Amber - posted on 07/29/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )
My husband left me 2 years ago for a woman that he met on the internet. When he left, he left me with our 3 children and moved 2000 miles away. Frankly, things were REALLY bad. I was relieved once he was gone.
He has not helped financially with the children at all. He has not visited them. He has barely kept in touch (but he has called and tells them he loves them).
We are not divorced. I am scared to file for divorce.
Here is the catch: One of my 3 children isn't biologically mine. She is my step daughter. She will be 13 in September. I've had her since she was 3. I am the only mom she knows. She loves me and doesn't want to go anywhere. I am the ONLY reason he was able to gain custody of her so many years ago and I have been providing for all her needs every since. (Her bio mother has lost custody of other children since due to severe addiction and has nothing to do with my daughter).
I am scared. Every time I ask my ex for help he threatens to take her away from me... EXAMPLE: I haven't asked him for support, but for the second year in a row I've asked if he can help me with school clothes. His response is "Yeah, I'll help you with school clothes by giving you one less kid to buy for." He hasn't even SEEN her for 2 years and she tells him that she doesn't want to leave.
He knows in his heart that this is the best place for her. He knows that she belongs with me and her siblings. MY KIDS ARE VERY BONDED to EACHOTHER AND TO ME... Taking one away would be like cutting her in half. HE KNOWS THIS, but he is a very selfish and resentful man. He would take her on impulse out of anger and not think to weigh the consequences.
So, I find myself in a complicated position. I am afraid to file for divorce or child support and nervous that he will get mad one day and take her out of spite.
He doesn't have any space for her. He doesn't have the means or ability to take care of her. He doesn't even have a job. It angers me that he is able to live his life, strutting around doing whatever he wants without ever having to take personal accountability.
I am a working single mom. I am doing the best I can and will continue to do so, but my income is just enough to do that.... There is no extra money for legal counsel or help. There is very little time to research and find answers on my own- and frankly I just don't know WHERE to look! I live in a very small town in North Central Florida and my ex is living in New Hampshire (I don't know if demographics are important, but do know there are different laws in different states).
I am a really good mom.... I love my children bigger than life and will do whatever it takes to prioritize them, to keep them safe, to keep them smiling and happy. I hate living with this dark cloud looming over us and would appreciate ANY suggestions or advice that could be offered. Please?
Thank you so much.