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#1 of 17 Old 01-16-2011, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since an updated order was finalized by the court last fall, DH's ex has been difficult at every turn. Most likely she's irate at "losing" summers to spend with DSD and is trying to control DH as much as she can. Understandable since she's had everything her way for the first 7 years ... and now she's subject to the court order that didn't go her way. At all.

 

In any event, this winter she uses every excuse to not let DSD come to our house or to pick her up early. I'll only cover the latter here. There is an hour distance between us, so road conditions do become a factor. When the interstate is closed, it's clear that the weekend with us will be missed. But she uses "it's supposed to snow, the roads are bad" as an excuse to show up 3, 4, sometimes 5 hours early to pick up DSD. I say "excuse" because all online sources indicate that roads are just fine between us right now, there are no warnings, there is no precipitation, I drove on the roads on Friday two days ago to get DSD and there's been no snow since then. So in my mind the roads are still clear and safe to drive.

 

Part of what is frustrating is that since September, she has come early by more than 30 minutes every time (to the extent we can figure out, it's all been documented with timestamped picture of her vehicle in the driveway, for example. It's tricky since we want to keep DSD away from the disagreement, including the "documentation"). So I'm less forgiving than if it were just happening during the winter.

 

So my question is, where do you draw the line between calling it on the safe side and not wanting DSD to be out in inclement weather and calling it an excuse and a violation of the order to pick up DSD so much earlier than the order? We're not going to drag the issue back to court or anything at the moment, but it's hard to decide when to say "ok, DSD will be ready," versus "sorry, you can come now, but we're busy and so you can bring DSD home at 6, not now at 2."

 

Thoughts?

 

I thought we might ask if ex would be willing to agree+sign to change the time 3 hours earlier at both ends of the weekend during the winter, to avoid the issue, but I seriously doubt she would be willing to agree. She refused to put DSD on her insurance plan and have DH pay for it. He offered to do it that way because it costs $400 less per month for the premium, her coverage is better and it would give DSD coverage at the clinic ex wants to take DSD to. So her support check is reduced as a result of the arrangement. She wasn't even willing to add DSD if DH paid for the both of them, that's how stubborn she is. The moral of this paragraph is that I'm not optimistic that finding a way to avoid the issue would get us anywhere. :-)


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#2 of 17 Old 01-16-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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You could always just drive her up and drop her off and keep mom from driving down at all.  I don't know, that just seems like the easiest solution, that is if you have a way to do it. 

 

Honestly, if this is happening for every visitation, then yeah, it seems like it's an excuse not a reason.  But at this point, even if she had a valid reason, she used all those up the first 3 months that she found "reasons"


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#3 of 17 Old 01-17-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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When we were having trouble with early pick-ups, we made it a point not to be home until just before pick-up time. So she could get there as early as she wanted, but she would have to sit in the driveway until the appointed time. If she called to let us know she was there early or coming early, we just cheerfully said said "We already had plans, but we'll see you at [scheduled time]." or  "Okay, we'll be out at [scheduled time]." We just gave the impression that it didn't bother us in the least that she was there early, and if pressed ("I've been waiting forever!") just acted empathetic that she'd had to wait (Like my husband cheerfully suggesting "Maybe you could bring a book next time in case you get here early again").

 

I don't think there is a hard-and-fast rule as to when early pick-up is justified due to bad weather or impending bad weather and when it isn't... in most cases it is one of those things we tend to leave to people's good judgement (which, of course, only works when people are using their good judgement!) Like the PP mentioned, the only solution I can think of is that if she wants to pick up early because she doesn't feel comfortable driving and your husband thinks the road is fine, he could offer to make the drive himself... but that sets it's own precedent and she might be just as satisfied making things inconvenient for you in a different way. You might just have to muddle through the bad weather/threat of bad weather crap until that excuse doesn't exist anymore and tackle the issue then. 

 

Good luck! 


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#4 of 17 Old 01-20-2011, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

When we were having trouble with early pick-ups, we made it a point not to be home until just before pick-up time.

 

Did you experience any complications other than unhappy mom impatiently waiting in the driveway? We've haven't taken the "sorry, but we just won't be home" path yet and I hesitate to do it out of expectation it will turn from us being frustrated she's there early, to her driving home sans DSD and expecting us to make an unnecessary trip, to her calling the police because we "violated the order." Logical? Maybe not, but nothing that's happened over the past several years with ex has been logical either. :-)

 

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he could offer to make the drive himself... but that sets it's own precedent and she might be just as satisfied making things inconvenient for you in a different way. You might just have to muddle through the bad weather/threat of bad weather crap until that excuse doesn't exist anymore and tackle the issue then

 

Unfortunately you are probably very right here. I figure we're better off trying to cope with the difficulty until winter is done than to get back into a mode of doing all the driving with ex demanding when/where DSD must be at the threat of not getting to see DSD next time. Sure, she wouldn't be doing herself any favor if she follows through on such a threat, but DH would be devastated to go without his daughter, especially if it takes the 9 months to get through the system to get a legal decision like it did last time.


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#5 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 07:15 AM
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I'm crashing here but I wanted to ask something maybe you haven't considered and maybe you have...

what happens when winter is over and she is still pulling these stunts? What if she keeps making up new excuses each season?

I can't really offer any advice but I remember my parents dropping my brother and I off per custody arrangements and it was always a

mess, my dad would should up late ALL THE TIME and always have an excuse. 

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#6 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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It's probably best to stick to the order, no matter what. If there really is poor enough weather that you/DH wouldn't want to be out in it, he could call/email and ask if she'd prefer to pick DD up early. I have an access order with my ex in laws, and have run into conflict with them most when I've tried to do them a favour (eg: we offered to drive the kids out to their place once because the weather was bad, and then they spent months trying to bully us into driving every time)

 

Alternatively, and I don't know if this would be smart or not... maybe ask her whether she'd prefer to make up the lost time by adding the hours missed to the following weekend, or for the both of you to keep track of the time missed and bank them toward you guys having (an) extra day(s) with DD when she has a pro-d day/on the next holiday? This would have to be done by email, so you'd have written proof of the agreement.


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#7 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 01:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autumngrey View Post

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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

When we were having trouble with early pick-ups, we made it a point not to be home until just before pick-up time.

 

Did you experience any complications other than unhappy mom impatiently waiting in the driveway? We've haven't taken the "sorry, but we just won't be home" path yet and I hesitate to do it out of expectation it will turn from us being frustrated she's there early, to her driving home sans DSD and expecting us to make an unnecessary trip, to her calling the police because we "violated the order." Logical? Maybe not, but nothing that's happened over the past several years with ex has been logical either. :-)

 

No, we didn't have any fall-out other than her being annoyed... sometimes that meant she was going to be more disagreeable about something else (not answering the phone when my husband called to talk to his daughter, or complaining about petty things) but it was all pretty minor. My husband had a similar situation, where there was no custody order and he was fighting tooth-and-nail to get access to her daughter and mom felt like she held all the cards, to a custody agreement that took away a lot of her ability to just decide how things would be. It was a long road, and it took lots and lots of consistency on our part to remind her that things didn't all happen on her say-so anymore. In general we approached disagreement with cheerful matter-of-factness. Occasionally my husband had to be fairly firm. We tried to remember that she'd had things a certain way for a long time and it was hard to get used to the world working a different way.

 

It's 7+ years later and we still occasionally deal with the same attitude that things should happen a certain way because she says so, but it is pretty rare now.


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#8 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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To solve the whole 'who's waiting around for who' situation here (my ex is chronically, unmanageably late - and he admits it as a flaw) and me losing my mind, we changed it up.

 

Friday nights, I drop dd1 & dd2 off to my ex (so I'm not waiting for him to come and get them) and Sunday night he drops them off to me. He knows that if he's late bringing them home, all !@#$ will hit the fan. I'm not talking 5 or 10 minutes (even though that annoys me because I like to be on time) but 15 minutes or later.

 

We try to be respectful of each others time as we also live about 45 minutes apart and know it's a pain to be left waiting around.


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#9 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I agree with PP who suggested not being home until very close to the appointed pick-up time.

 


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#10 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The reaction of her being disagreeable/difficult about other things is why we have gone the route of documenting what's going on and saying early goodbyes so far, but it's getting to the point where we've mostly stopped making plans for Sundays because they've so regularly been cut short or canceled by early pickups. I appreciate reading that it may likely improve with time. There are plenty of stories about difficult "other parents" shared here and it's always of comfort to see progress, I hope to someday be able to share some too. :-) Lacking a child of my "own," I just sometimes wonder if I'm not understanding enough of her troubles (not that she couldn't have been more cooperative and avoided it, but honestly it would be really tough to suddenly go through this big of a change).


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#11 of 17 Old 01-21-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by autumngrey View Post

The reaction of her being disagreeable/difficult about other things is why we have gone the route of documenting what's going on and saying early goodbyes so far, but it's getting to the point where we've mostly stopped making plans for Sundays because they've so regularly been cut short or canceled by early pickups. I appreciate reading that it may likely improve with time. There are plenty of stories about difficult "other parents" shared here and it's always of comfort to see progress, I hope to someday be able to share some too. :-) Lacking a child of my "own," I just sometimes wonder if I'm not understanding enough of her troubles (not that she couldn't have been more cooperative and avoided it, but honestly it would be really tough to suddenly go through this big of a change).



Wait, what is your visitation schedule?  If your dh only has his dd EOW (including most of Sunday) then he should absolutely be taking advantage of that ENTIRE time.  If she takes you back to court - which she might - him agreeing to her randomly showing whenever she feels like it, could backfire on him and show a "lack of interest".  On the other hand, if he has her a substantial amount of time (40-50% or more) then it makes him look agreeable and willing to compromise (dang double standards!).

 

I would still make plans for Sunday's and just say no to her unreasonably early pick-ups.  Or start driving yourselves if that would mean more reliability in terms of when your dh has time with his dd.  I think its highly unlike for things to improve on their own, without your dh setting some pretty firm boundaries.  Once boundaries are put in place, and stuck to, its easier to be able to decide when to bend the rules a bit and when not to, and there isn't nearly as much resistance when it happens. 

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#12 of 17 Old 01-22-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by autumngrey View Post

The reaction of her being disagreeable/difficult about other things is why we have gone the route of documenting what's going on and saying early goodbyes so far, but it's getting to the point where we've mostly stopped making plans for Sundays because they've so regularly been cut short or canceled by early pickups. I appreciate reading that it may likely improve with time. There are plenty of stories about difficult "other parents" shared here and it's always of comfort to see progress, I hope to someday be able to share some too. :-) 


Up until now, she's been able to more or less call the shots. It's been working for her. Now there is a custody order that gives your husband some protection from her making unilateral decisions about the schedule. But his ex will likely continue trying what has worked (telling you guys how and when she wants visits to happen) until you all react differently. As long as it works for her (ie you guys don't object to what she wants for fear of the backlash), she will probably keep doing it.

 

We found that, once we had the protection of a custody order, we had to weather the storm of her disagreeableness until she realized that we were not going to be held hostage by her behavior. After living for such a long time with the very real fear of having his daughter disappear again, it took a while for my husband to feel comfortable with standing up to her and trust that the custody order was going to offer him the protection he needed to start exercising his full rights as a father. Once he did, he had to stand strong in the face of his ex being more and more difficult as she tried to figure out the new rules... but he was consistent and firm but polite and fair and he refused to be intimidated by her behavior. We made it to the other side and she has since learned (mostly) that being polite, agreeable, and compromising is the way to get what she wants. In the short term it SUCKED, as we couldn't make any modifications to the schedule for things like birthdays, illness, etc... but in the long-term it has put my husband on equal footing and she treats him as an equal partner in major decision-making for their daughter. The short-term stress was a small price to pay for the long-term gains.


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#13 of 17 Old 01-22-2011, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wait, what is your visitation schedule?  If your dh only has his dd EOW (including most of Sunday) then he should absolutely be taking advantage of that ENTIRE time.  If she takes you back to court - which she might - him agreeing to her randomly showing whenever she feels like it, could backfire on him and show a "lack of interest".  On the other hand, if he has her a substantial amount of time (40-50% or more) then it makes him look agreeable and willing to compromise (dang double standards!).



It's EOW/holidays/days off school during the school year and then the whole summer. Perhaps on the fence of the double standard. :-)

 

After going through several days where we had something (simple but DSD was excited) to do, trying to explain to DSD why we couldn't do it anymore--without saying what we're thinking, that mom came earlier than she's allowed to--we now stay home and watch a movie or to help DSD clean her room or something else that didn't matter if interrupted.

 

Now with it being winter, DH is more concerned about standing firm with what the order grants him because if the roads are bad and we just don't realize it, I can imagine it would look bad if ex decides to complain to the court that DH is putting DSD in danger. But, like you say, things aren't going to improve on their own.

 

I am positively convinced things will get difficult and we'll be bummed for DSD to miss out on opportunities we would otherwise hope to agree with her mom to let her do even when it's not DH's time. But in the long run, it's better than consistently losing the time he's supposed to be getting but not.

 

Thanks for the advice.


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#14 of 17 Old 01-22-2011, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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p.s. aricha, thank you for sharing this, it sounds so much like my situation and I hope to have the same outcome. I might have to print it out and tack it to the wall for a reminder on the "sucky" days that it's hopefully just a phase so long as we (well, I guess DH) stands firm.


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#15 of 17 Old 01-22-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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It's EOW/holidays/days off school during the school year and then the whole summer. Perhaps on the fence of the double standard. :-)

 

After going through several days where we had something (simple but DSD was excited) to do, trying to explain to DSD why we couldn't do it anymore--without saying what we're thinking, that mom came earlier than she's allowed to--we now stay home and watch a movie or to help DSD clean her room or something else that didn't matter if interrupted.

 

Now with it being winter, DH is more concerned about standing firm with what the order grants him because if the roads are bad and we just don't realize it, I can imagine it would look bad if ex decides to complain to the court that DH is putting DSD in danger. But, like you say, things aren't going to improve on their own.

 

I am positively convinced things will get difficult and we'll be bummed for DSD to miss out on opportunities we would otherwise hope to agree with her mom to let her do even when it's not DH's time. But in the long run, it's better than consistently losing the time he's supposed to be getting but not.

 

Thanks for the advice.


I completely understand wanting to be reasonable b/c slippery roads, after dark, are no good.  However, to be a little firmer, can you agree to a slightly later, but still decent hour?  And agree to watch the weather and traffic reports?  Then, if she's in town early, but the roads are bare and dry according to traffic and weather online, you keep her until its time to go home.  Mom can do something else like get coffee or read a book - thats her problem.

 

But, if its snowing, the roads are slushy with the temps going below freezing, dsd can leave around 4pm (so not dark out, but not 2pm - a compromise if you will) so that they have time to get home safely.

 

I know its a little concerning to worry about roads, but most traffic websites show webcams of current road conditions, and will describe the conditions (bare and dry, wet, icy, etc) so that you know what they are like.  It is very good that your dh wants to make sure his dd gets home safe and sound - even when it means losing time - but he can take precautions and still not give totally in to his ex.  Also keep in mind that if she has a lot of experience driving in snow (I mean, she can't leave work early each and every time it snows or might snow or rain so that she doesn't have to drive in it, yk? But she also might not have lots of experience), has 4 wheel drive, good snow tires, etc.  There's being genuinely worried about the conditions, and then there's making excuses.  It's time to start being able to tell the difference.

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#16 of 17 Old 01-23-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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Next time she asks to come early because of the bad roads, I would suggest "since we lost so much time because of the bad winter, I think it makes sense for the kid to spend the night here, instead of you risking hitting the storm, and us losing another 5 hours. OR how about we throw in a couple of extra weekend to make up for the "bad weather"." wink1.gif


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#17 of 17 Old 01-29-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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i am with the posters who say let her come early to where you live, but dont hand over the kids or be home until it is time for thier access with you guys to end. if the roads are really bad of course let her go early, but this does sound like her 'finding a loophole' that she can use to still maintain her control over access. i would always recommend standing firm to the order. if she arrives arely and you arent there and she drives home without dsd, then she cant really call the police and say that  you kept dsd against the order. you were there when you were supposed to be, she wasnt. that is how the police would see it, that is how the court would see it also. hopefully ex realises this and you arent dragged through the court system again to deal with such a petty matter.

 

aricha generally has good advice and when i read her posts i am heartened. her situation sounds a lot like ours, yours does too, we are in court monday to obtain our new order and very excited to have things change. although i can foresee the fallout coming from our bio-mom being really unpleasant. just having that up to date fair order in place will be a blessing.

 

good luck to you, perhaps if you are nervous about the police reaction to her coming and leaving etc, you could call your local detatchment and ask the desk sgt what would occur and how would they be involved or would they, or speak to your lawyer about it... a little more costly than the police, but either will give you the same answer as it deals with the law and abiding it.

 

cheers, viv

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