Can't afford a attorney right now, but what are my rights?
My daughter goes to her fathers every other weekend. When she goes she has no bed to sleep in and has to sleep on the hardwood floor (the new family took her room). And I pack her clothes , panties, toothbrush etc. She comes back nasty and usually in the same clothes I send her in. Hasn't brushed her teeth all weekend or changed her panties. What steps do I take to make sure she is taken care of? Should I even send her back with no bed?
I'm sorry you are concerned about your daughter's visits to her father's house.
You didn't mention how old your daughter is. Teach her the basic skills of changing clothes, brushing her teeth and hair. Even the little ones can learn these basic skills.
Ask her about where she sleeps. If it's on the floor, the send her with a sleeping bag and pillow. Ask her if she is uncomfortable on the floor (some kids love this camping-type experience.) If she is, then ask your husband if she could sleep on the couch.
You may want to befriend the new spouse too and talk to her. Here are a few lines you may want to consider using,
"I know it's gotten crowded over there since you two married, I completely understand. When my daughter visits, I know it's busy, and sometimes my ex-husband may not think of everything he should. Could you look after my daughter and make sure she has a comfortable place to sleep?
If we need to send a sleeping bag and pillow- just let me know. I'm sure space is pretty cramped.
Also- could you help her with the basic daily dressing/teeth brushing/etc. until she gets a little older? I'm sure she would love your help with this."
I know this will be difficult for you, but this new spouse is the "mommy" in this home and is responsible for taking care of your child when she visits every other weekend. It would benefit you to befriend her and communicate in a kind and friendly way with her. (Note: I didn't say you have to like her or be best pals.) But, you can talk with her to get better care for your child, during the visits.
I wish you the very best.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice