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The Battle Continues

This next tale is one for all you step-parents and step-parents to be. After Charlene and I were married the trouble with her ex-husband did not stop. Having foiled his orders and taken the children to Disneyland for the wedding, we were in for a tough battle. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. In my arrogance, I though he would have learned not to mess with me and my free legal access. Was I ever wrong!
Several months after the wedding, Jennifer had a few of her friends with her while she visited her mother. She was 12 at the time, and wanted somebody her own age to hang around with. They were outside my computer room window when I overheard Jennifer boast about how "adult" she was because she’d played the Naked Fun Game with their dad. She’d had sex. I was appalled; of course, I knew that her dad, brother, sister, aunt, and grandmother live in a two bedroom apartment, but its one thing to wonder about the sleeping arrangements and it’s another to actually hear about sexual activity.

When her friends had gone home, Charlene and I cornered her about the statements. She refused to answer, and Paris went white as a sheet. Unable to get confirmation from the girls, we didn’t’ know where to go. Should we call the police about overhearing a teenagers comment? After a long debate and discussion, we elected with informing the court that John was sharing a bed with his teenage daughters and that this was inappropriate. Let them investigate it from there. Instead of fighting for a major change in custody, we wanted just full joint - any of the children could come and go to either parent as they saw fit. All three of the children were teenagers and our reasoning was that should daddy feel the need to sleep in the same bed with them, they would have a place to go as an alternative without needing his permission. We avoided a direct accusation, and instead asked for a simple investigation of the sleeping arrangements.

The day in court arrived and all seemed to go very smoothly. The judge decreed the children were old enough to handle custody decisions themselves. The judge appointed a family court advisor to visit each home to make our home was acceptable and to investigate his unusual sleeping arrangements. The process would be that each parent would be interviewed alone, and then the children would interview in each home.

John’s appointment came first. However, after his visit, the court evaluator quit the case, and it was reassigned to different venue with new evaluator. Here’s where it gets really scary. The local family court would no longer be handling the case; instead it was being handled by the city John’s brother lived in. The new evaluator shared the last name with Phil and John. No, there was direct family relation, but was a fairly common cultural last name (I’m not going to go into that further, just accept it as is). This is when Charlene told me to be afraid because Phil, John’s brother was very active in an organized crime family.

Charlene’s visit to the new evaluator was more of an inquisition. Instead of asking her questions, or answering questions regarding the future change in custody, this new evaluator demanded to know why Charlene was allowing her boyfriend to take showers with the children, attack them knives, and generally abuse them. One of her accusations was why she was putting her husband through this and causing him so much trouble. Charlene came running out in tears.

The evaluator met with John at his home and its many occupants before meeting with us a few days later. When she interviewed us at home, she tried to jump on my sexually abusing the children. I told the truth, all of it, everything. I did not make, or tried not to make, any value judgments, instead I told her of what I heard and saw. She took notes on all that was said, and left.

The evaluation reached us the night before the return court appearance and it was bad. It gave John a glowing report on how much he loved his kids, on the wonderful home life they have, they have separate bedrooms and the adults sleep a fold-out couch (come to find out later, the couch does not fold out). Charlene and I were painted as overbearing, ogre-like, sexual slave lords. In the report, the children claimed I took showers with them, we took showers with the pets, I changed clothes in front of them, Charlene and I made them watch us have sex, and on, and on. When Charlene confronted her children on these outlandish tales, they confirmed that is what the told the evaluator, but refused to say why.

The day in court! Oh, yes folks, this was great fun. Lucky for me (strange that I have good luck), the evaluation was so unbelievable and the report so biased in favor of the father, that even the judge noticed. He refused to accept the evaluation as valid. He asked if we wanted to re-file. By now, I’d have had my fill of these nut cases and wanted nothing more to do with them. We declined the offer.

In conclusion, don’t believe the fairy tales. It’s not always the wicked, evil, stepmother you have to fear. It’s often the wicked, evil, stepchildren.

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