So, I've posted a few times before but short back story is DF has had sole custody of 2 kids for the past 4 years. I have been living with them for 3.
Bio mom comes and goes as she pleases and the parenting plan said she got e/o sat as mutually agreed.
No holidays or summer schedules are included.
There are stipulations of where she can see and take the kids as well since she tends to hang out with a bad crowd.
she has NEVER paid a cent of child support, which is sorta beyond the point but still. it is out of date.
She however hasn't ever consistently shown up. only maybe 4 visits in a row and the not seeing the kids for months at a time. well shes been calling every week for a few months now, the kids talk to her, she visited the sat before last (with her new baby who they met for the 1st time at 6mths old).
She gave my DF a copy of the papers she filed and here's what shes asking for.
EOW from Friday to Sunday, if a long weekend falls on one of those weekends she gets the extra time
switching on and off every 2 weeks for the whole summer
25% of the child support as calculated by the state, she feels this is fair payment for what we spend on them monthly
For Holiday breaks she wants them the whole time
They are going to a mediator first but there are some things that were not willing to do. lots in fact. DF told her that if she wanted more time they could work out a progressive plan. Show me you'll be here for 3 months and you can take them up there for a day, show me you can be responsible at that point and maybe in 6months talk about overnights. after that we can determine other things. We have records of her visitation but its still frustrating and scary. Were supposed to be getting married in august but I wonder if this goes to court if it would be better for DF for us to get married sooner. Any ideas or suggestions of how this might turn out?
She also hasn't had a job in 4 yrs, doesn't currently accrue child support because shes on cash assistance from the state, and was dating a known child molester a couple years ago.
I know it's scary to think about that much change. And it is ROUGH, having to be the mom most of the time and then figure out how to adjust emotionally when the actual mom returns to the picture (and then exits again...). My sympathies!
* EOW, 1/2 the summer and alternating holidays sounds pretty standard. Considering everything, progressing to more time sounds wise. But you should prepare yourselves for the probability that this is the amount of time she could end up with. Then, if she becomes inconsistent you can ask for a modification, based on the difficulty for the kids (and you and your DF!) when she frequently doesn't show up for the time she requested. But, for now, if she seems to be making changes (calling consistently, taking active steps to get more time with the kids and even having another child which could conceivably change her attitude about being so inconsistently involved in her OLDER kids' lives...) and if she's not on drugs (she should be tested, if that's been an issue); then the Court may be reluctant to deny her a standard parenting time schedule...and your DF may risk looking unsupportive of the kids' relationship with her, if he opposes it, or wants too long a progression to that schedule.
* In our state, the NCP getting ALL of the school holiday time (Fall, Winter and Spring Breaks?) is only in cases where the NCP lives too far away to exercise regular parenting time. If she plans to have the kids EOW, she should alternate these breaks with you guys, just like other holidays.
* Personally, I prefer how my state divides summers:
>> The NCP has until April 1 to elect whether to divide Summer Break into halves or quarters and which half (or which alternating quarters) he/she wants. (If the NCP misses the deadline, the summer still gets divided the same way, but the CP gets to decide.)
>> Throughout the summer, whichever parent does NOT have the kids exercises the same visitation schedule that the NCP exercises during the school year.
>> Both parents may take the kids on a vacation of up to 2 weeks (during their half or one of their quarters of the summer, of course.) The vacation can be far away enough to render the other parent's visitation impossible, but if it's NOT, then the other parent can still exercise their visitation.
>> The NCP is also expected to tell the CP when/where he/she is taking his/her vacation, by April 1.
With shrinking Summer Breaks, 1/4 of the summer may not be much longer than 2 weeks (maybe 3?). But overall, it sounds like less upheaval for the kids, to only switch their summer "home" 2 or 4 times...but while they spend longish periods with each parent, they still get weekly (or in your case EOW) time with the OTHER parent.
* What are her childcare plans, for the summer? If the kids are going to spend all week in daycare when they're with her - and if you stay home with them - maybe they should only be with her on weekends.
* I don't understand what she wants, with C/S? She wants you guys to pay her? (If so, what? Calculate what she should have paid in C/S the last 4 years, if she made even minimum wage, and point out that she's paid nothing. Even her own proposal still has the kids spending ~3/4 of the year with you!) Or she wants to pay you only 75% of what she owes (keeping the other 25% for herself because she wants to have the kids ~25% of the time)? If so...well, what are the laws where you are? Here, the standard C/S calculation takes into account both parents incomes, the expenses of prior or subsequent children, childcare costs, who pays for health insurance and how much time the kids spend with each parent. If your laws are similar, you should calculate C/S and expect her to pay it. And if she doesn't wind up exercising a good chunk of her visitation, you should take her back for a modification next year and ask to adjust the "parenting time credit". If she wants to be a full-fledged parent now, sharing the cost of her children's needs is part of the package!
* Ask the Court to order a custodial evaluator or guardian ad litem (less expensive) to do home visits. You have a right to know your kids are going somewhere safe and appropriate...and who else may be living there. You should be ordered to share the cost of this evenly, regardless of the difference in your incomes. It eliminates one party accusing the C/E or GAL of bias, because the other party paid her. Also, the C/E or GAL might support your DF's proposal for progressive visits - or might advise that the ex isn't ready for as much parenting time as she's requested...and then it wouldn't be DF keeping his kids from spending more time with their wiggy Mom, but a professional!
IME, a NCP who does not utilize all of their current visitation is NOT going to get more. In my area, the judge/magistrate would look straight at her and say, "Why don't we try using all of our visits and go from there."
(Our family court magistrate is very snarky.)
But this is ridiculous. At mediation, I would very honestly say, can we stick with the visitation we have, and actually use it?
I would go into mediation and say, "If you use all of your parenting time for the next 3 months, I will be more than happy to increase your time with the children accordingly."
ETA - Just want to make clear that it's your DF that should say this - obviously you will not be speaking at the meeting if you are even present.
Your getting married sooner or later isn't going to make any difference at all. Nor will who she may have dated several years ago.
Since she has been calling consistently AND has had the kids for the day on several occasions, I'd expect Mom to get at least that amount of time eow. However, it is also entirely possible that she will get eow, Fri-Sun. At 10 & 8, the kids apparently are quite clear who she is, so there doesn't need to be any "reintroduction" time. Dad may want to ask that Mom be consistent with her one day eow for 3 mos, and then she can move up to eow Fri-Sun. That will put y'all into summer already, and Dad may be wise to consider some sort of summer vacation-type time for this summer - perhaps a few week-long visits. Then alternating holidays/breaks and moving to a more even split of the summer moving forward.
she will go 6+months without wanting to see them, then come in and claim she will be there always...a month later shes no where to be found. The kids do need to be reintroduced, DSS even said he would like to "meet" her again. They need time to readjust to her being in their lives if she actually is going to stay this time. As it is she may well just stop showing up in a few weeks. I just want to protect them from getting hurt again, and if she does really want to be a part of their lives we're all for it just dont want to have to try to come up with an explanation of why she stopped calling/showing up one day. How many times do the kids have to get hurt before she makes a choice for good?
"I would go into mediation and say, "If you use all of your parenting time for the next 3 months, I will be more than happy to increase your time with the children accordingly.""
And the child support issue would be HUGE for me, not because I'd greedily want the money, but because I'd want the flaky NCP to demonstrate that they had both the ability and the willingness to consistently provide for basic needs. That's what parents have to do.
It seems that Smithie and I agree on something! LOL - but really, this is very important.
I also agree that the time should be increased gradually - its traumatic on ANY child, regardless of age, to have their parent keep appearing and re-appearing, and to suddenly go on an overnight when you haven't seen that parent in 6+ months would have the potential to be incredibly upsetting for anyone!
Has your DH (sorry, I don't recall if you are married or not) been keeping a running log of when she shows and when she doesn't? If not, he definitely needs to start as that will be important evidence for a judge to consider.