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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-17-2017, 12:39 AM
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Default Access when one parent out of town

I have no experience in family court yet but from what I am reading it depends on the mood of the judge of the day. I have a scenario and asking for feedback.

Parents divorced 8 years. Two children 11, 13 yrs old and 50/50 custody. Dad is very controlling and manipulative. Dad goes away on business trips for a month or two at a time maybe twice a year. Mom has looked after them. When dad is home he is not flexible with days and times unless he requires it and to his advantage. This business trip he has asked his gf family to look after his kids on "his" days. This is not a live in gf or common law. Mom is aware that the gf family is nice, has met them at church etc. and her kids like them. Mom is on board with them spending some time with the family but has told the ex she wishes to keep them on certain days to visit family as it is the holiday season. Ex is against this. Are judges so crazy they would allow a parent to find alternate care while he is out of the country just to deny mom access? This is clearly hate driven and extreme control. Isn't the purpose of shared custody is so each parent can see their children and parent them as best as they can half the time? What if the parent has gone away? Sending them to non relatives and denying a parent access seems ludicrous to me. I'm a do it now and ask for forgiveness later type of person. I told her to keep them. Just agree with him for now to keep the peace and the week she wants to go away then take them. What is he going to do or say when he is 20hrs flight away? She isn't kidnapping them because he isn't being denied access and is not physically present. Police will NOT intervene as no harm to children. He is the type to make an issue and go to a lawyer and fight her about it. Is this a case that a judge would even waste time with?
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:03 AM
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GF has no access rights and mom has no obligationto return the children to anyone but the father. Should mom wish to arrange a visit where kids could see the GF that is her perogative. Dad has zero recourse. If GF refuses to hand the children over to mom, regardless if it is mom'sor dad's day, the police will most certainly intervene and gf could face attempted kidnapping charges.

You do not have to agree to it and I would certainly not and make it known you do not. But even if you did, you can still keep the children with you and if she asks about it simply tell her you are not ok with it and won't be doing that. Not a thing either of them can do about it when he is away.

I wouldn't spend the time or money taking him to court over it prior to him leaving. Should he take you to court for it he would have a very difficult time being successful and you would seek costs when he loses.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
I have no experience in family court yet but from what I am reading it depends on the mood of the judge of the day. I have a scenario and asking for feedback.
Warning: Alternative Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Parents divorced 8 years. Two children 11, 13 yrs old and 50/50 custody.
That is a very long status quo. Very long. A court will not want to disrupt this access schedule and the onus will fall on YOU to demonstrate that a material change in circumstance has occured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Dad is very controlling and manipulative.
Any evidence of this behavior is useless "unless" (as the Lorax would say) it crosses the boundaries of Rule 24.(4) "Violence and Abuse" of the Children's Law Reform Act.

Being an asshole often doesn't make you a bad parent. Especially if you agreed (on consent) to the equal residency (50-50) with the other parent and it has been happening for 8 years. Character assassinations rarely go well for the parent who brings them to court this late in the game. It often ends up looking like a soccer player faking it on the pitch.

The evidence is not your opinion. The court relies on actual evidence and not opinion. You can swear anything you want to an affidavit as "the truth" but, it may be a pile of hearsay and not grounded in any facts. Just because you swear something to "the truth" doesn't actually make it "the truth". Especially in family law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Dad goes away on business trips for a month or two at a time maybe twice a year. Mom has looked after them.
The key word missing from this statement is "always". Mother has "always" had residency of the children when the Father is gone for extended periods of time.

If that is the case that the "always" clause is true then, you do have established "status quo" and the children should be residing with you in the event the other parent is gone for 3+ days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
When dad is home he is not flexible with days and times unless he requires it and to his advantage.
You are under no obligation to be flexible with the access schedule if it is clearly outlined in the agreement or court order. To be frank, what it sounds like is you are a "wet noodle" when it comes to his requests and he is firm. This is a negotiation issue you have and not a matter of "controlling and manipulative" behaviour. Read a book about negotation tactics and how to negotiate better and you may save yourself a lot of lost money in legal fees in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
This business trip he has asked his gf family to look after his kids on "his" days. This is not a live in gf or common law. Mom is aware that the gf family is nice, has met them at church etc. and her kids like them. Mom is on board with them spending some time with the family but has told the ex she wishes to keep them on certain days to visit family as it is the holiday season.
Again this is relevant evidence should you present before the court for resolution to this matter. The other parent's partner is not a caregiver (or inloco parent) to the children.

The duration of the relationship that the other parent has with their parent and the involvement of that partner in the kids life is highly relevant.

The other parent's argument may be very week to establish that this partner has enough contact with the children. Especially if that partner doesn't take on any "parental" roles.

By "parental" roles I mean:

1. Attending the school for any reason (drop-offs, pickups, parent-teacher interviews) etc...
2. Taking the children to medical appointments. (no matter how trivial)
3. Staying home with the children when one of them is sick.
4. Taking them to extracurricular activities and their involvement in them with the children.

The court won't really rely on your evidence about this person and their relationship to the children as a "common" caregiver. If this partner has 5+ years of being involved in the children's lives in a "meaningful" way then, the other parent does have a good argument.

But, from the sounds of it... The relationship is between the other parent and the partner in question and the partner has had little involvement with the children. This is a last-minute attempt to disrupt a possibly multi-year status quo where you have been providing care to the children in the other parent's absence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Ex is against this. Are judges so crazy they would allow a parent to find alternate care while he is out of the country just to deny mom access?
Yes. If the other parent has a partner who is deeply involved in the children's lives and resides with the other parent in common law or is actually married to them. Furthermore, if that person is reguarly playing the role of a parent "in loco" (acting as a parent) the argument is even stronger for the other parent. Evaluate carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
This is clearly hate driven and extreme control.
No. It is fear based. If you have offset child support and the children are residing with you more than the other parent you could use that to disrupt the offset child support and seek a material change to majority access to you, reduce his access to the children and have full table child support ordered.

Furthermore, the "control" is not "extreme" nor is it "control". It is quite common and courts see about 5-6 of these claims a week by a parent who trys to change the 50-50 residency schedule to one of every other weekend and full table amounts of child support.

You want this to go away fast?

Sign an agreement that you will not see a material change in circumstance to have the existing access schedule changed nor would you seek a change in child support to reflect the residency changes of the children due to the other parent's work related travel.

Problem would resolve quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Isn't the purpose of shared custody is so each parent can see their children and parent them as best as they can half the time? What if the parent has gone away?
First off... You don't have "shared custody". Shared custody is a pipe dream. You have full joint custody and equal residency (access) with the other parent on a 50-50 basis. You have an agreement that stipulates this and how everything is to be done more than likely. Shared parents do not need agreements generally.

Shared parenting is mostly a term used in tax law for determining offset child support. But, in the context of custody and access it is pretty meaningless and a concept of harmonious parental agreement which almost never happens. Well, only for those who (laugh) have a 'Conscious Uncoupling'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Sending them to non relatives and denying a parent access seems ludicrous to me.
You have a week about access schedule probably right? Do you really see how emotionally contrived your statement is now? It isn't ludicrous. You will see them the next week. Had the other parent been residing at their residence you won't have not seen them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
I'm a do it now and ask for forgiveness later type of person. I told her to keep them. Just agree with him for now to keep the peace and the week she wants to go away then take them.
This is a very bad idea. You could find yourself facing a contempt order. Because access doesn't rely upon the location of the parent unless you specifically have a clause regarding right of first refusal. If your agreement has no RoFR clause that is properly worded to allow you to do this. You could find yourself in contempt of the court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
What is he going to do or say when he is 20hrs flight away?
He is simply going to call a lawyer and start the appropriate proceeding to have you sanctioned for your improper behaviour. You could find yourself in a court room having to explain your situation. You will have to retain a lawyer more than likely and you may find yourself at the end of a very expensive and non-necessary legal bill for conduct you could have avoided and for a situation you could have handled better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
She isn't kidnapping them because he isn't being denied access and is not physically present.
This is where your "assumption" could very well bite you in the "ass" of the "umption" you are making.

Unless specifically called out in your agreement or order that you have a right to first right of refusal you don't naturally get that as a parent. You are required to follow the agreements you sign and court orders that are made to the letter of the law. There is no "spirit" in family law and more importantly access agreements or orders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
Police will NOT intervene as no harm to children.
No they will not as this is a civil matter. They do not have jurisdiction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle View Post
He is the type to make an issue and go to a lawyer and fight her about it. Is this a case that a judge would even waste time with?
Yes, it is a case a judge would hear. The implementation of agreements for access of children is very serious matters. The mother, in this case, is advised to seek legal counsel before doing anything stupid.

Just because someone is not physically present for access doesn't mean they are not the responsible parent at that time, calling the children, etc...

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:50 AM
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Parents have the right to make their own care arrangements on their own time.

If you self-help, and I was the father, I would have you in court so fast it would make the flash look like molasses. Make sure to save up some money to pay for his lawyer when you lose.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:09 AM
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This is ridiculous. So what if the kids are going to the gf? Or the ex’s parents? Its better than some sleep away camp in the woods! This screams of jealousy towards the ex’s new partner. GET OVER YOURSELF.

Being firm about not negotiating doesnt make the guy an asshole. Thats like my partners ex saying hes abusive for telling her theyre broke and stop spending money during their marriage. Again, get over yourself. Its a few days you would not have had the kids anyway. Why on earth would you waste months and thousands to take this to court? Its ludicrous!!
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