How to Handle a Stepmom Overstepping Boundaries While My Ex Husband Is Deployed?

Updated on April 06, 2019
C.P. asks from Temple, TX
16 answers

I have a beautiful 3 year old girl that I share 50/50 custody with my ex-husband. My ex got married 5 months ago to his third wife (he is only 27) and he only knew her for one year before the wedding. My ex is very easy going and non confrontational when he is by himself but since he has met his new wife, she has been playing puppet with him and writing messages and making him send them to me. (I was married to him and I know he is not the best at writing) A big issue that has came up recently is that the step-mother feels entitled to his 50% visitation rights while he is deployed. We all sat down and discussed her visitation before he left. I said we can start off with every other weekend and if things go smoothly and my daughter is happy, we can move up to one week a month. I do not want my daughter to get so attached to her and her family so soon in the relationship. She tried to demand that I give her more time and after I told her no, she sent a message to my deployed ex and had him send it to me stating he expects his new wife to get his 50% custody. I feel like they are both trying to undermine my part in my daughters life when I am VERY much involved and more stable than they are. I feel like wile my ex is deployed, I should be the one to raise my daughter. Am I being selfish or is there merit to my concerns?
***I suppose I should include that there is a clause in our court order that states the child will stay with me in the event that my ex deploys.
***I have been trying to maintain a good relationship with both of them for the sake of my daughter. In order to keep my daughter from forgetting about her, I said we could try the short visitations but it was never ordered by the court. This was my attempt to meet in the middle with them without being bound by contract. She is good to my daughter however, these issues began after my ex deployed and I’m not sure if cutting all contact will benefit the situation. I’m just not sure how to proceed if talking to her about my concerns doesn’t seem to be working

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So What Happened?

So what happed - I told them that I made a mistake and going forward I would be keeping my daughter. Yesterday, I was served at work with a motion to delegate visitation from my ex husband. My ex husband is in overseas and somehow he was able to contact an attorney and have his wife submit an affidavit. So now I have to drop a few thousand to defend my right to raise my daughter while her father is gone.

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answers from Dallas on

Yeah, I don’t know why you’d offer every other weekend??? If this woman was the mother of half-siblings, I’d understand more. But just a random new stepmom? Hell no. If you truly feel this woman is ok and will be around a long while, maybe let her take your daughter to the park or something for a few hours once or twice a month, but that’s it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If he's deployed how can he have visitation with her?
Talk it over with a lawyer and see what they have to say about step mom standing in for dads visitation time.
I don't know what Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act does for you but your lawyer should be able to tell you.

Maybe your kid doesn't need to be over at their dads if he's not going to be there for months at a time.
But also try to get over jealousy about stepmom stepping up and parenting your kid when your husband can't do it.
That just makes you look petty.
Remember that your issues are with your ex and not so much with his latest wife.
You and he should be dealing with your childs issues - he should tell the stepmom to back off.
Co parenting is not easy but you and your ex need to find a way to make it work for another 15 years.

If you already have a court order - then follow it and keep your child with you %100 of the time while husband is deployed.
If your ex doesn't like it (what stepmom wants doesn't even enter into it) then he can go back to court and try to get the court order changed.
But until then you operate according to the court order.
You are creating your own problems.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Humm, check with your attorney but my understanding is that the latest step mom has no legal rights whatsoever. The fact that your ex wants her to have his custody time is irrelevant. You share custody when he is around but you have her 100% when he is deployed. He cannot “give” his 50 % to anyone when he’s deployed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm not following this.

If she's not entitled to spend time with your daughter, then why are you agreeing to every other weekend?

You don't seem to like/respect this woman, so why are you ok with that?

If the court order states your daughter stays with you while your ex deploys, then why not follow the court order?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I think you should say, I'm just not comfortable with this. I think we should stick with the court order for now. PS - I'm totally with you on this. When he is deployed she should stay with you. She doesn't know this other woman. You don't know her. When your ex is back home again then visitation starts up again with him. If they want to argue with you then just say, sorry I want to stick with the court order. Don't engage other than that. Expect that your ex will work to get the court order changed. This is tough bc they will be angry with you and ideally you want a good relationship with your ex while your daughter is growing up.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Go with the court order and stick to it. If the child's dad wants things to be different he will have to get lawyers involved and take it all to court.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you gave away too much at the beginning. I understand you want to be cooperative, but she is not this child's parent and she has no rights (it's even in the legal agreement). The child is 3, and shuttling her back and forth from her mother to a non-relative makes no sense. And I say that as a stepmother who very much loved two stepdaughters - who never came to me if my husband traveled on business.

If you want the child to have a relationship with this woman, and if you want a break (which you deserve), that's one thing. But I wouldn't write up a formal agreement about visitation that locks you into something that may not fit your schedule.

You don't have to answer any of her messages. You don't have to answer any of his messages that deal with things other than your daughter's health and wellbeing (vs. the needs and wishes of her stepmother). If he can FaceTime his daughter, for example, I'd agree to that. Anything related to extensive and formalized visitation, I'd just say "I'm following the court order." And nothing else.

If he and she want to go to court (which he can't do while employed), that's on them. I wouldn't pay a dime for it out of your pocket though. If the stepmother calms down, you can consider what works for you and your daughter - an occasional day at the park or the Children's Museum, maybe an overnight. But I think it's going to be hard on your daughter to live in 2 places when her father isn't there.

Again, I support loving and caring stepparents, but if this isn't working for you and it has nothing to do with being jealous of the stepmom, then just be the mom and not the one who is trying to keep everyone happy against your own wishes.

You don't have to go to this fight just because they invited you into it. "I see I made a mistake in suggesting every other weekend, because it's not enough for you. I'm pulling back to the legal agreement and following that. Arguing about it is not good for any of us and it's detrimental to little Susie to have this tension going on. I'm not going to discuss this further." And don't.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Oh my, I would not be comfortable with this at all. The step mother has no rights whatsoever to your child. Stick with the court order. Your daughter is only 3, not 13. Also, the step mom is new. Your daughter is way too young and not verbally expressive enough to say if anything ever happened that she didn't like. She is not old enough to say whether or not she wants to have a relationship with this woman. It is not your problem at all about whether your daughter remembers her or not. This just is not a consideration right now. I would not respond to any messages from her or from your ex regarding her. Only discuss what is necessary about the child. It would make me even more uncomfortable with her acting like a child and passing notes to her husband to pass to you. I'm not sure what her game is (control?), but she is not a mature woman who has known your baby for years and years and wants to keep her in her life during deployments. It's all too new for that. I would just keep your daughter with you during deployments, period. Courts are not going to order you to surrender your very young child to a non-parent, so just let her pass notes until she's blue in the face, but keep your daughter with you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

a tiny 3 year old getting one full week a month with a woman she doesn't even know?

i'm clutching my head trying to figure out why you'd offer this.

i think it's admirable that you're bending over backward to be accommodating and reasonable. i very much hope this wife sticks and that your daughter ends up bonding closely with her stepmother, who does at least seem very (very) interested in creating a relationship with her.

but the facts remain that your child is very, very young, and her father isn't there, and she doesn't have an emotional or legal history with this woman.

i'd allow plenty of visitation but always and only under your supervision. if this gal is really and truly committed to building a bond with your daughter she'll accept it.

there's no way in hell i'd send a child barely out of toddlerhood to spend weekends- or weeks!- alone with someone i barely know and whom she barely knows.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would tell them both that per the court order the child will be with you 100% of the time while he is deployed. Period end of story. She can scream and tantrum all she wants and he can as well. You have your order, follow it. If they continue, have your attorney write them both a letter telling them to knock it off.

When he returns, visitation can resume.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

No, I would not send her there while he is deployed. Her biological father isn't there.
I'm pretty sure the custody visitation is for when he's there, not some random nonparent he married. I'm pretty sure she has no rights. Check w/your attorney.
I would say no & he can see here when he gets back. Poor girl is only 3. I would never send her with these strangers.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Why not just follow the court order.

If ex-husband wants to alter visitation *he* can go to court and try.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

As others have said, you have a court approved agreement with your ex-husband that covers visitation while he is deployed. I think you should tell your ex and his new wife that you will be following that order but I do think regular visits (not overnight) are warranted IF your daughter seems interested/okay with that. Presumably your daughter has a relationship with her stepmom and maintaining that relationship while her dad is away is good for your daughter. What is best for the child should always be the most important thing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

If your ex-husband is deployed because he is in the military (there may be other jobs that call an extended period away a deployment, but I'm assuming he's military), then you should probably consult with Family Services, or an Ombudsman, or whatever family help is available in your ex's branch of the military. If you don't know how to contact an Ombudsman or Family Services or the resources available to you, you should be able to ask on the base, or just call the base operator, or look online. Those resources will have info about visitation during a deployment. If you can't get onto the base, consult a family attorney.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Oh they are sneaky jerks...It’s all about the childsupport! Stepmother has no visitation rights. The 50/50 is between you and the father. Not a 3rd party. If father is deployed, your child is with you. Period.

“StepNanny” agenda is going after keeping the 50/50 to not pay you more money!

You need to file for modification for childsupport immediately due to the deployment and your increase time share. This is significant change in circumstances.

You are entitled to increased as you have your daughter 100% of time now.

You ex is deployed so getting higher income for extra pay hazardous pay, BAH, family separation pay, tax free, etc. Stepmother knows this, could be extra

Stop negotiations immediately with this witch and you ex.

This appears to me to also be parental alienation they want to keep your daughter from you as well.

The father is deployed and wants you to dump your daughter off on a 3rd party 1/2 the time so he can denying your daughter the time love and attention of her mother. Sick.

All so he doesn’t have to pay you more childsupport. Selfish!! Not in best interest of the child.

I have it in my court order that if either parent is deployed children will be with the other. But since he’s gone you are good to go child is in your care and custody. It’s on him if he failed to disclose to the court he could deploy.

Don’t delay, childsupport is not retroactive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

It was nice of you to try to do visitation so she could get to know her new step mom well but since they are being difficult I would simply insist on sticking to the court order unless they want to be amicable. It was smart of you to have the deployment clause added to the court order.

1 mom found this helpful
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