stepmom and biodad in desperate need of custody advice

Kaitlynn - posted on 09/13/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My fiance and I are very concerned with his daughters well being. He has joint custody with his ex-wife and the only reason he didn't fight for primary custody was his lawyer told him he'd never get it. We're concerned because his daughter has failed every year of school but her BM has pushed her through to the next grade every year, this year she started 3rd grade. She comes to us for Christmas and summer every year. In between those times BM won't let her talk to her dad, won't tell him if she has to have any medical care, for example the CAT scan we found out about after she used his insurance for it, and BM just took him to court to try and cut him out almost completely. She wanted him to only get 5 weeks a year with his daughter. Her justification being that she doesn't get enough time with his daughter to help her with school and that's why she's failing.
I don't believe that's the case at all. His daughter has told us that her stepdad spanks her and she's got a scar on her forehead that she doesn't remember getting but BM makes her wear bangs to cover it. When we questioned BM about it her exact words were "She lies. She lies all the time. She just wants attention. Stop giving in to her." To me that just sends up a huge red flag, most moms don't say their kids lie, most moms get irate if you don't believe their kids. His daughter is also TERRIFIED of police officers. I mean shaking scared. She says its because BM tells her they'll arrest her. Her pediatrician here says she has a learning disability and needs to be screened but BM won't do it. BM wouldn't even let his daughter wear glasses when the doc said she needed them. And BM won't get her an updated prescription after we took his daughter to get glasses a couple years ago. My fiance also cannot access his daughters school records, the reason the school board gave him is that her mother is the only custodial parent they have on file. He also has had to call the police dept where BM lives to have them do a health and welfare check on his daughter cause its been weeks since he's heard from her. And BM lies to the police about it, saying he does get to talk to her he's just trying to cause problems. BM also doesn't allow his daughter to have a choice in anything. Not even her clothes. BM flat out tells his daughter she doesn't have a choice. And the final thing is his daughter absolutely NEVER gets passionate about anything, most kids will have various types of tantrums about things they really really want, his daughter never does she just backs down and gives up. The only time she ever even cries is when she tells her dad bye and has to go back to her BM. She does not cry when she leaves her BM and BEGS us not to make her talk to BM when BM calls while she's here.
What can we do to try and get her switched to our primary care? So that hopefully we can help her. Any advice?

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Kaitlynn - posted on 09/13/2013

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Yes, they have joint custody, and the joint custody statutes for our state stipulate that both parents are ensured access to all pertinent records of their common child(ren). But its not specifically laid out no...just that his daughter must attend public schooling to prevent her mother homeschooling her. I wasn't sure about parenting classes cause we took one when we found out we were going to have a baby together, but it didn't seem like it would do much good in terms of his daughter.

Becca - posted on 09/13/2013

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Is it written in any paperwork that he is allowed to have access to the paperwork and if she isn't letting him talk to his daughter then she isn't following the order! The reason why I said parenting classes is because if or when you get custody of her she is going to have a lot to work on. Parenting classes aren't just for "bad" parents. They help with ways to handle different things that can come up. Co parenting classes is so you can learn ways to co parent with mother. It also shows the judge that you want what is best for the child.

Kaitlynn - posted on 09/13/2013

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He's supposed to have one hour of phone time a week and he tries daily to call. He can't request an IEP because he's not allowed access to her school stuff not even to communicate with her teachers but he is supposed to have access to all of her records. They just got a new visitation schedule set down by the court this summer. So far BM is following it but it hasn't come time to switch again yet, so we don't know yet. He has a wage order but he never missed a payment before that. BM just wanted that because their original agreement said she didn't get paid if he has his daughter, the wage order means she gets paid year round. Why parenting classes?

Becca - posted on 09/13/2013

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If she is falling behind in school and failing school and they requested that she should have an IEP done and BM refused to allow that to happen it is called educational neglect. Does the father and mother have visitation schedule and if so is BM following these. Is he suppose to be able to call her? Is he suppose to be able to have school records and medical records. If so then she could be held in contempt of court. He needs to file paperwork asking for custody and hold her in contempt of court. Most states will get a GAL ( which is a lawyer for the child) While you are starting to get the paperwork ready for that you need to go to parenting class and co parenting classes. If he is paying child support he needs to make sure his payments are up to date. If he is suppose to be able to contact her. Make sure he is attempting to contact her. Have copy of phone records. Write everything down. EVERY single time something happens write it down. Good luck momma

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