Different Subject!

sassymom12July 16, 2009

DH has custody & all decision making in parenting agreement. BM was supposed to have SD for a week in June. She told DH that she wasn't going to take SD for her week. She called tonight asking to take SD in Aug. DH said "No, it states in the agreement that if you don't take her you forfeit your vacation week"! That didn't go over at all. He told her we already have plans (we really do)! Now she's telling him that she's going to mediation if we don't change our plans. Uh, no way,we booked the hotel.

She has the same copy we do, she's known forever when her week is.

My question is this: Would a mediator or judge really make us change our plans or accomodate her when she refuses to follow the parenting plan?

This is not unusual for her to not take her daughter when she's supposed to.It's actually quite common.

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Well, depending on how your court handles family law cases, you have to figure it's already the middle of July... In most cases, they set mediation and then a hearing to go over what happens in mediation. That can take several weeks. I would try to find some kind of compromise if there is time that fits around your vacation.. maybe the week before or the week after. But, that's a courtesy since she willingly gave up her week in June. Can she take a week in July?

I would let her file for mediation (call her bluff) and meanwhile, offer her a week that works for you, so at least you don't appear to be unreasonable. I would not change plans to accommodate her but she should be willing to change HER plans to see her daughter, if it's that important to her. Most likely summer will be over before you get before a judge. My experience with mediation is the mediator offers suggestions and assists in the parents making an agreement. They do not decide your fate. Often, they are asked to give a recommendation but the Judge will get to decide whether or not to follow the recommendation. Still, it's not a fun process and can be expensive.

It would frustrate me too... but pick your battles where you won't budge and try to be flexible when you can.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:36AM
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Its frustating when a NCP won't take the child as scheduled. I can only imagine how bad the child feels. And to reschedule is not only hotels, but work etc schedules. That being said I would agree with Ima to be as flexible as you can. I find email discussions are best as that way everyone has in it writing that Suzie will be at our house this week. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 8:42AM
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I would let her pick a different week in August, but most certainly i wouldn't change my plans. i would tell NCP: here are the weeks/or days when SD is available in August, pick the one you want. it certainly is not going to be the week i already have plans for.

It is ridiculous to start court battles over this. what is mom going to say, i asked to have SD for this specific week but they already have plans. LOL would judge expect people to cancel plans to accommodate NCP? I doubt it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 8:58AM
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What was her reason for not taking her week she had scheduled?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 9:05AM
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No, a judge would not make you change plans when mom was the one who gave up her scheduled week. I agree w/Ima. Offer another week or just tell mom these are the weeks SD is available.

I'm a little confused on the whole flexibility vs. parenting plan issue. Ima, what are your thoughts? DH is going by the plan verbatim now. He has tried and tried in the past to be flex and accomodating and it always winds up biting him in the end.

For example--BM wants to take SS to FL in August. Neither BM nor Dh excercised their 2 week increments (per the summer plan) b/c when the time came to select those, it was last winter and they were still quasi-trying to get along. DH didn't start going by the plan until everything went to h*ll in the spring. ANYWAY, b/c of this BM does not have anything longer than a 5 day stretch. She wants 9 days b/c she wants a week in FL plus 2 days driving.

DH's first inclination was to say too bad, but he did relent and say "ok but only if you give me an extra 4 days when you get back, and I want it in writing.' And then BM said no.

It's stuff like this that frustrates me and makes me think there should be NO flexibility. It just always seems to set things up for an argument. Either BM wants something, DH gives it to her and then she starts to EXPECT stuff....OR it is just a total argument b/c she asks, he says NO, and then she is hoppin' mad.

So--my question to all is--how do you determine when and what to be flexible on? In our case, it seems like there is not much room for flexibility. Give BM an inch and she will take a mile. I think the main thing is, there is a total double standard with her. It's fine (in her eyes) to do things or want extra time but heaven forbid if we want the same things.

In a perfect world, it would be a two way street, a give and take with flexibility....but that is just never how it's been w/BM and DH. DH has ALWAYS been accomodating and willing to switch nights, etc. but BM never does the favor in return. THAT is a lot of why DH finally said never mind, it's not worth it, let's just stick to the plan.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:32AM
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My thoughts about being flexible vs. sticking to the plan?

Well, if the NCP is threatening to go back to court over it & I want to avoid looking unreasonable, offer up a week. She gave up her week and sticking to the order, she loses out. But so does the child, so in that case it's reasonable to offer a week that is convenient for the CP to avoid going to court. If the NCP is not satisfied with that, then let them go to court. The court is not going to find a CP is being unreasonable because they won't give in to the demands of a NCP that willingly gave up their time.

If both parents are cooperative and the flexibility goes both ways, then yes there should be compromises from time to time to accommodate either of them. But, if it's always one sided, then there is a point that the flexible parent has to stand their ground and say no to the inflexible or demanding parent. We also stick to the plan because with BM, it's always one sided.... it's never about what's best for her child... let alone to make it easier for DH (I mean she will drive six hours to make us drive 3... and that means her daughter is in the car twice as long, but she doesn't care as long as she's making it more difficult for us) and that HAS to be a consideration in being flexible.

In a perfect world, parents would not do that to their children and one parent would not be forced to stand up for themselves.. they shouldn't have to. You're right, it should be a two way street. But, when a parent always caves to the demanding parent... some call it taking the high road (and sometimes that is best, don't get me wrong)... but it teaches kids that is how you get your way. They see one parent bully the other, that's what they are learning. With luck, they will see it for what it is but they also need to learn that when someone is doing wrong all the time, eventually you have to stand up for yourself.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Ima you are always able to put things into words so clearly! I love it.

That is a lot of how DH feels w/BM. I don't mean to trump my DH up and say he is this perfect parent...because he's not. He makes mistakes just like everyone does. But at the end of the day, he really does have SS's best interest at heart. This FL trip w/BM is a perfect example. DH WANTS SS to go. He knows it is not in SS's best interest to miss out on a trip w/his mom and SF, SS, and baby sister. He wants him to have fun! For that reason, my guess is DH will ultimately cave on this one. I don't know, though--he MIGHT stick firm to agreeing to it ONLY if BM gives him the extra 4 days IN WRITING.

That would be fair and reasonable.

The problem is...whenever we go on vacation w/the kids, BM flips her wig. That's the difference. She doesn't WANT him to have fun and do family things with us. EVERY SINGLE vaca we have ever gone on, she has freaked about, threatened to not let him go, and then when we do go she calls INCESSANTLY etc. When we drove to MI last summer, she called EIGHT times on the drive up! Eight times in ten hours! DH and I could not believe it. And this was all back before DH had set boundaries with her, so he, of course, took every call. "where are you? how fast are you driving? is he having fun?" ETC. She wasn't even calling to talk to SS, she was just calling to "check" on him. I cannot tell you my DELIGHT when we got to the cabin and discovered we didn't have great cell reception! DH had to drive w/SS up the road to get a good signal. So BM was not able to call much--DH did drive him up the road every night for his nightly call.

Thank God for the plan now where we actually HAVE everything set up and no longer need her *permission* to do what we want. The only thing we have to do is plan around the schedule as much as we can so that we don't have to ask BM for favors. DH has adopted the mentality, too, that if SS can't go, he can't go. We are no longer going to ask BM to do US any favors w/switching b/c it NEVER works and only causes a fight.

For example--we are going to CO w/my family in September for a long weekend. There are specific dates and we had to cross our fingers as we looked at the schedule and hope that it was a weekend we had SS---thankfullly, it is! Had it not been, though, we were just going to go without him rather than ask BM to switch. like, this spring break--it's BM's year to have SB, so SS will, unfortunately, not get to go to the Carribbean w/us. :( It's sad for him, but at the same time---he will be w/BM and that time is good for him, as well. And he will go w/us the next year! Plus, it's our hope that as he gets old enough, he will just say to BM (or to DH) "look, I really want to do ___ or go___' and then that will happen. At some point, SS will start having more say in what he does.

It's actually kind of liberating to be able to look at the whole calendar and be able to know what we can do and when!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 11:18AM
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"So--my question to all is--how do you determine when and what to be flexible on?"

I was flexible when it benefited DD or when my inflexibility was damaging to DD. That was how I determined when to be flexible and when to put my foot down. Half the time I lived next door to X and half of that time I lived far away from X, in both scenarios I had to be flexible. But then again neither I nor X are particularly difficult, I would probably behave differently if my X would be difficult.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 3:48PM
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BM was offered a different week & not so poitely declined. Said we should change our plans because it only effects 3 of our days. And that she should be able to take SD whenever she wants as long as she gives us notice. She believes the parenting plan is only a suggestion.
So we told BM that she's been taking advantage & now we will be sticking to the parenting plan.
Question is this: In the parenting plan is says BM will pick up SD at 330pm or pay for aftercare. The school has changed dismissal to 305pm & now BM is saying it is our responsability to take care of her from 305pm to 330pm. Is this possible since we are not the ones who changed the dismissal time? Or is it known that if the school changes that then she has to change her time?
Maybe a lawyer is needed......

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 9:51PM
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We had a similar issue when our order says BM can pick up SD from school at 2pm when she was in 3rd grade & dismissal was at 2. When she went into 4th grade, dismissal was at 2:20pm so following the order gave her permission to take SD out of class early, at 2.

How unbelievable.. she's trying to force you to spend the money to pay aftercare? How many days a week does she need to be picked up? and who provides care on the other days? If it were me, I wouldn't argue about it, I would leave work early(I know not everyone can do that) and pick up SD myself... take her to the house & wait for BM to pick her up. I'd tell BM that I'm happy to have the extra time with SD. Once she realizes it does not bother you.. or maybe if she thinks you want the extra time, she will insist on getting her earlier (to deprive you of that time).

I've found it doesn't always do much good to try and reason with a BM that is operating out of anger or jealousy. If she truly cared for her child, more than she is angry or vengeful, she would not use her child to punish dad... by making dad arrange for 25 minutes of care. A loving mom would probably jump at the chance to have the extra time. So, telling her how much she's hurting her child is probably not going to get you anywhere. But, remove the reward... her reward is knowing she's made you upset or inconvenienced you... and when she doesn't have a reward, but the opposite, you WANT to spend more time with her... she will probably want to take that away from you. It's sad that a parent has to be 'tricked' into spending time with their child, etc. It is childish to play these games but some parents do not want to be reasonable and the other options are going back to court to clarify the 25 minute issue. The truth is, if you are going to follow it to the letter... so is she and she will find anything in the order to fight back with... even if it hurts her child.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:34PM
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I am confused -- you say DH has custody -- why is it mom's responsiblity to pick up child? Do you mean just on her days?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:35PM
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Next time you file in court do not put an exact time ... hubby's says "from the end of the school day" to "the start of school the next day" if no school parent who has children must provide care until end of a regular school day... this covers half days :) , she has a copy of the school calendar she knows what time school gets out ... much easier

Hubby had his changed after the 3rd time she didn't bother to meet the school bus on her day which happened to be a half day ... "my paper says three pm" ... next court order read the end of the school day half days included.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:32PM
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To clarify: her pickup is EO Friday.
Ima, great suggestion! Either myself or DH picks up my daughter anyway so I'll just tell BM that we'd love to have that extra time before her weekend! Love it!
I'm usually creative coming up with ideas to stop BM in her tracks when she's having a temper tantrum but lately she's getting under my skin with her thinking the world revolves around her not SD. Thank you all so much for the suggestions, they really help!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:52PM
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So all we're talking about is what time pickup is EO Friday? You might actually be better off picking her up so you and dh can grap backpack, see any homework, etc.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:59PM
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That's not all we're talking about. My DD gets SD's backpack from the teacher on those days and if BM still can't pick her up from school at 330pm then we have to take her back in to aftercare.So we will all be sitting in the parking lot for 25 minutes. This in turn does effect my DD also. The parenting plan states she picks her up from school not our house.
We have been very flexible with her & the more we give the more she wants!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:35AM
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so if school decides to change start time and her parenting plan says 9am school but really its 8 am she will keep her until 9 because thats what her plans says?

anything to be unreasonable

the other 9 days she goes to daycare? so keep her in for that friday and bill mom for the one day you won't ever get it but you can bring it up if you ever go to court again.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:01AM
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SD only goes to aftercare on BM's fridays. Otherwise my DH picks both the girls up. BM is responsible for the aftercare cost on her fri. And SD comes home at 7pm on Sun.
I liked Ima's suggestion. We'll just take the girls for a snack & return SD to school at 330pm.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:24AM
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Thats a very good idea , that way both yoru daughter and sd are not waiting around and give them something fun to do just before she goes to her moms.
Question..so mom has her EO friday..so its EOW, why doesn't she have full custody ofher? Its usually the mom who gets full custody.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 7:48AM
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Little history: BM cheating on DH,got caught & kicked out. BM had no contact w/ SD for 6 months then just whenever it was convienent for her. And BM is still that way.She will take her on her weekends but not her holidays,regularly drops her off early,doesn't call,isn't involved in ANY school functions or dr appts.The only time we have a problem with her is when she doesn't get her way & we won't rearrange our life for her.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:02PM
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this is ridiculous to pick her at 3 and then sit and wait for mom until 3;30. such arrangement is incovenient for everyone. can't mom show up at 3? and if she can't she has to pay for after care, not you.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:18PM
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"this is ridiculous to pick her at 3 and then sit and wait for mom until 3;30."

I agree w/FD.

I do think taking SD to get a snack or something after school is a good option, but it still is annoying b/c it's just enabling BM to be petty and childish.


But you do have to do what is best for SD...so this is probably a good alternative. It's just a shame her mom has to make it be this way.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:29PM
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But doing what's best for SD is not always whats best for DD. Where's the balance? Any arrangements I make with my ex don't ever interfere with anyone else in the family.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:05AM
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"But doing what's best for SD is not always whats best for DD. Where's the balance?"

I feel your frustration and I wish I had an answer for you. I have the same issues/feelings regarding my SS and DD. I don't know how to balance it all the time, it is really hard. It's HARD when they are not both your bio-children.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:17AM
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