Father Trying to Persuade Teen Daughter to Live with Him

Updated on September 10, 2010
A.A. asks from El Sobrante, CA
15 answers

Has anyone else gone through this, and how did you handle it?

Last Spring, my eldest daughter (now 14) came home from a visit with her father with one foot out the door. Her father allowed her to see our court docs and emails so she could know "the truth" and told his side of a number of stories (some truth, some half-truth and some lies.) He and his wife subsequently evicted a couple who had been living with them as well their eldest son (15) to create a room just for the girls. They then began talking with my daughter about high school and the possibility of her going to high school there (in Las Vegas.) They also looked into middle schools for my younger daughter so she could live with them as well. My daughter was told that at 14 she can choose where she wants to live and they would be happy to have her come live with them.

When this came forward after the visit, we had some long talks about "the truth." Very long story short, I told her that what she read and heard wasn't necessarily the truth and we all agreed that she and her sister really wanted to finish out their time at their current school and that they wouldn't move unless they were going together so the earliest we would consider such a move would be in a year and a half. This all left my eldest daughter hurt, confused and torn.

It has now come to my attention that he and his wife are still trying to win her over. They went out of their way to have a lot of fun and sent their brothers away for the Summer visit. They picked out paint colors for their room and continued to talk about high school with my eldest even though I told him they didn't want to move any sooner than 2 years.

He never once mentioned to me he wanted them to move in with him or the conversations they had about our past. He has done this all behind my back and when I bring it up to him, he says it's their choice. I have explained to him it isn't only up to them that we as the parents need to discuss this and not have the children directly in the middle. He won't hear it. This is the same person who let my daughter drink alcohol when she was 11 and denied anything happened when his eldest son molested my daughters (both of which were addressed in court.) He is manipulating them, but they are too young to see that. My eldest daughter now doesn't know who to trust, but he doesn't seem to see or care that he's hurt her by what he has done. He is still pushing by sending her (not me) emails about the Las Vegas high school for the Arts for her to check out. I'm not sure what to do. I'm so angry and I'm not sure how to best handle him and her.

Any advice is welcome...

Edit - Since underage drinking is illegal, he was told he can't allow her to drink (yes, he allowed her and told her if she opened the wine cooler, she had to drink the whole thing then preceded to tell her about being careful when going out drinking and how to learn limits. Good conversation, but wrong timing.) A police report was not made about the molestation, but a CPS report was taken. CPS decided not to follow up, but instead told me I needed to take this issue to court. Both of my girls and his son all were ordered to get counseling (I already had mine in counseling) and the counselors all reported back to the family court mediator. The court ordered the girls not be left alone with his son and some specifics around creating safe, clear boundaries in the home.
Yes, there is his side and my side of the story and there are some areas where he has outright lied, no question. Unfortunately, she doesn't know who. I have always had an open, honest relationship and have been careful not to tell her stories about the past because I know they will only hurt her. There are some subjects that have been off limits because they are inappropriate and I have simply told her so. However, since I wouldn't tell her, she went to him and he decided to tell her the "truth."

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I just discovered that my fears are being realized. My 14 year old is planning with her father to file a motion behind my back. We are going to go into counseling and I will be talking with an attorney.

More Answers


answers from Austin on

I was a child of divorce and this is what I learned about my situation.
There is dad's stories and memories, mom's stories and memories and then there is my stories and memories.. Throw them all in a bowl and stir.. and there somewhere is the whole truth..

We all experienced it in our own ways.

If his son molested your daughter, she should never, live with him in the home.
our daughter first and foremost must be in a safe place.

I suggest before she make a full decision she and your youngest attend therapy. Separate from each other. I went and it helped so much to allow me a "safe place" to say exactly what I was feeling. I was a pleaser and never wanted to publicly express what I really felt, because I did not want to hurt one parent or the other. It was a lot of pressure and I should not have ever been put in the position of having to choose, when I was with one parent or the other.

This is not a game of who "wins" by having daughter live with them, it should be what is best for the girls.
I am sending you strength.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

As usual, I completely agree with Marda. Do not allow your children to live in a place and with people who have put them in danger in the past. Totally keep the lines on communication (constantly) wide open, but put your foot down in the end. You are their greatest (possibly only) advocate. Get or re-hire your attorney and tell her what you've just told us. Good Luck, thinking about you and your girls! (absolutely, all THREE of you will really benefit from counseling!)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on



"He decided to tell her the truth".....What is the truth?

If your daughter "thinks" she will be better off living with Dad, if his home is stable, save the money you will be wasting on attorney fees and let her GO, with the stipulation that she can't be running back and forth if things don't go her way once she's in her father's home.

I would suggest a "temporary" custody order for one year with similar visitation with you. Save him the trouble of filing a motion for permanent custody.

I am concerned that you seem betrayed by a 14 year old, "going behind your back", she is probably unhappy at this time, but I wouldn’t exacerbate the situation by making her a party to “the enemy”. If you are going to counseling I would suggest that her father be a part of the counseling.


Moving to Dad’s

Drinking and molestation addressed in court

Dear A.

What was the outcome when these two issues were addressed in court?

Are you children confused or do they want to go live with their father?

Painful as it may be, it is possible that your children could have some say in where they want to live unless there are concrete/provable reasons why they should not be allowed to live with their father and have visitation with you.

If you can substantiate valid reasons for your children to remain in your custody, I would put my foot down and simply let your children and your former husband know that they will remain with you during the school year and his visitation will remain the same “unless” he keeps pushing for more, and trying to entice your children by offering this and that. Which means you will go to court and have the current visitation modified for less visitation, and the court will order him to stop trying to win the children over with bribery.

Keep in mind, if your former husband can prove he and his current spouse can provide the better (more stable) home and your accusations about alcohol and molestation are unfounded, you could lose.

Lastly, both parents (all parents involved) must address the most important issue; that is what is in the best interest of your children.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

So, the eldest son got kicked out? Where did he go? Will he stay away? My guess is, at 15 years old, NO. And, likely CPS dropped the case because it involved two minors, and so the molester cannot be prosecuted.

Your daughter does not care about who is telling the truth. But it is her best interest to ensure that she is protected. I would discuss this with your lawyer (or mediator) and with CPS. I would want to know...how can I ensure that this environment will be safe for my daughter? Where did this 15 year old go? Will be be returning to the home and how often? What kinds of steps will take place to ensure that the boy is never alone with your daughter? What other kinds of steps will be set up to ensure that your daughter is safe? Make sure that everything is documented and all issues are addressed before the move, if it happens. So, when things go awry (which they likely will) - you've got some leverage to get her back. In the end, it is up to your daughter what she wants to do. I would advise you keep away from the "truth" details unless she asks, and focus on the other issues which I jsut stated. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think you will benefit from backing off a bit. You've had the discussion with your daughters, and bugging them more about it will backfire. The facts of what happened between you and their father really aren't pertinent to your daughters' desire to try living with their father.

It sounds like there's a good chance they will try living with him sometime within the next year or two, and remember, there is also a good chance they will return. Let the subject go for now, be a fun mom, and it is more likely they will want to live with you.

Don't keep bugging your girls about this topic. Soon they will be entrenched in school, and it is unlikely at that point they will want to change anything for this school year, anyway.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I want to first say that I am sorry tat your daughters are in such a heart breaking situation. I was a child in a situation very likethis and am blessed to have over come it and was open with my children about my experiances so they were protected. I hope that you will keep the information flowing becasue both girls will be asking many you may not want to answer becasue all the dirty laundry is out in the open so to speak. Now that the topic is out then it is wise to find a carefully worded conversation since the girls are so young. Since he is going to tell all-- it should come from you or they will not have a foundation to make a decision on. I am going to say that I wish I had had a parent that would have put her foot down and said NO, its not safe, I am the parent and I will protect you, even from your own yourthful choices. The daughter will resent it now but thank you later.
Is there a relative that can act as a sounding board for the children to talk to? A person that they respect and trust that can wisely talk with them?That is what saved me and my future -- having an aunt and uncle that I could talk to about anything. I know that court is expensive and I know that it is a strain on your family. Do you have equal custody or you have majority? If you have it then just say no, becasue you love them and want thier best at heart. Girls are suckers for thier dads. I am sure that she wants the ideal situation and the promises he has made are sounding really good.It is one of those times in life that they wish to have enough roape to hang themselves from and the parent must say no only ashort leash is allowed. Be ready to drop everything to go and bring them home. Is he going to be asking you to pay him child support? I hope that you get a decent lawyer that can out think your x. Best wishes for your famil in this very hard time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

So sorry you have to go through this. You may need to get a better lawyer! No child should be living with a parent that encouraged an 11 year old to drink alcohol, let alone the whole bottle! AND be molested by their step brother! Legally your lawyer should have fought, and won, no overnight visits to that home because of the molestation alone. It doesn't matter that the boy may not be there when your girls are or whatever the terms are, the possibility of that boy appearing there, or possibilty of him being alone with your daughters again is enough. Psychiatrists will even prove that once someone "dabbles" in molestation, the desire to do it again is stronger. You need to get a better lawyer now and get to a judge right away to stop your ex from "coersing" your daughter into something that not everybody agrees with - this is manipulation and is not legal. If your lawyer is good he can get temporary custody removal - like monitored visitation until things can be worked out in court

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gadsden on

I defintely can relate to your daughter in this, just because I have gone through the situation( in some aspects). Your daughters shouldn't go back there because of the molestation, but, and I really hate saying this, she needs to feel like she can make the decision who she wants to live with. Otherwise she could wind up resenting you for not letting her decide on her own. I'm not saying let her by no means but talk with her on the situation. If she is vague on the molestation then I wouldn't suggest going into it too much, just because that can bring back the memories of it and she'll be haunted by it again. I would basically sit her down and let her say how she feels about the move and what her feelings are in general. I can tell you in her mind she's missing out on stuff with her dad, which she is since she doesn't live with him, but if she went to live with him she would quickly realize he isn't the fun parent anymore, and I'm not saying you aren't the fun parent but most kids in separate parent situations classify the parent they live with as "the strict one" and the one they don't live with is "the fun one" (or at least in my case it was). Don't try to force her to choose right then and there but lead her to seeing that you are looking out for her and her best interests and that you don't want to see her disappointed because of her dad. As for him, if it were me I would give him a piece of my mind but in your case I would try to talk with him about why she can't move and if you have to hire a lawyer and make it a legal matter. I hope this was helpful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I feel for you. What a difficult situation. What I wanted to add was that when I was your daughter's age I often fantasized about finding my biological father and him whisking me off to a better situation. Not that my situation was bad but I thought I lived in a boring place and my parent's bugged me. I never realized it because I didn't know who my father was but I can see how your daughter might be tempted by "greener grass". It could be that she goes and she hates it. Do not let your younger daughter go along so she has companionship. I second the idea to get the advice of a good attorney and do what you can to resist. I would also consider sharing with your daughter the stories of her father. Shouldn't she know who he really is? Don't protect him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My dad did the same thing when I was 15yr. Said all the things I wanted to hear, but in the end he never kept his promises. My mom said that I had to find out the truth about my father and if I wanted to go live with him and his wife then I could, but that I would always have a home with her if I wanted to move back any time. If your daughter is really wanting to go, tell her the same thing... I would let her go if she wants, but let her know that whenever she wants to come home all she has to do is call. I bet she will think differently once all the glitter wears off and she will want to come home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Glad to read your update because I was going to suggest you discuss this with your lawyer!
As a side note...it is possible that although your daughter is thinking of moving to her Dad's, she may still have doubts about the truth of what he is telling her.
It may be that she feels his absence so strongly (feels that she is missing something) that she feels like she needs to spend more time with him, and that she wants to believe a fantasy that everything will be better, that her inner turmoil will be relieved if she follows what he says.
She should understand that her feelings will follow her wherever she goes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

This is a case for the lawyers and court appointed mediation. I know it's unpleasant (I've had to do it myself multiple times with two different fathers) but it's the best way to resolve the situation. If it's not taken care of soon, you run the risk of emotional and educational problems down the road.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I agree with Twyla W. and she has experience being a daughter. Let her go and keep close tabs on her, if the father is lying or anything bad happens (like she feels uncomfortable around his son) she will figure it out on her own. This will work in your favor because if they try and it fails, then it won't be an issue ever more. Even if it does work out, she will come back to you when she gets older. He is the one taking all the risk, and for what we do not know.
I'm kind of curious why this is an issue. Is she unhappy with you? Does he have more money? Why would she want to leave where she lives now - she will lose all her friends.



answers from San Francisco on

You have to do what is best for your daugthers. Does his son still live with them? Girls do better with their moms and boys do better with their fathers. You have some documents that will support your interest in your girls being safe. Let the father know if he continues you will use it.

Good luck.

N. Marie



answers from Sacramento on

Hi, I have zero experience with this but I would suggest that you encourage your daughters to go to college close to their father as a delaying tactic and use the intervening years to strengthen their core values and get martial arts training to protect them from unwanted touching.

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