Originally Posted by aricha
I cannot imagine that in your situation the court would make a drastic change to the schedule or custody, like giving mom significantly more time. It might backfire on her and simply put into place a notification clause because of her history of not exercising her parenting time regularly (so, for example, that she has to notify your husband a certain length of time before her weekend to let him know whether or not she is planning to exercise her parenting time).
If she can make a good case that it would be easier for her to exercise her visitation with some modifications (like overnights in her area, you sharing the burden of transportation, etc) I could see a judge listening to that. But if there are good reasons she doesn't have those things now (ie the drug issue in the past) and those things haven't changed, it doesn't seem like even that would carry a lot of weight.
I think Aricha is quite right, on both points... and I bet that, deep down, you knew these things before she said them.
But I completely
understand your anxiety! I'm also a custodial step-mom. Intellectually, I know that after all the crap it took for my husband to get custody, his ex no longer has much credibiltiy and the Court is highly unlikely to shake up our lives too much, based on the trivial things she now complains about. (What!? My husband used to visit for 9-10 days and you'd let him have 6 hours with your kid... and now you say HE's restricting YOUR access because when YOU visit for 9-10 days, we want ONE NIGHT to touch base with the kid at home?!?!?
you and I are in a precarious position. We have all the responsibilities and attachment of being mothers to these kids - due to their own mothers' crappy choices - but we're NOT Mom and we live in a society that still tends to presume kids belong with their moms
. It's natural to fear some abysmal string of mistakes where the Mom misrepresents things to a judge who winds up sympathizing with her and our
lives and families get turned upside-down, when we're the ones who've struggled so long to do the right thing! Just hang in there. Nothing will come of this.
As far as phone contact, we've gone around and around with my step-son's mom. At times she's gone 10 days without calling or returning the kid's calls, then she'll accuse my husband
of interfering with phone access because allegedly the kid's cell phone was off at some point... Or she'll demand that the kid be available to her at the same time every day, regardless what homework/sports/play dates, etc. he has going on. She chooses to live across the country and only visit 2-3 times a year, but her calls are supposed to be more important than ANYTHING else going on in his life. Here are the guidelines my husband finally came up with:
* My step-son can call his Mom any time he wants (except homework, dinner and bedtime), on any phone he wants. If Mom can't get through to him on his own cell phone, she is welcome to call our house phone, my husband's cell or mine. We're not concerned with her displeasure over the possibility that my husband or I might answer her call. It's not unreasonable for people to try to reach a kid on his parent's phone.
* If she calls on one of our phones, we'll let the kid talk if he's available. If not, we will take responsibility to see that he calls her back within 24 hours - on the same day, if possible.
* However, we are not going to spend our lives stressing and nagging about the kid's cell phone. We will never confiscate it. But we're not keeping track of how often he uses it to call her, or whether he answers it when she calls him. We're not charging it, or finding it when he loses it in the bottom of his messy toy box, or replacing it when he ruins it by having it in his pocket while he rides through a rain puddle because his mother demanded that he carry it at all times.