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SM's should be prepared for custody changes...

Posted by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM
  • 29 Replies

The topic of kids ending up with more visitation with Dad has come up in several threads recently.

I made a statement in one of them that I think SMs should be prepared for custody changes with the step kids.  Whether it's due to death, health issues (including mental health), job loss, etc--a good father will always have an open door for his kids and want them should BM be unable or unwilling to maintain her time/home with the kids.

As solid as COs are legally, it doesn't take a legal change with lots of lead time to go from an EOWE visitation or 50/50 living arrangement to a full custody situation.  BM could just fail to pick up and "disappear" for awhile. BM could show up on your front porch and hand the kids over.  BM could be hit by a bus. No one wants that for the kids of course, but they are very real possibilities as evidenced by recent threads.

In the 4 1/2 years that I've been with my DH, the CO has never changed but in practice, it's gone from 50/50, to the kids not seeing their mom for weeks at a time, back to 50/50, then to EOWE/holidays/summers and next year that will flip flop again.  Maybe even with one child living with us and the other with mom.  It CAN be rather fluid.

As such, it seems to me that it would make sense for new SMs to think hard about what a change like that would mean for their household and have those discussions in advance with DH.  No one can know what the future holds, but it seems like a lot of hand wringing and frustration could/would be avoided if SMs spent a little time wrapping their minds around the possibility that they could end up being CSMs.

Because the general societal assumption is that any woman is motherly, will fill a motherly role, etc, I don't think it's a big stretch that most husbands would assume that their wives would happily step in to help raise his kids in the event of a change.  That if he works long hours, she'll care for the kids.  That if the kids are sick, she'll stay home.  That if the kids need to get to soccer, dance, band, whatever, SM will happily step in.

Maybe that's an unfair assumption.  I don't feel that it is per se.  Especially if DH is the primary bread winner. Especially if SM is a SAHM.  But if that's NOT what any given SM is okay with, I'd propose that she have those conversations well in advance.

By the time kids are sitting on your front porch or mom has disappeared, there are bigger issues at play than SM's feelings.  Dealing with confused/upset kids takes priority and any discomfort on SM's part being voiced sounds awfully selfish IMHO.  I'm not saying it's SM's responsibility...just that it's a convo and a position to consider in advance because once the situation is upon you, you are not the priority.

What say you?

by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Platinum Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I didn't go into my marriage thinking custody would change.  As BM started drinking and the abuse in the home was made aware to us I knew it would one day happen.

The day CPS removed the kids from the home there was no discussion on if we should take custody of SS's.  DH said he was going to call his lawyer, I made sure the retainer was available and he filed for emergency custody that Monday.  

by Silver Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:43 AM
I agree to be prepared for anything. Nothing in life is set in stone forever
by Patriot's Fan on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:45 AM
For the most part it has been 50/50 every other week. Bm moved and sd started school so for a few month we only got sd every other weekend..that sucked. We all missed sd. It only lastes a few months and bm moved to our town. Now i have sd everyday. I pick her up from school and it pretty much went to us having 90/10..sometimes less for us depending on bm taking sd for a weekend. We usually have sd every weekend.
You are can change and sometimes it changes a lot. Bm has moved a few times in the last few years. I hope she just stays and things don't change but can't count on it. We already have sd everyday so going to full time wouldn't be much of a change. I don't know if we could handle back to every other weekend.we all miss her too much.
by Platinum Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM
DH knows I wouldn't marry him if he was CP
But if he became CP after we got married I would have to accept that.
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by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:57 AM

May I ask why? 

Quoting annabl1970: DH knows I wouldn't marry him if he was CP
But if he became CP after we got married I would have to accept that.

by Silver Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM
by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM
My so's kids are teens and its always been a given that they could decide to live with dad if they choose, i even know he had custody of his son for a while so shit does happen. I have no problem with that if it ever happens. If he had younger kids or high needs kids then I probably would have rethought the entire relationship since i know what i can handle and what i cant.
by Gold Member on Jan. 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Totally agree.

Even in the best of sitatuation with two parents who co-parent very well together and a mother who is an exceptional mother who always puts her kids first something COULD happen.  It is always a possibility and while nobody ever hopes for the worst (e.g. a horrible accident, illness, inability to continue caring for the children properly for whatevr reason) sometimes it happens anyway.

Any time you are involved with someone with kids there is the posibility of the kids living with you full time. I mean, heck, it could be the most drama free situation when you get involved and everything is lovely and then one day that little boy who was 5 when you married his father is now 13 and begging to spend more time/live with his father and mom is okay with that because dad is a good dad and knows how much their son needs his father...

by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM
That was a conversation we talked about years before we got married. About 2 1/2 years before. It broke dh heart not to have them at the wedding but just before our 1st anniversary they came home. The only thing I worry about now is if she can gain coustody back and rip them away from us again.
by on Jan. 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Our custody sitch changed, after I had been married for 9 months.  DH went from almost 50/50, to having EWE when Mom moved a few towns over and midweek transportation became impossible, to then having custody with Mom having EWE, to then having Mom drop down to EOWE.

I didnt' see it comming. I fell into the usual SM traps, which thankfully I was able to crawl out of.

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