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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 04-24-2014, 02:09 PM
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Default Children's Lawyer / Court Order to force a specific activity/location

Wondering if anyone knows if an appointed lawyer for the children can successfully get a judge to force a party with access to agree to and take a child/ren to a specific activity at a specific place during their access time?

The background, one party has sole custody, the other access but in the original separation agreement is a paragraph that states in regards to major decisions that may affect the non custodial parent's access or extraordinary expenditures that the parties agree to joint decision making.

In this case, the custodial parent has had no discussion or response in regards to the non-custodial parent's suggestion that the activity occur elsewhere and instead has gotten the children's lawyer involved who is threatening a motion to push what the custodial parent wants instead through even though it breaks the joint decision making term of the separation agreement.

Please advise.

I don't wish to get into debates about why would one suggest going elsewhere for the activity (change), etc. There are more than enough concerns / value reasons and that is not what I seek clarity on.

Thanks all
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:32 PM
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Best interest of the child will be used I'm guessing
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:25 AM
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The court can dictate to you what you have to participate in and attend during your limited access time and you have to pay for an activity during your access time that you had no say in as the other party didn't even attempt to discuss it with you?
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontGiveUp View Post
The court can dictate to you what you have to participate in and attend during your limited access time and you have to pay for an activity during your access time that you had no say in as the other party didn't even attempt to discuss it with you?
Maybe, if they believe the activity to be in the best interests of the child.

They will weigh where the time the child spends at the activity has a greater benefit than if the child was spending time with the parent.

If the child has always been in the activity, during the marriage and/or consistently afterwards, and the parent in question participated or facilitated the activity before, the court will likely look at this as status quo and order same.

But if this is something new, like girl guides/cubs, swimming lessons, dance, soccer or whatever, it will be less likely that the court would order that the child participate.

If the activity is a medical program (psychiatric or counselling etc), the courts would likely take the position that it is in the best interests of the child if the ex can prove the child requires it or is benefitting from it.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:18 AM
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In our situation, my stepson was 10 at the time of the divorce and playing competitive hockey. His mom moved about two hours away (primary residence was given to dad, after much ado, which I won't go into, thought OCL was involved). Due to the acrimonious situation, dad did not consult mom when signing him up for competitive hockey when SS turned 11. It is a huge commitment both in time and money.

SS had the NHL dream, along with the size and talent at the time. His mom refused to take him to hockey on her weekends, albeit, it would mean a four hour return drive on her part. Subsequently SS was dropped from his team for missing games and practices.

When SS turned 12 he chose to play hockey and NOT visit his mom on weekends. Mom brought contempt charges against dad for not facilitating access. The judge spoke with SS privately in chambers.

The judge agreed with SS, no contempt was found and SS never visited with mom from that point onward.

SS is now an adult, and has no relationship with his mother.

Thus be careful that your upset is not interfering with what would be best for your child. My relationship with my stepson was forged over many a drive to games, practices and tournaments.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:51 PM
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Good points. The status quo has been this activity has occurred each year, the issue is I would like to move them to a different association for a variety of reasons and the activity falls on at least 50% of my limited (currently less than 25%) access time and my ex won't even discuss this with me. Instead she has gotten the OCL to threaten a motion to ensure the activity remains when and where it is. I do not have any intent of making the child lose out on the activity, but I feel there is a responsibility for a parent affected during their limited access time to have a say at least.
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Old 04-25-2014, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontGiveUp View Post
Good points. The status quo has been this activity has occurred each year, the issue is I would like to move them to a different association for a variety of reasons and the activity falls on at least 50% of my limited (currently less than 25%) access time and my ex won't even discuss this with me. Instead she has gotten the OCL to threaten a motion to ensure the activity remains when and where it is. I do not have any intent of making the child lose out on the activity, but I feel there is a responsibility for a parent affected during their limited access time to have a say at least.
I'd say she has a case...
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:13 PM
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I agree with FB, sounds like she has a viable case.

Just because you two split up, doesn't mean the child has to change anything in their life.

The only leg you'd have to stand on, would be that the different association that you want your child to switch to, would be in the best interest of the child. Thus if there was better facilities, coaching, exposure to scouts from universities etc. If it's just to make things easier for you, you're probably out of luck.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontGiveUp View Post
Good points. The status quo has been this activity has occurred each year, the issue is I would like to move them to a different association for a variety of reasons and the activity falls on at least 50% of my limited (currently less than 25%) access time and my ex won't even discuss this with me. Instead she has gotten the OCL to threaten a motion to ensure the activity remains when and where it is. I do not have any intent of making the child lose out on the activity, but I feel there is a responsibility for a parent affected during their limited access time to have a say at least.
I agree with FB_ ... you'd likely lose this battle.

If you have access "less than 25%" that would be roughly 7 days/month. If this activity impedes on 50% of your access time that's roughly 3.5 days/month.

If we are talking hockey (as an example), even house-league usually has 1 game/1 practice week. You get into rep and it can be 5-7 days/week so mom is the one doing pretty much all the traveling. Pulling a kid out a association he/she's been with just because it's more convenient for you isn't likely going to fly.

Sorry .... probably not what you wanted to hear
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:16 PM
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It is house league and it would affect 4 days a month a least. So almost equal in who's time it would impact but based on how little time I have with them it is a significant loss of time and I am fine with that if I am part of the activity decision-making but I am not.

The real issue here is we have a joint decision making clause and I have asked for a discussion about the activity and given 3 places I would like them to play, she hasn't even responded or initiated a discussion back but rather has gone to the OCL with this and they are threatening a motion. I have no say in my children's lives even with the one activity that falls during my limited time and that is both frustrating and upsetting. I am a parent too.
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