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SO's DD14 living with us...visitation/parenting question

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hexed posted 1/7/2014 16:25 PM

My SO has recently received emergency custody of his 13 nearly 14yr old DD which means she is living with us.

SO's XWW originally agreed to relinquish custody to him with the stipulation that DD have a one on one meeting with her last weekend and then EOW. DD14 refused. This leaves the agreement somewhat murky.

Back story on this is that the step-father is royal ass to DD14 and the XWW is complicit with the step father and in fact encourages the verbal abuse and near physical abuse by the step father. The weekend before Christmas SO got a hysterical phone call from her during which he over hear a completely unacceptable tirade from the step dad that included threats of violence. We ended up having to go get her that evening -- early for SO's portion the 2 week Christmas break. She refused to go home at the appointed time last week.

DD14 has been acting out dramatically since the fall term at school started -- snuck out w/a 19yr old boy, pierced nose, started flunking EVERYTHING. We've had IC actively involved with her. Part of it IC feels is normal angst/rebellion part is obviously a much bigger cry for help.

My question is this. Would you force the issue on seeing mom? I know she has to at some point but right now she is still very angry and very hurt. The IC was very firm that she did not think it was in DD14's best interest to see mom over Christmas. We will see IC again in a couple of weeks.

DD14 refuses to do overnights if step dad is in the house ever. We only have a very temporary agreement right now. The judge basically said 'figure it out' and submit something to me.

In two weeks, the mom could throw the legal hammer down and insist that she come back to her house. However the Mom told 14yr old that if she moved in with Dad that she couldn't ever move back home and won't let her have her things from her bedroom.

After a rocky start, she and I have grown pretty close. A year ago, I would not have agreed to this but now I am going in with cautious optimism.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 1/7/2014 16:28 PM

You might get better response in the D/S forum. Lots of custody issues experts there.

It sounds like mom's house is a scary, unsafe place. I would not force her to go, but I don't really have personal experience with this stuff.

[This message edited by Lucky2HaveMe at 4:31 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

gonnabe2016 posted 1/7/2014 17:43 PM

Is there a chance that your SO's step-dad has been sexually inappropriate with her? Just wonderin' based on some of what you said.

That girl's mother isn't going to win any mother of the year awards anytime soon, is she? Jesus.

Does your SO have a L? In your state, how much weight does the 14 year old's *opinion* carry? This may be a situation where a GAL would be useful....

hexed posted 1/7/2014 18:04 PM

Gonna -- I am concerned about inappropriate sexual contact but to date DD14 hasn't said anything to us or the counselor to suggest it. The guy is just a jerk. Mom useshim to yell at DD14 whenever they are unhappy with her.

I will admit that DD14 can be a challenge. She lies w/o thinking twice about it. Gets sullen and sulky if you call her out or punish her. However, her conduct with us has improved.

We had contacted a GAL after thanksgiving. The GAL met with DD14 and agreed that there was grounds for a court case. When the emergency situation came up the GAL went to court on DD14's behalf last week. SO needs a new atty to draft up the agreement.

Yeah the mom is a disaster particularly with this one of their 3 children. I asked her on Sunday if she could send some DD14's regular school clothes. We dropped of the two boys Sunday night. She sent completely useless stuff that was a year too small. The art supplies from the school backpack were taken out b/c Mom had paid for those. Way to start to mend a fence.

The mom says all sorts of awful stuff about SO. Mom managed to make it nearly impossible for visitation for almost a year so DD14 has some issues left over from that trauma. Mom won't communicate with SO unless forced or unless she's trying to manipulate something. Its just ridiculous.

All of that said, I don't think its appropriate for DD14 to avoid her for ever. UGGGH!!!

h0peless posted 1/7/2014 19:51 PM

All of that said, I don't think its appropriate for DD14 to avoid her for ever. UGGGH!!!

Why not? Do you think it's important for her to have an example of how not to treat people or something? Sometimes people are toxic, even parents, and the sooner that's recognized and the toxin is eliminated, the better.

ItHappened2Me2 posted 1/7/2014 20:01 PM

I would NOT force her to see her mom. The woman sounds toxic. What would be in the interest of the child to force her into a toxic situation?

gonnabe2016 posted 1/7/2014 20:24 PM

Hexed, the reason that I mentioned that is because his DD didn't outright refuse to see her mom. She refused to do overnights if *he* is there. Couple that with her supremely acting out behavior and now-tanking grades --> it points to sexual abuse, IMO. I could absolutely be wrong. Maybe he is just a garden-variety abusive asshole. But kids need protection and they won't give up that abuse *secret* easily.

It seems that the GAL has a brain. I'm not absolutely positive on how the whole "GAL"-thing works.....but it's my understanding that the GAL is the lawyer for the kid. That kid SHOULD be able to say what she wants to the GAL and have it protected under attorney/client privilege(?) since the GAL is the L for the kid. (any real-life L's are welcome to chime in here.....)

Odds are that if this goes to WILL get visitation time that will include overnights. UNLESS there is a really good reason for her NOT to have them.

Have your SO keep digging into this, hexed.

h0peless posted 1/7/2014 20:27 PM

The GAL is probably also a mandatory reporter. Child abuse isn't protected under attorney-client privilege. Same thing with doctors, therapists, etc.

gonnabe2016 posted 1/8/2014 10:28 AM

@hopeless.....the GAL is a mandatory reporter. I'm trying to remember what my thought process was for the point I was trying to make -- and can't come up with it right now (....hate when that happens...)

Kajem posted 1/8/2014 19:07 PM

The GAL is a mandatory reporter, doesn't mean the GAL has to ANNOUNCE anything to the court. Abuse situations can be(and usually are) handled with respect to the child involved. The situation is in family court...If abuse is alleged, it moves to criminal court..settled there (guilty or not) then the case comes back to family court for them to determine visitation. It can take YEARS to get thru the investigation, criminal court, and back to family court. By then she will likely be close to 18.

Find out what the "age of decision" is in your state. Age of decision is the age the courts take the child's wishes into consideration. In my state its 14, at that age my kid's opinion on her status carries as much weight as my opinion and as much as XH's opinion. a parent and child together can (and often do) upend the present custody/visitation schedule.

I too suspect sexual abuse, it might not be physical, but it could be threatened and she is staying away. Either way emotional abuse is taking place.... she needs a safe place to be. I'm glad she has you.

hexed posted 1/8/2014 21:58 PM

The GAL in our state does act as the child's attorney with all of the corresponding privilege. The GAL is a mandatory reporter. However in our state, the GAL and the Counselor would be obligated to inform us of suspected abuse in the other household if they thought DD14 was in jeopardy of physical harm.

14 is the age in our state when her opinion starts to carry significantly more weight however Idaho is very conservative. It does not hold as much weight as it does right next door in WA. The judge is encouraged to strongly consider the child's wishes but it isn't even close to automatic here.

Want2help posted 1/8/2014 22:49 PM

hexed, I have no solid advice, just hugs and support.

FWH and I went through this same thing with his DD when she was 13/14. Her mother's SO was barely 23-24 years old at the time, and was emotionally, physically, verbally (and allegedly sexually) abusing her.

StepD came for the weekend, and refused to go home. FWH and stepD met with the mother at a restaurant to tell her, and she flipped out, caused a big scene, and went home and dumped stepD's stuff on the lawn. Then, hours later, she took it all back and told stepD she was coming home or the cops were going to be called. She went home, and her mother bullied her into staying.

StepD went on to have SEVERE emotional problems. She became a stripper, a WW/OW pregnant with an OC, all by 19 yrs of age. I think most of them stem from the situation her mother put her in.

Hugs to you and your stepD. I would NOT make her see her mother until she is ready.

[This message edited by Want2help at 10:49 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

suckstobeme posted 1/9/2014 05:21 AM

No way. I would not push the issue of seeing mom. The IC is the professional who sees these issues on a regular basis. If she thought contact with mom was not a good idea right now, I would heed that advice.

Sure, mom can throw down a legal hammer but so can dad. Just because she has the ability to file a petition doesn't mean visitation will be granted, at least not without a fight. And, if it plays out in the courts, you may be lucky enough to get an order specifying that the boyfriend is not to be around DD when she is with her mother.

hexed posted 1/9/2014 10:13 AM

Just for clarity

Its a step dad not a boyfriend that lives with DD14 mom (SO's XWW). They are married and aren't likely to split up soon

The legal hammer that the mom has is that the judge gave the parties 2 weeks to come to a mutual agreement or the original agreement would come back in to effect until fully hearings ect could be done which would take months.

Mom can force this issue if she wants to in two weeks. I'm trying to figure out when it would be healthy if at all for DD14 to see mom. Also is it worth the stress and drama to have her see mom to try and help with short term negotiations

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