Question: Dear Luise: I was married, in this marriage we had 2 girls, We ended in divorce when the girls were 2 and 4 years old. My life was very unsettled, I asked my ex if he would take the girls so I could get my life in order, then when I do I want my girls back. He said ok. So as time went He moved out of state, and I had to travel to get them every other holiday and this was to expensive for me so I quite. I called them on the phone. Then within about 7 mos. they stopped answering my calls. It ended up 8 years later my girls are back in my life, and they hate me. They hate my mother and they love my sister. They think I gave them away and I never. My ex and his wife would not let me see them or talk to them. Now my oldest is 16 and the youngest is 14. Now that they are about 120 miles from me, my ex and his wife are getting a divorce. my ex and I have joint custody with primery to the ex. Now in their divorce papers he gave her full custody, they just put this in writing. I have found out this is not legal and that she has no rights to my girls. I want my girls in my life and I want them to come live with me, but they are being very mean to me and my family. I know it will take some time, but my question is, should I fight for my girls at their ages, or just let them live with her, and we can all be friends? We do get along very well. She also has her children with my ex. There are 3 children, then she also has a 19 year old from her very first marriage. Now the girls, love there dad but he does not want them any more in is life. These poor girls are getting thrown here and there and they don’t know what to do. They say they want to be with me, and then the next minute they don’t. I don’t want to hurt them in anyway, but i love them and want them with me. I just don’t know what is the right thing to do here. Take them or leave them. K.
Answer: Dear K.: It must be very hard for you to hear that your daughters want to be with you and then have them turn on you in meanness and say they do not want that. It’s pretty clear they don’t know what they want and that’s understandable.
As they get a little older, you will probably find that whatever you decide at this time will be held it against you. I hope I’m wrong about that. My take is that the best decision is whatever looks like the best for your daughters. It looks to me like that lies with their step-mother because she offers the stability of the familiar. Since you get along well, it sounds like she will include you in their lives. Any solution is going to have problems that go along with it. If the two of you can work together, that’s the best way in my view. Be careful because the girls will try to play you against each other. That’s human nature. Stay one step ahead, if you can. Blessings, Luise