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  1. #1
    StepDad1111 is offline Junior Member
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    Joint Child Custody -> Sole Custody

    What is the name of your state? California

    Hello. I'm a stepdad of an 8 year old boy. My wife and her ex have joint legal custody and she has 53% physical custody. I don't know how to phrase this. I think my stepson needs more consistency in his parenting than what he is getting. The co-parenting relationship is not working. I'm convinced he will be better off if he is full time with us. My wife wants full custody, but is afraid of loosing the battle (she would rather her son get what upbringing from us we can give him even if he is exposed to the other hosuehold's 'poison').

    A few stipulations here.
    The co-parenting relationship is effectively non-existant. They can't agree on things like hair styles or anything (step dad keeps giving him a buzz cut whenever his hair reaches his ears because he "can't hear instructions..."). Any time we try to communicate anything we get a 3 page e-mail full of attacks/slams/accusations.

    The other household is not abusive so far as we can tell, although there have been instances where punishment did not seem to fit the crime. His father does love him.

    What are the critera for declaring a co-parenting relationship ineffective to the point of demanding sole custody? Is there one?

    What kind of things can we do to make a solid case for sole custody? Should we even try? This is an ugly situation, with only ugly solutions. I'm hoping there's some nice solution at the end where my stepson wins out. I believe that solution lies with a consistent household with his mother.
  2. #2
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    Hello. I'm a stepdad of an 8 year old boy.

    <snip>

    The co-parenting relationship is effectively non-existant. They can't agree on things like hair styles or anything (step dad keeps giving him a buzz cut whenever his hair reaches his ears because he "can't hear instructions...").
    Okay - so give us the real story. Because you already tripped yourself up here.
  3. #3
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    What is the name of your state? California

    Hello. I'm a stepdad of an 8 year old boy. My wife and her ex have joint legal custody and she has 53% physical custody. I don't know how to phrase this. I think my stepson needs more consistency in his parenting than what he is getting. The co-parenting relationship is not working. I'm convinced he will be better off if he is full time with us. My wife wants full custody, but is afraid of loosing the battle (she would rather her son get what upbringing from us we can give him even if he is exposed to the other hosuehold's 'poison').

    A few stipulations here.
    The co-parenting relationship is effectively non-existant. They can't agree on things like hair styles or anything (step dad keeps giving him a buzz cut whenever his hair reaches his ears because he "can't hear instructions..."). Any time we try to communicate anything we get a 3 page e-mail full of attacks/slams/accusations.

    The other household is not abusive so far as we can tell, although there have been instances where punishment did not seem to fit the crime. His father does love him.

    What are the critera for declaring a co-parenting relationship ineffective to the point of demanding sole custody? Is there one?

    What kind of things can we do to make a solid case for sole custody? Should we even try? This is an ugly situation, with only ugly solutions. I'm hoping there's some nice solution at the end where my stepson wins out. I believe that solution lies with a consistent household with his mother.
    Have your wife get a consult with a local attorney. However, I don't believe that anything you have written rises to a level sufficient enough for your wife to get sole custody...and even with sole custody dad would still be entitled to visitation....which means that the problems would still be ongoing.
  4. #4
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    What is the name of your state? California

    Hello. I'm a stepdad of an 8 year old boy. My wife and her ex have joint legal custody and she has 53% physical custody. I don't know how to phrase this. I think my stepson needs more consistency in his parenting than what he is getting. The co-parenting relationship is not working. I'm convinced he will be better off if he is full time with us. My wife wants full custody, but is afraid of loosing the battle (she would rather her son get what upbringing from us we can give him even if he is exposed to the other hosuehold's 'poison').

    A few stipulations here.
    The co-parenting relationship is effectively non-existant. They can't agree on things like hair styles or anything (step dad keeps giving him a buzz cut whenever his hair reaches his ears because he "can't hear instructions..."). Any time we try to communicate anything we get a 3 page e-mail full of attacks/slams/accusations.

    The other household is not abusive so far as we can tell, although there have been instances where punishment did not seem to fit the crime. His father does love him.

    What are the critera for declaring a co-parenting relationship ineffective to the point of demanding sole custody? Is there one?

    What kind of things can we do to make a solid case for sole custody? Should we even try? This is an ugly situation, with only ugly solutions. I'm hoping there's some nice solution at the end where my stepson wins out. I believe that solution lies with a consistent household with his mother.
    His father loves him and is not abusive, yet dad's household is "poison"?
  5. #5
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Heh. Nice catch stealth.

    OP ~ Things like hairstyles and punishment and stuff aren't even things that would be addressed in a custody change. You're shooting in the dark here and are unlikely to see any changes to the current custody arrangement without a significant and continuing change in circumstances... and even then, you'd (your wife, actually) bear the burden of proving best interest.
  6. #6
    StepDad1111 is offline Junior Member
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    Stealth, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I was giving one example of the co-parenting not existing. One parent, his father, dictates a rule without consullting his co-parent, and when said co-parent objects is totally ignored. His father insists that he get a buzzcut because my son 'cant hear instructions' when his hair reaches his ears which is a load of hypocritical bull. Thats about forcing controll when they are supposed to be co-parenting. Yes my stepson has problems responding to instructions because he tends ignores adults the first 2-3 times you tell him anything. Thats classic behavior of a child living in a split household. Thats one of the main reasons I think he needs consistency in his life so he can get over this phase. He knows whatever he does the consequences will most likely 'dissapear' when he switches households the next day.

    LdiJ, thanks for your responce. And thats pretty much what I expected to hear. Visitation I wouldn't really have issue with as my son would still have the consistency of living in one household.

    ceara19, Yeah it is a bit of a contradiction. Yes his father loves him and is not abusive. However is father is a manipulative, two-faced, hypocritical ass who undermines and attacks his relationship with is mother at every opportunity. So when he's trying to raise his son to be just like him, I call it poison. I do not want my stepson growing up to be like his dad.

    CJane, thanks for your responce. So to 'proove' best interests would probably take psychologists, private investigators and such. Ugly solution =(
  7. #7
    MandyD is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    I do not want my stepson growing up to be like his dad.

    =(
    Of course you do realize it doesn't matter on bit what YOU do or do not want. He is NOT your son. You have no claim to him whatsoever.
  8. #8
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    OK. Very first lesson of step parenting**************....

    You. Are. Not. The. Parent.

    (and frankly, Stealth was pointing out a very confusing problem in your first post as to who you really are. How many step dads does your step son have?)

    And before you get all upset at me, please note, I AM a step parent.

    blending a family is not easy. Especially when folks don't get along. And well, if you were getting along you would not be here.

    nothing in your posts suggests a reason to change the physical custody arrangments.

    you have to realize that, what YOU want will never be more important than what your step sons FATHER wants.

    You cannot compete with the father of your step child. You will NOT win.

    You need to deal with the fact, that your wife, chose an ass to father her child. You cannot change that, but it will be a lot easier for you, if you accept it, and move on.
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  9. #9
    fairisfair is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    Stealth, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I was giving one example of the co-parenting not existing. One parent, his father, dictates a rule without consullting his co-parent, and when said co-parent objects is totally ignored. His father insists that he get a buzzcut because my son 'cant hear instructions' when his hair reaches his ears which is a load of hypocritical bull. Thats about forcing controll when they are supposed to be co-parenting. Yes my stepson has problems responding to instructions because he tends ignores adults the first 2-3 times you tell him anything. Thats classic behavior of a child living in a split household. Thats one of the main reasons I think he needs consistency in his life so he can get over this phase. He knows whatever he does the consequences will most likely 'dissapear' when he switches households the next day.

    LdiJ, thanks for your responce. And thats pretty much what I expected to hear. Visitation I wouldn't really have issue with as my son would still have the consistency of living in one household.

    ceara19, Yeah it is a bit of a contradiction. Yes his father loves him and is not abusive. However is father is a manipulative, two-faced, hypocritical ass who undermines and attacks his relationship with is mother at every opportunity. So when he's trying to raise his son to be just like him, I call it poison. I do not want my stepson growing up to be like his dad.

    CJane, thanks for your responce. So to 'proove' best interests would probably take psychologists, private investigators and such. Ugly solution =(
    What stealth was pointing out is the fact that you keep confusing yourself with this boys father, you said the step dad gives the kid the buzz hair cuts (that is YOU. YOU are the step dad) in this post you keep talking about your son. This is NOT your SON, this boy has a father, you are his mother's husband.
  10. #10
    tigger22472 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    Stealth, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    ***Stealth was refering to the fact that you said you were the step-father and then said the step-father cuts the childs hair.

    I was giving one example of the co-parenting not existing. One parent, his father, dictates a rule without consullting his co-parent, and when said co-parent objects is totally ignored. His father insists that he get a buzzcut because my son 'cant hear instructions' when his hair reaches his ears which is a load of hypocritical bull.

    ***This is in no way shape or form your decision to make. Furthermore with custody the way it is, it's likely a judge will tell mom that what dad does on his time is his business and cutting his hair is not a life altering event.


    Thats about forcing controll when they are supposed to be co-parenting. Yes my stepson has problems responding to instructions because he tends ignores adults the first 2-3 times you tell him anything.

    ***And this seems to be dad's way of dealing with it. Maybe it's his form of punishment trying to get through to the child... again doesn't concern you.

    Thats classic behavior of a child living in a split household.

    ***Hate to break it to you but this is classic behavior of ANY child. Changing custody will not change that.

    Thats one of the main reasons I think he needs consistency in his life so he can get over this phase.

    ***Lots of luck with that

    He knows whatever he does the consequences will most likely 'dissapear' when he switches households the next day.

    ***Maybe a better solution would not to be switching so often and do one week/one week visitation or two week/ two week. Also that's where the parents DO need to come together. If dad grounds the child then he should be grounded at mom's and vise versa.

    LdiJ, thanks for your responce. And thats pretty much what I expected to hear. Visitation I wouldn't really have issue with as my son would still have the consistency of living in one household.

    ***You do not get it. First off he's NOT your son. Secondly, changing custody the way you want WILL NOT prevent the issues you have brought up, take any rights away from dad or prevent him from doing certain things. In fact, it could make things worse because the child could see it as his mother taking time away from his dad and besides, dad gets to become the fun weekend dad.

    ceara19, Yeah it is a bit of a contradiction. Yes his father loves him and is not abusive. However is father is a manipulative, two-faced, hypocritical ass who undermines and attacks his relationship with is mother at every opportunity. So when he's trying to raise his son to be just like him, I call it poison. I do not want my stepson growing up to be like his dad.

    ***You don't have a say in this

    CJane, thanks for your responce. So to 'proove' best interests would probably take psychologists, private investigators and such. Ugly solution =(

    Without more than what you are proclaiming here your wife won't likely get far in a battle and there's not enough here to risk it in my opinion. If she were to take this to court, especially with YOUR views and stance she has IMO a less than 50% of winning. It's time for you to step out of it.

    And BTW, not only am I a step-parent, but the step-parent of a child who spend 50% of her time with each parent and whose other parent does not consult about haircuts, extra activities... anything
    Last edited by tigger22472; 06-06-2006 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Added things
  11. #11
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StepDad1111
    ceara19, Yeah it is a bit of a contradiction. Yes his father loves him and is not abusive. However is father is a manipulative, two-faced, hypocritical ass who undermines and attacks his relationship with is mother at every opportunity. So when he's trying to raise his son to be just like him, I call it poison. I do not want my stepson growing up to be like his dad.
    YOU can call it whatever YOU want to. YOUR opinion doesn't matter. I don't want YOUR children to grow up to be nosy, meddling little whiners like their father (we already have enough of those in the world), but I don't get a vote in the way you raise your children, just like YOU don't get a vote in the way your stepson is raised.
  12. #12
    psfunkytek Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by ceara19
    YOU can call it whatever YOU want to. YOUR opinion doesn't matter. I don't want YOUR children to grow up to be nosy, meddling little whiners like their father (we already have enough of those in the world), but I don't get a vote in the way you raise your children, just like YOU don't get a vote in the way your stepson is raised.
    I can give you some feedback from my own experience. The CA courts (at least in my case) are VERY punitive to parents who CANNOT figure out how to co-parent in peace. Even when the differences in households are so different that it's a hardship on the child, the best you can hope for is that you (really your wife) can afford to spend $100,000 on legal expenses and dad can say only afford $50,000.

    When my ex and I kept showing up in court with disputes that the judge thought we should be able to settle on ourselves,the judge would basically issue some form of "non-ruling" such as, "I'm not going to rule on this right now, I'm going to hold it over until trial, hopefully the parties will have reached an agreement by then.

    After the last time he did that, he ordered us to attend "Parenting Without Conflict" which was held on Tuesday Afternoons for six consecutive weeks. When I told my employer that I had to attend this by court order, the decided that the courts controlled me and they no longer had any controll and they fired me about four months and three ADDITIONAL court appearances later. Mind you, I made six figures at this job.

    Meanwhile, all the problems still exist. Let's just say, even with my job loss, my ex felt the financial pressure first (because he and his wife had another baby) and we will be back in mediation in two days**************.but we've spent approximately $50,000 each on legal fees (and custody evaluations and depositions) and if we don't settle, then the trial will be another $50,000 each and from what I've heard, neither of us will have what we want.

    I'd recommend the PARENTS (steps should resist the urge to participate, otherwise you'll likely aggravate the situation, like it or not) sitting down and talking this out.

    I know that's not exactly legal advice, but it's TRUE life. Once the attorny's realize that there is real bad co-parenting between the parents, they see a never ending gravy train and you'll put their kids through college and won't be about to put your own through.

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