Custody Battles Suck

I have been harping on my daughter a bit lately to stand up to her dad and stepmother. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, however I can only hear about their asinine antics so many times before it drives me crazy. They give Cassie NO opportunity to exercise any decision making. She is permitted to drive to school, and drive home. She is not allowed to go out to lunch, stop anywhere after school, or go anywhere on the weekends without their specific permission…and they generally don’t let her do anything even when she does ask. An example? Oh yes!

Yesterday her step-brother had a football game, his first of the season. She was told that she HAD to attend the game with the rest of the family. She explained that she had an art project that was due Wednesday (in two days) and she still had to paint one of the pieces and then finish both of them with outlining / etc. The one she had painted over the weekend had been the more simple of the two and had taken six hours – so she really didn’t have time to mess with a football game. She had already finished all other homework and had cleared the evening to work on this. Her step-mom didn’t care and forced her to go to the game.

Later, when she tried to discuss this with her dad, he blew up…he pushed her down, and threatened to hit her. She is a senior in high school, not a 6 year old (not that I condone hitting a child at any age – I simply don’t think it is right). He then took away her phone (which I purchased and pay for so that she can call me), took away her car, and is threatening to make her drop her art class – which I am not going to permit. He will have to get a court order to make that happen. Good luck on THAT one. She worked her ass off to make Advanced Placement Art. It is very important to her, and her other class grades are excellent. I will be damned if he is able to just yank that out from under her.

The real issue here is that she now wants us to allow her to seek legal council to be able to live with us. We went through this before. It didn’t end well. The girls didn’t really want to go through with it, and I ended fairly upset. It was expensive and a waste of time, because they just couldn’t go through with it for fear of upsetting their dad. I told her that I was not going through that again. I don’t think she liked that approach. But let’s look at this objectively. Cassie is going to be 18 in June. By the time we flush out this big ol’ legal battle she will have what? 4 months at most with us before she can make her own decisions anyway. I don’t see how it is worth the expense and time and emotional conflict to even start the process.

What would you do?