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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 05-04-2009, 02:00 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Default Extracurricular Activities During Vacation Time

My stepson's mom signed him up for extracurricular activities that take place twice a week over the course of the summer, without my husband's agreement. (When she asked if he would agree on the activity and contribute to half of the expense, he told her no because he did not believe this was a necessary activity, because he was against it occuring twice a week during the summer months, and because he felt the cost was too high. My husband even provided her with suitable alternatives that were much more affordable and that would not interfere with his access or vacation times. Well, my stepson's mom signed the child up for the activity anyway, claiming she felt it was in the child's best interest to be enrolled. FYI - She is now still hounding my husband for monetary contribution towards this costly expense.)

We finalized our summer schedule with her (pick up and drop off times and locations, vacation periods, etc.) about a week ago. Everything seemed just fine, until she remembered the extracurricular activity. She now wants us to either promise to bring the child back to her home town two nights a week (1.5 hours away, one way) for a 45min activity, or forego those vacation days and drop the child off the morning of the day of the activity and pick him up again the next morning, the day following the activity. (The way we see it, her two options are one and the same, as they necessitate the same amount of driving.)

My husband kindly replied that he'll keep the activity times in mind and that if our schedule, time and money (a 3-hr round trip is costly in gas) permit, we will try to bring the child to the activity. But we make no guarantees.

She did not reply in kind to his response, and is claiming that my husband is not acting in the best interest of the child, and that he is only being selfish and hurting the child by not allowing him to attend his activities.

Any suggestions on how we should go about resolving this matter?

Last edited by #1StepMom; 05-04-2009 at 02:02 PM.
  #2  
Old 05-04-2009, 02:46 PM
frustrated11 frustrated11 is offline
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this woman needs to get a life and realize that she is putting undo pressure on her child by putting him in the middle of all of this. If she is still hounding for $ towards the activity, maybe minus the approximate amount of gas for the trips to bring him and keep him extra days to make up for lost time. The poor child
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:15 PM
Suchislife Suchislife is offline
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#1 SM,your husband has done the right thing in saying he'll keep it in mind, no guarantees.

His Ex SHOULD NOT be scheduling things during your access times.

Don't let HER guilt you into taking the child. She's obviously a control freak.

I'll tell you what's in the best interest of the child:

Spending some summer fun time with Dad.

Don't give it another thought. It's complete interference.

While in intact families it might work out to enrol kids in hockey etc....It just creates alot of problems in divorce situations. My problem is when this 'best interest of the child' thing is taken so far as to create alot of hassles. A child is not going to have a ruined childhood because they can't attend/join/register certain things on account of their living situation.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:52 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suchislife View Post
I'll tell you what's in the best interest of the child: Spending some summer fun time with Dad. Don't give it another thought. It's complete interference. While in intact families it might work out to enrol kids in hockey etc....It just creates alot of problems in divorce situations. My problem is when this 'best interest of the child' thing is taken so far as to create alot of hassles. A child is not going to have a ruined childhood because they can't attend/join/register certain things on account of their living situation.
I agree, Suchislife. What baffles me is that one second she is ordering my husband to take the child for extra time and the next she is demanding that he relinquish time (then chastising him for "shortening" or "forfeiting" time). It's a vicious cycle. May I ask, are you a custodial or non-custodial parent? It intrigues me to read that you are saying that a child is not going to have a ruined childhood because they can't attend/join certain things on account of their living situation. This shocks me mildly because we have brought this argument up with my stepson's mother, who accused my husband of trying to ruing the child's life because of the "two-home rules" he was supposedly imposing (such as that one parent will not enroll the child in an activity during the other parent's time with the child).
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:13 PM
Suchislife Suchislife is offline
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I was the custodial parent of a now adult son.
Presently I'm a Step-Mom to 2 children with my partner who is the NCP.
We have a young child together.
I understand the no-win situation. It's a control issue. She can't be in total control of her son's life. She needs to understand this.
We had a problem for a couple of years with Birthday parties that fell on our weekends. We refused to accomodate these. It would mean hours of travel time, gas $ we could ill afford, interference with OUR wknd. plans and the most important reason of all:
When a Father only sees his children 96 hours a MONTH he really doesn't want to forfeit any of these by dropping children off at someone elses home or otherwise being told how he may spend this time by his Ex wife.
The Mother went as far as having the five year old call her Father and ask directly if she could attend a party knowing full well the answer would be 'no'. Who then is the bad guy? We stood our ground through letters from her lawyer demanding we must take them. Ultimately, the Mother brought it up in an affidavit wanting it in an order that we take the children to extracurricular activities INCLUDING children's Birthday parties. The Judge said 'no way'. He said she must STOP interferring with the Father's access time.
I must add that if it would have been simple to switch up a Saturday, maybe get the kids AFTER the party or have the Mother drop the one child after the party or some sort of compromise we would have been agreeable. Unfortunately, we have been dealing with someone who does not negotiate and has a my way or the highway attitude.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:07 PM
doingmybest doingmybest is offline
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I am the custodial parent.

I do not understand that the court order does not cover this?

My ex is suppose to provide me with his visitation for the summer request dates by a certain date. I wait for this and then sign our daughter up for activities....during my access time...so that I can go with her. My ex does not pay for extra expenses. He also has missed the date (as I posted elsewhere)....but I will wait, again because I love my daughter so much, I don't want to cause any conflicts. There are always spots in activities.

This person you are speaking of is incredibly insecure. And why on earth would she put her child in something and then not want to be there with him?

Like the others, I agree. Pick up the child for the access time and have fun, it is their fathers time with them.

I really think though, this needs to be addressed so it does not continue in the future, as the child really should not be missing activities...due to poor scheduling by the mother!

I feel for this child.....
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:13 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Thank you for your input. It's nice to know that there are reasonable custodial parents out there.

Although it was not written in the court order, the judge did indicate that the mother would not purposely sign the child up for activities during the father's time, without the father's consent. The judge also indicated, however, that both parties needed to use common sense and make accommodations from time to time to ensure the child doesn't miss out on activities important to him. We have abided by these words and have on many occasions driven the child 3hrs round trip so that he may attend a 2 hour birthday party with his friends, or an important final game. However, his mom expects these accommodations for every single practice, game, activity, birthday party, etc. It's getting quite out of hand.

After speaking with my husband, if she continues to demand that we bring the child to these activities, we will offer for her to come pick the child up 1.5hrs prior to the activity and drop him off at our home no more than 1.5hrs post. This way, she can experience how fun it is to drive a 3hr round trip for a 45min activity.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:41 AM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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We have hit yet another obstacle...

My husband and I want to enroll my stepson in a summer daycamp program during one of his weeks with us. As some of you may remember, my stepson's mom wants say in which program and when (see thread: "CP Wants Say in NCP's Vacation Time w/Child"). We have provided her with a list of camps we are considering, out of courtesy.

Of course, she does not agree with any of the programs because they end at 4PM and she feels this will interfere with the activities she has signed the child up for (without my husband's consent), the same activities she expects my husband and/or I to drive a 3hr round trip (more like 5hr in rush hour traffic) to bring the child to on two evenings each week. We have never agreed to bring the child to the activities she unilaterally chose and registered the child in, and only told her that if time, schedule and cost permit, we will make an attempt. Both my husband and I know that driving 150-200km in rush hour traffic from the west-end of the GTA to the east-end is not an easy feat, nor is it an inexpensive one!

We are contemplating telling my stepson's mom that if she so very much wants the child to attend these activities, she is welcome to pick him up from our home after the camp and take him herself, then drop him off afterwards. But we know that she will not agree to the camp and will demand that we not sign the child up, because the end-time falls too close to the start time of her programs.

Any thoughts? Advice, suggestions?
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:48 AM
Suchislife Suchislife is offline
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The only way you are going to end such interference in your access time is for your husband to put his foot down.

I personally think it was a mistake to make the offer that she could come and pick up her son if she wants him to attend the activity during your access. It will not eliminate the problem. If your husband had said "no, you are not to schedule such things during MY summer vacation" you would not be in the position you are in now with the day camp rigamorole.
While it may have seemed courteous to provide the camp choices all it has accomplished is more problems.
Your husband needs to state now that it is unreasonable to expect his son to attend the evening activities. It's too far away. He needs to tell her it's his week, period. Then you two need to decide on your plans and not even involve the Mother one iota. It's really none of her business what you plan to do.
Really if this activity was so important she should have brought this up during the finalization of times. Not afterwards.
If I were in your position I would end the ongoing discussion and just stick to the planned schedule.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:29 AM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suchislife View Post
I personally think it was a mistake to make the offer that she could come and pick up her son if she wants him to attend the activity during your access. It will not eliminate the problem.
We haven't offered her this option yet. We were only considering it, believing it may stop her constant complaints. However, I agree with you that it will probably not eliminate the problem. She'll probably just complain about how we can afford (gas, money, time) to sign the child up for day camp but cannot afford to bring the child to activities he's already enrolled in. How do you deal with that? What would be a suitable response?
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