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Old 01-27-2009, 05:15 PM
About_Time About_Time is offline
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It becomes a lot more difficult once the kids are at an age where they can start influencing the proceedings. If your kids don't want to see you, a judge is going to be wary of forcing them to at that age - especially the 15 year old. The judge's job is in large part to look out for the well-being of the kids. If the kids don't want to see you and the judge thinks - rightly or wrongly - that that desire is justified he/she has to restrict access.

That being said, I think the courts should be more open to hearing both sides and from what you've said so far it doesn't appear to be the case here. Ultimately, the only way you are going to fix this is to do the following:

1) Stop being angry. Easier said than done, but make sure all your bitterness over this process is kept here. If it spills over and involves your ex and your kids, it's only going to help your ex. Also, the angrier your ex is at you, the harder she's going fight you. I'm not saying send her flowers and chocolates, but don't get into daily screaming matches either.

2) Repeatedly let it be known that you want more access to the kids. Let the ex know and do so in a fashion (letter, email) which can be proven. You need to establish a history of wanting increased access or else the ex could spin you as a negligent dad. Most importantly, you need to let your KIDS know. They are in the middle of a tug-of-war - the best thing you can do for them is consistantly let them know that you love them and want to see them more often. Their wishes on the matter will matter more and more as they get older, so lay a positive groundwork now.

3) Don't badmouth the ex. If your kids come to you with some lie your ex told them, you can address it, but never badmouth the ex. Eventually, the hope is that your kids see the negativity as one-sided and recognize that you aren't using them to further your own dislike of your ex.

4) Record EVERYTHING. Every single missed access time. Every conversation (tape record them). Every letter. Every email. Every broken promise. Every receipt. EVERYTHING. If you want to win more access in court you not only have to win over your kids, but you have to show a pattern of positive, reasonable, concerted effort on your part and of negative, unreasonable and obstructive behaviour on your ex's part.

5) Get a lawyer. Even if you can't afford to have one for the motion itself, it is well worth the money to have an hour or two to go over your case and get guidance.

6) When the time is right, take her back to court and demand that the existing access order be respected. If the exisiting order is what's screwing you, then ask to have it altered. You just need to make sure your kids are on board though, or else it'll never fly. This will be the toughest part, IMHO.