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djb1850

How can I stop 3rd party interference

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My child support and child custody order was done in Fort Wayne, IN, my sons father lives in Maineville, Ohio. Over the past 8 years I have dealt with continual third party interference from my sons step mother. I have numerous text messages and emails, and have endured verbal abuse and harassment from the father and his wife when it comes to our visitation order. We exercise Indiana's rule for visitation "when distance is a factor", but they often force and bully me into giving them more time, they speak negatively about me to my son, and I give in to keep down arguments and keep the environment safe and drama free for my son. My son will be 12 in 2 weeks and they are trying to force him to move to Ohio with them in 2 years when he goes to high school. They do things like tell him if he lives with them he can do this or have that, or if he stays with me, his 5 year old sister will be sad ( he has a younger sister that me and my husband just had as well). My son has informed them he does not want to leave his family here, friends, school, etc. I am not allowed to make decisions with the father, they require that the step mother be involved. What can I do to stop this? I also recently learned that my sons father may also be making upwards of an additional $45,000 a year ( which explains why he didn't want me to go to court to lower his support when I got a new job making $10,000 more than the order), but am scared this will become physical, or the verbal abuse etc. will continue if I seek out a modification.

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They do things like tell him . . . if he stays with me, his 5 year old sister will be sad ( he has a younger sister that me and my husband just had as well).

 

This doesn't make any sense.  Obviously, we're talking about a half-sister, but it's hard to understand how your ex-husband and his wife would know how your and your husband's daughter might feel or why the child would be sad because your son remains living with you.

 

 

 

What can I do to stop this?

 

Your post isn't really clear what exactly is happening.  First of all, where your son lives is not up to him until he reaches the age of majority (18 in both Indiana and Ohio), so if your ex wants a custody change before then, he'll have to ask the court to modify the existing order.  Beyond that, the only thing that's clear is the part about "speak[ing] negatively" about you.  If your custody order doesn't have a provision that prohibits that sort of thing, you're free to seek a modification.

 

Please elaborate if you're so inclined.  Otherwise, consult with a local family law attorney.

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To the first reply,  they are speaking on the feelings of his half sister with them. They have a 5 year old and my husband and I have a 7 month old. They are constantly telling him his sister will be sad if he doesn't choose to live with them, etc.

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to Findlaw_FN, my court order does not give the step mother the right to do anything, but they refuse to make any decisions or anything without her input. They believe that she has equal say in our childs life etc. and that she is his mother just as I am. I am not allowed to pick the camps he attends there when with them for the summer, even though I pay for them. She signs him up for things without my knowledge, has requested things from his school etc. without my permission etc. I just do it to keep down confusion, and drama for my son. When my ex refuses to communicate, sometimes she is the only one I can get information to or from. When my ex travels for work for weeks during the summer when my son is there, they refuse to allow him to come home to have time with me, saying that he needs time with his step mother and sister there.

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This doesn't make any sense.  Obviously, we're talking about a half-sister, but it's hard to understand how your ex-husband and his wife would know how your and your husband's daughter might feel or why the child would be sad because your son remains living with you.

 

 

 

 

Your post isn't really clear what exactly is happening.  First of all, where your son lives is not up to him until he reaches the age of majority (18 in both Indiana and Ohio), so if your ex wants a custody change before then, he'll have to ask the court to modify the existing order.  Beyond that, the only thing that's clear is the part about "speak[ing] negatively" about you.  If your custody order doesn't have a provision that prohibits that sort of thing, you're free to seek a modification.

 

Please elaborate if you're so inclined.  Otherwise, consult with a local family law attorney.

If my ex goes back to court, can a judge grant his request even if my son doesn't want to go? There is no legal reason for the court to take away my custody. He is a great kid, never been in trouble, in academic honors programs, taking 7th grade classes in the 6th grade, all under my care, so what grounds would a judge grant my ex custody? He simply wants our son to come live with him so he can "make a man out of him" and teach him things. Well he gets him one weekend out of the month( we live over 350 miles away), we alternate holidays etc, and 6 weeks out of the summer, which I have been bullied into giving them 8 over the last 3 years. he can teach him things at those times. I have done all of the ground work for 12 years, plus my husband can teach him things as well.

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djb1850,

 

Can you clarify the step-wife's authority here. Your court order states that she must be involved in decisions regarding your son?

 

The FindLaw.com Team

to Findlaw_FN, my court order does not give the step mother the right to do anything, but they refuse to make any decisions or anything without her input. They believe that she has equal say in our childs life etc. and that she is his mother just as I am. I am not allowed to pick the camps he attends there when with them for the summer, even though I pay for them. She signs him up for things without my knowledge, has requested things from his school etc. without my permission etc. I just do it to keep down confusion, and drama for my son. When my ex refuses to communicate, sometimes she is the only one I can get information to or from. When my ex travels for work for weeks during the summer when my son is there, they refuse to allow him to come home to have time with me, saying that he needs time with his step mother and sister there.

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my court order does not give the step mother the right to do anything, but they refuse to make any decisions or anything without her input.

 

Your ex is completely within his rights to refuse to make decisions without getting his wife's input (or, for that matter, input from his mother, his dog, and/or his psychic).

 

 

 

If my ex goes back to court, can a judge grant his request even if my son doesn't want to go?

 

Yes.  What the child wants/doesn't want is something the court will typically take into consideration if the child is at least 12 (roughly, and depending on the child's reasons and demonstrated level of maturity).  However, the child's wishes are neither the sole or most important factor.

 

 

 

what grounds would a judge grant my ex custody?

 

It would be pointless for me or anyone else here to speculate.  Absent a clear showing that a custody change would be in the child's best interests, most (if not all) courts will default to preserving the status quo.

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Your ex is completely within his rights to refuse to make decisions without getting his wife's input (or, for that matter, input from his mother, his dog, and/or his psychic).

 

 

 

 

Yes.  What the child wants/doesn't want is something the court will typically take into consideration if the child is at least 12 (roughly, and depending on the child's reasons and demonstrated level of maturity).  However, the child's wishes are neither the sole or most important factor.

 

 

 

 

It would be pointless for me or anyone else here to speculate.  Absent a clear showing that a custody change would be in the child's best interests, most (if not all) courts will default to preserving the status quo.

I am aware he can get input from whomever, just as I can, but what is happening is he is allowing her to make decisions on his behalf, I am not allowed to talk to him, only her, and he will only talk to my husband as they are men and men should only talk to men is his belief. He demands that she be listed on my sons medical info, school info etc.

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djb1850,

 

When you say "you are not allowed" are you saying that you choose not to do something in order to keep things peaceful or that you are actually forbidden(legally or otherwise) from doing something?

 

As long as nothing illegal is being done or in violation of a court order, there isn't much you can do but try to be more assertive in the situation and stick to the court order. You have direction and control over your child, she does not. Often times parents threaten each other with child custody suits but as pg1067 points out, the status quo is usually kept intact barring some significant reason to change it.

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djb1850,

 

When you say "you are not allowed" are you saying that you choose not to do something in order to keep things peaceful or that you are actually forbidden(legally or otherwise) from doing something?

 

As long as nothing illegal is being done or in violation of a court order, there isn't much you can do but try to be more assertive in the situation and stick to the court order. You have direction and control over your child, she does not. Often times parents threaten each other with child custody suits but as pg1067 points out, the status quo is usually kept intact barring some significant reason to change it.

No I mean they literally refuse to allow me any input on the camps. I tried to look up camps in their area with my son that he stated he wanted to attend and we presented them to them, in an effort for us to work together. I was sent a very nasty email from my ex's wife stating that I do not have a right to do so, they will pick whatever camps they want etc. They picked one that was $800 per week and I got an earful when I said I could not afford it. They believe that the $1000 a month I receive in child support should be used solely for the camps while he is there with them. Forgetting the fact that child support covers clothing, household expenses, school fees, sports fees etc.

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djb1850,

 

They may be crossing a line with those directives. What exactly does your child custody order say about decision making regarding your son?

It simply states we have joint legal custody. She is not mentioned. However, in the court hearing I informed the judge at that time of her interference and the judge informed my ex that he needed to get his wife under control. That hasn't worked.

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Unfortunately for you, what you've described is not illegal.  He has every right to "allow[] her to make decisions on his behalf" and to refuse to talk to you and insist that you communicate with him through his wife (or by your husband contacting him).  No reason to think he can enforce "demands that she be listed on [your] sons medical info, school info etc.," but there's also no reason to think you can prevent it (absent a further court order) if the doctor(s) and/or school will allow it.  As far as summer camps, if those things are happening while he's visiting with his father, then his father likely gets the final say.  If you're required by the divorce decree to contribute to the cost, then you're likely stuck, but if it doesn't require you to contribute, then you're free not to do so unless you are allowed input.

 

At the end of the day, it seems to me that a return to the court to have something more specific than an admonishment to "get [your] wife under control" is probably in order.

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Unfortunately for you, what you've described is not illegal.  He has every right to "allow[] her to make decisions on his behalf" and to refuse to talk to you and insist that you communicate with him through his wife (or by your husband contacting him).  No reason to think he can enforce "demands that she be listed on [your] sons medical info, school info etc.," but there's also no reason to think you can prevent it (absent a further court order) if the doctor(s) and/or school will allow it.  As far as summer camps, if those things are happening while he's visiting with his father, then his father likely gets the final say.  If you're required by the divorce decree to contribute to the cost, then you're likely stuck, but if it doesn't require you to contribute, then you're free not to do so unless you are allowed input.

 

At the end of the day, it seems to me that a return to the court to have something more specific than an admonishment to "get [your] wife under control" is probably in order.

Thank you for your responses. I have tried to work with them and foster a better parenting partnership, but it is not working. I plan to meet with a lawyer soon.

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djb1850,

 

I think clarity through the courts may go a long way here. If you need help searching for an Indiana Child Custody attorney you can try this link. If you have any further questions about the process, please feel free to continue to post your questions here.

 

The FindLaw.com Team

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djb1850,

 

I think clarity through the courts may go a long way here. If you need help searching for an Indiana Child Custody attorney you can try this link. If you have any further questions about the process, please feel free to continue to post your questions here.

 

The FindLaw.com Team

thank you very much

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This is an old topic so I hope you got this settled peacefully. But if not here’s what we did: Go back to court and ask your order to specify that no negative comments and parents not alllow negative comments by 3rd parties. You can print out harrasing emails/texts from Stepmom and slap them on attachments to a declaration that asks for all communication between mom and dad only on Talking Parents (which is a court approved online communication forum) unless it’s an emergency. This won’t stop Stepmom from butting in but this is the only site that the courts consider leagslly reliable and you can download and print out messages (they are marked read once a parent opens them) to use in court if necessary. Yes each parent has the right to consult step parents, but communication must be between mom and dad, and it’s up to you to fight for that boundary. Yes using online communication is a pain but when stepparents don’t understand boundaries, it’s necessary. Also, no one can bully you if you don’t let them. Stay firm and don’t pay for more than anything you are court ordered to pay unless there is a respectful communication from dad and you are allowed to pick up your son too. Lastly, see an experienced family therapist who specializes in parallel parenting (for high conflict situations where co parenting isn’t working) 

Our Family therapist has been amazing for my husband and I and has given us guidance on how to minimize any damage to my stepdaughter from our side since we have No control over Mom and Stepdad’s behavior. 

Good luck 

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