• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Restrictions on Step Parents

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

Status
Not open for further replies.
P

psfunkytek

Guest
What is the name of your state? CA

I know everytime the subject of step-parents comes up, things get really heated, but I hope anyone with legal info/experience will chime in and try not to take offense or take it as a personal attack on step-parents.

That said, I have possibly a last opportunity to settle my case in mediation and avoid further dragging out my case (it's been 1 1/2 years already). My primary custody complaints surround the step-mom overstepping her boundaries with my daughter and constantly critisizing her about things that are not within her rights such as critisizing her grades (even though she is nearly a straight A student, she just say's mean things like "you're not using your brain" or "you're not trying" to her) and it's generally when she's grilling her with work well above the level of what her very expensive private school cirriculum is requiring them to learn. That's just one example, but the result is that my daughter's self esteem is starting to erode and she is starting to be frustrated about school all the time instead of enjoying it like she used to.

I'd like to know if anyone has had success in having anything written in their custody agreement that forbids a step-parent from engaging in direction or instruction with regard to issues that fall under Legal Custody. Since I have primary custody (all of the school week), I work with her on her home work etc. and already, I have spoken to her teacher who was concerned about the "messages" that were being sent to our child and termed the excess work "innapropriate".

At this point, I actually believe that my ex will go along with this (because all signs point to his wanting to settle and just being afraid to rock the boat of his marriage by making his wife stop - she wears the pants), but I also heard that that the court can reject a parenting plan we submit if they feel there is good reason.

So far, all I've heard is that judges have issued orders that a parent CANNOT allow their child to call a step-parent "mom" or "dad" if the natural mom or dad object, but I'd like to hear of any other orders that anyone has or has heard of regarding boundary setting for step-parents - IF both parents have agreed.

FYI, aside from a few comuting issues, I'm fine with the time sharing that we have right now, and the judge has already issued a restraint against negative comments about either parent by the other parent, significant others, extended family and etc. I'm just wondering what else you folks have seen.

Any experiences are appreciated either here on this thread or by PM. Thanks for your input.
 


Tornin2

Member
Yes, the step-parent subject is a sticky one. I grew up with a wonderful step-dad, and 3 horrible step-mothers (not all of them at the same time! ;) ). Although back then, step-families weren't as prevalent as they are these days.

I am not an attorney, but since you asked more for personal experience, I feel relatively safe saying what I have seen.

Several of my friends are remarried, with children and step-children, and the only thing I have heard from any of them that a judge has ordered, is that there were to be no negative comments made about the parents/grandparents/step-parents, by the other parent/step-parent in front of the children

Just a suggestion here, of course *** what is the possibility of you and step-mom sitting down over coffee and talking these issues out? I know it sounds crazy, but I've seen it work. No one says you have to become best friends with your ex-husband's new wife, but no one says you have to be sworn enemies, either. Talk to her, inform her of your boundaries, and try to work together. You and your ex-spouse can learn to co-parent effectively, while developing a new, different, and productive relationship with your child's step-parent.

Whether we like it or not, step-parents do play a role in our children's lives - isn't it better, at least for the child(ren), to get along with a step-parent? Just think of the amazing lessons you can teach your child(ren) in doing so - understanding, compromise, tolerance.
 

CandiceH

Member
haiku said:
I can't imagine how that could ever be enforceable, or proveable, or worthwhile.....
I agree. Step mom has not overstepped any bounds if this is the only action that you are concerned about. She has not done anything "illegal". I understand that you are frustrated and since the avenue of trying to prove such a thing and then fight it out in court could cost a great monetary amount, you may want to find another road.

Keep supporting your daughter, building her esteem and talk to your ex about the importance of this. Remember to play nice and dont go threatening court action. That usually just makes things worse. See if you can settle this another way first.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
haiku said:
I can't imagine how that could ever be enforceable, or proveable, or worthwhile.....
It might be worthwhile if dad actually recognizes that his wife is overstepping. It could solve the problem without him having to be the "bad guy".

Of course, the better solution would be for him to stand up and be a parent to his child, and keep his wife under control where his children are concerned...but that isn't always possible.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
The major problem is the stepmother is NOT a party to the parenting plan. She is only an ancillary person and therefore anything she does wrong would REFLECT on dad and dad's parenting. You cannot bind a stepmother to the plan but you CAN inform dad that stepmother's interference reflects directly on his parenting skills and such treatment COULD (may not but I have seen over protective judges) be construed as verbal abuse which would make his household abusive. Any consequences would fall squarely in dad's lap. You will never be able to control what stepmom is doing but your ex NEEDS to be a man and tell her to knock it off.
 

tigger22472

Senior Member
psfunkytek said:
That said, I have possibly a last opportunity to settle my case in mediation and avoid further dragging out my case (it's been 1 1/2 years already). My primary custody complaints surround the step-mom overstepping her boundaries with my daughter and constantly critisizing her about things that are not within her rights such as critisizing her grades (even though she is nearly a straight A student, she just say's mean things like "you're not using your brain" or "you're not trying" to her) and it's generally when she's grilling her with work well above the level of what her very expensive private school cirriculum is requiring them to learn. That's just one example, but the result is that my daughter's self esteem is starting to erode and she is starting to be frustrated about school all the time instead of enjoying it like she used to.

You have GOT to be kidding me!!! You say this is one example but one would gander that this would be the worse of things if this is something that is so important to you. If this is the worse you got it lady... get over it... she is NOT overstepping any boundaries!
 
I have a cousin who's ex-husband's new wife has far over-stepped her bounds - even dying the child's hair (at age 7) and taking the child to the dentist without either parent's knowledge while listing herself as the mother, etc. The results in Court were that the Judge informed Dad that unless he wanted Supervised Visitation only, that he needed to explain to Step-Mom what her boundaries were and make sure that she remained within them. Keep in mind, though, my cousin is in a different state.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
NotAnAttorney said:
I have a cousin who's ex-husband's new wife has far over-stepped her bounds - even dying the child's hair (at age 7) and taking the child to the dentist without either parent's knowledge while listing herself as the mother, etc. The results in Court were that the Judge informed Dad that unless he wanted Supervised Visitation only, that he needed to explain to Step-Mom what her boundaries were and make sure that she remained within them. Keep in mind, though, my cousin is in a different state.
And again...that makes the judge the "bad guy" and gives dad more leverage to do that.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
tigger22472 said:
You have GOT to be kidding me!!! You say this is one example but one would gander that this would be the worse of things if this is something that is so important to you. If this is the worse you got it lady... get over it... she is NOT overstepping any boundaries!
Gotta disagree with you on that one Tig...If the child's a straight A student then there is no reason for stepmom to be criticizing or making the child do extra work that isn't required by school. This isn't a case where the stepmother has ended up being a primary parent because mom is slacking or awol.
 

BL

Senior Member
I wonder if step-mom puts her hands on her hips when She's lurking over homework , and cackling away ? :rolleyes:
 

stealth2

Under the Radar Member
LdiJ said:
Gotta disagree with you on that one Tig...If the child's a straight A student then there is no reason for stepmom to be criticizing or making the child do extra work that isn't required by school. This isn't a case where the stepmother has ended up being a primary parent because mom is slacking or awol.
Exactly. One B on my kids' part has the ex and wife grousing over grades. We're talking one B in one quarter of one year of A's.
 

Tornin2

Member
Blonde Lebinese said:
I wonder if step-mom puts her hands on her hips when She's lurking over homework , and cackling away ? :rolleyes:
Twitching the wicked step-mother wart on her nose ... :D
 

tigger22472

Senior Member
LdiJ said:
Gotta disagree with you on that one Tig...If the child's a straight A student then there is no reason for stepmom to be criticizing or making the child do extra work that isn't required by school. This isn't a case where the stepmother has ended up being a primary parent because mom is slacking or awol.

Just because she's a straight A student does not mean that there aren't times that are warranted to say she's "not using her brain" or such. Pick anyone of my children who have good grades and I'll show you a time where while looking over their homework they have been asked "Where is your head??" How is that any different? And the OP didn't say the sm makes her DO extra work.. she said she grills her. That could mean she's simply testing her with a question or something. Ok... maybe the SM doesn't know that it's above her level or maybe she is asking something from a higher level to challenge her. Besides, according to the OP the most the child is at dad's is maybe EVERY weekend, I highly doubt the entire weekend is spent doing these things that are so 'horrid.'

Everyone here knows that I am one of those step mom's that knows my place and I make sure that the parents make all the major decisions ... etc.... However, this is one thing that I will defend a step-parent on. The OP is indicating as if this SM should be standing across the street while the child visits there and Heaven forbid she wave to the child!!!
 

stealth2

Under the Radar Member
Yeah, tig has a point. To give an example, my 6th grader brought home a test the other day on Greek Gods & Goddesses. Grade? 64. 64?!?!?! I looked at it, looked at her and said "WTF is a 64 doing on here?" She's still pulling a B in the class, but a 64?

The difference with Dad/stepmom is that they tend to focus on the B being a terrible grade. Now, I know she's capable of better, and she knows she needs to kick it up a bit if she wants an A. But I know how hard she's worked throughout the year, so a single B isn't gonna take away from it. The ex sees it as a way to get me. I suspect OP's ex is the same way.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential
data-ad-format="auto">
Top