How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Mark Your Own Question

Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Dr. Mark is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a stepmom whose stepson came to live with my husband and

Customer Question

I am a stepmom whose stepson came to live with my husband and I in August 2012. I have been handling most of the communication between the biological mother because I am the planner in the relationship and my husband is very forgetful. So the biological mother has used this to manipulate many situations, stating, "I told you..." and my husband will default to give in because he just doesn't remember what was said. So I took over. I only communicate via text or email because then everything is in writing and she has to be accountable for her actions/words. However, recently, the biological mother is refusing to communicate with me and said she has that on authority from a lawyer. So do I have any rights in this situation if my husband has given me the right to be the communicator?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

Your husband has asked you to communicate for you. If she does not wish to communicate then don't let her find an alternative means, or let her send a legal document to your husband.

If he has designated you as his spokesman then you are doing so with his blessings.

Check with your attorney to see if this must be formalized in your state with a power of attorney statement that so designates you.

If possible, I suggest that you let her figure it out if she will not communicate with you. She has backed herself into a corner and it is her problem since you have been excluded.

She is trying another way to manipulate you. Don't allow her simply by following her request not to speak with you. She will realize that she has shut the door to communication and she will have to open it.

If she is not cooperating or complying with court orders, then you will have to sue her.

I wish you patience and wisdom in dealing with this difficult and foolish person.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Just feel as though my question wasn't fully answered.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue and follow up on Elliott's answer.

First, let me say that I agree with Elliott about her attempting to be manipulative. My sense is that she's being just plain nasty. I've seen this enough times with families I've worked with. That she has that "on authority from an attorney" is a code word for being unpleasant and mean spirited. Because, again, that I've worked with families means I've worked with attorneys who practice family law (divorce, custody, etc.). And no reputable attorney would want to set up such a situation. It's not only not enforceable, it's plain counterproductive. Here's why:

All you have to do is this:

You've already taken the wise precaution to keep communications in writing (good for you, I'm sincerely impressed). You merely have to add that "your husband [insert his name] asked me to communicate to you that we will pick up [name of stepson] at such and such a time". Now this has become direct communication from the boy's legal guardian.

Along with this, given that you're married to his father, you are in most states de facto a representative of the guardian husband. And no attorney would want to challenge this in court and look foolish.

But at this point, clearly she recognizes that you're on to her and she's desperately looking for ways to be a thorn and make things unpleasant. Your job, as the one with the upper hand (I bet you didn't see it like that before I said it) is to deflect her and keep on going. To not let her make her small jabs and her own unhappiness affect you more than minimally. Otherwise, she will keep on that same track.

Therefore, just adjust your email/text communications as I recommended above and keep on being the more sensible you and keep your good humor.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Dr. Mark and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Legally as a step mom, you have no legal rights other than what the biological parents allow you to have. This means that as your husband could allow you to communicate with the biological mom, she can refuse to do so and legally only has to communicate with the biological father. This could be changed by the court, if your husband wants to go to court and get his attorney to file a motion with the court to make the mom communicate about the child with you. If she objects in court you would have to prove good cause for allowing you to do this communication for your husband, it is something for the court to decide as to what is best for the child.

The other option is let your husband communicate in writing only with her and you can still manage the communications that way and that does not require a court order change.

I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

This is NOT the practice of law nor is it legal advice to you, it is merely educational information for you to use to seek out a licensed attorney in your state to get actual legal advice from them. Please use sites such as or or to find a local attorney to get actual legal advice in all matters.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Previous | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX

Meet The Experts:

  • Kate McCoy

    Kate McCoy


    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
< Last | Next >
  • Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy


    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist


    Satisfied Customers:

    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • Ms Chase's Avatar

    Ms Chase

    Life Coach

    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 20 yrs experience with Relationships, Sexuality, Friendship, and Family Issues
  • Alicia_MSW's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Specializing in relationship/family counseling
  • Dr. Norman Brown's Avatar

    Dr. Norman Brown

    Marriage Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
  • Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L


    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • Suzanne's Avatar


    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency

Related Relationship Questions