Wedding Woes

Hire the lawyer.

Dear Prudence,

My marriage ended because my wife had a late-in-life epiphany that she was gay. After we separated, she and her friend “Carole” began dating. It’s probably pointless to speculate about when they actually got together, although I can’t help but wonder sometimes. I try to concentrate on our 9-year-old daughter (we split custody fifty-fifty), but Carole keeps sticking her oar in. She calls me directly and tries to tell me how to raise my own child. They’re vegan, so I can’t take her out for pizza; I can’t take her to the fair because they’ve grounded her; etc.

I’ve told my ex I only want to speak to her about our kid, barring emergencies, and have reminded them both of our custody agreement. It works for a little while, then Carole starts up again. I recently bought a two-seater sports car and went to pick up my daughter from school, only to find out Carole had told another parent that I would be picking up her daughter as well as my own. This was news to me, I couldn’t fit both girls in the car, and Carole ended up having to leave work early to take the girl home. Everyone was irritated. Carole told me I needed to grow up and that my car was “ridiculous.” If the girls weren’t there, I would have lost my temper. I told Carole she needed to learn to stay in her lane, as she wasn’t the parent here. I ended up fighting with my ex over the phone later. I ended the conversation by saying I was done dealing with this, and next time I would be getting in contact with a lawyer. We have not been to court because I didn’t want to make my daughter’s life more difficult. My ex doesn’t make much money. I want at least to be a civil co-parent with my former wife, but Carole is making that impossible.

—Failing Civility

Re: Hire the lawyer.

  • I know he's got a lot of emotions here, but fundamentally, I don't think he's wrong and his ex-wife needs to step up and tell Carole to back off and out and that Carole's kid is not his responsibility without previous communication.  

    I'm not quite sure what the lawyer could really do besides go after more custody for him, which might be what he wants?  I'd block Carol's number and refuse contact with her.  The ex-wife has got to step up and take care of her business with her child, not leave it to Carol.
    OliveOilsMomSTARMOON44
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    It's probably worthwhile to talk to a lawyer, but unless LW wants a larger share of custody, there's not much to be done here. Yeah, you can sue for contempt when mom ignores the agreement, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

    It might be time for LW and mom to take some co-parenting classes together, without Carole. Parents need to work together, but one parent doesn't get to decide what happens at the other house. If the kid wants pizza while she's with her dad, mom doesn't get to say anything, just as mom can't take a carnival with dad away as a punishment.

    Mom needs to be the one to step up here and put Carole in her place. It sounds like she's pretty controlling to go so far as tell LW that he'll be picking up someone else's kid or telling him that his choice of car is inappropriate. It's so none of Carole's business. 
    OliveOilsMomshort+sassy
  • For starters I think the LW needs to contact his ex wife and speak to her directly.

    Either Carole is a manipulative gaslighting narcissist or Carole can't make a phone call to save her damn life and avoids all confrontation and responsibility so Carole does it for her.   None of this is working. 

    Also at age 9, how is the dad authorized to pick up Carole's kid?  It isn't mentioned but are they already co-parenting each other's kids?  Is it assumed that he's got authorization to pick up that child?  Because now I don't know many schools that just let you pull up and pick up a kid without documentation and ID and deviation from the protocol requires a note.   Something is fishy there. 

    Beyond that, they need to pick their battles and the LW needs to be clear when addressing each situation that he attacks the situation and not the insinuation.

    Leave the sexuality out of it.   It has nothing to do with this and the problem would still be there if Carole was named Carson.  

    If it comes down to it then LW may need a lawyer and potentially a mediator.   Ideally it should not come to this if adults can be adults. 
    VarunaTT
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    For starters I think the LW needs to contact his ex wife and speak to her directly.

    Either Carole is a manipulative gaslighting narcissist or Carole can't make a phone call to save her damn life and avoids all confrontation and responsibility so Carole does it for her.   None of this is working. 

    Also at age 9, how is the dad authorized to pick up Carole's kid?  It isn't mentioned but are they already co-parenting each other's kids?  Is it assumed that he's got authorization to pick up that child?  Because now I don't know many schools that just let you pull up and pick up a kid without documentation and ID and deviation from the protocol requires a note.   Something is fishy there. 

    Beyond that, they need to pick their battles and the LW needs to be clear when addressing each situation that he attacks the situation and not the insinuation.

    Leave the sexuality out of it.   It has nothing to do with this and the problem would still be there if Carole was named Carson.  

    If it comes down to it then LW may need a lawyer and potentially a mediator.   Ideally it should not come to this if adults can be adults. 
    It's not Carole's kid. He says Carole told another parent LW would get the kid, but didn't tell LW. I'm assuming this kid is daughter's friend. If kid has gone home with daughter before, it wouldn't necessarily be a big deal for kid's parent to tell the school that kid is getting picked up with daughter that day. Absent some history, it's not odd for the school to assume the parents had actually talked to each other.
    mrsconn23ILoveBeachMusicSTARMOON44
  • banana468 said:
    For starters I think the LW needs to contact his ex wife and speak to her directly.

    Either Carole is a manipulative gaslighting narcissist or Carole can't make a phone call to save her damn life and avoids all confrontation and responsibility so Carole does it for her.   None of this is working. 

    Also at age 9, how is the dad authorized to pick up Carole's kid?  It isn't mentioned but are they already co-parenting each other's kids?  Is it assumed that he's got authorization to pick up that child?  Because now I don't know many schools that just let you pull up and pick up a kid without documentation and ID and deviation from the protocol requires a note.   Something is fishy there. 

    Beyond that, they need to pick their battles and the LW needs to be clear when addressing each situation that he attacks the situation and not the insinuation.

    Leave the sexuality out of it.   It has nothing to do with this and the problem would still be there if Carole was named Carson.  

    If it comes down to it then LW may need a lawyer and potentially a mediator.   Ideally it should not come to this if adults can be adults. 
    It's not Carole's kid. He says Carole told another parent LW would get the kid, but didn't tell LW. I'm assuming this kid is daughter's friend. If kid has gone home with daughter before, it wouldn't necessarily be a big deal for kid's parent to tell the school that kid is getting picked up with daughter that day. Absent some history, it's not odd for the school to assume the parents had actually talked to each other.
    The wording is ambiguous.   Carole either told the parent that LW would be picking up that parent's daughter or that LW would be picking up Carole's daughter.   Either way, the LW was none the wiser.  And if Carole is the one who had to leave work early to do the pick up I'm inclined to think that it was her kid but who knows. 

    It IS a big deal to tell the school if the kid is assigned to a different parent.   Most elementary schools now require a person to be added to the parent pick up list.   And then upon pick up the adult needs to show up and present ID to pick up the kid.   My kids can't be released to just anyone and some schools require notes of any deviation from standard pick ups. If LW's school isn't doing this yet I wouldn't be surprised for it to start. Either way, this still speaks to communication issues that Carole is creating. 
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    For starters I think the LW needs to contact his ex wife and speak to her directly.

    Either Carole is a manipulative gaslighting narcissist or Carole can't make a phone call to save her damn life and avoids all confrontation and responsibility so Carole does it for her.   None of this is working. 

    Also at age 9, how is the dad authorized to pick up Carole's kid?  It isn't mentioned but are they already co-parenting each other's kids?  Is it assumed that he's got authorization to pick up that child?  Because now I don't know many schools that just let you pull up and pick up a kid without documentation and ID and deviation from the protocol requires a note.   Something is fishy there. 

    Beyond that, they need to pick their battles and the LW needs to be clear when addressing each situation that he attacks the situation and not the insinuation.

    Leave the sexuality out of it.   It has nothing to do with this and the problem would still be there if Carole was named Carson.  

    If it comes down to it then LW may need a lawyer and potentially a mediator.   Ideally it should not come to this if adults can be adults. 
    It's not Carole's kid. He says Carole told another parent LW would get the kid, but didn't tell LW. I'm assuming this kid is daughter's friend. If kid has gone home with daughter before, it wouldn't necessarily be a big deal for kid's parent to tell the school that kid is getting picked up with daughter that day. Absent some history, it's not odd for the school to assume the parents had actually talked to each other.
    The wording is ambiguous.   Carole either told the parent that LW would be picking up that parent's daughter or that LW would be picking up Carole's daughter.   Either way, the LW was none the wiser.  And if Carole is the one who had to leave work early to do the pick up I'm inclined to think that it was her kid but who knows. 

    It IS a big deal to tell the school if the kid is assigned to a different parent.   Most elementary schools now require a person to be added to the parent pick up list.   And then upon pick up the adult needs to show up and present ID to pick up the kid.   My kids can't be released to just anyone and some schools require notes of any deviation from standard pick ups. If LW's school isn't doing this yet I wouldn't be surprised for it to start. Either way, this still speaks to communication issues that Carole is creating. 
    I wondered this too, b/c I'm on the emergency list for a select few friends and I've had to provide ID to be kept on file with the school for it.  I've only had to do a pick up once at an elementary, but I had to pull my ID out to be verified at the school when I picked up kiddo.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I would let all of Carole's calls go to voicemail.  If there is something in the call that LW thinks needs to be addressed, he can call his ex.  Any texts from Carole can be a quick response that LW will bring it up with ex, if he feels the need to address it.

    LW can ignore keeping DD vegan, as long as it doesn't effect DDs digestive system to keeping adding meat products back in.  I know that can be a problem for some people.  This is assuming that DD doesn't want to be vegan herself.  As for the festival, I think as long as DD didn't do something terrible, LW can do what he wants with his time with DD.  

    I do think that LW can go back to court to get the custody agreement tightened.  I don't think that going after more custody would be helpful or a good use of funds that could instead go to DDs college fund.  Unless the Ex is a terrible mother, a judge will not change a 50/50 agreement that was originally agreed upon by two parents, so I probably wouldn't even try.  But the judge can make it so that only the actual parents contact each other.  Then if Carole tries again, LW can simply respond that due to the current custody agreement, he will only speak with Ex.

    I would not ever block Carole's number in the instance of a true emergency.
    short+sassyVarunaTT
  • VarunaTT said:
    banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    For starters I think the LW needs to contact his ex wife and speak to her directly.

    Either Carole is a manipulative gaslighting narcissist or Carole can't make a phone call to save her damn life and avoids all confrontation and responsibility so Carole does it for her.   None of this is working. 

    Also at age 9, how is the dad authorized to pick up Carole's kid?  It isn't mentioned but are they already co-parenting each other's kids?  Is it assumed that he's got authorization to pick up that child?  Because now I don't know many schools that just let you pull up and pick up a kid without documentation and ID and deviation from the protocol requires a note.   Something is fishy there. 

    Beyond that, they need to pick their battles and the LW needs to be clear when addressing each situation that he attacks the situation and not the insinuation.

    Leave the sexuality out of it.   It has nothing to do with this and the problem would still be there if Carole was named Carson.  

    If it comes down to it then LW may need a lawyer and potentially a mediator.   Ideally it should not come to this if adults can be adults. 
    It's not Carole's kid. He says Carole told another parent LW would get the kid, but didn't tell LW. I'm assuming this kid is daughter's friend. If kid has gone home with daughter before, it wouldn't necessarily be a big deal for kid's parent to tell the school that kid is getting picked up with daughter that day. Absent some history, it's not odd for the school to assume the parents had actually talked to each other.
    The wording is ambiguous.   Carole either told the parent that LW would be picking up that parent's daughter or that LW would be picking up Carole's daughter.   Either way, the LW was none the wiser.  And if Carole is the one who had to leave work early to do the pick up I'm inclined to think that it was her kid but who knows. 

    It IS a big deal to tell the school if the kid is assigned to a different parent.   Most elementary schools now require a person to be added to the parent pick up list.   And then upon pick up the adult needs to show up and present ID to pick up the kid.   My kids can't be released to just anyone and some schools require notes of any deviation from standard pick ups. If LW's school isn't doing this yet I wouldn't be surprised for it to start. Either way, this still speaks to communication issues that Carole is creating. 
    I wondered this too, b/c I'm on the emergency list for a select few friends and I've had to provide ID to be kept on file with the school for it.  I've only had to do a pick up once at an elementary, but I had to pull my ID out to be verified at the school when I picked up kiddo.
    Yup.  My kids are not a parent pick up at their elementary.   So the only times I've had to come in and get them instead of off the bus I have to go into the pick up area and wait in line with my ID.   My ID is checked and physically scanned into their system to be on file for future pick ups.   I cannot just ask someone else to pick up my kids if they are not on the parent pick up list and in general any deviations from protocol they ask for in writing in advance and that person is supposed to be on the parent pick up list.  

    If my FIL wasn't on the authorized list he couldn't go get Chiquito when he's sick.   

    At their daycare, they are not supposed to release kids not to the parents without a note from me in advance and the person is required to provide ID to get into the building to get the kids (and the door to enter is coded).  The only time they deviated from this was when I called and told them I physically could not get to my kids, I had been stuck in the snow for an hour and my FIL, a guy who had picked up previously was picking up the kids.   It was a seriously extenuating circumstance and they had my verbal authorization on the phone due to the emergency. 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Banana - Our daycare now has a password, so if I have to call in with an unknown to the school person, I just give the password on file and the person's name.  I would assume they then check the ID of the person.  My mom picked up a few weeks ago, but she is on the approved list already.  I just gave the front desk a heads up the day before, since I knew my mom would need some assistance with the check out procedure and where DD is actually located in the building.
  • Time to screen the calls!

    LW is definitely in the right for being upset. I know I would be.
    Hire the lawyer. Carol doesn't know how to back off and/or LW's ex doesn't know how to step in.

    If LW wants to be nice, they could say "Look, if you want to keep this chill then tell Carol to back off. I will speak with you and not her since the child is OURS. If this doesn't change, I'll have to call a lawyer because I cannot deal with Carol."
  • Lol @banana468.  He doesn't have a name for his ex in the letter.  But I appreciate the continued Friends reference!
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    banana468
  • When Carole calls, don’t answer the phone. When Carols texts, don’t respond. 
  • Carole doesn't get to dictate vegan at LW's house!  Same goes for how LW spends their money or chooses to live for lifestyle.  It's LW and the 9yo, if LW doesn't want a mini van it's none of the Ex or Carole's business... And what school is letting the 9yo's Dad take home another child without both of the parent's permission to do so?  That situation should have never happened!


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