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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 04-28-2010, 09:39 PM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Default Help?Mid week visits during school hours

Hello, my case is complex so I will try to summarize it. Divorced 12 years ago and had shared custody unitl 2005 of three children whom resided week on/off with each parent. My ex and his wife prevented the children from having a relationship with me as their mother, constantly called CAS on me, failed to provide child support etc. etc. I took the matter to court and after a lengthy assessment and pre-trial, the judge and assessor agreed that the children were being harmed by their parental alienation tactics and refusal to cooperatively co-parent, therefore I was granted permission to move the three children with me to a new community and we started a new life with my now current husband. We maintained joint custody in relation to the standard things like educational decisions, religion, schooling, medical etc. However, all three children were to reside with me on a full time basis with daily care and control to me. Dad was granted every other weekend access and a mid week visit with 48 hours notice. Suffice it to say, once the move occurred, my ex and his new wife began a regular campaign to have my middle son move back with them using parental alienation tactics, cooercion and brainwashing. 2 years ago at the age of 12, my son went for a weekend visit and they refused to return him. I have had little contact with him since. The matter was taken back to court, the judge refused to charge him with contempt of the order and basically since that time, I have had very little contact with my son. Our new order states that my son is to maintain regular contact with me, that his wishes will be taken into consideration regarding visits, that he is to communicate those directly to me and not through his father or stepmother and that Dad was to encourage him to maintain a positive relationship with me. Suffice it to say, that has not happened.

So now, to my dilemma. My daughter is now approaching the age of 12 and the same tactics have begun again. Her stepmother who lives 1 hour away shows up unannounced and without notice at the school to take her out to lunch. First, a step mother has no more legal rights than a grandparent and she is not party to the court order. When I advised my ex that this was not acceptable and that notice must be given, they have ignored it. I finally had to go into the school and take a strip off the principal for allowing my daughter to be picked up from school without the person picking her up being on the safe schools act list of authorized persons. I provide the school with a copy of my court order which clearly states that 48 hours notice must be provided for a mid week visit, they are now finally preventing both her father and stepmother from taking her out of school during the mid week UNLESS I have provided the school with notification of such a visit. My ex however, is interpretting the court order in his own way ( as he has always done and never been held accountable for it) He states that since we have joint custody, he is entitled to equal access to our daughter during the school hours and that notice is only required for a mid week after school visit. Oh, and for 5 years, he has never accessed his rights to a mid week visit, but now suddenly as my daughter turns 12, he is suddently showing up at the school unannounced???

I need some advise on this. I disagree with his thinking, but more importantly, I am aware that my daughter is caught up in the middle of this custody and access issue. I believe, that she is entitled to know ahea of time if she is going to be picked up, I then would not pack a lunch and she would not have to be afraid to tell me that her father or stepmother attended. But also, given their past tactics of cooercing and preventing my son who was also 12 at the time he left, I do not trust that their motives are not the same as they were with my son. Remember, they live an hour away, so to make a trip to take her out to lunch and refusing to provide notice, reaks of someone fishy to me.

So far, I have held my ground and stated that without notice, he cannot just show up. What should I do?
  #2  
Old 04-29-2010, 09:23 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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To me - If the order does not allow the other parent and their spouse to attend the school of your child, then, collectively either or both have no business being there to interfere with the child's regime as ordered.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:34 AM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Yes, that is how I read it. My query is also in regards to the terminology of joint custody. He is stating joint custody means he should have equal access to our children, yet, I have primary care and control and I do not believe it implies this in any way. It is not in the order that visits can occur at any time during school hours. The order clearly states when visits can occur WITH NOTICE AND CONSENT on midweek.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:57 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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Joint Custody does not mean equal sharing of time to the children. Your children's regime is fixed by further access order. To me, the order is not working to the benefit of the children as the other parent interferes and effectively undermining your authority decreed by order.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:08 AM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Thank you. I appreciate the wording you have used. Since my ex has called CAS on my consistently, they have now become involved stating the conflict is creating emotional harm to the children. In my opinion, after spending years in court, being the party who consistently has presented settlement offers and compromise, he is undermining my authority and his actions are the ones hurting the children, so CAS should be calling him on his behaviour. Instead, they consider us both equally responsible for the harm when all I am doing is following the court order. If equal access were on the table, I would get to see and speak with my 14 year old son also.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:05 PM
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I'm surprised that the CAS has not made the matter a child protection considering their obligation. Have they clarified their position further of ongoing conflict and emotional harm?

Its not clear why your 14 year old child does not have access to electronic communication - Is there no direct or indirect contact by order?
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:18 PM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Yes, CAS has made it a matter of child protection due to the emotional harm that the children may be experiencing by the issues of custody. Unfortunately for me, their solution is to impose we attend Alternative Dispute Resolution which puts me in a very uncomfortable position. I have already been in court on numerous occasions and worked diligently with his lawyer to come up with reasonable and fair access schedules and specific guidelines to follow. All I want is for him to follow the order. I agreed under duress to allowing my son to live with his dad when the judge refused to insist he follow the court order and return him. I set out such conditions as I be able to call him on a regular basis, he attend every other weekend at my home, he communicate with me using email or phone, he come for 2 weeks holidays in the summer and one week at Christmas. However, my phone calls are screened, my emails intercepted and Dad and his new wife have told my son that he can choose when and if he attends and allowed him to read the court documents. I believe they have instilled their anger towards me onto my son, to the point where he is now convinced I am the bad parent and refuses any contact. CAS does not seem to be willing to step in and insist he follow the order. Now, they are using the same parental alienation tactics on my daughter. Additionally, everything I have read about mediation and ADR is that it is not advised if their is a power imbalance or a history of abuse. I was and continue to be emotionally abused and threatened by my ex so the last thing I want to do is sit in the same room with my abuser.
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:56 PM
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Have the CAS advised further protection hearing - What I mean is on one hand they are claiming emotional harm - but on the other they are only recommending mediation. To me, DISCLOSURE is required.

As far as the children and communication - effectively you will require orders.

Have you considered your own action...
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:16 PM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean by disclosure and further protection? They take the stand that they are there to represent the chlldren's best interests and the fact that one party is uncooperative means both parties are involved in a dispute that harms the children. Absent me just giving my daughter back to them and realizing I will never see or hear from her, I am pretty powerless.

I have given up on any further motions; I have brought the matter before the courts on one too many occasions without any resolve nor any judge willing to impose sanctions against my ex for contempt of the existing court orders. Each time I have been before the courts, I have presented reasonable settlement offers with explicit details reqarding access, communication etc. He has failed to follow any order and no judge has imposed costs or sanctions for his failure to follow the orders. An Order is only as good as the ability to enforce it and anyone who has been through our family justice system knows that it has no teeth to sanction a person to follow an order. In my experience, I either choose to bring the matter before the courts AGAIN, go further in debt, adding to the stress or I try my best to live my life without harm to my children. I can only control my own actions.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susiecanoe View Post
Sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean by disclosure and further protection? They take the stand that they are there to represent the chlldren's best interests and the fact that one party is uncooperative means both parties are involved in a dispute that harms the children. Absent me just giving my daughter back to them and realizing I will never see or hear from her, I am pretty powerless.

I have given up on any further motions; I have brought the matter before the courts on one too many occasions without any resolve nor any judge willing to impose sanctions against my ex for contempt of the existing court orders. Each time I have been before the courts, I have presented reasonable settlement offers with explicit details reqarding access, communication etc. He has failed to follow any order and no judge has imposed costs or sanctions for his failure to follow the orders. An Order is only as good as the ability to enforce it and anyone who has been through our family justice system knows that it has no teeth to sanction a person to follow an order. In my experience, I either choose to bring the matter before the courts AGAIN, go further in debt, adding to the stress or I try my best to live my life without harm to my children. I can only control my own actions.

So what your saying is the CAS is in contravention of provincial statute? As per Section 1:

Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11

...Paramount purpose and other purposes

Paramount purpose

1.(1)The paramount purpose of this Act is to promote the best interests, protection and well being of children....
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