Please, in need of support, encouragement

  1. I haven't been on much lately, but with all that's been going on in my life I just haven't had the time. I value all the people on this board, and I like to think I have friends here that I can turn to for help. This will be kind of long, but please bear with me.

    As some of you may remember, my DH was offered a job in VA, and accepted it. My ex told me that he will not allow my 11 yo daughter to move with us to Virginia. She has lived with me her whole life, but always had regular visits with her father. Going to court over this is futile. I will spend thousands of dollars, and will most likely not be able to take her with me anyway (I have been thru this before, and I know the guidelines the judge looks for). I guess now that the reality of it all is here, I'm scared and almost sick about it. I know that she loves her dad and stepmom, and I know that they will give her the structure that she needs. It's just that we've always lived in "nicer" areas than her dad lives in now, and I'm just worried about the adjustment for her. She's a strong girl, and I know that she'll get through it. We have explained over and over to her that we are not moving to "leave" her, that we want her to come with us, but her dad wants her to stay in PA. I'm also worried that reality hasn't hit her yet, either, and I'm afraid of what will happen when she acutally has to be dropped off at her dad's to live.
    The reason why we are moving is complex. My husband hates his career. He was never meant to be an office worker. He really wants to get into a seminary and get involved with heading a church. He truly has a gift for theology, counseling and teaching. I believe that that is his calling in life. The way things stand now, he has a 4 hour commute daily, since he works in Philly. He leaves the house at 6 am and sometimes doesn't get home until after 7 pm. He has no time to get involved in our church, or start seminary, or do anything that gives him fulfillment. We are also in debt up to our eyeballs. Between buying a "fixer upper" house and me being on extended maternity leave twice for PIH, it really screwed us financially. I work 3 weekends a month, making 44.30 an hour, and it still barely cuts it. If anything happens where one of us can't work, we are up a creek.
    By moving to VA, we can pay off all of our debt (except his school loan and our car payment) and be in the clear that way. We will live about 15 minutes from his job, and we will have the ability to get involved in a church, and my husband will have the ability to spend more time with our kids and take steps towards getting out of the office enviroment and into whatever it is he wants to do in the church. His grandmother will live by us, and she lives alone and is in her 80's, so we will be there to help her. This is a way for my husband to fulfill his aspirations, and be what he was meant to be.
    The kicker is.....it means giving up my daughter to her dad.
    Which is the lesser of two evils? I can't expect my husband to be miserable his whole life, and live with regrets. That's not fair to him. I can't imagine being stuck doing something you hate, just absolutely hate, for years on end. This is the opportunity he has been waiting for years for. I can't ask him to give it up.
    On the other hand, is it fair for my daughter? No matter what, she is stuck in this awful situation because her dad and I didn't stay together. And I can't control that. Even though she's my daughter, I don't have control over her and her life. When it comes right down to it, the only person who has the ultimate control over her is the family court judge. If my ex and I can't agree (which we usually don't) then the judge has the final say. Do I think it's fair? No. Do I think it's right? No. Do I think the family court system always acts in a childs best interest? Heck, no. But that's the way it is, and I have to live with it.

    I guess what it comes down to is that there are things I can control. I can control my financial situation. My husband and I can control his career and where he goes with it. I can control my future and that of my 3 kids. I can control what happens to my marriage. But I can't control what happens with my oldest. That's in God's hands, and I guess I have to have faith and trust Him in this.

    Please, help me with this. I know that this move is good for my husband, myself and my other 3 kids. I know that my oldest doesn't feel abandoned by us, but I also know that it won't be easy. My parents and sister live about 20 mins away from her dad, so they will be visiting her often. I'm just so confused, scared and wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do.

    Thank you for reading this. I know it's long, but I had to get it all out. And before I end it, I would appreciate if no one would do the "I would NEVER give up custody of my child, how could you?" bit. You don't know what I've been through the past 11 years, and it's not fair to judge a situation that you've never been in. So, please don't do that to me. I have enough of that going thru my head already.
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   weetziebat
    Wish I had some words of wisdom to help you in this awful situation. Can't imagine the turmoil you must be going through. And certainly no one is in any position to judge you!

    What does your husband think about leaving your daughter with her dad? How about the other kids? And your parents and sister? For that matter, how does your ex's wife feel about having a step-daughter living with her?

    How do you think you'll cope being away from your oldest? I realize money-wise it will be good, and for your husband it sounds like it will be a lot easier, not having the long commute, as well as being able to hopefully pursue his career dreams, but just wondering if it will eventually come between you.

    I suppose him getting a job closer to your present home isn't an option, huh? Would your ex agree to perhaps having your daughter spend summers with you? That doesn't sound unreasonable to me, and would perhaps make it easier to be apart the rest of the year.

    Gee, talk about being between a rock and a hard place! You are certainly right there. I don't know what to say, except I hope you can find an answer that you can all live with. :icon_hug:
  4. by   Roy Fokker
    Oh Jen! :icon_hug:

    I'm so sorry. Really.

    I really wish there was something I could do to help
  5. by   Tweety
    Best wishes. I hope you find some peace.
  6. by   DDRN4me
    Jen, i know you have been agonizing about this for quite a while, i think (tell me if i am wrong)that you feel like you are abandoning your parenting responsibilites to your older dd while doing what is best for your dh and other kids. you seem to have had alot of previous struggles with the ex. How about a mediator ? has any one asked older dd what SHE would like? i think before you just decide to change custody you might want to try , then a least you wont have these feelings . just my . God bless. Mary
  7. by   canoehead
    Quote from jkaee
    I can't expect my husband to be miserable his whole life, and live with regrets.
    I would appreciate if no one would do the "I would NEVER give up custody of my child, how could you?" bit. You don't know what I've been through the past 11 years, and it's not fair to judge a situation that you've never been in. So, please don't do that to me. I have enough of that going thru my head already.
    Your husband is not giving up his whole life, just the next few years if you both decide that your oldest would be better off with you.

    Whatever you decide I'm sure you will do what you think is best...but it seems unrealistic to post on the board, and then ask people just to answer the way you want. To quote Norm Peterson on Cheers "Just tell me what you want to hear and I'll act like a $20 hooker and try to say it like I mean it."
  8. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    jkaee, I'm sorry you are going through this.


    My BIL and his wife got a divorce and she took the children to a different state.

    They are flown in for visits with my BIL. Would this be an option?


    Either way, do what is best for your child. Allow her to help make the decision, that way she can feel like it's not a power move from you or your ex.

    I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.
  9. by   tencat
    Sorry that you have to go through that. I agree with some of the other posters that your daughter ought to be helping to make the decision, if she isn't already involved. It seems to me that she might be at the age where a judge would ask her what she wants (maybe that varies from state to state, I don't really know). I hope that it all turns out for the best. :icon_hug:
  10. by   jnette
    Quote from tencat
    Sorry that you have to go through that. I agree with some of the other posters that your daughter ought to be helping to make the decision, if she isn't already involved. It seems to me that she might be at the age where a judge would ask her what she wants (maybe that varies from state to state, I don't really know). I hope that it all turns out for the best. :icon_hug:
    I agree with this as well.. I would think a judge would want to ask what SHE wants in this situation.

    I would also believe that sharing custody would mean just that.. sharing. Perhaps your dd would want to offer her input on where she might prefer to stay during the school year, and where she would choose to spend the summer mos., etc. It is absurd for her to not have a voice in all this. It is about her, after all.

    Is your ex not agreeable to sharing custody? Or asking her about her preferences?

    I certainly feel your anguish, and I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, jkaee.

    I agree that a mediator would be the way to go with this, and get
    input from all sides out on the table.

    I wish you the best possible outcome for all involved, and peace with whatever solution is chosen here. (((((((HUGS)))))))
  11. by   arciedee
    I am not sure if I can offer any advice, though certainly my sympathies for such a difficult situation.

    From here it looks like this move is a great opportunity for the majority of your family. Your other children will see their dad more often without him being gone for 13+ hours of the day and will probably see a much happier side of him. Believe me, as someone who detests being in an office job and commuting 3-4 hours a day myself (hence the reason I am making the switch to nursing), it takes a toll. Whenever I meet someone I dread answering the "what do you do?" question because I so dislike my job and don't want people to define me by it. If I weren't taking steps towards my new career I don't know how I could bear it. I've tried for five years to like what I do and it just isn't going to happen. In order for me to be a good girlfriend (eventually wife) and mother (in the future) I need to have a career that will not be such a burden on my soul. Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, but that's often how I feel.

    As for your older daughter... keep in mind quality of time vs. quantity of time. I understand how difficult it will be to not live with your daughter who has spent her whole life (primarily) under your roof. But I am assuming that you and the ex will work out a reasonable visitation schedule that will allow you to share holidays and vacations. She is old enough to know what is going on. She knows that you do not want to leave her and that you do love her. Having true quality time when you DO see her will far outweigh four years of living under your roof but with constant anxiety in the household due to your husband's job, money struggles, etc.

    My other question... do your ex and his wife have any children together? I say this because both my parents are divorced (not from each other). Both have a child from their first marriages. Both of those children lived with their other parents for various reasons, so I grew up essentially as an only child. I adored my brother and sister, but never really got to know them. Unfortunately to this day I still feel like an only child. I haven't seen my sister in 15 or 16 years, even though as far as I know she lives probably within an hour of me. I do see my brother, but generally only on holidays. There are many times I wish our bond could be stronger. If your ex has other children, perhaps this would be an opportunity for them to get to know their sister as your children do and to develop a bond with her. That is NOT a bad thing.

    The key to this is going to be communication communication communication! Work out a visitation schedule and get it in writing. If you need a mediator to be able to talk to the ex rationally and without getting your emotions towards each other involved, do it. It will be money well-spent. If you do move, call your daughter, send care packages, cards, etc. often. Remind her that she is constantly in your thoughts even if you're not physically together. And allow her to share her feelings openly and honestly. Talk to your other children about what's going on and allow them to share their feelings. They will miss their sister and depending on their ages it might be hard for them to understand, but keep talking. And know that you are NOT a bad mother for doing this.

    I'm glad you wrote this out here. I often think that getting our thoughts out into words is a great help in making decisions.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I guess, I am left wondering if your dh HAD to take the out of state job, knowing the situation you are in? Don't get me wrong; I am not judging you, however, it seems you now have an untenable problem that may not have been, if out of state work were not accepted. AH well, be that as it may, the fact is, it's a done deal.

    I agree w/those asking you to consider what your daughter wants----but be careful how you ask. She is going to be torn horribly in all of this. If it were me, I would seek professional help in sorting all of this out----a psychologist or social worker can help tremendously. I also think kids come first----that is just me----but her needs would supercede mine and those of my current husband. There is where counseling can come in----helping her cope with a situation NOT of her making , well it's critical now. As you said, you have more than one child to consider in all of this, but this one is reaching her teens, a critical time of personal growth and development. How you handle this will affect her a LOT.

    I wish you luck----I hope things work out peacefully for all of you.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 11, '05
  13. by   Jessy_RN
    I am so sorry, you and your child will be in my prayers.

    Hugs,

    Jess
  14. by   barefootlady
    I am truly sorry for the situation you find your family in at present. I have no great words of wisdom, you have the answer, God is in control and with trust and prayer, it will work out. I know we do not always get the things we pray for but He still answers even when we ignore His answer. I will pray for the most positive outcome for your family according to His will. I wish you a blessed day.

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