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When one parent doesn't have transportation

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Simple version-- the custody agreement says NCP does most of the driving, but her car is always having issues-- breaks not working, no oil, boyfriend using it, sounds funny, or she doesn't have license, insurance, etc. It happens a lot. We end up driving dss, but it's a lot of work. Sure, I don't want her driving dss in an unsafe car, but sometimes the stories aren't quite believable. What do you do?
post #2 of 34
If it is something that happens frequently, I would say that it is not your problem. She needs to invest in a working vehicle for herself.

If it is a once in a while thing (which has happened to us with DSD's mom), then no big deal, we do the driving.
post #3 of 34
MY dhs' ex has been trying to make excuses lately and asking dh to drive/pick up kids ( she's supposed to do the driving) so far he hasn't. He refuses to make it his problem.
post #4 of 34
When we attempted to work out a visitation agreement with DSD's mom (she has no custodial/visitation rights) last summer we included that she needed to drive to our city. She lived an hour away. We agreed that the meeting place could be a nuetral place that she could pick but it had to be in the city we live, close to our home. We also put in the agreement that if DSD's mom ever had unsupervised visitation she would need to do all of the transporting and it would need to be in a seatbelt in a safe/weight appropriate car seat that she provides or DSD would not be going.

I think it was such a big deal for us because it meant that she would be making an obvious effort. If she'd like to see her kids then I think she needs to stop with the excuses and invest in a working/safe car. I know some people probably think that is harsh because some people do not have the finances to go out and just buy a car. The point is she needs to work something out. Those are her children and she needs to go the extra mile, literally. Whether she is borrowing a car, saving up to buy a 1000 dollar car right off the lot, financing a newer or more expensive car...It is her responsibility. Saying she can't make it repeatedly because of the car is like saying she does not want to see her children in my opinion.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
That is how I feel, Earthly Joys. Seriously, if it was once in a while, no problem. But it is at least once a week. Many times we can't bring him until 8 o'clock at night so that isn't much of a visit for him. We've never done the same to her. If my car wasn't working, I'd borrow, ride a bus, figure it out. Sometimes the stories don't fit, either . I feel like she's making excuses and being lazy.
post #6 of 34
Reading some of these posts make me feel like I'm being walked all over by dd's NCP. Seriously. I think I need to start taking a harder line when it comes to changing visit days & driving.

It was my understanding that as the CP the greater "burden" falls to me to facilitate a relationship between dd and her NCP. If that means rescheduling the visitsevery 2 weeks and doing the driving when his car is broken down (which happened very recently), then that is wht needs to be done.

I'm not sure where to draw the line. I'll be
post #7 of 34
My dad and his wife played that game for a while. My mom talked to her dad, who is a lawyer, and he said that she should start charging mileage. As in, "Sure, Chuck, I'll drop them off...when I get there you'll owe me $4.00 for gas and wear and tear, and another $5.00 for my time" It only happened a couple of times, then they got the point.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
Reading some of these posts make me feel like I'm being walked all over by dd's NCP. Seriously. I think I need to start taking a harder line when it comes to changing visit days & driving.

It was my understanding that as the CP the greater "burden" falls to me to facilitate a relationship between dd and her NCP. If that means rescheduling the visitsevery 2 weeks and doing the driving when his car is broken down (which happened very recently), then that is wht needs to be done.

I'm not sure where to draw the line. I'll be

If the car broke down every once in a while, it'd be fine, I guess, though I'd prefer her find a ride. But, it is seriously weekly. And sometimes she'll say the car has no oil and she doesn't have money to get any til Friday, then we get there and the car is gone because her boyfriend had to run errands. Other times she was telling us she didn't have insurance and it turned out her license was suspended for DUI. So, I never know what the real story is.

As far as rescheduling, dss is 12 now and unless it interfers with some plan we have, we don't really mind too much. We try to be flexible. Usually she just cancels rather than trades days so it isn't really a problem for us.
post #9 of 34
This is, frankly, one of the reasons why I hate my ex- because he left me 13k in debt and I couldn't afford to keep a car on the road, then started trying to bully me into joint transportation. I'm sorry to say this, but I think you do exactly what you say you're going to do, no more, no less. That way you end up feeling like you have some integrity, which can never be a bad thing.

Earthly Joys, I'm probably missing something here but why would you insist she buys a new car seat rather than using yours? : I don't get it. My guys are on boosters now, but on the rare occasions when daddy wanted to see them when they were both in car seats then we just swapped car seats between the cars :
post #10 of 34
I drive my daughter to and from her dad's house. I wouldn't think of asking for gas money. Of course, I'm a mindful driver, and I'd rather she's not in a car with anyone but me. It's my choice... but it does mean that visits get scheduled a bit more at my convenience.
post #11 of 34
Hmm. Maybe for us it's a bit different. We don't have a pleasant visitation schedule set up. DSD's mom says she wants to see her and then doesn't show up or call for another two months. She provides nothing...she is not there for her emotionally, physically, or financially. When we wrote up that agreement we were trying to encourage a better relationship between all of us BUT she needed to prove herself to us that she was willing to do what it took to see DSD. Asking her to go to walmart and buy a $15.00 booster seat is not a stretch. Considering she's never spent even as much as one dollar on DSD. In turn for her making a little bit of effort to see DSD we went out of our way to help her. We let her pick dates and times. We bent our schedule so she was able to see DSD (not that she ever once even showed up). We got a freaking Y membership because she asked us to because she wanted to see DSD there. She has not seen her there once. It's a give and take relationship for us at this point. After 7 years of inconsistency and not being there my DH put his foot down. His ex wife has constantly played the victim in every situation. She lives too far, she's too broke, her other kid's don't feel like getting in the car, her phone broke..oh her cell is broken too, my kid's sick but then that kid calls DSD and tells her all about the movie they went and saw on that day that she was supposed to be soooo sick. If you think me asking for her to buy her own car seat is bad...then you're really going to think it's horrible that I suggested she trade in her car for one that would accommodate more people. Considering she went out and bought a brand new car during all of this that only seats 4 people. Hmm, her DD1, her DD2, and her DS 3 plus her. Where is DSD supposed to sit? Anyway, I'm getting off the point of the thread. I just wanted to answer your question.

I wish DSD's mom had a more active role in her life. However, legally she does not have to be a part of it or do anything at all. She occasionally calls crying saying she wants to see DSD. Her mom likes to call and yell at me about how DSD's mom is too afraid to call her and blah blah blah. What am I supposed to do?? I REFUSE to be the one that does all the work. I'm already raising this child (whom I love) as my own...I'm doing everything I do all day long for HER..why should I also live to support DSD's mother who cannot decide if she's interested or not. Let's face it...if she really wanted to be a part of DSD's life she would have bought the carseat. Where there is a will, there is a way.

In Flor's case I believe there is an agreement for transportation and her DSS's mom is breaking it. So in that case she isn't doing what she agreed to do.
post #12 of 34
Ah, EJ, I get it. Yep, we have one of those parents in our family too. I just figured that in terms of actually getting the UAV off his backside and into a working relationship with his sons, letting him use our car seats was a non-issue Then again, my boys came to the sad conclusion at 5 and 3 that he actually didn't care about them very much, so Proving anything is no longer an issue, at least not to me.
post #13 of 34
I reread my response, Flapjack and I just want to apologize. I sound a tad bit hostile. Sorry!! it's not you or the question you asked...It's me. I'm beginning to have an attitude problem with anything that surrounds DSD's mother.

I picked up paperwork recently for child support. So I'm in kind of a : mood lately. Again, I apologize for being hostile with my response!
post #14 of 34
BTDT The reason we originally filed for child support through the government rather than trying for an informal arrangement was because two months after getting a new job my ex had neither committed to a date to see his children nor paid a penny to them His loss... he just doesn't get how totally kick-ass awesome his boys are.
post #15 of 34
Flor,
I think my response would be, "I'm sorry you can't make it to pick her up. Is there a better time today, or do you want to reschedule for a different day altogether?" Alternately, I would see if you could change the agreement and calculate the cost of transportation into child support. I would probably want to try the first one, then the second one if her response to the first was to just not see her daughter.

You can't change another person's behavior, but you CAN change your response to it. And they won't change their own behavior unless what they are doing stops working for them.
post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=aricha;10256006]Flor,
I think my response would be, "I'm sorry you can't make it to pick her up. Is there a better time today, or do you want to reschedule for a different day altogether?" Alternately, I would see if you could change the agreement and calculate the cost of transportation into child support. I would probably want to try the first one, then the second one if her response to the first was to just not see her daughter.

You can't change another person's behavior, but you CAN change your response to it. And they won't change their own behavior unless what they are doing stops working for them.[/QUOTE]
My bolding. I totally agree with this, and that's what I'm torn about. I feel like she never has to pull it together because we fix it, on the other hand, if we just say no, and dss doesn't see his mom much, is that success? My first response is what you suggested, "That's too bad, do you want to pick him up later. . ." but then I know dss would say, "Why can't you just drive me to my mom's?" I don't have a good answer. I'm teaching her a lesson? It's not my problem?
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
Reading some of these posts make me feel like I'm being walked all over by dd's NCP. Seriously. I think I need to start taking a harder line when it comes to changing visit days & driving.

It was my understanding that as the CP the greater "burden" falls to me to facilitate a relationship between dd and her NCP. If that means rescheduling the visitsevery 2 weeks and doing the driving when his car is broken down (which happened very recently), then that is wht needs to be done.

I'm not sure where to draw the line. I'll be
I want my dd to have as much as a relationship as possible with her father so I am willing to do whatever I need to do for my dd to have that. I have not be faced with the driving delima personally but the scheduling things I can 100% relate to. Rearranging and adjusting is normal when you have an open visitation arrangement. That arrangement does not work well for every family but given the options I still think it is best for us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
My bolding. I totally agree with this, and that's what I'm torn about. I feel like she never has to pull it together because we fix it, on the other hand, if we just say no, and dss doesn't see his mom much, is that success? My first response is what you suggested, "That's too bad, do you want to pick him up later. . ." but then I know dss would say, "Why can't you just drive me to my mom's?" I don't have a good answer. I'm teaching her a lesson? It's not my problem?
Flor I understand that you feel the NCP is taking advantage but I also seem to recall another post where you mentioned the NCP has limited income resources and that she does not really do for herself.... maybe instead of being annoyed you should look at readjusting the parenting agreement with the driving being done by DH...? And the NCP splitting the cost or paying for gas.

Earthy Joys ~ I think your situation is very different and that I would do the same thing you are doing given the position you are in.
post #18 of 34
Flor,
It was the same struggle we had (different frustration, same struggle)... eventually we had to look at the big picture and the long term. In the moment it is easier and more comfortable to give in to the manipulative behavior because you don't like the immediate consequence of what will happen if you don't. But in the long term, it is better to have drawn the line and made the boundaries clear. For us it was really difficult in the short term but positive in the long term. There are still struggles, but different ones, and we are by now pretty accomplished at handling them... and we are much better at looking at the big picture than we were before.

We were lucky to be drawing those lines when my step-daughter was too young to really feel their effects. The chances are good that the first couple times she won't come... it has always worked for her before, so it will take a couple times for her to realize that it is not working anymore. Chances are good that when she realizes what worked before isn't working anymore, she will try something else that you don't like. But if you set the boundary, are clear about it, and stick to it, she will hopefully find a solution to get what she wants without crossing your line. It still might not be the ideal solution, but it will be a compromise that you can both live with.

So, maybe you can get creative and think of some options for things you are planning on doing right after he is supposed to get picked up so that you DO have a reason you can't drive him. You know your stepson and situation better than I do, so I can't really make a suggestion... but I guess my point is that the important thing is drawing the line and sticking to it... hopefully you won't have to do it for too long.
post #19 of 34
When my ex had dd, and now that I have dd... the driving arrangement is the same. We both try to split equal pick up and drop offs, but if something happens then we try to accommodate each other.

I really feel so much time goes into fighting about things like this, that it takes away from what the focus is supposed to be. I want my dd to have a relationship with her father. So if his truck breaks down, then I'm going to try to find a way to get her to see him. Likewise, if my car breaks down (and I'll fully admit mine is a POS and is broken more than my ex's is.) then he picks up the slack. We don't charge each other gas money or time. And we don't with hold visitation either. To me, that just seems petty and pretty hurtful to the children involved.

If you have the means to help out, then help out.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature View Post

If you have the means to help out, then help out.
It sounded to me like this was a difference between helping out and being taken advantage of. It sounded to me like it happened all the time. I certainly wouldn't advocate denying visitation or being inflexible if there was a legitimate and/or occasional need. We have certainly changed pick-up and drop-off arrangements when the other parent had a need, and I have offered to do driving that was not technically my responsibility because it made sense given the situation. But I have been on the recieving end of manipulation with someone who knew that ultimately we would continue to do what was right by my step-daughter, and took advantage of that. So I am speaking to that experience and my reading of the original question and situation.

Sorry, I guess I'm feeling defensive because I feel (inadvertantly) accused of advocating inflexibility and not doing everything possible in helping the NCP maintain a relationship with their child... which I am definitely not. I am just advocating step-mothers setting boundaries when needed and giving suggestions on dealing with manipulative behavior based on my own situation and experience.
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