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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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Old 03-03-2014, 12:10 PM
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Default Police called to prevent access

Ugh

I would like some comments on what the police would do in a situation when they are called to retrieve an 11 yo over an access dispute.

I have a simple separation agreement that just says we have equal access - no specific times, but we've had the same schedule for 7 years.

This past weekend my ex refused my access to my 11yo son. I have equal access to my 3 kids, he is the youngest. The other two were at my house. I stated clearly that it was not reasonable and I don't agree, but I felt there was nothing to do that would not up set my son as he was already at her house. I simply said that I would have him the next weekend on her time to even things up.

She took time off work and refused my access because he had a cold with fever (always under 104 ear temp, mostly in the 102s). She over did it in my opinion and took him to hospital for all sorts of testing (11 hours!). In the end, nothing was found out of ordinary and he is now back in school this Monday. He was sick for over a week though. I work at home and took care of him on my days - he was fine for the most part and said so. I took him to the doctor and the doctor said to just monitor.

She said the doctor at the hospital said I could not have him and only she could care for him because she is an RN (this I don't believe knowing her mind - she said this before she even went to the hospital).

Anyway - she now sent an email to the kids school and me stating all this and that my son does not want to stay with me next weekend and that she will call the police to get him if I refuse her access. Why she sent an email to the school I don't know, but she has become increasingly hostile toward me even though we've been separated for 7 years and have always had 50/50. She is making less sense over time and her messages to me are intentionally cruel (attempts anyway) and slightly delusional.

My question is - what would the police do if she called them while he is with me? What if he said he would rather be at her house but does not mind staying with me?

Alienation and stress on him are my main concerns - I can tell he knows we are not getting along and that it is effecting him. She is stirring up tension for no valid reason. I just want to be left alone and allowed to parent equally.

She already called the police to my house once saying I would not let him call her - not true and she could have called him if she thought that. I simply didn't tell him to call her when she asked me to after they had just talked on the phone - and he has his own cell she can call/text anytime! The police talked to us both and left - they said almost nothing, but I felt they thought it was a waste of their time. My older two were not impressed and my younger one slept though it.

Just wondering how the police handle these situations.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:32 PM
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I would reply to her, keeping the school out of it, that you don't agree with her unilateral decision to withhold the child. That unless you are provided with a doctor's note specifically providing that the child should remain with the ex for the weekend, it is your belief that you are equally capable of caring for the child.

Her decision to change the schedule goes against the schedule that has become status quo over the past 7 years. That such schedule is in the best interests of the children and all efforts should be taken to ensure it is maintained as it provides consistency for the children. And that, as the damage is now done, you believe you should be compensated with makeup time at the earliest possible instance (provide a few dates that work for you and ask her to provide some that works for her). Should she not agree to one of your makeup dates and/or provide any options that work for her by the end of the week, you will use your discretion to choose a date that works for you and provide reasonable notice of such date.

That in future, unless you specifically agree otherwise, or a doctors note is provided that the child is remain at a certain parents house, it is your firm belief that the status quo schedule is to continue.

As for the police, there is no agreement, they won't do anything (outside of cringe at the idea of being drawn into some families baggage). At best they will make suggestions. However, should this go to court, neither of you will look good for taking unilateral actions.

IMO, I'd likely journal this instance and move forward. The child was sick, so she may feel justified. She is crazy and wrong in her justification, you are equally as capable as her. But one instance isn't something I'd put my kid into a tug-of-war over.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm View Post
Ugh

I would like some comments on what the police would do in a situation when they are called to retrieve an 11 yo over an access dispute.

I have a simple separation agreement that just says we have equal access - no specific times, but we've had the same schedule for 7 years.

This past weekend my ex refused my access to my 11yo son. I have equal access to my 3 kids, he is the youngest. The other two were at my house. I stated clearly that it was not reasonable and I don't agree, but I felt there was nothing to do that would not up set my son as he was already at her house. I simply said that I would have him the next weekend on her time to even things up.

She took time off work and refused my access because he had a cold with fever (always under 104 ear temp, mostly in the 102s). She over did it in my opinion and took him to hospital for all sorts of testing (11 hours!). In the end, nothing was found out of ordinary and he is now back in school this Monday. He was sick for over a week though. I work at home and took care of him on my days - he was fine for the most part and said so. I took him to the doctor and the doctor said to just monitor.

She said the doctor at the hospital said I could not have him and only she could care for him because she is an RN (this I don't believe knowing her mind - she said this before she even went to the hospital).

Anyway - she now sent an email to the kids school and me stating all this and that my son does not want to stay with me next weekend and that she will call the police to get him if I refuse her access. Why she sent an email to the school I don't know, but she has become increasingly hostile toward me even though we've been separated for 7 years and have always had 50/50. She is making less sense over time and her messages to me are intentionally cruel (attempts anyway) and slightly delusional.

My question is - what would the police do if she called them while he is with me? What if he said he would rather be at her house but does not mind staying with me?

Alienation and stress on him are my main concerns - I can tell he knows we are not getting along and that it is effecting him. She is stirring up tension for no valid reason. I just want to be left alone and allowed to parent equally.

She already called the police to my house once saying I would not let him call her - not true and she could have called him if she thought that. I simply didn't tell him to call her when she asked me to after they had just talked on the phone - and he has his own cell she can call/text anytime! The police talked to us both and left - they said almost nothing, but I felt they thought it was a waste of their time. My older two were not impressed and my younger one slept though it.

Just wondering how the police handle these situations.
My ex has called the police a couple of times regarding access.

The last time he did call the police, it was because my daughter was 10 mins late coming out of the house. I was text messaging him to be patient as I was trying to convince the child to go willingly. We'd already had several weeks of her running away from him, hiding, etc. My daughter was 8. The police didn't do anything. They came in my house after speaking with the ex (who had actually left my house, gone home and picked up his wife and returned to my house prior to the police arriving). The police talked to my daughter with me present. It became clear to the police officer that I wasn't denying access that she was outright refusing to go. A report was made, copied to CAS (as it is always in this type of dispute) and the officer went on his merry way. Soon after the ex left without the child.

We had OCL disclosure the following week. OCL's social worker advised my ex that he was probably too hasty in making the call and that communication with me would have better solved the problem. He had been texting me "You have to make her come outside. Drag her out if necessary." OCL thought 10 mins too soon to call the police and calling the police was too drastic under the circumstances (daughter not wanting to go was nothing new at all).

I've been advised from others that unless there is a police clause in your agreement, the police will be reluctant to do anything more than document and refer.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:55 PM
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Denying access repeatedly is contempt of court but it has to be repeated and without good reason (defined as if a person without emotional attachment to the child would think it was reasonable).

I don't think anything can be done about this though.... Even if you succeed with contempt unless she is rich they won't do anything.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:45 PM
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I'm not clear on one detail - you said your ex refused to let you have your time with your child *last* weekend? And now she's saying that he can't stay with you *this coming weekend* as well? So if she gets her way, he will be with her two weekends in a row?

Does your agreement spell out how equal access will be achieved (e.g. he stays with you on odd weeks and her on even)? If so, it's in your best interests to follow the schedule, picking up your son on your weeks and letting your ex pick him up on hers, even though she did wrong by keeping your son on a weekend that was supposed to be yours. You should be showing that you are following the agreement, even if she won't. Send the ex a polite email stating that you are following your agreement, and will be picking up the child on your weeks.

If your agreement doesn't spell out which weeks are with which parent, I would suggest picking up your son as usual this weekend. Send your ex a polite email indicating that this is what you are doing, and don't respond to any provocation she sends back.

If the police are called, I doubt they will do anything much if you have a signed agreement which says you and your ex have equal parenting. They don't want to get involved in he-said/she-said, and as long as the kid is safe and in the care of someone who is a legal guardian, that's all they need to know about.

As for the school, they deal with this sort of nonsense all the time. It might be worth providing them with a copy of your agreement so they are clear that both parents have equal custody, in case your ex pulls more stunts.

If you think your ex is escalating and becoming delusional, it's really important for you to document everything you do that is in accordance with the agreement and everything she does that is not. Don't get drawn into discussion with her, but do email her every time she breaches the agreement with a statement of what she has done and a statement that you do not agree with her actions. Keep it short and simple.

You may wish to go the legal route and seek a stronger and more detailed parenting agreement - you might need it in the future.
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:53 PM
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If your separation agreement does not have a police enforcement clause and spell out specific access times so the police could tell objectively where the child is supposed to be, I don't think they would do anything but roll their eyes and leave the child where he is.

That said, if a child is ill, I would feel badly about making them move houses just because it's that day of the week. Who wants to get a miserable child out of bed and into clothes and into the car and drive somewhere else just to get back in bed again? It seems unecessarily cruel. Plus, if one parent is an RN, that does strike me as the better parent to be with. If your ex spent all day at the hospital with him, she may have been concerned that it was something more serious than a cold, and felt that you would not have recognized problem symptoms that she did or something. Or she could be a hypochondriac. And if your child said he preferred to stay with her, it could be comething as simple as maybe she lets him watch more TV when he's sick than you do.

I would treat it as just a blip in the access schedule due to illness and move on, instead of demanding makeup time and increasing the conflict. I'm assuming that the older children stayed on the normal schedule? Next time a kid is sick while at your home though, they can stay there instead of switching, as that is the precedent your ex has created.

However, that stuff aside, it does sound like your ex is ramping up conflict. It might be wise to figure out why. Is the 11-year old making remarks that may lead her to believe he wants to live with you all the time, and she's afraid of losing him? He's getting to an age where that could happen and she might be reacting to it. Have your older children volunteered anything about stuff going on at her house?

Find and address the root cause instead of just chasing after the symptoms.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:39 AM
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For what it's worth - my son always wanted his father to care for him when he was sick. Even the times when we had to take him to the hospital (severe asthma) he preferred his father over me (and we were not separated).

I think kids just have a go-to parent when they feel lousy. Does your youngest ever get time to be with mom without the other siblings around?

Looking at the overall family dynamics is it really worth making a big deal about this? At 11 he's likely still a 'mommy's boy.' The mother knows that in a few years the kid won't be crying for his mom and she likely overcompensated for this. Some mother's have a difficult time accepting their kids are growing up and are no longer babies.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:01 PM
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Thanks everyone for your well thought out replies. I'm just going to ignore her taking my access time and stick to the normal schedule moving forward. I have everything very well documented.

I don't know what the root cause is. My ex has been exceedingly hostile to me as of late and keeps telling me that 'my kids know' of my parenting and personal deficiencies that she (erroneously) points out.

I am very confident about my relationship and life with my kids - we have a great homelife. I think my ex is playing with fire and it very well may back fire on her and alienate her from our kids. I think this has already started to some extent with my oldest - she was NOT impressed that my ex brought the police to my house.

The best I can tell is that my ex's vitriol is not being shared with the kids though for the most part. I am quite certain however that my son though has picked up on her anger toward me and the tension that causes and it is stressing him out. The other two are old enough and busy enough to ignore it.

I wish she would just move on and stop thinking about me and my life with our kids so much! It should all be so easy after 7 years.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:37 PM
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Having a go to parent when sick is normal and understandable. But when parents are divorced we have to consider the added realities of possible perceptions of the kids. I recall one time my stepson told me his "dad was lazy" because he never took him to doc apps. Yet dad worked so mom could stay at home. And obviously mom wasn't still working because dad was still supporting her. Kids don't always see things for what they are. And I'm not suggesting that they be told all the nitty gritty but sometimes they make their own conclusions on why things are the way they are.

A sick kid can be transported between homes. A doctor will determine if they can't and should do so in writing (in many, many court orders). And both parents should have the opportunity to nurture a sick child who is ill. Its part of being a parent - divorced or not.

We've had mom deny access many times over. She even calls the cops in advance to tell them she will be denying access "just because". We have police enforcement clause. Cops do nothing. Its a civil matter and they won't traumatize the kids. CAS has also been involved, they gave some strong recommendations to mom but otherwise did nothing after investigating us for abuse (found none).

If cops ever come to your door you actually do not have to speak with them. Ask if there is a warrant. If no, say: listen I'm trying to have some family time with my kids and if you care about my children then you won't manipulate their time with their dad...I'm sure you've seen this many times over....my ex is obviously upset but that shouldn't dictate interference with my time with kids.
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:49 PM
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^ I think this is some crazy shit advice in my opinion.

If the kid is sick leave him alone. Sometimes a person has to show some maturity and flexibility when co-parenting.

Yeah like you're going to stand and argue with the police (who are only doing their job) at your door.

High conflict or what?????
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