“We see this all the time where the ex-wife lives with a crazy, harmful boyfriend who can’t see his own kids because the court has prohibited him because he may have been convicted of drugs or abuse. Yet he can live with another father’s kid,” says Glenn Sacks, the executive director of Fathers & Families.
“I’ve seen many fathers try to bring this to the courts’ attention and the courts don’t want to hear it.”
Author Jill Brooke (pictured) often writes insightful articles about families and divorce. Brooke’s newest is Can a Stepmother Like Sandra Bullock Be a Better Parent than a Biological Mom Who’s a Porn Star? (Huffington Post, 11/6/09).
Obviously the famous actress vs. porn star battle is unusual. Yet there are many stepmothers and second wives who step in and parent their husband’s kids because their mom can’t or won’t do it. These women are often caught in the middle of nasty custody battles, are vilified for loving their stepchildren, and have little legal standing.
Rarely when fathers seek full custody of a child are the facts so stacked against the mother as in the case between “Monster Garage” star Jesse James and his ex-wife, porn star Janine Lindemulder. The couple are battling in court for custody of 5-year-old daughter Sunny. Not only is Lindemulder a porn star, which is a career that one can argue has negative moral and lifestyle implications on a child’s upbringing, but she is married to a felon and has an alleged drug problem. James on the other hand is married to Sandra Bullock, who has been called “America’s sweetheart.”
I guess it won’t surprise you that few fathers get full custody. The ones who even attempt it usually have an arsenal of evidence. According to the Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, the majority of cases are now joint custody.
Bullock and James have had sole custody of 5-year-old Sunny for the past six months since Lindemulder was in jail — yes, jail — for tax evasion.
Now Lindemulder has gone from the courts to the court of public opinion by appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America and throwing what I’m calling the divorce equivalent of the “shot heard around the world” in accusing Sandra Bullock of being an interloping stepmother who is trying to “take away my daughter.” Give me a break. This shot will backfire and be a rallying cry for stepmothers to finally be freed from the tyranny of the stereotype that they can’t be loving, wise, and sincerely devoted parents in a child’s life.
“What would give her the right to take away my daughter?” Lindemulder asked, even though she admitted Bullock is a good stepmother to Sunny. “This is my daughter. I’m the best mother I can be.”
Hmmm, the best mother she can be is not enough. Especially when she is married to Jeremy Aikman, who as E! reported, has several previous state and federal convictions involving alcohol, guns and the manufacturing of narcotics.
While I counsel many women who are anguished when their kids see their ex’s new wife — who may have broken up the marriage — little media attention is given to the agony of the father who is often helpless when his kids are with another man.
“We see this all the time where the ex-wife lives with a crazy, harmful boyfriend who can’t see his own kids because the court has prohibited him because he may have been convicted of drugs or abuse, and yet he can live with another father’s kid,” says Glenn Sacks, the executive director of Fathers & Families. “I’ve seen many fathers try to bring this to the courts’ attention and the courts don’t want to hear it.”
Furthermore, Sacks reveals how many concerned stepmothers — who love their stepchildren — also call the organization inquiring about their rights to be more involved with their stepchildren. “Some stepmothers,” he says, “have been more of a mother than the biological mother but have no standing legally in the system.”
Read Brooke’s full article here.