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spareparts posted 7/9/2013 03:02 AM

Hiya all

Quick question, perhaps aimed at mothers, perhaps not. When my XWW moved out, she moved into a smaller house, meaning my step daughter (who are now 13 and 8) went from having their own room to sharing a room. I took a fairly large financial blow but made sure to keep our existing house providing them with their own rooms.

I pick all 3 kids up (including my DS4 there) pretty much every day from childcare, and my DSD13 always walks to my house as it is closer to school, her friends and the town centre. I also have the kids every weekend as my XWW works weekends, so I spent a lot of time with the kids.

The arrangement we originally had, which is not enforced or court agreed at this stage, was that XWW had the kids for 4 nights a week and I had them for 3. This means she has primary care and I pay her child support. That works fine for me, though I do seem to feed them every day, and also as I have them all weekends seem to have to spend time finding things to do! Which sometimes is not easy with the age differences but we always enjoy ourselves.

Recently thought my DD13 has started just staying at my house, this is no problem to me. I can see why she may do it (own room with en-suite, closer to school, closer to friends etc). And I think in the past month she has stayed at her mothers house 2 nights...

Now my understanding is that my XWW is a bit upset about this, she hasn't said too much, but I've been asked to "send her back" on some occasions. Now i've said to DD13 that her mum would also like to see her, but I don't feel that I want to turn around and say "you have to go home to your mum" because well she has had enough up heaval and I really don't want her feeling she is not welcome at our home or that I want to get rid of her. I mean in honesty if I could work it with my job I'd have all 3 of them living with me permenantly as I enjoy having them around.

Also she is 13 (going on 17) and probably values her independance in my house, but at the same time I don't want to be the one standing in the way of her mother and her's relationship. So should I be sending her home if she doesn't want to go? Its not like she is kicking and screaming, I just ask what she is doing and she says "i'm staying here".

To clarify my step daughter and I have, in my opinion, a great relationship. I'm the one she seems to turn to, I'm also the one whom she decided to tell when it was first "that time of the month" and who had to run out get pads! So I also don't want to ruin that either. Her real "dad" has not been in the picture since she was 2, (ironically he had affairs on my XWW and she threw him out) and I'm the only dad she has known since she was 4. So as far as I am concerned both her and her sister are my girls.

Just curious as to if anyone else having been in this situation have done?


Phoenix1 posted 7/9/2013 06:01 AM

I don't have that situation, but in my state the court will consider the wishes of the child at age 12 so she would be old enough to decide where she wants to live, and the fact that you are not the bio father should have no bearing. You are "dad" in her eyes in every sense of the word.

If you are on amicable terms with XWW I would discuss it to come to terms, keeping the child's best interest in mind (which is what the court wants). If being with you is closer to school, friends, etc. and she continues to thrive well in that environment then perhaps it is in her best interest to let her decide.

Athena1979 posted 7/9/2013 06:15 AM

Wow! You're a great dad!

Good for you!

When my parents divorced, I was 14. I got to choose what I wanted to do.

I didn't want to do visitations with my dad because it was too stressful for me. I had counseling and stuff, but I still couldn't handle it. So I didn't have to go anymore.

It was my choice who I wanted to live with too.

I'm not sure what the court would say about you not being bio dad. You would probably have to show all the proof of how you have been the only dad for her.

I would wonder why the daughter is choosing to stay with you now. But I agree that it's probably because of independence and growing up.

Be careful with this. When I went through this, I started asking to live with my dad (I just didn't like visitations). But it was only because I didn't like my moms rules.

The first thing I would tell her is that she must show respect her mother. And then tell her, that you love her very much and enjoy the extra time with her.

This isn't to drive her away, but to make sure that as she begins adolescence, she still respects authority and isn't making her own rules.

If a change is to be made, you should talk to XWW to come up with a new arrangement.

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