Overwhelmed. Husband wants to gain custody of his half brother

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 2
2122 posts
Buzzing bee

I don’t have much to give in terms of advice, but you’re between a rock and a hard place. You have every right to be upset, angry, confused, and scared. Let those emotions play out, because this is a HUGE decision and it’s a lot to process. 

I understand your concerns, but I also understand that you can’t just turn a blind eye to a child – a family member no less – that is being mistreated. 

As I said I have no real advice, hopefully other bees will know more about this situation. But try not yo stress just yet – you don’t even know if this will be possible. 

Hugs to you, and props to you both for wanting to do right by this kid. 

Post # 3
1208 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Your DH intends to try to change your entire present and planned life–who, where, what, how financed, and having your own child v. trying to raise a troubled older child–without, apparently, giving you much of a vote. His brother has two parents and an aunt, any of whom might care for him; his living situation is not DH’s decision to make without consulting the other family members, his brother, and possibly a court. And you. Especially you. Your DH made vows to you, not to his half-brother. This is a deal-breaker, and your DH seems to have forgotten what the deal is and who he made it with.

Post # 4
1193 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I may have missed it in your post, but isn’t there some middle ground between leaving things the way they are and taking on custody/moving Daniel so far from what he knows/totally changing your and your husband’s lives? Could your DH take on a bigger role in Daniel’s life and provide some stability, be a role model for him that he can count on to be there? Could he go to doctors appointments and be there for Daniel in a way that makes Daniel’s life easier? Given what you’ve said here about your financial situation, your program which would not be made easier by having a struggling 9-year old at home with you, and your desire to start your own family in the near future, it really seems to me that you and your DH should explore baby steps to address some of the issues Daniel is dealing with that are in your sphere of influence or control, at least as a short-term plan. If it’s really as bad as your DH seems to think, then sure, Daniel shouldn’t be living with his father. But if your DH isn’t sure he could legally get custody, he should consult a lawyer and/or social worker about the proper channels for taking action to change this.

Post # 5
373 posts
Helper bee

My heart goes out to you but I am on your DH’s side.

You marry for better or for worse. It’s not like he is getting someone off the street. This is his brother, his flesh and blood, etc.  It’s not like he pre-planned this. Shyt happens in life and you just learn how to adjust and deal.  My man’s parents are super old, guess who may end up taking care of them when they can no longer do for themselves? Am I looking forward to it? Hell no. But, that’s FAMILY. It’s also pretty bad because it sounds like Daniel is abused. I could never in good conscience see my sibling going through something like this and turn a blind eye because I want kids in the future.  You can still have kids…you just have to figure out how to make it work.

As far as money? I completely understand. Hopefully the dad can pay child support. Look into state funding if possible. 

Post # 6
5909 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

It’s understandable that this is throwing up a lot of emotions for you but are you really going to be the one to say to your husband that he can’t take in his brother? I can completely see your husbands point of view and I think there will be bitterness if you’re against this.

Post # 7
1307 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

While being semi-long distance while married is super weird to me, this is a 9yr old in trouble. I would have ALLL the talks about every tough issue you think even MIGHT come up, including discipling and parenting this child as his brotherʻs wife but in the end I would do whatever it took to support DH in this journey to take on his brother who needs him. To me this just comes with marriage, unforeseen circumstances that can flip your world upside down. There may be funding options for familial adoption/fostering that migt help as well. I wouldnʻt even hesitate to let my DH do whatever it took to do this but that may be a cultural thing.

Post # 8
7524 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I have to say, I’d feel the same way your DH feels.

That said, it’s a big leap to pursue custody without first working to expand your roles in Daniel’s life. Is your Father-In-Law open to you and your DH playing a bigger role, including getting help for Daniel with his ADHD? A combination of therapy and medication can make an enormous difference.

Would Father-In-Law be open to shared custody? If you did have shared or full custody Father-In-Law could be responsible for paying child support which would certainly alleviate some of the financial concerns. 

It sounds as if Daniel does need your help. Would he even be open to this change? At a certain age the court will take his opinion into consideration. Does your DH know how much a custody battle can cost and how long it can take? 

DH needs to slow down, gather a LOT more information, and listen to your concerns. In the short term there surely are some ways you can help Daniel while you work through long-term solutions. 


Post # 9
1693 posts
Bumble bee

“I’m freaked out, and although I’ve told DH my concerns and he understands and is supportive of me feeling overwhelmed at the idea, I feel like I have no room to actually have a say in the matter here. I feel like I’m not ready to suddenly be Daniel’s guardian, but I feel like if I were to decide I can’t do this, DH will resent me for it. He seems to have the feeling, so far, that I will come to get used to it.”

If you feel like you don’t have a say, that’s a problem. If you take on the brother, he will become your responsibility too and you should have a say in that obviously. If you aren’t ready to be Daniel’s guardian, I don’t know why a judge would allow that. You may be right to think your husband will resent you if you said no, but you’ll probably resent your husband if you feel forced to say yes. I can’t imagine the impact this will have on your marriage if you’re not 100% on board. While it sucks what the brother is going through, your husband’s main concern is you, not anyone else. I get it that people are family, but you’re your husband’s family too and I’m of the belief that spouses come first. Something as serious as this deserves a lot of thought and discussion, not a phone call from your husband telling you what his plans are. If this were me, I would be very hesitant to take on the brother as well.

Post # 10
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

I don’t have any real advice, I just wanted to reassure you that your trepidations are totally valid and by no means do they mean you don’t care about Daniel. It sounds like you have his best interests at heart and your concerns are based around that. This is a sucky situation. If you truly aren’t ready, maybe you can find ways to become more involved first, as a PP mentioned. Or maybe you could have some time beforehand or offer to get Daniel set up with a therapist first and then take him in later. No matter what, I hope you find something that eases your mind. Good luck, bee!

Post # 11
7509 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

From a purely pragmatic point of view, you haven’t described anything that remotely sounds like grounds for removing a child from a home, and if your DH petitioned for custody, the courts would dismiss the case in a hurry. The worst thing you’ve said in your description is that the child gets sent to his room a lot, and courts don’t remove kids from homes for that. Asking his father for custody of Daniel is a huge over-reach and over-reaction unless you’ve left something out of the story. Perhaps your DH will be better off trying to take a more active role in the child’s life and being a role model.  If he suspects there is drug use in the home that puts the child at risk then your DH really should be calling the police.

Post # 12
1764 posts
Buzzing bee

You basically have to choose here: stay married and become an instant mom to a troubled 9yr old and possibly divorce later, or divorce now. Neither of you are parents yet, you don’t know what you’re doing. Taking that boy in will change your life for the next decade, it will affect everything, it will be a HARD road. Parenting challenges you weren’t prepared for will hurt your marriage- and being that you already feel powerless 🙁 just imagine how future conflicts involving the boy will go. Once that kid is in your house, your only escape is divorce.

I would walk away and let my (ex)husband take the kid.

Post # 13
2762 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

While I agree with @Horseradish that you haven’t really described anything that screams the State will want to take Daniel out of that home…nobody knows how someone parents better than that person’s child. Your husband is being triggered by something that reminds him of how he grew up with his dad and it’s unacceptable to him. That might mean a lot of things. You mentioned alcohol, drugs, negligence and other things that your husband knows more about. 

Anyway, I’d try to make it work. If you want your own children in the next 5 years though you may need to rethink your marriage. 


Post # 14
2836 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

View original reply
qwerty2k1 :  I totally understand that taking on a 9yr old child who tends to misbehave is an extremely scary thing to do but the “problems” you are describing seem very minor when you compare them to the mistreatment of a child. It’s very likely that his half brother is having a hard time adjusting and is acting out through deliquent behavior but that behavior may disappear if he is moved into a more stable home. Having custody of a 9 year old should not deter you from starting your own family either. 

I’m sorry to be pretty unsympathetic towards your situation but I am completely on your DHs side. He sees a kid (a kid that happens to be his own brother) that needs help and guidance and is all for being a role model and a caretaker. How can you really say no to that? The poor kid can’t help it that he is repeatedly put into shitty situations and I commend your DH for trying to change that. 

Post # 15
1985 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
qwerty2k1 :  

Poor kid I’m with youre dh. Tuff on you bee but it is what it is he’s fam.

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