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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 03-05-2009, 02:02 PM
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Default What If You Can't Abide by the Court Order?

What happens when the non-custodial parent cannot abide by the court ordered visitation/vacation time (total of 4 days during which we will be out of town and need to shorten the vacation time by 2 days and cancel/reschedule one weekend)?

The custodial parent claims that we MUST abide by the court order and take the child for the court ordered days, no matter what. We had told her we will be away - a previously arranged leave that we had communicated to her a month ago - and she told us to go ahead and schedule whatever we need to schedule.

Now she is flip-flopping and saying that we must take the child because the court order says so.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:13 PM
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I would tell her to stick the paper it's written on where the sun doesn't shine & smile....

Well ok, it's a nice thought. I'm not sure what advice to give you since she appears to be completely unreasonable about everything under the sun. Obviously even if you get everything in writing from her, she will change her mind on a whim.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:51 PM
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I agree, your situation although rare is not shocking, she is completely unreasonable on many issues with or without a court order.
It appears that her agenda is purely to cause as much turmoil as humanly possible, unfortunately the son gets caught in the cross fire.

In your case, as you may already know, I would ALWAYS communicate in writing when it comes to issues like this to have a paper trail. Eventually you have amply documents to show her true colours.
Make sure it states something like, “as per previous discussion where we advised that these dates for access would interfere with previously scheduled commitments, to which you agreed blah blah blah”, then reiterate that you cannot take the son at that time and are requesting to arrange with her an alternate time to make up for the lost.

Clearly show that you had previous discussions on the topic to which she agreed, but for whatever reason has reneged, (don't include the fact that she changed her mind, you don't want to appear bitter), just that she had agreed, and for that reason you cannot reschedule the commitment but are still seeking to arrange alternate visitation as she suggested.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Needs_To_Change View Post
It appears that her agenda is purely to cause as much turmoil as humanly possible, unfortunately the son gets caught in the cross fire.
So very true. Even our past lawyers were amazed at how quickly she re-neg'ed the second she got what she was asking for. It's like the moment we agree, she doesn't want it anymore because she wants something we do not agree with, even if we didn't agree in the first place but settled to end the dispute. It's a vicious cycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Needs_To_Change View Post
In your case, as you may already know, I would ALWAYS communicate in writing when it comes to issues like this to have a paper trail. Eventually you have amply documents to show her true colours.
The only communication that EVER takes place is in WRITING. We learned our lessons quickly with this one! If it's not written, it never happened if that suits her best. However, unfortunately, even if it is written, that doesn't alway mean much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Needs_To_Change View Post
Make sure it states something like, “as per previous discussion where we advised that these dates for access would interfere with previously scheduled commitments, to which you agreed blah blah blah”, then reiterate that you cannot take the son at that time and are requesting to arrange with her an alternate time to make up for the lost.
This is exactly what we just did. Now we're awaiting her reply about how she finds our comments offensive (and it wouldn't surprise us if she, yet again, tried to obtain a restraining order for "harrassment" - been there, done that, she looked like a fool, but she tried anyway and we won't put it past her to try again.)

And so we await for hell to be unleashed... for the millionth time. I know many of you know what that's like... and it sucks.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:12 AM
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Well, things have taken a turn for the worse. She is now accusing my fiancé of putting other priorities ahead of his son, and trying to cut him out of his life. My fiance has NEVER missed a single visit and always requests a weekend switch or make-up time if he is not available for a scheduled visit. She was always willing to make such accommodations, until now.

We informed her that we needed to confirm travel plans and included them in our proposed summer schedule. She gave us the go ahead to make whatever confirmations we needed "according to the proposed schedule." Now that we have made the arrangements, she is re-neg'ing and demanding we abide by all the regularly scheduled visits and court ordered summer access. When we asked for a switch or for a slight accommodation to the summer access, she said no. (This has never been the case before, at least not when the accommodations were to her liking and in her favour.)

So we informed her that in that case we will have to cancel that particular weekend visit, and that it's unfortunate that she is not willing to make arrangements like we have so willingly made for her in the past when she had to be away for a weekend when the child was with her.

Now, she is accusing my fiance of trying to cut the child out of his life because he is "choosing" (more like being forced by her) to cancel ONE weekend visit because she is unwilling to reschedule or provide make-up time.

She even went as far as sending him articles about how when the non-custodial parent remarries and has his own family, he tends to forget about his previous child(ren). She even demanded that he provide her with "ample notice" if he plans on reducing his time with his son and cutting him out of his life so that she can prepare the child for "the heartache and disruption to his security."

Yet another fine example of what we deal with on a regular basis.

Any suggestions on how to approach this situation?
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:27 AM
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Earplugs, loud music and large applications of alcohol come to mind. Just kidding. You know that you're intention is not to "abandon" this child. She's just being a drama queen. My response to this would be as minimal as possible. Thank her for her concerns and your disappointment that you were unable to reach an alternate arrangement that was suitable for both sides. Reiterate your plans and leave it at that. The less time you waste on her the better for all concerned.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:13 AM
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I agree, there are people in this world that no matter how hard you try things will never be good enough for them.

This person seems to be one of those people.
When you don't try she's not happy, when you try she's not happy.
It is clear that avoidance is the key, she cannot argue with herself, and if she can do that too, then you certainly do not want to associate with her.

So sorry for what you and your family endure on a daily bases, the saddest is that the poor little guy has to be a part of it too.
Keep up the good work, you are doing an exceptional job at being the step-parent, the more stability and the more this little guy can see and experience how a family is supposed to work, the better!
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:01 PM
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Thank you for your kind words, FL. It is indeed very difficult and frustrating. How can you have a reasonable discussion with a person who asks: "Why should I change my tentative plans scheduled with our son to prioritize time for you and him when you have already prioritized your other plans without discussing them with me first?"

So what, before we can make any of our own plans, we have to run them by her first? If this isn't a clear sign of a control freak, I don't know what is.

The answer is quite obvious, to most people at least. Because as the custodial parent, it is her obligation to facilitate access visits, regular and vacation. And it is my fiance's obligation as the non-custodial parent to provide her with a proposed summer schedule based on his availability, and to inform her of dates when he is unable to exercise his regular access, trusting that make-up time can be provided.

This argument is getting so old, I wish it would just end.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:53 AM
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Have you considered a recording device to capture these statements on tape?
They are admissible in FL and the other party does NOT need to be advised they are being taped. Since the privacy laws do not apply when dealing with the best interests of a child. If the custodial parent is intentionally using her position to her advantage and if that advantage is in direct violation of the child best interests you can use transcripts as proof. And for her not to even try to accommodate the father's schedule is not in the son's best interests. I think having several of her statements on tape, when she agreed then her changing her mind for no particular reason would be enough to demonstrate to the courts her actual agenda, and would further support your claims.

It is imperative that the son maintains a relationship with dad, and for her to continue to interfere with that is not OK, frustrating yes, but not OK.
This may take some doing on your part to collect and chronologically provide for the courts, but after following your situation it may be your only choice. Your history in court shows that the judge tends to side with her because there is a lot of the he said she said going on, so you need to have her "real" say via tape recordings so the courts can see for themselves how she manipulates access with dad and how she presents herself to the courts to manipulate things in her favour.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:07 AM
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FL... we have everything in writing and on tape. But in the past, when we filed emails and transcripts of recordings with the courts... it was a waste of time and paper. The judge never looked at them nor took them into consideration.

We are standing firm with our proposed scheduled based on our availability. My stepson's mom is simply "upset" that we have made our own plans, without confirming with her first, and now she claims to have to rearrange her tentative plans in order to care for the child when we are unable to do so. (Which is only one weekend, may I add.) She claims that we are inconveniencing her greatly, and that our planned vacation doesn't give much time for the court-ordered vacation time with the child - although, it does, just not when she would like us to take him.

Like with every single thing we request, she is only out to make it as difficult as possible for us. It's something we are used to. We clearly told her that she can wait as long as she wants to confirm the schedule, but that plans needing confirmations will continue to arise, and we will continue to confirm our personal plans, leaving little options for accommodations (weekend swaps, etc) for when she decides she is ready to discuss the summer schedule.

The onus is on her now. We have provided her with our proposed schedule based on our availabitlity... she has provided us with NOTHING other than irrelevant arguments.
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