Does hubby have the right to walk in and take pictures of his family?

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  1. landscapeartist profile image60
    landscapeartistposted 11 years ago

    My son-in-law left my daughter for a girl half his age.  He has moved in with his gf but continually  sneaks into my daughters house when she is at work or asleep and takes photos of everyone and the house.  My grandsons are 11 and 8.  They have ADHD and ODD.   Every night they trash the house leaving my daughter with quite a mess to clean up when she comes in the door after work.  He especially does this on the nights that my daughter is working later hours and is very tired because he knows that she sometimes leaves the cleaning until the next day.   My granddaughter is only 2 and requires my daughters undivided attention as she is entering the terrible two stage. 
    He is trying to take the children and the house from my daughter.  He figures that he should get everything...the house, the kids, both vehicles, campsite, boats, camping trailer yet he is the one who left for someone that he was cheating with for months.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image59
      Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      When your daughter is working nights she obviously has someone to care for the children. Whoever is caring for the children should be in a position to tell your son in law that he is not to come into the house whilst your daughter is not there, but to make arrangements with their mother if he requires access. If he refuses, and makes a scene, your daughter should perhaps? approach a lawyer advising the father that altercations with child care staff is unacceptable and not conducive to a settled environment for the children, particularly given their difficulties.

      If the father does not agree that the children should be left with child minders whilst she works to support them, perhaps he should then consider making greater contributions to support them. That might see him off!

    2. StandingJaguar profile image68
      StandingJaguarposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I wonder if he takes pictures because he is trying to build a case that she is not fit to have the children if the place is a mess all of the time. Obviously this isn't necessarily true, but the thought occurred to me. I still think his actions are harassment and probably illegal, though.

      1. landscapeartist profile image60
        landscapeartistposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        i agree as I came to the same conclusion that he was trying to build a case up against her. He was never involved in anything the kids did while he and his wife were together. He works graveyard shift pulling in about $5000/month so he basically slept through every bit of their lives.  On weekends he had his parties which were held down in the rec room.  My daughter on the other hand had to stay upstairs the entire time with the kids.  He never once helped out ever with the children until they separated.

    3. Jillian Barclay profile image72
      Jillian Barclayposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      From one grandma in a similar situation to another-
      If the residences are separate and your son-in-law is not on your daughter's lease, she has every right to change the locks, and should. He has no justification to call the police, and if he does break in, she needs to have him arrested for breaking and entering. Sounds like there has been spousal abuse by this man. He obviously has control issues, and abuse is not defined as purely physical. It can be emotional or even financial. If spousal abuse is an issue, your daughter must immediately seek assistance and advice from a local domestic violence shelter. They provide free legal help, will help with the filing of any necessary restraining orders and even appear in court with your daughter.

      She MUST retain a good attorney! If lack of money is the issue- sounds like it- tell her to sell any assets she has (jewelry, etc.) to get the money for the retainer- Also suggest that you contact the National Organization for Women (NOW)- Thet have a list of family law attorneys that they recommend, and they ARE brutal!

      As for the behavior of the children: I am sure that their behavior has become worse with the domestic turmoil that they are witnessing and a part of- Kids see and hear everything- Suggest that your daughter enroll in parenting classes. It will demonstrate to the courts that she is taking positive steps to protect her children.

      These are frustrating things that are happening- I know- I am there now and it makes me crazy to see my own grandkids being victimized, and their mother, my daughter, being intimidated on a never-ending basis. If I were this man's wife, well, let's just say that at a minimum, he would be curled up in the fetal position crying for his mommy...

  2. psycheskinner profile image84
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    I see no reason why he should have the run of the residence of he doesn't live there.  She should just change the locks.

  3. landscapeartist profile image60
    landscapeartistposted 11 years ago

    I really wish she would change them.  He's being sneaky and conniving.  He drives by the house at all hours to see where she is, if anyone is in the house with her, and if she isn't there he asks the boys to tell him where mommy went.  she has been told by him that she is not allowed to go talk to a lawyer at all and if she does then he is going to take everything and leave her with nothing.

    1. StandingJaguar profile image68
      StandingJaguarposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      This is called stalking. Go to a lawyer and get this creep out of your lives. If your daughter believes she is "not allowed" to go to a lawyer, then she is easily manipulated. If she won't go, then YOU should, citing concern for your grandchildren (not to mention daughter).

      And change the locks.

    2. Sapper profile image63
      Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I would highly advise against changing the locks. From your fairly vague descriptions, I'm assuming that they are married, just separated. That means, legally, at any point in time he can come back to the house. If she denies him access, it will be your daughter getting in trouble, not him.

      Before anything else, she needs to go file for a legal separation and a restraining order. After that is done, she can change the locks.

      1. That Grrl profile image72
        That Grrlposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        If he has moved out and is living at another address he does not automatically have rights to enter the property. If there is a lease or rental agreement get his name off of it - if it was ever on it.

        1. Sapper profile image63
          Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          They have kids, so yes he does.

          Let me paint you a picture. She changes the locks, he comes to "see the kids" or whatever excuse he wants to give, calls the cops. Things escalate, since it's hypothetical might as well go worse case, she gets arrested. Since he is the father, he will get the kids while she is gone. Once she gets out, or even better, before, he files for divorce. If he has the kids, especially since she was in jail, there is pretty close to a 0% chance she will get custody of them.

          But don't listen to me, what do I know. It's not like I watched fairly close to the same exact thing happen to my step-mom with her son.

          1. Hollie Thomas profile image59
            Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            No court in the land would think that it is reasonable for an estranged father to just turn up without making arrangements and demanding to see the children, particularly during nightime hours. He has the right of access, yes, but not the right to enter the property where his estranged wife resides and then to start making unreasonable demands.

            And cops are not going to arrest a mother who gives reasonable rights of access by arrangement. If he can't stick to those arrangements for the sake of his children, then he is far more likely to lose the children, not her.

            1. Sapper profile image63
              Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              I don't know what exactly is confusing you, but they are still married. There is no reasonable rights of access. He doesn't have to make arrangements.

              1. wilderness profile image93
                wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                "they are still married".  Does that not make it HIS house in many states?  Community property and all?

                1. Sapper profile image63
                  Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

                  It does, which is why if she changes the locks, she will be the one getting in trouble, not him. At least someone understands that.

    3. That Grrl profile image72
      That Grrlposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Someone that controlling is sending flashing DANGER signs to me. Your daughter is foolish if she does not change her locks, deny him access, get a restraining order and make sure she has a lawyer for the divorce and custody. I bet HE has a lawyer and is already getting legal advice. Talk to someone in government services if your daughter needs help finding legal advice. They should be able to give her a list of lawyers to contact. Now is the time for her to be doing something rather than regretting it all later.

  4. psycheskinner profile image84
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    So, he obviously gave her a copy of his keys so she can com in any time at all, without notice, when the kids are with him?

    No, he gets access to the kids when they are with him or by arrangement--just as with her.  Their residences are their own.

  5. Moms-Secret profile image76
    Moms-Secretposted 11 years ago

    Wow, this is really sad.  I agree with those that say to take action quickly.  If his name is on the deed or lease changing locks will not be a solution.  He can hire a lock smith and gain access anyway.  I hope there is not a doubt that he is shady, most cheaters have to be.  Having a messy house is not grounds for unsuitable living conditions unless it poses a threat or becomes inhabitable but it looks bad.  Maybe she should consider minimizing.  We tend to collect things that we do not need and downsizing can be really stress relieving for her while making it easier to keep up with.  Maybe hiring help with cleaning if it is financially doable could help her keep up appearances.  If not, get her some big plastic laundry baskets to use as catch alls for the kids stuff.
    He lost the right to make suggestions or demands on her when he walked out.  I would probably take anything that he is dead against as a recommendation for something to do.  His actions are a bit extreme.  Be careful of him.  He may pose a safety risk.  Have her take notes on everything she does.  Journaling could be very useful.  Document everything he does, every time he comes, the photos, the kids interrogations, his temperament, what he does for the kids, what he doesn't do for the kids that needed to be done, EVERYTHING.  I would recommend journalling all of her actions to.  She could use it if he uses her schedule against her.
    Good Luck...

  6. flacoinohio profile image78
    flacoinohioposted 11 years ago

    I must apologize, I cannot answer this question nor can I sympathize with the authors daughter.  After reading the question and attached supporting statement a few times, I realized that the issue here is horribly twisted.  The main concern with this family should be focused on the children not the parents, in my opinion to hell with the parents.  The author indicated that there are three children in this household. They were labeled by their ages and what was wrong with them.  Two male children with ADHD and ODD and a female with a case of the "terrible two's" who needs her mother's undivided attention.  This statement implies that mother is challenged by having to care for three children with behavioral issues.  The author mentioned that the home is "trashed" on a daily basis by these children, indicating that there is either a lack of supervision or the individual supervising these children is incapable of providing adequate supervision.  The father is accused of sneaking into the home to take photgraphs of the home and the children, possibly to be used to seek custody of his children.  This could be a good indicator that there are other major issuesin this home other than the lack of adult supervision and neglect.   What kind of father would simply take pictures and leave the children in conditions he considers to be substandard?  The author appears to be more concerned with the marital assets rather than the health and welfare of the children, as indicated by her closing statement.  Who cares about the rights of the  parents, the children should be the primary focus in this household.

    1. Sapper profile image63
      Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I was trying to stay nice-ish, but I have to say I agree. As bad as foster care is usually, for how things sound it looks like it would be a much better option for these kids.

      The sad thing is you know she's biased, being how it's her daughter, yet her daughter still ends up looking like a fairly horrible parent. Really makes you wonder how bad it really is.

      1. StandingJaguar profile image68
        StandingJaguarposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        We're jumping to Foster care now? Don't forget this is the children's grandmother asking for advice here. We don't know any of these people but she could possibly help care for them. I already mentioned that SHE (the author) should seek legal advice, citing concern for her grandchildren. And considering their family just radically changed for reasons they probably don't understand, I'm not surprised the children are acting out. That being said it does sound as if the mother is perhaps easily manipulated, which is why the grandmother (author) should act now.

        1. Sapper profile image63
          Sapperposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I went there for one simple reason. Going by what was said, since that is all we can judge from, it is pretty obvious something should be done. Unfortunately, that something isn't go to the internet and ask in a forums. Using the information we have and that alone none of the three involved seem fit to raise a child, let alone 3.

        2. Lisa HW profile image63
          Lisa HWposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Where the grandmother's contacting anyone like a lawyer and then saying she's concerned about the grandchildren could backfire, though, is that now the daughter's own mother is showing signs of thinking her daughter has more problems than a messy house.

          What happened in my case was that I had no idea my husband was calling my mother and sister and telling them he was "worried" about my behavior.  (Well, I had changed my behavior because I'd tried doing things differently in an attempt to change what was going on between the two of us. )  In any case, he was calling and telling them things; and since they thought so highly of him they just believed him.  By the time I even got a clue that all this talking-about-me was going on, a whole lot of baloney had been passed around; and then my mother kicked in her two cents on whatever it was about me that "was different" from the time I'd been a kid.  (I'm a middle kid with a lot of behavior/personality traits that are very much like my deceased father's.  Do the math.)  Anyway, by the time the three of them started doing things like discussing me on my own front lawn (while I was in the house and out of ear shot), and they started talking to me as if I was either severely mentally ill or else, maybe, in a complete coma (!), I was angry at them all (which then looked like I was angry "for no reason" at people who really did mean well and care about me).  My mother then became fearful that if I left my husband my children would "end up in foster care", and that's when I became a "team of only me" against not only my husband, but a couple of very close relatives.  It didn't look good, and it didn't help me to have my mother joining in on the "who'll take care of her kids" thing.

          If there's one thing that I think is at the root of what happened with me it was that people did things behind my back, rather than just obviously being on my side, obviously knowing that I was certainly fine and more than capable of caring for my kids, and talking directly with me about what "we" could all do in order to make it clear to The System that I was fine.  For that reason, I just don't think the OP ought to do anything separate from what the mother does.  If she wants to go with her daughter to see lawyers, I don't know.   I guess it depends on the people and the situation.  Whether she's around the daughter or not, though, I'd hope (assuming this is true about the mother involved) that she would not just be willing "to help her less-than-on-top-of-things" daughter but, instead, that she's make it clear she has faith that the daughter can work out any difficulties she may be having without help (other than, maybe, being in touch with a professional who might be able to offer her solid tips on dealing with whatever she's dealing with).  I had a whole family's worth of people who were more than willing to "take my kids off my hands" in view of the fact that they didn't have a clue about who I am, why I did some things differently than they, etc.  They meant well, and they cared about my kids.  The problem was that what would have been best for my kids would have been if any of those people had faith in the mother of those kids, to whom they were so close and who was responsible for how well they were obviously being cared for.

          This is only opinion (needless to say), but I seriously think the mother of the children needs her own family and friends to stand by her by first telling her that they will speak on her behalf, but then waiting to see if they're contacted at all.  The woman who has nobody to speak on her behalf is the woman who has to speak on her own behalf and do what I did above, which is to say all the positive things about herself and her kids that she thinks make up proof of how capable and loving a mother she is.  When a person is faced with relatives who underestimate her or don't know her well enough, and who think she's "less" than she really is, the mother's efforts to point out how capable she is can come across (to them and anyone who isn't sure about her) as if she "has too much confidence" (which can be a sign of mental illness, in itself - paranoid personality disorder is one of those mental conditions in which "more confidence than she ought to have" is a symptom). In my own case, by the time "everyone" got through interpreting and sharing "info" about me, they actually went from thinking I was "only x mentally ill" to thinking I was even more seriously "off" than they'd originally thought! 

          This is why I think the mother in question needs her own mother to stand with her, let her (and anyone else) know (or at least think) the grandmother has faith in her daughter, and in her daughter's ability to deal with any challenges that arise (even if that means asking for help), and are willing to be of help if the daughter asks for it.

          Getting a divorce and dealing with being told someone is aiming to take the children away is scary enough (although I was actually too naive to be as scared as I should have been in the beginning).  It's a time when feeling as if one's own mother has gone behind her back and to express her own "concerns" becomes even more scary, especially if the mother of the children knows she's generally plenty capable of caring for her own kids.  Feeling as if a) one's own mother doesn't just take for granted that one can care for kids and/or ask for help when needed, or b) feeling as if one's mother is now going behind one's back to discuss one's own, personal, marriage and custody situation feels like being shockingly betrayed at the time when one most needs support.  True, it can be different if a mother truly is not fit or sane to have custody; but the other side to that is that there are a whole lot of mothers who have situations similar to mine.  At the time, and for me, I was so shocked at my family's lack of belief in my "Ok-ness" (especially in view of the children they so loved and admired and the fact that I was obviously the only one who had done much in terms of raising them), that I was anxious and scared, even horrified.  It's an awful feeling at a time like that that one's own mother doubts her (especially for the person who feels like it should be so easy for "the world" to see how absolutely capable and loving she is, and how close her children are to her and nobody else).

          So, while I don't know the OP or her daughter, I'd hope she stand with her daughter and talk openly with her about any perceived challenges the daughter may be facing - not go "inject herself" into a divorce and custody situation that is, when all is said and done, between the daughter and her husband (and the court should be able to address any complaints either spouse has about the other, as long as "the whole world" hasn't gotten there first and fed in a bunch of "additional info" that never would have been brought up if it weren't for "others" involving themselves.

          I've always felt kind of Cinderella when the guys came around the shoe, asking if there were any other young women in the castle; and when, with Cinderella off in another room somewhere, they were told, "There's nobody else here."  The difference was that it was "court people" who came around, and they were essentially asking about whether there was a capable, competent, mother in the "castle".  In my case, in spite of the truth, those "court people" were essentially told, "Ain't no capable, competent, mothers here; but we're helpful and more than ready to be of help."  Again, they all meant well (and generally actually believed I had mental problems).  It would have been better, though, if anyone who questioned me would have at least pretended to see the capable person I was, and maybe discussed (to my face) any questions anyone had about whatever it was they had questions about with me.

          I kept saying to my so-called lawyer that I wanted my elderly and sick mother left out of the "input", and that my sister just thought differently about a lot of things (regarding children) than I did.  I kept saying, "Please keep this between my husband, me, and our three children."  I knew I had tons of evidence that would show that what I presented to the court was factual and fair, and that I could see my husband's side to some things.  I knew that between "evidence" and the things my  kids said, and how they behaved, it would be no big mystery in court about how things had happened and were.  Instead, a whole parade of people were dragged in (or had injected themselves into) the case by the court; and those people included people in my personal life (including neighbors), people in The System, family, etc. etc. 

          This is why I'd hope that the mother-in-question (on this thread) be respected enough that anyone else in her life know this is her divorce and her children; and while others may be willing to help if asked, keeping the divorce between the spouses and kids and the court can prevent complications.  In a situation like this, I think the grandmother needs to treat the mother as if the mother is in charge of her own divorce, and the grandmother is willing to be of assistance if/when the mother (or maybe the court) asks.  Personally, what I wish my family had done was that they would have told anyone asking about me, "She's a perfectly capable individual, and I'm not going to talk about her behind her back to anyone.  She can speak for herself, and you should be able to see what kind of mother she is by speaking to her and her kids (together and separately)directly.  I'm willing to help her if she needs me to help her.  End of story."  BUT, when I told one of the "court people" that my divorce was my business, my husband's business, and my children's business (and the court's business), I was told - and I quote - "Divorce is a whole family's business."  (meaning not just the immediate family of the spouses and kids but all those other people in extended family as well   mad  )  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.   Anyway, that's why I'd hope this mother-in-question and her mother pay some attention to how things can happen when others get involved; and maybe think of ways of preventing that kind of thing from happening.  If enough people start sending away "court people" who believe that divorce is "everybody's business" maybe the practice of bringing in one person after another whose business it really isn't would end.  There's a huge difference between being willing to help if asked by the children's mother and taking it upon oneself to start calling people and creating the impression that a mother's own mother doubts her ability to manage her own challenges.

          By the way, standingjaguar:  I was glad to see that someone else picked up on that "jumping to foster care" thing too.  Again, this whole thread is a great example of what can happen when too many people who don't know the situation start putting in their two cents and their judgment.

  7. Xenonlit profile image59
    Xenonlitposted 11 years ago

    1. New locks
    2. restraining order

  8. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    Obviously, I don't know the details of the OP's daughter's situation; but I'm amazed at how this thread has (as so often happens) turned into being a matter of blaming the mother/woman.  The OP used the word "trashed".  Nobody knows what she means by that.  Anyone who has spent enough time around a couple of grade-/middle-school aged kids (especially boys) and a two-year-old knows how a perfectly neat and impeccably clean home can look temporarily "trashed" by the time they're threw playing, maybe leaving a few dishes in the sink (maybe because the mother doesn't want kids washing them), maybe moving throw pillows around, etc.  etc.  Kids make a mess, and if the person taking care of them does nothing to get them to pick up their stuff before bed then the mother is going to come home to a mess.  Hell...   I used to leave my three kids with their father for about a half hour before the store closed, and I'd come back and find a big mess because he let them do whatever they wanted to do and then wouldn't get around to cleaning up something like some spills or even a toilet overflow.

    Having been through a hell divorce that was part misunderstanding and part people thinking they knew better than I did about my kids and house (and the kids were exceptional, and the house was cleaner than anyone else's involved), I've seen how this kind of operation can go on.  Also, I've seen how everyone's saying, "We don't care about the parents.  All we care about are the kids," means the kids lose out when parents' rights are violated (regardless of which parent it is).

    I can't believe that from what the OP said someone came up with suggesting foster care.  OCD isn't necessarily the result of negligent/bad parenting.  Neither is ADHD. … ION=causes    So, if that's what caused the jump to "horrible parent" maybe some re-thinking would be good.  Anyone who has ever dealt with many two-year-olds also knows the kind of activity level/energy level they have.  If this mother has someone taking care of the kids that they knows is kind to them maybe she'd rather that than have someone worrying about whether they pick up their mess while she's working.  She already knows they're going through their parents' divorce. 

    The OP's daughter needs a lawyer first (if she doesn't already have one).  If she doesn't have one she needs to file for separation and divorce before the husband does, because the person who files first gets to call the other person "defendant" (which places mothers at severe disadvantage from which they may not be able to get out). If she doesn't have the money to file she might want to call the court clerk's office and ask about filing an indigency claim.  (When I was trying to get a divorce and money was withheld from me, I didn't know about that; and I ended up being the "defendant" in the case.)

    As far as the mere suggestion of foster care goes, I'm amazed that anyone who doesn't know the family and who hasn't been involved in the kind of study that it is done would even bring that up.  Even if the mother were careless with the house that certainly isn't reason to call her negligent.  What if everyone who has a messed up house had their kids put in foster care?!!  That would be - what - about half of the people who have more than one or two kids???

    I think the OP and her daughter are right to be worried about this guy and the pictures he's taking.  People do build cases.   Well, here's a good example:  When I was having crisis within my own home, Christmas came and went.  Ordinarily, I take my tree down right after the first; but that year, it was the least of my problems.  I left it up a couple of weeks longer.  What that got turned into by anyone who saw it (or was told about it) was that it was a sign that I was "mentally ill".  Another example:  When I left my house with my kids and was sleeping in my mother's living room, I was sleeping in my clothes because my teenage son was sleeping on the floor nearby.  THAT got turned into "another sign of mental illness" (as if I didn't know enough to put sleep clothes on!!).  I told people it was because I had a teenage son, and there were others coming through the house too. 

    I think the OP needs to continue to support her daughter.  If there's anything the daughter is doing that might look questionable (and sometimes nobody would guess what someone else may turn into "questionable" anyway) then the mother should talk to the daughter so she can be one more voice in the daughter's defense.  The husband shouldn't be anywhere where he can be picking up extra and unnecessary information (other than something like what time to show up or whether the kids have homework).  If the daughter has other friends she should also talk to them about what's going on.  I didn't want to "air dirty laundry", "make my husband look bad", or otherwise even slightly involve my friends and other relatives; and that meant I had nobody on my side when the custody case came up.

    To this day, all these years later, if I mention what I learned about how things can happen to someone I don't know well; unless that person has lived through something similar, there's almost inevitably one of two (spoken or unspoken) reactions:  1) They don't know what to think and therefore can't feel certain that they can believe I'm presenting all sides to the story, and 2) they just automatically think there was "some reason" I ran into problems, and that reason "must have been" something that I did or was.

    I think the daughter (of the OP) needs to be careful that anyone she decides to trust as a confidant and source of support (not emotional support, but support against the adversaries) be someone who she is sure won't repeat anything to anyone by adding their own version and/or embellishments to what she has told them.  The OP needs to be careful about her choice of words if she talks about her daughter (but she also has to be careful about who she talks to; since, as is shown here, the "story" can get turned from something fairly basic into a whole, big, thing about how people don't put the children first, the mother "must be horrible", and foster care may be better. 

    Also, it's absolutely incorrect to be so certain that the OP/mother is biased in favor of her daughter.  I can tell you from personal experience that not all mothers see how competent their daughters are, so some are actually afraid that if their daughter leaves the husband the kids "will end up in foster care".  A whole lot of mothers can be pretty objective about their kids.  A whole lot more grossly underestimate their grown kids.  Then, yes, there are some who can't/won't be objective.  Assuming that the OP is biased is yet one more jump that really can't be made based only on what she posted in this thread.

    I'm not trying to scare the OP.  Being forewarned is being fore-armed.  If this guy is aiming to take the children (or even if he says he isn't but he tells his lawyer he hasn't spent much time with the children because he's been working, it's his lawyers responsibility to "zealously defend" his client's best interests.   Scary, too, is that when mothers work lawyers (or others) will go after them for not being there to take care of their own kids, but if they don't work someone will make an issue out of the fact that mother has no income (or only a part time one) of her own, and that the father is (because of that) better able to take care of the kids.

    I would think that if the daughter has, or gets, a lawyer that lawyer will file to stop the entering the house when the mother isn't there.  I would agree with the person that the daughter should be careful about changing the locks without a formal separation agreement (because it could look like she's "trying to infringe on the father's/husband's rights" (to his home and to his time with his kids).  If she doesn't get the feeling that whatever lawyer she gets is completely on her side and completely filling her on all the concerns to watch out for, she should get another lawyer immediately.

    My main point in all this is that the mother and the OP need, right now, to be aware of how extremely careful they need to be, but having that guy come into the house only means giving him more stuff to exaggerate about. 

    Honestly.  I had three little kids who were amazingly well adjusted and happy.  Two of them were years ahead in school.  One (who happens to be adopted) had some learning issues left over from his rough early weeks of life.  Even with that, no behavior problems at all.  My house was pretty and neat and clean, and I'd essentially raised my children alone because their father had a medical condition but also worked long hours.  I had documentation from the adoption that showed I'd at least been "acceptable" emotionally/mentally to adoptive people, and I had no problems getting along with anyone.  Everything was great (except for the marriage).  If someone like me could have been "accused" of being "mentally ill" and therefore "not able to" care for my children (even in view of the fact that I handed in a perfectly OK mental health report), I find it very scary to think about someone who has a husband (or his lawyer) who wants to take the children and who is still skulking around the house with a camera.  And as I implied (I guess), I find it very disturbing that so many people so quickly assume things about the mother in question and the OP - and in THIS case, the mother hasn't even lost custody of her children!!!  One of the reasons I keep bringing up my own (and my kids') horror story is that I've seen how, if anyone has it in his head that he'll get children away from their own mother, mothers are facing a serious problem.  From statistics I've read, it appears that if/when fathers go for custody, even when the mother is good and stable and capable mother, mothers are at a serious disadvantage.  The most fortunate of mothers and kids don't have to deal with someone who'd even think about taking children away from their mother.    The mother who ends up having someone even think about getting custody (and then getting a lawyer) needs extra support and understanding, not to mention a really, really, good lawyer.

    The one good thing for this mother might be that nobody is questioning her mental health at this point.  The one thing she may have to worry about, though, is that the mess in the house will get turned into "she may be depressed" (which is, of course, a mental health condition).  If she tries to explain she's not depressed then someone will start with the "she's in denial" thing, and if anyone even thinks she may show signs of depression (people are over-diagnosed and wrongly diagnosed all the time by even professionals), and the she says she doesn't want to take anti-depressants...  Then that could be grounds for taking custody of the kids from her.

    I know that someone reading here will think, "THAT won't happen to this mother.  Whatever happened to you happened for some reason that you're not saying.  She's different from you and not you."  I'm not saying it will happen to her.  I'm saying that it could, and I'm saying that any mother who starts to hear rumblings about taking the children needs to be prepared and at least have some idea of some of the tricks that lawyers (or husbands) will pull.  I didn't include the positive things about me and my kids for the heck of it.  I'm saying that if it could happen to me then - honestly - it could happen to anybody.  If none of what I've said applies to the OP's daughter then the OP can ignore what I've said.  I figure it's worth saying because someone else may read here, and it may apply to them.  I sincerely hope things don't ever get quite that nasty for the OP's daughter.

  9. 2uesday profile image67
    2uesdayposted 11 years ago

    The most important question that this raises with me is, about the care of the children.  Are the children in the care of a competent adult while the mother works? Is this person capable of looking after the 3 children who have complex needs? 

    Have the family any access to help and advice on the boys? As I think they need to be helped to cope with their problems as much as is possible in the circumstances. Imagine how they must feel, confused does not really sum it up but that is the best word I can find. Their confusion over what has happened and is happening might lead to them feeling angry and destructive more often.


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