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If they don't use it can they lose it?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
DSC's mom is supposed to have visitation every other saturday from 10:30 to 6. She lives about an hour away with her parents, doesn't have a job but does have access to a car/bus and has a place to visit with the kids while she is down here. However she only exercises her visitation about every 6 to 8 weeks. It sucks because we can never plan ANYTHING out!!! I can't put the kids in certain sports because she would never take them if she did show up and its not fair that they would miss every other game( soccer is saturdays basketball is saturdays) What sort of stipulation do you have about confirming visitation. We were thinking a week in advance like if you dont call the sat before by 5pm you are forfitting your visitation. Or is it possible to bring our record of her missed visits to court and apply to reduce her custody. She only has visitation rights and DP has sole custody as far as decisions about the kids.

What would you guys suggest. DP's birthday is on next sat and we wanted to do something special but we don't know if she will show up or not. probably not but you just never know. If we do try to give her a time by which she must confirm would we still have to get the order revised to include that statement since she's rather argumentitive. She once made us cancel the first day of our camping trip because last minute (literally we were headed out the door) she calls saying shes going to use her time. she yelled and screamed at DP threatened to call the cops and everything.

Another problem is the way the agreement is worded it says "every other saturday as mutually agreed" the problem being the agreed part. what if they dont agree?

TIA for your help!
post #2 of 17
The kids have the right to see their mother, every other Saturday as mutually agreed. It's not about her rights at all. I'd ring her and ask if she's planning on coming down next weekend, can she make it Sunday instead so you can celebrate your DP's birthday with him?
post #3 of 17
Visitation isn't use-it-or-lose-it, but there are steps you can take.

(This isn't legal advice.)

I doubt the court would reduce visitation, but might entertain changing the language from "as mutually agreed" to something like:

"Mother shall have visitation at reasonable times, upon reasonable notice, including every other Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mother shall confirm visitation no later than 72 hours before visitation is to occur. If Mother does not confirm visitation, visitation will not occur that Saturday except by mutual agreement of the parties, but Mother will retain the right to reschedule visitation to a date and time as mutually agreed to by the parties."

Also, many holiday schedules include guaranteed visitation/placement on parents' birthdays (so, every year, on Mom's birthday the kids are with her and on Dad's birthday the kids are with him), so that may be something to look into.
post #4 of 17
Tough one.

If Saturdays are sport days, though, maybe she would agree to switch to Sundays? Or some other time?

I'm surprised there is no confirmation requirement. DH's agreement says he has to pick days and confirm for summer so early in the year that for a couple years there the school schedule had not yet been set (and he's required to have them back a certain number of days before school starts, so this made it essentially impossible to schedule the full amount). No confirmation must make it really impossible for you to have weekends.
post #5 of 17
No confirmation does make it hard to schedule activities on weekends. I know.

Unfortunately, visitation is not use it or lose it unless a CO says so. It is the CP's burden to make the kids available during the NCPs parenting time whether they use it or not. And really, it is not in the kid's best interests to make it a "use or lose it" situation barring extreme abuse of the schedule.
post #6 of 17
I really feel for you and the kids. Biomom here rarely shows up and is never to be counted on. Its very hard on my dss.

However. We have a rule, if she plans on showing up she needs to confirm it or cancel it within 24 hours of the visit. Honestly if she showed up without calling I would still let her take him.

I never make plans for that day of the month because if she did show up, it would make me very happy. She never shows, but I always keep that day open just incase. I always call and leave her a message saying we will be home all day incase she would like to come pick him up. Hoping she will get her act together. And for the record she has no job, no school, and my MIL helps pay her rent. So I have no idea what she actually does. But if there is a chance she will show up biomom is more then welcome, unless my dss doesn't want to go with her.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
its not that i don't want her to see them i really just want her to get it together. She was their primary care giver from birth until 4ish years ago, really how can you just give up your kids like that? thats what bothers me most. She has no job, lives with her parents, has NO phone so we cant call to confirm, she wont give DP her parent's number either. She wouldn't be able to be reached if an emergency occured. We usually keep that day open but every now and then something comes up and there's no way to tell until she calls from a payphone friday night. All she says to DP then is tomorrow at 1030 right? she never asks for updates about the kids never asks about school or pictures or anything. I just dont get how you ditch your little ones like that. and its just so hard on them it seems like if she got less visitation legally it woudn't really change the situation at all. But it would make us more able to do fun things with the kids. In fact she should have picked them up 10 minutes ago as of now this is 2 months without a visit im just so angry with her for doing this to them.
post #8 of 17
Your DH could TRY writing a child-focused letter to her. "As mutually agreed" seems like both he and the mom have to come to an agreement about the visits. They must have missed out of friends birthday parties or other events, too. He could let her know that he feels it's in the kids best interest to be able to make plans for their weekends.

Every other weekend is about two weekends per month... he could let her know that he doesn't mind if she sees the kids two weekends in a row, or on Sundays instead of Saturdays, but the kids need to be able to make other commitments when she isn't going to be seeing them. She isn't treating the kids fairly by just flaking out on them like this... it's reasonable to expect that she confirm one way or the other a few days in advance.

Do they KNOW that their mom is supposed to come today?
post #9 of 17
This will probably be the unpopular opinion here... but we sorta do have a "use it or lose it" rule. We live in Kentucky. Ex lives in Michigan. Since I was the one to move ds out of Michigan, the responsibility to bring him back for visits falls on me (well, not even that is court ordered but I do it anyway). I send ex a list of visits for the whole year. I usually send it within the first week or two of January, with the first visit usually in March. He has the entire list for the entire year (unless we have an unplanned trip, which I will contact him as soon as I know). In the letter I give him the dates that ds will be in Michigan and tell him to pick a time/place to meet. The first year he didn't show up most of the visits and for the other ones that he did show up at he contacted me just hours before he wanted the visit to be. Keep in mind that we drive 6-7 hours EACH WAY over a weekend for these visits... that's a lot of driving and a lot of money spent for him to just not show up.

DS has autism so... this doesn't work. Throwing a monkey wrench in ds's day like that is horrible. He wants something predictable. He wants to know what's going to happen that day.

So for this year we did things different. In the letter I also let him know that I expected some contact from him at least 3 days before the day he wanted a visit on (so if he wants to see ds on Friday he needs to contact me by the end of the day Tuesday). If he doesn't contact me by Thursday (the last day possible for him to contact me on, since Sunday is his last possible visit day) then I can make the decision on whether to go to Michigan still (to visit my family) or not. But I'm not going to drive 7 hours to Michigan just to sit around and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for him to call and ask to see ds and then drive 7 hours back to Kentucky. If I do that, I can't make any plans with my family (because they may be interrupted if ex decides he wants to see ds in an hour) and that just sucks. I will say that he's done very well this year with contacting me 3 days before each visit to say he wants to visit (well, his new wifey has done very well...). Out of the 3 unexpected/unplanned visits this year (one in July, one in September and Thanksgiving weekend) he only took advantage of it once (September). The other two I never heard from him one way or the other.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
"as mutually agreed" was put in there by the mediator and it has not worked out well at all. Its been a problem ever since the arrangement was made. Mostly because she cant ever agree on anything not even to come see them. This all came up because DP's birthday was yesterday, she was "supposed" to have them yesterday not only does she not come get them she calls DP at 1130 at night on his birthday to wish him happy birthday!!! they have no sort of amicable relationship what so ever. Also she doesn't even ask to talk to the kids, when dp says not to call him and that he doesn't want her birthday wishes she gets all huffy. He mentions the fact that she should have seen them and she says she doesn't have time. shes unemployed how does she not have time. her parents let her use the car to come see them so there's no excuse. She still wont say if shes coming to visit after christmas but im sure she'll show up with a token gift or two and disappear again for a few months.

DSD does know she's supposed t ocome every other saturday but since the flakiness has gotten so bad she doesn't even ask anymore. DSS told me the other day that he thinks im a better mom than his because his doesn't even want to see him or do the things moms should. its heart breaking. She tops it off by saying she's there for her kids when they 're so confused as to whats going on.

BACK ON TOPIC they dont really miss out on events because she hardly ever shows but its not fair to RSVP to something then bail the day of because of her selfish behavior. For those of you who do have a stipulation about confirming visits is it explicitly written in the agreement or could DP just try telling her that was what needed to happen, she will mostly just throw a little fit and then do what he asks. we just really dont want to get into a big court battle over someting like this.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pomplemoose View Post
For those of you who do have a stipulation about confirming visits is it explicitly written in the agreement or could DP just try telling her that was what needed to happen, she will mostly just throw a little fit and then do what he asks. we just really dont want to get into a big court battle over someting like this.
In our case- no, it is not written into the order that ex give me at least 3 days notice. That is something I started asking of him about a year ago. He didn't argue about it and, honestly, the one time he texted me 2 days before a visit asking if he could see ds I told him yes. I did mention that I really needed the 3 day warning but, since we had nothing else planned, I would still be willing to work with him.

Is it legally enforcable? I don't think so. But I don't think ex has the balls to take me back to court and tell the Judge "I want her to drive ds 7 hours through 3 states each way just in case I decide at the last minute I do want to see ds". No Judge is going to let that fly. He has no contact with ds or I between visits, which can sometimes be 3-4 months between visits. I don't think it's too much to ask for a quick call/text of "hey, I want to see ds on X day at Y time at Z place. Is that okay?".

And, funny timing for this thread, because ex was supposed to contact me by the end of today if he wants to see ds on Friday. I've not heard from him yet, and I doubt I do in the next 1 1/2 hours. If he contacts me by the end of tomorrow he can see ds Saturday. If he contacts me by the end of Thursday he can see ds Sunday morning before we leave town. I already talked to ex's family though and we're meeting them Saturday morning so I bet ex caught wind of that and is taking the easy way and just piggy backing on their visit so he doesn't actually have to contact me
post #12 of 17
How heartbreaking for the kids. Do you think if your DP talked to her about how hard it is for the kids to not know whether she is coming or not that day, it would make a difference to her? In other words, talk to her about it in terms of the kids feelings rather than scheduling. Good luck.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I honestly dont think it would make a difference to her. She is rather selfish about the whole thing and really doesn't make a huge effort either way. really its like she only shows up for token visits christmas b-days summer here and there. she didn't even call on DSD's b day so i cant imagine its about the kids feelings more here convenience.
post #14 of 17
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post #15 of 17
I would caution against trying to limit it more even if you could. My father was much the same - showed up randomly. We never knew when he would show. One of the things I think my mother did right was that (despite the fact that she absolutely hates him) she allowed him to see me whenever he did show up. It wasn't for him. It was for me.

A lot of the issues you're having would be there regardless of whether she showed. Going to things on Saturdays still would be difficult. Sports would be next to impossible unless you both agreed to sign your step-son up. I just don't think even if it were emotionally a good idea that trying to alter her visitation really would help your situation. It's one that I see many friends who are divorced struggle with even when things are amicable.
post #16 of 17
I would stipulate in a custody agreement about sports and other activities.

When we did Boy Scouts, we had more than one father that had to take and ex to court about this. It was not a case that the kids had too much going on but the mom's did not want to bother with an activity they did not choose. Or "gasp" they had to let the child with dad on an unassigned night like Tuesday.

In our Girl Scout troop there is a dad that has to either take the girl to Girl Scout functions on his weekends (doesn't happen often), allow mom another adult, or he is in contempt of court and could lose visitation. BUT!! The mom has to give him at least one-week notice with proof that there is a function (she was busted using fake Girl Scout events to interfere with his visitation ). It is stipulated that summers be dived between the summer camp/s she chooses. Neither parent can figure out why she chooses so many camps and can't wait to do month long ones.

My son had a kid whose parents went to court over swim team and weekend obligations.

These are families that live close and mileage does not create a problem. Within reason, a child should not miss activities because his parents live apart. On EOW, the custodial parent should take the child or allow the other parent to take them. Both parents should be able to have input on activities and how many. One Boy Scout's dad struggled because his ex-wife put the child in so many things that Boy Scout was interference. Judge did not appreciate when the child's lawyer (court appointed advocate) stated that mom was abusing privilege that the child only wanted to do Boy Scouts with his dad and 1 other activity with his mom (forgot which one). That the child did not like all the activities his mom signed him up for and the mom was not taking the child's feelings in to account.

With ALL these cases, it was more about what the kids wanted. The parents had to let their kids participate in activities even if it unconvinced them. This was both parents inconvienance not just one parent.

I would set up a EOW schedule, make sure she knows the schedule to what ever activity. Then she can work around that.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I guess the thing is she really doesn't seem to want to work around anything. She doesn't care to know when they are doing things. Even if she's invited she never shows. She would be more then welcome to take the/come to the event but she just has them miss it which is a big disappointment to them. She has had some serious drug issues and although she lives almost 100 miles way she is only allowed to visit them in the border of the county that we live. She has also violated this on 2 occasions. She has had 3 boyfriends who are registered sex offenders one of whom she got in contact with while he was still in jail. Mostly because the parenting agreement says that she cannot have them in contact with any sexual preditor/felon at all and she would rather spend time with those people then her own kids. She does have a safe place that she visits with them (DP has known the person for years) when she chooses too. I dont want to limit her contact more i just feel like she should realize that the path she has chosen has led to this reality. that her kids really aren't all hers that she cant do what she wants when she wants with it only affecting her and her life.
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