NC Fathers Rights

NC Step-Mother Speaks Out

NC Step-MomsThis article is our first in the series of NC Step-Mothers speaking out about against the NC Family Courts and the trials and tribulations that we as non-custodial families face each and every day. If you are a NC Step-Mother who is struggling to keep your family together but Judges, DSS, Attorneys, and the system just makes it impossible, then we invite you to submit your own story to use by joining us on FACEBOOK and using the message feature to send us your article.

My husband and I were both previously married and had child(ren) with our ex-spouses. I have a son with my ex-husband and my husband has two sons with his ex-wife. Since we have been together we have always worked really hard at blending our families so that our kids never feel the hardships of having divorced parents. Myself and my ex have come a long way, but over the years we have worked really hard at focusing only on our son. Since our divorce, we have become really good friends. My ex lives out of state so he doesn’t get to see our son as often as he’d like. To make it easier on him (and his wallet), my husband and I allow him to stay at our house when he comes down so that he can spend more quality time with our son. He gets to participate in extra curricular activities, birthday parties, school events and whatever else he’d like to when he comes to visit. In the eyes of our 7 year old – his world is perfect. My ex does have a past history with substance abuse (was in the military and broke both bones in his leg – received a lot of pain medications) and for years didn’t pay me anything in child support. I took extra steps to ensure my son’s safety – his visits were supervised by someone we both trusted -in this case it was his mother or sister. Regardless of all of this, I still believed that it was not my place to make the decision that my son doesn’t get to see or communicate with him. It WAS my place to ensure my son was always safe and believe me, I would flex that control if I needed to stop a visit. He has since recovered from his addiction and has been able to hold down a job and pay support. As long as he is in a safe (mentally and physically) state, he is never denied any access to our son. That is exactly how it should be.

NC Step-Moms and their Non-Custodial Families

Children and Step-Moms

Despite my husband’s countless attempts – the light doesn’t shine so brightly with the situation with his ex-wife. She (or her husband) wants to control everything related to the boys. She didn’t want her son who was failing all of his classes to go to tutoring. She doesn’t want either of them to participate in extra curricular activities because she will have to see myself and my husband. She refused to take them to the doctors when they were sick. She argues against any recommendation that my husband has that will better the children – simply because she can. She put my youngest step-son through surgery behind my husband’s back so that he would not be able to attend (a surgery, that she originally objected to). She has no care to the boys’ hygiene and doesn’t follow up with them on bathing/brushing their teeth. My youngest step-son still wets the bed and has for for years. My husband believes that it is because he lives in fear at his mothers’ house. She does not encourage or make him bathe the mornings he wakes up wet. She doesn’t have him sleep in a pull up. She doesn’t wake him up at night to get him to use the restroom and she doesn’t wash his sheets so he sleeps in urine every night. A teacher confronted me one day to let me know that the odor was so bad that people were starting to make comments on it. Their mother was recently investigated by social services because someone reported that my youngest step-son (9 at the time) was being left in a car unsupervised for hours on end in the heat of the summer. Come to find out -my older step-son (11 at the time) would ride the bus home from school an sit on the front steps for hours until someone came home. Neither child had any access to food, water, bathroom or a phone to contact someone in the event of an emergency. Turns out – it has been going on since they were 7 and 9. She refuses to let the boys talk to their father except for twice a week for a 15 min window on Tues or Sat. If he doesn’t call or if a holiday falls on a day other than that – he doesn’t get to talk to them. Point blank – the situation is really ugly. As a mother, she just doesn’t do the things that she should be and her children are suffering from it.

We recently went back to court per social services recommendation. We had Judge Sasser and were in court for about 7 hours. My husband had 3 teacher witnesses that came in to testify to the abuse and neglect they saw (urine smell, being picked up from school 45+ min late several times a week, and how the boys always seemed to be ‘unkempt’ on days they were with their mother). They also testified how my husband was always in the school and was the primary contact for any educational need. We also had social services come in to testify that their mother’s house met minimal standards for human services and that during the investigation it was clear that the boys were afraid of their step-father and

to speak up at their mother’s house. She testified that during a visit at our house – the boys were clearly comfortable in the home and had a visible relationship with myself and my husband. My husband also testified to seventeen different items that his ex should have been held in contempt for – some that she even admitted to on the stand. He testified how we provide tutoring, take them to all medical/dental visits and do all birthday parties as she doesn’t do them, plus many more aspects to show he has the better interest at heart. In fact, she didn’t even buy her kids anything for Christmas the previous year – which social services testified to as well saying that she bought gifts for her three other children with her current husband. The shocking part – all of this was just a small percentage of the evidence my husband brought to court – countless emails, boys both testified, clothing, shoes, etc.

His ex brought one witness to court (a co-worker/friend of hers) to testify against everything that all of our witnesses said. It was a joke – the woman had no credibility for any of it. The only other evidence was his ex-wife’s testimony which was all lies – none that she could prove with physical evidence the way we did.

For anyone sitting in the courtroom – it was a no brainer. We had proven her to be unfit as a parent and that the boys were much better off at our house. We proved that she lied to the court, the school district, and many others on countless items.

The verdict – The judge came back and said that we did not prove substantial change in circumstances and therefore she would not modify the agreement. What was even more concerning is that she did not even reprimand their mother for doing the things that she was doing. I myself am a Wake County Guardian ad Litem and I was appalled to hear this – it really put the court system into perspective for me and I lost a great deal of faith in the system. Judge Sasser then proceeded to find an excuse for every single item that we’d proven her in contempt for and denied that request as well.

Our attorney was completely shocked as well. She volunteers in the GAL office as one of their attorneys and said that because we proved abuse and neglect, we should have one. Not to mention, we DID prove substantial change on multiple items. She thinks we could and should appeal it. She said she has only recommended one other appeal in her career because it is very rare that they will get over turned but she feels confident in this one. However, my husband and I are defeated. The amount of money that we have paid to date is astronomical. My step-sons continue to ask when they can move in with us and we don’t have anything we can say to them. We will always fight for them – but we can’t afford to keep putting money into legal fees with no success.

Not all parents are bad – I think the case with myself and my ex prove that if you put your differences aside and do what’s best for the child, everything can and will work out. I could never imagine putting my own feelings/wants/needs in front of those of my sons. I wish my step-sons did not have to feel the wrath in the way that they do. I pray every single day that the system will change so that other children do not have to experience the same heart ache that my step-sons do. Even though I am only their step-mother, I love them as if they were my own and would do anything for them. That is one thing that the courts and their mother can not take away – our relationship with each other.

God Bless to all those parents, step-parents, and family supporters. Always remember to keep the faith.

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January 12, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

2 Comments »

  1. I agree it never really has to get as bad As it gets! We need to be adults and parents and say “hey” it all sucks but we are parents first and we Are not here to hurt our kids and believe it or not us getting along with our ex is some of the best therapy our kids need! If we could all just face life and take care of our children and not put a dollar sign on their head… we don’t even need 1/3 of the family court system! They are a Money Racket!

    Like

    Comment by freidt2012 | January 13, 2013 | Reply

  2. Please friend request me on fb and we can keep these issues going through my page. Look up my name and I will accept: Dawn L Freidt. I want it out for myself and all stepparents not just moms. But I hate to say it seems to be that. But stepdads you are just as welcome to join In, we all need each other to even try to get this out.

    Like

    Comment by freidt2012 | January 13, 2013 | Reply


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