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Old 10-13-2010, 07:18 PM
informedmom informedmom is offline
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Default Charging CP with contempt

After reading several threads on this topic, I would like some advice on charging a CP with contempt for not enforcing visitation.

Summary: Child is 11 and lives with mom. There is a separation agreement but no court order. Dad is loving, kind and has a home with a bedroom for his son. Son has refused to stay the night for three years now, and mom claims that son "doesn't feel like coming over". Mom has also eliminated the home phone and monitors the son's cell phone to control when and how much he talks to dad.

Can we charge her with contempt What will happen if we do? Will it result in anything or just cause stress on the child?
Old 10-13-2010, 07:50 PM
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I think an individual would have an easier cause showing a material change of circumstance for the child, using same evidence, than proving their contempt application and finding.
Old 10-14-2010, 05:00 AM
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I think you would need to have a court order and not just a SA to charge her with contempt. However, I would take this back to court to have the visitation enforced and get an order, that way if this were to happen again you would be able to follow through with contempt.

Is the child refusing visits all together or just spending the night? Before I would press this further I would for sure have a talk with the son and find out exactly where this is all coming from, perhaps even with a therapist.

good luck!!
Old 10-14-2010, 09:38 AM
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You can't charge the CP with "Contempt of Court" until the separation agreement has been filed with court. You would be required to file a Domestic Contract, 26B "Affidavit dated ________ for Filing Domestic Contract or Paternity Agreement with Court". Fill out the form, have it commissioned (sworn) by a duty counsel at FLIC, or your lawyer if you have one with a copy of the agreement attached and file it with court. That form is only really useful for enforcing child support payments with FRO though, but if access is described in the agreement it MIGHT help, though court action would be required. If the agreement says mediation must be tried first, then you both have to try mediation first.

Something more useful though, would be finding out why son doesn't want to stay overnight. You can talk to him. When he does visit you, do you take him home when he doesn't want to stay overnight? If yes, then you are making it easier for your son to not sleepover. I'm assuming that you and your son are spending some time together.

Next time why not have a heart-to-heart talk with your son? And if he seems slightly okay with staying overnight suggest he try it for one night. Great if he does, be patient if he doesn't want to try. If your son believes he needs to go home to "look after Mom", explain to him that Mom is an adult and is able to look after herself just fine. Explain to your son that both parents love him and you miss him when he doesn't spend time all his scheduled time with you -- that it hurts you. Don't say anything unpleasant about his Mom. Let it sink in and tell him that when he's ready, his room is waiting for him. And continue to enjoy your time with him. If the separation has been relatively recent the bonds between mother and son may be fairly strong still. At eleven, he may feel he is Mom's protector now. You might have a lot more success that way than via court, which is expensive and time-consuming.

Wondering who the "we" are -- have you remarried or are living with a woman and your son is perhaps uncomfortable with the living arrangements? Just wondering if that may be a factor to his reluctance....

Good Luck!

Last edited by Epona; 10-14-2010 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Additional thoughts
Old 10-14-2010, 11:13 AM
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Okay, you are referring to your partner's son! You are not the father -- 'tis your partner whose son won't stay overnight!

Charging the CP with "Contempt of Court" isn't the way to solve the problem. You can't do that until the agreement is filed with court. When you think about it deeper, your partner is just as guilty of "Contempt of Court" as is the boy's mother. How? He failed to exercise his access fully three years ago when his son was eight. The boys parents unwittingly co-operated in giving an eight year old the power to decide whether or not he stayed overnight at Dad's or not.

Both parents facilitated their eight year old son by not "encouraging" him to stay overnight with Dad. Both parents should have been a bit stricter in enforcing the access. Dad should have had the attitude "I don't care how miserable you get when you're with me. You're going to have 'fun' while we're together".

When my ex became involved with women (one at a time), the boys became reluctant to spend time with their Dad. They would refuse to go. Sometimes I yelled at them, "Your Dad is here, NOW GO with him!" (not proud of my behaviour, but it happened occasionally).

Now that the son is getting older, he's probably hearing from classmates that when he's twelve he has a say in access. You can't blame the CP for children hearing "things" from classmates. I understand you want to blame the CP, but the CP isn't always to blame. Perhaps your partner is phoning the son at bed-time when the son should be in bed. Perhaps he should try phoning earlier in the evening.

There is A LOT that I and other people reading here don't know. But your partner needs to have a one-on-one (ie private) talk with his son. It may take many talks before he has an idea of why his son doesn't want to stay overnight. Maybe both parents have merely just been too wimpy (i.e. too kind) by letting a child make the decisions three years ago. Now that he's a preteen, he will like parental control by forcing him to stay at Dad's overnight even less.

After your partner has talked with his son, he might be able to share his son's concerns with you, especially if they also involve you. And together perhaps the two of you can figure out a way to address his sons concerns that everyone can live with.

The son has been, perhaps unconsciously, testing his parents, and in this regard they have both failed -- they did not establish their boundaries. They can expect more testing in the years ahead and the son will be a bit more determined than children who have had the boundaries drawn sooner.

Probably not what you wanted to read but remember, I don't have all the details. To this impartial observer, that is how the situation appears. Good Luck!

Last edited by Epona; 10-14-2010 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Additional thoughts
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