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CyberParent surfers write about stepparenting issues.

Stepparents: Issues of being a stepparent. Lettersfrom CyberParent readers.

StepParents’ Letters

Step Parenting

I have lived with my husband for 3 1/2 years and we’ve been married for 1 1/2 years. He has 2 daughters ages 15 and 11. His ex-wife has never been diagnosed but we believe that she is a compulsive liar. She lies about EVERYTHING. She told the court that my husband has not paid one cent of child support in the 10 years they have been divorced and had all of our accounts frozen and took the money and garnished his wages. We have cancelled checks with her signature on them to prove that he did pay but we had to get them from the bank which took 4 months.She has residential custody and he has visitation. She now she keeps getting continuances on court hearings and she’s refusing his visitation with his older daughter. He has filed motions to make her comply with the visitation but that is one of the hearings that keeps getting continued. She tells the children that my husband feels that I am more important to him ( because I live with him and they don’t) than his children are and tells them all kinds of lies about me and my family even though she has never met or talked to anyone in my family (they all live out of state). Of course the kids think she is wonderful even though they know she lies to everyone including them. Now the 15 year old hates her father. He’s been trying to get the daughter to go to counseling with him but the mother tells her not to and so she won’t.I am so sick of her and her lies that I am thinking of getting a divorce even though I was brought up that divorce is wrong.Desperate

Answer

Dear Desperate: I’m not sure where youlive so I will only be able to generalize my suggestions. Firstly "DON’T"divorce yourhusband,remember your vows,for better or worse.He has no more control of this women’sbehaviourthan you do.He strongly needs your love & support,especially at this time. If hedoesn’t have alawyer by now, he should get one that specializes in Family Law matters,preferablly onethat isconsidered a barracuda. Whether or not he has a lawyer,these are some things to talk to alawyer about. If she is denying court ordered access,she is in contempt of a court orderandthis is punishable by law. Should we go for custody. I want court ordered counseling forbothchildren. I want a phsycological assessment of ex-wife. I want an order that states if sheagain breeches the court order, that sole custody of the children automatically be awardedtome. Ask for a home assessment,this will be very beneficial in supporting your case. Theassessor goes to both homes and has a detailed agenda. At the conclusion the assessor willprovide a detailed report & recommendations that the court will view this report veryseriously& perhaps base his/her decisions on that report. It sounds like ex-wife is attemptingto createparent alienation and will go to whatever extremes to do this.The courts view this type ofbehaviour very poorly,and do not condone it. Assessors are pretty could at sniffing thisout.Now about the maintenance. If she has sworn an affidavit stating she has not received adime inchild support. If you have all the cancelled cheques as you say you do. Then you haveestablished that she has falsified an affidavit. Falsifying an Affidavit is against thelaw, itis considered perjury and is also punishable by law. Unfortunately the burden of proof hasbeenplaced on your husbands shoulders.Trust me when I say you are not alone and the courtshere ofthis far too often for there licking. There are also laws that protect children in thesetypesof situations. "What’s in the best interest of the child(ren)" You may also askyour solicitorthat the children be specifically ordered to visit their father. The children might notlikethis at first,but will soon come to terms with it,provided you all have counseling as afamily.I hope I have helped. Please let me know how things worked out. My e-mail addressisPearl.M@home.com. I wish you both the best of luck! Your Canadian Friend, Pearl

I wanted to inform you of Sept. 16, Stepfamily Day 1999 and I am organizing aNational Stepfamily Day Picnic this year on Sept. 19. Stepfamily Day falls ona Thursday this year, so I decided to go with the following Sunday, whenfamilies are more likely to be together.I’m asking the Stepfamily community to help me spread the word. On Sept. 19,stepfamilies can gather at their local parks to celebrate their families. Iwill be keeping track of the Cities that will be joining this national event.It doesn’t matter if it’s just one stepfamily or a group of stepfamilies thatgather at their local park.I’ve been very encouraged that an event is taking place this year. If you areable to help me spread the word, I would be greatly appreciated! Thanks somuch! Please feel free to give my email address to anyone that would likemore information.Take Care of YOUChristy Stepfamily Foundation, Inc.Director, Public AffairsFounder-Stepfamily Day- Sept. 16

Hello all,I am step mom to a wonderful 8 year old boy. I have a great marriage,and a great family. No one living under our roof believes in theconcept of a wicked step mother.The problem is that my son’s biological mother has recently startedscreaming at me that I have no rights over her son, and that she willonly deal with her ex husband. This is causing problems, as my husbandworks out of town and I am the one at home with our son.I am wondering if any one knows what legal rights I have as a stepparent. My husband has sole custody, does this situation include me ashis spouse?I live in Canada, and would really welcome any advice on the legalrights of step parents.Other than that, life is great as a new family. If any of you arehaving problems, please remember this. Having new husbands and wivessimply means that there are more people to love the most importantpeople in the world – our children.

Answer

I think you do have some rights but I am in the US. Maybe you shouldconsult an attorney there.SR

AnswerSole Custody means that your husband has exclusive rights todecisionmaking. His ex-wife, has no right to scream at you or to try toinfluence the child’s view of you. Currently you are acting in "LocoParentis". This means that you take the place of a parent. Even schoolshave to act in "Loco Parentis" while the child is there. Every provincein Canada has provincial legislation to deal with custody & access.There are also Canadian laws that each province must adhere to. I havebeen a children’s advocate for eight years and would like to help youfurther. But I would need more detailed information about the entiresituation. Please write to me directly at Pearl.M@home.com.We candiscuss the situation and perhaps come up with a resolution,or look atwhat your options are to achieve a positive resolution-in the bestinterest of the child. I’m also Canadian,a stepmother and a biologicalmother. Remember you are not alone and you do not have to tolerate"verbal abuse" from anyone. Your Canadian Friend,Pearl

Introducing the StepParents’ Web StepParent Web Directory Q & A Series Blended Family Blended or Blender? New Stepparent: Now What? Stepkin: An Evolution What Is a Single Stepparent? Building Kinship Short and Long-Term Visitation Second Marriages with Children Both Are Non-Custody Parents Six Common Stepfamily Conflicts Thanks, Mike! Doggy-Blue

One Non-Custody Parent/Spouse Has Visitation Rights

Stepparents Seek Advice from Other Stepparents.

Stepfathers: A fact of life in America today.

Time-out: An Effective Discipline for Stepfamilies.

Multiple page series of letters about stepparenting from CyberParent surfers.

Genetic Engineering: What Is It and How Can It Affect My Family? Book Review: The Blended Family Sourcebook Book Review: Blending Families Book Review: The Courage to Be a Stepmom Book Review: Divorce and New Beginnings Book Review: Stepcoupling Book Review: Step Wars Book Review: Step Wise Book Review: Surviving Your Adolescents. Book Review: 1-2-3 Magic Book Review: The Combined Family Book Review: Living in a StepFamily

Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

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