Although I am a stepmother, this question has to do with my eldest stepson, who is 29 and the father of 2, a boy 4yrs and a girl 9yrs. My SS never married the mother of his children, and they split up last year. While the break-up was not exactly a surprise to everyone besides the mother of the children, she took it very hard.
My SS has a court order for child support, which he pays (he elected to have automatic payments from his paycheck) and they have the usual visitation schedule: every other weekend. My SS adores his two kids, and they adore their daddy.
The mother of the 2 kids has never been the most financially responsible (the reason for the break-up), but is doing her best to make a go of it on her own. I know she works full time, though it doesn't pay all that well, and she gets $1,000/mo child support. I know she gets a subsidy on her apartment and she gets assistance with child care for the 4 yr old. I'm not sure if she receives anything else. Now that summer is here, she can get continued day care for the 4 yr old, paid for or subsidized by the state. However, there is nothing similar for the 9yr old. She could go to any number of day camps, and might even qualify for sponsorships, but nothing paid for by the state to my knowledge.
The mother's mother, who lives 80 miles away was laid off from her job about 2 years ago and does not work. So, the weekend after school let out, the mother took the 9yr old girl and dropped her off at her grandmother's and intends on leaving her there until school starts at the end of August. My SS lives in the same vicinity as the mother (and us and the mother's father/stepmother). The children's mother works M - F, then drives the 80 miles on Friday afternoons to her mother's house and spends the weekend there with her mother and the 9 yr old daughter. She drives home Sunday afternoon.
How can this be legal?? Isn't this depriving my SS of access to his daughter? I know the grandmother would not have objection to my SS driving out there and seeing his daughter, but the only time he can do that is on the weekends - when the mother is there and has made plans. I've talked to my step-granddaughter, and she has made comments to me that she really misses seeing her dad. She loves both her parents very much, but I can't imagine a 2 month separation would be good?
I spoke to my step-granddaughter last week (she's bored), and she told me she misses me and her grandpa and wants to see us. I told her I would see what I could do, and I would be willing to drive out to pick her up and drive her back. But, without her mother's approval, I feel we would be at a loss.
I guess you could say I was always one of the those women who never really considered what men feel in a divorce or custody issues. I'm finding out first hand now, and am realizing just how few rights men do have. What recourse does my SS have, if any?