She didn't move *just* to be with her SO
Why did she move, and why did she make the conscious choice to not take her children with her (of course, I personally would have an issue with that because I believe that unless a parent is a truely destructive person, they deserve the opportunity to be in their childrens' lives).
I have never heard of the lack of temporary custody orders being an issue in enrolling a child in school. Why is that the case?
Why can't she live near her STBX? Is there an opportunity for them to live near where he lives?
I'm sorry, but this is a real mess. I feel for those kids--no predictability, no schedule, not knowing what will happen in the future. Your daughter needs to get her act together and determine that parenting comes before romance.
I can not see ONE SCHOOL in the entire US denying enrollment because custody orders weren't in place. "Sorry, your enrollment request is denied due to lack of permanent custody orders". Seriously?
They are going to leave those kids right where they are.
And as far as them not being in school, I think kindergarten, though most states have kindergarten programs, it's not MANDATORY attendance until 1st grade.
Marriages that start this way, stepping over the bodies of loved ones as the giddy couple walks down the aisle, are not likely to last.
It's been quite a while since I registered my kids for public school and at the time I was married. But possibly the form asks if you are divorced/separated, and if so do you have custody orders establishing where the children legally reside?
Someone in this needs to see past themselves in order to see what is actually best for the kids. Until that happens, the damage being caused will continue.
First as it stands now *neither* have legal custody, temp or otherwise. The current arrangement was due to circumstances, namely, OW was a "friend" of DD's and they were helping her out by letting her and her son stay with them. stbxSIL (I'll call him J just to make things easier) and OW started their EA/PA which understandably made the situation intolerable to DD. Yes she may have been too hasty in her decision to leave but it was her choice. She came to live with us and we just did not have the room for her *and* the kids. If we had, the situation would be very different.
Second, it's natural to assume that since J has the kids, he is their primary caregiver. That point can be debated. If he's following his usual pattern, that responsibility has been handed over to his aunt. He did this with us, with my sister and with his mother. His attitude seems to be "It's your house so my kids are *your* responsibility." When he tried it with us, H called him on it. Actually called both of them on it as DD was taking advantage of the situation as well. However, DD started stepping up to the plate. J on the other hand got pissed. Like how DARE my H expect him to take care of his own kids?
J is very good at blameshifting and playing the victim. Everyone who has taken them in has also asked (or told) them to leave mainly because of J's attitude. When my sister had had enough of it my DD apologized to her. My sister wouldn't have minded so much if J had just stepped up and been a parent instead of expecting my sister to do it. Same with us.
As for his employment history, I know of at least two jobs he could have kept but didn't. One was at a landscaping place and he "had" to quit. Why? Because in his mind, he wasn't getting the preferential treatment he felt he deserved. He was the new guy and it was a family-owned business. The second was where I work. He got fired for punching someone. Was it his fault? According to J, nope, it wasn't. The guy had made an insensitive, even mean comment about DD so J punched him. BUT, according to J, this guy got him fired.
When they've been asked to leave by whoever they've been staying with, his attitude is in no way at fault, by his logic. It's *their* fault because they have a problem with it and he shouldn't be expected to adjust it. Like I said, typical unremorseful wayward bullcrap. I see it clearly because I indulged in it myself once upon a time. No doubt he blames DD entirely for his EA/PA which BTW resulted in an OC.
As far as visitation, he decided when and how long DD could see them because he knew she didn't have access to reliable transportation. Yes, we have a vehicle but it's not exactly top-of-the-line, straight off the showroom floor. It's a 20 year old van with not so minor issues. H puts 140 miles/week on it just taking me to work (I ride the bus home) and there were serious concerns about it being able to make at least a 100 mile round trip on a regular basis. J knew this and took advantage of it. And after a while it became obvious (to me at least) that he wouldn't bring the kids unless he got something out of it. He usually asked (demanded?) gas money in return. No real problem. What's a tank of gas to being able to spend time with the grandkids? The main problem, again, was his attitude and the implication that he shouldn't even be asked to absorb some of the cost of transportation. By asking gas money, he put me and H on the spot. I doubt his bringing the kids was done out of the kindness of his heart or because he acknowledged that the kids would like to or need to see their mother.
HIOI, I do believe that's the problem with the school issue. They're separated but neither has court ordered custody. Neither is recognized (legally) as primary caregiver and the school evidently requires such documentation.
Holly, yes the kids are being used as pawns but not, I think, by DD. While I don't think J would mistreat them he *would* use them to get what he wants. He's used them before when trying to play the guilt card. I can definately see him using them to get back at DD. After all, he has an A, she moved on and he's pissed about that. We've both seen this scenario here on SI. WS chooses the AP but fully expects the BS to wait for them in case they change their minds. When the BS doesn't, they get vengeful and will use anything or anyone, including kids, to "get even". This is what I'm convinced J is doing at least in part.
On DD's part, she wants the kids because they're her kids, not because she wants to "win". She loves those kids. I know she stepped up to the plate when H called her on it. While she was here and had the kids *she* was the parent. She made sure they were fed, she was the one who bathed them, dressed them and put them to bed. Yes, I helped, usually right after bath time and the ocassional diaper change but most grandmothers will. If they did something they knew they shouldn't, she was the one who called them on it. And she made sure they knew that it was Papaw's and Mamaw's house so it was our rules. J's attitude was "Your house, not my problem."
Sorry this turned into a novel of sorts but I wanted to give a more complete picture and clarify a few points.
All affairs are variations on a theme. No one has 'Beethoven's 5th' to everyone else's 'Chopsticks'.
Frankly, it sounds like both of them are selfish and entitled. And in all honesty, why should he shoulder the expense of carting the kids to your place for visitation when it was your daughter that chose to move so far away?
I think your daughter is due for a little tough love and a large dose of consequences. If she were smart, she would move close to the kids and start being involved in their lives and activities. Unless she does, it is my opinion that he will get custody, largely due to her choices.
he's unable to enroll GS because of the lack of even temp orders
I do not believe that for a single minute. Because they are not D, then they are BOTH considered to be legal guardians. And even if they were D, the school really does not care who has primary custody, just that a legal guardian lives in the school zone. And in a D, both parents usually retain joint legal custody, which is why you often see kids go to school in a zone where they do not primarily live. What the school needs is a birth certificate and proof of residency. So if any of the kids are of school age (preK is not considered school age; K is in some states but not others) then you need to call the authorities and report it.
As far as the courts go, they will look at the status quo and the status quo is that the kids have been in the custody of their father for 2 years. Your DD would have to prove abuse or woeful neglect to have a chance. A child not being in school may be considered woeful neglect.
The courts don't care which person in a household actually cares for the kids, they care about where the kids live. If the courts cared about who feeds them and gives them baths, then custody would be routinely awarded to nannies and babysitters, but that does not happen. The courts also won;t care about his job history. Whatever it was, he has managed to take care of the kids for 2 years so it simply will not matter.
Honestly, I think your DD has a snowballs chance in hell of getting awarded custody in the current circumstances.
Perhaps I'm hoping against hope on this. All I know for sure is if J gets custody, I've lost my grandkids. In all this time he's not offered *even once* to bring them here to visit. I doubt he would even if they asked. Strike that. I *know* he wouldn't. He's a self-entitled dick who'll do what he wants regardless of who it affects.
The courts will call it that and I would bet the kids feel like they've been abandoned. I know we did when mom left to be with her BF. They may never voice it, but the belief that mom didn't love them enough to stay will be heavy on their hearts.
In the current situation, I believe there is also the revenge factor on his part. If he thinks someone wronged him, then he'll cut them out of his life and, by extension, the kids' lives. His mom wronged him, we wronged him, my sister and DD wronged him by not putting up with his bull. At least in his mind. He's been told he needs to step up to the plate and be responsible for his kids and he's usually responded with a "F*ck you" attitude. That's what I meant when I said he's probably handed responsibility for the kids over to his aunt. That way he can do what he wants and know the kids are being cared for. It's about what he wants, not what the kids need. Sound familiar? I think, with this attitude, he'll take getting custody as he gets to decide visitation. He'll refuse if it's not convenient for him or if he just doesn't feel like letting her see them. Despite what the court says.
Maybe it's just me but all the constant moving around would be unsettling. Not knowing with any certainty where they'll be month to month.
As for feelings of abandonment, IDK. I was essentially abandoned by my mother. After a few years, I didn't particularly want a relationship with her. I never really wondered why she didn't come see me when she could and I think I grieved her passing, not because she was my mother but because what could have been wasn't. But as for the kids, they may feel that way but they may also understand on some level that DD didn't *want* to leave them, but felt she had little choice at the time.
Not sure how that would work in other states, but it seems that if they are still legally married, without temporary orders, either parent would have the legal right to enroll the child. Just as they would if they weren't headed for divorce. Color me confused...
Bottom line is I know the court will decide what *it* thinks is in the kids' best interest. If that means they stay with J, then that's what it is. I don't have to like it, DD doesn't have to like it. But, if that's the result then I can see J trying to use it to deny DD visitation, even though legally he can't.
Call whatever authority is supposed to be called and make a report that there is a child who is not going to school.
Second -- I think the chances of your DD getting anything more than minimal custody are very slim. NONE of what you wrote about the situation is going to matter. He can't keep a job and moves around a lot. So what? He lets *others* be responsible for caring for the kids. So what? It doesn't sound as if his irresponsibility is a *new* development. #1 -- If he is such an irresponsible guy, then why did your DD have not one, not two, but three kids with him??
And #2 is a biggie -- your DD LEFT HER CHILDREN. She didn't just move around the block or across town. She.Left.The.State. And she didn't just move across the state line. She.Moved three(!) states away. AND left her children with this guy who is supposedly completely irresponsible.
If you want to remain a part of your grandchildren's lives, then tell your DD to move her ass back into the town where her children live and start being a damn mom to them.
I am *cringing* every time I read that your SIL is being vengeful because your DD has *moved on*. I can understand that when she found out about your SIL's affair she may have made some unwise decisions in the moment -- but it has been 2 years! And she has *recovered* enough to *find* love again. Too bad she didn't *find* her kids first.......
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
As for us being a part of the grandkids' lives, our hands ate tied. If SIL gets custody (as seems to be the consensus) then we have no way of contacting him to try to make arrangements for visits. Yes, we could ask DD for the information she has but there is zero guarantee that it would be current or how long it would remain current. There is also no guarantee that he would keep DD up to date on his residency.
Thanks for your input everyone. I guess I was hoping to find *something* that would tip the scales in DD's favor but I guess it isn't there.
Sadly, I agree, the court is not going to care about SIL's personality and character flaws. I don't believe your DD will get anything but visitation, living so far away.
I'm so sorry for you and your husband, though.
I'm just saying that IMO he's not emotionally mature enough to really handle being a parent.
Sounds to me that he has been taking care of them for two years.
And softly, that is far more emotionally mature than to move 3 states away from your children, regardless of the reason. Just my opinion but I could not even imagine a good enough reason for me to move away from my children to a place that meant I could not see them like I do now. Noway nohow. Certainly not to be with a SO.
[This message edited by dontknowwhyme at 3:02 PM, November 11th (Monday)]
Well, we should be getting word one way or the other. I'll keep you updated if you want.