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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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I am a stepmom whose stepson came to live with my husband and

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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?
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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 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Just feel as though my question wasn't fully answered.

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!

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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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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.

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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.

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