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#1 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ex has just informed me that he's going to be keeping ds until 7pm tonight. Our court order has him keeping ds until 3pm, at which time we meet and exchange ds. I told him that bedtime was unacceptable because we meet 2 hours (half-way) away from my house and tomorrow is a work/daycare day. Plus I haven't seen ds (or nursed him! Ouch!) in two days and I'd like to have some of my own time before bed. He said that He'll be there at 7 no matter what, and that's his right as ds' parent.

I called the police to get their input and they said this is a civil issue and all I can do is file papers to the court because he will be in contempt of orders.

Is there anything I can do? It's 17 degrees outside and will just get colder as night falls. I'm extremely upset that he's doing this. Part of me is inclined to just not show up. Then he'll have to either a) drive ds to my house and save me the gas or b) keep ds and violate the order even further (which he wouldn't do because he has to work and has no childcare tomorrow.)

Suggestions?
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#2 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Go with it. If you fail to pick him up it'll look bad on you. Meet him at 7 and tomorrow morning (or as soon as you can) file with the court. I know it sucks and it'll throw off bedtime, but it'll be ok. Just don't let him think you'll stand me idly and let him get away with it next time.

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#3 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 01:59 PM
 
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If there is a designated place for pick-up, I would send an email and phone my ex telling him that I was going to be at the designated meeting place at the time specified in the court order and expect him to be there with DS. As neutrally as possible.

Then, I would go. If he doesn't show, I would call the police and ask to file a report with them about his failure to show up as ordered. (Also documenting your presence there.)

Then, with "neutral proof" in hand, I would have my lawyer write and send a sternly worded letter about the need to follow the court order and that his behavior is unacceptable and illegal, etc.

Then, I would be back at the pick up place at 7 to get DS. (If you don't show, he is not under any obligation to drive all the way to you if the orders state that you are to meet at a given spot.)

But, I wouldn't necessarily file with the court yet. (Unless your lawyer recommends filing for contempt ASAP.) It takes more than once to show a pattern and for the court to do more than just tell him to knock it off. Plus, the more you've done to stop his behavior without involving the judge, the better and more mature you'll look to the court.
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#4 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:05 PM
 
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I would do what Ione suggests.

It's very inconvienent (I know!) but it's worth the trouble in order to document this instance and any future instances to show a pattern. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with this for a long, long time.

Good luck! and
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#5 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The police said that they can't get involved... So if I call them, I'm assuming they can't do anything, right?
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#6 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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No they can't do anything to actively bring your child there but they will take a report which documents your presence at the appropriate time and place specified in the order.

Bring your court order with you so they can see it for their report.
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#7 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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Ione gave you some great advice Please take it. Also get a police inforcement clause added to your court order ASAP. With it the police have more power to intervene.
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#8 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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Is there a reason he wants to keep him late? Or did he just tell you he won't be there at the designated time?
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#9 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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What you do is go to the designated meet-up place on time. Once you are there, go somewhere local and and purchase something. Save the receipt. It will show that you were there when you were supposed to be.

If this happens a second time, go to the designated meet-up place and when he doesn't show, call the police, bring your court order with you. They won't do anything other than a police report. Which you can take with you when you file contempt of court charges and ask for make up time.

I would also ask that your ex picks the child up at your place and that you pick your child up at his place. This way, you get your child at the designated time.

And be sure to ask the court to order your ex to pay your legal fees since it was his actions that led to this expense.
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#10 of 119 Old 12-14-2008, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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During our last conversation, I had told him that if he wanted to bring ds back that late, he would have to make the 4-hour drive to my house because I'm not responsible for being on the road for two hours after dark in sub-freezing weather with ds. I also told him that if he chose not to bring back ds, I would be filing a motion to the court stating that he's in contempt.

So ex just calls me... He APOLOGIZED! He said that he'd wanted to take ds to the museum after nap time and he was sorry he didn't fully explain. He asked if he could keep ds until 4pm and said that he didn't want this kind of contention between us because it wasn't good for anyone involved. He has been such a you-know-what to me for so long that I didn't even know what to say. I told him that an extra hour was fine, but from now on we need to discuss it in advance instead of fighting about it like this.

Thanks to all the pps! I think the idea of getting a reciept at our meeting location is pure genius, and I will be doing that from now on.
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#11 of 119 Old 12-17-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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Awesome OP!!!

I always get a receipt when I arrive, just so there can be no accusations that I am late, etc.

We meet at a gas station so I just pull up to the pump and put in a gallon or so.
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#12 of 119 Old 12-17-2008, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Awesome OP!!!

I always get a receipt when I arrive, just so there can be no accusations that I am late, etc.

We meet at a gas station so I just pull up to the pump and put in a gallon or so.
Do you have any kind of clause in your agreement that protect you if you leave because he's late? There have been several times that I've waited up to 20 minutes because "something happened to the car" or "gf wanted to come and wasn't ready to leave yet" and he threatens to call the cops if I don't wait. My instinctive response is "Ok, call the cops. Then THEY can drive ds two hours to meet with you and they can see what it's like to wait"
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#13 of 119 Old 12-18-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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It's been awhile, so I had forgotten this, but your post brought it back to me. Years ago my ex also was late or absent several times when we agreed to meet somewhere to exchange and I decided all pickups would be at my house from then on. If/when he didn't come, we just went on our like normal. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
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#14 of 119 Old 12-19-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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Do you have any kind of clause in your agreement that protect you if you leave because he's late? There have been several times that I've waited up to 20 minutes because "something happened to the car" or "gf wanted to come and wasn't ready to leave yet" and he threatens to call the cops if I don't wait. My instinctive response is "Ok, call the cops. Then THEY can drive ds two hours to meet with you and they can see what it's like to wait"
What you do is get a receipt when you get there and after you have waited at least 20 mintues, get a receipt at the same place or another store in the same area to show that you actually waited a reasonable amount of time. Do this every single time. If he calls, document that and write down the reason he gave.

Let him call the cops. They aren't going to do anything other than give him a police report. And then he can explain to the courts, if he is stupid enough to file contempt of court charges, why he was that late each and every time. He is probably going to find that it doesn't go the way he wants it to once the court views the proof that you were there when you were supposed to be and waited a reasonable amount of time.
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#15 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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X is scheduled to take ds this afternoon until tomorrow night. DS has only done one overnight at a time with ex. That is the court order

He has just emailed to tell me he's keeping ds through sunday. Ds is still home with me. If I don't let him go, I am in contempt. If I do let him go, he'll be gone for three nights and probably miserable. I know ex will be in contempt if he keeps ds, but by that time the damage will be done and ds will be really unhappy. What do I do? Keep ds? What would you do? I'm freaking out.
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#16 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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X is scheduled to take ds this afternoon until tomorrow night. DS has only done one overnight at a time with ex. That is the court order

He has just emailed to tell me he's keeping ds through sunday. Ds is still home with me. If I don't let him go, I am in contempt. If I do let him go, he'll be gone for three nights and probably miserable. I know ex will be in contempt if he keeps ds, but by that time the damage will be done and ds will be really unhappy. What do I do? Keep ds? What would you do? I'm freaking out.
I would email X and quote the court order of one overnight. I would go further to say if he is unhappy with only one overnight then he is welcome to forgo the overnight all together and to let you know in writing what his choice is today before he picks up ds.

On a side note IF I felt my dd was truly in a situation that would not be healthy for her or where she would be truly unhappy then I would simply say, "No" and not let her be picked up! Sorry but a court cannot tell me how to raise my daughter and I will not live in fear of contempt. Given that I have a track record of being extremely reasonable with dd's dad it would be easy to prove I was putting my dd's needs first in the situation. That said, I realize that may not be the way many mamas feel.

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#17 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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I would keep him and keep the e mail that ex sent you since in the e-mail it shows his plan to begin with.

I would not let him go
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#18 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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I'd be afraid of being in contempt of court and having even less leverage the next time I went back to court. I'd let him go, but tell XH that the court order states that he only gets ONE overnight, and that you expect DS back by X time on Friday night, or else you'll call the police to enforce the custody agreement. (you do have it in writing, right?)

Then, if the child isn't home within half an hour of the agreed upon time on Friday, follow through and call the police.

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#19 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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"The court order states she is to be home Friday. If you cannot bring her home Friday, lets arrange another day for you to celebrate with her" Something like that?

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#20 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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I would keep him and keep the e mail that ex sent you since in the e-mail it shows his plan to begin with.

I would not let him go
yup.

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#21 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I called the local police to get their opinion. The officer told me that they don't interfere in domestic orders. He said to keep printouts of everything, and he advised me to let ds go, because otherwise there's a likelyhood that I'd lose primary custody, face a fine and face time in jail. He said that the courts probably would reverse our custody order if I keep ds. As I speak, he's putting ds in his car.

I am going to print out our order and his emails and I will be showing up at his house Friday night to get ds.

I offered him to take an extra day for more holiday time and he said no, this was his weekend anyway and there's no reason to bring ds back for just one night. I'm so upset. Ds has never had more than one overnight and I know that he's not going to do well with three. I will be filing against him first thing monday if he doesn't follow court orders. Of course, by that time the damage is done. :-(
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#22 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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#23 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks--It's so hard. Ds is still nursing at 2 (a new 2) and so ex took BM from me, which may help ds some. I think ds does pretty well when he's with ex, but when he gets home, he's SO fussy and clingy and sad that I've actually had to stay home from work because day care said it was disruptive and not healthy for ds. So all ex sees is that ds does fine... he doesn't see the aftermath of these visits. Well, tonight I guess I'll focus on *me* and try to see a movie and treat myself to some good wine. It'll be lonely, though. This is the first christmas I've had without a partner/baby with me. So now I'm all alone!
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#24 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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#25 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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I called the local police to get their opinion. The officer told me that they don't interfere in domestic orders. He said to keep printouts of everything, and he advised me to let ds go, because otherwise there's a likelyhood that I'd lose primary custody, face a fine and face time in jail. He said that the courts probably would reverse our custody order if I keep ds.
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.

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#26 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.
Is the law different from state to state? My GAL also told me they could reverse custody if I ever refuse to hand over ds. We weren't talking about this specific situation in which he was threatening to not bring him back at the designated time, though.

I have a lawyer, a very, very good lawyer. She told me that she would withdraw from my case if I didn't hand over ds because she can't be responsible for giving me advice when I'm going against it and ruining my case.

The thing about this attorney, though, is that she seems to threaten that a lot. If I don't do exactly what she says, she will back out. It finally got to the point that I yelled at her and asked her what the hell I was paying her for if she could back out at such stupid things

I recently switched to a new attorney in the firm who is more personable. My former attorney had a horrible "bedside" manner, and I'm not talking just with me. She had a tendency to be VERY harsh with the GAL, which I think is a bad idea, and ex's attorney. She almost seemed angry in general, and I didn't want that on my side.

Unfortunately, it is christmas day and so no one is available to speak with. It broke my heart to send ds with ex, knowing that he may not bring him back for three days, but I would rather HIM be in contempt than me. The courts have showed great favor for him in ever. single. hearing. I look like the bad mommy who has forced ds to be attached, and that's how I'm hindering their relationship. : The judge even scoffed at me when I said something about how attachment is important, but you can't force it on a child.
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#27 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Yes, laws can vary depending on the state...it sounds like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place but contact your attorney as soon as possible.

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#28 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!

But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:

1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)

2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).

3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.

4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!

5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.

Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.
I just wanted to comment on what a thoughtful and generous post.

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#29 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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and at the same time I agree with Shayiwn that you should contact your lawayer ASAP.

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#30 of 119 Old 12-25-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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Forward the email to your attorney right now. Call and leave a message at your attorney's office requesting that your attorney call you ASAP. (Many businesses are open tomorrow and/or Friday, because Christmas fell on a Wednesday.)

I would also forward the email to the GAL, with a short note about how you allowed DS to go, because you did not want to be in contempt, but that this is in violation of your custody agreement, as was the previous incident. (Be very neutral and calm, or let your attorney forward the email to the GAL.)

You also need to get some direction from either your attorney or the GAL about how to handle situations such as these, since it has now happened twice in two weeks, and since he is getting away with it, he'll probably continue to do it.

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
AlwaysByMySide is offline  
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