Stepmom Central

To move or not to move... That is the ?!
April 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM
Hi, I just recently rejoined cafe mom... This group has been a lifesaver in the past and I, again, need some advice ladies :) I must give you our back story in order for our latest dilemma to make sense. It may get long... But, please bare with me~ I need you ladies! ;)
I married my Husband 5 years ago... I had one Daughter who was 6. Her Father has never been involved. My new Husband, well, he had a brood lol.
He had an 11 yr old son that he'd never had contact with- but, did financially support him.
He had 2 daughters from a past engagement ... They were 10 & 8, and lived with their Mother- but, stayed with my husband every weekend and he financially supported them as well.
And, his newest addition was a 6 mo. Old daughter from a brief gf who he only saw for 6hrs every Sunday.
We dated for a year and it seemed our kids were getting along great & adjusting well. I had a blast with his girls and we decided to make it a forever family.
Once we were married & I wasn't just Dad's fun gf, and we had rules and an actual home with structure... The older girls tried to make my Husband choose them or me. My Husband, in the end, tried to explain to the girls that the weekend Dad he had been in the past wasn't good for anyone and as much as he loves them... This is the way things are and just because they don't like the new rules doesn't mean they get to make the decisions. We tried to work through the combo family issues, in the end, he has limited contact with them.
The little one started coming to our house every other weekend + when we got married. She was so little when we met, and I got to be there for all of her major firsts. She called me "Mommy" and her BM said she was ok with this. Her BM was different & obviously had different opinions on raising a child than myself... But, seemed nice & I had always tried to get along with her for our daughter. She moved a lot and dated several men, and couldn't keep a job-but, our daughter always seemed to be loved & cared for.
She had a 2nd baby when my SD was 2 and suddenly it seemed she didn't have time for her nor was she as attentive. In July, our daughter fell out of a shopping cart & broke her arm. In Aug. she was admitted to the hospital for a week- she was sick, dehydrated & had sores all over in her mouth and down her throat. I took a week off work and stayed at the hospital with my SD. Her BM only visited one evening, long enough for me to run home to shower & grab clean clothes.
When she was discharged, she came home with us to recoup. My husband stayed home another week with her. When she returned to her Mother's we had to deal with lice issues everytime she came back for about 2 months... And, finally she treated her house (THANK GOD!) Then, In December, she acquired Pneumonia and couldn't shake it. In part, due to BM not staying on top of her meds & Nebulizers. She came to our home with such a horrible diaper rash, on another occasion & I took her to Urgent Care & they treated her for a Staph infection. The next issue we had was in February, BM called to tell us her Mother & the Mothers boyfriend molested our daughter during a recent overnight stay at their house. My Husband & I were furious... Oddly, BM didn't seem phased. She said it happened a lot in her family, but thought they'd stopped. (Really?!) ***At hat time, there was no custody agreement. In order to keep our daughter safe & protect her, we took her. We filed for full temporary custody & won. Then, went for straight full custody. It was a long, drawn out fight and it came down to $. We just didn't have it. So, we settled and have joint 50/50 custody. (with many stipulations regarding BM's family and her day to day care).***
Over the past 4 years, we've done our best with co-parenting. We have her every other week from Friday to Friday, and the weeks we don't have her, we get her overnight on Tuesday. We disagree a lot with BM on issues such as, her lack of discipline, not dressing her appropriately in clothes that fit, and not reinforcing how important school is. ( she's tardy a lot & misses when she has her). Otherwise, she seems ok while with BM. Actually, she prefers being there. We feel like we have to be strictor and make up for where BM lacks. So, it's almost like good guys (BM) against bad guys (us) when we only have her best interest a heart, and are trying to raise her to be a good, responsible woman.
Financially, we're still recovering from our custody case. My Husband has a great job and I work in Healthcare... But, we barely make it. Unfortunately, my Husband was recently told that his job at a major airline is closing here in a few months. He was given 3 options: 4 wk severance, he could keep his free flight benefits for 5 yrs ( only him), or he can transfer to a major hub. They would give him a moving bonus and cost of living raise. With the poor economy here, the likelihood of him finding another job, especially making what he does... Is very very slim. We're barely getting by now as it is.
We've agreed to consider the transfer option and I've looked to see what the schools, jobs for myself, and housing looks like there... All much better than here! Possibly, the chance of a lifetime with a lot of opportunities for us.
One issue, major issue- my SD. We couldn't do 50/50 custody from 4 hrs away! We don't have the $ to fight for more, and BM won't just let us have her.
Please tell me what we should do....
Also, those of you with the other parent living far away- what is your custody arrangement?
What should our family do?
  • Only group members can vote in this poll.
  1. 40% - Stay- try to find another job.
  2. 60% - Move- Just arrange as much visitation as possible.
  3. 0% - Other suggestion...


  • Cafe AmyS
    April 29, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    welcome back  Glad you're back!

  • amonkeymom
    April 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Good luck making your decision.

  • sid1083
    by sid1083
    April 30, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    It's sad to hear such a disengagement from the older three kids for such the effort put into the fourth. But as far as your moving situation, I'd say move so ALL the kids can continue to be supported and try to get as much visitation as possible.

    To your second part, my long distance custody arrangement is he gets up to 5 days every 3 months until they're 6, then a weekend a month until they're 18 with 4 weeks in the summer (he currently lives 6.5 hrs away by plane). If he moves closer or chooses to take more time, I'm open to it, preferrably without having to go to court again.

  • mahalalove27
    April 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    What about changing custody to a month with each parent? I had a friend that did that growing up. Luckily the 2 schools he went to were on the same level as far as studies and materials. Since you will be doing okay financially when you move, can you make it work to fight for more time then?

  • OregonMom80
    May 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Depends on the family I'd say.  We "might" move 4 hours away (definitely not farther where DH couldn't do EOWE though), but it is unlikely as my DH loves the extra time with DSS and wouldn't be happy with EOWE again.  Even if we got all hDSS school breaks (normal distance parenting in many states is every spring break, 7 weeks summer, 1/2 winter break) and EOWE, I don't think DH would be happy.  The only way a move would happen is if we went from 45/55 to full custody first.  If he lost his job, we'd have to make some major cutbacks to live off my income and UI and ask for a temporary reduction in DH's child support, but we'd have to figure it out somehow.  It sounds like your DH may have a different relationship with his kids than my DH though since he has a limited relationship with 3 of them already, so perhaps moving would work ok for your family.

    If you guys do decide that moving is best, I hope that you get all 3 of his children EOWE and for school breaks.  Even if the children have a difficult time adjusting to a change in the home, to cut off the relationship with the older girls is very sad.  Maybe things will improve with them given time?

  • Barrettaj
    May 2, 2012 at 11:48 PM
    Thank you for your feedback, as always... Much appreciated! Just to update... We believe we have reached a reasonable compromise, for now & can always re-evaluate if needed. My Husband is going to commute. Sounds silly at first, I know. He will be working 4 10 hr shifts per week and then come home on his days off. Several guys facing the same situation are going together on a cheap house to rent and then that will keep their costs down also. It will be tough, but hopefully it isn't for too long, and we'll be able to go after full custody :) say some prayers though, I think we'll need em!
  • rocknmom85
    May 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Tough call, it really depends if you guys think SD is safe and will be fully taken care of with BM. If that is not an issue then you could move and just do summer, holiday and occassional weekend visits if possible. But if you are not able to fight for custody and you have to move for the job then there is really not much else you can do. My dh has physical cutody of my 3 skids and BM gets them 6 weeks in the summer and some holidays (but she often gives up holiday visits). 

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