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#1 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My soon-to-be DH (78 days!) and his ex split parenting time, supposedly 50/50. It hasn't been working out like that in recent months. DF works on Saturdays- he is a server while finishing his degree, and he MUST work Saturdays to make enough money for us to pay bills. The parenting schedule calls for alternating Saturdays... before I came into the picture, DF's parents had been caring for H on his Saturdays. Ex-wife had no problem with this. Then, when he began leaving her with me on his Saturdays, she called ROFR and we lost Saturdays altogether. We are now expected to drop H to her mom by 8am Saturday mornings- unless she has other plans, then she'll ask if I want to watch her. Fair enough, it's petty, that's for sure, but it's well within her right to do so- and I'm not saying it's petty that she would rather H be with her than me... that's understandable... I'm saying it's petty that it was fine when it was with his parents, but not when it was me. I'm relatively sure that even after we're married, it will remain the same... until he has a job where he does not work Saturdays.

His ex is a server, as well, and as such, works nights... she will not tell us her schedule, though, so we're not sure WHICH nights she has H, and which nights H is with ex-wife's dad and stepmom. We have her, at this point, Wednesdays when the ex goes to work (around 3:30), when she will drop H at DF's grandparents... I will then get her at 5:45 when I am off work. DF does not get home until after she is in bed. (Thankful that so far, she has not called ROFR on that... pretty sure it's because we KNOW she works Wednesdays, and so couldn't keep her). Friday's work pretty much the same as Wednesday's... she is in my care from after I'm off work until bedtime. Ex wife works then as well, and so ROFR is not an issue.

Here's the issue. DF does not work Thursday nights. This is, therefore, the ONLY time he gets a large chunk of time with his daughter. He has her from 3 in the summer, when he gets off, until bedtime. During the school year, it's 4 until bedtime. We like to have Daddy/Daughter time then, or family time, as we so rarely get to do so. He also sees her Thursday and Friday mornings for about an hour, before having to go to work, or she has to go to school. In the past, H has come home saying, "Mom says we're moving Thursday and so I have to be there for that." (This was on his birthday, and we had scheduled a rather large family event for it. He DID inform his ex that this was not going to happen, and that she would be with us). Yesterday, as I was picking her up, I got, "Mom says I have baton on Thursday nights now, so you have to take me." (She does baton on Saturdays, and has never before had a weeknight class). Upon furthur questioning, she told me it was also offered on Monday nights, but mom scheduled it for Thursdays. (Monday is on ex's parenting time). Baton is 20 minutes away from our house and is an hour long. So there's an hour and 40 minutes of his parenting time- gone. And he wasn't ASKED about it. He was informed, by his 6 year old, that this would occur. When he texted his ex to find out, she said yes, she'd need to be there. I know that if we hadn't asked her about it last night, he would have been told about three hours before.

I'm understandably upset about this, as is DF. He has asked in the past for his ex to not schedule activities on his time, as we often make plans. (We were going to the pool tonight, and then grilling out together). He doesn't, however, want to make waves, as he feels as though she'll take him back to court. I'm left wondering... for what?

I'm not going to tell him what to do on this... I can't! But I am curious... what would you do in this situation? I'm sorry this is so long. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

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#2 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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We haven't had to deal with these sorts of conflicts with my two year old stepson (yet), but I can see it coming. Doesn't he have the legal right to call and ask about alternating or changing class days? If they have a 50/50 agreement then he has the right to change the class to Mondays . . . That would probably make waves, but it's what I would suggest to my husband in your situation.

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#3 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Yes, I would either just change the class to Mondays and then inform her of it, or just tell her you have other plans for Thursdays and the class is not an option. I seriously doubt a judge would fault you for that, especialy since there are other class options and she never discussed it with you. Also, I seriously doubt she would take to back to court for JUST that, unless he has extra money to throw away!

Also, I think (but definitely check your state's guidelines/parenting plan wording) that once you are married, ROFR no longer applies to you. Something to look into.

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#4 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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A couple of things:

In many standard parenting agreements, there is a line about not giving the child permission for any social activities that are on *the other parent's* parenting time. This is to prevent you from being the bad guy when you don't take her to baton. Now, even without this line you don't need to take her. It may upset the daughter, which is why some plans have that line -- no parent can commit the other. I'd just say no. She can move her to Monday is she wants to. If it did come up in court she'd look really bad for trying to commit your parenting time without your consent.

Also, once you are married, she likely can't use ROFR on you. It may depend on the state you're in or the wording (some specify care of a "family member"), but I think you can eliminate that trouble. In my view, a stepparent is a parent and that ought to trump a grandparent, though I understand it may depend on the situation. I wouldn't worry about it now, as ROFR does apply to girlfriends most places (though in some it may matter if you live together), but I kind of get that one, and since you are getting married soon, I wouldn't be likely to push back until you're a stepparent.

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#5 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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Doesn't the way ROFR work is that if she is planning to leave the child with someone, she must offer the time to your DF? I am not quite understanding why this does not go both ways.

WRT the baton, I would tell her that she is to reschedule it. This is one of those times that could be precedent-setting. If you let her do it once, she will do it over and over again. Sometimes you have to set boundaries.

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#6 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
A couple of things:

In many standard parenting agreements, there is a line about not giving the child permission for any social activities that are on *the other parent's* parenting time. This is to prevent you from being the bad guy when you don't take her to baton. Now, even without this line you don't need to take her. It may upset the daughter, which is why some plans have that line -- no parent can commit the other. I'd just say no. She can move her to Monday is she wants to. If it did come up in court she'd look really bad for trying to commit your parenting time without your consent.

Also, once you are married, she likely can't use ROFR on you. It may depend on the state you're in or the wording (some specify care of a "family member"), but I think you can eliminate that trouble. In my view, a stepparent is a parent and that ought to trump a grandparent, though I understand it may depend on the situation. I wouldn't worry about it now, as ROFR does apply to girlfriends most places (though in some it may matter if you live together), but I kind of get that one, and since you are getting married soon, I wouldn't be likely to push back until you're a stepparent.
Yup. When I'm scheduling my dd's dance class (older dd - comp. dance) I ensure that it never falls on time that she's with her father. In our case, he only has her EOW and it would be extremely unfair of me to schedule dance class, and then expect him to take her.

On the other hand, during June - August, my ex takes dd to soccer Tuesday and Thursday nights. Even though these are technically on my 'parenting' time, I make an exception so that he can take her. This is something we agreed to though, as being beneficial to dd (and her relationship with her dad)

As for ROFR, we have that in place as well. My ex has been generous in allowing my live-in gf to keep our children overnight when I am working (I'm a nurse - horrible shift work hours) so as not to disrupt their schedule. This is, again, something we've mutually agreed upon.

When he has someone that he has a live-in relationship with, that my girls are comfortable (in a step-parent role) I will extend the same courtesy to him. As for grandparent vs step-parent - I also agrees that this will vary. My dds have an astoundingly close relationship with my mother, as she cares for them at least 50% of the time (as opposed to daycare) and both my ex and I agree that she takes precedence over other people (except ourselves).

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#7 of 13 Old 07-01-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
WRT the baton, I would tell her that she is to reschedule it. This is one of those times that could be precedent-setting. If you let her do it once, she will do it over and over again. Sometimes you have to set boundaries.


Regarding not wanting to make waves, my DP was the same way. It took a lot of patience and baby steps on my part to get him to see that it wasn't benefiting anyone. Finally, after she ranted at him inappropriately 1 too many times he sat down (after cooling off) and wrote her a very nice but firm email about how she had no right and showing how he was a very good father and pointing out (nicely) how lucky she was that he was so involved, etc. I can't remember if there was 1 more rant after that or not, but it's pretty much ended now. Not wanting to make waves doesn't help. Neither does inappropriately making waves though. Choose your battles.

I'm happy to say that after a few years she and I were comfortable talking about parenting my DSD, now 5 years later we all get along well enough to raise DSD together. It does take time though.

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#8 of 13 Old 07-02-2010, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He took a stand. It wasn't pretty. It lead to a lot of, "If you could rearrange your schedule to see your kid on your parenting time, this wouldn't be an issue." So then he asked her, since she was so concerned about his schedule (which IS something we're working on changing, but he can't do anything about it until the fall) could they switch schedules. He could then be with her all of Sundays and Tuesday nights. (His restaurant is closed Sundays). That obviously got a big no.

pinksprklybarefoot, ROFR SHOULD work the other way around... but other than Wednesday nights and Friday nights, when H is with me, we have no idea when she works. I'm not sure how we would go about finding out her whereabouts for Tuesdays and Sundays, when he could be with her.

Ex also brought up the fact that H would like to do baton Wednesday nights when school started, and she can't, because it's on our time. Now... H has told us many times before that she hates baton, and that they make her do it, because they think it will lead to a college scholarship. (Yeah, a 6 year old understands this?) So DF asked her yesterday if she'd like to go to baton on Wednesday nights during the school year. "No, because Wednesdays and Fridays are the only days I get to spend with just me and S." (S being me). He then told her that it would be all three of us, (he's able to work Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays in the fall, so would have two nights off when she's home) expecting her to be excited. All he got was, "Well, at least S and I will still have our Fridays together." LOL.

We went to the pool. We stayed for two hours. We grilled hot dogs, and ate pasta salad. It was lovely.

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#9 of 13 Old 07-02-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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There is no way that I would force a child to do an activity that they did not enjoy because of the *possibility* of a scholarship twelve years from now. Eventually, won't your DSD just figure out that if she performs poorly and a scholarship would not happen, she'll be able to stop baton? It is a lot of expense and time for nothing, plus you have a miserable kid who could probably benefit more from time spent with parents at this point in time.

I am of the mind that two can play the game that she is playing. Your DF should just tell her that his schedule has changed and refuse to give her the new schedule. Then have your DSD stay with you on Saturdays. I asked DH what he would do, and he said that he would probably tell her that either ROFR goes both ways, or it doesn't happen. He would tell her that she is playing games, and he is just not interested in that - he just wants to live his life. If she has a problem with that, then she can take him to mediation.

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#10 of 13 Old 07-02-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I asked DH what he would do, and he said that he would probably tell her that either ROFR goes both ways, or it doesn't happen. He would tell her that she is playing games, and he is just not interested in that
Yeah to that.

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#11 of 13 Old 07-02-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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Just be aware that, generally, step-parents don't factor in to ROFR.
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#12 of 13 Old 07-02-2010, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, even if it did, I don't think we would take advantage of it. They don't have the friendliest relationship (obviously) but the Saturday thing only upset DF because his ex was fine with H staying with his parents, but not with me. We agreed that it makes perfect sense for his ex to want H to be with her whenever possible. Just like, if she is on her mom's time, and not with her mom, DF would like her to be with him, if possible... we are just never informed of when this happens, and therefore cannot exercise the ROFR on our end.

So no, when we are married, we won't be trying to "regain" our Saturdays, only to have her stay with me. That really wouldn't be fair to anyone involved. DF will be done with school soon enough, and hopefully can get a job where he can be at home with her on ALL of his evenings, AND his Saturdays.

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#13 of 13 Old 07-05-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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Could your dh and bio-mom use a parenting expeditor? I'm sure working on things first is the best option, but I have one with dd's father and it works well when we can't agree on schedules. It helps to have her to avoid arguments as well as ex trying to through his weight around on issues. They can be a bit expensive, but I've found that using her once has already helped keep ex in line on other things too.

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