Hi everyone, while things have calmed down a bit since the whole Christmas break fiasco, I have come to the conclusion that my finacee's ex is just one of those people that is not happy unless some kind of conflict is occurring. We try to keep everything as calm and neutral as possible, but she somehow always creates something to get everyone upset over. She'll be happy for a week or two, be very nice and accommodating, etc...and then all of a sudden, BAM, he'll get some crazy threatening, accusatory email about all the things he's doing wrong. Two weeks ago she finally agreed (after we asked multiple times) to switch the schedule so she gets the kids all day Saturday and we get them all day Sunday (instead of us picking the kids up at 1pm on Saturday and then her picking them up at 2pm Sunday. This always seemed stupid to me because then neither parent gets a full weekend day with the kids). We let her pick the date to start the switch and she said March 2012, so this was our first changed weekend. A day or two prior to Saturday she must have hit the bad mood part of her crazy cycle because all of a sudden he's getting texts about how she doesn't like the new schedule. She feels it is too cold to change the schedule because she doesn't know what to do with the kids for an entire day when it's still cold out. (I wanted him to write back and let her know if she is unable to care for her children for an entire day, he'd gladly pick them up early on Saturdays...I was mostly kidding, but not really. He didn't do it anyway). When he said no, he wanted to try the new schedule out for a few weeks at least, she came back with the kids don't like the schedule because they are afraid it would interfere with their sleepovers at their grandparents house. WTF? There is no reason the kids can't still sleepover...they'd just go over Saturday evening instead of Saturday afternoon and stay for longer on Sunday. So he still told her no and we explained the sleepover schedule to the kids when they arrived. So far we are okay, but I guess we're afraid she can change things back to the regular schedule on the divorce agreement at any time and in WI you cannot request a legal schedule change until 2 years after the divorce (which will be August 2012).
Anyway, my question is about phone calls to the kids when they are with the other parent. He hasn't dug out the divorce papers yet, but it says something like parents get one phone call a day when the kids are with the other parent and the custodial parent cannot block communication, but also does not have to allow the call if it's interfering with whatever is going on. Most of the time we let the kids answer the call when she calls. She usually does one of three things if we don't answer right away, calls and leaves a message for them to listen to, calls and leaves a message requesting the kids call her back or sends a text directed at the kids that my fiancee is to read to them. Based on this, if she leaves a message for them, we typically don't call her back (because she hasn't made the request) unless the kids asked to call her (which they sometimes do). It's never been a problem before. My fiancee will do the same thing...if he wants a callback, he specifically requests it.
Anyway, here is what happened this weekend. First, on Saturday night we pick the kids up to find out DSS is sick and has been since the morning. even though several texts were exchanged, she never bothered to mention this to us until pickup time which I guess is not a mandatory thing, but it would be nice to know. Anyway, as they are leaving she tells DSS that she will leave her phone on all night so he can call her at any time if he needs to. This becomes important later.
So we get home and watch some TV and relax and at 8pm put the kids to bed. It is their normal bedtime and the ex knows this. She calls at 8:01 and leaves a message for the kids and specifically DSS about hoping he is feeling better. We have three kids here and we were in the middle of getting them all to bed. To us, a phone call at this time is an interference in our activities and it's inappropriate to call at bedtime, so we did not call her back. She apparently interrogated the kids on Sunday night because her email said that DSD told her she was awake at that time and reading in her bed and could have talked to her. True, but the phone is with DAD who is putting other kids to bed plus DSS was just getting to sleep and if he heard his sister on the phone, may have woken up and my daughter definitely would have gotten all riled up if the other two are on the phone. I don't understand why the ex would not have called 15 minutes earlier? Anyway, my point is, I do not think we had to let her talk on the phone at that time, based on what the divorce papers say. Plus, she had just seen the kids only TWO hours earlier.
Her next point is about a text she sent Sunday morning. It was directed at DSS and just said something like, "Are you feeling better today? I can't wait to see you later." She sent this while the kids were sledding. My fiancee read the text to DSS who said he was feeling better. Again, the pattern for 2 years has been to just read the texts to the kids, not to reply to them, so no response was sent. She must have grilled the kids on this too, because her email states DSS told her that dad never told him about the text. First of all, I do not think it is appropriate to take the word of a 7 year old. We were in the middle of sledding and having fun, so of course he doesn't remember the 15 second conversation about a text from mom. That does not mean we didn't deliver it.
Her third point was about letting DSS call her in the middle of the night. Of course, he did wake up at 4am that night and instead of going back to sleep like he'd NORMALLY do, he gets up and wakes up half the household requesting to call his mother at 4-freakin'-am on Sunday morning. If that is no an interference or inappropriate, I don't know what is, especially since she told him to do so. My fiancee told him no, it's too early, but went to his bed and slept with him for the rest of the night since he still wasn't feeling great. Again, she grilled them on this too because she said DSS told her dad said he was not allowed to call her so early. I feel like he should tell her when the kids are with him, HE is the one to take care of them and she should not be offering phone consultations in the middle of the night.
So she is claiming he is going against court orders to not block communication, but we feel this weekend she only called at times that were no conducive to having a phone conversation with the kids. This has come up before when she has called at night while we're watching a movie right before bedtime. Calling her back during the moving would be an interference as would calling at bedtime.
Now, before people start saying we are trying to block the kids from their mom, I just want to explain that the way she set up the custody schedule (and yes, she chose the schedule because the ONE judge here favors mothers and would not even look at my fiancee's proposed schedule) she sees the kids every single day (he goes 2-3 days a week not seeing them at all). Even the temp change we made (for her so she could go to work early) where she does not have them at all on Tuesdays she still sees them because she goes to school and eats lunch with them every Tuesday. We let the kids call her ANY time they request (between the hours of 7am and 8pm), send her photos of the kids when they're doing something fun (like Halloween or when they ask us to text her photos, etc...) and I'd say 90% of the time we answer her calls or call her back within an hour or two. So, if she keeps collecting the 10% of the time we don't because it's interfering with our activities with the kids, is that going to look bad? Should we be making a list of all the times we DO let the calls happen? We don't have a problem with the kids talking to their mom, but admittedly it is somewhat annoying when she has just seen them earlier in the day or will be seeing them soon and we are pretty sure she is doing it most of the time to annoy us because this calling every day thing only started about 2-3 months ago. Most of the time we try to have them call when we're in the car or just sitting around the house playing. But some days we actually have a lot of stuff planned. On top of that, DSS is having a lot of separation anxiety lately and misses his mom a lot. We have been having him call her in the evenings (it gets worse at bedtime) but noticed that the nights he speaks to her his anxiety gets worse. So we don't suggest the calls anymore to him (but if the ex calls, we allow her to talk to him of course).