Originally Posted by sillysapling
...If she became the perfect, doting mother to his face while, behind his back, trying to sabotage him...it'd be a lot harder... And that has been the case, most of DSS's life. I agree, it's hard but healthier for him to be increasingly less deceived, as he gets older. For example, he may become attracted to healthier relationships with girls, the less he perceives manipulative, needy behavior as the most loving.
...His mother really has essentially kidnapped him.
If you or your husband flew out to pick him up, is there any way for his mom to take your husband to court and say he went against the custody agreement?...(if she wins this battle the new battle [could] be "Well, I signed him up for school here so you can't have him back" or some other excuse to refuse to let him go back even for the first day)
"I don't agree with showing DSS heated emails between his parents."
His mother is gaslighting him and he's 14. He deserves to know what's going on...Your husband can't just *tell* him because he's getting two conflicting stories- being shown what both parents are saying to each other was the best way.
The benefits of helping him to recognize the gaslighting far outweigh any potential negatives of realizing his divorced parents don't get on well. You're right - worded well!
Originally Posted by Mummoth
Would it be possible to have the guardian ad litem call him and/or his mom at this point?... soon after he gets back at least, it might be good to have a third party get his opinion on what happened while it's fresh, so arrangements for the next visit can include a contingency plan just in case the mother repeats this.
Originally Posted by Springshowers
If she agreed to the earlier return then she accepted the reduced time. I don't think that would have been seen to be going against the order...
DSS is home and started school Tuesday. His mom "bent over backward" with a typical Pyrrhic "compromise": she let him fly home Sunday night, despite wanting him to stay until Monday
night. He still missed Orientation, pictures and picking up his school-issued iPad - which required him to report to school 40 minutes early, Tuesday morning. But Mom can still say she made a concession.
Legally, it is
tricky, as you all point out.
In our extensive experience (when Mom had custody), what she just did - refusing to return DSS when DH wanted him, regardless whether she felt entitled to more time
- is indeed
considered "custodial interference" (parental kidnapping), in Indiana.
A court here wouldn't convict her, since there were questions about the length of the visit. But had we called police, Indiana
officers would've forcibly returned DSS to us and told Mom she could take DH back to court if she thought he was wrong. Would California
police have done the same? They should
, but who knows?
But the half-week made it a "possession is 9/10 of the law" issue. Since Mom only gained a few days with DSS, she was wrong
to make him miss Orientation. (It might've been a different story if, by missing one school day, he could've spent 2 extra weeks with her.) Yet, we
would've looked more
wrong (even to DSS, I think), had we traveled to CA and spirited him away, or enlisted police help, over only a few disputed days. (Though we would've gone to whatever extremes necessary, had she threatened - or tried - to keep him indefinitely!)
Unfortunately, the GAL did all he's authorized to do. Well in advance of the visit, DSS told the GAL he wanted to be home for summer school and Orientation. The GAL discussed it with both parents. Ideally, broadcasting DSS's wishes should prevent either parent from claiming to be fighting for what DSS truly wants - if he/she isn't
- and shame a misguided or selfish parent into compromising.
Mom's response was clever: "What DSS wants is fine with me. As long as I get my 7 weeks, they don't have to be on the dates I requested."
> She appeared
to agree to the changes (which, yes, should protect us from fines for violating court orders).
> She appeared to be ignoring the math, rounding up, or just counting wrong: Orientation was only 6 weeks + 2 days after the end of summer school.
> She only made an issue of the time difference after DSS was under her physical control; and at the last minute - when DH couldn't get a hearing for a court order to return him on time
. C-l-a-s-s-i-c Mom!
I agree that we should deal with future summers now
. DSS is angry with Mom, but may be plagued with guilt by the end of the school year. He already knows which summer school class he wants to take next year, so we already know there will be a battle. And I agree - after Mom won this one, she'll be less compromising next year, not more.
It seems very clear to me that our guidelines need to adjust to changing times:
- The 7-week standard has been around since school summer breaks were ~13 weeks (the 1st week in June through Labor Day weekend). So 7 weeks was ~54% of the summer. But it was 2/3
of this summer. And DSS's school might shave a week off next summer.
- Summer school used to be primarily for remediation. Now, most
HS kids here - not just at DSS's school - need
to dispense with requirements like PE and Health in summer school, to be able to fit any electives into their class loads. There is no
7-week period when DSS can travel, even if he never attends another Orientation!
- If DSS attends summer school and spends 7 weeks with Mom, he gets 1-2 weeks, all year
with us, when he's not in class. That's far from what anyone thought was reasonable, back when a CP got 6 weeks of summer and the NCP, 7.
- Mom should subject herself to some of the inconvenience of travel and spend some time with DSS here, while he's in classes.
It would let DSS have both
parents involved in his education AND give him vacation/family bonding time with both
parents - both things our state recognizes as good for him!
But 7 weeks is a common standard, throughout the country. It's not
common to require parents to do any of the traveling (but not unheard-of!) I don't imagine it will be easy, to legally deviate from old standards.