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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 08-25-2010, 02:12 PM
choochoo choochoo is offline
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Default Lateness -Breach of Contract -anyone?

Hi, new posting here, but I have been reading, especially when we were drawing up our Separation Agreement when we did it Collaboratively. I think we have a very tight agreement, with very little wiggle room when it comes to misunderstandings.

One of the points I was determined to have put in, was that the father of our son was to make every reasonable effort to be on time for pick ups and drop offs. Any disputes we have in regards to any parenting topics and scheduling are mediated very successfully through a Parenting Coach, who says we are doing really well for our son.

The only real bone of contention at this time is the father's extreme lateness and forgetting he had scheduled time with our son. I'm not talking 10 or 15 minutes -that's pretty average for him, I'm talking an hour, hour & a half and over 2 hours late within the past 2 weeks alone. I don't want to go into details, but I feel this is his way of controlling me in the only way he can at this point -controlling my free time and forcing me to cancel my own plans or scheduled work. This is not beneficial for our son in any way, I am constantly left with a disappointed and upset 7 year old.

This is something I need to nip in the bud immediately, I won't tolerate it. It's obviously not something that can be helped through mediation; it was a topic discussed several times within our meetings with our lawyers and parenting coach obviously without making an impression on him. As it is, there is no consequence to his actions -except invoking anger, disappointment, and frustration to me and his son.

My question is, has anyone had a case like this and taken action?
I've called the local Family Law Information Centre, and they advised me to speak to a lawyer. I'm not even sure what to ask for? I really want my son to have a good and constant relationship with his father, so taking time away from him would be detrimental to that. The only thing that seems to hit home with him are financial penalties -which seems ridiculous to me, how do you determine a "fine" for lateness and impose it?

Any help would be appreciated. Jeni
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:42 PM
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Is the seperation agreement signed? You could possibly add a clause saying that any lateness after 30 minutes without prior notice, that it's assumed he won't be picking up child for his access and you continue to have the child and do whatever with during ex's access time.
Does he give you a reasonable answer why he's late that much or at least contact you somehow to let you know or does he just leaving you hanging and waiting.... poor child if he's waiting around for dad to come. Not consistent at all
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:43 PM
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I have no experience with this sort of situation, but have you tried calling him fifteen or so minutes ahead of time and reminding him of the impending pickup, asking if he's running on schedule?

Is your son in daycare or school? Maybe you could have dropoffs and pickups done there instead of having him interact with you. That way if he's late, it's the daycare he has to deal with, and those late charges can rack up fast!

Something more severe you can try might be to change it so that you are the one dropping off the child, instead of the ex coming to pick him up, if that's workable. The next more severe step would be to have backup arrangements in the event of a no-show, a friend babysitting so you can get to work, the child having an impromptu playdate, or maybe you and your son just go out somewhere to do something fun, and get your minds over the disappointment. Preferably arrange this so that you are not at home when he does finally show up, so you aren't harassed, and the child is not available for the access time unless the ex puts in some further effort. Give him fair warnings though; phone him up at fifteen minutes late and warn him you will be unable to stick around waiting much longer, then phone again at half an hour late to tell him you've had to make alternate arrangements. Then you've forced your ex's hand a bit, as he'd have to contact you back and rearrange HIS plans a bit around YOUR life to show up and collect your son, or you can offer him make-up time another day. He'd either get the message that you won't allow him to control the show and your life this way, and improve his tardiness, or his true colours will show and he'll spend less time with your son. I know contact with both parents is important, and obviously sons should spend time with their fathers, but I also believe that a father who doesn't genuinely want to be with his son and shows it so passive-aggressively, or thinks continuing to control you is more important than father-son time, may be doing more harm than good.

Does he keep your son similarly late sometimes when access is supposed to end, or he prompt at that end? That might be a hint about his motives. Oh, and be sure to keep a logbook of all these late issues in case you need it for court.

I know I'm a perpetually tardy individual, but even I don't show up hours late for important things. Was he on time for lawyer appointments and court? Is it a habit with him, or just for access?
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the reply; yes, the agreement is signed. A clause to the effect of my keeping my son after a set period of time is an option -but we all lose out. I lose out on my needed free time, work time (I work for myself and base my hours around my son), my son loses out on developing his relationship with his father, and he loses out on time with his son.

I love my son to death, he's a light in my life, but he is diagnosed ADHD, possible Asperger's Syndrome and special needs in school. He is very energetic, and at times can be a handful. I have no family nearby to help me care for him and count on the few hours I get of free time to recharge, and work. I started my own business in order to be able to schedule my work around him.

His excuses: traffic, still at the office (1 hour+ away), forgot.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:39 PM
AtALoss AtALoss is offline
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Do you have a specified time in the agreement.
Sounds like he still wants to push your buttons, any way to frustrate you. Although I do sympathise with your childs needs. they are important too.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:47 PM
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Another option would be to have him confirm with you ahead of time that he will indeed be there at such and such a time for the pickup, if you don't hear from him to confirm then you assume he isn't coming and make other plans.

If you feel it's due to a lack of respect on his part towards you and your time perhaps you could try using a third party to make the switch, a family member, friend or daycare that he would be less likely to cancel on?
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:29 AM
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I'm just wondering... is his access schedule very regular or does it change often? For example, with an every-other-weekend schedule, it would be difficult to forget that every-other-Friday, you are to pick up your child. If the schedule is more complex, it would be difficult for some to remember it and schedule their time around it.

Just like tugofwar said, in our court order we have a 30-minute grace period for pick-ups and drop offs. This means that we can be up to 30 minutes early or late picking my stepson up or dropping him off. If we don't notify my stepson's mother that we're going to be later than 30 minutes, she has the right to assume we're not coming and can do as she pleases with the child. Granted, we never really use this clause because 99% of the pick-ups and drop-offs we're right on time. And if we're late due to traffic, we usually shoot her a text message saying we're running 10-15 minutes behind schedule.

I agree that if your ex is being late and forgetful on purpose, to push your buttons, a neutral pick-up and drop-off point (such as school or daycare) would be a wise idea. We had to resort to that when my stepson's mom wasn't being very "amicable" at pick-ups and drop-offs. And we found that it was much less stressful on everyone involved, especially the child.

Good luck to you!
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:42 PM
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There have been cases across the country on this matter...log into www.canlii.ca and search the term "late for access"...you'll come up with a ton of precedents! Good Luck!
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:15 AM
choochoo choochoo is offline
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Wow, thanks everyone for the responses! I'll try to answer all questions:

Rioe: I really don't feel like I should have to have the extra responsibility of having to call him & remind him to pick up his son.
My son is not in daycare, & on summer vacation. Because of Ex'es out of town work, he only has two days where he is responsible for school pick up & drop off.
Ex has done most of the drop off & pick up scheduling around his work to suit his own work needs.
Hate the thought of me having to shell out for emergency back up sitter, or putting out a friend at the last minute to cover for ex.
I also hate for my son to be denied seeing his father, and resenting me for not "letting him" see his father because he's late.
"passive-agressive" -you've nailed it on the head. ; )
He's usually on time, or only 10-15 min late dropping him off.
He was always on time for lawyer & counselling appts., we never went to court.

At A Loss: Yes, all times and who is responsible for the drop off or p/u are kept on a mutual online calendar and are agreed upon with the aid of a Parental Coach -btw, the schedule is mostly suggested by him to accommodate his work schedule. I work for myself, so my schedule is quite accommodating.

Blind and I'm gone: Some good ideas there. If I haven't heard from him, I won't let my son know about the scheduled time with dad, and he won't have that disappointment. We would have to find someone to make the switches through, difficult, but not impossible. BTW, your avi pick is hilarious!

#1StepMom: Good point, and something we've discussed,not just for him, but for our son so he knows when to anticipate switches. We have been working on a 2 week rotating schedule. I basically have him one full week, where Ex has one scheduled dinner p/u & drop off. The next week, Ex has him for 2 school days, I pick him up one day after school, then he has him over a weekend. It's pretty regular and based on Ex's work schedule.
I do allow a 15 min grace period, after that he is supposed to call to let me know when to expect him. He works in TO, we live about 1 hour away, so I do have to be flexible because of traffic -I don't count bad traffic in his lates.
Neutral point is a good idea, a pita, but not impossible solution.

InterprovincialParents: thank you so much for the link, I will be searching on it before contacting a lawyer!

Last edited by choochoo; 08-27-2010 at 10:17 AM. Reason: Added spacing & bolded names for clarity
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:07 PM
Lanfear Lanfear is offline
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While I can't offer any advice... I can emphasize. I know how frustrating it is, as we have the same issues with my step kids mother.

After 3 years of lawyers, court, divorce coaches and the like, nobody seems to give a hoot about lateness. All we're told is to "log it". 3 years of logging incidents has done nothing for us.

Just know that the children do recognize this behaviour and it will affect how they feel about the parent. It causes resentment. It's sad, but it's the reality.

And for some it's easy to look at the situation and say "just do the pick ups/drop offs yourself"... but then what happens when the person isn't home and doesn't answer the phone?

Whenever we've given the kids mother ultimatums about showing up on time, she cries that we're being bullies and trying to keep the kids from her.

Some people are just "out to get you", as immature and ridiculous as it sounds. When someone is determined to make your life miserable, you can't have a rational, mature discussion about "being on time". Or anything for that matter.

I just trust in Karma. Not everyone believes in it, but it helps me cope with my situation.
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