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Woman pushes for full-time custody of stepdaughters; mom says 'you're robbing me.'

Woman pushes for full-time custody of stepdaughters; mom says 'you're robbing me.'

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Navigating custody arrangements can get very complicated very fast.

Feelings run high when it comes to who gets the most time with the kids, and when you throw in the financial dynamics of around child support it gets extra hairy. Plus, when there's a step-parent involved, this can add a whole new layer of emotions to comb through.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for pushing her husband to change the custody agreement, thus upsetting his ex.

She wrote:

AITA for making my husband change his custody agreement?

Yes, I'm an evil stepmom. Judge accordingly. My (38f) husband (40m) and I have 4 girls - H1 (14), H2 (12), M1 (10), and O (2). We've been married for 6 years. While we are a blended family, all of our daughters are, well, ours. The issue comes in with my husband's ex, J (38f). She chooses not to drive (not a medical issue or disability), so transporting our oldest two always falls on my husband or I.

This means all doctor appointments, school events, extra-curriculars. Everything. In November, we got a call from the principal that H1 and H2 were missing a lot of school, and their attendance would need to improve after winter break to avoid summer school. We talked with the girls, who said that if they missed the bus, they missed school because J didn't have a way to get them there.

So my husband started driving them every day. It worked for a while, but the girls complained about waking up even earlier, since hubs has work. It also meant I was left trying to get M and O out the door myself before getting to work. Starting January through March, I noted every time my husband needed to do something for his girls on J's time, and how long it took.

I also factored in time my husband lost time due to J not driving, like needing them home by 8 instead of picking them up at 8. At the beginning of April, I sat him down and showed him my data. Over 3 months, he/we ended up with his girls nearly 70% of the time. I also showed him how the current schedule was impacting our life together. This may be why I'm the AH. Hubs asked what I thought we should do.

I told him it was obvious, that we should petition to change custody so we had them more regularly. I pointed out that we had them 3 nights/week minimum already, and saw them for dance and softball and most weekends. It made sense to switch the custody agreement so that he wasn't paying CS for time that we had the kids.

I also brought up we live in a better school district, and H1 would be starting high school in the fall. She's such a brilliant girl, I think being in our district would help her tremendously. Well, today the custody agreement was settled. It flipped so we have them 6 days/ every other, and J has them 1 day/ every other. The girls got to have a say, and both want to live with us.

After meeting with the judge, J pulled me aside and told me I was hateful, that I was stealing her children away, that I was flaunting my privilege, and I was 'basically robbing her'. I didn't say anything, but I'm still upset and wondering if I should have left it alone. So, AITA?

People had OP's back on this one.

CrowCelestial wrote:

NTA. Y’all were doing that much driving anyway, the two older kids verbalized what they wanted, and now everyone (minus the ex wife) is happy. It’s one thing to choose not to drive, it’s another to not have reliable transportation when you have children. Good for you guys.

LostDogBoulderUtah wrote:

NTA The judge asked the kids what they wanted, and the custody agreement reflects what the kids want.

the_elephant_stan wrote:

NTA. J wanted it both ways. She was inconveniencing everyone around her due to her personal choice. This makes more sense for everyone, especially the kids.

embopbopbopdoowop wrote:

NTA. If J can’t drive, she needs to come up with other solutions. Public transport, taxis, walking, riding bikes, asking friends and family, carpools she contributes gas money too. Or even changing her decision not to drive if there’s not a trauma- or deep fear- based reason for the decision.

So many options. Letting her kids miss school is NOT one of those options. Also, the girls are old enough to clearly state what they want. If they want to live with you, they should.

DisneyBuckeye wrote:

NTA - you are an AWESOME step-mom!! You did what needed to be done for your kids, and they will be happier and thrive as a result. J had her chance and f**ked it up. As for the current time-sharing that she DOES have, I hope you have it in there that the party whose time is starting is supposed to pick them up.

So J would pick them up from your house and you would pick them up from her house. And that way, if she doesn't show, the kids stay with you. Do NOT feel guilty. The girls had input, this is what they want.

Clearly, OP is NTA, and she had the girls' best interests at heart.

Sources: Reddit
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