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Sometimes Ice Cream Just Isn’t Enough

I sat in the waiting room wringing my hands. Fears of the dental unknown paraded through my already crowded mind. Pausing, I was thankful for small favors and mentally counted the steps to the ice cream shop next door.

Taking my stepdaughter by the hand and walking toward her bravery reward of home churned vanilla, I watched her bite faithfully on the extraction-site gauze as her dentist had told her to do. I fought back tears of anger and regret, knowing that this oral farce should have been completed long before she and I met. I bit my tongue, unwilling to verbalize the hatred I have for the woman who should have been holding her hand: her mother. 

The system of child support is set (mostly) to protect mothers from the men who are either incapable or disinclined to care for the children they have donated bodily fluid to assist in the creation of. Although I am fully supportive of state intervention in cases such as this, occasionally circumstances differ from the normal realm of the dead beat dad, and trap the unwillingly non-custodial parent in a game of cat-and-mouse. While these cases may seem uncommon, the number of custodial parents abusing the monetary compensation received is on the rise.

In my situation, the quandary becomes whether or not to fight for custody, and how to prove negligence without both ruining the relationships the children have with their biological mother and uprooting their lives completely. While their mother is very giving with her love and attention, she tends to err on the side of laziness and (in all honesty) sheer inability to care for herself, let alone her children.

At what point is the line drawn concerning custodial parents using child support in an almost fraudulent manner? When does it become acceptable to expect (as a non-custodial parent) to be met at least part way? How is remaining intentionally impoverished by refusing to be even part time employed effective parenting? 

This is not written to be informative. I have written this as a desperate stepparent, longing to be allowed to raise, teach, love, and support the children my husband brought into my life.

Again, I ask for suggestions or information from the amazing, knowledgeable writers on this site.

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