{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Anyone dealt with your sibling getting divorced and the SIL fallout? My brother is going though a divorce and it is ugly. She is saying he is “unfit” (he is not). He has a 32 yr old who I am very close to, and a 12 yr old who is my goddaughter. His ex was my bff and now she says he is an unfit father and trying to take away his parental rights. I am stunned. It has fractured us beyond what I thought possible. Do I stay neutral for the nieces? Do I shout at the top of my lungs he is a good guy?", "post_id": "614bfa30cd5552002915613a", "reply_count": 20, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting" }

Anyone dealt with your sibling getting divorced and the SIL fallout? My brother is going though a divorce and it is ugly. She is saying he is “unfit” (he is not). He has a 32 yr old who I am very close to, and a 12 yr old who is my goddaughter. His ex was my bff and now she says he is an unfit father and trying to take away his parental rights. I am stunned. It has fractured us beyond what I thought possible. Do I stay neutral for the nieces? Do I shout at the top of my lungs he is a good guy?

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How do you know for sure she's not telling the truth? Sisters don't always know what goes on behind closed doors.

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I saw what I saw (crotch incident included) and would testify.

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It depends who your audience is. When dealing with your brother, you give him the advice you think is best. You give a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and a drinking buddy when he needs one. With your niece, I would encourage you to watch what you say. Certainly don’t say anything bad about the mom. Encourage an open dialogue - you can always come to me, regardless of what happens I want to stay connected with you, etc. If she says something about her dad, this may provide an opportunity for you to 1) get insight on what mom is saying or planning that you can pass along to your brother and his legal team and 2) help her think critically. She says her dad never did x for her, but you can remind her of times when he did x. Don’t get defensive because she will too. And you can be sure, the mom may be monitoring the daughters messages so be careful what you’re putting in writing so she can’t use them against you.

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Agree that you should approach the minor child thoughtfully. My parents got divorced when I was a teen and it really messed with my head that they were each saying the other was a bad parent. At best, it's really confusing, but at worst, it's putting you in the middle as a source of contention when it's already really easy for kids to internalize a divorce as their fault. It's also not fun realizing that your caretakers aren't the stable and competent people you thought they were. Because what is the conclusion if your parents are contradicting each other? Both your parents are telling the truth and they're both bad parents? One of them is distorted? At least one is manipulating you?

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This is an impossibly hard situation. Unfortunately, living with them for a year doesn’t make you the authority on his fitness as a parent or the inner workings of the relationship. As someone who grew up in a covertly abusive environment for 18 years - there is ALWAYS the possibility that there is more to the story than what you’ve seen. Do what you have to do - but accept that there are things you can’t and don’t know. Be a safe place for the 12 year old without manipulating her.

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This. You still don't know what you don't know.

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She sounds nuts. Time to distance yourself. Luckily your nieces are old enough to communicate directly with you on their devices. I’d talk to them and just say you hope all the stuff going on with their parents isn’t going to ruin your relationship.

likesmart

That could be parental alienation and it is a form of abuse. You should not get in the middle of all this but definitely tell your brother to look into that and document and talk to a lawyer to protect his parental rights. I’m not saying it will be easy but I know of dads who did get custody.

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I think it will be important for you to support him and say he's fit parent so something other than his own word will be in his favor in court. I'm sorry this all went sideways and you have to deal with the fallout.

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He is wonderful. I am beside myself. Thank you.

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I want to tell him to bury her in the legal world.

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Have you tried going to dinner with her and trying to get to the root of the issue?

She has also blocked me and is trying to build a court case.

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