B.H. asks from Justin, TX on September 09, 2007
This Is a Big One
OK Moms... you've given me such great advice and info in the past, this is the first place I thought to ask this question.
My husband has a 16 y/o daughter from a previous marriage. She lives in NY state with her mom (they share joint custody). We got a phone call this morning from her mother stating that she didn't want the girl living with her anymore, and had put her on a plane bound for DFW. She said if we wouldn't take her in, that she was going to put her in a foster home. We're supposed to pick her up tonight. Let me backtrack by saying that the girl's mother is not the most stable person in the world and the two of them (mom & daughter) argue constantly. Anyway, I don't have a lot of the details but the bottom line is that we now will have my stepdaughter living with us. My husband and I are thrilled at the idea of having her live with us - it's what we've wanted for a long time.
Here's my question(s): where do we need to go to get the custody papers changed? It was originally adjudicated in NY State, but I only am familiar with NY Law - where it states that the custody hearing should be in the county that the child currently resides. If she is residing with us in TX, where would the court be? (we live in Denton County, but the city of Ft. Worth)
How does child support work here? Would the child support order happen in the same court as the custody order? Is there some type of support collection unit (in NY we had one that would automatically deduct the child support from the non-custodial parent's check)
Can I enroll her in school before the official court ordered custody change takes place? We will have her birth certificate and social security card as well as a notarized letter from her mother stating that she is willingly giving up custody.
Finally, can anyone recommend a good therapist/counselor for her to see? I can't begin to imagine the horrible pain that this child is going through... her own mother told her to her face that she didn't want to live with her, and never wanted to see her again. My husband and I have a stable loving home, and are actually excited to have her in our home, to be able to provide her with the love and stability that she has been lacking -- but I know that she's going to need professional help.
G.A. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
I would not rush into this. My step children and my own children resented us for marrying. If a mom is willing to give up a daughter then she is having trouble with her. And now that trouble is yours. To this day because of the rebellion my daughter did as a 14-17 year old hurts. I do not think I will ever have the same relationship with her ever. Set the rules up front. Stick to those rules and beware. They always try to break up parents. They want mommy and daddy together. We moved into a beautiful home we built with a pool for my children and they sneaked out ran around egging homes, stealing, sexually active for my daughter. I went to tough love for a year. I always thought I was a great mom and loved the kids with all my heart. I did things with them then remarried and we tried to do things as a family. Every outing his 15 yr old threw fits and ruined it. We would purchase tickets to go on something and she made it so miserable. Refusing to go. She even ruined a picnic with her own grandparents because of my ex's sister told her to grow up. She left and went into the bathroom and every time someone tried to talk to her she would walk away. She called her mom in Alaska to complain about us all. She was a B and my daughter also became one. Age 13 all three of the girls became impossible to handle. All 4 children tried drugs. It was hell. So beware. I am raising a granddaughter because her dad the only boy never snapped out of the drug thing. He lives on the streets staying with anyone he can. He so far has two babies and one I will never see. Teen girls are the pits. Your phone is not yours and your life is not yours. I made them wash their clothes and had to wait all the time to get my turn. I never caught them with drugs but now they tell me yes that was part of it. They would slam doors and talk back and many times I left the home to neighbors in tears. My son and his daughter got into a fight at a fitness place working out. I never took them back. She buddied up to dad and he caved in many times. I now know when she went out with friends, he gave her like $100 to go drink.Then would ground my children for little things. She was 18 but under age. Driving our car. Scary things. My daughter thought daddy was the place to run to. So she ran away and had him send her a ticket to him. He was only remarried for the 5th time a couple of months and the relationship with the step mom lasted 4 months before she was on the streets living with a boy in the boy's parents home. That was 12 years ago. When they move out on the streets in New Orleans at 17 you are responsible for them until they are 18 so we had her emancipated. She has never asked me for anything and at age 29 now goes from one man into another. Older men so far. She has a sparkle but I do not think her life is as satifying as she thinks it is. She has no children and if she waits to long who knows. The problems are that they never really know the sacrifices we go through until they have their own.I will also tell you that so many people were in Tough Love because of the children they adopted and wanted so bad. As teens rebelled big time. G. W
D.B. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
CrossTimbers Community Church in Argyle has a separate counseling center called the Healing Place and I have heard wonderful things about their program. Might be worth a phone call. Your stepdaughter is blessed to have you and your husband. Good Luck!
J.T. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
You will be all this little irl needs. A loving mother and nurturer. As far as the legal process, I'm not sure. I would contact either Greg Abbot's office (which is the attorney general in fort Worth), or call West Texas Legal Services. If their is anything I can do....Please don'e hesitate to email me at ____@____.com As far as counseling, there are numerous places for 16 year olds to go that are minimal costs or so...I have alot of resources, let me give you some numbers. And prayer, prayer, prayer. J.
Legal Aid of Northwest Texas 800-967-6708
Social Security Administration 800-772-1213
Department of State Health Services (counseling) ###-###-####
Crossroads Youth Ministry - Shelia Frosch ###-###-####
Some of these may be Parker instead of Tarrant, when you call...just ask for the Tarrant number. Good Luck. Your a good woman! You will be rewarded by the Lord! J.
T.O. answers from Dallas on September 09, 2007
Call Loveless & Loveless in Denton, TX. They do Marriage and Family Law and they are great. Vicki is the Legal Assistant, we went to school together, and she will tell you if they can help or not. They won't screw you over.
G.W. answers from Auburn on September 09, 2007
What a great stepmom you are! I'm sure your whole family is in for some major adjustments but it sounds like you have the greatest attitude to tackle some of these future issues. I don't really have any answers to your questions specifically but they all sound like things you need to see a good attorney for first thing Monday morning. I hope your stepdaughter transitions well, makes great friends, and enjoys her new life in Texas. Your husband is very fortunate to have found such a great wife. Best wishes!