Power of attorney for Step parent

I am suppose to drop my 6year old of with his dad tomorrow. he asked me to drop him of with his wife at her workplace which she works at the ymca at childwatch. the policies say that a legal guardian/ parent has to be on sight at all times.

Does that qualify her? he said that he got a Power of attorney for her. what legal right does that give her to my children? why did I not have to agree to any of that? It does not seem right. My son was upset about his stepmom telling him she is trying to take him out of his school. How many more changes are my children suppose to endure?

I have in writing that I mentioned to him that our son is late at school drop off during his parenting times and nothing has changed in 3 months. Would court consider changing visitation schedule to where I get to drop off at school? also, my childrens stepmom has been throwing away things I bought for the kids in front of the children.

How much stuff do I need to be able to go to court for a change in child custody? neg. talking in front of kids stuff like that! I got so much stuff together. Also, Do I have the right to have transfers at the police station or can he deny meeting me there?

Jani, while you have some serious issues with your ex and his wife, you need to step back, take a deep breath, and see what effect your behavior is having on your son. Tell me, what is wrong with your son being take care of at the YMCA, in a child-friendly program that most likely offers supervised educational enrichment, healthy snacks, playtime, and social interaction? Power of attorney gives his stepmother the right to seek medical or dental emergency treatment and to transport him. You don’t have any say in that, because you would give these same powers to any daycare provider, school, babysitter, etc. You need to sit down and speak directly to your ex. You are relying on secondhand information furnished to you by your son. Your son tells you that she threw something away. Was it his favorite pair of jeans that you bought that he ripped while playing at the park and could not be reapired? You don’t know, because you are relying on the word of your son. He’s not a liar…but he has a child’s world view. What seems unfair to him may be perfectly logical to an adult. Your idea of doing drop-offs at the police station is over-the-top and paints you as hysterical and neurotic. Take a deep breath. Calm down. And for the sake of your son, sit down with your ex and discuss these things directly with him, not THROUGH your child.

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you wont get a change in custody on what you are mentioning - so don’t even try. When the kids are at their home, your ex has made the option of her being the primary care taker, and that is his right to do - they are married - she is a parent of sorts. She can take him out of school, she can care for the children in any way she sees fit in his absence. Stop sending things you buy over to his house if it is an issue. I suggest you speak to your ex about getting some family counseling to work of the blended family issues.

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From a stepmom viewpoint…

I think you need to breathe. In a situation where you are divorced from your children’s father, you simply cannot reasonably expect to control every aspect of their lives. You have to be willing to allow their father to parent them, and here’s the hard thing, because you’re divorced, so I’m sure there are issues at play… you have to trust that he is acting in your children’s best interests. Pick your battles. If something is bothering you, talk to your ex about it, but know two things: (1) He is their parent too, and his obligation is not to you, so you may not get your own way, and (2) unless you have proof of abuse or neglect - actual harm coming to your children by either him or his wife, you have no case for a change in custody. Simply not liking your husband’s wife is not grounds for a change in custody.

It sounds like you still have a lot of residual issues with your ex. It would really serve your kids best if you stopped trying to micromanage your ex-husband’s household. Especially since kids pick up on this kind of thing and use it to play their parents against each other. My stepkids do this all the time - their mother has problems with every little thing that happens in our house, and they have admitted to us that they lie and/or exaggerate about things at our house to get her to feel sorry for them. Do yourself the favor that my husband’s ex refuses to do for herself… just stop reacting to every little thing. Your kids’ father has the right to parent them too.

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@jani The school keeps records on tardies and unexcused absences. If you end up retaining a lawyer for a modification he/she will automatically grab those records during Discovery. In my state Standard Orders say a parent can designate a person known to the child for pickups/drop offs. A Power of Attorney is not at all required.

Only you and the father have “legal rights” to your child. But that does not mean you can have your mom help you babysit or have a friend pick your child up. While you are parenting you very likely will ask someone over the years to assist you. It is not unreasonable that Dad will do the same. Let Dad parent during his parenting time. To reduce Dad’s rights you’d need to show he is being negligent or he is unfit. That is very difficult to prove. Even felons get time with their kids. Being a parent and what that means legally is the one right most states consistently seem to agree on.

Children reflect the desires of the parent often. Make sure you aren’t projecting your feelings onto your child about the pickups and the stepmom. Judges also pick up on that and they don’t like it. Remember kids don’t like lots of things but as a parent you have to make judgment calls about what works for your life. You don’t always go around submitting to your child’s wishes. You need to let the child’s father parent and do the same. Short of the child being in any physical danger and missing lots of school you won’t get an audience with a court on these grounds.

You need what is referred to as a “Substantial Change in Circumstances” to modify custody orders. I won’t go over all of the possibilities but an example: the other parent chronically causes your child to miss school (unexcused) and their grades have started suffering coupled with 5 years have passed since the Orders were finalized. That MIGHT be enough to start the process. It doesn’t mean you will win. The standard is subjective and not only is every state different but every court is different because ultimately it is up to an individual (the judge) as to whether or not he/she sees your case as impacting what’s in the Best Interest of your child. Additionally, many states require you go to Mediation first before you ever get to let a judge decide. Modification is expensive and it is a huge gamble. A high priced, experienced lawyer can make the difference. Depending on the complexity of the modification you can be out the equivalent of what a car would cost you or more.

I recommend you start documenting now so you have a journal to remember things. Start brushing up on what it means to look like a reasonable parent in your state and start practicing that kind of behavior. Because ultimately you likely will have to go to Mediation that means you will need to negotiate with the other parent. Start doing that now and figure out some give/take. Everyone will be happier and it will be much cheaper in the long run. Jr. should get that money not the lawyers.

And most important - kids want to love both Mom and Dad. It hurts them deeply when they don’t have permission to do this. They pick up on everything. A glare here, a misplaced insult there and your kids know how you feel. Allow him to remember his time with mom as being a special time in his childhood.

Good Luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

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