Going back to court?

lovehadleyFebruary 6, 2009

In early December, DH and BM settled their court case. They both signed off on EVERYTHING and the case was closed.

The main bone of contention was the school issue, but it was settled that, starting in August, SS will start 2nd grade in OUR district. He is finishing 1st grade in BM's district.

BM signed all the papers, as did DH. EVERYTHING is settled.

Apparently, she did not realize the reality of everything and when DH approached her last week about filling out the enrollment forms for our district, she went ballistic.

She said this is NOT fair to SS for him to switch schools, and she is getting his teacher on board and having her write a letter to the courts saying how well he's doing, and how it would be detrimental to him to switch schools, etc.

Can she REALLY do this again? I personally don't think she has the money to drag this back to court. But even if she DID--can she really re-open a case that was SETTLED in December?

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Can she ask teachers to write to the court? Sure. Will the court do anything? Unlikely.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 9:46AM
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I agree with kkny. The issues can be brought up every two weeks but the courts generally like to see things go smoothly without conflict. She agreed to something and isn't even going to give it a chance? The court probably won't like that and may see her as being uncooperative. If she files to go back to court, make sure you ask for attorney's fees in your response because it's unnecessary litigation.

And my experience has been that teachers don't want to be in the middle of a custody battle. Besides, what difference will it make if SS won't even have that teacher next year? It's not up to a teacher to decide what is or isn't detrimental to a child either. The court has already decided he should change schools, right? If the parents come to an agreement and the court 'stamps' it's approval, then it's a court order. Usually, the courts are reluctant to change it once it's an order... unless there is a change in circumstances that is significant or it's really not working out well or if the parents agree to change something. BM hasn't even given it a chance and unless he went from F's to A's since the agreement/order was made, I wouldn't think the court will make any changes.

If it were me, I wouldn't give her any reaction at all. I'd probably tell her 'do what you feel you must but I will ask the court to have you pay my attorney's fees and costs because I don't feel it's necessary to go back to court.' and leave it at that.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:16AM
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Ima, in the underperfoming school near me they are losing enrollment (as parents move, or shift kids to private/Catholic schools) which means they lose state aid. Teachers are not happy. Would I suspect that if Love's SS went there, the teacher would provide a letter? Absolutely. So I would not be too concerned if a letter were written. I dont think it would do much good.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Well, what's ironic is that BM is claiming (and she may very well be telling the truth, though she has been known to exaggerate) that SS's teacher is documenting how "uninvolved" my DH is.

Well, DUH. SS goes to a school that is 20+ miles from our house! In morning/evening traffic, it's a 45 minute drive each way! And my DH works FULL TIME. OF COURSE he is not going to be able to be involved. That was his (and his attorney's) main argument---that in order for my DH to play an active role in his son's school and activities, he needs to be at a school in OUR district. BM doesn't work so she has the TIME to be involved, the TIME to do the driving, etc.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:23AM
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lol, If it were me, I'd tell my DH to call the teacher and get her email address. Then, send her an email every night to ask how his son is doing. If she doesn't have email, does the school have grades online? There are lots of ways to be involved that don't require driving down to the school all the time. I keep track of SD's progress, mostly by checking online as her school just started using aeries browser. If nothing else, he should attend all conferences. A letter from a teacher saying dad is uninvolved is going to be meaningless when dad is working full time 45 minutes away... it only strengthens the argument that SS needs to go to school near dad, so dad CAN be more involved. (as she is complaining that dad isn't involved)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:44AM
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And tell her DH will be taking days off work to attend all school functions, and his lowered income will have to be subtracted from child support....Then she may want him to be less involved......

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 10:53AM
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" If nothing else, he should attend all conferences"

Oh, he does, and always has since SS was in preschool.

I think the main thing is that when SS is with us, he doesn't get to certain school activities---optional ones-- and this makes BM angry. A few weeks ago, the school had a skate night from 7-9 (which I thought was LATE for a school night ANYWAY!) at a skating rink near the school. SS didn't go because it was just too far for us to drive him, especially on a school night when the kids are in bed by 8-8:30. DH picked SS up from school at 4 pm and then drove home---there was just no way they could have come home for an hour or two, and then driven 20 miles BACK to school and then back home again. So I guess BM had a conversation with the teacher about how awful that was. I admit, it wasn't ideal, and SS was really disappointed, but there was just no way for us to justify going to that. If it had been a weekend night, it would have been more do-able.

And other things--it's been difficult to find any activities for SS to do this year, as BM wants DH to be involved in coaching, team things, etc. But DH just can't be THAT involved when the distance is THAT great, on top of running his business!

BM has lunch with SS at school every other Friday ( on our long stretches, so she can see him) and she thinks DH should do the same during HER long stretches. But it's just really hard for DH to be able to leave work for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day. SS's school is 20+ miles from OUR house, and closer to 30 miles from DH's work!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Wow! BM really wants to control THAT MUCH? It's none of her business what DH does. If she wants to go have lunch with him, that's great. She's probably making SS feel bad that dad doesn't do it too. BM wants this and BM wants that. That would bug the hell outta me. DH wants BM to get a freaking job! DH wants BM to do lots of things. Oh well.

Would it have been possible for BM to keep SS that day and take him to the skate night and DH pick him up? I agree, if he drove to get him after school, I wouldn't drive back either. We had that issue when BM lived 45 minutes away and had SD in school and tae kwon do near her house. I would go pick up SD from school and sometimes I'd wait around for the tae kwon do classes but before I came along, BM would keep SD after school and take her, DH would pick her up at the class. If they can't agree or work things out, then it's none of BM's business what DH does on his time. My SD's BM threw a fit when we put SD in karate classes near our house after she caused a scene at tae kwon do with me and DH said SD will no longer go on his weeks. She brought it up to the Judge at trial and he thought she was being ridiculous. (Now, it would be different with a kid that is pursuing a sport on a professional level or has a talent that is being groomed. But an average kid doing average kid activities is, in my opinion, not the same thing)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 11:50AM
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"Would it have been possible for BM to keep SS that day and take him to the skate night and DH pick him up?'

That's always another issue with us.

When they went to court, the GAL said that while SS was in BM's district, if there EVER arose an occasion where DH could not leave work in time to get him, then b/c BM had presented herself as a SAHM, SHE would be responsible to get him, provided she was given enough notice.

He did note that IF she could not do it, then it was DH's responsibility to figure it out. In other words, DH can't tell BM to get a babysitter or FORCE her to pick SS up if it's not her day. The GAL also told BM that if she chose not to, for whatever reason, that it was her choice, but she could NOT complain about any arrangements DH made, whether it was me picking SS up, or SS going to after-care at school. But, of course----she b*tches about it nonetheless.

It happens every few weeks---DH will have a customer come in and he won't be able to leave to get SS at 4 pm pickup. But EVERY TIME he asks BM, she gets all riled up and complains about it. So DH really tries to avoid, at all costs, asking BM to accomodate him in ANY WAY.

Some of it IS DH's fault--he allows BM to suck him in and engage him in her fights. She does want to control everything, and it sucks. :(

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 12:39PM
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Reading that makes me SOOOO glad that BM moved 3 hours away! I know her moving was the worse thing for SD, but it was the BEST thing for me. OMG, that sounds so much like her and when she was here, she was a SAHM that lived a few blocks from the school and since DH was working, I was to pick up SD and if I couldn't (because of work usually) she would charge him a babysitting fee to keep her own daughter until he got off work.

She also complains about everything but doesn't want to do anything. I just ignore her now. I've gotten used to the idea that she just wants to complain. Don't get me wrong, it might bug me and I will come here and vent so I don't tear her a new one or make things worse by telling what I think of her, but I don't give her any energy. It takes a lot of patience, practice and time to learn how to not get sucked into being engaged in battle. It can take even longer to learn how to shrug. Her moving away helped a lot!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Speaking as an educator, I can tell you that it would be unprofessional for a teacher to either write or speak on behalf of one parent in court. However, if a teacher is providing the court with information regarding the child's attendance record, latenesses, performance in class, homework completion, and general hygiene; it may provide information that could determine if there is a pattern of behavior indicative of a need for a change. Visablity of a parent at the school is not what determines an involved parent. I've seen many a parent at school, having lunch with their children, etc. whom I feel could benefit from parenting classes. I, among other educators, feel that an involved parent is one who keeps in touch with the teachers about their child's performance, makes sure the chid is doing homework, and who works with the child when they are having problems. Also important is making sure the child is at school on time and is not excessively absent.

It is well-known that any change in a child's life will require an adjustment period, including that of switching schools. However, if there is good reason for him to switch schools, which apparently there was for the court to agree to such, in what way would it be detrimental? He has not been in this school more than 1 or 2 years anyhow. Unless there is additional documentation that this teacher can provide to reinforce her support of the BM, I would not worry. She can write a letter to the judge/court, but it most likely will go no further than that. In fact, it may put BM in a negative light as far as the court is conderned.

And while it is true that underperfoming schools are loosing enrollment and receive less in state funding, I seriously doubt that this is a factor behind a teacher's support of the child remaining at the school. Most people are ready to blame the school for their current status, but what most don't realize or refuse to beleive is that teachers cannot do it all. If the parents are not willing to do their job and actually "parent", there is little we can do. Without parent involvement and reinforcement, their children are likely to struggle. If a parent shows that their child's education is not important, then the child is not going to think it is important either. In the low performing school in which I work, this is the one obstacle to student performance that we constantly struggle with. We want our students to succeed, but we keep running into this proverbial 'brick wall'.

It is entirely possible, after all, that the BM never even mentioned this to the teacher, and is assuming that the teacher would write a letter for her. BM may be thinking that the threat of getting the school involved will be enough to make DH change his mind. She may just be 'blowing smoke'.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 11:49AM
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