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#1 of 36 Old 11-17-2011, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a week during the holidays and bio mom has a week

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#2 of 36 Old 11-17-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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XH doesn't have access, but his parents see the kids once a month for 6 hours. I told them the kids are not available during the last week of November or the first two weeks of December because we expect the baby to come somewhere in that time frame (if I were to go into labour during their visit, they'd refuse to bring the kids back early, so I'm avoiding the situation entirely) They'll probably ask for the kids on the Sunday after Christmas, which is fine by me. Sometimes they ask for a second visit in December, I tell them they can take the kids for a few hours on a weeknight and then I don't hear back from them.


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#3 of 36 Old 11-17-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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Last year: BioMom had DSS Christmas Eve and Christmas AM, the switch was made around 3pm on Christmas day.

 

This year: We will have DSS Christmas Eve and Christmas AM, the switch to BioMom will be made in the early afternoon.

 

DSS is 6yo and I think Christmas Day is too busy for him, but it's not my call.  I'd rather the switch be made on Boxing Day or Christmas Eve, but I also think that Christmas Day is an over-rated ordeal...


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#4 of 36 Old 11-17-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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We have always been firm believers that the kids deserve to experience the entire holiday and all its traditions, which includes the time leading up to the holiday, the day of, and the aftermath. So we have always done long holidays during Thanksgiving and Christmas, whether we lived an hour and a half apart, 5 minutes apart, or 3000 miles apart. Each holiday gets 5 or more days of uninterrupted holiday time and we avoid any schedule that requires a custody switch the day before or after the holiday itself, even if it means missing some school or moving around the schedule. It has been wonderful to get to celebrate the entire holiday as a family, even when that means we have to celebrate early, late, or twice the following year so mom can have the same experience. 

 

When we moved away my husband was granted parenting time for ALL of Christmas vacation EVERY year. We feel so strongly about my step-daughter's right to get to have that uninterrupted holiday time that he voluntarily gives up part of the break every other year so she can spend it with mom. So on alternate years she is with us for her whole break and on the other years she is with us for about half of it, the schedule determined by where Christmas falls so she gets that uninterrupted holiday time.

 

This year is her year to be with us for the whole break, so she will be with us from the Thursday before Christmas 'til she goes back to school a little more than 2 weeks later.


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#5 of 36 Old 11-18-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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My older (bio) kids:

1. Spend all day Christmas Eve with their Dad.  His extended family's big shindig is that evening.

2. Go to Midnight Mass with me.

3. Spend Christmas morning at my house.  DH's and my extended families start arriving around 6am and the kids' Dad, step-Mom, brother(s) (by Dad & step-Mom) and assorted people Dad & step-Mom bring along: both their mothers, his sister, old friends and an exchange student!  (All those people have never come in the same year.  It's always a surprise!)

4. Go to their Dad's mid-day, to celebrate with their step-Mom's family.

5. Come home Christmas evening, for dinner with DH's and my families, who spend all day at our house.

That's our routine, every year.

 

My DSS...:  dizzy.gif

> Lives with us and is supposed to spend one week (about half) of winter break with his Mom, out of state.  She's supposed to pay for his airfare.  For better or worse, that's where the legal-ese ends.

 

> Mom is Jewish.  Overall, the last 8 years, she's been cooperative (for her) about DSS spending every Christmas with DH.

 

> ...Except the year we got married (4 years ago, when DSS still lived with his Mom):

*** She said DH could have DSS that Christmas (for the 4th consecutive year), but he had to choose:  Have DSS at our wedding, or see him over winter break.  Not both!  

*** In the subsequent court filings, she didn't say she wanted to celebrate Christmas with DSS, just that if DH got "extra" time with DSS for the wedding, it was only fair that he lose parenting time at winter break.

*** After the judge said DH could have both visits, DSS's Mom suddenly declared that she celebrates Christmas; it's been heartbreaking for her to suffer so many years without having DSS on that day; so if the judge refused to cancel DH's winter break parenting time, at least don't give DH Christmas Day!

*** The judge (who was also in the middle of changing custody and moving DSS 2,500 miles away from his Mom) caved and said she could have him on the 25th.  But DSS and his Mom had celebrated Chanukah together before the trial and didn't do anything for Christmas.  DSS was really upset about it.

 

> So now, each year, Mom reminds DH that she once got a judge to give her Christmas parenting time...but she'd trade it... Perhaps DH would pay for DSS's winter break airfare, for example?  DH jumps through whatever hoop she holds out.  We send DSS to see her the day after Christmas.  DH doesn't make him come back until the day before school resumes, so the visit is always longer than the required 7 days.  After all, frustrating as she is, she's DSS's mother and he doesn't get to see much of her! 

 

> This year, she had free plane tickets and went ahead and scheduled DSS's trip...starting Dec. 24th.  

*** Lately (as she gears up for trying to reverse the custody change), she makes out-of-character overtures to show how super-cooperative she has become.  She noted that she gave DH Christmas Day this year, without him even requesting it!  

*** DH pointed out that Christmas is Dec. 25th.  She felt it was no big deal - everyone forgets the date of Christmas now and then, right?  Unfortunately, between the dates of winter break and black-out dates, she can't reschedule DSS's travel and still use her free tickets.

*** DH has resolved this exact situation with her before, by paying for DSS's airfare himself.  (The free tickets get returned to Mom's account and she can use them for something else.)  But DH told her we can't afford to do that, this year.  

*** Then Mom became adamant that she wants to alternate Christmases and described how she and her relatives gather around the tree, "grieving" that they're forced to celebrate Christmas without DSS.  (Her description would bring tears to the eye of anyone who doesn't know that all her relatives out there are observant Jews who do not, by any stretch of the imagination, celebrate Christmas and who would be distressed to hear her say she does...not to mention hearing her say they do!)

*** DH carefully discussed this with DSS, to see if he feels deprived of Christmases with his Mom.  DSS was adamant that he wants to spend Christmas here, with his brothers, and go to Midnight Mass with us and everyone he knows from school; and that his Mom doesn't observe Christmas.

*** So, DH has remained steadfast.  He reminded DSS's Mom that her own, original intent had been to let DSS spend Christmas here; and not being able to use free tickets isn't sufficient reason to change course.  She's under court order to pay for DSS's airfare.  It's the only form of child support she pays.

 

We don't know yet what's going to happen.  She hasn't changed his tickets. 

 


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#6 of 36 Old 11-18-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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Jeannine-wow. That whole situation is kind of mind-boggling!  I hope you guys can hold steady and get her to change the tickets so your dss can celebrate Christmas with you and still see his mom.

 

We do every other year one parent gets Christmas eve through Christmas morning, usually at noon, and the other parent gets Christmas day through the 26th (or back to the regular schedule, however it works out).  While it can be annoying to plan around this and have to switch in the middle of the day, neither parents wants to miss out on the whole holiday or celebrate an entirely different day and it seems to work out all right, especially as dsd gets older. When she was little, she was exhausted and so crabby by the end of the day after spending C. eve with her mom (and I'm sure vice versa)-it was just too much excitement to then try to do more presents, dinner at family's house etc.

 

Aricha, how does it work with your other kids? do you celebate twice when your dsd is not with you or just move it to another day entirely?


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#7 of 36 Old 11-19-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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Jeannie - What are you going to do if Little Miss Meshuganah doesn't change the tickets? Do you get in trouble if you don't send him? 

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#8 of 36 Old 11-19-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by greenemami View Post

 

Aricha, how does it work with your other kids? do you celebate twice when your dsd is not with you or just move it to another day entirely?



So far we have always moved Christmas to a day she is with us. The other kids are little (2, 4, and 6 this year) and they don't really know the difference. It's usually just off by a day or two. When the kids are old enough to know the difference (which we don't think will be for a few years... we are all on vacation and fairly insulated from the outside world during winter break, and it's not like they are keeping a close eye on the date on the calendar), we plan to explain the situation and ask them what they would like to do.

 

Our whole extended family has always been on board with our alternate holiday schedule (we've done it for Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and Father's Day in the past), and the relatives just call to wish the kids a merry Christmas (or whatever the holiday) on whatever day we are celebrating. Honestly, we have gotten so good at shifting the schedule that *I* sometimes forget we are celebrating a different day than other people.


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#9 of 36 Old 11-19-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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Jeannie - What are you going to do if Little Miss Meshuganah doesn't change the tickets? Do you get in trouble if you don't send him? 


We're still discussing that...??

 


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#10 of 36 Old 11-19-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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since ex lives so far away (hes in colorado, we're in texas) ds doesnt get to see him often, so we kind of wing it with longer visits while we can now before ds starts school. last year, he spent christmas with dad, and was there for about a month. this year, we agreed on the day after, but now im kind of worried about that, as far as having to leave his new toys and stuff here and not get to play with them for a month. i dunno.... its tough. sometimes im glad he lives far enough away that we dont have to deal with all the drama and stuff, but other times i know it would be easier if he were closer, and the visits were shorter and more often.

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#11 of 36 Old 11-22-2011, 09:47 PM
 
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DSS is 6yo and I think Christmas Day is too busy for him, but it's not my call.  I'd rather the switch be made on Boxing Day or Christmas Eve [...]

 

Ugh, yes! Our Christmas Day means us getting up and on the road between 5AM-8AM and then spend another few hours in the car to get to wherever we celebrate Christmas Day after we pick up DSD. The problem is exacerbated by other family (read: inlaws) who must celebrate Christmas Day with DSD ... at their house ... every year. It's exhausting for me, though I suppose I do spend more time in the car than DSD so maybe it's not "too busy" to her. Also emotionally taxing since satisfying their want would mean spending no Christmases with my own family at all, so the past few years I've mostly just dreaded the Christmas event drama.

 

DSD's mom convinced DH to let her have every Christmas Eve through Christmas Day 9am. The Court ordered for this holiday split to alternate so they would take turns having the "burden" of holiday transportation and "perk" of Christmas morning. But in exchange for the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day not alternating, DH gets DSD for at least a week of winter break every year instead of every-other-year, so in the big picture that does work out well.

 

It seems to me like DSD is tired of celebrating other holidays twice (the other holidays we alternate mom still celebrates with her before we pick her up without fail, for example, the Easter Bunny visits/leaves Easter baskets before we pick up DSD for Easter holiday) but she hasn't expressed any displeasure with the Christmas arrangement, so trying to vent and get over my dislike of it.

 

Then, no matter how it's sliced, even non-blended families end up juggling the holidays around once the "children" get married and have kids of their own and have to coordinate schedules with an increasing number of parties and repeat the celebration a few times. In-laws can be as difficult as exes!


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#12 of 36 Old 11-23-2011, 03:31 AM
 
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Our Christmas Day means us getting up and on the road between 5AM-8AM and then spend another few hours in the car to get to wherever we celebrate Christmas Day after we pick up DSD. The problem is exacerbated by other family (read: inlaws) who must celebrate Christmas Day with DSD ... at their house ... every year.  

That stinks!  My parents and in-laws have gone along with celebrating Christmas where the kids are.  The grandparents had years, to put on Christmas for their kids, in their homes.  Now it's their kids' turn!  Plus, it's easier for the people without kids to travel on Christmas Day, than for the people with kids.  (Although, perhaps in some families parents feel grateful that the whole shindig - and clean-up - is at someone else's house.)

 

It's exhausting for me... Also emotionally taxing since satisfying their want would mean spending no Christmases with my own family at all...

greensad.gif  Well, you're going to have to figure out that one, in the next couple years!  Once your baby is born, your parents' willingness to never see you on Christmas will change dramatically.  And your in-laws' willingness to share holidays with their daughter-in-law's family ought to change, with a new baby.  If it doesn't, you will know their expectations are unreasonable, not yours!

 

DSD's mom convinced DH to let her have every Christmas Eve through Christmas Day 9am.

I know a lot of divorced families who like the consistency of having the same period to celebrate Christmas, every year, instead of alternating.  But it would be a pain for a step-parent, who is "messing up the program" if he/she would like to throw in alternating years with his/her family!

 


 

 


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#13 of 36 Old 11-23-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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*** Then Mom became adamant that she wants to alternate Christmases and described how she and her relatives gather around the tree, "grieving" that they're forced to celebrate Christmas without DSS.  (Her description would bring tears to the eye of anyone who doesn't know that all her relatives out there are observant Jews who do not, by any stretch of the imagination, celebrate Christmas and who would be distressed to hear her say she does...not to mention hearing her say they do!)

*** DH carefully discussed this with DSS, to see if he feels deprived of Christmases with his Mom.  DSS was adamant that he wants to spend Christmas here, with his brothers, and go to Midnight Mass with us and everyone he knows from school; and that his Mom doesn't observe Christmas.

*** So, DH has remained steadfast.  He reminded DSS's Mom that her own, original intent had been to let DSS spend Christmas here; and not being able to use free tickets isn't sufficient reason to change course.  She's under court order to pay for DSS's airfare.  It's the only form of child support she pays.

 

We don't know yet what's going to happen.  She hasn't changed his tickets. 

 



I can't even quote the rest of the situation with your DSS's mother - she is such a piece of work - I feel so sorry for all of you dealing with her crazies every single year over everything.

 

BUT - if she's jewish, isn't that easy to prove? Especially since she's gearing up to change custody, just subpoena one of her close relatives and ask them about it.  Then ask if they celebrate Christmas too, have they ever celebrated with crazy-cakes, does she celebrate it to their knowledge....etc. etc. etc.  The subpoena would be very costly (you have to send $$ for travel to court), but she might call off all talks to going to trial after that because her lies would come to light (your DSS could also testify about that, but I would not pull him into ANY of the actual litigation.  However, the judge may wish to speak with him in his chambers to get a feel for where DSS wants to live, and how he wants to spend holiday's, etc - lies could come out then too).

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#14 of 36 Old 11-23-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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We havent had any issues up until this year. DSC's mother was pretty much out of the picture. We just went to court and if she makes 12 consecutive visits she may be looking at some summer or holiday time next year. I think it will be extremely hard for me to give up holidays with my DSC since they never remember celebrating without me and so we will see. She is super agreeable one day and then not at all the next. what was my DH thinking haha!


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#15 of 36 Old 11-23-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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BUT - if she's jewish, isn't that easy to prove? Especially since she's gearing up to change custody, just subpoena one of her close relatives and ask them about it.  Then ask if they celebrate Christmas too, have they ever celebrated with crazy-cakes, does she celebrate it to their knowledge....etc. etc. etc.  The subpoena would be very costly (you have to send $$ for travel to court), but she might call off all talks to going to trial after that because her lies would come to light (your DSS could also testify about that, but I would not pull him into ANY of the actual litigation.  However, the judge may wish to speak with him in his chambers to get a feel for where DSS wants to live, and how he wants to spend holiday's, etc - lies could come out then too).


It sounds like it should be that simple, doesn't it?  But the thing about distortion campaigns is that it's hard to prove a negative.  

 

DSS's Mom has never denied being Jewish.  The years she wants DSS on Christmas (or wants to claim Christmas, then trade it for something), she says the holiday's important to her because her birth mother was Christian; or because she celebrated Christmas with DH and DSS during the marriage; or because Christmas is "magical".  One year that she wanted to trade the holiday for something, she put up a tree in her apt., made a gingerbread house and sent us pictures as "proof".  Same thing, this year.

 

We feel such "evidence" that she celebrates Christmas is disingenuous.  I mean, seriously!  One minute, she volunteers to let DH have Christmas and doesn't even remember what day the holiday is.  The next minute - after realizing it's cheaper if DSS spends Christmas with her - she puts up a tree a full week before Thanksgiving and sends a photo?!  She puts up trees when she wants to win arguments, but the year DSS was actually with her on Christmas, he cried on the phone to his Dad because there was no Christmas at Mom's house and "Santa Claus forgot about him"?  Plus, DSS is older now and says he wants to spend Christmas here because we celebrate it

 

But those are all very tricky things to take in front of a judge!  

 

> A judge - with 15 minutes to consider the issue - might very well see a photo of Mom's tree and conclude she must celebrate Christmas.  (And would he discriminate against her because she's Jewish?  "I don't care if you do celebrate it!  Only parents who keep Christ in Christmas can see their kids on that day!"  I can't conceive of it.)

 

> DH can't tell the judge what DSS has said to us, because it's hearsay.  But we don't want DSS to have to testify for himself, and feel torn between his parents.  

 

> Besides, I feel strongly that if he did testify - even in chambers - he'd say whatever his mother wants.  He knows she will ultimately find out what he says to a judge or custodial evaluator.  He worries about how miserable, lonely and fragile she is; and how she clings to the thought that getting back together - and staying far away from DH - is their joint dream, not hers alone.  He's been well-coached.  And he's seen how his Mom turns on people and cuts them out of her life, when they disappoint her.  Whereas, he knows that even if he breaks DH's heart, DH will not reject him and will keep finding ways to stay involved in his life.

 

It's a real crap-shoot:  Would a judge take the time to see the devil in the details; or be swayed by superficialities (the mental picture of Mom and her relatives grieving around the Christmas tree, without DSS...)?  DH has seen both, out of judges.

 

> As far as Mom's family, I think they shaped how she is.  For example, when Mom wanted a share of her late birth mother's estate, Mom's parents (who adopted her at birth and were getting along swimmingly with her, at the time) helped her try to convince the probate judge that her adoption was never legal; she was not their daughter or heir; and was only the heir of her birth mother.  It sounds like her family confuses "unconditional love" with helping each other get whatever they want by any means necessary.  And they hate DH.  Mom bonded with DH (back in the day), by telling him of the horrible, abusive family she had fled from.  After the divorce, she reconnected with her family by telling them how horrible and abusive DH had been.  We assume they, too, would say whatever she wanted.

 

No doubt, we'll be in court over this eventually, but we'd rather wait as long as possible.


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#16 of 36 Old 11-24-2011, 05:23 PM
 
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Yeah, she's crazy cakes alright.  Your poor DSS to have to deal with that.  I would almost give her every other x-mas (although really, if its in the court order that your DH gets every christmas because she AGREED to that, then the judge is going to know that and know something is fishy, especially since she admits that she is jewish, yk?)

 

I agree that you don't want your DSS to testify - talk about terrible!  The judge will likely want to talk to him in private though, and I'm really not sure they DO reveal what the child says - just use whatever they say in making the decision.  I don't think what the child says is revealed simply because it could put a child in the exact situation that you mention.  Don't worry about that, if it ever happens the judge will tell your DSS what is going on, why he's talking with him, and who he's going to tell.

 

Be thankful that your DSS knows that his dad will jump through every hoop, and do everything he can for him - kids need that SO much.

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I think it will be extremely hard for me to give up holidays with my DSC since they never remember celebrating without me and so we will see.  hug2.gif

 

She is super agreeable one day and then not at all the next. what was my DH thinking haha!  I know, right?!

 


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#18 of 36 Old 11-25-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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I would almost give her every other x-mas...

DH does cave in a lot, to avoid Mom trying to get DSS on her side and DSS feeling torn.  He really hates that!  But, under the circumstances, we feel caving in about Christmas would mean sacrificing something that matters to DSS, to spare ourselves the headache of taking on his Mom.

 

I agree that you don't want your DSS to testify - talk about terrible!  The judge will likely want to talk to him in private though, and I'm really not sure they DO reveal what the child says - just use whatever they say in making the decision.  I don't think what the child says is revealed simply because it could put a child in the exact situation that you mention.  Don't worry about that, if it ever happens the judge will tell your DSS what is going on, why he's talking with him, and who he's going to tell.

A judge can say whatever he wants, but a child who has been dragged to psychiatrists from the age of 5 and told that his Dad will be thrown in jail; or that he'll be taken away from his mother forever, if he doesn't tell the shrink exactly what he's been told to say...and who has been coached for in-chambers meetings with judges since he was 6...and who has been assured that these professionals meet with his mother right afterward, to discuss what he said...is not going to believe that he can speak freely to a judge and that his mother will never know what he said.  He's just not going to believe that.

 

Be thankful that your DSS knows that his dad will jump through every hoop, and do everything he can for him - kids need that SO much.  Yes, and yes!


 

 


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#19 of 36 Old 11-25-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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We aren't sure what will happen this year.  We haven't had Christmas with DSS ever (this will be my 4th Christmas with DH).  Up until this year there was no formal arrangement & DSS's mom always found some reason that we shouldn't have him.  One year she said that until she got more money, she didn't think DH should see him - that lasted 3 months.  Another year she said he had to go to her boyfriend's parents' house (for a week) right after Christmas so he would be too busy to see his dad.  I think the other year she just wouldn't agree to anything, started fights during every conversation, etc. 

 

Anyway, now that there's a formal arrangement, we are supposed to have him for Christmas this year.  I really don't expect it to happen though - we were also supposed to have him for our wedding a couple weeks ago, but she decided 2 weeks before hand to enforce one of the parts of the parenting plan that is more difficult to accomplish quickly (that she had never bothered to even mention before she found out we got DSS fitted for a tux).  I feel bad for kiddo, he was really looking forward to it, but we couldn't change things at that late of notice.  Point of this rambling post is that, given the history involved, I really doubt we'll get him for Christmas - I don't even think we'll see him before Christmas (supposed to be every other weekend) unless she gets irritated with him (same woman who once told DH that she was "stuck with his kid" and it "did nothing for her").  Maybe I'm being unreasonable - I keep trying to see things from her POV, and hoping that she really is trying to do what's best for DSS but I'm having a harder time doing so every time she comes up with a new & creative way to torture DH. 


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#20 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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We have no formal arrangement, either, here. We're still working out custody issues since our filing for divorce last year. Our current arrangement is with me Wed or Thurs-Sun afternoon or evening, and with their biodad Sun evening-Weds or Thurs. Every holiday for the last year, they spent with the parent who had those days by default. I've tried to arrange something for both Thanksgiving and Xmas for this year, but x-h doesn't communicate with me, so I am assuming that it is by default again for Xmas (and it was for Thanksgiving, but we exchanged on Thurs anyway). This year, since I will have them over the weekend, and Xmas is on Sunday, I will have them for Xmas eve and Xmas morning/afternoon.


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#21 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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Lee's Girl- DSD's mom lived by the same games (there was always something more important than seeing her dad) at Christmas and other family holidays. She would agree to let him pick her up at some specific time, then if we were "lucky" we'd get a day or two's notice that there was something else for DSD to do. Other times we'd find out when DH was already on his way to pick up DSD. Ultimately the games led to the end of the informal agreement. He got a lawyer, then a court order giving him these holidays on an alternating schedule (among a lot of other things that made her pretty angry). He didn't get any Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas with DSD until there was an order. At first, DSD's mom bucked the order. The first Christmas DSD was "too sick" to come, and when the story didn't convince DH not to exercise the holiday time, mom brought DSD to the emergency room and had a battery of tests run. Even the hospital doctors saying there was nothing wrong with DSD couldn't convince mom to let her leave. It was miserable and I felt so bad for DSD who kept asking us (once we finally got her a couple days later) to tell her mom that she wasn't sick and to stop taking her to the doctor when she wasn't sick.

 

That really stinks that she wouldn't let your DSS be a part of your wedding either. I'm curious what part of the parenting plan could enable her to prevent DSS from being part of your wedding (assuming you scheduled it during a weekend that was already "yours"). I was really afraid of DSD's mom preventing her from being at our wedding given her history--and she did put in a minor effort, telling DSD that she should call and ask to go home before the wedding--but it worked out OK in the end. DSD told us that's what she was supposed to do but that she didn't want to.

 

I would definitely make an attempt to pick up DSS when the order says for Christmas, and every other weekend for that matter, and document your attempt. Our routine is for me to take a picture of DH knocking on ex's door with a timestamp, and when she doesn't answer, he texts her saying he's there to pick up DSD and he knocked on her door and no one answered. She generally responds admitting she's not home and doesn't intend to hand over DSD, so we've never used the photos in court, the texts have been sufficient to document her behavior. I've heard some people suggest filing a police report (not calling the police to the house, just filing a report) to document the attempt, but I've never tried that because DH is vehemently against it, afraid it will get him in some kind of trouble. My DH was somewhat against trying to pick up DSD when his ex already stated she didn't intend to follow the ordered time because the ~$50 in gas expense when he knew he wouldn't come home with his daughter seemed like a "waste" to him. I finally convinced him that he would be spending the money if he got his daughter so put it in the budget and spend it regardless, even if it was his ex's objective just to waste his money and time. If ex convinces you to not try the pick-up, she can go back to the court later and say she didn't interfere at all, but that you didn't show up! So always try. The sooner you try, the sooner she'll have no choice but to let it happen and the less likely DSS will remember a time without dad being a part of Christmas (or his life in general, it sounds like). And if she's refusing weekends in general, especially if she refuses Christmas to boot, I'd file a complaint with the court. It won't get back the missed time, but hopefully will affect the future.


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#22 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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I keep trying to see things from her POV, and hoping that she really is trying to do what's best for DSS but I'm having a harder time doing so every time she comes up with a new & creative way to torture DH. 

Been there!  (Well, I guess I'm still there, in terms of trying to see things from the ex's POV.)  

 

But when you do cruel things to a child because the child's needs/feelings/rights matter less to you than your own feelings/agenda, that's abuse.  So, depriving a child of contact with a loving parent for 3 months; never letting a child celebrate special occasions with a parent; forcing unnecessary medical exams on a child (below) - all in the name of hurting your hated ex - is abuse.  

 

If a father beats his child, no one bends over backwards to see his POV or to believe he's acting in the child's best interest.  Sure, people may acknowledge that the father's own, unfortunate upbringing contributed to his poor parenting.  People may hope he gets help.  But people feel no obligation to twist their minds into pretzels, trying to see how he's doing the right thing.  Mothers deserve no more benefit of the doubt, when they abuse their kids by sabotaging their relationships with loving fathers.

 

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...She would agree to let him pick her up at some specific time, then if we were "lucky" we'd get a day or two's notice that there was something else for DSD to do. Other times we'd find out when DH was already on his way to pick up DSD... He didn't get any Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas with DSD until there was an order... The first Christmas DSD was "too sick" to come, and when the story didn't convince DH not to exercise the holiday time, mom brought DSD to the emergency room and had a battery of tests run...

 

DSD's mom... (told) DSD that she should call and ask to go home before the wedding...

 

I would definitely make an attempt to pick up DSS when the order says for Christmas, and every other weekend for that matter, and document your attempt. Our routine is for me to take a picture of DH knocking on ex's door with a timestamp, and when she doesn't answer, he texts her saying he's there to pick up DSD and he knocked on her door and no one answered. She generally responds admitting she's not home and doesn't intend to hand over DSD, so we've never used the photos in court, the texts have been sufficient to document her behavior. I've heard some people suggest filing a police report (not calling the police to the house, just filing a report) to document the attempt, but I've never tried that because DH is vehemently against it, afraid it will get him in some kind of trouble.

IME, here are the pros and cons:

* You SHOULD worry about looking bad, for exposing kids to police unnecessarily.  It's very upsetting.

* However, I think it's pretty universal throughout the US that police will not enforce civil orders.  So, police should have minimal to no contact with Mom and DSD, if called to verify that your DH showed up to try to exercise his parenting time; and that he did not wind up with the child.

* Police reports are not actually admissible "evidence" in court, so judges are not required to accept them; or opposing counsel can have them thrown out.  (A police report only verifies what someone told the officer; not what actually happened, which the officer wasn't around to see, since people generally call police after something happens.)  

* On the other hand, family court judges generally have more discretion, as to what they can consider in determining the best interest of a child (compared to a criminal judge, who must follow strict rules of evidence for a conviction).  So, if you show up in court with a stack of police reports showing that over and over, your DH showed up but was denied visitation; the judge may not officially consider those reports "proof" of anything, but they might go far toward making your DH seem more credible than his ex-wife.  That matters!

 

My DH was somewhat against trying to pick up DSD when his ex already stated she didn't intend to follow the ordered time because the ~$50 in gas expense when he knew he wouldn't come home with his daughter seemed like a "waste" to him. I finally convinced him that he would be spending the money if he got his daughter so put it in the budget and spend it regardless, even if it was his ex's objective just to waste his money and time. If ex convinces you to not try the pick-up, she can go back to the court later and say she didn't interfere at all, but that you didn't show up!  Ab-so-lutely!  You gave him good advice!


 

 


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#23 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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Thanks Jeannine - it's nice to know I'm not crazy, when I think these things!  Sometimes it helps just to know that DH & I aren't alone - that other families out there either have BTDT or are dealing with similar situations currently.  Family is of course willing to listen, but they don't really get it - they keep saying things like "but she can't do that, can she?".  No, technically she can't but she DOES.  She kept DH so beaten down for so long, that he often buys into the whole "I can't stop her" thing - and the kicker is, she'll keep doing this stuff as long as she is allowed to.


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#24 of 36 Old 11-27-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice, autumngrey.  I'll talk to DH about trying that.  It's hard to get him to, though, since he gets SO worked up (once he's back in the car or hangs up the phone or whatever) every time she plays her games.

 

As for the wedding thing, yes it was in the paperwork that DSS is to be made available for any major family events - and we specified weddings as one of those things - with at least 2 weeks notice.  She was given almost a month's notice & had said it was fine right until the end, then it was "we might have plans" and "I didn't give permission for him to go".  The criteria that she wound up using was something that, honestly, I had reservations about before DH signed the divorce & parenting plan paperwork but hindsight is always 20/20, right?  Anyway, the only way she would give him the divorce (despite the fact that SHE told him to leave 4 years ago this Christmas, SHE had already left once for 3 months - leaving DH & DSS at HER parents' house where they lived their entire marriage, and SHE already has an almost 3 year old with her current boyfriend - obviously she had no desire to reconcile) was if he agreed to some sort of alcohol treatment.  DH is not an alcoholic (he has approx. 2 beers a night if we have a few extra dollars that week - if not, then not. She's projecting issues with her own father onto him.  There are also some MAJOR control issues at play (I've known her for a very long time - there has always been control issues).  DH had an attorney who unfortunately didn't tell him that she couldn't enforce that with a judge unless she could prove that it affected his parenting ability.  If there is no program, there is no visitation.  We get that, and are actively working on getting him into a program that we can afford & that will accept him (the last one we contacted said he didn't qualify), but the irritating part is that she didn't push that AT ALL from when the divorce was finalized until now.  I think I said that part before - sorry about that, I just get a bit worked up. I hate seeing my guys hurt.  I keep reminding DH that all we can do is try to make sure that he is in compliance on everything & use her stunts to prove character & behavior patterns if things don't improve soon.  Well, that and keep trying to have contact with DSS. 

 

After re-reading this, I am a bit concerned that I may be coming off overly critical of DSS's mom & overly defensive of DH.  I really don't mean to, and hope it isn't taken that way - I am just frustrated and venting a bit tonight.


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#25 of 36 Old 11-28-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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...Family is of course willing to listen, but they don't really get it - they keep saying things like "but she can't do that, can she?".  No, technically she can't but she DOES...

I, too, have always been amused to hear "But she can't do that!"  DH has heard it from people who should know better - attorneys, judges, a mediator...  Yeah, well, if YOU'RE not going to do anything about it and neither are the cops, then she very well CAN do it, and she knows it.  

 

Giving custody to the more reasonable parent - the one who's not trying to cut the other one out of the picture - shifts the balance of power in a much more functional direction.  It doesn't necessarily reduce the conflict, but it means things are usually the way your husband thinks they should be, unless Mom works to convince someone to overrule him; instead of her position being the default.  But that can be a long, expensive battle.
 

 


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#26 of 36 Old 11-28-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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Thanks for the advice, autumngrey.  I'll talk to DH about trying that.  It's hard to get him to, though, since he gets SO worked up (once he's back in the car or hangs up the phone or whatever) every time she plays her games.

 

As for the wedding thing, yes it was in the paperwork that DSS is to be made available for any major family events - and we specified weddings as one of those things - with at least 2 weeks notice.  She was given almost a month's notice & had said it was fine right until the end, then it was "we might have plans" and "I didn't give permission for him to go".  The criteria that she wound up using was something that, honestly, I had reservations about before DH signed the divorce & parenting plan paperwork but hindsight is always 20/20, right?  Anyway, the only way she would give him the divorce (despite the fact that SHE told him to leave 4 years ago this Christmas, SHE had already left once for 3 months - leaving DH & DSS at HER parents' house where they lived their entire marriage, and SHE already has an almost 3 year old with her current boyfriend - obviously she had no desire to reconcile) was if he agreed to some sort of alcohol treatment.  DH is not an alcoholic (he has approx. 2 beers a night if we have a few extra dollars that week - if not, then not. She's projecting issues with her own father onto him.  There are also some MAJOR control issues at play (I've known her for a very long time - there has always been control issues).  DH had an attorney who unfortunately didn't tell him that she couldn't enforce that with a judge unless she could prove that it affected his parenting ability.  If there is no program, there is no visitation.  We get that, and are actively working on getting him into a program that we can afford & that will accept him (the last one we contacted said he didn't qualify), but the irritating part is that she didn't push that AT ALL from when the divorce was finalized until now.  I think I said that part before - sorry about that, I just get a bit worked up. I hate seeing my guys hurt.  I keep reminding DH that all we can do is try to make sure that he is in compliance on everything & use her stunts to prove character & behavior patterns if things don't improve soon.  Well, that and keep trying to have contact with DSS. 

 

After re-reading this, I am a bit concerned that I may be coming off overly critical of DSS's mom & overly defensive of DH.  I really don't mean to, and hope it isn't taken that way - I am just frustrated and venting a bit tonight.


These programs won't accept him because he doesn't have an alcohol problem? Would he be able to get a letter stating the fact? Has he had the same employer long enough that he'd be willing to ask his boss for a letter stating that he's never been drunk or hung over at work, and that they've seen no indication of an addiction? I bet the Dr. could check him out for the illnesses that are commonly caused by excessive drinking. Then he can go back to court and say that he agreed to taking a program because he was willing to jump through whatever hoops it took to get the divorce finalized/ have an agreement in place to see his kid, but that it's turned out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated because they tell him that he'd be wasting their time and resources because he doesn't have a problem!

 


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#27 of 36 Old 11-28-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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I, too, have always been amused to hear "But she can't do that!"  DH has heard it from people who should know better - attorneys, judges, a mediator...  Yeah, well, if YOU'RE not going to do anything about it and neither are the cops, then she very well CAN do it, and she knows it.  

 

Giving custody to the more reasonable parent - the one who's not trying to cut the other one out of the picture - shifts the balance of power in a much more functional direction.  It doesn't necessarily reduce the conflict, but it means things are usually the way your husband thinks they should be, unless Mom works to convince someone to overrule him; instead of her position being the default.  But that can be a long, expensive battle.
 

 


This is our ultimate goal.  We were hoping to have a little time to make sure we are financially stable, but have been starting to feel like our hand is being forced.  We're just starting to do the research so we can figure out our next move.  Sometimes it feels more like planning for war instead of getting to just live our life.

 


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#28 of 36 Old 11-28-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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Mummoth - that's a great idea.  I'll have to see if he can get some sort of documentation.  Unfortunately he hasn't worked in a while (he was a stay-at-home dad for most of DSS's early years, then some depression issues after the marriage fell apart).  He's been trying, but it's hard to get back into the workforce.  The other things, though - the check-up and the letter from the places he's trying to apply for a program at - might very well be do-able.

 

I really appreciate the advice, ladies - I was a bit worried that I would come off as over-reacting or flat out crazy.  The support is fantastic!


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#29 of 36 Old 12-05-2011, 04:08 PM
 
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We have the kids from the morning of Dec 23 to 8pm on Dec 24 and then she gets them until the morning of the 26th. We were supposed to get them until 10pm on the 24th but she sent my BF some crappy text saying he should let her have the kids earlier  because it is detrimental to their health to make them stay up until 10pm and will upset the kids schedule. Um, don't kids usually stay up late on holidays? And not to mention she has requested letting her drop the kids off with us at 10pm and no mention of that being detrimental was mentioned then! But my BF told her yes, mainly  because we got to trade those 2 hours for another day where we wanted to keep them later anyway.  We get them New Year's day which is the day we'll be driving down to Disney World for a week. First road trip with all three kids...should be fun (or insane) :)

 

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#30 of 36 Old 12-12-2011, 10:49 AM
 
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Ugh, we're trying to work out a schedule for winter break and the ex is being so unreasonable. We worked it out and the way she proposes it, she will get the kids for about 70 awake hours (meaning hours they are not supposed to be in bed and asleep) and we will get them for about 9 awake hours. How can that even be considered reasonably by even the craziest person??? Our proposal gave her the kids for about 51 awake hours and us  about 28. Still not equal, but we are okay with that, especially since we have them for a week the first week of January. Unfortunately there is nothing in the divorce decree about winter and spring break, so we have no idea how to deal with this if she says no.

 

 

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