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Experience with step-parent and custody/child support


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Hi everyone, hope you all are doing well.

I wondered if anyone would mind sharing their experience after having remarried, and pursuing an updated child support payment and change in schedule.

Was your new spouse involved at all? Did he/she go with you to meet with lawyers or to court dates??

Everyone I’ve known to have gone through this did not involve the new spouse at all. Now my brother and (new) SIL are in this position and my SIL is involved (which is good, she’s wonderful and we’re all blessed to have her), but it’s been very difficult for her, partly because the kids’ mom likes to be petty, and partly because my brother is not great with communication. I was surprised she had to participate in all of it, but I’ve never been through it myself, so maybe that’s not uncommon?

What is a normal level of involvement for a step parent (in your experience)? 

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Is your SIL involved because your brother is irresponsible or not able overall to care for his kids on his own? That may be some dynamic you do not want to get involved in. There's a reason the relationship between the kids' mom and your brother ended and if your brother can't be trusted to get facts straight or dates for example, it makes sense that your SIL is involved. 

It sounds very messy, Indea. I wouldn't get too involved in the whys of this. If they need your support or need to vent I'd be there for any of them but keep my own emotions or opinion out of it. If your SIL is having problems with the arrangement she should be confiding and working it out with your brother.

 

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So not sure this is helpful but the only time I heard of the new spouse being involved was when my friend and her husband fought for full custody of his step son.  Long battle but they won.

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

updated child support payment and change in schedule.

Updated how & why?

Re: my ex's, nothing changed re: child support payments./visitation.

Is fine if she wants to put her 2 cents in, but is basically between the 2 of them.  Can he not speak up for himself?

I guess schedules may change over time due to certain issue's, but that was also decided between parents & lawyers, yes?

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A stepparent has no legal standing or involvement in custody/visitation. That is decided between the child's parents, their attorneys and the courts.

A stepparent can tag along for moral support at meetings with attorneys or in court, but they have no legal say in the matter.

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2 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

Is your SIL involved because your brother is irresponsible or not able overall to care for his kids on his own? That may be some dynamic you do not want to get involved in. There's a reason the relationship between the kids' mom and your brother ended and if your brother can't be trusted to get facts straight or dates for example, it makes sense that your SIL is involved. 

It sounds very messy, Indea. I wouldn't get too involved in the whys of this. If they need your support or need to vent I'd be there for any of them but keep my own emotions or opinion out of it. If your SIL is having problems with the arrangement she should be confiding and working it out with your brother.

 

It’s nothing like that, not a situation where he can’t handle it. It’s more of just, we’re married so we’re handling this together. When she told me she was going to the meeting with the lawyer and venting about her anxiety related to it, I asked her why she was going, because I thought that was odd. Her response was something to the effect of “because I’m involved with the kids, I live with them when they’re with us, and it would look bad in the courts if she wasn’t there.” I think those are all just her assumptions, she didn’t really have a concrete reason. It’s not like she said “the lawyer said I should be present for XYZ reasons.” I thought that just sounded wrong, but again, I’d never been through this, so that’s why I’m asking you guys.

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1 hour ago, SooSad33 said:

Updated how & why?

Re: my ex's, nothing changed re: child support payments./visitation.

Is fine if she wants to put her 2 cents in, but is basically between the 2 of them.  Can he not speak up for himself?

I guess schedules may change over time due to certain issue's, but that was also decided between parents & lawyers, yes?

The kids’ mom has had a substantial increase in her income.

As far as the change in schedule, I think that perpetuated from the winter break schedule. They currently have the standard every other weekend and wednesdays schedule, but over winter break they did every other week. They noticed a huge difference, we all did, in how well the boys behaved when they’d been at their house for a full week. Now, they spend all of Saturday trying to re-orient the kids to behaving, and then get one day to actually enjoy being a family. I think there’s more to it than just that, but I believe that was the start.

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3 minutes ago, indea08 said:

It’s nothing like that, not a situation where he can’t handle it. It’s more of just, we’re married so we’re handling this together. When she told me she was going to the meeting with the lawyer and venting about her anxiety related to it, I asked her why she was going, because I thought that was odd. Her response was something to the effect of “because I’m involved with the kids, I live with them when they’re with us, and it would look bad in the courts if she wasn’t there.” I think those are all just her assumptions, she didn’t really have a concrete reason. It’s not like she said “the lawyer said I should be present for XYZ reasons.” I thought that just sounded wrong, but again, I’d never been through this, so that’s why I’m asking you guys.

Yes, unfortunately her presumptions are wrong. She should not be involved and should not be going precisely because her presence can add to or otherwise aggravate the ex and create issues. Being involved with the kids is not the same as becoming involved with the ex, which is sadly what she is doing here even if she doesn't realize she is doing it. As a step, she needs to learn to keep out of the line of fire instead of stepping right into and giving it even more fuel.

If you want, try to find a polite way of telling her to stay in her lane....or just keep out of it and let your brother and his lawyers deal with her.

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

A stepparent has no legal standing or involvement in custody/visitation. That is decided between the child's parents, their attorneys and the courts.

A stepparent can tag along for moral support at meetings with attorneys or in court, but they have no legal say in the matter.

That’s what I thought was the case, so I suggested she not go. She was very anxious about it and it’s not even her problem to deal with. I know she loves them, but why drag herself through this mess when she has literally no input on the outcome. She looked at me like I was nuts for suggesting that. *shrugs*

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2 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

Yes, unfortunately her presumptions are wrong. She should not be involved and should not be going precisely because her presence can add to or otherwise aggravate the ex and create issues. Being involved with the kids is not the same as becoming involved with the ex, which is sadly what she is doing here even if she doesn't realize she is doing it. As a step, she needs to learn to keep out of the line of fire instead of stepping right into and giving it even more fuel.

If you want, try to find a polite way of telling her to stay in her lane....or just keep out of it and let your brother and his lawyers deal with her.

That’s a great point, I like the way you phrased that. Involved with the kids is NOT the same as being involved with the ex. She’s had SO MUCH DRAMA in her life because of the ex, so maybe this will resonate with her!! Thank you! I love her dearly, so if I can help her avoid this needless anxiety, I’d like to try!

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4 hours ago, indea08 said:

That’s a great point, I like the way you phrased that. Involved with the kids is NOT the same as being involved with the ex. She’s had SO MUCH DRAMA in her life because of the ex, so maybe this will resonate with her!! Thank you! I love her dearly, so if I can help her avoid this needless anxiety, I’d like to try!

I mean if the attorney wants her there that's different -we might not know all the details.  But I agree with the rest of the advice and I also like the advice above too.  Good luck!

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