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We finally scraped up enough money to hire a lawyer. DH is just getting regular things done that are way overdue. they were never married, I guess they thought they could work something out without court in the beginning...but then she got on assistance so they automatically file CS. which Is fine, anyway, hes just getting a CS adjustment, getting scheduled visitation, joint legal...and she has cut off all contact.

DH was calling twice a week and driving 3 hrs one way to go get son every other weekend. One week she said no, and the past three weeks he hasn't talked to his son. I feel so bad for him. He's really depressed about it and really doesn't have confidence in the legal system. He keeps saying how she has all the power, she holds all the cards, she dangles SS in front of him to get her way.

Other times its been ok DH was getting son every other week and calling. He got some long texts about how horrible he is and son didn't eat a proper breakfast and just complaining but DH didn't get angry just tried to make it right until she eventually stopped complaining. I thought well maybe she's coming around.

I think DH has less hope than I do. He says it's because he knows how ex is. She wants all the control. She won't be reasonable. I come from a blended family and My dad was a convicted felon... and my mom had to meet him for visitation and ask permission to take us out of state.

So I think, how much power does she really have? Its also harder for DH because he will do anything to appease ex for fear she will take son hostage. I hate this.

I can't believe she has the nerve to get mad because he wants rights. She's even said stuff like..."well we had plans but I was NICE enough to LET him see you" and " I don't know when Ill LET you see MY son" and "Why cant you just get out of my sons life" once SS went on to tell me how his dad cheated on his mom that's why he lives with where he does now...btw he's 6. and that's not true at all. DH just told him no I didn't cheat on your mom and kinda just tried to let it blow over but the look on his face was heartbreaking.

She thinks this is ok? I think she's making herself look AWFUL to a judge. but I don't know.

DH doesn't want conflict, He said he's just going to expect the worst so he isn't let down, and nothing ever goes right when it comes to his son. It is so sad and all I can do is hope for the best for them both and try to be supportive...and vent on here.

Anyone have a similar case? What was the outcome?
 

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I am not sure if this counts as alienation, but it is legally not appropriate.

Your DH will have to decide which is more important to him: seeing his son, or avoiding conflict. The truth is, your DH has power - if he chooses to wield it. If I understood your post, you said you got an attorney and setting up a parenting plan, and suddenly the ex stops communicating? That is her probably trying to show that DH is unstable as a father. If he doesn't FORCE visitation, she can claim that he never came to get his son for visits, etc. She's is trying to make it easier for her to get sole custody.

Your attorney can assist you in getting this in front of a judge to force the communication. Traditionally, the courts do not like hearing about this type of behavior. It can actually help your case, but your DH has to want to aggressively pursue it, and the conflict it will generate.

In most states, the default is joint custody unless there is a good reason to not award it. Since you live in a different town, she may still get a chance to get sole custody.
 

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Is there a parenting plan (even a temp order) signed by a judge? If there is, he should take a paper copy with him to go get his son, and when she refuses to let him collect his son, call the police, Police will enforce court orders, and it will be on record that she refused to hand over ds. If there isn't one, his first priority is to get a temporary order signed by a judge, with hand over done at a third party location (amy police stations on the way to exw's home?) and who does what driving stated clearly. (My ex does all the driving apart from in the summer.)
 

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http://gnat.wtf/2015/08/is-your-child-being-alienated-a-checklist-for-alienated-parents/ has some decent lists of symptoms, both of a child who has been alienated; and of a parent who is alienating a child from the other parent (...or trying to). Those are semi-separate things. If your DH's ex has cut off contact and is bad-mouthing him to their child, she is engaging in some amount of alienating behavior. If the separation has only lasted 3 weeks, it's unlikely your DSS is alienated, but the longer he's isolated with her (while she's behaving that way), the easier it becomes for her to influence him.

A better checklist exists, for determining whether conflict rises to the level of alienation, but I had trouble finding it. When I have more time, I'll see if I can re-locate it for you.

My now-17-y-o stepson has lived with DH and me since he was 8, with Mom living across the country. Until DSS was a teen and Mom seemed to start gradually giving up on the relationship, she exhibited every "alienating parent" behavior on the above list, save two:

>>She did not give DSS choices about visitation, because he never actually became alienated (although from time to time he did exhibit some behaviors in the list above). He missed his dad, and his choice would have been to spend more time with him.

>> She didn't overtly make DSS feel guilty for enjoying time with DH. This is a tricky one. Telling your child it hurts you when he enjoys Dad's parenting time is an obvious way to sabotage the father-child relationship. Telling your child, on his way out the door, "I love you and I hope you have the best time EVER with Daddy weekend!"; then calling 9-1-1 to report your child has been "abducted without your knowledge or consent" by his "abusive" non-custodial parent "who has a history of violence and is illegally armed" and you're "terrified! Please come quickly!"; then comforting your child after police intervene, saying, "I SO wanted you guys to have a good weekend together, Sweetie. But the police don't think it's safe for you to be around your dad," is another - arguably more insidious - way to accomplish the same thing.

The only reason my DSS was not successfully alienated from my DH - given the mindf*** situations he was subjected to - is that DH absolutely never gave up on being an involved parent, even when he became such a thorn in the side of judges and police that some of them got confused about which parent was the real problem.

When Mom was reasonable and cooperative about visitation (i.e., in periods when DH was voluntarily giving her a lot of extra $ for something or other), DH was flexible and cooperative, too. But the minute Mom started cutting off contact, etc., DH was in court demanding his parental rights. When Mom got final hearings postponed, and violated DH's rights in the interim, he asked for emergency hearings and contempt findings. When they finally got court orders, but Mom violated them, DH asked for more contempt hearings, and a permanent injunction. Sometimes they were in court every month. Sometimes DH was representing himself, because he couldn't afford attorneys anymore.

When Mom kept finding new loopholes to sidestep their orders, DH asked for primary custody based on the essential idea that she was so determined to keep DSS away from him that the court was incapable of controlling her and enforcing its own orders; but if the power afforded to the custodial parent were shifted to him...well, he had no history of denying Mom's parenting time, or blocking contact between her and DSS, so their family would quit taking up the court's time with all these contempt petitions.

It took years, all of his savings, countless attorneys, hearings and judges - even one awful criminal trial, when Mom made false accusations against DH - but the court did, finally, do the right thing.

DSS has not been an easy child to raise. He has some issues. But I feel confident he would have had a lot more issues, if DH had let himself be erased from DSS's life and DSS had grown up believing the things his mom told him, without time and truth from his father, to counteract that "poison". Kids don't just want to be free from conflict between their parents. They also want to know they are important and essential to both parents; that neither would ever let them go, for any reason.

You guys have to do what's right for your individual family. For example, at the time my DH was fighting for custody of DSS, he did not have the needs (financial, or otherwise) of any other young children, to worry about. But getting along with an ex is not always the high road. If your ex is being a tyrant and doing things detrimental to your child (losing a loving father's involvement is detrimental to a child!!), then getting along with her may be nothing more noble than the path of least resistance.
 
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