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Kinsa

I'm so heartbroken, and angry

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My little sister lost custody of her three children yesterday,  ages 16, 13, & 11. The kids have lived with her their whole lives.  My sister divorced her ex-dufus-husband ten years ago,  and in those ten years her ex-dufus-husband has sued for custody of the kids about six or seven times,  always losing each time. Well, this time he finally got what he wanted.  My sister is a 911 operator with long-term stable employment,  a GREAT mother, not on drugs or alcohol,  owns her own home,  etc. The only reason she lost custody is because the kids' grades are starting to tank (because the ex-dufus-husband messes up those kids so badly), and he's unemployed  so he and his equally-dufus-girlfriend can "be there" for the kids more than my sister can.

 

 Y'all have no idea how bad this is going to be. The kids are devastated,  as is my sister. And I have absolutely nothing nice to say about ex-freakin'-dufus-husband, so I'll stop here.

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I'm so sorry. :( I can't believe these decisions sometimes. Can your sister sue for custody back?

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I'm so sorry. :( I can't believe these decisions sometimes. Can your sister sue for custody back?

She can, but there's a trial period first. And of course, it is gonna to cost (yet another) boatload of money.

 

At this point, ex-dufus-husband is talking about suing HER for child support.

 

Biting my tongue right now. I'm a Christian lady, after all.

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I'm so sorry.

Since he's such a jerk, I would think she could find something negative to get on him to get custody back. I'm sure she's already documented everything and needs to continue to document and scrutinize his every move.

Edited by JBJones
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My mind is blown that kids that age can't decide where they want to live. Did the kids say they wanted to go with dad?

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That is totally nuts. What a messed up ruling. Do the children get a voice of their own during the court process?  I hope she files for custody and keeps doing so until she gets them back. 

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Wow, that is crazy and makes no sense at all.  I, too, am wondering if the children have a voice?  Especially the oldest one!!  Something thing seems really wrong!  I'm so sorry.

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Are you serious??? What??? This makes no sense. And yes, at those ages, kids didn't have a say in the matter??? This is not right. Will pray for your sister and kids. I just don't get this, at all. I'm so sorry!!!

ETA: so, is she supposed to not work, not provide for her kids so she can be with them???? She needs a good attorney! This is so lame. I'm sorry, not trying to upset you more...this just doesn't sound right. I'm sad for your sister, for the kids...what a mess :(

Edited by mamiof5
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The family courts might well be the most dysfunctional places on earth.

 

 

No joke.  Dh hasn't seen his son for visitation since the boy was 15.  There was already a court order in place for visitation but he had to go back to court and fight for his rights.  He tried and it was so brutal in all ways.

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Doesn't the oldest child, at least, have any input/choice in this matter? I have seen a few crazy, nuts, stupid decisions made, and they were never good for the child. I'm so sorry this happened.

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My heart hurts for all involved and it really ticks me off when things like this happen to good people. 

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My little sister lost custody of her three children yesterday,  ages 16, 13, & 11. The kids have lived with her their whole lives.  My sister divorced her ex-dufus-husband ten years ago,  and in those ten years her ex-dufus-husband has sued for custody of the kids about six or seven times,  always losing each time. Well, this time he finally got what he wanted.  My sister is a 911 operator with long-term stable employment,  a GREAT mother, not on drugs or alcohol,  owns her own home,  etc. The only reason she lost custody is because the kids' grades are starting to tank (because the ex-dufus-husband messes up those kids so badly), and he's unemployed  so he and his equally-dufus-girlfriend can "be there" for the kids more than my sister can.

 

 Y'all have no idea how bad this is going to be. The kids are devastated,  as is my sister. And I have absolutely nothing nice to say about ex-freakin'-dufus-husband, so I'll stop here.

 

Oh my goodness. That's horrible.  I can't even imagine how a judge is thinking that an unemployed dad and a shack up girlfriend are better parents than a mom who has always been there.  It would seem to me that they are old enough to have a say, also. Judges don't normally overlook that when kids are this old.  I'm wondering what happened there or whether the kids were allowed to speak. 

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She can, but there's a trial period first. And of course, it is gonna to cost (yet another) boatload of money.

 

At this point, ex-dufus-husband is talking about suing HER for child support.

 

Biting my tongue right now. I'm a Christian lady, after all.

This is one of those "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. I shall repay" kind of moments.

Oh, it is coming down on his head for doing this to his kids. 

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Does she have an attorney? More importantly, does she have a GOOD attorney?

 

If physical custody does go to the dad, child support will pretty much be a given, in any state, for the non-custodial parent. How often will she get them (every other weekend or something)? That stinks. Texas isn't the worst state when it comes to family court stuff, but it's a big state and I'm sure varies from county to county.

 

I hope she's able to fight him and win the kids back quickly.

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I have a dear friend who has gone through this-she lost physical custody mostly due to her ex's girlfriend presenting a picture of being the ideal SAHM-and practically as soon as her ex had gotten custody, girlfriend was out of there. She has finally gotten joint custody mostly because her ex discovered that while a cute little girl made hm more attractive to women, a 12 yr old who looks 16 and clearly hates his guts and isn't willing to play the "new mommy" game tends to do a good job of chasing them away.

 

The family court system is truly messed up.

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She can, but there's a trial period first. And of course, it is gonna to cost (yet another) boatload of money.

 

At this point, ex-dufus-husband is talking about suing HER for child support.

 

Biting my tongue right now. I'm a Christian lady, after all.

Of course this is why he did this. I see this over and over again in states where child support is tied to custody.
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I've never heard of children that age not being asked. In many states, it's in the law that once they're 13, their opinion has to be taken into account by the court.

 

If that had happened to me at 16, I would have just run away. I can even imagine exactly where I would have gone. Sigh.

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I've never heard of children that age not being asked. In many states, it's in the law that once they're 13, their opinion has to be taken into account by the court.

 

If that had happened to me at 16, I would have just run away. I can even imagine exactly where I would have gone. Sigh.

 

It appears in Texas if they are over 12 they have to be asked, but no one has to listen. Go Texas.  :glare:

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She can, but there's a trial period first. And of course, it is gonna to cost (yet another) boatload of money.

 

At this point, ex-dufus-husband is talking about suing HER for child support.

 

Biting my tongue right now. I'm a Christian lady, after all.

Wouldn't surprise me to learn that collecting the child support has been part of his end game all along.

 

I would think at 16 and even 13, these kids are old enough to petition the court in some way? To make a statement before the judge, at least?

 

So sad. Life can be so sadly messy.

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I wonder if your sister could argue this...

 

Under Texas law, there are only limited circumstances in which a parent can modify a child custody or visitation order. Such a change will be made only if it is in the best interests of the child, and:

 

  • the circumstances of the child or parent have materially and substantially changed since the original child custody order or agreement
  • the child is at least 12 years old and has told the court in chambers that the child wants a change, or
  • the custodial parent has voluntarily given the child's care and custody to another person.

Material and Substantial Change

Texas family courts have recognized several situations that would qualify as a material and substantial change in the circumstances of a child or parent affected by a custody or visitation order. Examples include a parent's remarriage, a medical condition that adversely affects a parent's ability to function and work on a regular basis, a parent's criminal acts and convictions, or a parent's changes in residence that make visitation a hardship for the other parent. 

 

ETA, or if they didn't interview the kids over 12 as they were required to by law.

Edited by goldberry
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At those ages, I think the father is asking for a world of trouble if the kids don't want to live with him. 3 uncooperative kids can make his life a living hell if they choose to.

 

For their safety, your sister should give them the hotline number for CPS and a list of conditions in which they should call. She should probably also give them a cell phone that they keep hidden in case of emergency.

 

ETA: Can she offset her child support obligation by any unpaid amount he owes her?

Edited by chiguirre
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Is it possible that your sister has stuck with a mediocre lawyer out of some feeling of loyalty? Does she need to move on and work with someone more aggressive about making sure the kids' voices are heard?

 

If I were the 16 year old, I'd likely refuse to comply. I would maybe even run away unless I felt the need to protect my siblings. Is the ex dangerous or just a rat in general?

Edited by Seasider
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That is criminal and it makes me feel sick and sad. The family courts are so screwed up. My sister went through a divorce from her jerky ex, who has no interest in the kids, but loves to use them to control her, about 10 years ago. Those poor children and your poor sister.

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My little sister lost custody of her three children yesterday,  ages 16, 13, & 11. The kids have lived with her their whole lives.  My sister divorced her ex-dufus-husband ten years ago,  and in those ten years her ex-dufus-husband has sued for custody of the kids about six or seven times,  always losing each time. Well, this time he finally got what he wanted.  My sister is a 911 operator with long-term stable employment,  a GREAT mother, not on drugs or alcohol,  owns her own home,  etc. The only reason she lost custody is because the kids' grades are starting to tank (because the ex-dufus-husband messes up those kids so badly), and he's unemployed  so he and his equally-dufus-girlfriend can "be there" for the kids more than my sister can.

 

 Y'all have no idea how bad this is going to be. The kids are devastated,  as is my sister. And I have absolutely nothing nice to say about ex-freakin'-dufus-husband, so I'll stop here.

 

I'm so sorry!

 

And it's also unbelievable. Usually, courts really take teens' perspectives into account, if for none other than practical reasons: teens are mobile. A teen who doesn't want to live someplace can take off. It's dangerous. Secondly, teens are old enough to be able to articulate what their desires are. 

 

Sounds like the ex wants child support. 

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It may be too early for a silver-lining comment, but I am glad that at least the 3 kids are still together.  Can you imagine how awful it would be if the older two were allowed to voice a preference for staying with mom while the youngest had to go to dad's all alone?  :crying:   I hope the kids have good relationships with each other and will be able to look after, look out for, and boost each other.

 

:grouphug:

 

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I've never heard of children that age not being asked. In many states, it's in the law that once they're 13, their opinion has to be taken into account by the court.

 

If that had happened to me at 16, I would have just run away. I can even imagine exactly where I would have gone. Sigh.

Truly awful!!! In this state, children over 13 generally are not forced to abide by custody arrangements and choose which parent to live with unless there is a compelling reason such as abuse, alcoholism, drugs. This is because the police have begged the courts to back off because the situation of forcing teens results in a lot of runaways, truancy, and other acting out that involves law enforcement such as fights at school. So I am a little shocked, especially for the sixteen year old, that he or she would be forced to live with him.

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Thanks, all. I'm sorry I didn't mention it, but they live in Virginia, not Texas.

 

Ottakee, those are good ideas. I'll pass them along to my sister.

 

My sister has used the same lawyer each time, as he had won for her each time. However, the man is medically retiring, and this court case yesterday was one of his last. I think he must've not given it enough attention. To contrast, every time the a-hole ex loses, he runs out and finds a new lawyer (I think this is his 6th or 7th lawyer in 10 years) . This time he found a real bulldog who spent, literally, HOURS making my sister look like an uncaring mother (she very much is NOT). The trial wasn't even over until after 6pm.

 

Ugh. So horrible. Absolutely horrible. For the life of me, I can't imagine why the judge thought this was a good idea.

Edited by Kinsa
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Oh, and the kids are very close. There's no way the 16yo (and/or the 13yo) would leave their 11yo little sister behind.

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I wish I could say there was some legitimate reason for the kids to be taken from her, as it would be so much easier to understand. But other than a semester of poor grades in two classes, there's nothing. My sister is a great mom, and she doesn't deserve this, and neither do the kids.

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I wish I could say there was some legitimate reason for the kids to be taken from her, as it would be so much easier to understand. But other than a semester of poor grades in two classes, there's nothing. My sister is a great mom, and she doesn't deserve this, and neither do the kids.

 

So what happens next semester when there are worse grades in more subjects?

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