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She went for a walk and ex picked her up

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  • She went for a walk and ex picked her up

    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking for some advice on next steps. Long post, sorry!

    Here's the situation:

    As per our court order, my 12 year old daughter primarily resides with me and always has since her father and I broke up and we have a finalized court order from 2016 to confirm this (joint custody). He has access every other weekend and shared holidays and for the past two years we have shared the summer vacation one week off one week on although this is not in our agreement. He has remarried and she now has a younger sister. At the end of last summer vacation she expressed to me that she wanted to live with her dad on a full time basis (through a letter that seemed more than a little coached).

    I'll admit, I was not very excited about this idea. She and I had conversations about it and I feel that she is too young to be living away from me. She also is going through a lot right now with puberty and some mental health concerns. He is very angry towards me even after all these years and I find him quite intimidating but I'll admit I should have stepped up to have a proper discussion with him about this. Although our agreement states that we should seek arbitration for any disputes neither her father nor I initiated this. This summer she expressed that she wanted to get tested for ADHD but her dad is unwilling to consider that this might be an issue however I did consent to them taking her to counselling. She and I spoke about the testing this summer and I said that since her dad refuses she should remain here so that we could move forward with it. She didn't object to this. I never agreed that she would go and live with him.

    This past weekend before school started was usually his weekend and he would usually have her back on the Sunday but because of scheduling the previous weekend he suggested I pick her up on Saturday instead which I did and we had a nice day together at a friend's. On Sunday we were home and she asked to go out for a walk. I said I'd join her but she wanted to go alone which I agreed to and asked her to take her phone. A little while later when she hadn't returned I started texting her and went out to see where she was. She texted back that she was "with dad" which was obviously a shock, so I began texting and calling him. He refused to answer but only said that she was going to start school at his location on Tuesday (2 hours away) and that he had "filed a police report". There is no abuse in my home and he can't legitimately claim that she was unsafe or neglected at any time.

    I contacted the police and they wouldn't tell me what this report was about. I thought I would have a right to know if my name was involved. Anyone have something similar and did a freedom of information request help?

    The police also said that despite the fact that her primary residency is with me they would do nothing about this and to contact a lawyer. This was surprising to me as it goes against the court order, even if she went willing and likely planned this out with him.

    I have been able to talk with her and she seems fine. I told her I'm not mad at her. This coming weekend should be my weekend with her and I think it is important that she and I talk further in person, but when I contacted him to set this up today (Thursday) he said she's not prepared to come back for a weekend just yet. I don't know if it is true that this is her wish or it is his influence on her.

    I will be contacting a lawyer tomorrow but I guess I am just hoping for some feedback/advice on this situation. I see it could be an option for me to file for a contempt of court. That seems like a pretty serious step but it is also not right for him to have done this, he should be going through the proper legal channels.

    Obviously it is breaking my heart but her best interests are the primary concern. Although she wants to be with him and them I am not convinced it is the best thing for her. He also has a long history of denigrating me and I worry this is going to damage the relationship between her and I in the long term.

    I understand you don't know me and that the mothers and fathers might see this issue differently based on their own experiences. I just don't know if I should pursue arbitration, legal action such as bringing a motion against him or let it be until she is "ready" (at his discretion apparently).

  • #2
    You should talk to a lawyer.

    If he wants changes there is a proper way to go about making those, not just randomly disappearing with the child without informing you. As the primary parent, she should be registered in the school in your area.

    The decisions he's making shouldn't be made unilaterally. At the very least he should be discussing with you and coming to a compromise. Why not 50/50?


    • #3
      Thanks for responding Blink, I appreciate your perspective. I'd be ok with 50/50 but they live 2 hours away. I'd have to sell my house and move up there.


      • #4
        First off, you need to get ahead of this school situation ASAP to prevent a new status quo from being established. I've been through something similar—my ex changed my kid's school behind my back. Definitely consult a lawyer on this, the sooner the better. If your agreement touches on this subject, make sure to notify the school that her dad doesn't have the unilateral right to make this change.

        As for contempt of court, I'd say don't waste your time. They're like unicorns; everyone talks about them, but no one's actually seen one. Also, I agree that the police aren't going to be much help here.

        I'm curious why the arrangement wasn't 50/50 from the start? I know circumstances differ, but that might have prevented some of the current issues.

        Lastly, about your daughter wanting to be with her dad more—have you considered why that might be difficult for you? I bring this up because in my situation, my time with my kid was limited not because it was in her best interest, but due to my ex having her own insecurities stemming from unresolved childhood matters.

        Also see on Mr. Justice A. Pazaratz case of the importance of resolving the school matter.


        • #5
          "I'm curious why the arrangement wasn't 50/50 from the start? I know circumstances differ, but that might have prevented some of the current issues."

          This question was answered.


          • #6
            Hi Newerwavers, thank you for your response. Yes, I spoke with the principal and he was sympathetic and I was able to get information on her teacher and the class. He said I would have the right to pick her up but if I did that would be considered unusual and they would contact him to discuss it with him.

            We were in court in 2016 and she was just 5 years old, he and I had been separated since she was 11 months old. We had been getting along fairly well and he had been coming over to visit on Wednesday evenings and then taking her for visits Saturday afternoon - Sunday afternoon until he met his current partner. At that point he began to request to have her every weekend from Friday - Sunday and I thought that was unfair as I worked full time and my access during non-work time would have been almost nothing. We were both in the process of moving, me to Guelph and he to Orangeville (from the GTA). She had to be with one of us full time to allow her to go to school. So after a long court process they determined joint custody and primary residency with me and EOW and shared holiday access for him.

            During this time he moved to Creemore with his wife so now we are about 2 hours apart, 50/50 won't work if we both stay where we are and we both own homes. At this point I would not be opposed to it but not sure that they would agree with that as she will have to be based somewhere in order to go to school.

            All that I can read right now seems highly discouraging. I went to the court in Guelph today and they said that even if I file a motion of contempt we won't be in front of a judge until November. I am contacting a lawyer today. It seems that she must have taken her birth certificate from where I keep in in order that she could be registered there.


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