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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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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-02-2015, 11:44 AM
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Default Long distance ex trying to get every other weekend

Hi there, my sons father lives approx 3 hours away and was not very interested in our son for most of his life even though I made every effort to build their relationship. My son is 11 years old. The past 18 months he's made more of an effort (even though he NEVER calls) and now because I'm taking him to court to increase support (he's been paying less than half of what he should = $192 as opposed to $700) he now wants him every other weekend and 5 weeks in the summer. The problem is that my son plays competitive sports (has for 5 years) which are a passion of his and if this were to happen then he would have to quit. Plus my son does not have a strong bond with his dad and does not wish to spend that much time with him.
My problem is that I cannot afford a lawyer and he has one. What are the odds of him getting what he's requesting?
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Kita22 View Post
Hi there, my sons father lives approx 3 hours away and was not very interested in our son for most of his life even though I made every effort to build their relationship. My son is 11 years old. The past 18 months he's made more of an effort (even though he NEVER calls) and now because I'm taking him to court to increase support (he's been paying less than half of what he should = $192 as opposed to $700) he now wants him every other weekend and 5 weeks in the summer. The problem is that my son plays competitive sports (has for 5 years) which are a passion of his and if this were to happen then he would have to quit. Plus my son does not have a strong bond with his dad and does not wish to spend that much time with him.
My problem is that I cannot afford a lawyer and he has one. What are the odds of him getting what he's requesting?
Work out the sports thing. Maybe dad can bring them to some on his weekends.

He's their father. He's telling you he'd like to have a relationship with his children. This is easy math. You have a duty as a parent to promote that relationship at all costs.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:58 PM
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I've already said that he can have him any weekend that our son doesn't have sports unless he can get him there prepared and on time. He doesn't like that.
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:02 PM
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It can't be worked out that he can have him on the weekends he doesnt have sports?

Or he refuses to take them to the his sporting events? Or both? How old is your son?
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:25 PM
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Sports are optional recreational activities and they are less important than a child's relationship with his/her parent. Try to work out a schedule with Dad that allows Kid to take part in his activity, but if it comes down to a choice between seeing Dad and taking part in a practice or a game, Dad-time trumps. (Especially if Kid is 11 and hasn't had a great relationship with Dad - there's a lot of time to make up).
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Old 10-02-2015, 02:56 PM
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Think of it from the kid's point of view though. Here's this man who was supposed to be his dad, but ignored him for many years of his life. Now, this stranger wants to come back and take the kid away from the sport he loves.

Yes, it would be good for the boy to have a good relationship with his father, however late it is established. But a good relationship is not going to be established with that sort of reintroduction!

The two parents need to work together to come up with some sort of reintroduction scheme that does not involve the child resenting the dad right from the start.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:25 PM
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Think of it from the kid's point of view though. Here's this man who was supposed to be his dad, but ignored him for many years of his life. Now, this stranger wants to come back and take the kid away from the sport he loves.

Yes, it would be good for the boy to have a good relationship with his father, however late it is established. But a good relationship is not going to be established with that sort of reintroduction!

The two parents need to work together to come up with some sort of reintroduction scheme that does not involve the child resenting the dad right from the start.
Exactly my thoughts.

This child is 11 and has established a life without his dad around.
If it's a positive relationship, then that's great he's showing interest in your son. But the child shouldn't be giving things up to make it happen.
That's dad's job.
Dad should be coming to his son and fitting in to his life, not vice versa.
Some trust needs to be established to start building a relationship that will benefit the child.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:57 PM
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Thank you.

Since he was born it was always me trying to build the relationship between my son and his father and it was only up until last year that he started making some sort of effort. He would be within 20 minutes from my house sometimes and not come to see him. My son knows and has spent some time with his dad over the years but it's mostly because of me. He's getting old enough now to see that.

Recently when I asked him to sit down and have an open dialogue with our son about why he doesn't want to spend more time with him his response was "whatever" and it hasn't happened. The numerous times over the years that I asked him to call our son more often than once a year his response was "He knows my number, if he want's to talk then he can call me". When I asked him not to let my son go jumping off 20 foot rocks into a lake without supervision (my son was the oldest one of the group) I was told that it was "f*cking bullsh*t and I should just keep him at home then".

This is what I'm dealing with.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:02 PM
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We don't know the full story. We've only received a clip-it from one side.

We don't know why there is three hours distance between the parents, just that it exists. The distance has created certain barriers to the parent/child relationship. Fault isn't the issue at this point as I gather the distance has been in existence for some time now. Now we need a remedy.

Having the child only go to visit their parent on weekends that they don't have activities isn't a reliable solution. It doesn't prevent the child from being registered in every activity under the sun in order to prevent the other parent from having parenting time. That said, I assume that the activity is not year round, so make-up time could be provided in the off-season. But that could create instances where the child and parent could go months without seeing each other, which will not facilitate their relationship.

I guess the first question is, what do the existing order provide in regards to parenting time? That would have to be known before we can really assist.

Parenting time is more important that activities. That the child already has a loose relationship with the other parent, it means they should be spending more time together in order to grow that bond, not less. Suggesting that the bond is weak, and that is a reason not to promote it over activities, only feeds the impression that you don't believe that a bond with the other parent is really all that important. Which couldn't be further from the truth.

I don't get the issue with not calling. I am not one call often. Hell, I call rarely. My kid and I text/FaceTime or call maybe 1-2 times a week, MAX. Hell, my parents haven't called in the past 3 months. Some people just aren't phone people. That doesn't make them bad parents.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Kita22 View Post
Thank you.

Since he was born it was always me trying to build the relationship between my son and his father and it was only up until last year that he started making some sort of effort. He would be within 20 minutes from my house sometimes and not come to see him. My son knows and has spent some time with his dad over the years but it's mostly because of me. He's getting old enough now to see that.

Recently when I asked him to sit down and have an open dialogue with our son about why he doesn't want to spend more time with him his response was "whatever" and it hasn't happened. The numerous times over the years that I asked him to call our son more often than once a year his response was "He knows my number, if he want's to talk then he can call me". When I asked him not to let my son go jumping off 20 foot rocks into a lake without supervision (my son was the oldest one of the group) I was told that it was "f*cking bullsh*t and I should just keep him at home then".

This is what I'm dealing with.
Nothing in here shows me that the other parent doesn't care. Not to make excuses for your ex, but he could have any number of reasons why he didn't pop over to see the child during your parenting time. As for the calling thing, it is quite true, that the child can also call him as well. Do you encourage the child to call his father, or do you leave the onus on the ex?

The passive aggressive backhanded attack to his parenting of asking him to sit down with the child and explain why he doesn't want to see him is as ridiculous as it sounds. If that were me, I'd be telling you where to go and the fastest mean on how to get there. That is an inappropriate comment, one that I hope you haven't told your child.

As for the cliff-diving, yeah, an adult should have been there, much like any time the kids are in water. That is just safe parenting. If the ex has shown a pattern of allowing the child to be unsupervised, then you may have legitimate concern. But if it is one instance, that isn't a pattern and won't get you much traction.
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