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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 10-27-2011, 08:13 AM
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Default Christmas Break

Hi gang,

Short of it is: high conflict case, email contact only, court order.

In the past few months child's dad has ramped up conflict (unnecessary police calls, refusing to email, refusing to talk - zero communication, PA through HAP, etc).

Our court order states that Christmas break is to be split between the parents as agreed each year (never ever ever do this if you're working on your separation agreement/court order with a high conflict person - set it in stone even if you have to put in dates 10 years into the future). There's also a clause that he needs to provide reasonable notice that he intends to take any optional/special time (anything outside of the normal schedule) and in the absence of that notice that he's not taking it.

I don't really care either way what the christmas break looks like I just need to have something to work with so I can schedule with my BF, his kids, their mother, my parents and family.

So how do I move this forward? I've sent two requests asking him what time he wants at Christmas and no response (I've sent other emails that are not being responded to either).

If I've got sole custody, and have child most of the time, and there's no agreement (because he won't communicate at all) do I just assume that he's not interested in the time over Christmas and plan for that? If the court order states that the onus is on him to let me know he wants the special time do I push for him to let me know what the time is? And when's the cut off (there's no cut off in the court order - again don't do this if you're still in the planning stages - "reasonable notice" is not a time period, "2 calender weeks" is).

It seems slightly ridiculous that I would bring any motion to make him take time with his child over Christmas????

*sigh* its the most wonderful time of the year....
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:01 AM
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Just pick the dates that work the best for you and your kids.

Plan reasonable access schedule and time for them to be with their dad.

Tell the dad via email the schedule. Don't tell the kids unless the dad replies.

Then on his access time, see if he shows up. If so, good that the kids are with their dad, if not, you can't force him. The goal is for the kids to have a relationship with their dad, and that is your job in this case it seems.
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:48 PM
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Default Change the way you write your emails....

.. Instead of ASKING HIM what schedule he wants, propose the schedule YOU want, and write in the email that if he does not object and provide his own proposal by <pick a reasonable date> then you assume he accepts your proposed dates.

Up to him if he responds.

And I presume you can do that without making your email "nasty". No need for that.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
Hi gang,

Short of it is: high conflict case, email contact only, court order.
First thing. If you are dealing with a high conflict case I would get off email and on to jointparents.com or ourfamilywizard.com for communications. The nice thing is that the communications cannot be deleted, changed or modified. Lots of high-conflict cases coming up with email exchanges and the judges are having to drop them as evidence as there is no way to prove receipt, if they were modified, etc... Try to get the other parent onto a managed and secured "family communication system".



In the past few months child's dad has ramped up conflict (unnecessary police calls, refusing to email, refusing to talk - zero communication, PA through HAP, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
Our court order states that Christmas break is to be split between the parents as agreed each year (never ever ever do this if you're working on your separation agreement/court order with a high conflict person - set it in stone even if you have to put in dates 10 years into the future).
You are absolutely correct. If you are dealing with a high conflict personality (HCP) everything, and I mean everything, has to be detailed up front in the separation agreement. Everything has to be very detailed. The whole "working together" doesn't work in the case with an HCP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
There's also a clause that he needs to provide reasonable notice that he intends to take any optional/special time (anything outside of the normal schedule) and in the absence of that notice that he's not taking it.
With an HCP "reasonable notice" means the Friday before a long weekend for something on Tuesday. Or 4 hours before it happens. Or two hours after it happened. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING needs to be spelled out for HCPs in the order. Look to some of the parallel parenting orders for guidance on how to deal with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
I don't really care either way what the christmas break looks like I just need to have something to work with so I can schedule with my BF, his kids, their mother, my parents and family.
Just noticed you said "BF". You do realize that if you are dealing with an HCP the nightmare that adds to the whole problem right? Not that you shouldn't move on with your life but, a new significant other can be met with new court motions, contempt motions for the most outrageous things and more conflict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
So how do I move this forward? I've sent two requests asking him what time he wants at Christmas and no response (I've sent other emails that are not being responded to either).
If you were using something like OurFamilyWizard.com you would be able to see the exact time (to the minute) the other parent read the request. You could also do all the schedule changes to the shared calendar. Should you have to go on motion you can just dump out all the reports for the judge. No work on your part, it time lines it all. Just attach to the affidavit and wham your done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
If I've got sole custody, and have child most of the time, and there's no agreement (because he won't communicate at all) do I just assume that he's not interested in the time over Christmas and plan for that?
Use a 3 strike rule. You have asked for the details twice. Try once more in a few weeks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
If the court order states that the onus is on him to let me know he wants the special time do I push for him to let me know what the time is? And when's the cut off (there's no cut off in the court order - again don't do this if you're still in the planning stages - "reasonable notice" is not a time period, "2 calender weeks" is).
Agreed. Judges do this all the time thinking that people are "reasonable". Not sure why they haven't figured out it is better to set the detail down hard and let people be "reasonable" afterwards versus leaving things open to interpretation.

You have made 2 attempts. Try a third after that... You may have to motion it. Or have your lawyer send a letter notifying them of an absolute date to respond or you will go on motion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red6419 View Post
It seems slightly ridiculous that I would bring any motion to make him take time with his child over Christmas????

*sigh* its the most wonderful time of the year....
It is the most litigious time of the year! (In Family Law...) Seriously, you should see how many motions fly through the courts right around Christmas because of the holidays. The worst of divorce can be seen at Christmas.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:56 PM
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thanks for the replies.

My concerns (to the two very reasonable people who first responded) are that the child's father has been escalating conflict and while agreeing to an alternate schedule in the summer (via email as has been done every year previous) he withdrew that agreed to schedule last minute and insisted on the access as described in the court order. He did this with police, and despite the fact that the child's summer camps had been booked, paid for by me, no contribution from dad even though its supposed to be paid for under the court order and that the camps started the following day based on the schedule that he proposed and we both agreed to on email.

So my issue is that if I act as a reasonable person would, and we agree to a schedule through email, that he can withdraw that email consent once the child is with him and I have no way of getting the child back without emergency motions (and now we're talking between Christmas and New Years) and potentially police enforcement (which is HORRIBLE for children and NOT at all what I want to do).

So I'm still a little stumped - is it my obligation to get a motion to make my child's father spend time with his child over Christmas or is it his obligation to make sure he takes the necessary steps to get that done? If the onus is on him, at what point do I throw in the towel and say - no order (on consent or otherwise), no visit?

My child wants to spend time with his dad over Christmas, and I want that too... however I want to also ensure that there's no power struggle, no police, court, etc ruining the time we each have with the child.

Also - Tayken - lovely lovely BF yes - just moved in together with our three kids... HCP ramped up from then, despite being married and having two additional children. Stumped as to why he's still so invested in me after 8 years apart...
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:43 AM
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if bio dad not responding why dont you let it go? if it is important to him he will come around and then again maybe he is going to speak with children about it. If he doesnt think of it as his loss. Are you planning on leaving the city for extended period time over the holidays? If not then dont get frantic over a couple of days.
This is the issue I have with the holidays. CP sees it as their RIGHT to have children on christmas day. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why is that particular day so freaking important. EVERY DAY WITH YOU CHILDREN SHOULD BE. Ex and I split the day. One of us has child for morning and the other for the afternoon. We have been doing it this way for years and its fine. What is the big deal???
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleman View Post
if bio dad not responding why dont you let it go? if it is important to him he will come around and then again maybe he is going to speak with children about it. If he doesnt think of it as his loss. Are you planning on leaving the city for extended period time over the holidays? If not then dont get frantic over a couple of days.
This is the issue I have with the holidays. CP sees it as their RIGHT to have children on christmas day. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why is that particular day so freaking important. EVERY DAY WITH YOU CHILDREN SHOULD BE. Ex and I split the day. One of us has child for morning and the other for the afternoon. We have been doing it this way for years and its fine. What is the big deal???
It's great it is working for you and your ex, but clearly her ex is not working with her here...she is trying to ensure her children get to spend time with their father, however why should she miss out on the time with her children because he wants to make last minute plans?

Maybe I missed the past where she said it was her RIGHT to have the children on that day, she stated she didn't really care how is went, she just wanted to know so she could schedule her family gatherings... I feel she is being more than reasonable in this case and doing the best she can when her ex is not willing to cooperate.

Red6419- I agree with others with the 3 strike rule. Give him another chance and if he doesn't comply write him a final email with that dates you have picked and state that if he wishes to change these dates he must notify you within x number of days. If you don't hear anything regarding the dates you have chosen, then you will accept the silence as his agreement to those dates.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:03 AM
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update to close this out. Went to lawyers and was advised to get this sorted on consent motion before to ensure no conflict over Christmas.

I didn't go that route - instead left it to chance, and while stressful for me, it all worked out in the end. Child spent 5 days with his dad (on dad's request and dad's schedule). It was what it was and we made it work.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
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It was what it was and we made it work.
OK. And, so, what happens next year?

Cheers!

Gary
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:36 PM
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I suspect that the conflict that he's been pushing for this year is to make a push for a change in custody next fall when the child turns 12 (child has been told as much by his dad)... the police calls, HAP, attempts at control, etc. Honestly I'm more surprised it went as smoothly as it did - surprised and happy.

I fully expect that in the next 12 months I'll be back in court and if I'm wrong - awesome. Its one of those "cross that bridge when I get to it" kinda of things now.
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