41 answers

Who Can Pick up the Kids

My ex wants his new wife to pick up the kids from school...I don't agree.

I'm the residential parent...and we do have the right of first refusal. He works until 6:30 (his choice...he could be done with work at 3:30...but says he has to work more to pay the child support) on the nights he get the kids from after school until 7:30. He want his new wife...because she doesn't work...to pick the kids up from school at 2:30. So they can spend time with his family...even though he's not there until 6:30. My feeling is I get off of work at 3:30 and want to spend every minute I can with the kids. I chose a different job when we got a divorce so I be home right at 3:30. I think that they should be with me until their dad gets off of work...not with his new wife their 2 kids.

He told me that she is picking them up...end of story. Of course I said no she isn't and the foolishness begins. In our divorce decree it says "parent or relative" is to transport the kids. Is the new wife legally considered relative? What about the right of first refusal?

Do I have a leg to stand on? Can I refuse to let her pick them up or not?


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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow...I wasn't expecting that. A decision hasn't been made. However, everyone gave me alot to think about. Obviously I didn't explain my full situation...it would take 100 pages. My concern is I'm not sure how she treats them. I'm just clear as to how she treats me and treated me. Me, my ex, and his new wife all worked together and were friends. They started having an affair while I was pregnant. I tried to talk to her about things and she said she was doing nothing wrong. They both denied the affair until the day they got married. It's an ugly situation. I just want my kids to be happy, safe, and healthy. They tell me stories...which I take with a grain of salt because they are so small...and talk with their dad about them and he always says...she would never do that or say that. I'm also constantly being told that his family is none of my concern. Which then of course makes it harder to be objective in this situation.

Thanks again for everyones input.

More Answers

It doesn't sound like this happens every day maybe 1 or 2 days per week? I think it is good for your kids to bond with their new step sisters or brothers and step mother. Another thought is that maybe when he gets home they all have dinner together and him having to come and pick up the kids for 1 hour at dinner time is pretty silly to me. I think "stepmom" qualifies as a parent, not a relative, so I see no reason why she cannot pick them up. You should be happy that she wants your kids to be included in their family and home life. This is a wonderful thing. Be thankful. She must care for them or she wouldn't want anything to do with them. Just a few thoughts. I think there are much bigger issues that you should be on the lookout for and worry about. This is not one of them. Also, I do not see going back to court and presenting this to the judge (and paying your lawyer) will benefit you or the kids really. You might look like a drama making control freak in the judges eyes...unless your kids are in danger when in the stepmoms care. Also, what happens at your ex's house is really out of your hands. You cannot make things happen the way you want when your kids are there. Let it go.

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M., I am not familiar with the "right of first refusal" but what I am familiar with is family dynamics. Why on earth would you think that your ex husbands wife and children are not your children's family? If you were to remarry would you consider your husband to be part of your childrens family? if you had to work late would you consider it ok for him to pick them up? I don't know your exhusband or his wife. But I do know that when you make children choose between parents there are no winners. Ever. It sounds as if you have hostility between yourself and ex. The economy is bad. lots of people are working more hours. Its great that you were able to get a job that gets you off work at 330. I don't think it makes him a bad parent because he has to work later. I don't think it makes him a bad parent to want his wife and other children to spend time with these 2. you might want to speak to the school councilor to get their take on it but mine is that your being petty. Sorry if that sounds rude.

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Honestly I think you should let your kids spend that time with their father & new family. Their step-mother is absolutely part of their family! And they need to bond with her and their other siblings. That part of their family is just as important as the time they spend with you, whether you want to see it that way or not. This isn't about you. It's about what is best for the kids. There's no reason why the wife shouldn't be able to pick the kids up from school! I think you're being ridiculous. I grew up with divorced parents and although my mother couldn't stand my father, she NEVER let that (or his subsequent wives) get in the way of my time with that part of my family. I spend lots of time hanging out with my step-mother and step-brother and it brought me closer to my father! You need to let go a little bit.

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Honestly, unless there is risk to their life or danger to their well-being I think you're being petty and childish.

You are divorced. He is remarried. You absolutely have the right to be upset over that situation. You do not have to be happy about that whatsoever. However, if you want to do what's best and healthy for your kids, you wouldn't stand in the way of letting them form a healthy relationship with their step-siblings and step-mother. Whether you like it or not, these new people are now part of your children's extended family but more importantly their support network. Now, if the children are in danger with the new step-mother or step-siblings or if they are in an unsafe environment, then there's cause for great concern.

Just my opinion.

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It's time for some self-reflection. Do you have a problem with their step-mom picking them up because it would adversely affect them (the children), or is your objection rooted in spite and anger over the divorce? Seems to me to be the latter. While this is natural, don't lose sight of what is most important--the best interest of the kids. If you have a negative attitude regarding the ex's new family, it will surely be picked up by the kids, and that's not healthy for them.

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New wife is not a relative. That being said, it may be good for the kids to play with the other kids and to be on good terms with all the adults that are around them. The main question is what is the environment that is being created? Is it loving where all the adults including step mom are nurturing the children? What will the children be doing when they are at his house? If the answer is watching TV or playing video games etc, then I wouldn't want that. If it is doing other more constructive things, having a good time, then maybe it is fine. Does he have them every day after school? That seems a lot. One of the most important things between you two is that you avoid fighting. It really isn't healthy for the children and they don't need to be used as pawns to continue animosity. I would think through this for a little while to work out what is really bothering you. You certainly have legal rights and the step mom is not a relative, so you can go to your lawyer and look at modifications. On the other hand, you may want to encourage his wife to be a good friend to your children and to provide them support etc. You certainly don't want her to be alienated and for their home to be an unwelcome place for you children as they are likely to be there plenty. Good luck.

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You have some objective & subjective advice here. The good news is there is a simple solution. You may not like it at first but it will definitely work out best for everyone in the long run. Allow her to pick them up. Explain to your children what the situation is objectively. To get into a debate or power struggle or foolishness with your ex over this situation will negatively impact your children. Who, from what I can tell, are tremendously important to you. If they are safe with her and you have no real legal reason to keep them from her (i.e. she's got DUIs or is physically abusive or is an addict) then allow them to spend time with her. Let it go. The negative energy associated with this type of debate isn't worth it. I speak sincerely as a single working mother. I know it's never easy & I know they are YOUR children - your babies. They are precious. But it's ok & they will be fine. The point is for HIM to spend time with them. I get that & I feel you on that too. But he's working overtime to pay child support, right? What you could do is forgo the childsupport in exchange for his spending more time with your children. Just consider it & think of the long term benefit. As women we want them to "pay". But what type of remuneration will be most valuable for the kids? His time or his money?

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I suppose you can refuse whatever you want and force him to take you to court to specify who can pickup and what times. It seems to work this way with divorce all the time. This is unfortunate and a waste of money. Can you negotiate the drop-off location instead, like ask him or his wife to drop-off at your house?

I have no idea what the law says about this one or how it defines allowable family members, so I look at it from the kids' perspective. They now have a life separate from you a few days a month. This life includes another family. They should be provided ample time to learn their place and contribute to this part of their life. Blending siblings is not easy, no matter how long ago the transition/divorce took place.

Leaving work earlier on pickup days may be a goal for your ex, but getting to the point where he can do this is a process. He isn't likely to share his struggles of making this happen with you because it makes him vulnerable. Plus, his priorities (and repercussions) for wealth and security are no longer between you and him, they are between him and his new family.

Best wishes.

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I am the stepmom of a now 14 year old boy. I used to pick him up regularly since he was 4, as his dad worked and he didn't want to miss a minute with him. I did it because I loved my husband and I knew how much it meant for him to see his son whom he adores. I also knew how important is was for his son to spend time with his father. I also stepped aside to let them spend time with each other when they were together and when they asked me to join in I would happily join in. Picking him up gave him more time to be with him instead of spending the entire visitation in the car. The kids have two separated parents with two separate lives and families, you must help them adjust without creating stress and tension for them. They feel your frustration and then it just makes visitation stressful for all. The stepmother always gets a bad rap we are just trying to help the father stay involved in their sons life. I know it's hard to watch another mother figure take the kids but you must take the high road for the kids sake. The kids live with you. You get to put them to bed, wake up with them and see their every day to day world. It's hard enough not to live his son, why make it harder to see him. It's true he has to work hard to pay child support. I see how hard it is every month to make ends meet. I hope that you can work this out, I know that it stinks to just be fighting over things. Pick your battles, this is minor compared to other major life decisions like school, doctors, vacations etc., just let it go. Good-luck.

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I understand what you are saying and where your coming from. but shouldn't your children have a chance to spend with their other family members? Yes, your ex's new wife is considered a family memeber. And their kids would be your children's siblings. Is it really wrong for them to spend time together whether or not their father is around? Just a thought.

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Let New Wife pick them up on his behalf. The children should be allowed to spend time with their extended family. If this only happens on the nights that he is to get them, so let them handle this anyway they chose. As long as your children are not being harmed in any way. (emotionally or phyically) If you have them all of the other times, you will not miss out on very much. You should try to enjoy your time to yourself. She is their "Step-Parent" and why would you refuse to let her pick them up, has she harmed them?
Just think, if he didn't have to work a little later to make sure you receive child support, and had less money to send your would have another issue. I think you all should make sure the children are cared for, which is the most important thing. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff.

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Well, why don't you want her to pick up the kids? Does she treat your kids badly? Is she mean, hurtful or neglectful to them? If not, then sounds like you need to work on your issue and let go. She, as their stepmom, has every right to be involved in their lives too.
My sister had a hard-time whehn her ex got re-married but his new wife treats her daughter well so she had no reason to refuse his new wife from picking up their daughter from school or even the house when it was their weekend.
Your ex's new wife is a part of your husband's life and you'll have to accept that your kids will ultimately be a part of both of their lives. If she treats your children well, then let go and stop trying to control everything.

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While I understand your thinking, I thought I would put a different spin on it. What happens if someday for some reason you are not able to pick up the kids. You might want her to be able to pick up the kids as that she does not work.
Although he has no right to tell you who can or can not pick up the kids I will guess this goes back to maybe some of the reasons you got divorced. Yes he is a jerk for saying like that but good thing he is someone else's problem now.
My suggestion is to you that you talk to him about this saying yes the kids should spend time at him house you just thought he should be there for more than what probably amounts to less than an hour. That fine let the wife pick up buy he must make the effort to get off work a bit earlier or why bother.
Yes I know I saw other posts about getting to know the stepkids but this is really about dad seeing the kids with a power struggle thrown in.
Consider the above, if you can't get past it well then he can pick up the kids at 630 & return them by 730 or take you back to court but I have a hunch that a judge might tell him this is HIS visitation therefore he should be there or something along those lines.
Good luck!

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My parents were divorced and my father re-married. My father never included me and my 2 siblings by my mother in his new life with his wife step daughter and their three children. Growing up I disliked my step-mother and her daughter and even my brothers and sisters by her because I felt they were the reason my father did not want us around. Now that I am older I understand the my step mother was not the one who made that decision and that it was my fathers responsibility to make his previous children feel comfortable.. To this day my sisters and I do not feel comfortable around her or our brothers and sisters because we never allowed to be apart of their family so when we come around we feel like outsiders.
With that said, I know how hard it is to allow another person take on the motherly responsiblity but I think that your children would be able to forma better realtionship with their father if they were allowed to be part of his new family..
Maybe do a trial period where she picks the kids up and if your kids disagree with it or are in harms way then you take some type of action. Maybe you should take to your children and get their prespective of their step-mother and if they feel she is a good person to be aroind then mabe you should allow them to be picked up by her. Someone also suggested taking to her I think that is a good idea, because then you would see for yourself if she has your childrnes best interst at heart..
I understand this is a hard situation but as everyone stated you need to make your children feel as comfortable as possible in both homes..

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There is a yes and a no. There is a leg you can stand on but you would have to take him back to family court to get it enforced and no if I were you I would not go that route unless your children have a problem with the new wife. Don't make the new wife your problem. This is what happened to us. My husband has a son from his previous marriage. When we got married he saw him every other weekend and I spent the majority of time with him because my husband worked many Saturdays and he would spend all Saturday evening and Sunday with him. His ex-wife (who was single at the time) hated this and dug her heels in and told my husband if he was not there the whole time their son was not coming over. Instead of going to court my husband said fine and many weekends his son could not come til Sunday afternoon after Church. Then the ex-wife got all wigged out about me being around at all and when our son was born it was even more of a mess. She said that it should be just father and son doing things together and that our son & I were outsiders, that I should just stay home when they are together and mind my own business. My husband put his foot down and said that we are a family and that was that. My husbands son was 10 years when this took place and started calling his Dad and saying he did not want to come over to see us because he wanted all this problems to stop. His older son will be 30 years old this year. Their relationship has been strain beyond repair because of all the fighting and problems his ex-wife caused. At every turn it was I don't want you to do this and I don't want you to that. Our son just turned 19 this year and does not even know his 1/2 brother because of all these problems.
Although his older son is a 30 year old man, the scares of parents fighting and arguing never goes away. So before you start making to many I don't want this, I don't want that stop and think that your children will have to have contact with the new wife and your ex-husband will do things with his children and his new wife as a family. The pain of divorce is hard enough on the children, stop and think, if does not bother your children being picked up by the new wife just let her do it. I bet things will run a lot smoother. And if they say it bothers them make sure it is not them hearing you say it is a problem and they say it is a problem to make you happy.

Sorry for being so blunt but it has been hard on my husband not having a relationship with his older son.

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As Rebecca pointed out below--this is sort of a two-fold question.

Legally, though I'm not an attorney, I'd suggest that your ex's wife is in fact his relative. Just as the spouse of your sibling is your (and by extention, the children's) relative. The specific wording of the agreement (parent or relative) would imply to me that those who are excluded are 'friends' or 'significant others' who may come and go over the course of the agreement. In my own experience, I have seen judges get rather ticked over hairsplitting of 'definitions of family'. To make this a big legal issue ultimately hurts the kids in the end...they will be aware of heightened tensions between you and the ex, even though I would assume that you and he don't discuss the intracacies of such legal/parental disagreements with them.

Not knowing how many nights a week this occurs makes it difficult to say whether this is an issue that needs pressing on your part. If it's five days a week, I can see your frustration--you're home, he's not--could a compromise be found? However, if it's an even split or if he's got just one evening a week, I'd suggest that this may be a battle not worth choosing.

The kids now have two homes and two nuclear families. One with you (sounds like primary residential?) and one with your ex. The less drama and upset that occurs around the shifting back and forth between the homes, the easier that transition is for the kiddos.

If the kiddos see you taking their 'other family' in stride, it will make the duality of their current lives far less disruptive for them. Having the shift between parents occur with school in the middle (they leave your home in the morning for school and go to Dad's home after school) reduces the loyalty tugs for the kids as well.

Full Disclosure: I write this as both a mom and a stepmom. Very similar situation occurred with my husband and his kids, and frankly, the losers were the kids--not so much one or the other parent. So, to answer your question--you *can* refuse...just as your ex *can* pursue the issue in court. It just may not be the best decision for your kids.

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He is remarried; therefore his new wife equals family. It may be hard for you to take, but that is the cold hard truth. Unless she is a horrible women and the children say she is abusive or something, I don’t see why she can’t pick them up. Try to teach your kids about compromise and respect. I know it must be hard for you, but this is the hard reality of divorce.

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I agree with the other posters who said that your children need time to bond with their new siblings, but I also agree that you need time with your kids. Would it be possible for you to work out a compromise? Maybe you pick up on MWF, and your ex's wife pick's up on Tues Thurs, or some other variation of sharing?

Look to minimize hostility and resentment whenever possible. I am not divorced, but have been on the verge a few times, and have always found that compromise is the key to making things work.

I am sure that your ex would love to be able to come home at 3:30, when his shift ends. It seems that he is being responsible in working extra hours in order to be able to pay the child support. Keep in mind that he is supporting 2 families now, so the responsibility must weigh heavily on him.

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I haven't read the posts so this may already be in there - reverse the situation. You're re-married and he has an issue with your husband/children's stepfather picking them up. What's your take on things?

Your kids now need to fit into a new family structure and your job as their mom is to help them in any way you can.

My mother hated my step mother. H.A.T.E.D. her. That had a definite impact on my relationship with my step mother which made things very difficult for me as a child. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started forming a relationship with her and realized how hard it must of been for her - she never did anything wrong, my mom just didn't like her b/c it was my dad's new wife. She's really a great woman - and even more so for never once saying a bad thing about my mom or my behavior despite what she'd been put through.

You certainly do have a right to be upset that he's re-married. But don't spend all your time on the negative energy. If she's a trustworthy person and cares for your children, you're blessed. You now have some time you can spend on yourself doing the things you want to do. Spend time on a new hobby, or catching up with friends. Maybe meet someone new. No one said it was going to be easy, but what you do with YOUR time that your children are with their father is up to you.

Decide if you want to spend it plotting and planning and battling this, or moving on with your life and finding a happy place.

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M., I don't know what the legalities are, but my life experience and beliefs tell me that letting her pick up your children is the wise choice, as long as she is responsible. Your children are going to suffer from a continuation of acrimony between you and your husband. Why not make their lives and yours more pleasant, turn a new page. You might be surprised to find that your husband will reciprocate. Then the two of you can end this legal battle and who is right and who is wrong and make decisions based on the children. I just read your follow-up. Of course it hurt a lot and she is being immature and selfish. But I still think my original advice is worth trying.

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Hi M..

Sorry you are having to go through this. As far as your children's stepmother is concerned, she has absolutely no legal rights whatsoever where your children are concerned, unless both you AND your ex have signed an agreement called "in parentis loco" which would then give her some minimal parental rights. If you two haven't done that, she has no rights where your children are concerned. As for first right of refusal, mine states anything longer than 2 hours, so it would depend on the language specific to your agreeement.

I know it stinks, but keep in mind that your ex's kids with her are still your children's family too.

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As a child of divorced parents, If your children are happy spending time with their new siblings, and they are well taken care of, I don't see a big problem there. Is it just that you don't like her, or has she done something to prove untrustworthy?? I think it is a good thing she cares about your kids and wants them around, many step parents aren't that nice. (I lived that and it's hard, its really hard on children when they don't feel part of their dad's new life, or vice versa, so from personal experience, I say, please encourage it if they are trying like you said) Im sure it's hard for you, but if it's only a few days a week, maybe you can try to compromise and do some things for you that you enjoy! Good Luck.

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I think you need to quit being so selfish, and think of the kids. If you were to get remarried, your saying your new husband couldn't pick up your kids either?? I think you should let the kids be around their new family. Maybe the dad is working extra hours to pay child support. You should be happy that you are even getting it. A lot of single mom's do not. Not trying to sound so harsh, but it sounds like your not over your ex and are jealous of his new wife.

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I am not familiar with that right either but I can tell you what a judge would rule on this. Unless she has hurt your children or is a danger to them she gets to pick them up. She is family. Your children have 2 other siblings? Your children need a relationship with their siblings as much as they do with their father. I think there has to be something far more productive to do with your frustration in this situation. During my 3 year long divorce I had to learn to let the anger go and choose my battles. It occured to me that everytime I let myself get upset over something he was doing or not doing it was his way of messing with my life and exerting his power over me. My advice is let it go!!!! You will feel better. Take that time to do something for you, go hang out at the bookstore or get a pedi or do your grocery shopping kid free!!! Focus on something that is going to produce positive results!

Have a great day!

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Hi mom listen we as adults has to get along the new wife is gone to be around if you pick them up and then the father gets them later, the new wife will still be there, so let it happen, be the bigger person here plus they will be with their other siblings,it will be ok. Look don't you be the one breaking the peace the kids will see this and some day might take sides play it cool. The children will be grown soon and they will say mom did her job. Good Luck and God Bless

I just wanted to say that when us Moms post things on this site, it is for people to help and give advice. Even when people may completely disagree, they could use much more tact then butchering the poster....

That said, some of the advice was really good and useful too. I am blessed that I do not have to go through this, and hopefully never do, but once upon a time, I had my ex-boyfriend and he had 2 kids, and I spent alot of time with them, and loved them, like they were my very own. Initially, the ex-wife gave us many, many problems (and to be quite truthful, in this instance, it was more because of jealousy and all that). I always tried to be understanding because I felt sorry for the situation, etc., etc. But after awhile, I think she realized I really was a great person, really cared for her children and NEVER tried to be HER children's mother. The only thing that I could suggest is possibly talk with your ex's new wife (just you and her), and maybe just tell her your issues, and your desires/wants, etc., and maybe you could come up with a great solution that you could live with.
The best of luck to you and the whole family...

It seems to me that there are two distinct questions, here. The first is whether you *legally* have the right to refuse to allow her to pick the children up. That, IMHO, is something only a legal professional can answer.

The second is whether you *should* try to prevent her from picking the children up, and that's a stickier wicket. There are a lot of factors weighing in here: how many nights a week/month is this? Is the stepmother trustworthy and reliable? How do they spend the time in those afternoons? You need to consider all of those and then ask yourself if this is the hill you want to plant your flag on. Maybe it is. Or maybe it's worth letting this one go in the larger scheme. Only you can really answer that.

I think if your ex is married, then she's a step parent and can probably pick them up. How do the kids feel about it? If they're okay with it I would let it go. If it bothers them , then I would speak with the ex. I don't know how old your children are but I would talk to them and see how they feel. It sounds like they are big brothers and sisters now, let them enjoy it and take an afternoon off for yourself.

I would say assuming the stepmom isn't a drunk or drugy, I would let her pick them up, I would say it is better to be home with stepmom and sibilings instead of at daycare or school, I agree our ex husbands dont handle things like we would, but also in my experience my kids love their step sibilings and in most cases love when their step mom is there more than their dad. This way he gets his time and still gets child support paid. I am a mom with a five year old boy with my ex, and I have two step sons and we have a daughter together. My ex recently had his girlfriend living with him and she recently moved out, my son was happier going there when she was there than now that she is not. It is good for them to have a mothering type on the other side, I was happy she was there because I knew she was softer and kinder than him. Dads tend to be tough and hard and it's nice to have that balance. On the otherside, I am the stepmom too and we have my husbands kids quite a bit and my son and daughter love them and love to see them and they are all so happy when they can play together and they are from 10 months to 15 years old. Divorce is hard enough the way it is, try to be easy going for the kids, it's ok to be annoyed with their father but it's not the new wifes fault ... you need to use her to your best abilities, she is most likely caring for your kids and feeding them more than he is.
Good luck and I am here to talk if you want.

Legally, she is your husband's wife which means technically she is part of an extended family. I think I would have a hard time too if my husband and I were divorced, and he remarried. The problem would be for me is does she have kids her own? If not, is she responsible to take care of the kids or is she comfortable enough to handle the kids? If the answer is no, then I would really have a hard time with it too. I don't see any problem with you picking up the kids and taking them to your ex's before he got home. She really does not need quality time with them, you and your exhusband do. Maybe do a trial run with their stepmom, if there are problems, then I would step in!

I read your question when it was new and I just kept thinking 'GO WITH YOUR GUT'. Sorry I have no info on the legalities and so that was why I did not respond (which was her actual question, moms).

There is always more to the story and we mamasource moms should not be calling you childish, selfish, psycho (i think i saw that too), controlling, etc....go with your gut. Good Luck, M..

I have a VERY similar situation right now. It causes me and the kids extreme amounts of anxiety. My kids say she is mean to them and that she acts different when dads not around. They also say they are scared of her when she screams. I can attest to this behavior being of character with her as I have witnessed it many times. When their dad or I cant be around they are with their grandmother (my mom) They beg me to just let them stay at grandmas untill dad can pick them up. Sorry I don't have an answer. I am curious how you have handeled it since you posted your question though.

I'm assuming a compromise is not an option. After all he is remarried and his new wife does have kids that would be considered part of his family and thus your kids family....step brothers and sisters....wouldn't it be wise to cultivate all family relationships? Who can have enough loving family? Regardless of your own issues regarding the new wife and her children....it is a fact of the life that has evolved for you, him and your kids that they now have step whatevers....

So why not suggest a compromise....you pick them up three days a week for a month and she picks them up two days a week....then the next month switch.

The better the two of you work together to come to terms the better off your kids will be and the better lessons that they will learn about how to deal with people you don't necessarily agree with. Instead of putting your foot down and refusing to work with him on this issue...show the kids that intelligent, rational people can compromise and work out problems with ease....maybe even discuss it with them first before proposing it to your ex-husband to teach them a life lesson ahead of time.

She can pick them up at 6 30 (from your house) and have them visit. This man will never be cooperative. Sounds sadly very similar to my own life. If you are the custodial parent did I get that right, or do you have joint custody-then work out every other day arrangement-in writing and I mean it.I had my ex call the police on me when my children wanted to stay with me and he gave them verbal permission. They missed wrestling try outs and one was sick and he said they could stay home then changed his mind and forgot to tell me. Just called the police. So cover yourself.Back to the afterschool stuff. How old are the kids? Do they have after school activities?I have to look at your profile. I don't think the issue here is whether or not she is a parent or relative it's that he is a butthead. Oh I'm sorry I'm mean today. She could also pick them up and drop them at your house if it says transport. Can you talk to her? I am sure she doesn't want an extra errand like this and no one loves kids like their own moms. Perhaps Mr. Exwonderful is angry at her because she isn't working and thinks this is a good project for her. Oh boy I don't like this man.If you are the custodial parent then of course you have a leg to stand on. You actually have two! haha.Good luck with this you have many more years dealing with your ex. Hate to say it, I loved my kids so much I wanted to be with them every second I could and changed my life around, too.But, life is still a wrestling match with their father sometimes who managed to avoid to help yet argued to have them on purpose. Then he'd forget to pick them up anyway. I did try to go it his way a lot and the children see that, so if there is horrible fighting then maybe you take that time for yourself and enjoy an extra class or something. And read Shannon's note.


I'm responding to this privately because my family still lives in the area and I wouldn't want to cause friction, but I am the child of parents who were divorced when I was 2 and both remarried. Luckily, I lived with my mom and I loved my stepdad, I was not so lucky with my stepmom. My dad did the same kind of thing, he would get me on "his weekend" and then he would work overtime and I would be stuck at home with his girlfriend and then wife and her 2 kids. I would tell my mom all the time that I didn't understand why I was going to see him if he was never there! I understand where your husband is coming from, wanting everyone to be together, but the bottom line is he needs to be included or it isn't an ideal situation! This is completely my opinion, but I always wondered why my dad couldn't plan a better weekend without work, my mom never even made him pay child support. My mom, was not perfect however she also did as you did, she chose to work a job that allowed her to be home with me and all these years later I remember her being able to spend time with me and my dad always having to work or going on dates with his new wife when he should have been spending time with me! Hope this helps and isn't too depressing, but this is what children remember and my dad feels incredibly guilty now that he has grown up a little bit and realizes what he did! My advice, stick to your guns, they are your kids too and you have to look out for their best interest!! Good luck!!


M. the step mother will be apart of their life. They have siblings that they need to bond with. I could see if the new wife was on drugs or an alcholic but it seem your only problem is that she is the NEW wife. You need to take the time that she spends with them as your time to spend with you. Children are wonderful gifts from God but you need to spend time with you and maybe date again. Your ex has moved on and has a new life of his own and it sounds like you are making your life all about the children and not taking care of you. I love my children but I don't want to spend every minute with them. Now you have left out some information that is important, like the ages of your children and the ages of their new siblings but I don't think that would change my advice. I have been divorced twice and have child(ren) with each husband and know what you are going through. Once you start to date you will enjoy someone coming to get your children so that you can get back to living your life and not living life for your children. Face it the children grow up and leave home, you need to have a life of your own. You will not be a bad mother if you take time for yourself. Be thankful that your ex even wants to come and get his children. My ex's never came and got their children. My daughter calls her dad all the time wanting him to come and get her and spend time with her and he is always too busy. The new wife is apart of their life now and you need to get to know her and have an idea of how she raises her children and let her know what you allow and don't allow your children to do. You might find that you actually like the new wife. Let go, he already has.

Now that I have read the rest of your story I see why you have these feelings. What they did was wrong and GOD will deal with them on that not you. You have every right to be angry and upset but you have to let it go. They did what they did and they will pay. Now you need to let go of the hurt and move on, thanking God that you are no longer with a man that lies and cheats on you. She actually did you a favor. Remember how you get a man is usually how you loose him. If he did that to you he will possibly do that to her too. If she is treating the children unfairly it will come out, and if she is physically abusing them you will see the signs and be able to keep them away from them both. But for now live your life and enjoy yourself so that you can be the best mother to your children as you can. His attitude suck but at least you don't have to live with him anymore she does. Thank God for that.

Although there is some good advice below, I think the one thing that is unacceptable is his attitude. "She is picking them up...end of story????" Sounds like he's not in a position to necessarily decide that. I think before going to court you should be straightforward. Tell him you are willing to compromise (maybe you do 3 days, she does 2 days). That you don't want to make things difficult, but if you need a judge to sort it out than so be it. I agree that it's good for the kids to be with both families, but it's like he's demanding it of you, which seems more like a power struggle. Let him know you would love for her AND HIM to spend more time with the kids; however, you have to be involved in the decision, too.

What about you picking up the kids 3 days a week and keeping them until say 6pm and his new wife picking them up two days a week?

Fortunately, I don't have to go through this and I am sure that there is more to the story here but it sounds like your ex wants his new wife to be considered part of the family and while you don't like it, she is part of the family. He has moved on and wants to build a new life with her, that includes the kids. At least that's what it sounds like. Anyway, I guess that I would rather have an ex who was still involved with the kids than one who walked away from them. You will always be their Mom...try not to fight for what makes you upset but for what is in the best interest of the family and that may include letting her be a part of the "family" and giving your kids stability over there too.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

M., I'd suggest two things though will admit have not been in this position; my sons were 15 and 18 when their dad and i divorced. First' ask your lawyer. Second, if the kids are old enough, ask if they would mind going to their dad's house early with their step-mom. You may feel like you are losing them and losing control and if the divorce is fairly recent, it's not easy. None of it is easy. When we were divorced, we had to attend a program in Cook County called Children First. It was invaluable and put the focus on them, not ourselves. Can you imagine how i felt when the decision was to let their dad have custody of my younger son because of where he lived and the proximity to school? It had nothing to do with my relationship with my 15 year old son-in fact, both of them live with me now and are 26 and 23-but at the time it was exceedingly painful. Good luck.

Wow, I have been through some of this with my son, so here is what I can say:

Legally, I think his new wife may be considered a relative, but do you all really want to go to court over this? A judge will probably appoint you to mediation to discuss it and come up with your own solution anyway.

1)What is your main objection? If you changed jobs specifically to be home when the kids get off school and your ex was unwilling to make the same change (still working late) that may count in your favor. I think since you are making the work change, your request to be home with your kids until your husband can pick them up is valid.

2) on the other hand, things change. jobs change, people get remarried, schedules change. Is your objection just that you want to spend that time with your kids yourself? Or do you have some objection to the new wife?

3) What is her current relationship with your kids? Are they comfortable with her? Do they like and trust her? This woman is potentially going to be around a long time and you will have many school conferences, sporting events, parent nights,etc. where you may have to be interacting.

4)Do you feel that she is a safe and responsible person who is good to your kids? That is a more important question that do you like her or not. You don't have to like each other- you just have to be polite to each other and get along well enough for your kids.

When my ex moved in with his now-wife, I actually called her and asked her to meet me for coffee. We talked and I asked her what her expectations were of her relationship with my son and if she was prepared to have him in her house on the weekends, etc. ( his dad moved into her condo). I asked about her 'house rules', pets, would he have his own room there, etc.

It turned out that she had come from a divorced family and said that her main concern was to keep everything as stable and happy as possible for my son. She has kept to that, and even though we don't always agree on everything, my son actually sees MORE of his father and they are more involved in his life- and I am sure it is because of her and her background.

So we aren't best friends, but we have an understanding. She actually never comes and picks up my son on her own without his dad, but if she asked to, I would allow it.

I think it is totally reasonable for you to explain that you got a job specifically so that you could leave early enough to be with your kids afterschool and that is not something that has changed. But maybe work out some other time she could pick the kids up? What is it that THEY really want? It your ex trying to make up for the fact that he won't leave work earlier or is his wife trying to get some bonding time with the kids? If you can, talk to her about it- she should understand your need to see your own kids as much as you can, unless she is totally unreasonable. Of course, if you think she is not a safe driver or responsible, etc. that is a whole other story. But don't be threatened if all she wants is to get to know the kids better- trust me, that is a good thing and you will still ALWAYS be the mommy. THAT doesn't change!

M., I truly understand your position. Divorce is tough on the parents, but more so on the kids. Like it or not, you ex-husbands wife is going to be a part of your kids life. This whole process would go over a lot smoother if all of the adults involved could find a way to work together for the good of the children. Maybe if you got to know the new wife a little better (especially since she will be in your children's lives) you would be more comfortable with her and the time she spends with your children. The more you fight and protest the situation, the harder it will be for everyone involved to move on, especially the children. My advice to you is to simply make peace with the situation for your children's sake.

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