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My husband and I cannot agree on a course of action regarding my stepdaugher and it is causing major problems in our home. Could use some outside/objective opinions!

My husband currently has sole custody of his daughter. I've been full-time stepmom for 10 of her 16 yrs. She is a good kid in a bad situation! Her mom lost custody because she tried to kill herself. (She has drug problems and mental problems.) Daughter comes to us one day and says that her mom is doing good and she is going to go live with her...and that she is leaving tomorrow! We talk to her for hours and offer several alternatives and/or compromises. Her mom lives over an hour away; but she tells us that she is going to stay in the same school and continute coming to our church. Her mom told her it was OK. (mom and dad do not have contact w/one another) We begged her not to do it, but to allow us as a family to think about it and see a counselor. She left before dawn the next morning. That was one week ago... we do not agree on what course of action to! She got a new car and is driving to school!

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:43 PM on Feb. 2, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (16)
  • Well you can call the police and report her as a runaway and show them the CO you have giving you custody and theyll bring her home and her mom will or could get in trouble for custodial interference. However you need to ask yourself if its worth it or if she will resent you and keep running away. Maybe if you get her home you can call her mom and try and make an agreement without court involved? Otherwise if she keeps running her mom can ask for custody and say she keeps running away.

    Answer by gemgem at 12:45 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • shes 16 so i dont really think theres anything that can be done. as long as shes going to school and staying out of trouble, id let her stay with her mom. in the courts eyes,shes old enough to choose who she wants to live with. JMO

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:46 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • What are you wanting to do? I mean, there are several ways you can go. You could report her as a runaway, you could haul mom back to court and ask that she be held in contempt for not making daughter follow custody order, you could let it ride and see how things go, and those are just the ones that come immediately to my mind. What are your concerns with her living with mom? Is she still doing the drugs and such? There's child services you could call. Unfortunately, I don't really know what the best thing to do would be. There are tons of options, but each one comes with it's own consequences, and most of the time, one consequence will be the girl hating you guys for a while for doing whatever option you chose. I wish you all the best of luck and hope that in the end, everything works out for all involved.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 12:48 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • What if her mom goes back on drugs? What if our daughter is killed in an automobile accident? What are the legal ramifications? Can't the court say that my hubby was responsible for her... and ask why he would allow this?

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:50 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • What about not fighting for custody, but - as her legal guardians - taking her out of the local school so mom will have to move her? What do other posters think of this option?

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:53 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • Time for a discussion with her Mom. She may be 16 y/o, but legally you are still responsible for her. If Mom has really turned her life around, she would have called you first before telling the 16 y/o that she could just move out of your house. So I would talk to a lawyer about the best way to get her back into your home. Then insist that she come home. Try to work out a more liberal visitation plan with her Mom. Explain to the daughter that if she leaves to go live with her Mom without permission, you will report her for custodial interference and she will be arrested. Surely, daughter would rather live with you and visit Mom in her home that visit Mom in jail. I think a 16 y/o is old enough to understand the consequences of her behavior, so point them out. Get her back. Then work to help her develop a good relationship with her Mom within the legal boundaries of the custody order. Good luck.

    Answer by mommy22miracles at 12:56 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • Regardless of the disagreement on how to handle this, I think you need to contact the police & a lawyer. There are lots of things she could do, from skipping school to breaking the law, in which your husband could be held accountable since he has custody (technically). And if her mom is into all of that, it's only a matter of time. That's probably why she wants to live with her anyways --- she's 16 & mom's a drug addict, she can get away with a LOT more in her home than yours.

    I'd think she needs to live in your home or legal custody needs to be given to the biological mom if, for no other reason, than to keep your household out of the drama & court system.

    Answer by Laura1229 at 1:00 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • As long as she seems good on her word, is going to school, going to church, stays out of trouble, ect.. Let her live at her moms, just ask her to come & stay the night on occasion or come over for dinner to keep a good relashionship with her..
    If you call the cops & start going the legal way, she is a teen, she is just going to fight it all the more. I think if you treat her like an adult, she wont dissapoint you. make it clear **These are the rules. You break them, You come home**

    Answer by MommaTasha1003 at 1:07 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • Is she really going to school? I would call the school and make sure as the custodial parent your Dh is the one responsible and needs to have contact with her mother to make sure that everything really is okay with her now. Since the mother lost custody if she is still using drugs and he is letting his daughter live with her I think he could be charged with neglect. Are the car insurance, registration and title in her name? If any of them are in your husbands or your name or you are paying the insurance there is your leverage, either she comes home or the car is gone or off insurance whatever is not in her name.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:07 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • You don't technically need to inform the courts if she's wanting to move back to her mom's, you have no problems with it, and birth mom is a reasonable option. The courts don't really care, and are so bogged down that no one is really going to come after you if that's what you mean. I did it when I was about 14 or 15. My mom had custody, and my parents just decided amongst themselves that I would live with my dad.. no court involved. The state of Illinois eventually tried to sue my father for back child support. They showed up to the court together, my mom explained I lived with my father, and that they agreed to call it even and that was the end of it. No one cared. The court is just to settle disputes. If there's no dispute they don't care.Birth mom would be held responsible.


    Answer by s.teph at 1:12 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

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