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DH and BM do NOT play nicely...

Posted by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM
  • 16 Replies

Hi, I'm new here - so sorry for such a lengthy first post, but I just need to get this out and get some thoughts from objective third parties...

I am a recently married stepmom to 3 great kids, ages 10, 8, and 6.  My husband and their mother have 50/50 custody of them, with a 3 month rotation (odd, I know, but there were reasons at the time the parenting plan was drawn up).  My DH and their BM do NOT have a healthy co-parenting relationship.  For a long time that was due to asinine behavior on both sides, but the past several months, he's been completely professional and non-argumentative in his correspondance with her.  Can't say the same on her end, though.  She is constantly throwing him under the bus to his kids, and the texts and emails are incessant at times.  I mean, she divorced him for a reason - clearly his general personality ticks her off.  He didn't change in the 10 years of their marriage, he's certainly not going to change now.  Give it a rest already.  But I digress...

The most recent development involves the 10 year old.  He and his father have a very strained relationship.  Any time my DH approached BM over the past year regarding the issues, BM replied with basically 'He's a perfect angel with me, it's obviously your problem.'  Fast forward to now, when my DH decided to set up counseling with a social worker for himself and his son.  Great move, in my opinion.  HOWEVER - he did not run this by BM.  The appointment has been scheduled for weeks, but oddly enough last week he gets an email from her requesting that the 10 year old be set up with a psychologist.  No explanation as to why.  He, after some general avoidance, told her that he had already set up an appt, and requested that she please not show up.  I know this goes against every parenting plan in the book.  I know.  Now she wants him to cancel the appointment, send the 10 year old alone to a psychologist for evaluation, and is throwing the clauses in the parenting plan at him regarding the legality of what he's done in setting up a counseling session without her knowledge.  DH's goal is to attempt to improve his communication with his son, not have him labeled with a mental condition right off the bat.   I'm terrified she's going to try to hit him with contempt.  DH can be a flake sometimes, but he's actually never deliberately withheld information from her, which is what she's claiming.  I don't know how you prove that he did intend to violate her rights as a parent.

Nevermind the numerous times BM has violated that parenting plan and even the divorce decree herself.  She took them out of state on vacation for more than the stipulated 2 weeks (and actually LEFT THEM THERE for several days while she came home for work reasons), earlier in the year she rang the doorbell at my then-fiance's apartment (with the kids inside) until he answered, would not leave, and actually managed to reach the 10 year old and told him all manner of nasty things about his father (in front of DH!), she constantly feeds them ideas that their father can't take care of them, she lives in a 3 bedroom apt with 3 adults, the youngest actually sleeps on the couch when they're there.

I'm going out of my mind - I don't know when this will ever stop.  When will this stop??  What do you do when the BM's definition of co-parenting is the father shutting up and doing as he's told?  Anyone have experience with the court system in this type of thing?  It just seems like such a huge grey area.

Long, I know.  Thanks for reading...

Yogi

by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM
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Replies (1-10):
DDDaysh
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:25 AM
2 moms liked this

 First, your DH playing nice "for several months" is not going to change a pattern of behavior that has existed for years.  He can't suddenly go "well it's all her fault NOW!"  It sounds like they both have pretty extreme issues with one another. 

Secondly, it sounds like he completely intended to violate her rights as a parent.  She has every right to hit him with contempt for not telling her about an appointment he scheduled for their son, especially since it seems like he still tried to avoid telling her about it when she asked, AND that he's trying to keep her from participating in the medical treatement of their son by asking her not to show up to the very first intake appointment. 

This is not defending her behavior in showing up at your house and badmouthing him to the kids.  Two wrongs don't make a right.  But, at the same time, just because she's acting badly does not excuse what your husband has done. 

If there are reasons for the 10-year-old to be evaluated by a psychologist, that needs to happen.  Your husband's "fear of labels" is silly.  Having an evaluation with a psychologist does not preclude him from getting therapy with his son to improve their communication AS WELL.  However, the information from an evaluation of the boy will be very useful in helping any therapist determine the best way to encourage communications. 

How detailed is their parenting plan?  If there are alot of gray areas, going back to mediation to get one that is more "air tight" may be useful.  Also, if they have alot of trouble being civil with one another, keeping all communications via e-mail and text, and using a program like "Our Family Wizzard" could be useful to help take the emotion out of the situation.  Your husband also needs to make sure he is following the parenting plan to the letter.  ALWAYS be the one following the rules, no matter what the other parent does. 

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to stay as far away from their relationship as possible.  Don't let yourself get pulled into the middle of them. 

ramita
by Silver Member on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:32 AM
He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.
Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:34 AM
1 mom liked this

It's difficult to establish trust when no one is willing to follow the rules with consistency.

Yogi71
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:47 AM

 


Quoting ramita:

He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.


 That is exactly what he did, actually.  Even said he'd talk to the counselor regarding her possible involvement.  She's not interested in family counseling - she wasn't even willing to go to the next level of co-parenting classes because she'd have to go with him.  They do have a third party that they are supposed to go do in the event of parenting disagreements - he has written that third party and will comply with that decision.

Please understand, I don't think he's blameless in this situation.  It's just very difficult to watch him try to improve things get nowhere.  I understand that it's not an instantaneous thing, but what should he do when he's terrified of further damage to his kids because of her behavior towards him in front of them?

ramita
by Silver Member on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Keep his distance when possible. If need be do pickups at a police department. No phone calls, if anything needs to be discussed it can either be done with lawyers, in mediation, or through email/text. These are the best steps he can take for the 'in person backlash'. Him taking the kid(s) to family counseling is the best thing he can do to help the kid(s) hearing or seeing the things the BM says or does regarding the BD.

Considering your SS isn't going to therapy for him, I don't think the court order actually applies because this is a family counseling session. If the counselor believed that SS needed further counseling alone then yes the BM would have needed to be informed. Of course, I could be wrong on this.

If there is a 3rd party available for this stuff then it is a good thing he is bringing them in. Definitely follow what they say. I'm sorry y'all are having to deal with this, and hopefully things will start looking better soon.


Quoting Yogi71:

 




Quoting ramita:

He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.



 That is exactly what he did, actually.  Even said he'd talk to the counselor regarding her possible involvement.  She's not interested in family counseling - she wasn't even willing to go to the next level of co-parenting classes because she'd have to go with him.  They do have a third party that they are supposed to go do in the event of parenting disagreements - he has written that third party and will comply with that decision.


Please understand, I don't think he's blameless in this situation.  It's just very difficult to watch him try to improve things get nowhere.  I understand that it's not an instantaneous thing, but what should he do when he's terrified of further damage to his kids because of her behavior towards him in front of them?


DDDaysh
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM

 "Family Counseling" where the child is one of the people attending ABSOLUTELY qualifies as something the other parent needs to be notified about.  It's still being seen by a medical professional.  And, frankly, BM has a right to speak to the therapist about her son's treatment and to be at the intake appointment.  It may not be useful to have her at all appointments, but the intake appointment where the therapist needs to gather information is absolutely a time when BM should at least be notified. 

Quoting ramita:

Keep his distance when possible. If need be do pickups at a police department. No phone calls, if anything needs to be discussed it can either be done with lawyers, in mediation, or through email/text. These are the best steps he can take for the 'in person backlash'. Him taking the kid(s) to family counseling is the best thing he can do to help the kid(s) hearing or seeing the things the BM says or does regarding the BD.

Considering your SS isn't going to therapy for him, I don't think the court order actually applies because this is a family counseling session. If the counselor believed that SS needed further counseling alone then yes the BM would have needed to be informed. Of course, I could be wrong on this.

If there is a 3rd party available for this stuff then it is a good thing he is bringing them in. Definitely follow what they say. I'm sorry y'all are having to deal with this, and hopefully things will start looking better soon.


Quoting Yogi71:

 


 


Quoting ramita:

He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.

 


 That is exactly what he did, actually.  Even said he'd talk to the counselor regarding her possible involvement.  She's not interested in family counseling - she wasn't even willing to go to the next level of co-parenting classes because she'd have to go with him.  They do have a third party that they are supposed to go do in the event of parenting disagreements - he has written that third party and will comply with that decision.


Please understand, I don't think he's blameless in this situation.  It's just very difficult to watch him try to improve things get nowhere.  I understand that it's not an instantaneous thing, but what should he do when he's terrified of further damage to his kids because of her behavior towards him in front of them?


 

Fullhouse1168
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM
A shrink and a counselor are two different people. I don't think you can be held in contempt. Counselors can't diagnose. My pastor is a counselor and I would not call him a medical professional.
ramita
by Silver Member on Sep. 9, 2013 at 11:17 AM
I really figured since family counseling is geared more towards things like communication it would be different.

In this situation though considering the hostility, do you think it would be better for BM to attend at the same time or set up a separate meeting for her? I'm not sure if the BD would be able to actually speak with her there, and that could cause problems for the counselor. What if the counselor said no the BM doesn't need to attend because this issue is between the BD and the child would that be different?


Quoting DDDaysh:

 "Family Counseling" where the child is one of the people attending ABSOLUTELY qualifies as something the other parent needs to be notified about.  It's still being seen by a medical professional.  And, frankly, BM has a right to speak to the therapist about her son's treatment and to be at the intake appointment.  It may not be useful to have her at all appointments, but the intake appointment where the therapist needs to gather information is absolutely a time when BM should at least be notified. 


Quoting ramita:

Keep his distance when possible. If need be do pickups at a police department. No phone calls, if anything needs to be discussed it can either be done with lawyers, in mediation, or through email/text. These are the best steps he can take for the 'in person backlash'. Him taking the kid(s) to family counseling is the best thing he can do to help the kid(s) hearing or seeing the things the BM says or does regarding the BD.

Considering your SS isn't going to therapy for him, I don't think the court order actually applies because this is a family counseling session. If the counselor believed that SS needed further counseling alone then yes the BM would have needed to be informed. Of course, I could be wrong on this.

If there is a 3rd party available for this stuff then it is a good thing he is bringing them in. Definitely follow what they say. I'm sorry y'all are having to deal with this, and hopefully things will start looking better soon.



Quoting Yogi71:


 



 



Quoting ramita:

He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.


 



 That is exactly what he did, actually.  Even said he'd talk to the counselor regarding her possible involvement.  She's not interested in family counseling - she wasn't even willing to go to the next level of co-parenting classes because she'd have to go with him.  They do have a third party that they are supposed to go do in the event of parenting disagreements - he has written that third party and will comply with that decision.



Please understand, I don't think he's blameless in this situation.  It's just very difficult to watch him try to improve things get nowhere.  I understand that it's not an instantaneous thing, but what should he do when he's terrified of further damage to his kids because of her behavior towards him in front of them?



 


DDDaysh
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

 The counselor may well prefer to not have BM in the same room.  That isn't the point.  BM still needs to be AWARE that the counseling is taking place and should have the opportunity to approach the therapist, either before the appointment, during the appointment, or after the appointment.  BM also has the right to say that the therapist cannot treat her child, even in "family therapy".  This can be overturned, via court order, if the court feels therapy is in the child's best interest. 

I suspect that it will probably not be useful for BM to be part of the parent/child therapy between the child and Dad.  However, BM should be able to discuss the progress of that therapy with the therapist. 

What is absolutely unacceptable is keeping the fact that the child will be receiving therapy, of any kind, away from a parent with legal rights. 

Quoting ramita:

I really figured since family counseling is geared more towards things like communication it would be different.

In this situation though considering the hostility, do you think it would be better for BM to attend at the same time or set up a separate meeting for her? I'm not sure if the BD would be able to actually speak with her there, and that could cause problems for the counselor. What if the counselor said no the BM doesn't need to attend because this issue is between the BD and the child would that be different?


Quoting DDDaysh:

 "Family Counseling" where the child is one of the people attending ABSOLUTELY qualifies as something the other parent needs to be notified about.  It's still being seen by a medical professional.  And, frankly, BM has a right to speak to the therapist about her son's treatment and to be at the intake appointment.  It may not be useful to have her at all appointments, but the intake appointment where the therapist needs to gather information is absolutely a time when BM should at least be notified. 


Quoting ramita:

Keep his distance when possible. If need be do pickups at a police department. No phone calls, if anything needs to be discussed it can either be done with lawyers, in mediation, or through email/text. These are the best steps he can take for the 'in person backlash'. Him taking the kid(s) to family counseling is the best thing he can do to help the kid(s) hearing or seeing the things the BM says or does regarding the BD.

Considering your SS isn't going to therapy for him, I don't think the court order actually applies because this is a family counseling session. If the counselor believed that SS needed further counseling alone then yes the BM would have needed to be informed. Of course, I could be wrong on this.

If there is a 3rd party available for this stuff then it is a good thing he is bringing them in. Definitely follow what they say. I'm sorry y'all are having to deal with this, and hopefully things will start looking better soon.



Quoting Yogi71:


 



 



Quoting ramita:

He should have told her he already had an appointment with one for a 'family counseling' for him and his son, and he'd talk to that counselor regarding her concerns and get some advice. Then he'd get back to her. I think since it was for him and his son to learn to communicate and get along then it won't be held against him, but he needs to take into consideration what she is saying also. Your SS may need therapy for himself, which I'm sure the counselor will either recommend someone or he/she will do it.


 



 That is exactly what he did, actually.  Even said he'd talk to the counselor regarding her possible involvement.  She's not interested in family counseling - she wasn't even willing to go to the next level of co-parenting classes because she'd have to go with him.  They do have a third party that they are supposed to go do in the event of parenting disagreements - he has written that third party and will comply with that decision.



Please understand, I don't think he's blameless in this situation.  It's just very difficult to watch him try to improve things get nowhere.  I understand that it's not an instantaneous thing, but what should he do when he's terrified of further damage to his kids because of her behavior towards him in front of them?



 


 

DDDaysh
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

 That isn't legally true.  Being able to diagnose is not the criteria for determining whether or not it qualifies as "mental health" and is therefor medical. 

Quoting Fullhouse1168:

A shrink and a counselor are two different people. I don't think you can be held in contempt. Counselors can't diagnose. My pastor is a counselor and I would not call him a medical professional.

 

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