In a post on Reddit a woman asks if she's wrong for fighting with her ex over how they're going to raise their daughter. Here's her story...
I (36F) have a daughter Sadie (12) with my ex-husband John (39). We got divorced 5 years ago and I have primary custody while he sees her two weekends a month. Last year, he got married to Amanda who has sole custody of her kids (10 & 8) from a previous marriage.
Amanda is a SAHM (not for any health reasons or so on, she just doesn't want to work) while John works at a 9 to 5. He makes good money to support them, but not enough to live in luxury.
I have a much higher-paying job. Since it's just me and Sadie, I make sure she has the best possible life. She goes to a private school, set her up a college fund, and she has much better things than most kids (phone, clothes, etc).
I still managed to raise her to be humble and not take things for granted, and she's one of the hardest working people I know, always making sure to get good grades and keep her room tidy.
Well, the last few times she came back after a weekend at John's, I noticed that the clothes she was bringing back in her duffel are a) not her size and b) much cheaper and poorer quality than what I usually buy for her.
I asked her why that is and she told me that while she's at her dad's, Amanda takes away her nice clothes and gives them to her kids while Sadie gets the clothes they buy from Target. I asked her if she wanted them back but she said she didn't mind sharing since all her favourite clothes were kept here.
The problem came when I went to pick her up last weekend.I had a business meeting and couldn't drive her over, so Amanda offered to just pick Sadie up from school, which hadn't happened before.
When I got there on Sunday, John and Amanda asked me to sit down with them and when Sadie came to hug me, Amanda sent her to her room quite harshly saying her punishment wasn't over yet. I was confused because Sadie very rarely misbehaves.
They sat me down in the kitchen and said that it was unfair for Sadie to be going to a private school while her kids go to a public one, so they'd decided that Sadie would be pulled out of private school and put in the same school as the girls.
They also said I should keep up Sadie's punishment because when they told her she blew up at them, told them it wasn't fair, and yelled that Amanda and her kids weren't even her real family, that all they did was steal.
I told them in no uncertain terms to f*ck off. I would not be pulling my child out of a school she likes, away from her friends, because they can't afford it. I told them they could easily make as much money as me if Amanda started working in her field because she has the qualifications and the job market is very good.
I told them their money problems are not my issue, and if Sadie's items get stolen again or they try to pull her out of school, I'll be taking this to court.
They've been blowing up my phone ever since, calling me a selfish AH, and after telling the story to a friend, he told me I was rubbing my success in their face, but I still don't feel like I did anything wrong. Still, AITA?
I got temporary guardianship while waiting for a court hearing. We're going to try to get full custody and have John get one day a week of visitation, supervised for at least the first few months, and no contact with Amanda or her kids.This way, he still sees Sadie just as much and they can try to repair their relationship, but she doesn't have to go back there.
All contact between us is made through emails which are CC'ed by my lawyer, and I've asked for Sadie's things back. I've talked to Sadie and we've decided that she's going to try therapy for a little while to help deal with everything that's happened.
We've had the hearing and our custody arrangement's been modified. Any and all decisions relating to Sadie are made by me, and me alone. John has supervised visitation once a week, and Sadie will continue in therapy to deal with all the issues Amanda and co. have caused her.
They tried to push for 50/50 custody split on grounds of alienation (so me trying to put Sadie against her father), but we made it clear from the start that we wanted to keep Amanda and her children away, and wanted supervision only because we don't feel safe leaving him alone as of yet, but that we were open to modifications.
Thanks to that, the proof of stealing, and Sadie's therapist's testimony, their claim was thrown out pretty quickly.
Amanda's pissed, and has tried to contact me and Sadie, but I made it clear to her that if she keeps harassing me or my daughter, I'll have to make this known to the authorities. Sadie and I have blocked her everywhere, and any communication between John and us is made through text messages or emails only.
1. Commenter- Hi. I think as a loving mother, you know the answer deep down in your heart. NTA. And well done for protecting your daughter. Keep this mamma bear mood switched on. Out of all adults involved, you're the only one fighting your kid's corner. Your daughter really needs your support in this situation.
The only thing that I would have done differently, is I'd have taken them to court already for stolen clothes. You let it go, and now it keeps escalating because the real motive here is intense jealousy combined with laziness and questionable morality. To steal clothes instead of working? Meh, that makes me want to vomit.
These people are adults and won't change, so reasoning with them is not a viable option. I would involve child protection service, to start with, because stealing clothes and pulling your daughter out of school against her will and without consulting her mother, is abuse. Please report it or your child will get more of the same.
Also, I'm not sure if your daughter benefits from seeing her father. Even during the short time they're together, he manages to abuse her. It's another thing to discuss with child protection. I would do it without warning and any previous talks with her dad or Amanda, so that they wouldn't be able to 'prepare' on how to dodge it.
What you're describing is serious, and it's time to take an action. Good luck and please take a good care of yourself. Your lovely daughter needs your help right now.
OOP's reply- Thank you so much for your comment! I'm really considering that, but haven't done it up until now because I didn't want to ruin Sadie's relationship with her father. As it is, she's decided she doesn't want to go back so I'm gonna take quite a lot of pleasure in getting my revenge for what they did to her.
Commenter- ma’am, if you don’t mind me asking, what do you do for a living? also, nta. OOP's reply- No problem at all, I'm a corporate lawyer!
Commenter- NTA - And I would make the school aware that any decisions about your daughter need to go through you so he doesn't just do it behind your back
OOP's reply- First thing I did after dropping Sadie off at school. My kid's not losing a good opportunity because of them.
Commenter- Best of luck to you. I'm glad your daughter won't be exposed to any more of it.
I don't know how it works where you live. Can your ex take you to court for 'withholding his daughter' from him? Or she's old enough to decide for herself?
OOP's reply- He can take me to court if she doesn't go and she can only make choices about her living situation at 16, but I'm planning on contacting my lawyer ASAP to at least start the process of getting sole custody before her next visit, then hopefully I can keep her with me until the decision's final.
Commenter- How is it he has any type of custody if he only sees her every other weekend? That’s typically visitation.
OOP' reply- The weekends at her father's are court-mandated. He was originally gunning for 50-50 but I have the higher income, am closest to her school, and he travels for 4-6 days a month at least for his job. But since he didn't want to lose her completely, he pushed for there to be some kind of mandatory visit.
Commenter- Was he trying for 50/50 to avoid child support?
OOP's reply- I don't know if that was his main objective, but what he said in court is that he wanted to see his daughter more often.