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Old 02-06-2008, 03:01 AM   #1
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Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

updated post 40.



I just am not sure what to think anymore. My husband is so distraught and we are in financial crises.

Let me preface by saying that we have never missed or been late on a child support payment, have never missed a visitation and keep regular contact with my step-daughter whom we love and would prefer to have custody over. With that being said, things have become nightmarish.

This summer we had to hire my husbands lawyer to enforce visitation rights since dsd's mom wouldn't allow visitations (she didn't want dsd - 7 - spending more than a weekend with us). We put off fighting to enforce more than weekend visits for a long time but now that we live 4 hours away it is silly to just do weekend visits. It is not fair to put dsd through so much driving. Thousands of dollars and a few court visits later the needed revised parenting plan is drafted and signed by the commissioner. In retaliation, she orders Child Support to be investigated (not surprising).

Months and months and months of paperwork and court dates and appeals and our child support is doubled. They are also backdating the support, to the summer, and requiring full payment as soon as we receive the documents. We can not afford this increase. We are putting our house (a modest 3 bd, 2 ba, 1500 sq ft) up for sale because we are not able to refinance our payment enough to make up for the child support increase. Not to mention it looks like we owe about 10K to pay for the lawyer (we don't have the bill yet).

My husband is just devastated. He doesn't know what to do. He works his butt of to try to support everyone and he feels in over his head. We do our best to make the best out of all of this but it is hard. DSD's mom talks crap about us constantly to DSD and talks bad about us to her new boyfriend and his girls (we never say anything negative about her mom, we refuse to be like that). I can't imagine how it feels to be put in the middle like that. The way they talk about us has made it hard for DSD to be at our house she misses her mom and when she calls her mom for reassurance her mom tells her to come home. DSD will tell us she doesn't want to go home but then she'll cry her eyes out and I can't stand that she's miserable. It's awful.

Her mom is just a piece of work. When we call to talk to DSD she is always "busy" and we never get return phone calls. Even my 3 year old will leave messages for her big sister because she misses her and we never get calls back. Letters go unanswered. We basically only get to see her for the printed times in the parenting plan. Even then we've called for the last 3 weeks to establish a vist for DSD at the end of Feb and she won't call us back so we don't even know if we'll get to see her until the last minute. It makes it hard for my husband to get the appropriate days off work.

My husband is really spiraling down with this. He feels like it is worthless. That no matter what we do my DSD will hate us because her mom will make sure of that. He is worried that every year she will petition for more child support and we will have to hire another lawyer to protect ourselves and we can't even afford the lawyer fee's we have all ready. The other night he brought up that maybe if he released his parenting rights she would agree to stop with the child support. I was so shocked he'd say something like that. I can't imagine turning your back on a child. He says, it's not like that and that he hopes and prays that when DSD was an adult we could have a real chance of a real relationship but he thinks the volatile situation and the hardship she experiences being away from her mom will make her hate us at the rate things are going.

I don't know what to think. It makes me sick to think of relinquishing his rights but I'm not sure what to do to remedy the situation. Our end goal is to have a healthy and loving relationship with DSD but it seems like we're heading towards destruction. But all I can see is that in the eyes of a child wouldn't you feel abandoned if half of your family went away? I can assure you that her mom would agree to the parenting right termination and I can guarantee she would use it as further amo to make him look like a deadbeat dad. He is anything but that but I mean if he did relinquish rights that's all it would look like.

Any encouraging words? Thoughts? Been there, done that? I really hope no one takes this post the wrong way. Please don't think we don't care about DSD. We do. I wish we could get custody but there is no way that will ever happen in WA state.

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Old 02-06-2008, 03:17 AM   #2
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

I have never been there or done that. I do have a DSD and have been through this a lot so I just wanted to thow some ideas in here. DH ex tried to do the change child support not let us have her thing. So we went through DHS. Basically it's free. You contact DHS they will automatically take out the correct amount of child support from the check. If back is owed they will work out a plan with you for like $25 per month or out of your tax refund etc. If the mother isn't allowing regular visitation you can keep track and call the police when she won't let you have her. Even though the police can not do anything about it they can file a report so that you will have proof when you go to court. DHS will only handle the child support part, but you can petition the judge to take other "facts" visitation into evidence and he/ she might change visitation schedules. If all else fails there are sliding scale counsel in every state. Many times it's free for you. You will just have to look up legal aid in your state. Broken families are never any fun. I totally understand where you are right now. But as a mother and someones daugther you have to imagine how that little girl is going to feel if he drops his rights. (I don't think that terminates CS anyway) Even though her mom talks bad about you and all that you have got to stand your ground and let her know that you are there for her there. When times get tough you just get tougher. Stand your ground. This is one of your babies don't let anyone or anything take her away. I assure you mama I know how hard it is. I promise you that I know. Feel free to pm anytime.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I don't think terminating rights is the way to go. This little girl is being caught in the middle in this and is struggling right now to understand. Imagine how she'll feel if he just drops out of her life. Is there no way to appeal the child support decision. If the child support has gone up to the point you have to sell your house then that just seems extravagant. I know some people who went through horrible things with custody issues. The mother brainwashed the kids into making accusations of abuse against the father. They lost all visitation rights to the children. Years later after letters and phone calls and appeals they finally were able to get back in touch with the kids and work things out. This is going to be a really long, hard road but his daughter will one day know and understand how hard he was fighting for her and it will matter to her a lot.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

Whatever you do, don't let your DH give up on his daughter. My parents divorced when I was 19. I was angry at my Dad for a couple of years (they were miserable together, and I wished they would have divorced a lot sooner). He was under no financial or legal obligation to me at all, yet he stayed in touch, tried to spend time with me etc. It wasn't until my mom flipped out and disapperared from my life that I finally realized that he wasn't the monster she's gotten all 3 of us kids to believe he was.

It may take adulthood for the crap you are going through now to pay dividends, but I promise you it will be worth it. By cutting the legal ties now, he would not be getting rid of the costs (the ex might claim that she would quit with the child support hassle, but she won't), he would only be telling his daughter that she wasn't important enough to him to maintain the relationship.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:58 AM   #5
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

I doubt you can do that. Otherwise everyone who is behind or didn't want to pay could just relinquish their rights.

She shouldn't be able to take you back every year. It should be 3 years.

Sorry it's so difficult. I think you've just got to cope as best you can and accept that it will probably always be ugly. I do not think she'd magically grow up to establish a happy relationship with him if he just abandons her now. But if you just keep doing the right thing by her, paying, seeing her when you can, and continuing to take the high road, hopefully when she's grown she will see everyone for who they are. DH always says of his son, "he's not stupid, he's figuring out who's causing the problems."
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:05 AM   #6
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

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Old 02-06-2008, 08:05 AM   #7
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

Let me give you the one little piece of advice I have. I have three half siblings from my father's first marriage. I rarely saw them growing up, as their mother wouldn't let them come over, and in the 70's and 80's, father's had even less rights. They all heard terriable lies about my father, really, really awful stuff. However, they are all adults now, and have made peace with our Dad, and fully understand what really happend. We;ve all got a great relationship with our father.

My FIL also has two sons from his second wife (DH is from his first wife) When FIL and second wife split, she took the kids across the country, and he saw them rarely. Again, the laws were not in favor of him having any rights. The boy's mother told them awful lies about FIL, and as young boys, they hated their father. One of them even took his step father's last name once he became an adult.

Now they are 30, and 24 years old. They both have healed their relationship with my (wonderful) FIL, and they have a better understanding of what really happened. The one who changed his name is even concidering changing it back
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:11 AM   #8
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

to you and you DH! My parents were both like you DSD's Mom after they got divorced. They always talked terribly about one another and always tried to compete for our affections. All I can tell you is that as an adult with children of my own I have come to realize that they were both hurting and were behaving badly b/c they were hurting. I ss that your DSD is going through this! It's really hard being in the middle.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:16 AM   #9
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights


I have two half brothers, from my Dads first marriage, when my dad and their mom divorced, she moved across country with them, they were like 6 and 2, even though he was paying child support, she would call him and say they had no food and the boys were eating from ketchup packets for dinner, so he sent more money. After a couple of years, they wanted to come live with our Dad, and even though it was their decision and their Mom gave up all rights and came to see them ONE time, they always thought she was GREAT. So much so, that they went to live with her after they graduated high school.
It took years for them to forgive my Dad for the situation (even though he and my Mom never said a bad word about their Mom) one of them never has forgiven him. The other one lives in the same city as her but never sees her.

I'm not sure what that really has to do with your situation, but I just thought I'd share.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:28 AM   #10
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Re: Has Anyone Been Through This - Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

CAn you get wic or foodstamps or anything to help you out so you can spend less on food and then maybe be able to afford the cs increase?
Is the child support increase accurate? What method did they use to figure out how much your dh should pay? They need to tell you this stuff and you have a right to know so you can appeal if it isn't accurate.
What happens if you don't pay all the back child support at once? Does dh loose custody? Can they garnish wages in WA? Your lawyer should be telling you all this stuff and if he isn't then you need a new lawyer.
Could you get a loan with a low interest rate to pay off the back child support that way you don't have to pay it all at once.
In this market you will likely lose money if selling house. Look and see if an apartment actually would be cheaper because in some cases it would not. I have been that WA is a really expensive state for housing.
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