibly, you guys could make interactions with her smoother, by tending to her insecurity. Tell her positive things the daughter has said about her, or life at her house. Ask for a bit of advice from her, about what your SD likes - let her feel you and your husband are turning to her as the expert. It could backfire. But it might break down some of her defenses.
---B) If you find yourselves asking for a custody change, be very careful. If she already feels threatened by you making pancakes with her daughter, she may lose all control if she feels you're altogether trying to take her away.
3) It's also possible that Mom *doesn't* do all these things. Your SD might feel guilty when she enjoys things with you, like she's being disloyal to her mother. Telling you "Mom does that with me, too," may be an immature way of giving herself permission to enjoy the activity with you, by taking you down a peg: making you think you're not so special (at least, not more special than her mom).
...We're supposed to get half of the holidays (Christmas, Spring, Summer)and even though it's court ordered she fights it and tries to say no. Last Christmas we were supposed to get 8 days, we got 16 hours instead. So, back to court we went. The court said again we are to get half, come summer break it was back to no again. So again, back to court. Nothing really happens, we spend thousands in court, they tell her she has to follow the court order, she agrees then when the time comes she fights it again.
This kind of thing is what led to my husband getting custody. The ultimate argument was that Mom's refusal to honor the existing court orders kept the child from spending an appropriate amount of time with dad and *wasted the court's time*, forcing judges to keep re-hearing the same issues. No matter how many times a judge clarified what Mom was supposed to do, she kept not doing it or finding new excuses to keep doing the same things. Since Dad had no history of refusing to follow court orders - and could presumably be trusted to give Mom her court-ordered parenting time without problems - giving Dad custody would keep the family out of court and *save the court's time*.