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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  
Old 11-27-2019, 09:23 AM
Super dad Super dad is offline
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Default Wife moved kids without permission

So my STBX was a very good mom until she blindsided me and announced she wanted a divorce. She then became a 40 year old who is trying to re live her 20s and started going out all the time. I stepped it up as a dad and stayed home all of the time when I wasn't working. She would send the kids to relatives or friend's houses if I were working. This went on for about 6 months and I have it all documented on a spread sheet calendar with screen shots of text messages and emails from both mine and my kids phones (10&13 year old). Last month while I was at work she moved out with the kids and backed a moving truck up to the house and took a ton of stuff. I found out by her through email. She is now dictating a schedule that is significantly less time than what I was doing and her lawyer is demanding child support. I am worried this will become status quo. I thought that I had already established status quo with my tracking. Will the judge look at my tracking. Will her recent or past actions have any influence with the judge. Please help me here
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2019, 10:13 AM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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You should have, and still should now, file a motion to have the children returned to their familiar residence. The longer you wait, the worse your odds become of having the children returned to the matrimonial home. You also include in the motion that alternatively, if the kids are not returned, you want 50/50 parenting time with the child and joint custody. That way if the judge decides that they shouldn't be returned to your house, that they can order a parenting time schedule. In the mean time, you need to be requesting 50/50 custody of the children as that is in their best interests.

How far did she move? Are the kids still in the same school zone? These things matter. If she moved them out of the city or school zone, your odds increase as the children should generally stay in their familiar location. Their lives shouldn't be unnecessarily disrupted. If it is a different school zone I assume she enrolled them in a new school.

Have you advised her that you do not agree with her unilateral decision to remove the children from their place of residence and change their school (if applicable)? If not, you need to advise her of just that. She doesn't get to play keep away with the kids due to her unilateral decision.

As for status quo your argument is that she is creating a false status quo by unreasonably withholding the children. That you are equally capable of caring for the children, and her withholding them is not in the children's best interests. That the children have the right to relationships with both parents, and that both parents are obligated to facilitate the relationship with the other. That her decision to unilaterally withhold parenting time from you is the opposite of that obligation.

You need to move all communication to email if you haven't. Text is ok, but email is better. No more telephone calls. If she calls you, you limit it to discussions about the children and then send an email to the ex confirming the conversation.

Right now she has the power because she has the kids. You need to take back some of that by filing a motion in court.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:32 AM
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Her initial email said that if I don't agree with her schedule she would have sole custody until things are sorted. I emailed and said I don't agree but the kids should see their dad. She held them back from me the first day. She moved them 10min away. The distance did take them out of the school zone. She now drives them. My lawyer sent them a very stern, yet professional letter and mentioned court action. They sent a letter back that was just full of personal attacks and gave me a different schedule that was even less time with the kids. It looked like my wife wrote the letter and her lawyer added some big words here and there. My lawyer sent another letter that again was very professional. We are waiting on a reply and I filled out the court documents. We plan on court action if they don't comply. My 13 year old son was telling me that my wife's lawyer told her that she is legally entitled to come and go as she pleases from the house. He also said that he doesn't like the schedule that I made. I told him that I didn't make the schedule and he said that his mom said that I made it. Now I think she is filling the kids heads with crap.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:36 AM
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Don’t engage the kids. Repeat—DO NOT ENGAGE THE KIDS.

If your kids say anything about the situation your response is “this is between your mom and I and I don’t want you to worry about it”. She can say whatever she wants to them, you be the better person. “Its unfortunate you are being involved in this, its between mom and me and I won’t discuss it or involve you”.

The biggest mistake you can make is engaging the kids. Remember they are kids and are being subjected to unnecessary hostility.

File the motion. Don’t wait. Get a court date. She can write anything she wants, she doesn’t get to steal your kids and demand payment.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:47 AM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super dad View Post
Her initial email said that if I don't agree with her schedule she would have sole custody until things are sorted. I emailed and said I don't agree but the kids should see their dad.
She can say lots of things, it doesn't mean they will happen. You did the right thing by saying you don't agree. The ex doesn't get to dictate terms relating to the children. Until either a court order or an agreement says otherwise, you both have defacto joint custody. You can pick up the kids any time and keep for as long as you like, just as the ex is entitled. Don't be unreasonable, but don't be a push over.


Quote:
She held them back from me the first day.
That will not look good on her. She doesn't get to use the kids as pawns to get you to agree to her terms. That is not acting reasonable or negotiating in good faith.

Quote:
She moved them 10min away. The distance did take them out of the school zone. She now drives them.
Also not good for her. She needs to understand that she must co-parent. Making unilateral decisions like this are the opposite of that. Make sure you have made your opposition known to her decisions.

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My lawyer sent them a very stern, yet professional letter and mentioned court action.
It is good that you have a lawyer, you're gonna need one. Just be sure to manage them so they don't rack up billable time unnecessarily.

Quote:
They sent a letter back that was just full of personal attacks and gave me a different schedule that was even less time with the kids. It looked like my wife wrote the letter and her lawyer added some big words here and there.
Ignore the BS. They will try to paint you as the devil. The courts have heard this over and over. Keep focused on the kids and don't get drawn into a mud slinging contest. If they send a letter full of accusations, a blanket statement that you deny all accusations in that letter in a response will suffice.

Quote:
My lawyer sent another letter that again was very professional. We are waiting on a reply and I filled out the court documents. We plan on court action if they don't comply.
Move this to court sooner than later. Make offers to settle based off of 50/50 and joint custody. An alternative to joint custody is parallel parenting, which you can read up on (one parent gets sole decision making on schooling, the other on health and religion, for example).

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My 13 year old son was telling me that my wife's lawyer told her that she is legally entitled to come and go as she pleases from the house. He also said that he doesn't like the schedule that I made. I told him that I didn't make the schedule and he said that his mom said that I made it. Now I think she is filling the kids heads with crap.
Keep the kid out of it. If the kids bring it up, you say that it is between their mom and you, and that you will work it out as best as you can. Then you change the topic.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super dad View Post
I am worried this will become status quo.
You should be worried. This will indeed becomes the status quo.

Quote:
I thought that I had already established status quo with my tracking.
You did, but now you are in the process of losing it.

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Please help me here
You needed to be in court yesterday. Writing letters doesn't help. If your lawyer won't file find a new lawyer.

When the ex takes the kids without your permission, that is an emergency.

I can't believe you have waited a month. You should have filed the day after she took them. It is already late. Luckily it is not too late, but it is approaching that point very very quickly.
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Old 11-27-2019, 01:23 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janus View Post
You should be worried. This will indeed becomes the status quo.
His argument to the "new" status quo will be that it is a false status quo, engineered unilaterally by the ex. It isn't insurmountable, but the longer he waits to file a motion changing this, the harder it will be.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2019, 03:01 AM
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This stunt of hers has also cost me $1800 I legal fees plus whatever court will cost. Can I somehow have her pay for this?
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:31 AM
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$1800 is nothing. Prepare yourself for more. If you make it to trial and you win you could try to argue for costs but thats a crapshoot. Start watching your money, don’t call your lawyer for multiple things, tell them you want to see stuff before they respond and watch every penny spent.

You have to remind yourself that the money is spent to see your kids.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:32 AM
iona6656 iona6656 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super dad View Post
This stunt of hers has also cost me $1800 I legal fees plus whatever court will cost. Can I somehow have her pay for this?
If you have any funds- put aside 10k now. If you need to liquefy your assets. Get ready to do that.

An avg custody dispute is going to cost you at least 20k. And that's IF you settle.
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