What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

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Latest post Wed, Dec 8 2010 2:17 PM by Dobie S McHeeson. 6 replies.
  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:36 PM

    What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    My ex-husband and I were married 17 years and have two kids, ages 16 and 14.  The kids attend a five-day boarding school in western Pennsylvania, but they were born and reared in Ohio, I live in Ohio, and my home is listed as their legal residence, though we share custody.  Our agreement states correctly that my home having been named as their legal residence does not affect the fact that my ex and I are 50/50 as far as a) spending time with the kids and b) childrearing decisions.  My ex and his new wife of seven months live in western PA now as well.

    My ex and I were recently discussing our son having permission to go off-campus after classes at the aforementioned five-day boarding high school in western PA.  I had come up with what I thought was a good approach--for weeks when my ex is "in charge," our 16-year old son has to call him to get permission to go off-campus every time he wants to go (to the movies, a restaurant, etc.).  When I'm "in charge," our son has to call me.  If I'm not reachable by phone, our son has to call my ex for permission and vice versa.  My ex agreed to this, calling my idea in an e-mail "a perfect compromise."  He then called me that night saying that if he weren't at home, he wanted his new wife to be able to grant permission for our son to go off-campus. 

    There's the background.  My question is this.  Does the stepmother, who is NOT an adoptive parent, have any legal right to grant, either verbally or in writing, any permission for ANYTHING having to do with our kids?  I don't know how much this would differ from state-to-state, but our shared parenting agreement, divorce, etc. were all filed in Ohio.  I still live in Ohio, the kids' legal residence is Ohio, and my ex and the stepmother live in Pennsylvania.

    Many thanks for any enlightenment you can provide!

  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:40 PM In reply to

    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    Unless the court specifies otherwise, she has whatever "rights" her husband allows her. 

  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:42 PM In reply to

    • kath21
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    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    Well, dad and you have the right to designate  wife, mother, friend, etc, babysit, pick up the kids,drive them where they need to go etc, while the child is under HIS/your control.

    So it's likely he can designate stepmom to "decide" small things while the kid is with him...but it's hard to imagine a time when NEITHER parent can be reached by phone today!

  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:42 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
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    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms,...

    You are making this WAY more complicated than it needs to be.

    If your ex wants his wife to act on his authority, he can do that. So on the weeks when he has to give permission there's no reason he can't tell her to handle it.

  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:43 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    Dobie S McHeeson:
    He then called me that night saying that if he weren't at home, he wanted his new wife to be able to grant permission for our son to go off-campus. 

    Sounds like a reasonable idea.  Basically your son is just checking in with a responsible adult to let them know he is going off campus.  I know you say permission, but being realistic you know that he can probably leave campus without getting permission everytime.  What is the school's policy regarding leaving campus?

    Dobie S McHeeson:
    Does the stepmother, who is NOT an adoptive parent, have any legal right to grant, either verbally or in writing, any permission for ANYTHING having to do with our kids? 

    Legally, probably no right.  Logically, it sounds reasonable to me.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 1:48 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    Me, his way sounds reasonable to me --and I'd suggest you try it his way for now..if it 'breaks down" you can readdress it later.

    But both parents need to be wary lest kids quickly learn how to shop for best answer



  • Wed, Dec 8 2010 2:17 PM In reply to

    Re: What rights does a stepmother have re: permission forms, etc

    FYI, the school is VERY strict about off-campus privileges, and in fact, offers us each year an array of half a dozen forms (sign this one if it's OK if your kid goes off-campus in a car driven by a student under 18, sign this one if it's OK if your kid goes in a car driven only by an adult, sign this one if you are granting NO off-campus privileges, etc.).  In the past, we have always signed the one that states our kids can go off-campus ONLY in vehicles driven by SCHOOL adults--that is, not any person 21 or over, but a faculty member, staffer, etc.--someone who has an actual professional tie to the school. 

    When giving verbal permission, you're required to speak directly with a teacher, dorm parent, etc. on the phone.  Our shared parenting agreement already clearly states that stepparents are not to be involved with parent-teacher conferences, with making medical decisions, with granting permission to tattoo or pierce, etc.

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