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Tween Titans Tween Titans

not sure if I'm venting or asking for advice

Posted by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 12:30 AM
  • 7 Replies

Well, I just typed out an EXTREMELY long bit and then realized I was only about half done. So I'm saving it for now, I may post it when I get finished. For now though, I need to ask a simple question.

What can you do when you're a step-mother, and the bio-mom is just a complete failure? I find myself wishing she'd just sort of disappear, and I know that sounds horrible, but it's true. I just need something, suggestions for how to talk to her? Or legal avenues I can take to get her out of the picture? The child is living with us now, but my husband isn't even legally her father. She has another man's last name and I assume he's listed as the father on the birth certificate. I don't even know how to get that changed? I just really care about this child and I find myself worrying about her every time she goes to visit her mother. People keep telling us we need a lawyer but we're not rich people by any means and we just very recently and very unexpectedly had this 11 year old addition to our household and she owned NOTHING, we've had to go out and buy her a whole new wardrobe, still working on getting her furniture, not to mention we now need a bigger vehicle to seat us all, and the house we were planning on buying in the next year or two? Well, it needs to be bigger now! Someone told me that you can get "family lawyer" for free no matter where you live but I'm not sure how much they'd handle or how to even find them?

Oh, and I know I can't REALLY get her out of the picture, I'd be happy with supervised visitation. I mean, as happy as I can be, legally. ;)

by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 12:30 AM
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Replies (1-7):
Zamaria
by Silver Member on Apr. 7, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Been in a similar situation. First, are you positive that he is her bio dad? If not 100% sure, get a DNA test. You can order one online from GFI laboratories for around 80$. It's the same lab used for court ordered testing. Just a lot cheaper. Second step would be (assuming he is the bio dad) contacting the health department to find out how to get her birth certificate amended. Easiest way is to have bio mom meet you and DH there and sign paperwork together. If she won't comply, you'll have to get a court order and probably another DNA test, which will cost 500-700$ on average, because the samples will have to follow the chain of custody in order to be admissible in most courts. The judge may accept the results you already have though. You just never know. Usually though, if BM is denying that your DH is the father and DNA proves otherwise, the court will order her to pay for it. After paternity is established and his name is on the birth certificate, he and BM will have equal rights to the child until the court orders otherwise. Which means that if DH doesn't want BM to take her at all he doesn't have to let her until she takes him to court and a judge tells him otherwise. But it also means that if BM picks her up, she doesn't have to bring her back until a judge orders it. So you will want to file for temporary custody or guardianship while you are waiting for a court date. you should look up legal aid in your local phone book. If you call them before BM knows about it they should be able to help. But if she calls and asks for their help before you do, they can't help you both because it's a conflict of interest. If they can't help you, look for a good family attorney that will take payments. And try calling child protective services. They may be able to direct you to a family lawyer. Also, you need to document EVERYTHING. When BM takes her, when she doesn't show, what happens after the visit, what SD says about it, medical issues, behavior issues, if BM is late, if she's early, EVERYTHING. Also take you SD to the doctor if you see any signs of stress. This could be fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, nausea, hair chewing or pulling, my SS was biting the skin off his thumbs, I knew a child who pulled her eyebrows and lashes out. Anything that happens frequently after a stressful situation. If seeing BM is stressful, talk to the doctor about it. Make sure they are documenting what you are telling them. Their records can be subpoenaed and often a good doctor will testify in court themselves. My SS's doctor offered to do so. Good luck! It can be tough, but stick with it! It'll pay off in the end!
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auroragold
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 6:50 AM

So - - how did your husband get custody of the child?

Wyldbutterfly
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 7:38 AM

I'm not sure legally what you can do. Zamaria gave you some advice to follow.

Did she just drop her daughter off and not come back?

psych_mom
by on Apr. 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Zamaria gave some great advice. Find out if he is the bio-father 100%. If he isn't you can still file for guardianship if she is living in a bad situation with her BM and her BM just abandoned her with you guys.

little_mama83
by on Apr. 8, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Thanks for the advice! My husband will be calling the health department tomorrow and I guess we'll go from there! As for how she's living with us now, her mom sent her to live with us because she "couldn't handle her" anymore. She was originally supposed to come stay with us over the summer so we could help "straighten her out" but about a week after we decided on that her mom called and said she was going to have her hospitalized, so we took her in right away. It's really not ideal because we had planned on having a bedroom ready for her and a vehicle we could all fit in comfortably but now she's having to sleep on the couch and we all squeeze into my Maxima (hubby, myself, two children in car seats and now of course my stepdaughter), we just really didn't think she needed to be institutionalized because we figured most of her problems were just having a shitty mom.

She really opened up to me after I picked her up this weekend and I found out a lot of stuff I suspected but had no real proof of (about her mom using and selling drugs). She let me know that she doesn't want to have to live with her mom unless her mom gets away from her current "friends" and straightens up. I'm kind of hoping her mom doesn't suspect any of this because I think she pretty much hates me and I'm afraid she'll be less willing to sign something saying my husband is the father if she knows where we all stand.

It's all just such a mess right now, I'll probably be on here a lot!

psych_mom
by on Apr. 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM

If you don't want the mom to know anything then for now don't say anything to the daughter or mother. Just take the legal steps that you can without her.

Quoting little_mama83:

Thanks for the advice! My husband will be calling the health department tomorrow and I guess we'll go from there! As for how she's living with us now, her mom sent her to live with us because she "couldn't handle her" anymore. She was originally supposed to come stay with us over the summer so we could help "straighten her out" but about a week after we decided on that her mom called and said she was going to have her hospitalized, so we took her in right away. It's really not ideal because we had planned on having a bedroom ready for her and a vehicle we could all fit in comfortably but now she's having to sleep on the couch and we all squeeze into my Maxima (hubby, myself, two children in car seats and now of course my stepdaughter), we just really didn't think she needed to be institutionalized because we figured most of her problems were just having a shitty mom.

She really opened up to me after I picked her up this weekend and I found out a lot of stuff I suspected but had no real proof of (about her mom using and selling drugs). She let me know that she doesn't want to have to live with her mom unless her mom gets away from her current "friends" and straightens up. I'm kind of hoping her mom doesn't suspect any of this because I think she pretty much hates me and I'm afraid she'll be less willing to sign something saying my husband is the father if she knows where we all stand.

It's all just such a mess right now, I'll probably be on here a lot!


Barabell
by on Apr. 8, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I have no idea, sorry. I just want to wish you and your husband good luck.

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