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  • Jan 11, 2011, 08:33 PM
    What to do about child abandonment with three children?
    My husband and I live in Kerr County, Center Point, Texas and have been for the past three and a half years raising a son whom is his ex-wife's from a previous relationship with no fater listed on his birth certificate and two other children that were conceived during their marriage. We have not seen or heard from his ex-wife in 3 1/2 years. We have not changed address, phone numbers nor was she told to stay away. She simply dropped off the children and never returned. We are just normal middle class people without a lot of extra money for lawyers fees and court costs and thought that this is what God intended and that she was just gone until yesterday when I received a phone call from her wanting to speak to my husband and I was in such shock I hung up the phone. Now my husband and I are just concered about our rights, these are OUR children and I would like to know what our rights are regarding her trying to see them, take them, etc. Any information would be so appreciated.
  • Jan 11, 2011, 08:43 PM

    Unless he has went to court and got a order of custody and had paternity proved, he has no rights at this point expect to go back to court.

    3 years ago is when he needed to go to court and file for a court order giving him custody.

    Is the child school age ? How did you even get child in school without any proof of guardianship or parent.

    I will assume at least on the two, he is on the birth certificate/

    Since they have to be divorced, I will also assume there was some sort of child custody order and child support order in place, *** plus child support ?

    I have even worst news, if there was child support to be paid, unless he went to court to get it changed, and he given custody, he will even owe the child support for the years the children was with him, He merely having the children does not stop the court order from being inforced.
  • Jan 11, 2011, 08:53 PM

    The courts usually prefer what is in the best interests of the children and that means that if all is well, a judge would be unlikely to insist on a major change. That doesn't mean a judge wouldn't allow the mother visitation, but I doubt the children would be taken away from you suddenly. She may owe you back child support.

    I think you should not hang up on her next time she calls. Offer to meet her somewhere neutral (get a sitter if you need to). Give her a chance to tell you and your husband what she has to say for herself. Don't interrupt. Just listen at first. I think at this point you have a perfect right to be party to the conversation since you are raising her kids. Be civil and don't panic. If she has unreasonable expectations, tell her you'll think about it. Don't agree to anything or reject anything. Then go to an attorney for help.
  • Jan 11, 2011, 09:16 PM
    First of all thank you so much for your answers. Yes there is a divorce and in that stating that my husband is the "home parent" that the two children they have together reside with him. Our oldest was not involed in that paperwork. My husband has been raising our oldest (now 12) since he was five months. He is enrolled in school, the papers were faxed from his old school and like I said before these things get so expensive so fast that well the mortgage and food come first. No child support was ordered in the divorce from her at that point. My husband works in the offshore oil field and I am here for 3 weeks at a time with the children and my fear was that she could just show up and take them and I wanted to know what my rights are if that sort of situation showed up on my doorstep what are our rights regarding our oldest and their children together now 7 and 10.
  • Jan 12, 2011, 04:34 AM

    First, you have absolutely no rights here. You are simply the step mother. All rights rest with your husband.

    Did the divorce specify any visitation for the mother? If no visitation was specified then you do not have to turn the children over to her. At least not until she obtains a court order. Since your husband was awarded primary custody of his bio children I don't see a court changing that. The other child may be an issue. But you will just have to see how it plays out if she takes it to court.

    If I were in your position, I would invite the mother into your home to allow her to visit. I would not let her take the kids outside your supervision. That will look better to the courts then denying her access.
  • Jan 12, 2011, 01:14 PM

    I would not recommend having the mother in the home at this time. It could potentially upset the kids a lot. If she goes away and never comes back, nothing is gained and it will hurt them deeply. Whatever changes occur must happen in a very planned way that is in their best interests. Stay calm and good luck!

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