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Parent At A Loss After Ex Keeps Dressing Their Young Son In ‘Shabby’ Clothes That Are Too Small


Divorce is never easy.

Even when it’s not aggressive and angry it’s still difficult.

When there is aggression, a lot of extra issues arise.

And the first people to suffer are the kids.

Case in point…

Redditor Careless-Elk-7540 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for taking pics of my son’s clothes he wears to his dad’s house?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“First, I’m not some super picky, spiteful ex, who tries to make my ex’s life difficult.”

“We have a son, Mark, who is 9.”

“He wears a size 10/12 in clothes and size 5 in shoes.”

“Mark never comes back in clothes or shoes that size.”

“Last several weekends, for example, Mark came back in clothes that were a size 6/7.”

“Where the shirt fit like a crop top and he couldn’t even button his pants and they were way too short.”

“And size 3 shoes that he had to scrunch his toes to even get on.”

“I know Mark is uncomfortable and his feet hurt, because he tells me.”

“I’ve asked my ex, Joe about Mark’s clothes and he always has some reason.”

“Mark dressed himself, Mark insisted on wearing that, they’re behind on laundry, he was in a rush and they didn’t have time to get ready until the last minute.”

“If Mark came home to me in clothes that actually fit, I would not care, but they don’t fit.”

“Mark can’t wear that stuff to school.”

“It’s in really shabby condition and clothes are not free.”

“I don’t get child support from Joe, because neither of us can currently afford to go back to court and Joe has made it clear without a child support order, I will never get a single penny from him.”

“And if I ever do ask for support, then he’d go as far as quitting his job to have no income so he doesn’t have to pay.”

“Unfortunately, our custody agreement does not affect child support and that’s a whole separate issue.”

“I can not legally keep Mark away from Joe.”

“Anyway, I’ve started taking pics of what Mark wears to his dad’s and texting the pic to Joe with a reminder to please remember I need that back.”

“As Mark is starting to run low on clothes and shoes that actually fit him correctly and are nice enough for school.”

“Joe never responds to the texts.”

“But has told me in person at exchanges I’m a selfish and petty *itch for not wanting Mark to have clothes and shoes at his house, too.”

“I’ve asked Joe to please buy clothes that fit Mark to keep at his place.”

“But he’s refused, saying it’s not his responsibility or problem.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. The clothes that your son is wearing when he goes to his custodial time with his father is your property, and legally your ex is obligated to return those clothes with your child to you.”

“But more importantly, failing to provide your child with properly fitting and adequate clothing is neglect.”

“He is not living up to his most basic obligations as a parent.”

“This is grounds for having the custody arrangement changed, and this man needs to have that made clear to him.”

“He is mistreating your child.”

“He is not responsible enough to have overnight visitation.”  ~ EclecticSpree

“I agree. Something else strange is going on there.”

“As a mom, I would not want my kid walking around in too-small/ill-fitting clothing unless that was a style choice they were making.”

“I wonder if the dad is selling the clothes, doing drugs, or otherwise checked out.”

“Do they have people coming and going?”

“This sounds like daytime visits only territory, or even supervised visits.”  ~ pdxflwerpwer

OP responded…

“I know Joe is not on drugs, he is bipolar and has anger issues towards me, both of which he refuses to get treatment for, as real men aren’t weak like that.”

“Unfortunately I can’t keep Mark away from Joe.”

“Not legally, as I can’t risk losing custody of Mark to Joe.”

“And Joe’s outbursts have mostly been geared towards me.”

“The courts basically don’t care unless Joe ends up putting Mark in the hospital.”

Reddit continued…

“OP, you know that bipolar disorder can make some people very erratic, and the tendency toward anger is concerning.”

“I would not leave my child with a mentally ill person resisting any sort of treatment, just sayin’.”

“I have a sibling with this and I have never left my son alone with her due to her unpredictable nature.” ~ pdxflwerpwer

“You need to go back to court.”

“Your son is being abused.”

“I used to be a Faculty Head in a Scottish high school.”

“One of our mothers had mental health issues.”

“Her son was being sent to school in shoes that were too small for him.”

“Our Home Link Officer was a retired cop.”

“He visited the house and told the mother that she’d better get her son new shoes or he was calling Social Work and having her charged with child abuse.”

“New shoes were bought.”

“ETA. Your son is in pain because of his shoes.”

“Do something about it.”  ~PurpleAquilegia

“So you can absolutely call CPS on your ex.”

“I say as a medicated bipolar person, untreated bipolar is absolutely dangerous.”

“Reality can warp and you are prone to meltdowns.”

“You can hallucinate, hear voices, etc.”

“But what you need to do is call about the theft.”

“Get some of what he says on the record somehow because he is being very abusive to you and you are worried that he is taking it out on your child.”

“Ask why he is dressing a child in skimpy clothes that actively cause pain and suffering to the child.”

“What does he get out of it?”

“NTA, but you need to get stuff on record for later hearings.”  ~ ChaosAndMischeif

“Many, many decades ago my ex called my daughter and told her to bring only old clothes that didn’t fit or were stained as ‘they were all going to go camping and the clothes would be spoiled.'”

“When I packed for her and just sent her regular clothes, she cried as she said ‘Daddy will be so mad.'”

“I know he emphasized the old clothes bit every single time he called as I was recording his calls.”

“Please… no judgment right now.”

“The boy was too young to pack anything for himself.”

“Anyway, they went, and then I was served with an order to show cause for granting him permanent custody.”

“One of the ‘charges’ was that I let the children dress in rags and spent the child support money on myself.”

“He also hid them with friends when he returned them to the state.”

“These were not teens – I’m talking about ages 4 and 8 and the older one was so traumatized by the experience, especially when he sent Federal Marshals to pick her up from school to testify in court.”

“Just a heads up, OP.”

“Maybe this is Daddy’s end game or maybe he’s photographing the crappy clothes so he can post on social media what a horrible mother you are.”

“So, keep photographing and keep building a digital file of texts, emails, photos, etc. as he’s planning something.”

“(PS. You’re NTA)”. ~ sowhat4

“NTA- Does your area have legal aid help?”

“Absolutely go to court.”

“Get full custody and, if he quits his job just to get out of child support, at least your kids won’t be in that situation.”

“Communicate entirely through text or email.”

“If you are in a place where this is allowed, record conversations.”

“Build your case while researching legal aid programs.”  ~ lostalldoubt86

OP came back with details…

“For those saying keep going back to court, court is not cheap.”

“And unless Joe is flat out abusing Mark, the courts do not care to get involved as they view this as a petty squabble.”

“For those saying get on government assistance, I do not qualify.”

“I live, by my own choice, in a higher C[ost] O[f] L[iving] area to put Mark in a better school and be closer to his doctors and therapists.”

“For those saying don’t send Mark to Joe’s.”

“We have a legally binding custody agreement.”

“I can’t just withhold Mark.”

“I am documenting everything tho!”

“For those saying send Mark to Joe in the clothes Joe gave him back to me in, per our custody order, Joe gets Mark from school every other Friday.”

“I can’t send Mark to school in those clothes, it would not be allowed.”

“For those saying get help from Legal Aid, I am currently on the waitlist.”

“They are still so backed up in my state from Covid, the current wait time is at least a year out.”

“I do appreciate the heads up on how easy it should be to file for child support!”

“I’d been told it was nearly impossible to get it without a lawyer.”

Well OP, that is a sad situation.

Reddit is clearly with you.

Keep doing all you’re doing!

Hopefully, there is a peaceful ending for all of you down the line.