How do I get easy child daughter to move back in with me?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by recovering doormat, May 12, 2009.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    exDH andI have joint legal custody of our kids (ages 12, 16 and 18), and the parenting plan we filed at the time of the divorce called for our son to live with dad, daughters to live with me (we live in the same town, 2 miles apart.) Since then, oldest turned 18, child support stopped adn she elected to move in with dad (bigger house, no mom nagging her to clean up her room, no nagging to do chores).

    Several months ago youngest daughter, the 12 yr old, decided to start spending weekend nights at dad's house (after a long period of ignoring her dad and refusing to visit him). I encouraged it, wanted her to have a closer relationship with her dad and to spend time with her siblings (son hasn't lived with me since 2004 due to his behavior/ODD).

    Gradually, she started spendign one school night, then another, then another, until she was basically living at dad's full time. I would pick her up from school, bring her to my house for a snack and to call her friends, then bring her to dad's house. Her older sister and brother were at home, as well as a 16 yr old German exchange student living at exDH's house. I chalked it up to the comparative luxury of dad's house (6,000 sq ft on 3 acres vs. my 2000 sq ft box) as well as not having to live by my rules. I also was feeling very depressed and worn down at the time and relished the calm and quiet after a very stressful period involving my two oldest kids and their drug issues and anti-social behavior. I thought if I didn't have a break I would end up in a padded room.

    Her dad has filed a motion to stop paying me child support, which didn't surprise me, but now I'm in turmoil because I'm going to have to decide whether my daughter should reside with me again or let her stay with her dad, adn it's not just about the money. The German girl is leaving in five weeks and my two oldest kids, well, they aren't the best role models.

    My exDH leaves the house six days a week at 7 am and returns around 6 p.m. There is zero parental supervision most of the time. ExDH makes dinner for the kids (none of them do chores, cook or clean), usually pizza or pasta with jarred tomato sauce, then he watches TV until 9 and falls asleep. He never seems to be awake when the kids come in at night, particularly on weekends. I never go to bed before my kids get in. I found out recently that the older kids sometimes smoke cigarettes and weed in the house after dad has gone to bed. He's oblivious.

    I spoke to my easy child this afternoon about moving back in with me fulltime, but being able to visit dad and his house whenever she wanted. She wants to stay at dad's, doesn't think she needs more supervision (of course she doesn't, she's 12 going on 18). I didn't expect anything different. She's had too much freedom and now I'm reigning it in.

    My therapist said that since she's only 12 she has to abide by the court ordered parenting plan, and can't have a say in where she lives. But how do I get her to move back in with me if she doesn't want to budge? Do I call the cops and have them carry her out to a waiting squad car. I'm sick about this. I made a mistake that I dont' know how to fix. Does anyone have a suggestion? Thanks.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ugh...this could be tricky. I dont have any personal experience here but I am thinking from what I know from others who have gone through things like this that 12 is the age when kids can tell a court where they want to live unless there is sufficient evidence to cause a court to say nope. You could probably get the cops to force her home for the time being but if she can get daddy to file for physical custody...and she backs may go her way. The only thing going in your favor would be to drag in all the older difficult child stuff and bring in the smoking and weed stuff that he lets go on. I dont think the icky dinner stuff would make a difference. I think it would be a cps matter with the supervision and the drugs.

    Good luck...gonna be a hard one I believe.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Do you and EX talk at all?

    Can you tell him you want her home? Tell him there is drug activity in his house? Is he reasonable?
  4. sosotired

    sosotired New Member

    At 12 she can communicate where she wants to live but the judge will weigh more heavily on what's the best placement for her. I'd start with the Ex and talk to him about the bad influences. If he won't budge, your most likely only alternative would be to tell her why you want her home, why you think it would be in her best interest and that you will call the cops to bring her back. Follow through if she doesn't do what you're asking. You shouldn't be afraid to tell her you made a mistake but your intentions are to only do what's best for her. You should also be very, very clear about what the rules are as to when she's allowed over there if and when she does move back.

    Dad can file for temp custody while he goes after permanent since you've allowed her to live there so be prepared for a fight.

    Why, out of curiousity, did the exchange student make such a difference in your decision to let her live there before vs. now. It sounds like you only just found out that the Ex is allowing the older ones to smoke in the house but I would have to assume that if they were doing it otherwise, she'd eventually get exposed to it.

    Not sure if this is allowed but there is a good forum specific to divorce, custody, etc. that has been very helpful for me ... you might find some additional help there. It's divorce source dot com. Click on message centers on the left.
  5. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Thanks for your suggestions. Dad is not a reasonable person and has a vested interest in making me out to be the inferior parent. He originally sued for sole custody and failed, but it took a year of hearings and a court appointed ad litem guardian to tell him no way. What has happened over time is that I have become tougher and he has become more laissez-faire. I think this is mostly due to his age, 57, and exhaustion from overwork. He isn't able or willing to give the supervision she needs now.

    I had thought that the pot smoking in the house stopped when my son was away in rehad (that's when I allowed easy child to stay over more frequently) but I've come to find out just this week that my older daughter has been smoking and drinking routinely, not necessarily in the house, but she's still doing it and that's a dealbreaker for her to move back in with me (the older daughter,I mean).

    This is a nightmare. I may have opened the door to him dragging out more legal wranglings (we separated in 2004, div. in 2007, still trying to settle division of property -everything is in his name, my sole income is alimoney and child support). If I could be certain that he would provide adequate supervision for her when she is not in school, I wouldn't challenge him. We have always had frequent and flexibles visitation, I have a key to his house and drive the kids to and from his residence several times a day.

    I do feel somewhat better that I brought it up to easy child yesterday, so it's no longer weighing heavily on my heart. She wants no part of more supervision from me, natch, so it was pointless to discuss it further. My shrink says to move her clothes and toiletries back to my house. I did admit to easy child that I made a mistake, that I was so whipped from all the bad stuff that happened over the previous six months with her older sibs that I just needed a break so bad. She said, what if you get depressed again? Good question. I told her that I had more support now, and that I wouldn't put us in a situation where her older sibs could create such havoc in my household.

    Well, what's done is done. For her dad to refuse to let her leave would put him in violation of our court approved parenting plan, which calls for her to reside with me. I would imagine he'd have to file a motion to change that. What is so frustrating for me is that his lawyers (he has one for the divorce matters and one for the appeal!) are both business partners with him in several real estate LLC's, so while I'm paying $500/hr to my lawyer, he is giving I.O.U.'s to his guys. Neither of them have been paid, as far as I know, for the past four years. Unless of course he has been hiding cash somewehre that evena forensic accountant can't find.

    Moral of the story: Never marry anyone you wouldn't want to be divorced from.