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Hi BFSO Readers!

Just wanted to let you know that we’re settling in at our new virtual home! Come on over, take a look around and tell us what you think. Our new address is http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. I’m hoping that you’ll still be able to reach us via this address, but I’m not certain that you’ll be able to. So, don’t forget to take note of our new address. Oh, and for all of my favorite bloggers who have us listed as one of their favorites, please change our address in your blogroll to http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com! It’s http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com – it’s still us, still insightful information, just a different look. We’ll see you there!

We’ve moved to www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. Find this post and a host of new ones on www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com.

BFSO is consulting the Advisory Board once again. This time we need to help a reader figure out what she should do. Below is her scenario and my response. We know the best advice comes from those who are living or have lived it. Please respond with open minds and sincere hearts.
Reader’s Question:

I’m a Mom and my ex-husband (in which we’re both remarried) have 50/50 custody. However, we live in different towns and my kids go to school in his hometown.

My problem is that my exes new wife is my children’s primary caregiver. She is currently housesitting for her mother, in which her and my children are staying there, but my ex husband is staying at their house. This is strange to me because my exes wife’s mothers home is in the same town as my exes home. My ex said that he’s getting a lot of work done while they’re gone.

I work from home and want my kids to live with me and go to school in my home town. My ex will not give them up. he says that their home is there and that their school is there. Although I agree that stability in the same school is important, my kids aren’t being taken care of by him. They’re being taken care of by their stepmom. (who is very nice by the way).

Should I take this to court since obviously my ex isn’t the one primarily taking care of them and I have the circumstances and great desire to have them with me?

What’s your thought?

My Response:

Hi Jakki! Thanks so much for stopping by.

I am sorry that you’re in this position. It’s tough when you’re really trying to make decisions based on what’s best for your children. I am sure that your decision to allow your children to remain in your ex’s hometown was based on just that [doing what’s best for them]. However, being cared for, primarily, whenever possible, by both of their biological parents is equally important. My questions to you would be: 1) How many days of the week do you get to see them as you stated that you share custody? 2) How many times a week does your ex actually have them since his wife is caring for them outside of their home? 3) Is there a reason why your children live with your ex in the first place?

All of those questions would definitely influence whether or not I would take my ex to court. But, just from the information you’ve provided above, if my children weren’t being primarily cared for by me or my ex, then something would definitely have to change. While I’m sure that your ex’s wife is a great person (after all, she’s caring for your children), I don’t think it’s fair to you, to her or to your children to have her primarily care for them; especially when neither you, nor your husband share a residence with them.

Here are a couple of options to consider:

1. Take your ex to court for physical custody as it’s almost impossible to have joint physical custody when you both reside in different hometowns. I’m not sure how old your children are, but they will adjust to a new school. If one is a senior in high school, then it might be best to allow him to finish out the year in his current school. Other than that, kids move all of the time, and they adjust.

2. You mentioned that you worked from home, so how possible would it be for you to move to the town where your children reside? This way, they could live with you, stay in their school, but still have unlimited access to their father.

I hope I’ve helped in some way, Jakki. I’ll repost this scenario so that readers will have a chance to respond as well.

Grace and Peace,

*Kela*

 

 

A reader asked this question sometime ago via a magazine (Indiana Parenting) that I used to write for. It is a situation that is common in blended families (including mine at one point), so I thought I’d share her question and my response.

 

Question: I have two children with someone else, and I am married to someone who has a child with someone else. Our children have different school schedules because we live in different states. My husbands “baby mama” always wants his son with us when he’s out of school, but my children are still in school, and it is a HUGE distraction for them. They are all around the same age and get very excited when they are with each other. Therefore, my children go to school tired and unable to concentrate. So, I suggested that the visitation schedule be set up for times when all children are out of school (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, MLK Day) so that no one suffers academically. We could also increase the number of weeks he spends with us in the summer because all children are out of school then (we currently only get him for 4 out of 12 weeks) My husband’s “baby mama” said that my husband should always consider the best interest of their son first no matter who is hurt by it. Simply put, my kids aren’t his kids (even though he’s the father figure in the home who’s raising them). KP, should my husband always consider his son first even though his decisions might hurt my children?

 

Answer: At the end of the day the blended family is hard for EVERYONE involved, not just one party and their children! When there are multiple children within the blended family they all have to be considered, and COMPROMISE MUST EXIST. All the children, on either side, can’t come first all the time. If everyone is considering their child first, then all you’re going to get is a 4 car collision. If your husband’s ex-wife is suggesting that he always consider their child first, then isn’t it fair for you to do the same? So, there has to be a compromise because every child won’t, and often times, shouldn’t be first all the time. The adults must do what is logical and best for all children involved. If it is a distraction for your husband’s son to be there when school is in session, that is completely understandable, and isn’t necessary when other options exist. If his ex-wife isn’t willing to review those options, then she is being difficult. Why can’t his son visit more during the summer and during the breaks when all children are out of school, as opposed to during the school year when school breaks and schedules are conflicting?

 

My advice to you and your husband is to remember the vows that you took before God – for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and forsaken all others. Those are powerful words that mean something, and you can’t throw them out the window because his ex-wife is trying to interfere or doesn’t agree. Although it is ideal for everyone involved to have a meeting of the minds, it often times isn’t likely. Therefore, you and your husband must achieve consensus when it comes to running your household. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have to consider your children, but your husband should as you should consider his. It is also essential that you openly communicate with the children, especially his son, if schedule changes are made. You want this information to come from you and not her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to meeting my husband I had knowingly formulated a tawdry stereotype of the divorced father. He was a man who wore high priced clothes, drove fancy cars, and lived in a lavish home, with his new wife and their children. His main objective was avoiding child support payments, and he didn’t have an ounce of paternal feeling in his entire body. Having lived through my own experience with my ex, my stereotype had been confirmed.
 
After being exposed to my husband, and his anguish as a result of being unwillingly separated from his son, I was forced to look at the topic of divorced fathers a bit more objectively. I soon realized that not every divorced father was like my ex, and just maybe some of these men were or could be truly great fathers – if given the chance. I had never contemplated the devastating consequences of losing the right to live with your child that some men might feel. After all, I have personally witnessed my husband’s agony after missing important moments in his son’s life that has left him feeling more like a visitor than a parent.
 
Contrary to popular opinion, failed relationships don’t necessarily equal bad parenting. It seems as if some men, including my husband, are punished for their marital break up. Even though it is often in everyone’s, including the child’s, best interest for a bad marriage to end in divorce, it doesn’t mean that the importance of either parent should be overshadowed by feelings of bitterness.
 
The bitterness of my husband’s ex- wife forced him to endure an arduous divorce which has essentially stripped him of his fatherhood. Court battles have left him not only heartbroken, but with both an unfair visitation and child support payment schedule to match. Despite many failed attempts to remain the involved parent that he was prior to the divorce, my husband’s love for his son is continuous. Although he is mentally drained by the constant court battles regarding visitation with his son, he remains optimistic about the day when he will be able to have a relationship with him that doesn’t include his mother and her bitterness.
 
And so, I am glad that I took a moment to delve into the topic of divorced fathers. If I hadn’t done so, I would have been left with a narrow minded view of this caricature who I had clearly envisioned before reconnecting with my husband. Additionally, I might not have ended up with this wonderful husband and father.
 

The most interesting thing about ME writing on the subject of first and second wives is that I can write from both perspectives. I am married to someone who has a child with his ex-wife, and I have a child with someone else. Although I wasn’t married to my ex, we were together for nearly 6 years, and lived like husband and wife. My experience being a first “wife” coupled with my conversations with other first wives led me to write this post.

I usually write from the standpoint of being a second wife because that causes the most chaos in my blended family. However, as previously stated, I don’t want to imply that all of my blended family issues are unilateral because they’re not. My ex and I definitely have our share of communication issues as well.

For example, I still can’t believe that after 7 years of being married to other people that this is even an issue, but he still seems to think that all of my concerns regarding our son somehow revolve around him. Fellas, let me clue you in on something, all of our decisions, concerns, questions or anything else regarding our child is not because we want you so don’t flatter yourself. Please know that because we share a child we still have to discuss certain things even though we are not together. This means I can question your whereabouts if you have my child with you. It also means that you do have to call me if you’re going to be late either picking him up or dropping him off. It even means that I might have to occasionally discuss money issues with you as well. I know that it’s difficult to grasp because seemingly we still have to do many things that husbands and wives do, such as the above-mentioned. However, it is necessary when you share a child.

My ex and I actually had to go to court over these types of issues because I couldn’t get him to understand that all of our communication was not about him. My ex is an overseas basketball player who lives out of the country for about 10 months out of every year. And, often times he would just pop up in town one day asking to see his son. He failed to realize that we just don’t sit around waiting on him all year long, and our life actually does continue in his absence. As such, I would often sign him up for summer camp because I didn’t know when he was coming in town (he never arrived at the same time every year), and our son had to go somewhere while my husband and I were at work. Well, he got really upset by the fact that I had signed him up for summer camp during his visitation. So, I told him that he had to let me know when he was coming to town, and he couldn’t let me know 2 days before his arrival. He told me that we were no longer together, and he didn’t have to check in with me anymore. I responded by telling him that it isn’t checking in, it’s called being considerate of other people besides yourself. It turns out that the Judge agreed with me, and ordered him to give 60 days advanced noticed upon his arrival or visitation would be at my discretion.

It seems as if everything I do and say, in my ex’s eyes, is because I’m secretly longing to be back with him. Never mind that fact that I am and have been happily remarried for the last 7 years. I love, and more importantly, respect my husband because his love for both my son and I is unconditional. He has been my biggest fan, supporter and best friend for the last 7 years. We have a wonderful relationship that most of my friends and even some strangers admire. So, why in the world would I want to trade in what I have now for what I use to have? My ex and I parted ways because he was selfish…everything was about him and his career. He was a cheater, and although I never caught him, we spent 10 months out of every year, for 3 years, in different countries, I’m not stupid. Not to mention that he was a horrible father, who never spent any time with our son when he wasn’t playing basketball. Instead he chose to spend time with his boys and anything else that didn’t entail being a father. So again, why would I trade in what I have now for I used to have with him???

My ex never wants to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, it’s easier for him to just blame me for everything. At one point when he returned from overseas my son wanted nothing to do with him. He didn’t want to go over his house let alone have overnight visitation with him. And even to this very day, my son is still not completely comfortable with his biological father. He still doesn’t want to spend the night or have frequent summer visitation with him. Of course, my ex has concluded that it’s because I am influencing my son due to my bitterness of not being able to be with him…yeah right, that makes sense. It has nothing to do with the fact that he has been living overseas for 10 months out of the year ever since my son was in the womb, and therefore they have not spent enough time together to develop a relationship.

As I’ve stated in many of my articles, at some point in the blended family everyone has to let go of their past. Men if you’re still accusing your ex-wives of wanting you, then you have not let go. Contrary to what you may believe, the world does not revolve around you. And, even if your ex does feel that way, you must find a way to always make it about the child that you share together instead of focusing on your old relationship. If you do anything else, you’re doing an injustice to your child. Your child deserves two parents that can communicate and coexist like adults. Whatever happened in the past or whatever feelings you may have had in the past should stay there. It truly doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is raising healthy, happy and well-adjusted children.

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